Law firms protest against government cuts by refusing legal aid work
7th July 2015
A large number of criminal law firms are snubbing work that is funded by legal aid in protest against solicitor fees being reduced by 8.75 per cent in England and Wales.
Those working in solicitor roles and jobs saw fees reduced by 8.75 per cent on 1st July, which is the same percentage solicitors’ fees were cut by in 2014.
Legal aid helps people who are unable to pay for legal advice, but the government recently revealed that they are aiming to reduce the £1.7 billion they pay for legal aid by reducing solicitors’ fees.
One protesting solicitor, Zoe Gascoyne, told the BBC that the move is not about wealthy lawyers refusing to help those who are dependent on legal aid, stating that, “Newly-qualified solicitors with seven years' training can earn £22,000 a year for the first five years. Anyone who comes into the law for money wouldn't go anywhere near criminal law.
“We're grassroots, this is our work. We can't do it if our businesses are being threatened.”
The news that law firms in London, Durham, Merseyside, Manchester and Newcastle are refusing to accept work funded by legal aid follows on from the news that lawyers in Northern Ireland refused legal aid work in May this year.