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Criminal Bar Association "No Returns".

2
Apr

No. 1 High Pavement Chambers

The members of these Chambers are proud to have prosecuted and defended many of the most serious and complicated cases across the East Midlands and beyond for well over 30 years. Many members of Chambers have been elevated to the rank of Queen’s Counsel and / or gone on to be appointed judges. We have helped forge and maintain the Criminal Justice System of this country, which has been the envy of the world for centuries and been emulated by so many given its universal standing.

Those undertaking this kind of work always understood that they could never hope to attain the level of income earned by those operating in the private sector.

However, the past 25 years have seen a series of savage cuts to our fees whilst we have had to keep up with a deluge of new legislation and adapt to it. In short, we are doing infinitely more for something close to half of what we were earning in 1998.

Over the past five years, about half the QCs and a third of the junior bar has left because it no longer provides a sustainable level of income. The Criminal Bar is dying, and it will not die alone. Justice, hope and our standing in the world are all in jeopardy as a direct consequence.

We believe the people of this country are entitled to and deserve far better. Auld LJ called the Bar a “National asset” and we know he was right. Our Criminal Justice System is part of this country’s DNA and, if it was ever to be lost, much of our heart and soul would be lost forever too.

Accordingly, we feel driven to support the CBA’s call, to initially withdraw cooperation by refusing defence case returns from the 11th April.

We are fighting not merely for our survival, but the survival of the Criminal Justice System in this country. British Justice was always the hallmark of excellence. It has been neglected and abused to the point of near extinction.

We are used to fighting for justice. We do it every day of our lives. We are called to do so once again. It is a matter of life and death for us all. We must not fail!

Michael Auty, QC

April 2022

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