Monday, June 06, 2005

Barristers Going On Strike

There have been reports in the press again that barristers are planning a strike due to fee payments. This is a story that has been lurking for sometime as barristers have been caught between the 'cab rank' rule (the principle that if they accept work they accept to deal with all of the case) and new plea and case management hearings. Basically barristers are being asked to do more work for less money, and in doing the new work they are likely to do less work generally because they are involved in these longer new style hearings.

I have heard of rumours of barristers striking at different Crown Courts over the past few weeks. It now seems that all barristers practicing in crime are going to strike together. The strike action could seriously affect cases and effectively bring the criminal justice system to a standstill. But for what it is worth I applaud the action taken collectively by the Bar. They have shown in recent months that they are well organised and can act together without squabbling. I think that they have a real issue that needs to be dealt with but I can see Joe Public whinging saying that fat cat lawyers are protecting their own interests. Well the truth of the matter is that they are trying to ensure that they do not suffer from what is nothing less than a wage cut.

I am jealous of the fact that the Bar are so organised and when they decide to strike they strike together as a body. Us solicitors are in trouble over criminal legal aid and there have been a number of meetings or rallies but I doubt for one moment that you will ever so us strike together as a body. If we were able to organise ourselves we may have prevented the damage that has already been done to the criminal justice system.

No comments: