The Criminal Bar should end its ‘senseless and misguided strike’ over legal aid funding, the chief executive of a West Midlands law firm has claimed – as lawyers vote on whether to whether or not to go on full strike.
In a press release sent to editors yesterday, Vienna Kang said she was forced to hire an in-house lawyer due to the strike, which began on June 27.
“The firm currently has two offices, but to coincide with the start of the new legal aid contract on October 1, 2022 and demonstrate its continued commitment to criminal legal aid, it will be opening several more offices across the country more later this year,” the press release said. .
Iqbal Singh Kang, senior counsel and managing director, said the continuation of the strike at a time of change of government and uncertainty was “senseless and wrong”. Cases in the Crown Courts are repeatedly adjourned with no end in sight and the continued uncertainty of adjournments and adjournments ’cause considerable anxiety and distress’ to complainants, defendants and witnesses.
“We have experienced a significant deterioration in the mental and psychiatric health of defendants following continued adjournments due to lack of representation by counsel in Crown Court.”
As well as calling for an end to the action, Kang urged the Criminal Bar Association to enter into new negotiations with the government once the new leader is elected. “Trying to negotiate with the government now is like trying to negotiate with a dead man,” he said.
Senior Solicitor Martin Smith said the firm was initially in favor of the Criminal Bar taking industrial action “but now that there had been talk of an all-out strike, the time had come to hire a lawyer to s ensure that clients are fully represented in the house avoiding the need to refer cases to the independent bar.
“While there seem to be lawyers at the independent bar who are unperturbed by the prospect of unrepresented defendants in the criminal justice system, we are taking steps to protect the interests of our clients by ensuring that they are properly represented in court,” he said. added.
Lawyers are currently up for a vote on whether to go on an ‘uninterrupted’ strike on September 5 – when the new prime minister is expected to be in office. The CBA ballot ends on Sunday and the result will be announced the following day.
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