Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lawyers suspending case boycott after successful blackmail

Lawyers are about to suspend their boycott of cases in the legal aid dispute with the Scottish Executive - after some heavy arm twisting over forthcoming legislation .. along with of course, hopes of getting their pockets stuffed with more public money.

Read on for the article, from the Scotsman, at ;
Lawyers set to suspend boycott in legal aid dispute

A BOYCOTT by lawyers which threatens to cause chaos in Scottish courts looks set to be suspended for one month as talks continue to resolve a dispute over legal aid.

Scotland's biggest group of defence lawyers, the Glasgow Bar Association, will next week vote on whether to suspend a move to refuse to act in new sex crime cases, which was set to begin on 1 August.

Lawyers across the country were last night said to support the suspension, hours after a crunch meeting was held between Hugh Henry, the Deputy Justice Minister, and Law Society of Scotland officials in a bid to agree a pay rise for defence lawyers and avert the strike.

No extra money was offered on top of an existing 8 per cent offer for court work and 5 per cent for other work, which lawyers - who have not seen a significant rise in legal aid rates since 1992 - have dismissed as derisory.

Instead, Mr Henry said he would meet again with the Law Society only a few days before the strike deadline, which would allow him to talk with legal aid officials.

Vincent McGovern, of the Hamilton Bar Association, said he had proposed suspending the boycott so they could "see what the Executive comes up with".

"It would be irresponsible of us to ride roughshod when we haven't heard any new proposals from the Executive," he said. But he hit out at the delay in talks, suggesting Mr Henry was "playing politics". "It's ludicrous if he hasn't already been fully briefed on the situation," he said.

An Executive spokeswoman described the meeting as "constructive". "The minister will consider carefully arguments put forward by the Law Society for a higher interim increase," she said.

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