Criminal courts charge to be scrapped: Bar Council response

3 December 2015

The Chairman-Elect of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC responded today to the Lord Chancellor's announcement that the criminal courts charge will be scrapped. She said:

"The Bar Council welcomes the decision of the Ministry of Justice to scrap the criminal courts charge. The charge created a perverse incentive to plead guilty, negated the principle of judicial discretion, reduced compensation awards and was never likely to raise the funds anticipated.

"The Ministry of Justice has clearly listened very carefully to members from both Houses and from across all political parties, as well as to the legal profession, and others who have campaigned on this issue.

"We look forward to working with the Ministry of Justice as it reviews the alternative policy options."

Notes to editors:

The Bar Council has provided consistent and constructive criticism of the criminal courts charge and as a professional body has played a vital role in assisting legislative scrutiny and informing the debates which help shape Government policy.

On the criminal courts charge the Bar Council has briefed MPs and Peers of all parties prior to Parliamentary debates, corresponded directly with the Ministry of Justice, lent support to those who have shared its interest, and raised concerns at the highest levels with Parliamentarians and Government Ministers. 

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The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board