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CBA Days of Action

A Message from Senior Practitioners at the Criminal Bar – 24.06.22

A Message from the CBA Officers – 24.06.22

An update following the LCJ announcement – 22.06.22


Following an unprecedented consultation with ordinary members and leaders of the Criminal Bar, the ballot which opened on 11th June has now closed. Over the course of just eight days, 2,055 of you cast your vote. The level of engagement in this second ballot was even higher than that witnessed in the first poll in March in which 1,908 votes were received during a two-week period.

This extraordinary commitment to the democratic process reflects a recognition amongst criminal barristers at all levels of call and across all Circuits that what is at stake is the survival of a profession of specialist criminal advocates and of the criminal justice system which depends so critically upon their labour. Without immediate action to halt the exodus of criminal barristers from our ranks, the record backlog that has crippled our courts will continue to inflict misery upon victims and defendants alike, and the public will be betrayed.

You were asked to choose one option from a selection that reflected the full range of opinions that emerged from the consultation process. The result of the ballot was as follows:

Option 1        – 114 votes (5.55%)
Option 2        – 266 votes (12.94%)
Option 3(A)  – 106 votes (5.16%)
Option 3(B)   – 675 votes (32.84%)
Option 3(C)   – 894 votes (43.50%)

Therefore, of the total number of votes cast, 81.5% supported Option 3 (days of action).

Further, of those who voted for Option 3, the majority of the votes (53.4%) favoured the highest form of escalation, namely days of action combined with both no returns and not accepting new instructions (3C).

In accordance with the terms of the ballot, it follows that the CBA membership has voted in favour of Option 3C.

Every vote has been fully validated by the CBA administrator who has again ensured the complete integrity of the entire ballot process.

Next Steps

  1. The CBA has prepared Guidance to its members to assist those who choose to participate in days of action.
  1. In relation to para 18(b) and (c) of that Guidance (notification letters to Judges and Solicitors) the CBA has also provided suggested template letters that members may find helpful.
  1. As set out at para 24 of the Guidance, for those who seek additional advice, the CBA will continue to make available its helpline via [email protected]
  1. The helpline provides access to a dedicated panel of volunteer Silks who are ready to give guidance and advice to CBA members. These Silks will also provide support to any member of the Criminal Bar who faces a threat of judicial and/or regulatory sanction.
  1. On the first planned day of action, Monday 27th June, we encourage all those who are participating to attend outside the following courts from 10am to show their support for the action:
    • South Eastern Circuit – Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)
    • Midland Circuit – Birmingham Crown Court
    • Northern Circuit – Manchester Crown Court
    • North Eastern Circuit – Leeds Crown Court
    • Western Circuit – Bristol Crown Court
    • Wales & Chester Circuit – Cardiff Crown Court
  1. We encourage further such attendances outside these courts at 10am on each Monday during all subsequent weeks in which planned days of action are scheduled to take place.
  1. On each Tuesday of those weeks in which planned days of action are scheduled to take place, the CBA will hold a national zoom meeting with members of the Criminal Bar, as follows:
    • Wk 1 – Tuesday 28th June 2022 at 10.30hrs
    • Wk 2 – Tuesday 5th July 2022 at 10.30hrs
    • Wk 3 – Tuesday 12th July 2022 at 10.30hrs
    • Wk 4 – Tuesday 19th July 2022 at 10.30hrs

Please register with the CBA administrator to receive your invitation to attend each of the national zoom meetings. Access details will be circulated at 09.00hrs on the day of each meeting.

  1. On each Wednesday of those weeks in which planned days of action are scheduled to take place, the Circuits will hold a local zoom meeting with members of the Criminal Bar from those respective Circuits, as follows:
    • Wk 2 – Wednesday 6th July 2022 at 10.30hrs
    • Wk 3 – Wednesday 13th July 2022 at 10.30hrs
    • Wk 4 – Wednesday 20th July 2022 at 10.30hrs

Please register with the CBA administrator (providing your preferred Circuit) to receive your invitation to attend each of the Circuit zoom meetings. Access details will be circulated at 09.00hrs on the day of each meeting.

Finally, this second ballot has reaffirmed our reputation as an open and democratic association. Our members have always respected the outcome of a free and fair voting process, whatever the result. We will therefore be faithful to the ballot.

Our unity is our strength.

Yours,

Jo Sidhu QC                                              Kirsty Brimelow QC
Chair                                                           Vice Chair

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