Members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) will strike on the morning of 6 January following revelations that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) was £56m under budget during the last fiscal year.
CBA chairman Nigel Lithman QC of 2 Bedford Row revealed the strike in his newsletter yesterday, 2 December.
He wrote: “This week it came to light that the MoJ were £56 million “under budget” for the last fiscal year: this is exactly what the Criminal Bar has been saying.
“The effect of cumulative cuts since 2010 are still working their way through the system and are already on course to deliver even greater cuts to the Legal Aid spend for this year. And this is before the extensive cuts to civil/family legal aid introduced in April are taken into account.”
He added: “So why are the MoJ in such a rush to “slash & burn” the Criminal Bar out of existence without properly assessing the impact of their proposals?”
Lithman went on to ask the MoJ to rethink its course and work with the association in properly investigating the costs saved over the past year and the savings that still needed to be saved in the future.
He said: “This half a day’s “non-attendance” on the first day of term… will show the sincerity and strength of feeling among the criminal bar; it will demonstrate the importance of the role played by criminal advocates in the efficient disposal of criminal cases: put another way, it will give a glimpse of the future if our profession is dismantled into non-existence.”
The CBA first voted for conditional strike action last week (26 November 2013).