Barristers strike Manchester 2022: when does the Criminal Bar Association take industrial action?

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The rally today will coordinate with other action taking place across the country

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has announced a series of indefinite strikes are set to take place from today (5 September) onwards, with Manchester set to be the scene of one of the country’s picket lines.

The action comes as a last resort, driven by the union’s “collective resolve to ensure the viability of the junior criminal bar, in order to guarantee the future sustainability of the criminal justice system for all of our communities, across the country.”

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The public show of unity follows months of virtual action by the union.

The CBA said: “Whilst strength and unity are expressed in national zoom meetings and realised across the profession, it is also very important that barristers publicly show their strength and support for each other, and for the junior bar, in order to continue to raise the profile of the crisis, and our action, in the media.

“The CBA thanks and welcomes the solicitors, HCAs, barristers from other practice areas and law students who have come and stood beside criminal barristers on court steps across the country.”

According to the union, this indefinite action will continue, with no further ballot initiated, unless and until there is a substantial positive movement from the Government.

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When will the action take place in Manchester?

Union members are set to meet outside Manchester Crown Court at 9am on Tuesday, 6 September.

A CBA spokesperson said: “Breakfast (open house for solicitors, legal executives, all counsel and clerks – free pastries and drinks) at Garden Court North chambers from 8am – 8.45am

“Then a short walk to Crown Square main steps – to arrive at 9 (until noon).

“Followed by an open house lunch (sandwiches) at Garden Court North, from noon until 2pm.”

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The industrial action will also take place at courthouses in London, Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, and Bristol.

What has the union said about the strike?

Kirsty Brimelow QC, who is the chair of the CBA, issued the following statement: “Government policies on toughness on crime and supporting victims are meaningless without the required proper investment in criminal barristers who deliver justice.

“As criminal barristers start their historic, last resort, indefinite strike action, it is not too late for the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor to change his legacy.

“Criminal barristers have stopped soldiering on through downtrodden criminal courts, they have stopped watching vulnerable people bounced into trials in 2024 with hands clasped in prayer that there will be anyone left to prosecute and defend,” she said.

“This is not a world class justice system as set out as the vision of the Ministry of Justice. It is not even a functioning justice system.”

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