The Criminal Bar Association of England & Wales has voted to go on strike beginning September 5. Of the 2,273 members who voted, the overwhelming majority (79.%) approved the measure. As inflation in the U.K. is predicted to reach nearly 19% in coming months, the barristers are demanding a 25% pay raise from the government.
According to the BBC‘s legal correspondent:
If hearings or trials cannot take place because there are no barristers present to represent defendants, there won’t be any trials in which criminals are sent to prison and those who are innocent are acquitted. Victims, like defendants, will be left in limbo, unsure when they will see justice. Tentative plans to broker a deal behind the scenes by bringing forward payments have failed – partly because there is simply no trust between the profession and ministers who won’t meet them. Quite simply, this strike has been years in the coming. Criminal barristers are incredibly angry – and it’s very hard to see how this stand-off can be resolved any time soon.
Justice Minister Sarah Dines, a conservative party member, condemned the strike as “irresponsible” while opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer, a former barrister, put the blame on the government for doing “absolutely nothing” to resolve the matter prior to the vote.