In April this year, barristers took the almost unprecedented decision to strike. In September, that was ramped up to be an uninterrupted, rolling strike over pay. Yesterday, they put their wigs back on after the government offered a 15 per cent pay rise.
A total of 57 per cent of barristers voted in favour of the pay rise.
But it came after years of complaints about the system of legal aid being “pared to the bone”, resulting in income cuts of 35 per cent in the last decade.
Many young and junior lawyers said they were left on less than the minimum wage in some instances.
There is still a hefty backlog for lawyers to get through, with 60,000 cases yet to be heard.
The pay agreement is part of a wider reform, which Brandon Lewis, the justice secretary, said amounts to a £54m package.
It includes extra funding for defence barristers involved in pre-recording witnesses testimony, an initiative designed to reduce the trauma of appearing in court. The Ministry of Justice has also proposed a £5m rise per year for fees in the youth court from 2024-25.