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Criminal barristers vote to go on strike in row over legal aid

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theguardian.com

Barristers specialising in criminal law have voted to go on strike in a row over legal aid funding, with several days of court walkouts expected from next week.The Criminal Bar Association (CBA), which represents barristers in England and Wales, announced the industrial actionafter a ballot of members.The planned action comes at a time of significant backlogs across crown courts, said to involve 58,271 cases.The lawyers are the latest profession to go on strike as rail workers plan action this week and amid reports of unrest among teaching staff and NHS employers.The CBA said 81.5% of the more than 2,000 members to respond supported industrial action.Jo Sidhu QC and Kirsty Brimelow QC from the CBA said: “This extraordinary commitment to the democratic process reflects a recognition among criminal barristers at all levels of call and across all circuits that what is at stake is the survival of a profession of specialist criminal advocates and of the criminal justice system which depends so critically upon their labour.“Without immediate action to halt the exodus of criminal barristers from our ranks, the record backlog that has crippled our courts will continue to inflict misery upon victims and defendants alike, and the public will be betrayed.”The strike action is intended to last for four weeks, beginning with walkouts on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 June, increasing by one day each week until a five-day strike from Monday 18 July to Friday 22 July.It means cases at which barristers are required will probably have to be postponed, including crown court trials.Barristers are expected to strike on picket lines outside court, including at the Old Bailey in London and at crown courts in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and

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