Ballot Results – October 2022
The criminal justice system sits on the cliff edge.
As barristers who have committed our lives to the public service of defending and prosecuting in criminal cases, we have been shabbily treated in the past by government. We are hoping for a new relationship with government and hope treatment will not be shabby moving forwards.
Without sufficient barristers to prosecute and defend cases, victims not only will not see justice delivered but also will not hear verdicts and sentences pronounced, nor touch closure.
And the meetings last week also showed how stressed we have become as a profession.
The result of the ballot on the offer made by Government is:
“Do you accept the offer from the MOJ as set out in the accompanying proposal document and therefore vote to suspend the action?”
- Yes – 1488 (57.12%)
- No – 1117 (42.88%)
- Total Votes – 2605
Therefore, the action is suspended from 17.00hrs this evening.
The Criminal Bar has voted to accept the proposal made by the Government.
The Criminal Bar Association has a long history of respecting and unifying around the majority vote.
As a democratic organisation, we take our mandate from you.
Whatever the final result, there will always be disappointment and even bitterness. The underlying causes that compelled us to commence action, as a unified group, have not gone away.
The Criminal Justice System remains chronically underfunded.
Your engagement has been overwhelming and we know that you remain committed to achieve a strong, sustainable, independent Criminal Bar for the future. Let’s keep our eyes firmly on that future and on the future of our criminal justice system. Its value is reflected in the barristers within it. We ask that you look at your colleagues, respect their professionalism and join with them, even where your views differed in respect of the ballot.
It remains the government’s responsibility to stop the Criminal Justice System tipping over the cliff edge. Barristers should not have to fight so hard again to bring this responsibility back home to government. Barristers should not again have to endure working all hours to ensure that cases are brought to Courts whilst government pares criminal legal aid fees to the bone. The offer from the Government is an overdue start. Its acceptance by barristers is on the basis that it is implemented.
Otherwise, the CBA will ballot again to lift the suspension of action.
Goodwill of criminal barristers is exhausted. The long-term reform does depend on continuing, constructive engagement with Government.
Otherwise, our members remain ready to act again.
We move now to setting up CLAAB and addressing the hourly rates increases for the wasted and special preparation, together with returning to the additional money required if the section 28 cases and hearings are to be viable. Of course, reclassification of offences is important early work, as committed to in CLAAB.
We move now to working alongside the CPS to apply equal increases to prosecution fees.
Phase 2 of CLAR is to commence at the end of November 2022 and we will engage with the other legal aid providers.
We also look forward to working on the issues that land unfairly on the Junior Bar which are not connected to the AGFS action, namely the necessity for equal and fair distribution of work in chambers and increase in payments of fees in the Magistrates’ Court.
The CBA remains committed to the future of the Criminal Bar and to the Criminal Justice System.
We stand united and in unity we stand strong.
Kirsty Brimelow KC – Chair
Tana Adkin KC – Vice Chair
Laurie-Anne Power KC – Treasurer
Mark Watson – Secretary