Deans Court Chambers Criminal Team continues to strongly support our solicitor colleagues in relation to their ongoing dispute over cuts to Legal Aid fees and in particular the 8.75% cut in fees for cases with Representation Orders dated on or after 1 July 2015.
A number of barristers’ chambers on the Northern Circuit have recently issued statements setting out their position regarding action in support of the solicitors’ dispute. Deans Court Chambers has previously refrained from issuing any such statement in anticipation of the result of the Criminal Bar Association ballot on 14 July 2015, and in accordance with local informal agreements to that effect. However, due to the release of statements from other chambers we can confirm that no member of the Criminal Team has accepted instructions with a Representation Order dated on or after 1 July 2015 and have turned away such work, including Category A cases. Deans Court Chambers will continue to decline to accept such instructions and will review the position when the results of the CBA ballot are released later this month. Further, Deans Court Chambers has adopted a “No Returns” policy, which will also remain in place until the ballot results are announced.
We adopt this stance with great reluctance bearing in mind our longstanding commitment to public service generally and Legal Aid work particularly. However, we understand the potentially devastating effects to the current round of cuts in funding on solicitors and the provision of legal representation of those most in need, and therefore, take this action as we feel it is necessary to do so.