Survey for Members
This week, criminal barristers have spoken with their feet. In doing so, they have risked further financial hardship, and been threatened with disciplinary action from their regulator. They have had to balance the interests of individual clients – whose trials have not gone ahead this week – with the interests of defendants as a whole, in whose name we are all ultimately protesting. For these very difficult, bold decisions, they should be commended.
From speaking to a great many criminal defence solicitors – both members and non-members, employees, employers and freelancers – we know that there is appetite for bold action by us too. But we must recognise that this is mixed with anxiety around the commitment of our colleagues. To be frank, we fear that others will “break first” or capitalise on our financial sacrifices.
The LCCSA committee believes that in the vast majority of instances, this fear is unfounded. We suspect that we are all overestimating this risk, and that in doing so we needlessly undermine our own bargaining position. The real issue, we believe, is a lack of proper communication between us, and in particular, between firm decision-makers. Silence breeds distrust. That is why we are organising an urgent meeting amongst the firm owners who make up our membership.
We ask you now to complete this short anonymous survey, the results of which will inform that meeting. The ideas set out here come from ordinary members. Please think carefully, and mark “yes” only if you mean it. Now is not the time for theory or hyperbole. What our colleagues want to know is what the majority of us will actually do, when the time comes: