Falkirk lawyers to boycott court

Local layers will attend Falkirk but not Edinburgh's new appeal court.
Local layers will attend Falkirk but not Edinburgh's new appeal court.

Falkirk solicitors are boycotting Edinburgh’s new Sheriff Appeal Court in a protest over the low level of legal aid rates.

Lawyers say the rates offered for the new court are so low it means solicitors from outside Edinburgh agreeing to appear in the Sheriff Appeal Court will actually suffer financial losses as a result.

Falkirk and District Faculty of Solicitors has decided its members will not be attending the court, claiming they simply cannot afford to subsidise its operation.

In an open later to Scottish justice minister Michael Matheson, Falkirk solicitor William McIntyre stated many more people require legal aid in order to go through the appeals process, but the proposed rates of pay for solicitors have not been increased since 1992.

He added: “Unfortunately, none of my overheads have remained frozen in time and I have been unable to find a local supermarket that will sell me goods at 1992 prices.

“Under the new Sheriff Appeals Court arrangement, those judges presiding at hearings, the other court officials, police officers and lawyers for the prosecution will receive 2015 rates of pay.

“Only those foolish enough to stand up for the appellant will be on rates that have only gone down since 1992.”