Lawyers should strike to stop the government ‘decimating’ legal aid, according to the country’s leading human rights barrister.
Michael Mansfield QC is calling on the legal profession to stand up to the government to protect legal aid, otherwise the public ‘is going to suffer’.
Mansfield said: ‘I have been advocating they should take some action, collective action whether it’s going on strike or some other form of collective action.
‘If the lawyers don’t stand up now they [the government] will decimate legal welfare completely and it just won’t exist and I think some lawyers are really on the brink.
‘A piece of advice for Grayling is; if you’re the Ministry of Justice how about delivering some.’
Earlier this month, Mansfield announced that Tooks – the chambers he had created – was to close.
The QC claims that due to the advent of cuts to legal aid he had to ‘reorganise, reconfigure and think again’.
His response was to launch a new low-cost Mansfield Chambers this week.
The new chambers will be dramatically different – down-sizing from 70 people in one big building to ‘maybe one or two rooms, with one or two staff’.
‘If we are going to survive as barristers doing publicly funded work we have to have a new model,’ he said.