Does The Criminal Bar Really Still Look Down On The CPS?

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Whenever I write about the criminal Bar these days, I find myself thinking of that scene in Titanic where the ship flips vertically leaving Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio clinging to the railings as passengers all around them plummet into the sea.


The Carpathia, the ship which eventually scooped up Winslet and the rest of the Titanic survivors (sadly not including Leo), was less glamorous than the Titanic, but ultimately a much better place to be – not unlike the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which I wrote about the other day for Guardian Law.

Now, in view of the relative health of the CPS vs the criminal Bar, I had assumed that the old snobbery directed by private practice barristers towards their employed crown prosecutor cousins would be long gone.

The CPS pays new recruits a wage they can live on, after all, and increases it as they gain experience – by no means a certainty at the criminal Bar anymore. Plus, it’s not as if the CPS is scraping the bottom of the barrel for new recruits, with over 1,000 applicants (the majority wannabe barristers) fighting it out for just 15 places in its recently-concluded application round.

But judging by this comment on my Guardian piece from Emily Morris, it seems that some criminal barristers operating out of chambers still feel superior…



Alex, the CPS is still that elephant graveyard where barristers go to die. It’s still very much succeed at the independent Bar, but if you are not good enough/have a child to look after, then go to the employed Bar.



Law students /non-practising half-baked barristers have a remarkable ability.

They sit beneath the bottom rung of the legal services world and yet are able to look down their noses at qualified and working lawyers.


hmostyn [spoof]


I know I’m technically not a non-practising barrister (though I will be soon LOL!), but usually when I look down my nose at something it’s cocaine in an East End night club.





hmostyn [spoof]


Thank you. It is one of the perks of being an Oxford mathematician that people are impressed with you, even if you get a 2i and snort cocaine in seedy nightclubs 😀



Your attempt to humiliate Emily Morris (which is presumably a pseudonym) is shameful. Her view is shared by 98% of the independent criminal bar, and comments such as hers do nothing but good for you and your articles in the Guardian.

What is it with your weird hard-on for the CPS? Have you ever actually worked with them? Been into one of their shambolic, ineffective offices? Seen the droves of unemployable third-raters who work there?

And why are you quite so chippy about the independent bar? Are you a reject yourself?


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