Speculation is growing that the controversial criminal courts charge, levied on all those convicted in the criminal courts regardless of their means, could be scrapped. Peers voted against the charge by 132 to 100, defeating the government in a debate last month and more than 50 magistrates have resigned rather than impose the charge on inpecunious defendants. Partner at London firm Kingsley Napley, Stephen Parkinson, started a petition against it and hopes to get 100,000 signatures to secure a parliamentary debate.