The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has called into question the Ministry of Justice's activities in response to its Days of Action, following reports court staff were instructed to name all barristers who do not attend hearings because they are participating in the CBA's Days of Action.
The Criminal Bar Association has instructed Mishcon de Reya and specialist leading counsel, Anya Proops QC and Zac Sammour from 11KBW, on a pro bono basis, to consider whether this amounts to unlawful processing of personal data. Mishcon de Reya has written to the Ministry of Justice to raise concerns and to the Information Commissioner urging an investigation.
Criminal Bar Association chair Jo Sidhu QC said: “Criminal Bar Association members were understandably concerned to hear reports that the Ministry of Justice had instructed court staff to name all barristers who do not attend court hearings because they are participating in the CBA's Days of Action, involving criminal defence advocates.
The CBA takes these reports extremely seriously. We have taken advice from solicitors and specialist counsel to consider whether this amounts to unlawful processing of personal data.
Intimidatory tactics such as these are designed to cause distress and are a diversion from what must happen: a swift and fair settlement of our reasonable demands in relation to criminal defence advocacy fees under legal aid, in order to conclude this dispute in the long-term interests of the criminal justice system."