Refusal to accept publicly-funded Crown Court Instructions

In line with advice issued by the Criminal Bar Association, following a consultation with its members, it is with regret that our Criminal team at Central Chambers have individually decided not to accept instructions to defend cases under the new AGFS scheme coming into effect on 1st April 2018. This relates to all publicly-funded Crown Court work.

This decision will result in any Crown Court Criminal Cases being refused if granted public funding on or after the 1st April 2018.

2015 protest

We will also not be accepting Pro Bono work, on cases that should attract a funding certificate. To do so would undermine the effectiveness of the direct action being taken.

It is felt by members that this sacrifice is necessary, if we do not try to make a stand and make a change to an already creaking system then the quality of advocacy and representation will deteriorate further. In turn, this will affect all within the criminal justice system.

We apologise to our instructing solicitors for the inconvenience that this action will cause. We know that solicitors understand this action very clearly and the overwhelming majority have expressed support for our position and for that of our fellow chambers across the jurisdiction.

The Criminal Bar Association has provided a guidance note in relation to this action, it can be viewed at www.criminalbar.com.  In addition, in the near future, it is likely that our members will provide some further news and insight into the need for this action.

Central Chambers was amongst the first chambers to take action when it was last required. In addition, some of our members were very visible and very proactive in the struggle against the government on that occasion. We remain committed to ensuring that the Criminal Justice System is properly resourced and that the harmful and damaging cuts and misspending in the CJS are held to scrutiny and fought vigorously.

Thank you

 

Neil Vickers
Senior Clerk

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