Individual members of the Pump Court Chambers Criminal Team have taken a decision as of 29 July that they will adopt “No Returns” in relation to all legal aid defence hearings in the Crown Court.
Members of chambers will continue to do the hearings in which they are instructed but they will not do cases that are returned to them because the instructed barrister is unavailable.
Chambers will seek to anticipate in advance where problems might arise and to ask the court to move hearings for the convenience of the instructed barrister. However, if the court refuses to move the hearing, then no barrister will appear at that hearing.
Chambers will also endeavour to keep solicitors fully informed of the position.
This is part of the Criminal Bar Association’s campaign in support of the national protest by solicitors against further cuts in their fees. The Criminal Bar Association voted to take this action in a democratic ballot. Other chambers on circuit are also joining us in this action in support of solicitors.