“Strike action will present further impacts on victims”
22 August 2022
Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has released a statement highlighting the impact the barristers’ strike will have on victims.
Courts have seen several days of disruption over lawyer walkouts in recent weeks, but members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) have today (August 22) voted on staging an indefinite, uninterrupted strike in England and Wales next month as part of an ongoing row with the government over pay and legal aid cuts.
Donna Jones, also national Victim’s Lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has responded by saying the impact of the strike action from July means trials for some of the worst crimes have been delayed and further strike action will double down on this impact.
The CBA is asking for a 25% rise in pay for legal aid work when they represent defendants who cannot afford lawyers.
Proposed strike action would begin on 5 September.
She said: “Courts in England and Wales are already dealing with a large backlog of cases due to the pandemic, and now this strike action will present further impacts on victims waiting to receive justice.
“Following the Sir Christopher Bellamy review into legal aid last year, the Government offered a 15% increase in legal aid fees to barristers but they have rejected it.
Commissioner Jones concluded: “The impact from the previous strike action from July has already meant trials for some of the worst crimes have been delayed. If convicted, this means dangerous people have been on our streets for longer than they should be.
“Any further delays could result in victims completely disengaging from the process which could mean potentially dangerous people will walk free without ever being put before a court.
“The impact on victims waiting for their case to be heard can be almost as impactful as the alleged incidents themselves.
“Any victim concerned about their case being affected by the strike should contact the witness care team via their local police force.”