The Crime Team at Garden Court Chambers has announced today that we will not be attending any criminal court on the morning of Monday 6 January 2014 in protest against attacks by the Ministry of Justice on legal aid and access to justice. Each member of our Crime Team has made an individual decision to take part in the day of action and to show solidarity with other members of the Bar and solicitors who are taking part, including those on other circuits.
Many of us will be attending the protest called by Justice Alliance outside Westminster Magistrates' Court at 9:30 on 6 January 2014. It will be attended by large numbers of legal aid solicitors, other members of the legal profession and probation officers. We will also be present at demonstrations later in the morning outside key court centres on the South Eastern Circuit, including the Central Criminal Court and Southwark Crown Court.
We applaud the efforts made by the Criminal Bar Association, the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association and the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association in encouraging the unprecedented levels of unity between the Bar and the solicitors' profession. We are united in our opposition to a government who appear to be willing to stop at nothing to destroy both the justice system in this country and the Independent Criminal Bar via a series of cuts and privatisations. We also support probation officers and the National Association of Probation Officers who are fighting against disgraceful plans to sell off the probation service to large corporate profit-making organisations. The risks this could create for defendants and for the general public are of great concern. We also stand side by side with court administrative staff and court interpreters who have also seen their vital roles undermined by staff cuts and an ineffective privatisation agenda.