Back to Barristers ‘exploiting misery’ as fees in family law cases rise 25% in 5 years – Daily Mail Online – June 19th 2008
Barristers have been making millions of extra pounds from the misery of families and children caught up in the family courts, according to new figures released by ministers yesterday.
Fees paid out of taxpayer-funded legal aid to barristers in family court cases have gone up by almost a third in five years and have now reached nearly £100million a year, they showed.
And there have been big increases in claims by barristers for obscure special payments that provide ‘uplift’ and ‘bolt-ons’ to their basic charges.
Jack Straw’s Ministry of Justice lifted a corner of the blanket of official secrecy that surrounds the family courts to disclose that barristers who appear in them can claim bonuses including bizarre ‘court bundle payments’.
These give barristers extra money if there are more than 176 pages to their court papers and extra still if there are over 350 pages. Yet another court bundle payment is paid if a barrister carries over 700 pages of papers.
Court bundle payments alone meant taxpayers were charged an extra £8.6million by barristers last year.
The Times on line
June 19th 2008
The Bar Council, which represents nearly 15,000 barristers in England and Wales, will announce its proposals in a paper before an all-party meeting of MPs tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Legal Services Commission, which runs the legal aid scheme, has just released figures to show how much barristers are earning from legal aid work.
Crispin Passmore, the commission’s policy director for civil legal aid, said that the sum spent on barristers’ fees since 2003-04 had risen from £71 million to nearly £100 million.
The number of barristers earning more than £100,000 from family legal aid work had gone up by 14 per cent in the 12 months between mid2005 and mid2006, he added.
“The average annual earnings from family legal aid work is £140,000 – and that doesn’t include any privately paid work they might do. So we are not talking about the minimum wage.”