Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 12:19 UK

Lawyers plan to challenge reforms

Glasgow Sheriff Court
The Glasgow Bar Association represents lawyers at the sheriff court

Solicitors working in Scotland's busiest court plan to challenge new legal aid regulations, claiming they breach human rights.

The summary justice reforms mean lawyers will no longer receive fees for advice given to clients held by police.

The Glasgow Bar Association, which represents solicitors at the city's sheriff court, have warned many cases could be delayed or thrown out.

The Scottish Government said the new rules were not designed to cut costs.

Reforms necessary

The Glasgow Bar Association said the reforms would mean consultations with clients no longer taking place.

They claim this would deny accused people the right to prompt legal assistance at a time when they were in greatest need.

The organisation said it planned to challenge proceedings on the grounds that they contravene the right to a fair trial, according to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

They have warned similar action could take place in courts across the country.

A government spokesman said: "While we have, and will continue to engage constructively with the profession, the reforms which will be brought into effect are necessary and inevitable.

"They are driven by the clear need to improve summary justice, not cut costs, and are a fundamental part of the wider justice reforms which parliament unanimously supported."




SEE ALSO
New plans for legal aid announced
08 Apr 08 |  Scotland
Top lawyers attack legal review
31 Mar 08 |  Scotland
Ministers propose court reforms
31 Jan 08 |  Scotland

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