2 Dr Johnson's Buildings to Take Action Against Further Government Cuts That Justice Simply Cann


Following the announcement today by the Criminal Bar Association we have decided that no member of our chambers is prepared to accept instructions in legally aided criminal defence cases in which the representation order is granted on or after 1st April 2018. We will also fully support the days of action proposed by the Criminal Bar Association.

There is a crisis in the criminal justice system. It is one of funding. It is now systemic throughout the system. In the Court service, in the prison service, in the police and in the Crown Prosecution Service.

Over the years the Bar has borne more than its fair share of the cuts. Before the latest proposals were announced fees had already been cut, cut and cut again.

Not only has the government failed to increase fees introduced in April 2007 in line with rising inflation and the cost of living, it has repeatedly and significantly cut these fees. First in April 2010, then again in April 2011, then again in October 2011 and then finally in April 2012.

All of 2 Dr Johnson's Buildings are resolute that something needs to be done.

The latest fee changes which are proposed to be forced upon us represent yet another fee cut overall. They will, in our view, make it impossible to offer proper representation in criminal defence cases in the Crown Court.

We have two major concerns.

The first is for the impact on victims and witnesses as well as defendants when cases cannot find proper representation. It is a long acknowledged fact that quality representation shortens trials and makes the experience of witnesses and victims a less unpleasant one.

The second is on the junior Bar and, in the future, the Bar as a whole.

Over recent years the number of junior barristers remaining in criminal practice has been dwindling. In 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings we have always looked to help and support the most junior in our profession. They, after all, will form the experienced practitioners, the Q.C.s and the Judges of the future.

The proposed changes will only hasten the exodus of talent from the Bar at the bottom end. The time has come to take a stand.

Following the announcement today by the Criminal Bar Association we have decided that no member of our chambers is prepared to accept instructions in legally aided criminal defence cases in which the representation order is granted on or after 1st April 2018. We will also fully support the days of action proposed by the Criminal Bar Association.

Further to this we look forward to supporting an escalation of action in unity with the rest of the Criminal Bar. To this end, where other chambers have decided to operate a no returns policy we will not be willing to accept those briefs should they be offered to us.

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