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Hundreds of criminal solicitors are expected to gather in Birmingham today (Thursday 30 November) to discuss going on strike next week in protest at the government’s legal aid reforms.
The meeting has been organised by a new independent lobbying coalition, the Criminal Defence Action Group, which is led by Roger Peach of Southampton firm Peach Grey & Co.
The group expects solicitors from around the country to converge on the National Exhibition Centre this afternoon to discuss the form and timing of strike action planned for Monday and Tuesday next week (4 and 5 December).
The meeting will also discuss how to persuade the Law Society to change its policy with regard to Lord Carter’s legal aid reforms and come out in opposition of proposals for competitive price tendering.
Yesterday the society issued a statement concerning means testing for criminal legal aid in magistrates’ courts, which attempted to prevent solicitors from taking strike action.
In the statement, Peter Williamson, chair of the Law Society Regulation Board, said: “We are concerned that these proposed actions might deny clients access to justice and impede the courts system. In certain circumstances, solicitors could be in breach of their fundamental duties. Solicitors have the right to make their views on this important issue known, but we urge them to identify ways of making their arguments that would not damage the interests of their clients and the administration of justice.”