Joshua Rozenberg’s column ‘Inn the Know’ reports the former LCJ Lord Judge lamenting the fact that so few new barristers will join publicly funded sets. Of course, the biggest issue is the appalling rates of pay in criminal cases.
Law Society president Andrew Caplen rightly voices concerns over the latest folly emanating from the Ministry of Justice regarding duty solicitor contracting, but what has been lost in the demoralising fog of endless cuts is sight of the true rate of pay.
The current hourly rates in criminal legal aid are almost identical to those in 1992, except then we were also paid for travel and waiting time. We have been reduced to levels that are pre-1970s. Judge might also have mentioned that at our moment of greatest unity with the bar, they chose to stab solicitors in the back for narrow self-interest.
The political and the financial are deeply entwined in a remorseless attack on rights and those who deliver them, and the senior judiciary and the bar are complicit in the ruin being visited on solicitor firms.
Greg Powell, Powell Spencer & Partners, London NW6