Barristers call off walkout after legal aid cuts suspended
Criminal barristers are said to have called off their industrial strike regarding the legal aid payments proposed by the Government. A deal has been reached with the Ministry of Justice, one that agrees for the suspension of pay cuts until the next general election is complete.
The Ministry of Justice reported that it had agreed to defer a number of proposed savings until next summer when they will go under review. The MoJ also said that they are still intending to save £215m from the annual legal aid budget by 2018-19, but for now there won’t be any cuts until after the general election.
Regardless of the deal met between barristers and the MoJ, a planned two day walkout from solicitors and probation officers was still scheduled to take place as they found no difference with the MoJ. The two day walkout took place from the 31st March to 1st April.
Meetings were held between Grayling, the Bar Council, who represents barristers in England and Wales respectively, along with the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) and the Law Society, whom represent solicitors in England and Wales also.
The scheduled review in 2015 is set to take into account reports from Sir Bill Jeffrey on advocacy, Sir Brian Leveson on streamlining the practices in court and a retired judge, Geoffrey Rivilin.
Barristers had previously started to boycott VHCCs as part of the industrial action. The Ministry of Justice and the criminal bar have now both agreed to continue negotiating over such complex fraud cases.
Criminal barristers joined alongside solicitors in two mass walkouts previously, one taking place in January and another earlier last month, something that disrupted cases in magistrates and crown courts across England and Wales.