To tell you why criminal barristers are staging a "walk out" tomorrow.

(372 Posts)
summerbreezer Sun 05-Jan-14 18:47:53

I should point out that I am a criminal barrister. I went to university for four years. I prosecute and defend. I believe what I do is an important public service.

This is a really good summary of my job:

http://50shadesofaffray.wordpress.com/

I've just done my tax return. After tax, I earned £23,400 in the year 2012/13. I have been a barrister for 5 years. Grayling wants me to lose another 17.4% off that.

As much as I believe passionately in publicly funded work, I will have to leave the profession. I can barely survive as it is. Others will go with me. The quality of prosecution and defence work will nose dive and we will have a two tiered justice system. One for the rich, one for the poor.

So this is why we are doing this:

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/jan/05/barristers-solicitors-walkout-legal-aid-cuts

Thanks for reading.

summerbreezer Sun 05-Jan-14 18:49:15
HaPPy8 Sun 05-Jan-14 18:51:14

23,400 AFTER tax? isn't that about £35000 a year?

summerbreezer Sun 05-Jan-14 18:52:26

Sorry - my error. That is before tax. It is my profit - I am self-employed. So before tax, and of course no holiday, sick pay, maternity or pension provision.

WhatAFeline Sun 05-Jan-14 18:53:18

Hi OP.

The situation with legal aid is appalling. I work for a service which changed literally millions of lives for the better through civil legal aid. It mainly got scrapped last year for most categories. The impact on people's lives is incalculable.

I don't want the same thing to happen to criminal legal aid.

Good luck.

catgirl1976 Sun 05-Jan-14 18:54:07

It's very wrong

All that will happen is any Barrister worth his / her salt will do commercial law instead which is far more profitable and the brightest potential candidates may avoid law - and certainly criminal law in this country altogether, leading to a weaker justice system.

WhatWouldYouReallyDo Sun 05-Jan-14 18:54:12

You have my support smile

HaPPy8 Sun 05-Jan-14 18:55:06

Before tax - ok! I will read it then smile

That profit is not representative of the average barrister though is it? I work in accountancy practice and all the solicitors we represent earn substantially more than that! You're not full time are you?

brokenhearted55a Sun 05-Jan-14 18:57:27

You still have a good income and you chose yoyr profession dear. You knew tge consequences of being self employed.

I make similar in civil litigation at a legal aid firm. 5 years pqe. No pay rise for last 2 years. Shit benefits.

You're lucky you have a fucking job as am I and the educational background to change profession to something more lucrative

Although I do agree with you re legal aid btw. I just think it's misleading to puport that as being a normal level of profit for a self employed barrister.

Hassled Sun 05-Jan-14 18:58:35

Bloody hell - I had no idea. My knowledge of criminal barristers is based entirely on Rumpole of the Bailey, who had a fondness for a good claret. The very best of luck.

summerbreezer Sun 05-Jan-14 19:01:19

Thanks for the support all. It is appreciated. The MOJ (with the assistance of the Daily Mail et al) are trying to con the public by publishing misleading figures and trying to get everyone to buy into the "all lawyers are on a gravy train" prejudice.

Northcountrygirl - I worked 60 hour weeks usually. I am most definitely full time.

I imagine you represent a lot of solicitors that are not in publicly funded work. There is a large difference between commercial fat cats and the rest of us.

WhatAFeline - I agree, the destruction of civil legal aid is equally appalling, particularly in the fields of Family, Landlord and Tenant and Immigration law. Some very vulnerable people being screwed over.

Brokenhearted, that was nice and helpful and supportive!

"23,400 AFTER tax? isn't that about £35000 a year?"

What if it is, though?

The point is that those applying for legal aid (or ordinary people self funding) will get crap representation and could no way compete and be ensured that the court process us equal and fair.

The wages of Health Care Staff was pushed down and down on the basis that it should be a vocation and all that resulted in was, inferior staff and care.

It is fine to put a cap on wages, as long as Big Businesses/Organisations are also capped on what they can spend on the same service.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 05-Jan-14 19:04:43

You have my support op

North solicitors and barristers are not the same. The former are employed, the latter self employed.

soverylucky Sun 05-Jan-14 19:05:21

I don't get the argument of " I get paid crap so you should too." Too many people in this country are not paid enough for what they do.

Bodypopper Sun 05-Jan-14 19:05:56

Tbf I thought you would earn a lot more than that op.

"You're lucky you have a fucking job as am I and the educational background to change profession to something more lucrative"

I am not connected to the legal profession as such, but in my voluntary job, we have both law students and those newly qualified, working alongside our Solicitors, the situation for anyone wanting to do law seems dire, tbh.

After or before tax I think that's a low salary for someone with such a responsible position / stress / hours.

gordyslovesheep Sun 05-Jan-14 19:07:49

you have my support - and soverylucky I agree I hate this 'equality of misery' crap

SheldorIsAFK Sun 05-Jan-14 19:08:11

broken op having a job is not the point though is it. The point is this pay situation is grossly unfair and will lead to an imbalance in representation based on income.

SheldorIsAFK Sun 05-Jan-14 19:09:37

sauce - agreed.

Bloody hell that is bad then for 60 hours. Sorry I genuinely didn't mean to offend.

Alis - I know there's a difference but we represent both barristers and solicitors and all our clients are self employed/own company as otherwise they wouldn't need an accountant.

thecatfromjapan Sun 05-Jan-14 19:10:13

brokenhearted - I think you've managed to miss the point spectacularly.

If the money barristers like summerbreezer earns continues to plummet downwards - either actually or comparatively (in relation to other branches of the legal profession, such as commercial law) - then the standard, and number, of barristers in this are will similarly decline.

Yes, there will be quite a few people who will do this work because they are civic-minded and believe in public duty. However, that is an ethos that is, in itself, in decline.

So the point of a post such as summerbreezer's isn't necessarily self-interest: it's to alert us all to what is happening in the legal system. Legal aid has been hammered, and here we have another area being eroded. The end result is, as summerbreezer has pointed out, a two-tier system.

You're a solicitor, you say? All the law students I knew at university were trained for years in reading accurately, and getting the point. I;m surprised you missed that, and went off on an "Your lucky to have a job and be paid at all" tangent.

She's not that lucky. A degree in law, from a reputable university, opens many, well-paid career paths. It would be a shame if defending (and prosecuting) publicly funded cases was no longer a career path of choice for many. A shame for those who find themselves caught up in the legal system as the public - not necessarily those who simply choose to employ their qualifications elsewhere.

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