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No Returns Panel and Helpline

A CBA Panel is operating for the duration of No Returns, which comprises over 90 barristers, includes more than 40 Silks and spans all six circuits. The panel can be contacted by any member of the Criminal Bar (access is not restricted to CBA members) for the purpose of a professional ethics query pertaining to No Returns, by using the email address [email protected]. ​

It is not anticipated that any barrister following the CBA No Returns Guidance 2022 and the relevant paragraphs of the Judicial Guidance on CBA Action (see below) will encounter a professional ethical difficulty.

However, an additional system; the panel and a bespoke arrangement with BMIF (see below) is in place to ensure that all members of the Criminal Bar feel that they have appropriate professional support available to them throughout the period of No Returns, in addition to any that they may chose to access through Chambers or the usual professional avenues.

CBA No Returns Guidance and Judicial Guidance on CBA Action 

All members of the Criminal Bar are reminded of the importance of following the CBA No Returns Guidance 2022 for the duration of the period for which they undertake No Returns. The CBA guidance is accessible here.

The CBA guidance should be read in conjunction with the Judicial Guidance on CBA Action, which can be accessed here.

We specifically draw your attention to paragraphs 5, 6,12,13,19, 22 and 23 of the Judicial Guidance, and consequently remind you of the importance of following paragraph 26 c-g of the CBA guidance.

How the Panel and Helpline will operate 

The panel is divided into 6 teams, by circuit.

If you utilise the email address [email protected]​ please provide:

  • Your Circuit
  • The name of the relevant court
  • Sufficient detail, in summary, for your enquiry to be understood
  • If you require an urgent response please state that, and provide your phone number.

The email address will be monitored between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday for the duration of No Returns and upon receipt, your enquiry will be allocated to a panel member on your Circuit, who will respond to you directly.

Urgent emails will be responded to as such. The panel will endeavour to respond to all other enquiries on the same day. The panel will endeavour to respond to non-urgent enquiries received late in the day, on the following day.

Scope of the Assistance 

Assistance provided by panel members will be commensurate with the assistance that would be appropriate in the event a fellow member of chambers asked for a professional view from a colleague in relation to an issue concerning professional ethics in ordinary circumstances.

If your enquiry requires additional input, it will be referred to a Silk member of the panel in the first instance.

In the unlikely event that you require a higher level of assistance please also use the email address [email protected]. ​

BMIF will then be contacted to provide support and assistance, under the bespoke arrangement that has been agreed for the period of No Returns (see below).


In the event any member of the Criminal Bar faces a potential action for wasted costs arising simply out of having undertaken No Returns in accordance with the No Returns policy adopted by the Criminal Bar Association, the BMIF directors have taken a decision in principle, in the exercise of the discretion they have under the BMIF Rules, to waive the usual £350 excess that would otherwise apply to a wasted costs case. BMIF will also be liaising with the CBA throughout the period of No Returns, to provide support and assistance, if required.

Kind regards,

Lucie Wibberley
Criminal Bar Association

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