Thursday, 16 July 2015

Criminal Bar Association votes to support Criminal Solicitors protest

Still too little too late? I think so. But at present slowly but surely there is a growing and organised opposition to the latest round of cuts to criminal defence lawyers fees. Remember criminal solicitors have had no case fee increases since about 1992 AND take a %15 fee cut in the last year and a half or so. The last bit of the cut took effect on 1st July and criminal solicitors have slowly come together area by area and voted not to take on any new representation order work and do only the essential duty work.

The Criminal Bar Asoociation last night voted in effect support their colleagues stand - see the press release below.

For both I think the decade or more of sticking their heads in the sand has meant that it is now too late to avoid a fundamental change in the criminal justice system. Standards will be lowered all round at great cost and for little saving.

However better late than never to give active opposition a go and at least think of putting up a fight before being wiped out.

Let's see if all this gathers momentum with court backlogs etc or just fizzles out alongside the whole criminal justice system.

Michael Gove will need all his skills to avoid this potential land mine as these latest cuts could could could be the straw that broke the camels back. I mean imagine being paid less for work done now than work done over 20 years ago.

CBA Release - 15.07.15

CBA Release

The CBA membership has voted in favour of no new work and ‘no returns’ to support solicitors' action by 982 votes to 795 votes, equating to 55% in favour and 45% against. The executive will meet later today to determine the next steps in light of this result.

Francis Fitzgibbon has been elected to the position of Vice-Chair of the CBA.

The ballot question asked CBA members whether they would be prepared to refuse to accept new work with a representation order dated after 1st July 2015 and to refuse returned work ('no returns'). The purpose of this action is to support solicitors in their ongoing action to reverse the 8.75% cut to LGFS fees imposed on 1st July

'No returns' is a withdrawal of goodwill by criminal barristers. In normal circumstances barristers travel to courts all over the country at very short notice to cover hearings in colleagues' cases where diary clashes arise. Many of these hearings are not remunerated but they are fundamental to the efficient running of Crown Courts.

The CBA Executive has already circulated a protocol for 'no returns' in the light of the fact that some sets have already indicated a desire to adopt the ‘no returns’ policy. Given the seriousness of this action and in order to avoid professional conduct implications, there needs to be an opportunity to inform professional and lay clients, and to make representations to Court Managers and Judges that cases be rescheduled to avert clashes that can be identified in advance. The CBA Executive will consider how best this might be achieved at its meeting this evening.

The AGM will now be held at 18:30 today, to follow on from the meeting of the Executive.

For media enquiries contact:

James Rossiter of Morgan Rossiter

07985117887 or 0203 195 3240

Date added: Wednesday 15th July 2015

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