Criminal barristers vote to suspend action

10 October 2022

Criminal barristers will be accepting new and returned cases and attending court from Tuesday 11th October 2022.

In the light of a revised offer from the Government, barristers have voted to suspend – not end – their recent protest action. The result of the ballot of Criminal Bar Association members was 57.1% in favour of suspension with 42.9% voting against. Although suspending the action, this result clearly reflects serious ongoing concerns within the profession about the chronic underfunding of the criminal justice system.  

GCN’s crime team stress that the offer has not been accepted as a final settlement in this dispute but as a first step to rectify this underfunding. Barristers intend to continue to engage in positive discussions with the Ministry of Justice. However, responsibility for preserving and strengthening the criminal justice system lies with the Government and the ballot result reflects the fact that any failure on their part to fully implement the offer and negotiate with practitioners to ensure proper future investment in the CJS will lead to a ballot to lift this suspension of action. 

GCN’s criminal barristers give heartfelt thanks to all criminal defence solicitors for their ongoing support over these past difficult months. We are only too aware of the additional pressures that they have faced and of the continuing financial hardship facing so many firms committed to publicly funded defence work. We are determined that ongoing discussions with the MoJ will also actively improve the financial viability of our solicitor colleagues. We are determined that ongoing discussions with the MoJ will also actively improve the financial viability of our solicitor colleagues ​who, as stressed by the Law Society today,  have worked tirelessly for justice despite 25 years without a pay rise and are reaching the point where they see “no viable future in criminal legal aid work” 

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