UK Barristers Threaten Strike Action Over Below Minimum Wage Salaries Paying below the minimum wage is illegal, so how are UK barristers letting this slide? In the UK, barristers can be paid as little as £46.50 for a day’s work preparing a complex court case – effectively less than the minimum wage. Rates have not increased in 20 years, according to the Criminal Bar Association (CBA), and now they demand change. The law employees are threatening strike action.
CBA chair Chris Henley QC said: “The criminal bar has spoken with one voice. He added: “Police forces have been denied the resources they need and now can’t cope with soaring serious crime rates. The Crown Prosecution Service has been battered by savage cuts to its budget and lacks the capacity to deal with the increasing numbers of complex cases.”
Nearly all of the 2,050 barristers who prosecute responded to the Criminal Bar Association’s survey on prosecution fees, the association said. 94.8% of those who responded answered ‘yes’ when asked if they were prepared to take action.
CBA chair Chris Henley QC said: ‘Our goodwill and professionalism has been abused for far too long. There have been no increases in fee levels for 20 years. You can spend a whole day at court presenting a serious and complex case for £46.50. It is beyond ridiculous. Or spend hours preparing a difficult sex case trial for £55.
Last year the government proposed to increase spending on the revised Crown court fee scheme for advocates by £15m after criminal barristers refused to accept new work for a number of weeks. Despite voting to accept the £15m, members of the criminal bar became angered at the delay in implementing the scheme, while the Law Society revealed that the proposals were actually worth only £8.6m.
More than two million workers saw their pay jump this month as the
National Living Wage jumps to £8.21 an hour. This is the hourly rate for those aged 25 or over – and working in Britain. The minimum wage for those aged 16-24 also went up, while the pay for apprentices increased by an extra 20p an hour. It’s part of a long-standing Tory pledge to deliver a rate of £9-an-hour for over 25s by 2025. The minimum wage for other age groups also increased from £7.38 to £7.70 for 21-24 year olds, from £5.90 to £6.15 for 18-20 year olds and from £4.20 to £4.35 for 16-17 year olds.