GCN supports CBA days of action
21 June 2022
Every member of the Garden Court North Chambers crime team fully endorses the result of the Criminal Bar Association ballot announced earlier this week. We will be participating in the forthcoming days of action and implementing the associated measures. We do so because our criminal justice system is failing and its future is in serious jeopardy.
We believe that all members of the public are entitled to be served and protected by a fair, efficient criminal justice system, but our system is collapsing as a result of years of cuts and inadequate investment. The facts speak for themselves and here are just a few of them:
- Barristers specialising in criminal legal aid work have suffered a decrease in their real income of 28% since 2006.
- Junior barristers now starting their careers in criminal legal aid work achieve a median income of £12,200 – this is below the minimum wage. From this income they must pay for court clothing, professional certificates, insurances and other overheads without which they cannot work at all;
- Developments intended to improve the efficiency of the system over the past seven years or so have considerably increased our workloads, demanding additional work for which we receive no additional payment at all.
- Nearly 40% of junior barristers have ceased to practice in criminal law within the past year as a direct result of financial difficulties;
- There are already too few barristers at all levels. The mass exodus of criminal legal aid practitioners meant that last year 567 trials had to be adjourned, not because of the pandemic but because there were not enough barristers to conduct them. This delays to these 567 trials impacted upon thousands of members of the public who were involved in those cases.
The continuing loss of criminal practitioners will have an increasingly catastrophic impact upon the future of our criminal justice system and the damage will very soon be irreparable.
That is why we are fighting for the future of the system, and of our present and future colleagues, by taking action now.