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Thursday 12 December 2019

FDA calls for cross-party commitment to the Manifesto for Justice

Mark Thomas

The Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Justice Minister have all signed up to the FDA’s four-point plan to save the Criminal Justice System.

At the call of the election, FDA National Officer Steven Littlewood – who represents members working in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – called on the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties to back the Manifesto for Justice.

The Manifesto, created by the FDA and endorsed by the Bar Council, Law Society and Secret Barrister, demands a properly funded CPS; investment in digital disclosure; a halt to legal aid cuts and competitive pay and fees to recruit and retain lawyers for a “sustainable Criminal Justice System”.

Littlewood wrote to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti, and Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Phillip Lee. Chakrabarti, alongside John McDonnell and Richard Burgon, pledged Labour’s support for the FDA campaign.
Responding to these politicians’ endorsement, Littlewood said it was “great to have their backing”, but that “we are now waiting for Conservatives and Lib Dems to make the same commitment”.

Writing for the Law Society Gazette earlier this week, Littlewood explained the need for cross-party support. A commitment to give the Criminal Justice System the resources it needs, he argued, should be a “bipartisan principle”.

“As the union for independent and impartial prosecutors,” he wrote, “we do not give policy prescriptions or make partisan comment. We are not party-affiliated. But we will not accept band-aid solutions to problems caused by deep budget cuts.

“It is not too late,” Littlewood continued. “I say to attorney general Geoffrey Cox and Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Phillip Lee, if you are reading this, please give us a call. We would still very much like to talk.”

You can read the full column on the Law Society Gazette website.

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