Protocol for the 31st March and 1st April for courts and police stations.

Protocol for the 31st March and 1st April for courts and police stations.

The CLSA is aware that members of the profession intend to attend a series of meetings across the country over the above two dates to consider their future and attend training. The CLSA, LCCSA LAPG and all the major practitioner groups, and with the Bar’s support, are dismayed by the MOJ’s refusal to budge on the level of cuts, despite clear evidence of dramatic reductions in expenditure.

The profession is also dismayed by the MOJ’s betrayal of their promise to make only changes to remuneration which are evidence based and yet have ignored 18,000 responses to the consultations and the 2 reports from Otterburn and KPMG which quite clearly reveal the Government proposal are unworkable.

It is a matter of general outrage throughout the profession that the reports were not released prior to the MOJ’s decision to proceed thus denying the profession the opportunity to make representations in respect thereof pointing out that the contents of the reports were unworkable nationally and locally. Part of the purpose of the training on these two days is to consider fully how the profession would be affected by this reckless and unreasonable behaviour of the Government and in so taking part in such essential training record our frustration at being denied the opportunity to make further representations as individuals and through our practitioner groups such as the CLSA, LCCSA LAPG and all the major practitioner groups.

It is of course a matter for each individual solicitor to decide whether he or she wishes to attend Court and police stations on these days.

Below we set out a non-binding protocol. This will not involve any breach of contract as the CLSA would never advise that and it would also be unfair to expect any individual or firm to carry such a weight and risk not shared by the rest of the local profession. There may be others who take a different view following a recent vote but we feel the following protocol will be as effective without imposing too heavy a responsibility and burden upon a colleague unfortunate enough to be on rota on these two days.


1. Those who decide not to attend Courts or police stations on the morning of the 31st March and 1st April 2014 should give notice of their unavailability to the Court and the DSCC.

2. If you are already engaged in a case that is listed for that day but do not wish to attend you should: –

• Write to your client (making it clear that the obligation on the client to attend court is unaffected)

• Ensure that you notify the Court that you are not attending court that day.

3. You should do this immediately so that the Court is given the maximum period of notice.

4. If you do not have a trial fixture that day, and intend not to attend Court, then you may want to inform the local Court that you will be unavailable that day. You may wish to avoid listing or adjourning hearings to the 31st March and 1st April 2014.

5. Some cases that day may be particularly sensitive and simply cannot be moved. These though will be rare. If you are in a case involving the young or vulnerable and the Court will not accommodate the case being moved then you should instruct the duty solicitor to act as your agent [under 2010 Duty Solicitor Regulations from the 2010 Standard Crime

Contract – Specification (see below).]

The 2010 Duty Solicitor Regulations from the 2010 Standard Crime Contract – Specification
Client’s right to instruct another Solicitor
6.56 You must ensure that all staff undertaking Police Station Duty Solicitor work carry an identification card as specified by us for production when attending Police Stations.6.57 In all matters, a Duty Solicitor must inform every Client that he or she is not obliged to instruct the Duty Solicitor.
6.58 If a Client wishes another Solicitor to act, the Duty Solicitor must not act unless the named Solicitor is not available and the Client asks the Duty Solicitor to act on that occasion.
6.59 If a Duty Solicitor does not continue to act for a Client, he or she must make available to any Solicitor subsequently instructed any relevant information or papers
6.60 Subject to Paragraph 6.62 below, a Duty Solicitor (including a Virtual Court Duty Solicitor) must not act for a Client who has his Own Solicitor unless
(a) the court session takes place on a non-Business Day; or
(b) the Client is unable to secure his Own Solicitor’s attendance; or
(c) the court is unable to determine whether the Client has his Own Solicitor (because no Representation Order has been granted to that Client).

6.61 If a court Duty Solicitor represents a Client in the circumstances mentioned in Paragraph 6.60 above, he must take all reasonable steps to notify the Client’s Own Solicitor as soon as possible after the hearing.

We anticipate this will be a slow process. It will be anticipated that the court DS will take a lunch and refreshment breaks to avoid exhaustion.

6. There is a pro forma letter on the CLSA web site which you may wish to use to send to your local Magistrates Court.

7. So far as police stations are concerned the police station duty solicitor will act in all cases as agent on terms to be agreed. It is anticipated that all other duty solicitors in the firm will be training and thus unavailable. The training will extend to police station individual agency staff and free-lance representatives. We anticipate that no other duty solicitors will able to accept panel or back up calls due to the intensive training on those days. We do not anticipate that the police station duty solicitor will be anything other than greatly overworked. It will be necessary for the Police station Duty Solicitor to take a lunch break and refreshment breaks to avoid exhaustion.

8. For ‘call out’ non rota court schemes we do not imagine any duty solicitor will be available on those days so pressing is the need for training.

9. Where there operates a Virtual Court system we anticipate that the VC rota solicitor will be unavailable. This is non-contractual voluntary scheme.

10. For the Crown Court the court should be told that you are unable to find an advocate and you will find a pro forma letter on the CLSA web site

We shall confirm meeting and training arrangements in due course.

Arrangements are in hand for mass meetings prior to training