The Results Are In - Criminal Bar Association Prosecution Survey

Vice Chair of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) and Head of Trinity's Criminal barristers, Caroline Goodwin Q.C. goes through the results of the CBA's recent Prosecution Survey in this week's Monday Message.

Over 2000 practitioners from Circuits across England and Wales took part in the online survey, overwhelmingly rejecting the Criminal Bar's working arrangements with the CPS. Whilst the CPS scheme was set up in 2001, rather than the rates increasing since then, or even remaining static, they were in fact cut by 5% in 2012.

99.36% of respondents did not believe that the current rates of remuneration for prosecution advocacy reflected the demands, skill and responsibility the work involved. Against that background, another key finding was that, despite ongoing negotiations with the DPP and CPS Chief Executive, if all other routes were ultimately exhausted, 94.83 % of respondents said that, in principle, they would be prepared to take action (potentially up to and including no returns and days of action) in order to achieve their reasonable requests for change.

The survey also highlighted a worrying trend of criminal barristers simply moving away from prosecution work or the Bar altogether.

Commenting on the findings Caroline Goodwin Q.C. said "It needs to be remembered that as the independent Bar we are part of a wider public service. Society demands that ordinary members of the public can go about their ordinary day-to-day lives knowing that, albeit they are anxious and concerned about the rise in violent crime, that an independent and effective Criminal Bar is able to play its part."

The results of the survey have been widely publicised in the press, including in The Times and The Mirror, with CBA Chair, Chris Henley Q.C. speaking to a wide range of press representatives over the coming days. In his view: “These astonishing responses from frontline prosecutors, from the most experienced QCs to the most junior barristers in the early stages of their careers, show how broken our criminal justice system has become.”

Given the extensive engagement in the research process, the CBA plans to shortly send out a similar survey regarding criminal defence fees.

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