Show more Barristers are to go on strike in protest at the “collapsing” criminal justice system, meaning court proceedings across the country face massive disruption next week.Leading legal chambers Doughty Street, Garden Court and 25 Bedford Row are among those set to take part in the action.It comes after the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has warned that prisons, courts, the police and probation services are “underfunded and in chaos”.Chair Angela Rafferty QC said “relentless cuts” have resulted in “near collapse” of the justice system. “You cannot have a national asset and treat it like this,” she added.She said under-funding means cases are not being properly investigated by the police and CPS, there is uncertainty and delay at court and “unnecessary distress” for witnesses, victims and defendants.”Meanwhile the poor and vulnerable in society are being denied access to justice,” she added. “The system is desperate, it cannot endure any more cuts.” The CBA has advised its 4,000 members to take action after 90 per cent voted in favour, with a turnout of around 55 per cent.According to a recent survey by the General Council of the Bar, more than a third of criminal barristers said they are considering leaving the profession, with the main reason being low income and work-life balance.A spokesman for the Bar Council said: “The Ministry of Justice budget has been slashed across the board in the last decade. Liam Allan was one of many defendants who saw their trials collapse over the fiasco with disclosuresCredit:BBC A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “We are extremely disappointed with the position the Criminal Bar Association has taken today, especially given that they and other members of the bar participated fully in the design of the scheme.”Our reforms will reflect the actual work done in court, representing better value for the taxpayer, and will replace an archaic scheme under which barristers were able to bill by pages of evidence.”We greatly value the work of criminal advocates and will continue to engage with the bar moving forwards.” The recent disclosure crisis, which led to the collapse of a number of rape trials last year prompting the Met Police to review all their cases, has also highlighted “the appalling state of our system”, a CBA spokesman said.”Criminal barristers are the ones who have to pick up the pieces and are not being paid for the disclosure work which stops people going to prison,” he said. “The effects, in every area, are becoming ever clearer: courts and prisons in a deplorable state of repair, leading to unacceptable conditions, litigants struggling to deal with their own cases without legal help in the most trying of circumstances, overloaded courts and judges, increasing delays and judicial morale at rock bottom, to name but a few.”While the current investment in the court reform programme is substantial, it cannot hope to reverse all of the harm that has already been done, and continues to be done, and its focus is really elsewhere.”The planned strike is a reaction to the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS), which is due to come into force on April 1. The Ministry of Justice said the scheme is cost neutral and that the amount barristers will be paid for legal aid work will be reflected by how complex a case is. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Linking extreme interannual changes in prey availability to foraging behaviour and breeding investment in a marine predator, the macaroni penguin
Understanding the mechanisms that link prey availability to predator behaviour and population change is central to projecting how a species may respond to future environmental pressures. We documented the behavioural responses and breeding investment of macaroni penguins Eudyptes chrysolophus across five breeding seasons where local prey density changed by five-fold; from very low to highly abundant. When prey availability was low, foraging trips were significantly longer and extended overnight. Birds also foraged farther from the colony, potentially in order to reach more distant foraging grounds and allow for increased search times. These extended foraging trips were also linked to a marked decrease in fledgling weights, most likely associated with reduced rates of provisioning. Furthermore, by comparing our results with previous work on this population, it appears that lowered first-year survival rates associated, at least partially, with fledging masses were also evident for this cohort. This study integrates a unique set of prey density, predator behaviour and predator breeding investment data to highlight a possible behavioural mechanism linking perturbations in prey availability to population demography.