Responding to the decision of 17 bar associations across Scotland to boycott custody courts on Monday, 17 May, the President of the Law Society of Scotland Amanda Millar said,

“The action being taken on Monday shows the widespread levels of anger and frustration throughout the criminal bar.

“Legal aid solicitors have felt disrespected and ignored by the Scottish Government for years. When Ministers announced a new £9 million legal aid support package last December in response to COVID, it was hoped this marked a change in attitude and a more positive approach. Yet five months on, most of the promised money remains in a Scottish Government bank account as legal aid solicitors sit wondering if their firms will survive the week.

“We warned government that its harsh and rigid criteria for support grants would mean money would not reach those who desperately need it. Regrettably, this is exactly what has happened. It is why so many solicitors now feel they have no choice but to act to make the government change course and amend the way firms can get financial support. Ministers need to listen and act fast.”