Striking Barristers

An open letter to the Times

Published: 24th June 2022

Sir, The lord chief justice has issued a warning shot to the Criminal Bar by raising the prospect of severe disciplinary sanctions against any barrister who strikes (“Top judge wants striking barristers to face misconduct charges”, Jun 23). Although he says in his latest memo sent to all judges that “the judiciary is not a party to the dispute”,which is set to escalate to court walkouts next week, he has instructed them to report the names of any barrister who takes such action.

The guidance is being read by many of us who prosecute and defend as an attempt to intimidate us. We are concerned that the independent office of the lord chief justice risks being seen as doing the job of a partisan enforcer for a government whose degrading of the justice system has been draining it of the very professionals on which it relies: barristers to prosecute, defend and provide judges.

Our action is about protecting these professionals, and the lord chief justice clearly cares about them, but his warning may have the effect of condemning the courts to a painful asphyxiation rather than providing the oxygen that we all, judges, barristers and those unwillingly caught up in the system, so urgently need.

Times Letter:

Caroline Goodwin QC also appeared on Time Radio with Henry Bonsu/

Caroline Goodwin QC, Trinity Chambers, former chair of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA); Chris Henley QC, Mountford Chambers, former chair CBA; Mark Whitehall, Colleton Chambers; Emily Pitts, Colleton Chambers, Andrew Wilkins, Cornwall Street Chambers, Oliver Woolhouse, Cornwall Street Chambers; Roderick Johnson QC, Goldsmith Chambers; Anthony Metzer QC, Goldsmith Chambers; Gordon Cole QC, Goldsmith Chambers; Barry Grennan, Kenworthy’s Chambers; Jonathan Laidlaw QC, 2 Hare Court; Christopher Coltart QC, 2 Hare Court; Ieuan Rees, Angel Chambers; Andrew O’Byrne QC, St John’s Buildings; Ella Embleton, Broadway House Chambers; David McGonigal, Broadway House Chambers; Nicola Hoskins, Broadway House Chambers; Peter Joyce QC, 1 High Pavement; David Brooke QC, KBW Chambers; Nicholas Campbell QC, KBW Chambers; Keir Monteith QC; Garden Court Chambers; David Emanuel QC, Garden Court Chambers, Rajiv Menon QC; Garden Court Chambers; Anya Lewis QC, Garden Court Chambers; Henry Blaxland QC, Garden Court Chambers; Mark George QC, Garden Court North; Mark Kimsey, Castle Chambers; Simon Eckersley, Castle Chambers; Julia King, Castle Chambers; Susan Meek, Rose Court Chambers; Mark Fraser, Rose Court Chambers; Allison Hunter QC, 23 Essex Street; Paul Bogan QC, 23 Essex Street; Christian Moll, Blackfriars Chambers; Jonathan Mole, 9 King’s Bench Walk; Shabeena Azhar, 9 King’s Bench Walk; Martin Rutherford QC, 15NBS Chambers; Tana Adkin QC, 15NBS Chambers; Gavin Holme, 4 King’s Bench Walk; Simon Csoka QC, Libertas Chambers; Siobhan Grey QC, Libertas Chambers; Adam Kane QC, Libertas Chambers; John Morgans, Octogon Chambers; Ben Knight, Central Chambers; Tony Shaw QC, Red Lion Chambers; Kate Bex QC, Red Lion Chambers; Reil-Karmy Jones QC, Red Lion Chambers; Christopher Paxton QC, Red Lion Chambers; Adam Wiseman QC, Red Lion Chambers; Jane Bewesey QC, Red Lion Chambers; Michelle Nelson QC, Red Lion Chambers; Simon Spence QC , Red Lion Chambers; Steven Kay QC, Head 9BR Chambers; Abbas Lakha QC, 9BR Chambers; Elizabeth Marsh QC, 9BR Chambers; Peter Glenser QC, 9BR Chambers; Justin Rouse QC, 9BR Chambers; Karim Khalil QC, Drystone Chambers; Michael Magarian QC, Drystone Chambers; Toby Hedworth QC, Trinity Chambers; Michael Holland, Furnival Chambers; Sally O’Neill QC, Furnival Chambers, Former Chair of the Criminal Bar Association; Mark Rhind QC, Exchange Chambers; Scott Brady, 3TG; John Femi-Ola QC, 3TG; Adam Davis QC, 3TG; Jeremy Wainwright QC; Timothy Hannam QC, Citadel Chambers; Katherine Goddard QC, Bank House Chambers; Mark Rainsford QC, 33  Chancery Lane