Members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) in England and Wales have voted for an all-out strike which will start on 5 September.
Criminal barristers voted on industrial action with an indefinite, uninterrupted strike over an argument with the government over pay and jobs.
CBA vice chairwoman Kirsty Brimelow QC told BBC Breakfast, “The effect (of the strike) will be that the courts continue to sit empty with trials and cases not being heard. It is a last-resort action.
“The remedy is for an injection of money into the backlog of cases, which currently stands at 60,000 cases, that barristers are working on that will cost the Government only £1.1 million per month.
“Currently, it’s costing much more for the courts to sit empty.”
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) warned that more than 6,000 court hearings have already been disrupted.
Justice Minister Sarah Dines said, “This is an irresponsible decision that will only see more victims face further delays and distress.
“The escalation of strike action is wholly unjustified considering we are increasing criminal barristers’ fees by 15%, which will see the typical barrister earn around £7,000 more a year.”
The MoJ previously said they have “repeatedly explained” to the CBA that backdating pay would require a “fundamental change” in how their fees are paid.
The MoJ added, “That reform would cost a disproportionate amount of taxpayers’ money and would take longer to implement, meaning barristers would have to wait longer for payment.”