UK government to open negotiations with striking barristers following ‘constructive’ meeting
The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has said it will call off a demonstration, planned for this Thursday, following an introductory meeting with the UK’s new justice secretary Brandon Lewis.
In a joint statement, the CBA and Bar Council said the introductory meeting had been “constructive” as the barrsiters’ trade bodies said “detailed conversations now will take place as a matter of urgency”.
“All are committed to finding a resolution acceptable to all and for the future of the criminal justice system,” the trade bodies said.
The introductory meeting comes after former justice secretary Dominic Raab previously failed to meet with the CBA throughout the months long dispute over legal aid fees, that saw barristers vote to strike last month.
The CBA said it had decided to pause its weekly protest this week, in light of the opening of “detailed discussions of the issues underpinning the ongoing action by criminal law barristers.”
The comments come after the CBA’s new chair Kirsty Brimelow said “significant” positive movement on the part of the government, including an immediate 15 per cent hike to aid fees, could end the strike.
The UK’s MoJ has offered to hike fees on all new cases by 15 per cent, but has so far refused to apply the higher fees to the currently backlogged cases.
Secretary of State for Justice, Brandon Lewis, said the meeting had “constructive” as he called on “striking barristers to return to work” and said “discussions will continue to deliver for victims.”