Vulnerable defendants, victims, witnesses and the wider public are being failed by the chronic underfunding of Criminal Justice. The Criminal Justice System continues to lurch from crisis to crisis. We are united in our opposition to a government who appear to be willing to stop at nothing to destroy both the justice system in this country and the independent Criminal Bar.
We wish to show solidarity with our friends and colleagues in other Chambers around the country who prosecute for the CPS and who are often paid derisory rates for their hard work, talent and commitment to the justice system and the rule of law. They deserve much better than this and they have our full support.
Barristers acting in the most serious cases in the country must be adequately remunerated for the huge amount of preparation that is involved in such cases. The entire Criminal Justice System depends on the most skilful and experienced advocates acting for the prosecution and the defence in those cases. However, by slashing remuneration in the new scheme, the Ministry of Justice is forcing experienced and talented practitioners out of the profession.
The current AGFS scheme has improved considerably since its inception as a result of earlier action led by the CBA, but it remains unfit for purpose. Complicated cases are paid at rates which undermine career progression and the retention of able advocates from diverse backgrounds.
In our view, the future of the publicly funded criminal bar is at stake. All members have taken individual decisions to support action in order to protect and preserve our Criminal Justice System.
We call on all our colleagues at the Criminal Bar to join us.
The ballot closes at 5pm on Tuesday 4th June. Access the ballot here.