Criminal justice

Bar strike: what you need to know

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) is carrying out days of strike action from 27 June 2022, escalating its protest to the government’s proposals on criminal legal aid.

Barristers strike over pay outside the Old Bailey London (June 2022): group of barristers with megaphone and placards reading "All out to save UK justice"
Photograph: Jonathan Goldberg

Since April, hundreds of barristers have adopted ‘no returns’ as part of a push for the government to uplift rates by 25%.

On Friday 17 June, CBA members voted in support of escalating action, including:

  • court walkouts
  • refusing to accept new instructions
  • no returns

The action is expected to intensify pressure and existing backlogs in the courts.

We’ve updated our guidance for solicitors during the CBA strike action.

Read our guidance

Strike days

The first walkout began on Monday 27 June.

The ‘days of action’ will escalate each week, culminating in a five-day walkout from Monday 18 July to Friday 22 July.

The action will then be suspended for a week before resuming on 1 August with a five-day walkout.

Barristers will walk out every other week subject to a satisfactory response from the government.

See a list of planned days of action

Cases affected by Bar action

If you’re a criminal defence representative and need to contact the court about any case affected by the CBA action, include the words “BAR ACTION” in the subject line of your email, so the relevant judge can be made aware as quickly as possible.

Fee increases for September 2022

On 30 June, the government announced an initial increase to criminal legal aid fees, coming into force in September 2022.

Find out more about the initial increase

Make-or-break year for criminal defence

We are continuing to lobby the government to announce further fee increases to meet the 15% minimum increase for solicitors recommended in the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid.

“This is a make-or-break moment for the future of the beleaguered criminal justice system,” said Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce.

“The short-term impact of direct action will pale in significance against the permanent departure of ever more criminal defence solicitors, barristers and law firms if this demanding work in the public interest is not properly rewarded.”

Read more about our campaign on criminal legal aid

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