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Raab returns as Lord Chancellor in Rishi reshuffle

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Brandon Lewis out weeks after striking barrister pay deal

Dominic Raab

One-time Linklaters trainee Dominic Raab has become a two-time Secretary of State for Justice following his reappointment to the role by new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Raab’s first stint at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), that ran for 12 months from September 2021, saw the former Magic Circle rookie become a bogeyman to the criminal bar.

When he was last in the role, criminal barristers had been demanding a pay rise for legal aid work following an Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid. This concluded that “funding for criminal legal aid should be increased overall for solicitors and barristers alike as soon as possible to an annual level, in steady state, of at least 15% above present levels”.

When industrial action was first taken back in April after criminal barristers stopped accepting returns (where a barrister will fill in for another barrister who cannot attend court and represent their client), Raab heightened tensions by describing the decision to strike as “unnecessary and irresponsible”, linking the action to court delays.

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His replacement Brandon Lewis, who resigned yesterday after nearly two months in the job, managed to successfully broker a deal with the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) whose members, following a tense ballot, narrowly accepted the government’s offer of a 15% increase in legal aid rates, 10% less than the CBA’s initial demands.

Lewis also saw that Raab’s pet project to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with his British Bill of Rights Bill was scrapped.

In response to Raab’s reappointment, chair of the CBA Kirsty Brimelow KC tweeted: “I look forward to a fresh start, building on the work of his predecessor, for the Criminal Justice System.”

Barrister Suella Braverman has also returned to the post of Home Secretary after her recent resignation from the role for breaking the ministerial code.

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14 Comments

Anon

How can this government not see how angry people will be at appointing Braverman after breaking ministerial code? She’s a vile woman with draconian beliefs too. I’m at a loss for words. They’ve totally screwed up (most of) this generation ever voting for them.

(32)(6)

Anon

Vote Tory. Win stupid prizes.

(11)(3)

Blame it on the Boogieman!

He’s like Michael Myers!

You think you’ve got rid of him but he keeps coming back to do more damage!

(12)(0)

Alan

This is what happens when you agree with those lazy strikers. Mr Sunak got a big tick next to his name when he fired Mr Lewis.

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Anon

Not all of us want to live in a world where we force people into poverty to line the pockets of the ultra rich. Without strikes and unions we’d have no minimum pay, paid holidays, or weekends. If you had your way there would still be workhouses, Alan. Those pesky lazy children, eh?!

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Alan

All off topic and intentionally diversionary. These strikes are the ones we are discussing here, do pay attention. They were simply about a certain section of the profession acting like overgrown children and not rolling up their sleeves and finding a proper solution to their purported need for more money, instead letting their clients be victims of their greed. I’m not clear on why that should be permissible.

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Anon

Why exactly is the criminal barrister strike wrong? Please explain to me why they should be expected to work for less than minimum wage, all things considered? You’re demonstrating you have no idea what legal aid barristers do, or you’re being deliberately ignorant. I suspect you’re a troll but I do keep biting, so kudos for that at least.

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Alan

I believe I spelt out my thoughts above. I suspect it is you who is the troll, given the clarity of my point and your dogged defence of an indefensible argument.

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Anon

You haven’t explained anything, just demonstrated your lack of understanding of how legal aid works. The legal aid budget has been cut by 43% in real terms, and barristers have faced an annual fall of 28% in real terms earnings. Please enlighten me on why it’s ‘greedy’ for junior barristers to expect more than £12,200 per year (i.e. less than minimal wage) after spending so much money and time on legal education. They make less than Starbucks baristas, Alan. You think that’s fair and ensures we have a well functioning legal system, do you?

I want to be alan

I want to be Alan.

Tired of all that income tax

4.49 bleats about the first couple of years, missing out the fact that after that the stream of legal aid pay comes thick and steady and there is a massive uptick in income to the point the £12k figure is not the issue. I don’t see any shortage of people applying to criminal bar, so there is plenty of supply side slack still there to keep costs sensible and down.

Alan

Thank you. I wish I could up vote this sensible comment.

I can’t quite believe the hysteria around this. The earnings of the criminal bar didn’t start yesterday. Those in the profession bettered with their eyes open. If earnings in the early years are an issue then might I suggest taking up one of these highly lucrative (supposedly) roles in Starbucks to supplement income, or is it just easier to complain on Twitter and troll reasonable commenters on Legal Cheek?

Alan, the moaners do not realise we are the ones that decide elections

Of course, Alan, if all those senior criminal barristers were really interested in the income of the most junior barristers they could easily have proposed a restructuring of pay to move spending from the highest earners to the new entrants in a manner that would have come at low or no cost to taxpayers.

Philip of Claret

Did a giant Tory-voting seagull just dive-bomb that outraged looking Christmas pudding?

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