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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 07:16 GMT
Barristers' pay jumps by 12%
Barristers generic
Top barristers are earning a fortune, says the report
Experience barristers in England and Wales saw their pay increase by almost 10,000 last year - well above the average rise for other professionals, says a survey.

But the research, by chartered accountants BDO Stoy Hayward, indicated that rates of pay in criminal and family courts may not be high enough to attract new lawyers.

The survey is likely to fuel the controversy over barristers' pay - which has often been criticised as excessive.

The overwhelming majority are paid at least 53,000 before tax.

The average earnings of a barrister with over 10 years in the profession was 88,000.

12% rise

That represents a year-on-year increase of almost 12% - higher than pay rises awarded to top executives in the private sector.

Commercial and civil cases were far more lucrative than publicly-funded work.

The 2002 Survey of Barristers' Chambers also suggested that the most experienced barristers, known as Queen's Counsel (QCs), earned at least 282,000 a year.

But junior barristers said the rates of pay in criminal and family cases were so low they could not afford to specialise in those areas.

'Struggling financially'

Most of those starting their career said they were still paying off debts to fund their Bar education, and were struggling financially.

The report said the government's decision to introduce minimum wages of 10,000 a year for trainee barristers - or "pupils" - would lead to 139 fewer places being offered by the Bar.


The profession could see a shortfall in the number of junior barristers rising through the ranks in five years' time.

David Bean QC
Chairman, Bar Council

Chairman of BDO Stoy Hayward, Jeffrey Nedas, said: "With limited places and juniors potentially being squeezed out by financial pressures, the profession could see a shortfall in the number of junior barristers rising through the ranks in five years' time.

"This could lead to work being given to in-house barristers and solicitors."

Chairman of the Bar Council, David Bean QC, said: "The government must take heed of the potential impact of funding restrictions on the supply of able advocates to act in such cases of public importance.

"It may be that chambers are taking a conservative view of their ability to meet the compulsory pupillages funding requirements being introduced from the start of next year."

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Danny Shaw
"Experienced barristers' pay has gone up by about 12%"
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16 Oct 98 | UK
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