England: Warning over exodus of specialist rape barristers

England: Warning over exodus of specialist rape barristers

Nearly two-thirds of specially-trained rape barristers in England and Wales say they will quit because of poor pay, according to a landmark new survey.

A survey by the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) found that 64 per cent of prosecutors and 66 per cent of defence counsel on the rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) list do not want to continue.

The most popular reasons for reducing RASSO work were given as insufficient remuneration (46 per cent), diary complications (46 per cent), listing difficulties (42 per cent) and wellbeing (32 per cent).

The CBA will host a national meeting with members on 5 March to discuss next steps following the publication of the research.

Tana Adkin KC, chair of the CBA, said: “These findings are devastating but sadly not surprising to a criminal bar that undertakes the management and presentation of the most traumatic and often explicit and intimate cases you can imagine without fear or favour.

“RASSO cases have been undervalued and underpaid for decades in comparison with other criminal offences. It is time remuneration was increased so that dedicated criminal barristers are able to build proper careers in this specialist field.”

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