Criminal prosecutors secure 15 per cent pay hike as part of emergency funding deal
Criminal prosecutors in England & Wales will be given a 15 per cent pay hike to lure them back to court after striking an emergency funding deal.
Barristers will receive the same fees for carrying out both defence and prosecution work after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) secured extra cash via a deal with the Treasury.
The Treasury’s deal restores parity in pay between defence and prosecution work after the UK’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) increased legal aid fees by 15 per cent following the months’ long barristers’ strike.
The barristers’ strike saw criminal defence lawyers take industrial action from March to October 2022 before they were offered a £54m pay deal by Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis.
The MoJ’s pay deal led to a gap in fees, with defence work paid more highly than prosecution work.
This in turn led to concerns around a worsening of the UK’s Crown Court backlogs, following warnings barristers were choosing to carry out defence work over prosecution work.
In January, Criminal Bar Association (CBA) chair Kirsty Brimelow KC warned that “prosecutors are not prepared to prosecute in cases where their fee is… less than their defence counterpart”.
Brimelow explained the pay gap had begun to see self-employed barristers refuse to work for CPS and instead opt to only carry out defence work.
The CBA chair today welcomed the pay deal as she said it is “hard fought for welcome news”.
“The increased funding is a significant positive move in the trudge to a functioning criminal justice system,” Brimelow said.