Solihull Barristers voted in favour of all-out strike - The Solihull Observer

Solihull Barristers voted in favour of all-out strike

Solihull Editorial 27th Aug, 2022   0

BARRISTERS are calling on the Government to understand the ‘hardship’ faced after they voted in favour of an all-out strike next month.

Members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) voted for the action to begin on September 5 following a dispute over jobs and pay.

Justice minister, Sarah Dines, said this ‘irresponsible decision’ will see more victims face further delays and distress.

Barristers have rejected a proposed 15 per cent rise in their fees for undertaking legal aid work.

But this increase – meaning they will earn £7,000 more per year – has been criticised for not being made immediately and only applying to new cases.

Michelle Heeley QC, leader of the Midlands Circuit and Barrister at No5 Barristers’ Chambers, which has a base in Birmingham, said the boost in fees will not affect the backlog of 60,000 cases, caused by the pandemic, waiting to be cleared in courtrooms across the country.

She added: “For the last several months, the CBA has attempted to motivate the government through a variety of actions to bring attention to the low pay junior barristers under three years call receive in this country.

“For just £12,700 a year, these young and eager professionals work an average of 60-hour weeks.

“That equals just over £4 an hour.

“Both prosecuting and defending members of the public, junior barristers uphold our right of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ for less than minimum wage.

“The Criminal Justice System cannot continue to underpay the youngest members of our profession and expect people to join the industry.

“Without personal financial backing and sacrifice, many barristers cannot afford this line of work, resulting in 25 per cent leaving for more lucrative sectors.

“It is because of this that we have chosen to strike.

“The Criminal Justice System will shut down until we can work with the government to create a solution that starts to address the many issues the Crown Court currently faces.”


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