Responding to today's announcement by the Criminal Bar Association to ballot its members on whether to take action over prosecution and defence fees,the Bar Council and the Young Barristers' Committee (YBC) said: "The lack of investment in the criminal justice system over many years has been highlighted by the Bar Council and YBC at every available opportunity. The Bar Council and YBC share the widespread concerns of those practising at the criminal Bar.
"Self-employed barristers who perform a vital public service prosecuting and defending the vast majority of serious criminal cases deserve better treatment.
"Prosecution fees have been cut over the last 18 years and defence fees are no longer fit for purpose. These issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
"We encourage the criminal Bar to respond to the CBA's ballot. In addition, we welcome and endorse the proposals to remain engaged with the reviews being undertaken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in relation to prosecution and defence fees for the Bar. We are committed to supporting the criminal Bar in these reviews and beyond.
"The CBA's concerns, as evidenced by today's ballot, call for an immediate commitment from the CPS and the MoJ to ensure that the criminal justice system is funded properly. Those who work so hard in the public interest deserve to be paid fairly and properly for the very demanding work they do."