Court walk-outs cancelled as deal is struck over legal aid

Bob Higgins arriving at Southampton Magistrates' Court  Picture: Habibur Rahman/Solent News  � Solent News & Photo Agency UK

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PLANNED industrial action by solicitors and barristers over changes to legal aid has been called off after a deal was struck with the government.

A deal to delay proposed fee cuts until after next year’s general election has been made. Legal representatives in Portsmouth, Winchester and Fareham had planned another series of walk-outs in the coming weeks.

Fee cuts of an average 6 per cent, which were due to affect the Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme and would have had the biggest impact on junior barristers, will now be put back to summer 2015, the Ministry of Justice said.

MoJ officials said this would align with a second scheduled fee reduction for solicitors.

Probation officers will continue to take industrial action on March 31.

Tina Williams, co-chair of Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch of Napo, the union that represents probation officers, said a strike will take place at the end of the month because: ‘Probation staff and the probation union believe that the true motivation behind privatisation is to drive down costs and an ideological commitment on the part of the government to the private sector being the preferred provider as opposed to state-run services.’