The Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, Jo Sidhu QC, has warned that “those victims of crime and defendants who want to prove their innocence won’t see their day inside court”, as he said the Government “refuses” to sit down and negotiate with striking barristers.
Strike action over pay and conditions within the criminal legal profession began across England and Wales last week, and a three-day walkout of criminal defence barristers from all courts started on Monday, as more than a quarter of the workforce has quit in the last five years and 300 walked away from the profession last year alone.
Speaking to LBC News, Sidhu QC said: “We’ve had continuing discussions with the Ministry of Justice, but I’m afraid to say to you the ministers are refusing to discuss with us, to sit around the table and negotiate the way through this problem.”
“And with the situation as bad as it is we’ve got now a situation within the criminal justice system which is not going to be resolved unless we talk it through.”
He added: “What we’re saying to the public is unless the government does enough to reinject funds within the system, we’re going to see a lot more people leaving and those victims of crime and defendants who want to prove their innocence won’t see their day inside court.”