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Indefinite Weeks of Action Arrangements for Week Commencing 5th September 2022

The Government continues to refuse to negotiate with the Criminal Bar Association and, pursuant to the last overwhelming ballot of our membership, indefinite weeks of action will begin from the 5th of September 2022, the day that the new Prime Minister is announced.

That action will continue, with no further ballot initiated, unless and until there is a substantial positive movement from Government.

This action is taken as a last resort, driven by our collective resolve to ensure the viability of the junior criminal bar, in order to guarantee the future sustainability of the criminal justice system for all of our communities, across the country.

The collapse of the Criminal Justice System, pre-dating, not caused by, our action, can no longer can be disguised. The remedies of immediate, substantial, long-term investment and reform, can no longer be ignored.

Whilst strength and unity are expressed in national zoom meetings and realised across the profession, it is also very important that barristers publicly show their strength and support for each other, and for the junior bar, in order to continue to raise the profile of the crisis, and our action, in the media.

The CBA thanks and welcomes the solicitors, HCAs, barristers from other practice areas and law students who have come and stood beside criminal barristers on court steps across the country.

The Hardship Fund will issue its application form on Monday 5th September 2022 at 0900.

Tuesday 6th September
Please find below the arrangements for each court centre.

A designated CBA coordinator may make a statement from the court steps from between 10am and 10.30am. Exact timings and arrangements will vary according to press attendance and the preferences of the local bar, so please arrive in good time.

You may wish to robe but are not required to do so. The important thing is that you are there, in solidarity with your colleagues.

If you are a prosecutor, or otherwise not participating in the day of action, please do not feel anxious about attending at court. If you are able to assemble with your colleagues before your scheduled hearing, or during any court breaks, to show solidarity, that would be very much appreciated.

LONDON – MORNING (Tuesday 6th September) 

  • Colleagues will begin assembling outside the Supreme Court at 9am for media / speeches. We will then adjourn to the café at the Palace of Westminster for lunch, before commencing the afternoon session. 

LONDON – AFTERNOON (Tuesday, 6th September) 

  • Kirsty Brimelow QC, CBA Chair, and Alejandra Llorente Tascon, Chair of the Young CBA, will give evidence to the Justice Select Committee (Chaired by Sir Robert Neil) at 3pm. 
  • The current members of the Select Committee are, Diane Abbott MP, Rob Butler MP, Angela Crawley MP, James Daly MP, Maria Eagle MP, Laura Farris MP, Kate Hollern MP, Paul Maynard MP, Dr Keiran Mullan MP, Karl Turner MP.
  • There will be the opportunity to attend (limited numbers) to watch the evidence session. We will confirm the venue (Portcullis House or Palace of Westminster) when it is provided to us. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing the CBA Administrator.
  • If you are not attending the evidence session please assemble in Westminster Hall at 2.45pm. From there you are entitled to proceed to Central Lobby, to ask your MP to meet with you to discuss the action (‘green carding’ – if you have not done this before, you will be briefed on the day).  If they are in Parliament and available, they will be required to meet you, if not, you will generate an obligation for them to contact you.
  • Please attend with your robes if you feel comfortable doing so, in order to draw the attention of the public and the press in the Central Lobby.
  • You are encouraged to contact your local press, who may wish to report your visit, and any meeting that you have with your MP, or the fact that your MP was not available, or declined, to meet with you.
  • We encourage you to attend regardless of whether or not your MP is available or agrees to meet with you. You have a democratic right to attend at Parliament to lobby your MP and, by doing so, in company with a large number of your colleagues, you will be continuing to draw attention to the crisis in the criminal courts.
  • Due to numbers, it may be that we proceed to Central Lobby from Westminster Hall in groups, as directed by the Sergeant at Arms on the day.
  • You are permitted, and encouraged, to bring with you a copy of the revised Parliamentary briefing note which is available here to give to your MP in the event that they agree to meet with you. You are not permitted to approach MPs within the House to lobby but, if they approach you, you may provide them with the briefing and explain the purpose of your visit.
  • If you are under 7 years call, and based outside of the South Eastern Circuit, and you wish to attend, then in the event that your chambers agrees to finance your standard train fare, your chambers will be reimbursed for that cost by the CBA (please retain receipts).
  • You will be expected to maintain exceptionally high standards of professional decorum at all times, as you would do ordinarily. No banners or signs are permitted inside the Palace of Westminster or Portcullis House – please do not bring any with you on Monday afternoon, there will be nowhere to leave them.

CIRCUITS (Tuesday, 6th September)

Colleagues will assemble outside the following court centres:

  • Bristol Crown Court at 10am 

Meet in robing room at 9.45am.

  • Manchester Crown Court at 9.00am

Breakfast (open house for solicitors, legal executives, all counsel and clerks – free pastries and drinks) at Garden Court Nnorth chambers from 8am – 8.45am

Then a short walk to Crown Square main steps – to arrive 9 (until noon).
Followed by an open house lunch (sandwiches) at Garden Court North, from noon until 2pm.

  • Birmingham Crown Court at 12noon
  • Leeds Crown Court at 9.00am 
  • Cardiff Crown Court at 9.00am 

Wednesday 7th September
A reminder that there will be a national zoom meeting for all CBA members at 10.30am. The link will be sent to all members in due course.

Attendance is strictly limited to CBA members, so once in receipt of the link, please do not circulate it or make it public.

Key Messages

  • Diversity and the Junior Bar

We continue to encourage all circuits, when engaging with the media, to focus on the most junior members of the Criminal Bar, who are also the most diverse members of our profession.
Continuing to recruit a diverse and representative intake of pupils and retain them through the early years of practice, by providing a financially sustainable practice, is key to securing diversity at all levels of seniority in the future, including at the highest levels of judicial office.
You may wish to compile examples of fees in poorly paid cases.

  • The impact of delay on Victims, Witnesses and Defendants 

The delays in the criminal justice system pre-date our action and were not caused by it.
The consequence of delay for victims, witnesses and defendants is severe.
We need sufficient numbers of barristers to provide a functioning criminal justice system.

Please refer to the briefing document available here.

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