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The Fourth Week of Action – w/c 18.07.22

Dear Colleague,

The next days of action will be Monday 18th July, Tuesday 19th July, Wednesday 20th July, Thursday 21st July and Friday 22nd July.

We confirm that the action will continue unless and until there is a substantive movement from Government that we can bring back to the membership in the form of a further ballot. We are applying pressure to Government at every level to achieve that movement. Government is fully aware that the level of disruption to court business across our jurisdiction has been extensive and severe. That is a testament to the resoluteness and determination of criminal barristers everywhere who are demanding a fair and reasonable settlement to secure our long-term futures.

We have met with senior civil servants again today to press for a decision to be made on the question of whether the MoJ will apply any increase in our fees under AGFS to the 58,000 cases in the current backlog. We have also called for a further urgent meeting with the new Minister whom we met on Tuesday.

As you know, Government intends to lay a statutory instrument for fee increases no later than 21st July. Consequently, our national solidarity in taking action next week is critical.

Monday 18th July – Day of Action – London, 
Palace of Westminster, at 10.30am and 1.30pm 

  • A delegation of barristers will attend at the Palace of Westminster to meet with MPs between 10.30am and 12 noon. If you would like to form part of the delegation, please email Aaron to reserve your place. Places are limited due to the capacity of the room. We are particularly keen to include members who reflect the diversity of the very junior bar, supported by a representative selection of Silks.
  • At 1.30pm members from all Circuits are invited to begin assembling outside the entrance to the Palace of Westminster (St Stephen’s Gate). We will then pass through security (airport style so allow plenty of time) and assemble in Westminster Hall at 2.45pm. From there, each member is entitled to proceed to Central Lobby, in order to ask to see their MP. You can notify your MP that you will be attending, and invite them to meet with you, in your capacity as their constituent, by utilising this link.  It takes only a few minutes. 
  • Please attend in your robes if you feel comfortable doing so, in order to draw the attention of the public and the press in the Central Lobby. 
  • You are encouraged to contact your local press, who may wish to report your visit, and any meeting that you have with your MP, or the fact that your MP was not available, or declined, to meet with you. 
  • In the event that your MP is not available to meet with you, you will be entitled to leave a ‘green card’ notification of your visit at Central Lobby, generating an obligation for your MP to make contact with you ASAP to discuss your concerns about the crisis in the criminal courts.
  • We encourage you to attend regardless of whether or not your MP is available or agrees to meet with you. You have a democratic right to attend at Parliament to lobby your MP and, by doing so, in company with a large number of your colleagues, you will be drawing attention to the crisis in the criminal courts.
  • ue to numbers, it may be that we proceed to Central Lobby in groups, as directed by the Sergeant at Arms, who has been provided with notification of our intention. Arrangements will be confirmed to you at the venue, on the day.
  • No banners or signs are permitted inside the Palace of Westminster – please do not bring any with you on Monday, there will be nowhere to leave them.
  • You are permitted, and encouraged, to bring with you a copy of the Parliamentary briefing note which is available here to give to your MP in the event that they agree to meet with you. You are not permitted to approach MPs within the House to lobby but, if they approach you, you may provide them with the briefing and explain the purpose of your visit.
  • If you are under 7 years call, and based outside of the South Eastern Circuit, and you wish to attend, then in the event that your chambers agrees to finance your standard train fare, your chambers will be reimbursed for that cost by the CBA (please retain receipts). 
  • You will be expected to maintain exceptionally high standards of professional decorum at all times, as you would do ordinarily.

Monday 18th July – Day of Action – Circuits 

Colleagues will begin assembling outside the following court centres from around 9am:

  • Manchester Civil Justice Centre (proceeding to Crown Square for 10.15am)
  • Birmingham Crown Court
  • Winchester Crown Court

If you would like to travel to any of the court centres at which colleagues are assembling, please consider whether replicating the arrangements made by the Northern Circuit may assist you, or members of your circuit, to do so.

A designated CBA coordinator may make a statement from the court steps from between 10am and 10.30am Exact timings and arrangements will vary according to press attendance and the preferences of the local bar, so please arrive in good time.

You may wish to robe but are not required to do so. The important thing is that you are there, in solidarity with your colleagues.

If you are a prosecutor, or otherwise not participating in the day of action, please do not feel anxious about attending at court. If you are able to assemble with your colleagues before your scheduled hearing, or during any court breaks, to show solidarity, that would be very much appreciated.

Tuesday 19th July – Day of Action

A reminder that there will be a national zoom meeting for all CBA members at 10.30am. The link will be sent to you by email on Monday 11th July.

Attendance is strictly limited to CBA members, so once in receipt of the link, please do not circulate it or make it public.

Key Message – Diversity 

We continue to encourage all circuits, when engaging with their local media this week, to focus on the fact the most junior members of the Criminal Bar are also the most diverse members of our profession. Continuing to recruit a diverse and representative intake of pupils and retain them through the early years of practice, is key to securing diversity at all levels of seniority in the future, including at the highest levels of judicial office.

Remember, our unity is our strength.

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