Many people will have heard that barristers are to begin strike action on the 5th of September, intending to continue indefinitely.
Because some action was already pencilled in, the reality is that many barristers will conduct no further defence work with effect from next week.
Not all barristers are participating in the action. Still, it is expected that the great majority will and that the walkout will continue unless and until the government presents an acceptable settlement to members of the Criminal Bar Association (“CBA”).
The CBA says incomes have fallen nearly 30% over the past two decades and specialist criminal barristers make an average annual income after expenses of £12,200 in the first three years of practice, driving 22% of junior criminal barristers to leave since 2016.
Barristers say they are being paid less than the minimum wage for court hearings when travel and hours spent preparing are factored in – and not at all when hearings are cancelled.
The Ministry of Justice has offered a 15% uplift in fees, which was the minimum increase recommended by the criminal legal aid review. The CBA said this was insufficient after swingeing cuts and would not apply to the backlog of 58,000 cases in crown courts.
This action can impact our clients with lengthier waits for hearings and the possibility that some will spend longer on remand, awaiting the outcome of their case.
Where appropriate, we will make further bail applications and resist any extension to custody time limits. We will also continue to progress cases as usual and per the court’s directions.
We will continue to update all clients as this action develops, and you can be assured that we will do all we can to minimise any disruption, although some inconvenience is inevitable.
If you are concerned about any aspect of your case, do not hesitate to contact the fee earner dealing with it.
How can we help?
We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact our team of criminal defence specialists on: 01376 511819