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Criminal barristers vote to strike over pay rates

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​Criminal barristers have voted to strike in an escalating dispute with the government over funding for trials.

The vote by defence barristers is likely to cause chaos in the criminal courts in England and Wales.

Eight out of 10 barristers voted for the walkouts amid concerns the government will not improve a proposed increase in criminal Legal Aid.

The Legal Aid system is at the heart of justice - ensuring that all defendants get proper and fair representation.

An independent review of the future of the system, ordered by the government, told ministers they needed to increase funding by at least 15% to prevent a major crisis in criminal justice. Barristers say much more is needed to stop an exodus from criminal law to other branches of the profession.

Over the last decade the number of lawyers working in criminal justice - both barristers who appear before judges in court and solicitors who instruct them - has declined, as many say they cannot make a living anymore.

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