Criminal barristers negotiate improved pay deal — days after voting for national walkout

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CBA says it will be recommending its members accept ‘interim measures’

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The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has negotiated a series of “interim measures” with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in the CBA’s long-running spat over poor pay, it confirmed this afternoon. News of the short-term deal comes less than a week after criminal barristers voted overwhelmingly in favour of staging a national walkout scheduled for 1 July.

In a lengthy statement, the CBA said the government was today announcing “an accelerated package of measures” which affects both prosecution and defence fees. The proposals include: all fixed fees increased to the level of the Advocates’ Graduated Fees Scheme (AGFS), refresher fees paid from the second day of the trial rather than the third day, and continuation fees in long-running trials will not be reduced from day 41.

As for defence fees, the MoJ has agreed to look at the issue of unused material, fees paid for cracked trials and uplifts in paper-heavy cases, sooner than originally planned. A full breakdown of the deal can be found here.

The CBA said it will ballot its membership recommending the proposals.

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“We welcome the government’s commitment to deal immediately and comprehensively with historic deficiencies in remuneration levels for prosecution advocacy and fee payment guidance for a wide range of routine situations, and for standard fees generally”, chair of the CBA, Chris Henley QC, said. “We also welcome the confirmation that the Prosecution Fees Review designed to improve fees, particularly brief fees, whose value have been eroded significantly over the past 20 years, will continue, with a promise to report by the end of September 2019.”

A spokesperson for the government added: “The work of the entire criminal legal profession, whether prosecuting for the Crown or defending those who are innocent until proven guilty, is fundamental to upholding criminal justice, and the rule of law. Today, the government, through engagement with representatives of the legal profession, continues to demonstrate our shared commitment to improving that criminal justice system, which depends on the hard work of criminal barristers, solicitors and other professionals across England and Wales.”

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Pathetic. If they wanted more money they should have become commercial solicitors in the City.



They are Luddites.



You’re a fool. Genuinely lacking two brain cells to rub together.



Brothers! Sisters!

The criminal bar needs pay and pension parity with GPs!

Raise taxes now on city greed!

Strike action and solidarity now!





Cheers Jeremy



Yawn. At the end of the day, after all the drama and emotive wordplay, they will always have Mulberry handbags, private healthcare and fancy cars for themselves.




I’ve never known a criminal barrister to use a food bank, travel miles to fetch clean water or worry about bombs falling on them as they sleep. You know, like some of their clients go through.

Is life REALLY so unfair and awful?



Criminal barrister in mags: £50 for day – £10 chambers -£10 train fare = £30 / working day
= £600 / month

Disability cheat: £600 rent support + £300 universal credit + £350 incapacity + £300 pip
= £1550 / month

So, um, yes, it’s quite possible for a criminal barrister to be substantially worse off then the people he represents



The reality ofc is that a criminal barrister in first 5 years of practise is -impoverished-.
The only thing that obscures this is that most are from well off families, but then some disability scrounging miscreants are too



No one forced them into to taking poorly paid publicly funded job.

Lord Harley of Counsel

Who gave you the information about the benefits I receive?



This is very simple. Don’t do the magistrates court.



80% of all cases are in mags.
Your solution seems to be for everyone who can’t get regular crown court work to leave the profession, leaving defendants in 80% of criminal cases unrepresented


Yes. If you cannot get regular Crown Court work, maybe it is time to either pack it in, or move into a practice area that pays the bills.


I agree that that’s the correct choice on an individual level.
So if all criminal barristers follow this advice, what’ll happen in mags courts? Unrepresented defendants?


If that were to occur – which I doubt as some will always work for the terribly low fees – the system would collapse, which could lead to an increase in fees as a means to tempt practitioners back.

However, if barristers keep working for sh8te, the situation will continue. Sure why would the government bother to improve the situation? When there are gullible fools willing to do the heavy lifting for sweet fa.


Yes some will continue working for sub-minimum wage fees cos they’re bleeding hearts with trust funds.
Odd equilibrium for govt policy to encourage, but I guess paying publicly funded defense barristers a professional wage would be worse


Public funds for the mags do not merit any more spending. There are plenty of people to do the work.

Andon (AKA: Tiny Tim)

@Anonymous: Jun 12 2019 5:48pm

Yup. I can clearly recall getting bail for a shoplifter on JSA the week before Xmas so he could go on holiday to Turkey with his live in/out/in/out/shake it all about girlfriend and sproglet, while I went home afterwards to a flat I couldn’t afford to heat.



JSA is nothing. The real juice is incapacity benefit + personal independence payment + enhanced rent support – all of which can be gotten through essentially self certifying a disability
Doctor: can you stand up?
Patient: -flails around like a jelly fish-
Very easy to demonstrate a DIS-ability


Hope you don’t volunteer for FRU


Can you say which claim you disagree with?
Or are you against FRU volunteers having an accurate view of what benefits are available?


Why bother doing it if disability benefits anger you?

What a massive waste of time


As a matter of fact I don’t volunteer for FRU. My job gets in the way, and anyway I already volunteer 40% of my income come tax time.
Disability benefits don’t anger me. People getting disability benefits when the only proof is they’re own say so (ptsd over your drug dealing getting busted, non-specific back pain are ones I saw as a fresh criminal barrister before I came to my senses and did something that pays the bills) is something I’m against, although anger implies a much more emotional state then what I’m in.

