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Complainant Name:
Glasgow Bar Association

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Sunday Mail

Complaint:

The Glasgow Bar Association complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper incorrectly stated that Scottish lawyers "have opposed Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's attempt to reduce Legal Aid costs". As far as the organisation was aware, neither the Law Society of Scotland nor any other solicitor representative body, including the Glasgow Bar Association, indicated that they were opposed to the reduction of Legal Aid costs. While there had been some opposition to the manner in which these costs were to be achieved, the statement made was incorrect and objectionable.

Resolution:

The newspaper said that the statement could be interpreted as the lawyers opposing the attempts of Mr MacAskill to achieve this aim - namely, the manner in which he was going about reducing legal aid costs. The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following letter from the Glasgow Bar Association:

Scottish lawyers have been in dispute with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Legal Aid Board over aspects of the Police Station Duty Rota and its operation. Legislation was introduced which required the Scottish Legal Aid Board to set up this Scheme for the purpose of ensuring a provision of legal advice to anyone detained by the police as a suspect in a crime.

Solicitors throughout Scotland had concerns over certain aspects of the initial proposals. Solicitors were not opposing the Government's proposed budget cuts but were simply raising concerns over proposals as to how this new Scheme would operate.

After the Scottish Bar and the Law Society of Scotland presented a united position to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice It now seems that improvements to the Scheme have been agreed with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice which will, to a large degree, remove some of the significant obstacles that were in place.

Yours sincerely

KENNETH J WADDELL
PRESIDENT, GLASGOW BAR ASSOCIATION

Date Published: 17/10/2011



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