The barrister who led the criminal bar during its historic summer of strikes has relinquished his practising certificate and is no longer practising, his chambers confirmed today.

Jo Sidhu KC was chair of the Criminal Bar Association during 2022 when barristers launched industrial action over legal aid fees. He left that role in August 2022 and was succeeded by former vice-chair Kirsty Brimelow KC.

Formerly of 25 Bedford Row, Sidhu joined No 5 Barristers Chambers in January last year as a full tenant. But today his profile no longer featured on the chambers website and the link to his page on the Bar Standards Board website led to a page no longer existing. 

A spokesman for No 5 Chambers told the Gazette: ‘Basically he has relinquished his practising certificate and is no longer a practising barrister.’ He declined to give any further details. 

The Bar Standards Board contradicted a report in a national newspaper today which alleged that Sidhu had been suspended from practising. A spokesman for the BSB said: ‘Mr Sidhu has not been suspended from practice but is currently an unregistered barrister and does not have a practising certificate. He does not therefore appear on the barristers register.' 

Sidhu no longer appears on the Lincoln's Inn website list of benchers, a search on Tuesday revealed. A spokesperson for Lincoln's Inn said: 'Jo Sidhu KC is no longer listed on the benchers page of our website as he has resigned as a bencher of Lincoln’s Inn'.

Jo Sidhu

Sidhu joined No 5 Barristers Chambers in January last year

Source: Michael Cross

Sidhu was praised in 2022 for his leadership of the criminal bar, when he articulated its demands of a 25% fee uplift for written work, a clear timetable for the implementation of Sir Christopher Bellamy’s recommendations on wasted and special preparation, a second brief fee for section 28 cases, and a pay review body ‘that protects us from the ravages of inflation’.

The criminal barrister, of Southall in West London, studied PPE at Oxford as an undergraduate. Aged 25 he undertook a law conversion degree and practised in criminal law for the next three decades.

In an article for Counsel magazine last year, he wrote: ‘My greatest passion remains the teaching of advocacy to the next generation of barristers, whether as part of my contribution as a Bencher at Lincoln’s Inn, internationally with the Inns of Court College of Advocacy, or with the South Eastern Circuit at Keble College. 

‘I will always champion courtroom advocacy as an art form that must be learned, practised and honed because the reputation of our profession depends upon the respect we earn as exceptional communicators. 

‘Perhaps the most important lesson to be drawn from the CBA action last year is that sometimes we must be ready to use that same advocacy to defend ourselves and not just our clients.’

Sidhu declined to comment to the Gazette.