England: Barristers vote to end strike and accept MoJ offer

Thousands of barristers have voted in favour of ending their industrial action and have accepted a £15 million offer from the Ministry of Justice over payment rates for reading evidence and documents in trials.

More than 3,000 barristers voted in the ballot of the Criminal Bar Association, which said that “anger and disillusionment” remained and that “the criminal bar is not going to be quiet”.

The offer was accepted by a narrow margin, with 51.5 per cent in favour.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said the result was “the right outcome for all – not least victims, witnesses and anyone encountering the criminal justice system.”

The money will go to the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme, the public fund for barristers on criminal legal aid work.

Angela Rafferty QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, said the result of the ballot was “neither a defeat nor a victory”.

She said: “This proposal is the beginning and not the end of our campaign to improve the broken system we all work in every day.”

She added: “The Criminal Bar has faced degradation and despair and it still does. This is a step forward. We must all ensure we do not take any more steps back.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We understand the strength of feeling that remains and are committed to working with the sector to support and strengthen the profession, making it fit for the modern age and accessible to those who seek to join it.”