The Criminal Bar Association has recommended that barristers refuse to accept cases under the new AGFS scheme. Having considered the matter carefully, many of us at No.1 High Pavement have decided to join the action.

We take no pleasure in doing so.

Despite engagement with the Ministry of Justice by many representatives of the Criminal Bar, the insistence by the Ministry on cost neutrality (in reality of course, a cut) has meant that whilst the new scheme corrects some old iniquities, it then goes on to create new ones.

The real and long-standing issue is the chronic underfunding of criminal defence work, which the new scheme only entrenches. The lack of any provision for indexation means that further cuts by stealth will continue. This has happened with every fee scheme that has been agreed over the last 20 years. Continuing to undermine the very professionals who help to keep our neglected Criminal Justice system running has to stop.

That is why there is strong support amongst members of No.1 High Pavement Chambers for the stance of the CBA.