Lawyers fiercely opposed to Chris Grayling’s legal aid reforms could bring the court system to a halt on what they are calling Grayling Day.
Epsom’s MP unveiled his final package of legal aid reform last week, in his capacity as Secretary of State for Justice. The reforms include proposals that would see prisoners’ access to legal aid limited and a reduction in fees paid by the taxpayers to criminal solicitors and barriers for advocacy.
"Grayling Day" on Friday is being billed as a "demo to save legal aid" with a large demonstration expected outside Parliament.
On its website, the Justice Alliance - a group of legal organisations, charities, community groups, grassroots and other campaigning groups, trade unions and individuals - which formed in response to the reforms, states: "The Justice Alliance has called a demonstration against the sell-off of legal aid.
"The Justice Alliance has managed to bring together a significant section of lawyers, legal workers and barristers and have consistently spoken out against Grayling’s attacks on Legal Aid, so it’s well worth getting behind.
"’To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice’ - Magna Carta, 1215."
Other organisations supporting the demonstration are the Criminal Bar Association, the Criminal Law Solicitors Association and the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association.
The nationwide protest is expected to bring the court system to a halt.
But London’s Crown Prosecution Service has written to barristers warning them that they may lose future state prosecution work if they choose to demonstrate.
The demonstration will take place on Friday, March 7, at 10am, outside Parliament at the Old Palace Yard in Westminster. This will be followed by a march to the Ministry of Justice.
Speakers on the day will include Paddy Hill, a member of the Birmingham Six; Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty; and Ian Lawrence of the National Association of Probation Officers.