Government offers new fees to barristers


The Justice Ministry says it has made an offer to the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) to end the barrister strike.

A London High Court has ruled that the judge who refused to extend the period of detention and released the defendant on bail “became in a legal error” due to a barrister strike.

Brandon Lewis took over as Attorney General earlier this month to replace Dominic Raab, and on Thursday he announced that the CBA had a new remuneration offering, including £54m ($58m) of new funding, to vote for members. insisted on giving it to .

The CBA wrote on Twitter shortly after Lewis made the announcement: Details are under consideration by the members. Prime Minister Brandon Lewis’ insistence on going ahead with a premature press release is not a good start. ”

Lewis himself wrote on Twitter:I urge members of the Criminal Lawyers Association End their strike and work with me to cut the backlog and save the victims. ”

Criminal attorneys were originally promised a 15% increase in fees from the end of September, but the increase only applied to new cases, not ongoing cases, many of which were pandemic-related. Delayed by lockdown.

Details of the new proposal were unclear, but the CBA said “constructive negotiations are accelerating.”

“Legal error”

On Wednesday, a London High Court ruled that the judge who had released the defendant on bail had “fallen into legal error”, refusing to extend his detention due to a barrister strike.

Mrs Victoria Sharpe and Justice Chamberlain said in their ruling that the absence of defense counsel because of the strike was in itself not sufficient reason to release those in custody awaiting trial.

Director of the Prosecutor’s Office (DPP), Max Hill KC, has challenged the judges’ decisions in two cases, Bristol and Manchester. In both cases, the judges refused to extend the detention of defendants whose trials were delayed by the strike.

Sitting in Bristol Criminal Court, Justice Peter Blair KC blamed the absence of defense attorneys for the “chronic and predictable consequences of long-term funding shortfalls,” and said the government would seek to resolve wage disputes. said it took “many months”.

Judge Tina Lundale, sitting in Manchester Criminal Court, later handed down a similar ruling, arguing that the DPP’s attorneys placed “implicit faith” in Judge Blair’s ruling.

The High Court ruled that the judges were wrong, but they refused to reverse their decisions granting bail in those cases.

Sharpe and Chamberlain said the postponement of the trial due to the unavailability of striking defense counsel could be a “justifiable and sufficient reason” to extend the detention period until at least the end of November.

But they warned the government that if the dispute with the CBA is not resolved by early December, the absence of defense counsel is unlikely to continue to be a valid reason for extending the detention period.

Epoch Times photo
Criminal Bar Association criminal barrister protesting in undated file photo. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By the last week of November 2022, it said, it is likely that a suitable point will be reached at which the absence of legal representative can be adequately described as chronic or routine.

The date was chosen because it marks three months since the CBA’s indefinite strike began.

High Court judges said it was not their job to “investigate the root causes of the current dispute” or to decide who should be held accountable for the strike.

At a hearing earlier this week, DPP representative Tom Little KC said in a written submission that “a request for an extension of detention will be decided on the basis of the judge’s individual views on the conflicting arguments in the dispute.” It is inappropriate,” he argued. ”

“While any view on the merits of industrial action should be expressed, it is quite distasteful, but the possibility of judges reaching different conclusions on this issue leads to inconsistent and unfair outcomes,” Little added. I got

A Justice Department spokeswoman told PA:

“Although judges make bail decisions independently of the government, protecting the public remains a top priority,” he added.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.