25 Bedford Row Supports Days of Action
Members of 25 Bedford Row fully support taking days of action in support of the future of the criminal defence bar and to prevent further crisis in the criminal justice system.
Criminal barristers made the difficult but resounding decision last weekend to take action to ensure the survival of the independent criminal bar. Chambers stands shoulder to shoulder with those who have decided to take this unprecedented and difficult decision to not attend court. No member of chambers takes this action lightly: we are aware that it may cause significant disruption and distress to our clients’ cases, particularly for the vulnerable and those in custody.
We at 25 Bedford Row are totally committed to fearless defence of the accused. However, the future of the criminal bar is under significant threat. Years of chronic underfunding have brought about a significant backlog in cases long before the pandemic began. 10% of barristers practicing criminal law have left in the past year. Without urgent action, more will leave and the public, let alone the administration of justice in England and Wales, will suffer. We cannot stand by and watch the decimation of the profession and the ruination of fair trials and open justice.
We hope that in taking action, the government will fully implement the demands of the Criminal Bar Association, the recommendations of the Bellamy Review, and commit to proper funding of the criminal bar.
The Lord Chief Justice has made plain in his announcement that those barristers who take this action risk being reported by the Presiding Judge for professional misconduct. 25 Bedford Row will strive to support any of our team who finds themselves in this situation. While decisions to take action are to be taken individually, this is a fight for justice and one which 25 Bedford Row wholeheartedly supports.