For the second time this year, criminal courts across England and Wales emptied today as criminal barristers stage a full-day walkout in protest against the Government’s insistence on cuts to legal aid.
The decision to down files follows a half-day walkout in January. Since then, anger against the Government and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP has risen to boiling point.
The extent of the protests today is perhaps best seen on social media site Twitter, which is deluged with pictures of the walkout under the hashtag #Just4Justice. Barristers have Tweeted images of a giant puppet of Grayling as the march moved from the Houses of Parliament down to the Ministry of Justice.
The campaign gained extra attention when Maxine Peake, star of BBC1 drama Silk, turned up to wave a banner and mix with the real barristers.
Barristers have turned out across the country. Campaign group Save UK Justice has posted pictures of large groups from cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. All have the same aim in mind – to persuade Grayling that he must change his mind on the proposals, or risk serious erosion in access to justice.
The legal market is demanding an end to the cuts in the interest of justice. The question is, will Grayling and the MoJ listen?
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