Matthew Roberts

What an ignorant comment from someone who clearly hasn’t a clue about practice at the criminal bar Spend a week with me and realise what it is like then you’d apologise for this commentate be shocked what it is like .



Criminal barristers complain of ‘hardship’ only in relation to friends at other areas of the Bar earning more.

It reeks of entitlement and quickly costs them the sympathy of every other teacher, retail worker or nurse who is also on their feet all day dealing with the public.

What do they think the majority of people in the UK earn for a days work? Never mind people across the world? It’s as if there’s no recognition of any other people out there but themselves.

Do you as a criminal barrister use food banks? Do you need to go in debt for medical care? Do you need to pay protection rackets for your physical safety? Do your children go without school because you cannot afford it? Step out of the navel-gazing – this is real life for millions.

Your week at the Criminal Bar would be a dream for many outside the UK.



Nail on the the head.



The average public aid barrister makes £27k.
The ones starting out make under minimum wage.
So, yes, even good banks are a distinct possibility



I’ve been to Yemen. The lack of 5* hotels and BA Tier Points puts most barristers off visiting, but I can assure you it is a place of phenomenal geographical beauty.

Most people I know there at the moment would love to earn £27k a year.


What’s Yemen cost of living situation?
£1,000 in Yemen could go further then £27k in London.
Besides which, the real point is about the fact that people with options do not choose criminal law.
Who’s left? The idiotic and trustafarians (not the middle class or upper middle class but people who literally don’t need to work a single day in their life to have a luxe life).
Is this a good outcome of govt policy?


The real point is: working in criminal law for the unexceptional vs not working at all is a wash financially.

Working in criminal law vs stacking shelves is a win for stacking shelves.

That’s a problem


Barrister in mags: £50 -£10 chambers expenses – £10 train fare
= £30 / working day
= £600 / month

Dude on benefits: £300 universal credit + £400 rent support (absolute lowest level in London)
= £700 / month


The criminal bar is the playground for upper middle classes afflicted with pathological altruism.


Life of crime

This should be my Twitter bio



See also almost any barrister publicly aligning themselves to a pro bono office they’ve never visited or to refugees from warn-torn nation they’d never have as a pupil.

It’s not about the ‘cause’ – it always boils down to trying to look ‘virtuous’ in the eyes of others. If there was no audience paying attention, they’d go back to the pub.


Someone with a real job

Sounds like you’re pretty chippy. Does people doing important work hold up a mirror to your soulless, pathetic commercial practice? Diddums 🙁



They aren’t doing any ‘important work’, they copy and paste internet links to donate whilst sitting on their ever-growing backsides and basking at the Twitter ‘likes’ for being so ‘caring’. The charity aid workers and volunteers do all the actual work. Clever, isn’t it?

If they REALLY practiced what they preached, sexual harassment would be unheard of at the Bar and we wouldn’t have chambers in London with only one or two non-White members.

Arch-masters at manipulation. That should be the successful book pitch.



They can pay themselves on the back for their ‘successes’ while ignoring the flow in their bank accounts.
Well the rich ones can. The ones who are merely middle class or god forbid working class and got suckered into what they thought was a prestigious profession can’t


Chris Henley QC

Things that are guaranteed to happen:
1. Fees will not rise to previous levels.
2. The majority of circuit leaders will go on the bench.
3. The majority of CBA committee members will go on the bench.
4. The majority Bar Council members will go on the bench.
5. Those on the bench will continue to get pay rises.



Good all around. Re 1 there is massive over supply of barristers especially given the large reduction in hearings. So taxpayers have no need to fund to previous levels. Re 5 the judges are not being paid nearly enough as the quality and quantity of applicant has fallen dramatically in recent years. Re 2, 3 and 4, I really do not care. Perhaps the poster should join the committees in question.


Crim Hack

Why do you think there is a massive reduction in hearings? Has crime fallen drastically all of a sudden? Or is it due to police underfunding? On what basis do you say there is a massive over supply of barristers? If you were right, why are/were people concerned about no returns? Do you you understand what no returns is? Do you even understand what the various bodies referred to in the (clearly humorous) post above are? Are you a troll?

Etc. Etc.



Look at the government figures, for example the CJSS Quarterly updates. 50% reduction in total hearings in criminal proceedings since 2005. Bar has increased numbers at a little over 1% per year annual in same period. And I did get the references, you snide little turd, but addressed the point being made in that post.



I responded to this but it was inanely deleted. Read the CCSQ quarterly reports. There has been a 50% drop in criminal hearings since 2005 and barrister numbers have increased by just over 1% per year, year on year.



There needs to be a convention that CBA chairmen/women do not take up any judicial or other public office for a significant period, if ever.

There are plenty of suitable silks who have zero interest in further advancement. They are unthreatenable and they are the only people we should trust to fight the MoJ et al.

E.g. Rafferty going straight to the bench at the Bailey after the 1% debacle is, at the very least, very, very, VERY bad “optics”.



Mulberry bags are going to sell out.


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