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Barristers: Indefinite strike

Closed doors at the Old Bailey during earlier strike action by barristers in June. Photo Workers.

After nearly two months of intermittent industrial action, criminal barristers in England and Wales have voted to escalate to uninterrupted, indefinite strikes. 

The vote in favour of all-out action was approved by an overwhelming 79.5 per cent of ballots cast. Fewer than 10 per cent wanted to stop action.

The Criminal Bar Association members have been fighting over low pay, improved working conditions and improved funding for legal aid work, but after an initial derisory take it or leave it offer, government has refused even to meet them. 

The strong vote shows how angry the barristers are, both over the way they have been treated and by the possible imminent collapse of the legal aid system. Many have warned for years about the ever-worsening crisis in a process which should be helping the poorest in society to get justice. They have been ignored. 

The all-out action begins on 5 September. Without barristers present to represent defendants, Crown Court trials will be unable to take place. The two months of intermittent action saw 6235 court cases disrupted.