Criminal lawyers in England and Wales will go on a continuous strike after their wage dispute with the government escalates.
Members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) withdrew every other week and voted in favor of an indefinite and uninterrupted strike.
The total strike actually begins when union action resumes on Tuesday, although the official start date is September 5, because in the meantime the ongoing pattern of week-long and week-long strikes continues.
On Friday, when the lawyers had their last business day before the action escalated, CBA chairman Jo Sidhu QC had to apologize to London Judge Mark Lucraft QC for missing a court hearing while took part in the strike.
Mr. Sidhu represents a vulnerable man accused of murder in a trial that begins at the Old Bailey in October.
Last week, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of doing “absolutely nothing” to resolve labor disputes as it emerged that the Secretary of Justice was on vacation when the results of the ballot were announced.
Dominic Raab was on leave with his family in Surrey until Thursday, although a spokesperson said he was in regular contact with officials from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
He hasn’t met with the CBA since members took trade union action in April, but undersecretaries have met with the group regularly.
The former foreign minister was targeted in August last year for vacationing in Crete during the Taliban’s takeover of the Afghan capital Kabul.
According to MoJ data, more than 6,000 court hearings have been halted due to the controversy over the government’s established terms and rates for legal aid work.
Criminal lawyers will receive a 15% commission increase from the end of September, which means they will earn an extra £ 7,000 per year.
But there has been anger that the proposed salary increase will not take effect immediately and will only apply to new cases, not those already overdue waiting to be dealt with by the courts.
Mr. Raab accused the lawyers of “holding justice in exchange for a ransom”, writing in the Daily Mail: “My message to the ACB is simple.
“We are increasing your pay. Now your actions are only harming the victims, increasing the legal backlog and hampering our efforts to make our roads safer.
“The criminal justice system deserves better”.
But London’s commissioner for victims, Claire Waxman, blamed Raab’s “inaction” and said that “the only ones responsible for holding ‘justice for ransom’ are those who have failed to fund a functioning justice system” , as it warned that justice will “crush to a standstill” following the strike, with thousands of victims affected.