The Ballot Result 28.06.19

2607 voted

1583 (60.72%) voted to suspend action.

1024 (39.28%) voted against suspending action.

A majority in each call band, under 10 years call, between 10 and 20 years call, and over 20 years call, voted to suspend action for a limited period, and to hold the government to its promises.

There has been unprecedented engagement and focus over the last 6 months to improve our working lives and conditions, to make our profession sustainable, diverse, and of the highest quality.

Your work and commitment underpins and safeguards the rule of law, fair, robust and efficient trials, and public confidence in our criminal justice system.

The publicly funded criminal bar deserves much better.

Your voices must continue to be heard. In particular, talented practitioners at the start of their careers must be able to see a viable future, but all of you need to be paid properly for the vital work you do.

The criminal justice system from top to bottom has been hideously neglected for far too long. This week Sir Brian Leveson and Cressida Dick were the latest authoritative voices urging the government to deal with this profound crisis.

Your votes express perfectly how passionate and determined we are to address the deeply damaging effects of cuts to publicly funded advocacy. Your votes have made the difference. The process of restoring and rebuilding our profession has begun.

Prosecutors will see significant initial benefits from 1st September. This would not have happened without your examples, and the relentless campaign waged on your behalf.  You have had nothing for almost 20 years; now you will.

AGFS must see proposals to deal with the most acute problems (flat brief fees, cracks and remuneration for unused material) in November. It follows that this must involve significant investment of new money.

The respective reviews now announced must deliver.  The CBA and the profession will and must engage in these reviews.   This will require collaboration and consultation throughout the process.  The views of the membership and feedback will be crucial.

We are grateful to everyone who has voted and who has been engaged in this process. We have decided to suspend action for now.  But we know that you are still angry. This offer is not a solution – but provides an interim position.

We have made it clear that unless the CPS offer is implemented and meaningful solutions for AGFS are proposed in November, then all bets will be off. The mandate stands and your anger will not be contained indefinitely

Let’s stay strong.

Best wishes,

Chris Henley QC & Caroline Goodwin QC

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