Chairman’s Announcement 27.03.14
CBA Chairman’s Announcement:
Thursday 27 March 2014
Personal Email: [email protected]
Criminal Barristers have for the last 2 years argued against the government’s proposals for ‘Transforming Legal Aid’. We are committed to defending the rule of law and the criminal justice system in this country. We are committed to promoting and maintaining the highest standards of advocacy in the criminal courts, prosecuting and defending in cases the outcome of which affects everyone in society.
The CBA welcomes the Government’s agreement to suspend all fee cuts for all Graduated Fee cases until at least the Summer of 2015. They have also undertaken to engage constructively with the Bar, in doing so to take account of the recommendations of the Jeffrey, Leveson and Rivlin reviews and to resolve fee issues and cost saving efficiencies within the CJS.
This gives 89% of the Criminal Bar (those that do not do VHCC cases) what they have demanded and has been achieved by their resolve.
In relation to VHCC cases, whilst it is for each individual barrister to choose what work they undertake, there is no objection in principle to barristers who want to work on VHCCs undertaking such cases if they choose to do so. The CBA welcomes the government’s agreement to work with the profession to consider better alternatives to the VHCC scheme, which will include examination of the Bars’ proposal of GFS Plus as soon as normal working relationships are restored.
Consequently, the CBA has decided to suspend its current action including the No Returns Policy to allow constructive engagement with the government to continue and the restoration of normal working practices within the CJS. We hope that constructive engagement can produce further sensible conclusions, not only with the criminal bar but with also the criminal solicitors who keep the system running smoothly up and down the country. The CBA remains supportive of the stance taken by solicitors and will continue to engage with all parties concerned about the future of the CJS.