No5 Chambers practice director Tony McDaid has commented following the proposed changes to legal aid and the resulting protest by nearly 100 barristers outside Birmingham Crown Court.
The government plans to cut £220m from the legal aid annual budget by 2018–19, which barristers believe will destroy the criminal justice legal system.
McDaid said: ‘What they are doing is taking the profession back to Dickensian times. It means there will be lack of quality and there just won’t be the representation people have come to expect… They run the risk of completely wrecking a system that has served the people well and something has to be done to stop this.’
Michael Duck QC of No5 Chambers said that the most serious worry was the long-term damage being done to the criminal justice system due to the lack of recruits to the Criminal Bar. He said: ‘The simple question is: where is the next high-quality judiciary going to come from?’