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Statement on Prosecution Fee increase

A statement on the Prosecution Fee increase from Attorney General Rt. Hon Victoria Prentis KC MP

Parity of fees paid to prosecution and defence barristers ensures fair representation on both sides of criminal cases.

Like many, I have been concerned to hear reports that on occasion, the CPS has struggled to recruit suitably experienced staff to prosecute complex cases, especially those involving rape and serious sexual offences. Ensuring that victims’ voices are heard requires prosecutors, delivering a core part of this Government’s commitment to breaking down barriers to justice.

That is why it is welcome news the Treasury will provide the Crown Prosecution Service with the additional funding it needs to increase prosecution fees in line with those agreed for defence legal aid fees last year.

This is an issue that I have championed alongside the Bar Council and CPS, and it is an outcome that reflects the importance of a well-functioning justice system.

Notes to editors:

In light of broader issues around pay and industrial action, there are a few important points to clarify:

  • This is not a pay deal, barristers are self-employed and charge fee rates for work. To make sure this rate is fair and realistic, a Criminal Legal Aid Review (CLAIR) was launched in 2018 to examine the whole system.

  • In March last year - CLAIR published recommendations to uplift Legal Aid bar fees and mentioned an expectation for prosecution fees to follow suit.

  • In Autumn, the independent Bellamy review recommended that defence fees increase, and HMT’s decision now completes the process by rightly restoring equality of arms between defence and prosecution.

  • We await the finer detail of the increase and join with the whole legal community in hoping the changes can be brought into place as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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