Number of legal aid barristers to shrink further

updated on 29 July 2020

A recent survey has revealed that 29% of legal aid practitioners and 38% of criminal practitioners are uncertain about whether to renew their practising certificate in 2021.

As the pandemic continues to disrupt the profession, fee income has fallen by almost 60% across the board, according to the Law Gazette. Chair of the Bar Council Amanda Pinto QC described the survey results as “devastating” at a Bar Standards Board (BSB) meeting, referencing the lack of support offered by the Treasury for the self-employed Bar: “What we are finding is that there’s no real drive to rescue people at this point. I genuinely thought we were going to get at least the young practitioners supported. That was a really shocking failure.”

In a bid to tackle the Bar’s cash flow issues, the BSB is due to take out a £5 million loan, making use of the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, according to Malcom Cree, the Bar Council’s chief executive.

Cree voiced his “major” concerns about the Bar’s finances to the BSB, predicting that income at the Bar will fall “very, very substantially” next year.