Criminal barristers fail to see funny side of Twitter post
The official Twitter account for Have I Got News For You has come under fire from criminal barristers after it posted a joke appearing to poke fun at their earnings.
Shortly after news broke yesterday that criminal barristers had voted overwhelming favour of taking uninterrupted strike action in protest over government set fees for legal aid work, the BBC show’s blue-tick account tweeted: “Spokesman for barristers issues short statement confirming they’re going on strike, before adding ‘that’ll be £3,457 please”.
Spokesman for barristers issues short statement confirming they’re going on strike, before adding ‘that’ll be £3,457 please’.
— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) August 22, 2022
The joke missed the mark with many on Twitter, with the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) branding it “insulting to all involved in the Criminal Justice System”.
This is insulting to all involved in the Criminal Justice System and entirely misrepresents the issues.
Jokes more important than facts.
— The CBA (@TheCriminalBar) August 22, 2022
“Wrong and not very funny,” one criminal lawyer wrote. “But the replies and the quote tweets demonstrate that the public are better informed than whoever drafted this lazy tweet.”
Equally annoyed, another pupil barrister responded: “And this is the problem. The humour here is exaggeration, underpinned by the popular belief that barristers do bill by the minute at significant sums. ‘Oh those lawyers, they earn enough already.’ This is what the Gov will rely on over the next months. This is the challenge.”
And the negative responses kept on coming…
— Will Da Strike (@WilberDaForce) August 23, 2022
This is not satire this is just complete nonsense. Criminal Barristers doing legal aid work are paid a pittance.
— Joe Wheeler (@JSRW2) August 22, 2022
Totally missed the point! You should delete this!
— Gavin Shields RN, RM, ACP (@gavinmarc) August 22, 2022
— Harry D (@harry1dickens) August 22, 2022
The CBA confirmed yesterday morning that nearly 80% of the 2,055 members who voted had agreed down tools on an indefinite basis from Monday 5 September. This is major escalation of the current programme alternating weeks of strike action implemented since late June.
The association says the government’s 15% uplift to legal aid fees (due to come into force at the end of September) is insufficient and is demanding a 25% rise to prevent a further exodus of barristers from the criminal bar.