updated on 10 February 2014
On Saturday 8 February the "One Bar, One Voice" event brought together hundreds of barristers, along with solicitors and students, at Lincoln’s Inn to voice their dismay - again - at the universally despised legal aid cuts being proposed by the government. Nicholas Lavender QC, chairman of the Bar, said of the event: "This is a vital opportunity to demonstrate that the whole profession stands together in support of the rule of law and access to justice, which are under grave threat from the government's proposed cuts."
One speech that got a lot of coverage on Twitter was that of Hannah Evans, third six pupil at 23 Essex Street. Hannah spoke forcefully and eloquently about her own route to the profession - from a comprehensive school on "what was once the largest council estate in Europe", to Oxford, to law school and on to pupillage. None of it was straightforward, nor handed to her on a plate. She worked hard to get excellent grades and impress pupillage committees, and she has been left with "a mountain of debt" for her efforts. Now in her third six, she is at pains to disabuse people of the notion that all barristers earn "a small fortune". Her message is clear: "The simple reality is that I can barely survive earning what I currently do."
Please read the full transcript of Hannah’s speech - it is eloquent and honest. She loves her job, but fears that she will not be able to keep doing it if the cuts are implemented. Now, more than ever, everyone should make their voices heard in opposition to the government's plans - more protests are in the pipeline, including those specifically orchestrated by students. Will you speak up?