CLSA’s suggested protocol for day of action on the 7th March

The CLSA is aware that members of the profession intend to attend a series of meetings across the country on the morning of Friday 7th March 2014 to consider their future and attend training provided by The Law Society, and possibly others. 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, and angered by the deep insensitivity of the MOJ in adopting our proposals for utilising alternate income streams (Client and City Levies) not towards the relief of the legal aid budget but towards other areas of expenditure.
It is of course a matter for each individual solicitor to decide whether he or she wishes to attend Court on 7th March 2014. It is a whole day event.
Below we set out a non-binding protocol to ensure that there is minimum inconvenience to the Courts and to clients:
1. Those who decide not to attend Courts on the morning of the 7th March 2014 should give notice of their unavailability to the Court
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 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 7th March.
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 attend on the 7th March 2014.
6. There will of course be a Duty Solicitor in attendance at the morning Court who will be able to advise and assist those Defendants who are not already represented by their own solicitors. We anticipate this will be a slow process.
7. There will be a letter available shortly which you may wish to use as a pro forma letter to send to your local Court
We shall confirm meeting and training arrangements in due course.

Arrangements are in hand for a march and rally in London on the morning of the 7th , before training begins .

If you are arranging meetings or training that morning then please publicise this via the CLSA by e mailing admin@clsa.co.uk
Bill Waddington
Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association