McCartney calls for renewed discussions to resolve Legal Aid dispute
Justice Committee vice-Chair, Raymond McCartney MLA (Sinn Féin, Foyle) has called on Justice Minister, David Ford to enter into fresh discussions with the Law Society and the Bar Council in an effort to resolve the ongoing dispute over Legal Aid fees.
Raymond McCartney said:
"I would urge the Minister, the Law Society and the Bar Council to enter into fresh discussions with a determination to resolve the outstanding difficulties which is having a devastating effect on the administration of justice.
"The ongoing impasse is unacceptable from the situation in which citizens who find themselves before the courts are being subjected to. A basic tenet of democracy is the entitlement of citizens to proper and affordable legal representation when facing a court of law.
"I do not believe that a continuation of the present dispute between the Department of Justice and those Solicitors and Barristers tasked with representing citizens interests is conducive with the right of the individual to legal representation.
"I believe that it is incumbent on the Minister to ensure that the right of citizens to legal representation is protected and guaranteed. In that spirit I urge the Minister to enter into renewed discussions with the Law Society and Bar Council as a matter of urgency.