Criminal Bar “ready to strike” over fees


Hill: let us remember the option to strike

The criminal Bar is ready to strike in protest at the level of fees paid to both prosecution and defence advocates, a survey by the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has revealed.

Some 89% of the 1,638 members who responded to the survey said they are prepared to take “direct lawful action”, such as a refusal to attend court; 88% of defence advocates and 77% of prosecution advocates are prepared to refuse to accept new instructions.

In a rallying call at the CBA’s annual dinner tonight, at which he will lay out the findings, chairman Max Hill QC will say: “So let us fight, and let us remember the option to strike. Use the momentum of the past year and of the survey. Demand better treatment. No more cuts, I say, either for the defence or the prosecution. Do not allow them to say that we must take our share of future cuts demanded by the Comprehensive Spending Review.

“The criminal Bar suffered cuts by stagnation in our fees for 15 years before the spending review. Did public sector wages stand still from the mid-90s? Of course not. But our fees did. And when that argument meets with a hostile reaction, as it will, be ready to strike.

“Those of us who completed the survey owe it to the silent workforce to encourage them to come forward too. If we can change the public perception of what we do, we can persuade the whole of the criminal Bar that our careers are worth the fight”.

The survey also revealed that most criminal barristers have suffered delayed payment, while 92% disagree with the introduction of ‘one case, one fee’ on the basis that the advocacy fee is not ring-fenced.

He will urge barristers to “take our argument to the public. Matters cannot be any worse than they are now”. He will quote one respondent to the survey, who said: “The media representation of barristers, particularly defence barristers, needs to be challenged to prevent the continued perpetuation of myths which make us unpopular with the public.”

 

Tags:




Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Reports

Our latest special report, produced in association with Temple Legal Protection, looks at the role of after-the-event (ATE) insurance in commercial litigation post-LASPO. We are at a time when insurers, solicitors, clients and litigation funders work ever more closely to create funding packages that work for all of them, with conditional fee and even damages-based agreements now part of many law firms’ armoury.

Blog

10 December 2019

Is your website lost in the desert?

Having a website is like advertising on a billboard in the middle of the desert – it’s pretty useless unless people are driving past to see it. It’s exactly the same with cyberspace.

Read More

Loading animation