Solicitors to stage industrial action over legal aid cuts

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson
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Criminal solicitor firms in Bury St Edmunds have decided, unanimously, to stage a two-day walk-out in support of national ‘strikes’ over Government cuts to the Legal aid budget.

The seven firms – ACT, Burnett Barker, Dale & Dunphy, Mark Thompson, McCarthy Stewart & Booty, Oslers and Whatley Lane – will undertake two ‘training days’ as part of industrial action, which will see courts across England and Wales severely disrupted on Monday and Tuesday.

Group spokesman, defence solicitor Mark Thompson, said the cuts put firms at a ‘real risk of going bust,’ with legal aid representing about 80 per cent of his income.

He said: “We’re concerned for ourselves, of course, and our staff, but we’re also concerned about the impact on legal aid as a whole because who are people going to go to?”

The solicitors will also be ‘working to rule’ from Wednesday and as ‘the ultimate weapon’ say they will consider refusing to work at legal aid rates.

Fees are being reduced by 17.5 per cent over a year, with the first half cut last week.