This pic of the MoJ’s Xmas tree hasn’t gone down well with criminal lawyers

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‘Utterly detached from the reality’, wrote one barrister on Twitter, as crumbling courts and case backlogs continue to blight justice system

The MoJ’s Christmas tree

A photo of the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) Christmas tree has sparked a flurry of outraged responses from criminal lawyers on Twitter.

The MoJ’s permanent secretary tweeted from her official account a photo on Friday showing the decorative tree up in the atrium of the MoJ’s London headquarters.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” she wrote as the caption. “Still much to do between now and Christmas — but the tree is up at MOJ HQ!”

The cheery tweet seems to have sent criminal barristers over the edge, with many questioning the MoJ’s priorities as courts across the country crumble and the backlog of cases continues to grow.

“Good to see you’ve got your priorities right,” tweeted Ben Edwards, a criminal barrister at Foundry Chambers. “[P]erhaps you should use the money you paid for this ridiculous tree to ensure crown courts’ heating worked or to ensure the ceilings aren’t falling in… instead you think THIS is more important?! Shocking. Get a bloody grip.”

Criminal barrister turned Labour politician Karl Turner MP waded in with a tweet saying: “How absolutely lovely. Let’s not mention the 75k cases blocked up in the crown wourts, criminal solicitors and barristers absolutely shattered and defeated. Court buildings crumbling and much more. We’ve got the Chrissy tree up! Well done Dominic Raab you are an absolute saviour.”

Meanwhile, academic and lawyer Becca Jiggens suggested the MoJ launch its own advent calendar with a twist.

Missed opportunity to have an MoJ Advent Calendar, reopening a closed court each day.

— Becca Jiggens remains fucking outraged (@beccajiggens) December 3, 2021

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Elsewhere, Tomas McGarvey of 2 Bedford Row wrote: “Utterly detached from the reality of the criminal justice system.”

His chamber mate Nick Barraclough tweeted in response a photo of what appears to be a flooded corridor in a court building. “Them and us,” he wrote.

Fellow criminal barrister Tony Kent shared an image of an out-of-use urinal in another court building to which other Twitter users responded, “Merry P*ssmas” and “MoJ literally taking the p*ss”.

Prison Storm, a Twitter account dedicated to the state of the country’s prisons, wrote:

“…A groundswell of deep frustration exists across courts and prisons which is in stark contrast to the apparent festive cheer within the Westminster bubble.”

Just weeks ago Justice Secretary Dominic Raab irked barristers by sending a pre-recorded message to the annual bar conference whilst he was out at a Christmas festival and snapping selfies with a giant roller-skating Christmas pudding and bauble.

Raab said over the weekend that there will not be a MoJ-wide Xmas party this year amid concerns over new coronavirus variant Omicron. The MoJ will instead be holding “appropriate drinks at a smaller scale” — much to the delight of criminal barristers.

The MoJ has been approached for comment.

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I mean, like we’d ever see any of these barristers volunteering at their local food bank or homeless shelter this Christmas?

Priorities, kids.


David Forrester

I think you would actually.



I’m a criminal barrister and I do and have for many years



Joyless bunch – it’s only a f*cking Christmas tree.



What is that supposed to mean? The state of the courts and wider justice system is not a charity case that the MOJ should look at to be nice or to volunteer their time… it’s their bloody job!



Not buying a Christmas tree is hardly going to solve the problem though is it…



If you think the point is about the actual Christmas tree rather than a wider issue…….



They spent money… on an AVERAGE SIZED CHRISTMAS TREE… im so outraged….



If you think the point is about the actual Christmas tree rather than a wider issue…….



They’re welcome to the tree. I was more concerned about their amazing work premises and the sculpture they spent £130,000 on whilst the courts are grinding to a halt due to disrepair and neglect.



How dare they have a modest Christmas tree while there remains any wrong in the world!


Trew Q

Criminal barristers moaning? No surprise there.



Stop making such petty claims.

It gives legitimacy to these demagogues amongst their already deluded fan base.

I’m generally all for lambasting the utterly incompetent Johnson administration, but taking fire at an average sized Christmas tree is not where to focus your attention.



What a bunch of miserable killjoys. Heaven forfend that civil servants working in Whitehall might be allowed a small modicum of festive cheer!

The criminal bar isn’t underfunded. It’s correctly funded after years of bloated budgets and absurdly inflated legal aid bills.



Er… 1978 was a long time ago, mate!

Where you been?


Hard working civil counsel

Oh for heaven’s sake.

Crimbo whingers assemble!


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