Criminal lawyers vote to end strike after accepting government pay offer | UK News

Criminal lawyers in England and Wales have voted to end their strike after accepting a public sector pay offer.

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) confirmed the end of the industrial action, which had stalled many cases.

In a statement on Twitter, it said: “The Criminal Bar has voted to accept the proposal from the Government.

“With 57% voting to accept the offer from the government, action is suspended from 6pm tonight.”

It comes after the Justice Secretary proposed more reforms to fees for legal aid work, which the Government said amounted to a further £54 million.

The CBA said the criminal justice system remained “chronically underfunded” but it would respect members’ decision and end the strike.

Barristers will be able to accept new cases from Monday evening and will return to court on Tuesday.

They had initially been offered a 15% fee increase from the end of September – an extra £7,000 a year – but were told it would only apply to new cases.

An improved offer from the Ministry of Justice applied the increase to “the vast majority of cases currently before the Crown Court”.

Justice Minister Brandon Lewis said he was “pleased that lawyers have now agreed to return to work”.

He added: “This breakthrough is a result of coming together and restarting what I hope will be a constructive relationship as we work to reduce the backlog and ensure that victims see justice done more quickly.”

The High Court had recently warned that strike delays to trials may not be a good enough reason to keep defendants in custody if the dispute drags on into November.

Barristers started their action in the summer – initially on alternating weeks and refusing specific work – before escalating it into a continuous walkout last month.

The CBA argued that real wages had fallen by an average of 28% since 2006.

Some attorneys said they sometimes earned less than the minimum wage for public service when they factored in the number of hours they put in.

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