Criminal barristers in the UK are contemplating strike action unless the government increases their legal aid payouts, following a history of disputes regarding the low legal aid remuneration for the barristers.
The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) undertook a survey of its me3mbers with 96.5 per cent of criminal barristers saying they favoured taking strike action if the Government does not agree “to a substantial increase in criminal legal aid pay.”
A report from City AM said the CBA now plan an official ballot for strike action on the 14 February, if the government does not up its £35m per year offer to revive legal aid.
The CBA poll comes after the Bellamy report in legal aid in the UK, an independent review of legal aid system, said the Government should invest at least £135m per year into the system in order to nurse it “back to health after years of neglect.”
In response to the survey, 96.14 per cent of criminal barristers said the government’s offer of £35m a year would be “insufficient to ensure the long-term viability of the Criminal Bar.”
In a statement Jo Sidhu QC, chair of the CBA, said: “Government must now take the urgent action necessary to resolve the funding crisis that has left the criminal justice system on its knees and driven out hundreds of our colleagues who could no longer sustain a career on pay that has declined in real terms over the last 25 years.”