Criminal barristers threaten to walk out over pay row

updated on 26 April 2019

Criminal barristers in England and Wales have reported that they feel overworked and underpaid and would be willing to take direct action.

Over 2,000 barristers responded to a survey by the Criminal Bar Association with 99.3% agreeing that their current remuneration rates do not reflect the demands and responsibility of the job. Some 94.8% said that they would be prepared to take action, including walk-outs and strikes in order to protest the system which means that barristers can receive as little as £46.50 for a day’s work.

The chair of the Criminal Bar Association, Chris Henley QC said: “Our goodwill and professionalism has been abused for far too long. There has been no increases in fee levels for 20 years… It is beyond ridiculous.”

With eight out of 10 survey respondents saying that they did not feel valued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the relationship between barristers and the CPS has been described as “broken”.

The CPS is currently reviewing barrister fees in order to make them “fair, affordable and sustainable”. The Law Gazette reported that walk-outs could start as early as next month, with a series of one-day court walk-outs in the pipeline.