Libertas Chambers will be supporting the Criminal Bar Association policy

All members of Libertas Chambers will be supporting the CBA policy of not accepting returned AGFS cases from Monday 11th April 2022.

AGFS cases now produce fees which are less than half of what was paid 20 years ago, without taking into account inflation. In those 20 years, inflation has aggregated the cost of living to 80% more than in 2002. The fees are intolerable and cannot sustain a sufficient number of able criminal barristers who are willing to do legally aided criminal work. The retention rate at the Criminal Bar is now hitting crisis levels. There are now not enough barristers nationally to cover all the work. Successive governments have operated as though the future problems are just that, in the future, and so not their short-term political concern. We have warned the MOJ year on year for decades of the pending crisis that is now unfolding daily.

We have repeatedly been promised increases but instead have seen cut after cut, and purported increases which were nothing more than disguised cuts. At a time when inflation will hit 10% this year, fees continue to decline even when taking into account the paltry offer made by the Secretary of State for Justice.

We recognise that this will cause inconvenience to our solicitors and anxiety for defendants. However, we are convinced that if action is not taken now to halt the decline, it will be too late to reverse the decline in the future. We thank our solicitors for their patience in the weeks and months ahead.

Simon Csoka QC

Head of Chambers