St Ives Chambers response to CBA proposed action.

The St Ives Chambers criminal practice group, fully supported by Chambers, welcomes the CBA’s proposed forthcoming action. We share the view that the Government’s response to the Criminal Legal Aid Review is wholly inadequate. There is now no doubt that the funds proposed by CLAR, recommended as an immediate measure and as a bare minimum, will not be injected into the Criminal Justice System.

Those working within criminal justice have been propping the system up for too long. Their goodwill is exhausted.

All that work in the CJS know of its parlous state. Decades of underinvestment have been exposed by the pandemic. The backlog of cases is at a record high. A significant proportion of Magistrates’ Courts have been closed in the last decade, with a number of Crown Courts suffering the same fate. The Court estate is dilapidated and not properly maintained. The very junior are leaving the profession in record numbers, due to the inadequate remuneration. We could give dozens more examples.

From 27 June 2022 all members of the CPG shall participate in the action. We shall continue to refuse to take returns. We shall accept no new instructions, with Representation Orders from that date onwards. We shall also participate in days of action, whereby we shall not attend Court when defending. The first days of action are Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 June 2022.

We are keenly aware of the impact this shall have upon our clients, lay and professional. It is with great regret that we have been driven to this position, but we truly feel that the future of the profession is at stake.

If anybody has any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca Wade or Justin Jarmola as Head and Deputy Head of the CPG.