(Bloomberg) -- The UK government pledged to raise fees for some British barristers after trial lawyers walked out this week in protest following a long-running spat over state funding and pay.
The Ministry of Justice said it will increase the fees by 15% from the end of September for work in police stations, magistrates court and youth courts, according to a statement Thursday. The government said the move -- less than the increase demanded by the lawyers -- would boost the average pay of a criminal barrister by about £7,000 ($8,508).
“Our energetic efforts to tackle the courts backlog are working but the strike action by criminal barristers threatens all that progress, despite the very generous pay offer on the table,” said James Cartlidge, the justice minister.
Members of the Criminal Bar Association, which represents thousands of barristers in England and Wales, walked out this week after its members backed strike action following government cuts of the legal aid budget and a record backlog of court cases. The CBA said many of its members have been forced into personal debt and junior barristers earn a median income of £12,220 a year.
Read More: Trial Lawyers Walk Out Across UK Over Government Funding
Dominic Raab, the country’s justice secretary, urged the CBA via Twitter to accept the government’s offer so the profession could “return to delivering swifter justice for victims.” But some lawyers disagreed with the government’s assertion that the offer would help, saying it was not enough to boost junior pay above minimum wage or to stop people leaving their jobs.
The CBA has asked for a 25% rise in fees to make up for the funding cuts. A representative for the association didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the government’s offer.
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