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Protecting victims during the strike

Solicitors must achieve a balance between protecting against legal aid reforms and providing a voice for the most vulnerable within society, says Jamie-Lee Mooney

7 July 2015

While the government has argued that the UK has one of the world’s most expensive legal systems, proposals for even more reductions to public funding for legal aid could make criminal work unviable and would leave the most vulnerable in society ‘out-priced’.

A widespread concern is that the unofficial industrial action (see pages 10 and 11) could see the criminal justice system (CJS) cease to function, presumably with cases having to be relisted. Despite reports that striking lawyers will put safeguards in place to ensure their action does not disrupt the most sensitive cases, questions are raised about how likely these safeguards will be to provide a continual level of support and protection for the vulnerable individuals involved.

Victims of sexual offences could be left in a very difficult situation, which will not only increase their vulnerability while awaiting their chance to give evidence, but could also damage thei...

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