Crown Prosecution Service awards barristers 15% pay rise

cps barristers pay
Credit: TK Kurikawa /

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has given prosecution barristers a 15% pay rise to counteract the shortfall in advocates willing to take instructions.

The increase in fees was announced by Max Hill KC, CPS’ director of public prosecutions, at a Bar Council meeting. The move was made in order to achieve parity with defence fees and to help clear a backlog of cases. The timeline for the pay rise coming into effect is eight weeks.

The CPS reported that it was struggling to instruct advocates, triggering trial delays and postponements due to former Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis, who agreed to a 15% raise to criminal aid rates, to settle the ongoing strike by criminal defence barristers over pay last year. This resulted in defence barristers earning more than their prosecution counterparts, leading to many refusing crown instructions and cases being adjourned.

Hill said: “As I have just confirmed with The Bar Council we have secured necessary additional funding from the Treasury, allowing us to press ahead with increases in prosecution fees to restore parity with defence fees.

“This is the right outcome. I have been clear that a fair justice system requires fees for prosecution and defence work to be the same. I am pleased that this has been recognised and we will be funded for this increase.”

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Kirsty Brimelow KC, leader of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA), added: “I am pressing for quicker implementation. While the Crown Prosecution Service continues to work with the CBA to speed up the process, the increased funding is a significant positive move in the trudge to a functioning criminal justice system. The Lord Chancellor also was supportive of the CBA’s argument to increase prosecution fees. Indeed, there was no counter-argument.

“Examples of cases being adjourned due to lack of prosecution barrister make sombre but essential reading. They spotlighted the lives of the people behind the statistics and provided solid evidence which landed heavily where required.”