Skip to main content

Monday Message 06.02.23


Prosecution fees will increase to achieve parity with defence fees. The 15% increase will apply to the backlog with the detail being worked through. The commitment is for funding to match defence fees.

The increase was announced by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill KC at the Bar Council meeting on 4th February. He acknowledged that the work of the CBA had been critical in achieving the outcome.

The timeline for it coming into effect is eight weeks.

The Crown Prosecution Service’s original timeline was twelve weeks, but they reduced to eight weeks following my representations last Autumn.

I am pressing for quicker implementation.  Whilst the CPS continues to work with the CBA to speed up the process, the increased funding is a significant positive move in the trudge to a functioning criminal justice system.


Thanks go Max Hill KC and his team and to Sir Bob Neill and the Justice Select Committee, including the indefatigable Karl Turner MP and James Daly MP, as well as the Attorney General and the Solicitor General. The Lord Chancellor also was supportive of the CBA’s argument to increase prosecution fees. Indeed, there was no counter-argument. Further, the Bar Council stepped up to work alongside the CBA – building on work of the former Bar Council Chair – alongside the Circuit Leaders.

Your examples of cases being adjourned due to lack of prosecution barrister make sombre but essential reading. They spotlighted the lives of the people behind the statistics and provided solid evidence which landed heavily where required. Thank you, Criminal Bar.

In anticipation of the prosecution fee increase, I set up a sub-committee drawn from the CBA’s Remuneration Committee to work alongside the CPS. This has been working from the end of 2022 and will assist with the implementation. Thank you to Louise Oakley and Tom Little KC who are integral to the group.

Advocate Panel

We have ensured that your voices are heard.

The DPP is cognisant of the contraction of the Advocate Panel, with a significant reduction at entry level (level 1) and on the RASSO panel.

The CPS has decided to extend the duration of the current 2020 Panel by two years and so defer the next refresh – originally due to take place next year – until 2026. This means that Panel members retain their place on the Panel for the next three years whilst the process is being reviewed.

Home Affairs Select Committee

I continued making the case for the prosecution funding until the last push of the Treasury door. On 1st February 2023 I gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee and requested examination of calls for victims’ voices to be heard. “Heard where?” is the fundamental question. At that time, I gave examples that they would not be heard in court as prosecution barristers were insufficiently funded to prosecute.

The CBA’s RASSO group had provided me with some stark examples of complainants giving up pursuing their allegations of sexual offences when facing twin barriers of delay and uncertainty as to whether a trial would ever happen.

I also called for national training of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors as the quality appeared variable. This was supported by Zoe Byrne of Victim Support. Richard Atkinson was on the same panel representing the Law Society and making the case for the need for funding to solicitors. The CBA always has supported its solicitor colleagues, ensuring that the increase funding on the backlog applied to LGFS as well as AGFS; even without the solicitors being in the room.

If you find the time, or have trouble sleeping, have a watch

Section 28 YJCEA 1999 

The Statutory Instrument for a bolt on fee of £670 plus VAT was laid on 31st January 2023 and brought into force on 1st February 2023.

The quick bringing into force occurred after I wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister on the 25th January raising concerns that the proposed S.I. was then coming into force at the end of February.

The change of this position to 1st February is a positive marker of altered working with the CBA.

Further, an in-person meeting was quickly organised between Minister for Courts, Legal Services and International Mike Freer MP and myself on 30th January 2023. I followed up the meeting in writing and urged increase in money agreed in the deal and upon section 28 hearings (rather than cases) currently being heard rather than on new representation orders, as is the usual government approach. It should not be the approach if the government wants barristers to conduct section 28 hearings this year. I also sought clarification of some of the wording of the S.I. and that Appendix R continued to apply (it does).

The letter on 3rd February from the Minister Freer reaffirms the commitment to the £4 million spend until March 2025. The review in the Spring – an integral part of the deal – is to maximise opportunity for increase in these fees.

The final paragraph is an indication of political will and the Ministry of Justice’s work alongside the CBA:
As you know, we have committed to reviewing this in Spring 2023 and I believe this is the best time to revisit these issues. We remain committed to spend £4m over the current SR (ie by March 2025) as we set out and we will have more data on the number of hearings by Spring. In the meantime, I am exploring whether there is any more that we can do to allow s28 payments to be made earlier than the conclusion of the case. 

As you know, we have committed to reviewing this in Spring 2023 and I believe this is the best time to revisit these issues. We remain committed to spend £4m over the current SR (ie by March 2025) as we set out and we will have more data on the number of hearings by Spring. In the meantime, I am exploring whether there is any more that we can do to allow s28 payments to be made earlier than the conclusion of the case. 

