Leeds barristers on strike. Photo: Iain Dalton
Leeds barristers on strike. Photo: Iain Dalton

Criminal barristers in England and Wales have voted in a ballot to accept a 15% pay rise. Strikes began in June and were escalated to indefinite action in September. That action is now suspended.

The government has promised that the 15% rise in fees for government-funded defence work will also apply to 60,000 cases in the massive backlog.

New justice secretary Brandon Lewis has also offered additional payments for court preparation work that barristers were not being properly paid for.

As part of the campaign, barristers have helped expose how the criminal justice system is falling apart due to a chronic lack of funding. Cuts to legal aid had meant a 35% drop in pay.

Kirsty Brimelow, chair of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA), described the offer as: “An overdue start. Its acceptance by barristers is on the basis that it is implemented – otherwise the CBA will ballot again to lift the suspension of action.”

Other workers will learn the lesson from this dispute: striking works, especially with such a weak and divided Tory government.