CBA Response to Government’s Announcement – 05.07.22
Further to the Government’s announcement last Thursday of a 15% increase in AGFS fees, nothing has changed:
- The Criminal Bar has known the Government’s position for months, and resoundingly rejected it when 81% of us voted for days of action.
- That 15% will only apply to new representation orders from October 2022.
- Therefore, criminal barristers would not expect to receive the benefit of the 15% increase until late 2023/24 because it would not apply to the 58,000 cases in the backlog.
- It has been more than 7 months since Sir Christopher Bellamy submitted his independent review (CLAR) to the Secretary of State for Justice.
- The recommendation was for an immediate increase of 15% as the ‘minimum necessary’, with ‘no scope for further delay’ and said ‘further sums may be necessary.’
- We maintain that an injection of 25% to fees is necessary to prevent a further attrition of criminal barristers from our profession.
- The further reforms recommended by CLAR, are all still languishing in the long grass. Government has still not confirmed whether it will implement any of those reforms, still less has it set a timetable.
- It follows that there is still no commitment from Government to establish an independent pay review body which takes into account inflation; payment for written work; or to extending the scope for making claims for wasted and special preparation. Nor has Government given any assurance that it will pay a second brief fee for s.28 cases.
- We have never accepted Government’s claim that any increase to fees cannot attach to current cases in the backlog due to legal and technical reasons.
- On the contrary, we have received advice from leading Silks that it is lawful to backdate any increase to fees to current representation orders. .
- We will continue to pursue this issue with Government, on the basis of the advice, by all appropriate means.
Jo Sidhu QC, Chair
Kirsty Brimelow QC, Vice Chair
Laurie-Anne Power QC, Treasurer
Lucie Wibberley, Secretary
Mark Watson, Assistance SecretaryView more news