The Ministry of Justice’s feet remain at the fire and trust between CBA and MoJ is an important fuel in delivery for the criminal justice system.


On 24th January, I attended the second meeting of CLAAB alongside Vice Chair Tana Adkin KC and member of the Renumeration Committee and AGFS CLAAB sub-committee Joanne Cecil. The meeting was again chaired by Daniel Flury, Acting Director of Access to Justice Policy. The Lord Chancellor does need to get on with appointing a suitable Chair. The process of that appointment is to be announced this month.

The CLAAB’s focus is on delivery of the written work, special preparation and wasted preparation part of the deal with specific attention to the junior Bar. The allocated money now is £3.3 million, and the hourly rates are being worked upon by the CBA alongside the Bar Council’s Renumeration Committee and Professor Chalkley.

Young Barristers’ Committee

I attended the first meeting of the newly elected CBA YBC. It now has appointed its new Chair and we extend our congratulations to Zayd Ahmed. The CBA YBC’s first work will include picking up again and working on improving magistrates’ fees for our most junior barristers.

Social Mobility

We are delighted that the social mobility committee has revived and its first meeting for over a year took place at Doughty Street Chambers. It was fizzing with ideas, particularly from our most junior practitioners.

Its visibility already has led to judicial contact that our members consider the judicial reverse mentoring scheme. This is where barristers from diverse, minority backgrounds are paired with Judges to allow Judges to walk in their shoes. It also gives the practitioners insight into the judiciary and opens the eventual possibility of a career as a Judge to those currently less represented within our judicial ranks.

If you are interested in being a mentor, please contact our administrator and Grace Ong, Chair of the Social Mobility Committee.

Hardship Fund

Do not struggle. Please apply to the Hardship Fund which remains open for applications.


There has been much tragedy at the Criminal Bar in recent months. And we were very sad upon being informed of the death of Tony Arlidge KC who died on 27th January. These are the words of his widow Heather Arlidge as she reflects on the man she knew and also remembers his love of the Criminal Bar:

Raconteur. Charmer. Advocate. Author. Actor. Titan of the Criminal Bar. We’ve heard a lot of descriptions of Tone this week. He had so many attributes but being a member of the Criminal Bar meant everything to him. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge, wearing it lightly, and was always generous when asked to share it. Long after his retirement, he remained actively interested and involved in the Bar, supporting his friends and colleagues. Brilliant and effective lawyer apart, he was perceptive and kind, self-deprecating and witty. He was an excellent storyteller; many have heard his stories, sometimes on multiple occasions. Some can probably repeat them verbatim. 

He was a fierce defender of the Bar and what it stands for, and he was immensely proud to be a member. His half century in practice included countless high profile cases. He took the law seriously but wore the pressures with honour and felt privileged to do what he did. He tried never to take himself too seriously. He wrote the All Sludge Reports, entertaining colleagues on cases with his wit and good-natured bite. Some of those colleagues still can’t quite shake the nicknames he gave them in his reports.

It felt like he would be around forever, even in circumstances where he had been in ill-health for some time and his loss will be felt by many. He will no doubt have approved of the fact his stories are being repeated now in his memory. 

He leaves behind many who will miss him terribly, including his wife, Heather, his 2 sons and 2 daughters, his 9 beloved grandchildren, a multitude of friends, and his cat, of whom he was probably most fond of all!

Final Words

I hope we can take inspiration from Heather’s memories of Tony and remember ourselves why we stay working in public service, defending under criminal legal aid, and prosecuting on behalf of the CPS. The Criminal Bar is a powerful family of practitioners. The skills and expertise of criminal barristers make the criminal justice system one that must be valued. Our importance is reflected in every person we represent, every witness we call to give evidence and every justice outcome.

We may no longer be proud of the criminal justice system but together we can rebuild the pride. We are heading in the right direction for the people we represent and for the witnesses, victims and complainants stuck in the quagmire.

Keep your professionalism, come to our brilliant education events, encourage your colleagues to join, look after yourselves and let us know the challenges you face. As ever, the door is open to talk, and our well-being committee remains active.

The CBA is taking each of our profession’s issues and driving change.

Your CBA is at the heart of decision making around criminal justice and the Ministry of Justice is working alongside the Criminal Bar Association. The CBA officers and Executive are a strong team. The support you quietly give us lifts and shares the load. Two large deals on barristers’ funding since I became Chair 5 months ago is evidence of our strength. We remain proud of our membership and all you have achieved in these last months.

Thank you.

View more news