Criminal barristers will reveal this afternoon if they are to take direct action in protest over legal aid fees. The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has proposed a ‘whole profession walkout’ on 1 July in response to a long-running dispute. It also proposed that prosecution and defence barristers refuse returns from 1 July.
The CBA intends to stage a national criminal justice summit after the walkout, if barristers have voted in favour of action.
The ballot closed at 5pm on Tuesday.
In his final Monday message before the ballot closed, chair of the CBA Chris Henley QC urged barristers to act. He wrote: ‘We have said enough. The issues have been set out comprehensively. You all work so hard. Please everyone, take this opportunity to vote.’
The ballot asked barristers: ’Do you support the CBA’s proposal for action now in respect of CPS Scheme C?' and 'Do you support the CBA’s proposal for action now in respect of AGFS Scheme 11?' Scheme C and Scheme 11 refer to graduated fee schemes.
A survey conducted by the CBA in April suggested that 95% of prosecuting barristers would walk out over pay.