TV lawyer Maxine Peake joins barristers’ protest

British actress Maxine Peake joined thousands of attorneys at a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Friday (07Mar14) to protest against cuts to legal aid. The star, who has played a barrister in U.K. legal drama Silk since 2011, waved a placard at the event along with real life lawyers who turned out wearing their traditional robes and wigs.
The protest was organised to voice opposition to government plans to cut lawyers’ fees in a bid to reduce state subsidies for those unable to pay for their own defence.
Peake says of the protest, which also involved mass walkouts at courts across the U.K., “We can’t allow justice to become a luxury available only to the rich. We have to send a message to this Government that we will no longer stand for their ferocious bullying of the poor.”
Blur drummer Dave Rowntree, who is also a trained solicitor, joined the protest and gave a speech to demonstrators, telling the crowd, “It’s the foundation for the principle of equality under the law that we have taken for granted for generations in the U.K. Now (the government) plans to scrap it, and create a two-tier justice system – justice for the rich, McJustice for the poor. It’s a shame it’s had to come to this – lawyers having to protest rather than go to court to defend their clients.”