CBA Ballot Result – 13.03.22
The ballot result is out. Our members have voted almost unanimously in favour of refusing to accept return work under the AGFS from 11th April unless Government agrees to the measures necessary to safeguard the long-term sustainability of the Criminal Bar and which are therefore essential to preserving a criminal justice system that meets the legitimate demands of the public.
94.34% of the 1,908 members who cast their votes have made it absolutely clear that they are not willing to be led by a Government timetable that brings no prospect of a settlement until the end of September. They have already waited too long. Through our labour and our goodwill, we have sustained a chronically underfunded criminal justice system on behalf of the public while suffering substantial reductions in our real incomes and exhausted by the hugely increased demands placed upon us, often for little or no reward.
We have already lost too many of our colleagues who can no longer afford to maintain their commitment to criminal work and who have left our ranks out of desperation and despair. Every day we are losing more. We have shrunk to a mere 2,400 full time criminal barristers. The future viability and diversity of the Criminal Bar is already imperilled. It is a recognition of the scale of this crisis that has driven so many of you to vote in favour of action.
The CBA will assess Government’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid (CLAR) and we will continue to engage with the Ministry of Justice to seek a fair and reasonable settlement that reflects the demands of our members. With your resounding mandate we will pursue those discussions with determination and resolve.
As each of us prepares for no returns commencing on 11th April, the CBA will provide clear written guidance this coming week to our advocates on their professional duties and responsibilities.
We are a 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.
Jo Sidhu QC Kirsty Brimelow QC
Chair Vice Chair
You were asked:
DO YOU SUPPORT:
I intend to refuse all return work under AGFS from 11th April 2022 unless Government agrees to:
a. increase advocates’ remuneration under the AGFS by 25% per annum for claims submitted on or after 11th April 2022;
b. pay for written work as recommended by the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid (CLAR);
c. create an effective pay review body;
d. expedite the timetable for consultation upon the recommendations for reform of the AGFS contained in the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid (CLAR);
e. pay a second brief fee payment for section 28 YJCE hearings;
f. index link AGFS payments.
OR Option B
I do not wish to take action and I am willing to await the conclusion of the Government’s latest reported timetable; namely to provide its response to the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid (CLAR) in the week commencing 14th March 2022, followed by a consultation until the end of June 2022, followed by the implementation of any necessary Statutory Instruments by the end of September 2022.
• 1800 (94.34%) voted for Option A
• 108 (5.66%) voted for Option B