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Legal Aid Cuts Close Human Rights Chambers

Legal Aid Cuts Close Human Rights Chambers

The human rights barristers’ chambers which represented the Birmingham Six and the family of Stephen Lawrence – a young man murdered by racists in London – has become the latest victim of the Government’s cuts to legal aid. Tooks Chambers in London said it is being forced to close as “a direct result of government policies on legal aid”.

Legal Aid Cuts ‘Threatening Rule of Law’

The policies, led by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, are “cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law”, the chambers said. The Tooks barristers, led by Michael Mansfield QC, are known for their involvement in high-profile and controversial cases such as the Bloody Sunday inquiry, Hillsborough, the killing of electrician Jean Charles de Menezes and the Diana inquests. Chambers operations will come to halt on October 11 and will be formally dissolved on December 27. The barristers will, however, continue to practise as before.

A statement on the Tooks Chambers website reads: “It is with great regret that Tooks Chambers has decided to begin the process of dissolution. “The dissolution of chambers is the direct result of government policies on legal aid. “The public service we provide is dependent on public funding. Ninety per cent of our work is publicly funded.” Mr Mansfield and the other barristers are now investigating a new way to support publicly funded lawyers who are “committed to continuing the struggle for social justice”. The £220 million-worth of cuts to legal aid include a provision to end funding for any defendant with an annual disposable income of at least £37,500. People in prison will also find their rights to legal aid reduced.