Criminal bar strike in pics 📸
Barristers join picket lines across the country
Criminal barristers joined picket lines outside court buildings across England and Wales today in protest over the government’s legal aid reforms.
The decision to down tools comes a week after barristers voted overwhelmingly in favour of days of strike action, with the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) warning that the government’s proposed fee increases will not “keep the wheels of justice turning”.
The industrial action will initially see criminal barristers down tools for two days from today, with further strikes planned for the following weeks.
The Justice Secretary Dominic Raab described the action as “regrettable” and encouraged barristers to accept what he says equates to a “15% pay rise”.
Below is round-up of some of the more eye-catching images from the first day of protests.
I have heard a fair few leaders of the @TheCriminalBar over the last decade . None quite so powerful orator and advocate for a United stance than @JoSidhuQC . #Action4Justice pic.twitter.com/CeZt3GWq8m
— Jonathan Black 🟣 (@jonblackbsb) June 27, 2022
I support @TheCriminalBar #barstrike.
I gave up criminal legal aid after a 32 year commitment to justice: when I realised I was lucky to earn £8 per hour.
The criminal justice system is held together by goodwill. Underfunding creates miscarriages of justice. pic.twitter.com/VlVSZWmx6A
— Myles Jackman – Obscenity Lawyer (@MylesJackman) June 27, 2022
Striking criminal barristers hold pictures of dilapidated state of criminal courts, as they protest over underfunding of criminal justice system. pic.twitter.com/28G5yp8nmt
— Catherine Baksi (@legalhackette) June 27, 2022
Fantastic turnout of @TheCriminalBar pic.twitter.com/A4EbvfeQjJ
— Russell Fraser (@russell_fraser) June 27, 2022
Scenes from the central criminal court @TheCriminalBar #barstrike pic.twitter.com/31YgwGz0vK
— Karlia Lykourgou (@KarliaLykourgou) June 27, 2022
From the Birmingham protest of barristers on strike today @TheCriminalBar on today’s day of #Action4Justice ✊
Access to justice is fast becoming the preserve of the wealthy and the system is on the verge of collapse after years of cuts to legal aid. pic.twitter.com/x7JYP7jIfS
— Birmingham Trades Union Council (@TUCBham) June 27, 2022
Barristers have walked out of Crown Court on Small Street today in a dispute over legal aid funding. #BarristerStrike #Action4Justice #Bristol pic.twitter.com/trCkNrOiuA
— Betty Woolerton (@bettywoolerton) June 27, 2022
Barristers on Strike. Cardiff. 27.06.2022.
Barristers picket workplace over pay & Legal Aid cuts this morning. Legal Aid is part of welfare state, levelling field between rich who can afford lawyers & poor who cannot. pic.twitter.com/03pDSs9i38
— Adam Johannes (@DrRoundglasses) June 27, 2022
Powerful words from Jonathan Rees QC at Cardiff barristers' picket. He says colleagues have been "driven out" of the jobs they love because they could not afford to stay, and describes junior criminal barristers' median income of just £12,200 a year as "scandalous" pic.twitter.com/WAvlWw60ZC
— Conor Gogarty (@ConorGogarty) June 27, 2022
Great picture of @TheCriminalBar picket in Leeds.#Solidarity from @UsdawUnion C133
— Sasha Simic (@sashasimic) June 27, 2022
✊✊✊Supporting criminal barristers today outside Leeds Combined Courts today, striking and protesting over legal aid rates which have been cut and held down leading to an exodus from the profession.#Action4Justice #leeds #solidarity pic.twitter.com/u46h0Bclm0
— Leeds SP (@leedssp) June 27, 2022
GCN members have joined colleagues @TheCriminalBar outside Manchester Crown Court on the first day of action. pic.twitter.com/Gkpp0Du8th
— Garden Court North (@gcnchambers) June 27, 2022
Outside Manchester Crown Court this morning, members of @CircuitNorth @TheCriminalBar are on strike, protesting a failure to increase Legal Aid rates, amounting in a real terms pay cut of over 20%. pic.twitter.com/QEBG69jLnG
— Squeaky Grumpasaurus (@squeakygrump) June 27, 2022
This article will be updated throughout the day.
It’s crazy how the criminal bar has become such an unattractive career route now compared to years ago
Aspiring lawyers would want to become a criminal lawyer from watching Silk and other shows
And if we are being honest, no corporate deal is anywhere near as interesting as the cases you deal with in criminal law
Even studying criminal law at an academic level is far more intellectually stimulating than any employment, IP, competition law etc module
And I’m saying this as someone who is a trainee at a corporate law firm
I was just thinking this the other day..
Why is it that the most interesting areas of law to study and practice in the ones that pay peanuts?!!
I can guarantee you that most aspiring lawyers are making decisions based on salary rather than what they actually like
It’s not just the law where you will find this phenomenon. It’s called life.
But there is a solution, you just have to make some hard choices and be true to yourself.
Better one real life than a million years trying to please other people. And sometimes you find that this in fact turns out to be the best thing you could have ever done.
It’s a shame the pay as a barrister now isn’t as promising in comparison to the solicitor route, especially the likes of salaries at a top city firm
In all honestly, the six figure salaries these law firms are offering are blinding students and heavily swaying their decisions to pick the solicitor route
Years ago when the salary was on more of a level playing field whether you chose the barrister route or solicitor route the law students made their decisions more based on the area of law they liked – can’t say the same thing now
Comparing rates of pay as a criminal barrister with those of commercial solicitors is a bit apples-to-oranges. Generally the earnings of barristers are higher than those of their solicitor equivalents – I suspect that’s still true of criminal practice, it’s just that both are unfortunately underpaid.
I think your point is more about choosing practice areas as a whole rather than the barrister or solicitor route. The commercial bar certainly pays a lot better than the magic circle (or American firms, for that matter)!
The only thing I would add is that the chances of landing a TC at a top city corporate firm/US firm is much higher than securing pupilage let alone a tenancy at a commercial bar
Applications for the commercial bar means competing primarily with valedictorian Oxbridge candidates who also have an Ivy League Uni Masters degree and other impressive things in their CVS
Whilst the commercial (or any) bar does pay more than their solicitor counterparts, they take on very few candidates each year and the pickings are very slim. The mouth watering salaries only benefit a lucky few…
One does not have valedictorians in England.
Great input Queen’s English, thanks for your riveting comment
Oxbridge will mean less in the near future, as will degrees from places like UCL, when the watering down of “contextual recruitment” kicks in. A level results will become more and more important (though not the comedy “everyone gets an A” covid A-levels which will always have an asterisk next to them, and not in a good way).
Fascinated, the comment was not intend to be riveting, it highlight how the poster at 2:02pm did not have experience of the issues about which they were writing.
I got a decent 2.1 from a Russell group and a bit of work experience before training at an MC firm, where I still work years later earning great money. With my credentials, I’d have been lucky to get pupillage anywhere, let alone a set with great pay prospects. There just aren’t many pupillages available so they are still crazy competitive. Most barristers I know did years of post-Uni experience before getting a middling pupillage, or they had an Oxbridge first, or both. The profession doesn’t exactly have its doors wide open.
I really enjoyed my criminal bar days. It was fun; and a source of some great stories.
It just wasn’t sustainable though; so I sold my soul for something a little less thankless and a lot better remunerated. I still try to focus on areas I enjoy; but I can supplement that with general commercial stuff.
Now though the nearest I come to the criminal courts is the occasional traffic thing for business clients. And it’s ridiculous that I can earn more with one of those than I could with a three day publicly funded Crown Court trial.