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Barristers threaten to strike over low pay from CPS | UK News

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Criminal barristers have threatened to go on strike over a pay row with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Almost 95% of the lawyers are prepared to take action, according to a survey by the Criminal Bar Association (CBA).

It said the majority of barristers were in favour because they had grown frustrated with their pay rates, which have not gone up in 20 years.

A barrister holding his brief and wig
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Almost 95% of criminal barristers are said to be willing to take action

Spending a day preparing a complex court case can yield just £46.50 – effectively less than the minimum wage.

CBA chairman Chris Henley QC said the survey results were proof of a “broken” relationship with the CPS.

He added: “There has been no investment for 20 years, nothing, it is unsustainable to carry on like this.

“The public would be appalled if they knew how bad things have become, change is needed immediately.

“These astonishing responses from front-line prosecutors, from the most experienced QCs to the most junior barristers in the early stages of their careers, show how broken our criminal justice system has become.”

Mr Henley said a failure to improve pay for barristers was a consequence of government cuts to the CPS budget, which he said had also left it struggling to deal with increasing numbers of complicated cases.

Lawyer
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The CPS said it had begun a review of its prosecution fee schemes

The government announced extra funding for criminal defence barristers’ trial fees last year after they went on strike in protest at a new system for determining their legal aid payments.

But Richard Atkins QC, chair of the bar, said more funds needed to be committed to ensure barristers were paid “fairly”, adding: “The many barristers who are instructed by the CPS perform a vital public function, without whom the system of justice in this country would not operate.”

The CPS said it had begun a review of its prosecution fee schemes, but warned that it could take months for the required work to be completed.

“We have already begun our review and understand the wish for this to be agreed quickly,” a spokesman said.

“However, there is a significant amount of research and analysis needed to make sure we get a broad and deep understanding of the issues with the current schemes. This work will take at least four months.

“We are committed to getting this right and will keep the profession updated throughout the process.”

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