Bar strike: More solicitors could be granted advocacy rights

I try not to be political in my posts. I just endeavour to be honest in my opinions and to provide information which I believe will be of use to my clients and potential clients. But really, I felt compelled to comment on an article that appeared on the Law Gazette website yesterday, entitled “Bar strike: More solicitors could be granted advocacy rights.”

I do not undertake criminal work as it is extremely difficult, in Legal Costs, to make a living from it. Evidently, with the ongoing strike action, the same is true for our criminal barrister colleagues. So rather than take their complaints seriously and address all the issues as a whole rather than just some of them, the government instead suggests solicitors should be allowed advocacy rights and have a share of this this under-funded work.

Do not get me wrong, I am not taking issue with solicitors being allowed rights of audience, that is something for others to argue about if they wish. But if barristers are effectively being paid less than minimum wage for this work, will the same not be true for solicitors, and will they want to undertake the work currently done by barristers on that basis? Perhaps not.

As to the “Crown Defence Service” proposed by former Justice Minister James Cartlidge, I wonder what the views of the profession are in relation to that. And what would be the costs implications?

I am not an expert in criminal law. I know only what I have heard and read from general news media and the legal press in relation to the criminal barristers’ dispute. So, if I have misunderstood the situation as it stands, please forgive me, and feel free to let me know.”

Here is a link to the article on the Law Society Gazette website: Bar strike: More solicitors could be granted advocacy rights

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