The attorney general’s office has confirmed that Dominic Grieve QC has appointed an amicus curiae to assist the court on legal argument expected to be made on behalf of defendants facing trial without representation.
The appointment of the ‘advocate to the court’ follows a request made by the Crown court judge dealing with the case.
A spokeswoman for Grieve (pictured) explained: ‘The advocate is not instructed by the attorney general, but is there to provide legal advice and analysis to the court.'
In this case, she said, the advocate has been asked to assist the court in determining whether as a matter of law an unrepresented defendant could receive a fair trial.
‘The advocate will not be engaging in any matter that will form part of the trial in due course, they will only be advising on this preliminary legal issue,’ she said.
Barristers in some of the most complex cases have refused to undertake legal aid work following 30% cuts in fees last December as part of the government’s legal aid budget cuts.
Today, barristers and solicitors across the country will stage an all-day protest in opposition to the cuts. They will not attend court, but will attend demonstrations, marches and training days.