More than 1,000 lawyers took to the streets of Madrid to protest the government’s new justice law.
Dressed in their traditional black togas the procession of lawyers was led by the senior members of the official college of law and representatives from all 83 colleges of law. The march went from the Madrid law college and stopped traffic on Cibeles square for half an hour.
When the protest was over Carlos Carnicer, head of the general assembly of lawyers, commented that they had taken this action in order to bring attention to the matter of a lawyer’s right to defend a client even if they cannot pay.
The lawyers associations claim that the new law endangers the 42,500 public defenders that currently defend those who cannot afford a private lawyer. The government has cut the budget for these ‘free’ defences by €42 million in the last four years and without the government aid the lawyers cannot afford to defend the impoverished out of their own pockets.
Carnicer pointed out that this defence was the job of the government and not up to each individual lawyer. He went on to underscore the fact that if the law goes through the only people affected will be the poor – they will have to face huge debt in order to defend themselves.
Carnicer ended his impromptu speech by stating that the colleges of lawyers would pursue this matter to the ends of the earth and would not rest until the system was reinstated and that a free, quality defence was everybody’s right in a free world.