English criminal barristers begin ‘last resort’ strike over legal aid rates

English criminal barristers begin 'last resort' strike over legal aid rates

Criminal barristers in England and Wales have today begun an indefinite strike aimed at forcing the UK government to deliver a further boost to legal aid funding.

Barristers have been striking sporadically since June and last month voted overwhelmingly to escalate their action to an indefinite strike.

Ministers increased legal aid fees for barristers by 15 per cent earlier this year, but the profession has argued that increases of at least 25 per cent are needed to stem the exodus of young lawyers from criminal practice.

Kirsty Brimelow QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, said: “Government policies on toughness on crime and supporting victims are meaningless without the required proper investment in criminal barristers who deliver the justice.

“As criminal barristers start their historic, last resort, indefinite action, it is not too late for the secretary of state for justice and lord chancellor to change his legacy.

“This is not a ‘world-class justice system’ as set out as the vision of the Ministry of Justice. It is not even a functioning justice system.

“The door, however, remains open [to the] MoJ for ministers including the secretary of state for justice to come and meet the senior leadership of the CBA.”

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