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Striking criminal barristers narrowly vote to accept government pay deal

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57% in favour

Criminal barristers have voted to suspend their strike action with 57% in favour of accepting the government offer of a 15% pay rise.

This means that the current indefinite and uninterrupted strike action will cease from 6pm this evening with Crown Courts hearing cases as normal from Tuesday.

The package that is worth £54 million, includes a 15% increase in legal aid rates that is applicable to the vast majority of cases currently in the Crown Court. In addition to this, the deal will see a £5 million uplift per year for fees in the youth court from the 2024/25 financial year, and an extra £4 million for defence barristers involved in pre-recorded cross-examinations.

The deal offered by Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis represented progress from Lewis’s predecessor Dominic Raab who had overseen a period of escalation in strike action during his time as Lord Chancellor.

It is understood that the new deal will not only cover cases from September onwards but also the 60,000 backlogged cases.

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) had initially asked for a 25% par rise. But the vote has seen the organisation settling for a 15% rise with 1,117 (43.26%) of the 2,605 criminal barristers who voted rejecting the deal.

Those who did not back the deal argued that the 15% rise was too little and, specifically regarding backlogged cases, was insufficient to retain the most junior members of the criminal bar. The need for a Pay Review Body with direct power to recommend increases to fees is required was also a sticking point for those who voted ‘no’.

Arguments in favour of accepting the deal included that the offer made by the Justice Secretary represents more than a 15% uplift because of the bolt-on payments. There was also scepticism as to whether the objectives of obtaining larger pay rise and establishing a pay review body could realistically be achieved in light of the current economic environment.

Those in favour did, however, stress that more needs to be done regarding some of the systemic issues facing the junior members of the criminal bar.

Following the announcement of the vote, the CBA stressed that “the Criminal Justice System remains chronically underfunded”, adding in a tweet aimed at its members:

“Let’s keep our eyes firmly on that future and the future of our criminal justice system. Its value is reflected in the barristers within it. Please look at your colleagues, respect their professionalism and join with them, even where your views differed in respect of the ballot.”

TOMORROW: The Legal Cheek October UK Virtual Law Fair 2022

10 Comments

Alan

Finally these lazy layabouts can drop their faux complaints get on with the jobs they’re paid for!

(5)(49)

Pongo

Predicable response from one who didn’t make it.

(6)(3)

Anon

Clearly a moron

(1)(2)

Alan

Predictable ad hominem replies from those with no substantive response.

(0)(6)

Wendifer

The irony, Alan.

(1)(3)

Worker

But the moaning and rampant self pity will continue.

(8)(33)

FFS

“Let’s keep our eyes firmly on that future and the future of our criminal justice system. Its value is reflected in the barristers within it.”

Gaslighting everyone by asking the public to focus on the numinous, not on those holding criminal trials to ransom because they want more money.

The criminal justice system has existed far longer than barristers and their extensive Twitter accounts ever have.

(11)(16)

Ade

Let’s see if the Government treat the civil service the same! Senior civil servants had a 5.5% pay award while poorly paid civil servants got 2%. No wonder the service struggle to recruit motivated staff if the pay is so poor and no longer final salary pension

(1)(1)

Bill

Exactly! These greedy barristers will cost everyone else billions in taxes when the unions churn out as nauseam “but the barristers got 15%”.

(2)(5)

Ewan

This dispute was resolved when the government decided to stop the ideological grand-standing. We could have saved tax payers £millions by ending the dispute sooner. Instead the massive backlog in the courts just got a lot worse.

(0)(0)

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