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

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By Alex Aldridge on

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…