Lawyers to take industrial action

It is unclear at this stage if Motherwell Justice of the Peace Court will be affected by the industrial action.
It is unclear at this stage if Motherwell Justice of the Peace Court will be affected by the industrial action.

COURTS in Hamilton and Motherwell could be disrupted after solicitors pledged industrial action over changes to the legal aid system.

It’s not yet clear whether strikes will hit Hamilton Sheriff Court and Motherwell Justice of the Peace Court after an emergency meeting of Hamilton Society of Solicitors.

Paul Santoni, dean of the society, said the type of industrial action to be taken has not yet been decided.

Solicitors throughout the country have expressed anger at the Scottish Government’s proposals to make more accused persons pay towards their legal costs and for solicitors to collect contributions from clients on behalf of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

Mr Santoni said: “Our members share the concerns expressed about the proposals, in particular with regard to diluting access to justice and competent legal representation.

“Additionally, the proposals appear to be a thinly-disguised cut in income for solicitors.

“Despite public perception solicitors have required to bear the brunt of regulation costs and cuts which have not been passed on to the public.

“At our emergency meeting the members unanimously voted for industrial action against the proposals.

“The exact form, type and date of any action has still to be decided and will not be notified in advance.

“The society hopes that the Government will rapidly reconsider its proposals and take heed of the concerns expressed.”