Legal aid: why lawyers are on strike

Thousands of criminal lawyers in England and Wales are on strike from today over low wages and the funding of legal aid in the UK.

Data from the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) shows that 22% of junior criminal justice attorneys have resigned since 2016 and the number of junior crime attorneys specializing in crime fell 11% from 2,553 to 2,273 between 2016-17 and 2019-20, states it The times.

A key factor is the low pay. Newly trained criminal lawyers made an average pre-tax profit of just £12,200 in 2019-20, the study finds Garden Court North Chambers, a collection of human rights lawyers. This compares to the median median UK household income for the same year being £30,500.

ministers “hesitate”

The CBA has accused ministers of “hesitating” on implementing a recommended 15% increase in legal aid – a fundamental part of the justice system in England and Wales that allows people who cannot afford legal aid to have access to a lawyer obtain.

The increase was recommended as part of an independent review, which said an extra £135m a year was needed to get the sector back to health. It was described by the CBA as the “bare minimum necessary to prevent the system from collapsing,” the CBA reported BBC.

but The Journal of the Bar Association reported last month that an analysis of the Justice Department’s proposals found that criminal justice attorneys would only get a 9% increase, rather than “the often-cited 15%”.

“The government’s response sends a clear message that the Justice Department is simply not serious about handling this crisis,” Law Society President I. Stephanie Boyce said in a statement. “The overall package falls woefully short of the minimum deemed necessary to keep the criminal defense network operational.”

Funding for legal aid has been cut and frozen over the years, with the CBA reporting that criminal lawyers’ real earnings have fallen 28% over the past two decades. Corresponding The times83% of criminal defense attorneys “have incurred personal debt or used savings during the coronavirus pandemic.”


Starting today, nearly 2,500 criminal lawyers will impose a “no-return” policy, which according to The Times means “turning down cases handed to them by other lawyers who were supposed to appear but are unable to do so because another trial has defected.” is”.

This will likely have a domino effect within the criminal justice system, halting other trials and “piling up further delays in a system already suffering from backlogs from the pandemic”. The Daily Mail reported that there are already more than 60,000 cases awaiting hearing in England and Wales.

According to the BBC, around 90% of defense lawyers support the strike action.

“We have already lost too many of our colleagues who can no longer afford to maintain their commitment to criminal work and who have left our ranks in desperation and desperation,” said CBA Chairman Jo Sidhu.

“Every day we lose more … The sustainability and diversity of criminal law is already at risk.” Legal aid: why lawyers are on strike

Fry Electronics Team

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