Criminal barristers vote 2:1 to accept government legal aid deal


Crime: barristers get back to work

Criminal law barristers yesterday voted two to one in favour of calling off their industrial action and accept the deal offered by the government.

However, fewer than half of the Criminal Bar Association’s 4,000 members voted, despite constant exhortations over the past fortnight to have their say.

The CBA membership was balloted on this question: “Do you wish to continue ‘no returns’ and days of action until all the cuts and reductions in [solicitors’] contracts are abandoned?”

Some 1,878 votes were cast, of which 1,249 (67%) said ‘no’, and 629 (33%) said ‘yes’.

This means the CBA will suspend its action in return for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) suspending the 6% cut to the Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme until after next year’s election – 89% of criminal barristers work solely under this scheme – and a resumption of proper engagement between the two.

The agreement sparked a massive debate over the past fortnight both among barristers and between barristers and solicitors, with opponents arguing that it had shattered the unprecedented unity that had been built up between the two sides of the profession and had hung solicitors out to dry.

On Wednesday, CBA vice-chairman Tony Cross QC published a lengthy critique of the actions of solicitors in opposing the government cuts, arguing that there has been nothing like the same level of unity among solicitors as among barristers.

He said: “Our relationship with the leadership of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association and London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association seems badly damaged. I am sorry that that has happened. I dare say that had they been in the same position as us with the MoJ, they would have taken the same decision and by a similar route.

“Do you believe that solicitors would have refused to accept the withdrawal of the 17.25% fee cuts until the Bar had got what they wanted? What would have been the reaction of their solicitor members?”





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Email address will not be published.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.

Blog


The hot graphic design trends in the legal sector

As we recover from an unprecedented 19 months within our sector, marketing teams and clerks’ rooms are keener than ever to try out something new in the promotion of their businesses.


What challenges will the Bar face in the next five years?

As we look towards the end of 2021 and at how the Bar has adapted to the harsh realities of the pandemic, the question beckons as to what the future holds.


The rise of cyber-criminal threat for law firms since Covid-19

The global coronavirus pandemic, and the rise in people working from home, has unfortunately provoked a growth in cyber-crime. The UK government estimates that the cost of cyber-crime is £27bn per annum.


Loading animation