The Ministry of Justice does not believe an online criminal legal aid portal has been hacked after solicitors reported problems accessing it.
Greg Foxsmith, president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, said on Twitter yesterday that the ministry’s duty solicitor call centre (DSCC) website was the subject of a cyberattack and would remain down ‘while further investigations take place’.
The ministry confirmed that it was ‘aware of a problem’ with the DSCC online system but ‘we are not at this stage linking this to a cyberattack’.
The DSCC provides 24-hour access to criminal legal advice for people detained by or scheduled to be interviewed by the police.
The MoJ said there had been ‘no disruption’ to the deployment of duty solicitors to police stations as a result of the problem. The DSCC online system was affected, not the case-handling system that holds case information.
The online system houses management information for providers to access their acceptance rates and update their contact details for deployment, which the ministry said could be done over the phone.
The ministry said this afternoon that the website was taken down on Monday morning.
A spokesperson for the ministry said: ’The DSCC online system has been available as usual since yesterday afternoon following a system outage earlier in the week.
’There was no disruption to the criminal justice system and duty solicitors continued to be deployed to police stations as normal.’