Dismay expressed at further cuts to barristers’ fees
The Bar Council has responded to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on amendments to the funding of civil and criminal defence work.
The response expresses the Bar Council’s dismay at the Ministry’s decision to press ahead with further cuts to barristers’ fees in the face of overwhelming opposition within responses to the legal aid consultation (“Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid”). Endorsing the representations of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA), the Family Law Bar Association (FLBA) and the Civil Legal Aid Sub-Committee of the Bar Council (submitted simultaneously), the Bar Council’s response identifies a number of further areas of concern, including the outrageously low hourly rates of pay for pupil barristers.
The Bar Council contends that, in pursuing these cuts, the Lord Chancellor has under-estimated the implications for access to justice for the most vulnerable in society and the dire effect that these proposals will have on the legal profession as a whole, BME and women practitioners in particular, and in due course the profile of the judiciary.