Barristers have voted to call off their planned strike action over fees in criminal cases, but warn that the mandate for action still stands.
In the announcement, CBA chair, Chris Henley QC, and vice-chair, Caroline Goodwin QC, said that barristers in each of the three call bands (under 10 years, between 10 and 20, and over 20) had voted to ‘suspend action for a limited period, and to hold the government to its promises’. The offer includes a pay increase for cases undertaken for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and a commitment to adjust some payments under the advocates’ graduated fee scheme (AGFS). The AGFS is the remuneration system for legal aid defence work. The government has already committed itself to a review of the whole scheme, to be finalised by next year.
However, the statement from the CBA contains a sting in the tail: ‘[U]nless the CPS offer is implemented and meaningful solutions for AGFS are proposed in November, then all bets will be off. The mandate stands and your anger will not be contained indefinitely.’