Barristers next to strike as they back walking out

The lawyers are due to go on strike over pay starting next Monday, which could bring the courts to a standstill.

Members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) voted 81.5 percent to deny taking on new cases beginning Monday, June 27.

Their strike action will escalate from there, starting with two days of strikes next week on Monday and Tuesday, followed by three days of strikes the following week until they go on strike all week starting Monday 18th July. The strike then becomes indefinite.

It will be only the second strike in the history of the Bar Association and the first since 2014, when lawyers and solicitors staged an unprecedented mass strike over government plans to cut legal aid fees by up to 30 percent.

The Criminal Bar Association’s strike is a protest against the 15 percent increase in the legal aid budget, which it says is insufficient. They demand at least 25 percent.

It has already taken industrial action by refusing to cover cases where, for example, a lawyer has to hand it over to a colleague due to a collision.

7,000 cases could be stopped

The new action is a major step up in their protest as it could stop up to 7,000 new cases coming to court each month.

Victims of crime are already facing lengthy delays after the pandemic forced courts to close, with the backlog of cases rising from a pre-pandemic low of 33,000 to 58,271 in April this year.

In a joint statement, Jo Sidhu QC, Chair, and Kirsty Brimelow QC, Vice Chair, of the Criminal Bar Association said 2,055 barristers cast their ballots in an “extraordinary commitment to the democratic process”.

“This reflects the recognition among criminal attorneys at all levels of appeal and in all jurisdictions that the survival of a professional criminal defense profession and the criminal justice system depends so critically on their work,” they said.

“Without immediate action to stem the exodus of criminal attorneys from our ranks, the record backlog that has crippled our courts will continue to wreak havoc on victims and defendants alike, and the public will be betrayed.” Barristers next to strike as they back walking out

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