Labour says breakdown of trust between government and legal profession has been 'brewing' for years

23 August 2022, 09:59

Labour MP urged Government to sort out justice system

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour MP John Healey has said a breakdown of trust between the legal profession and the Government has been "brewing over a decade".

The comments come after criminal barristers in England and Wales voted in favour of an all-out strike in a row with the Government over jobs and pay.

Members of the Criminal Bar Association, who have been stopping work on alternate weeks since June, voted for an uninterrupted strike that would start on 5 September.

Justice Minister Sarah Dines said: “This is an irresponsible decision that will only see more victims face further delays and distress."

Mr Healey told LBC's Tom Swarbrick: "This is a government that has closed half the courts in England and Wales, the backlog of cases has gone up, the legal aid has been cut. None of these barristers go into public legal aid work to be fat cat lawyers and they need a fair settlement.

"Victims are being let down and justice is not being served."

When asked whether it is "unfair" to create a link between rising violent crime and the criminal barristers' strike, Mr Healey said: "If we'd have had a Labour government and Keir Starmer as prime minister instead of having a justice secretary that seems to be fanning the divisions and talking up the strikes, we would be doing the responsible job within government, which is to bring people around the table, trying to resolve the dispute.

"So, you get a fair settlement for the barristers and you get a long-term plan to sort out the problems in the justice system."

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