Bar strikes and Custody Time Limits – what does this mean for you?

There is a possibility that defendants in custody awaiting Crown Court trials could be released on bail if their trial is delayed due to the strike action being taken by the criminal bar.

The news that Courts may refuse to extend custody time limits in cases where Crown Court proceedings are delayed by the strike comes as barristers vote on ending the strike after the government proposed a new package of reforms and legal aid fees.

The High Court found earlier this week that the strike action being taken by criminal barristers in protest at inadequate legal aid fees is not reason enough to extend all custody time limits and it is instead a case-specific question.

In their judgment, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Chamberlain said: “Judges should consider whether the public interests served initially by remanding the defendant in custody can now be served by stringent bail conditions. If so, this should be the preferred course.

“If the situation remains as it is now, the relevant point at which the unavailability of legal representation can properly be described as chronic or routine is likely to be reached by the last week in November 2022.”

A decision on the strike action is due to be announced on Monday 10 October and further updates can be expected after this.

For advice on representation in criminal defence matters, contact us today.