Justice Secretary Lewis urges striking attorneys to return to work

Justice Secretary Lewis urges striking attorneys to return to work

Secretary of Justice Brandon Lewis (Kirsty O'Connor / PA) (PA Wire)

Secretary of Justice Brandon Lewis (Kirsty O’Connor / PA) (PA Wire)

New Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis has urged striking attorneys to return to work as they met with ministers for the first time since their union action began.

In a brief statement following his talks with the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) and the Bar Council, Mr. Lewis – who was appointed just two weeks ago – said the discussions were “constructive” and would continue.

His predecessor Dominic Raab previously refused to meet with the CBA during their pay action.

The meeting was originally supposed to take place last week, but was delayed after the queen’s death.

It was a first constructive meeting

Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis

Although all scheduled demonstrations were also postponed, the all-out strike continued during the period of national mourning.

Mr. Lewis said: “I met with the Criminal Bar Association and the Bar Council today to stress the need for striking lawyers to return to work and for justice to move again.

“It was a constructive initial meeting and discussions will continue to deliver victims.”

In a joint statement, the CBA and the Bar Council said, “We had a constructive introductory meeting with the Lord Chancellor (Mr Lewis) to discuss the ongoing criminal prosecution.

“Everyone is committed to finding a solution that is acceptable to all and for the future of the criminal justice system. Now there will be detailed conversations with urgency. “

The CBA said a series of demonstrations scheduled for Thursday were “suspended” for a week.

Lawyers in England and Wales took part in an ongoing strike after their wage dispute with the government escalated.

CBA chairman Kirsty Brimelow told MPs earlier this month that the group was “absolutely willing to negotiate” and had been all year, but “there was no alternative (to action) because we have absolutely no negotiated “.

Mr. Raab was replaced by Mr. Lewis after becoming a high-profile victim of incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss’s cabinet reshuffle.

She had not met with the CBA since the members took union action in April, but Ms. Brimelow said the meetings had been requested “repeatedly”.

Some took place with undersecretaries and officials from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The action was “disrupting the trials” and the victims of the crime “suffer the most,” Ms. Brimelow said, warning that the defendants would “increasingly” be released on bail when custody terms expire.

Criminal lawyers will receive a 15% fee increase from the end of September, which means they will earn an extra £ 7,000 per year.

But there has been anger that the proposed salary increase will not take effect immediately and will only apply to new cases, not those already overdue waiting to be dealt with by the courts.

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