Barristers' strike 'should come as no shock after funding cuts' - PCC

The West Midlands' police and crime commissioner says it should come as no shock that barristers have walked out and has called the Government 'reckless' for cutting funding to the criminal justice system for years.

The strike action is intended to last for four weeks
The strike action is intended to last for four weeks

Hundreds of criminal cases due to be heard at courts in the region will be postponed in the coming weeks as barristers strike over pay and working conditions, the Criminal Bar Association has said.

Barristers walked out of courts on Monday and Tuesday this week in a dispute over legal aid funding and the strikes are intended to span four weeks.

During the strikes, barristers will not accept new cases or take on work for colleagues.

But West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said it should not come as a shock as barristers have 'had enough'.

The Labour PCC said: “For years this Government has recklessly cut funding to the entire criminal justice system.

“It therefore shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody that barristers, who are sometimes having to take on cases that see them work for below the minimum wage, in circumstances where incomes have fallen nearly 30 per cent over the last two decades, have had enough.

“It is disappointing that the Government has chosen to unnecessarily starve the criminal justice system of cash, with the effect that it is victims of crime that suffer.”

Earlier this week leading West Midlands QC Michelle Heeley said there had been "huge underinvestment in the criminal justice system for more than a decade".

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the strikes were "regrettable" and would "only delay justice for victims".

The walkouts will increase by one day each week until a five-day strike from July 18 to 22.

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