No Returns - Chambers Statement

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From 11th April 2022, members of Castle Gate Chambers will not accept returns of publicly funded defence cases. To be clear, this is a decision of last resort, and in direct support of the national action being taken by the Criminal Bar Association in relation to fees.

To quote the CBA directly: “Over the last 5 years, the Criminal Bar of England and Wales has lost approximately a quarter of its full time juniors and full time QCs. According to the Bar Council, by 2019/20 there were only 2,273 full time criminal barristers working in our jurisdiction. As a result, there are an increasing number of hearings, including trials, which are being adjourned due to the lack of available barristers to prosecute or defend. Low remuneration and high levels of stress are the two predominant factors which have driven the exodus of barristers from criminal work in recent years. It is clear that the majority of those criminal barristers who have remained feel that they are no longer able, through goodwill, to sustain a criminal justice system which is in crisis.”

Whilst we are acutely aware that the action will cause disruption, we feel it is both proportionate and necessary in order to sustain the future of a profession which has long been a fundamental cornerstone of British justice. Sadly, disruption is often a necessary component of achieving change; even when that change is for good. At the core of this action is an honestly and legitimately held belief that such change is desperately needed.

We remain grateful to all those we enjoy close working relationships with for their support. In return, we will continue to do all we can to discharge our professional duties with the usual levels of tenacity and skill throughout these continued challenging times for our legal system.