Emergency deal with treasury grants 15% pay rise for prosecution barristers

updated on 06 February 2023

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Prosecution advocates will be offered a 15% pay rise to encourage barristers to take up cases once again for the crown, following an emergency deal with the treasury.

Max Hill KC, director of public prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), announced on Twitter stating that the CPS “secured necessary additional funding” from  the treasury to “press ahead with increases in prosecution fees to restore parity with defence fees”.

Hill said that he’d already shared this news with the Bar Council, the body that represents around 17,000 barristers across England and Wales.

The deal became necessary as criminal law specialists advised of the shortfall in barristers willing to take instructions from the crown. This reluctance is thought to be a reaction to the rise in criminal legal aid rates made by former Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis.

Lewis, who acted under Liz Truss’ brief administration, agreed to a 15% pay rise to criminal aid rates to settle the ongoing strike by criminal defence barristers. This move created an inequality between the amount that defence and prosecution criminal specialists at the Bar could earn, leading to many refusing crown instructions.

Following this, the CPS reported that it was struggling to instruct advocates, triggering trial delays and postponements.

Hill commented on the deal: “This is the right outcome. I have been clear that a fair justice system requires fees for prosecution and defence work to be the same. I am pleased that this has been recognised and we will be funded for this increase.”