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Published On: Fri, Oct 7th, 2016

Pro bono lawyers end strike after substantial payment

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Photo caption: On September 23, striking pro bono attorneys marched to the Ministry of Justice on Illidge Road, supported by several civil law attorneys. File photo Today / Milton Pieters

GREAT BAY – The strike of the pro bono lawyers ended yesterday, Cor Merx, chairman of the criminal justice section of the Bar Association announced. “Everyone who had outstanding claims has been more or less paid and that is good to hear. Those who have not been paid in full did indicate that the amount they received was substantial.”

Merx noted that the increased tariffs will be applied to the August invoices on the attorneys.

The strike began on September 5, when attorney Geert Hatzmann announced that he’d had enough of getting the runaround for the payment of his outstanding invoices. Within a week other pro bono lawyers joined the action.

State-appointed attorneys who defend clients who cannot afford to pay for legal counsel received 900 guilders per case and 75 guilders for attending interrogations and for the arraignment at the judge of instruction. The attorneys want the government to increase the tariff that has not been increased for almost 25 years (since 1993) to 1,800 guilders.

“While it is all still rather fragile, I am of the opinion that it is reasonable to end the strike today immediately.” Merx wrote in an email to all attorneys. He referred to the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity.

The attorneys remain “sympathetic” to the deficits in the budget of the prosecutor’s office. “We have pointed that out during our strike as well. Professionally we do not always agree with each other but when the need is greatest one gets to know one’s friends.”

Merx expressed gratitude for the loyalty of the attorneys and thanked the prosecutor’s office and the police. Furthermore he mentioned Judge Katja Mans and the Dean of the Bar Association, Aernout Kraaijeveld.




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