Signs of despair as criminal bar strike ballot moves to climax

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By Judge John Hack on

Will lawyers take a leaf from book of French revolutionaries on Bastille Day?


In Paris 226 years ago today, revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison and kicked off the French revolution.

Whether criminal law barristers show as much bottle as the Third Estate revolutionaries will become clear over the next day or so as a ballot on further strike action in protest at legal aid cuts closes at 4 o’clock this afternoon.

At least one prisoner in an English prison is hoping that lawyers do discover some backbone and vote overwhelmingly to down tools in the Criminal Bar Association-organised ballot. Two days ago, this unidentified resident of HMP Liverpool took to the roof to display his support for the legal aid system with a banner reading:

No ifs, not buts, no legal aid cuts.

According to the Liverpool Echo newspaper, the hour-long protest sparked chants of “We need legal aid” from fellow inmates before officials cherry-picked the self-styled champion of human rights from the roof.

prison copy

Farther south, there was an example of a lawyer that appeared to have given up the fight.


Legal Cheek was today sent this image of utter despair — discarded barristers’ bands — which was taken at Isleworth railway station in west London. The pupil barrister snapper suggested it might be evidence that “another criminal barrister packs it in”.