Members and Associate Members at Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, as an act of solidarity with colleagues across the Bar of England and Wales, have resolved not to undertake any new publically funded work as of 1 April 2018.
Further, it will operate a ‘no-returns’ policy to commence on the same date.
The English legal system was and still remains the envy of much of the world. It is built on pillars of justice, equality and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Members of the Bar of England and Wales stand firmly for these principles and their role is essential to the protection of those persons most at risk. However, having been continually and consistently degraded over the years, in particular, legal aid fees being cut by over 30% since 2007, it is now in danger of complete collapse.
On 1 April 2018, the Ministry of Justice is due to implement the new ‘Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme’ which will bring about a further overall cut in fees.
As a consequence, there is a very real risk to the future of the publically funded Criminal Bar and a grave risk to access to justice for those persons not able to fund their own defence. This seriously impacts on the right to a fair trial and undermines the rule of law.
At present, Guernica 37 only undertakes a minimal amount of publically funded Criminal work, given its niche specialisation and emphasis on international work. However, it is the view of Chambers that cohesion amongst the profession is essential on this vitally important issue.
It is for this reason, that Guernica 37 seeks to show its support to its colleagues by fully implementing this new policy.
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