The Bar Council has urged members to contact MPs about new measures to prevent chambers from collapsing in the wake of the pandemic.
Barristers have been told to write to or Tweet their local MPs asking them to put forward the Bar Council’s funding recommendations to the Treasury. Counsel have also been asked to share their experiences about lack of support on social media.
The Bar Council is demanding five new government measures to support barristers. These include increasing the £50,000 profit cap in the support package for self-employed workers, and the expansion of the types of evidence required to be eligible for self-employed relief, to include very junior barristers who don’t have 2018/2019 tax returns.
Business rates exemption relief should also be extended to barristers’ chambers, the representative body said, and urgent rescue packages are needed for publicly funded barristers who are ineligible for the self-employed scheme and for chambers doing publicly funded work.
Amanda Pinto QC, chair of the Bar Council, said: ‘This government will not want to be responsible for a breakdown of social order as we emerge from this lockdown but, without barristers, the courts and wider justice system in this country will collapse. The government must act now.
‘We have written to the Treasury, setting out the risks of not stepping in to save the justice system and highlighting the fact that existing measures to help barristers do not go far enough. We must make the case to ensure that these essential workers – barristers - who have been instrumental in making sure law and order is maintained throughout this crisis, have not disappeared when we resurface from Covid-19.’