Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Crime Pays

I mentioned that I signed off a bill this week for at least £20,000 worth of work. I was at a South London Magistrates Court today and bumped in to the barrister who was instructed by me as leading counsel. I am not quite sure what he was doing in the Magistrates Court but never mind that.

As I sat discussing various complicated legal issues I asked if he had been paid on the case that I had submitted my bill for. He said that he had been paid and that he received a cheque for about £80,000 last week! That shows you where the real money in crime is. If you can get the work Crown Court advocacy can pay well. He got paid 400% more than my firm did (although my bill might get enhanced)! The barrister read the same set of papers that I had, he saw the Client less than I did prior to the trial, he watched less of the CCTV from the case, but clearly he did more advocacy during the eight week trial.

7 comments:

Lennie Briscoe said...

On the other side, everyone knows crime pays. It's just for "how long", until you get caught ;)

Anonymous said...

It's an intersting point about getting caught; it strikes me (although I have no great personal experience) that most criminals (for crimes of gain) who are caught seem to be of below average intelligence.

From this I can draw two conclusions either persons of above average intelligence don't commit crimes for gain (perhaps because it doesn't pay). Or alternatively the person of above average intelligence doesn't get caught, in which case maybe it does pay.

Graham Smith said...

The Government is of the opinion that crime does pay, perhaps as much as £920 per day for Junior Barristers, if the following exchange that took place in the House of Commons is anything to go by:

Douglas Hogg (Sleaford & North Hykeham, Con) "I declare an interest in that I am a practising barrister. Does the Under-Secretary understand that, although many of us do not support the strike, many members of the junior Bar are paid no more than £46 a day for going into court? Will she take account of their expenses? The fee is derisory and the matter should be addressed with all possible speed."

Bridget Prentice (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs): "The £46 fee is often mooted in favour of the junior Bar and is sometimes done so in a way that implies misunderstanding. The £46 could be for a bail application, which might take 10 minutes. A junior barrister could do 10 or 20 bail applications in a day at £46 each. I leave it to the mathematicians to work out exactly how much that is. Having said that, I stress to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that we are aware that aspects of the junior Bar's remuneration need to be examined. Today's action does not affect the very junior Bar; it is about trials that last 11 days and more, which few junior barristers experience."

Source: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm051018/debtext/51018-05.htm#51018-05_spnew4

Gavin said...

It is fine quoting statistics, but in relaity that is all they are. I have never come across a barrister who is doing 20 bail applications in one day!

Anonymous said...

Gavin:

You have only yourself to blame. If Crown Court advocacy is so lucrative why don't you just instruct yourself next time, assuming you have higher rights (I'd think you'd be a fool not to in this day 'n age). Otherwise, rest content to be a in low-paid criminal litigation support role. Leaving the advocacy to counsel in other areas of the law where opportunities to get advocacy experience are limited makes sense, but for criminal solicitors it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

10 to 20 bail applications a day.

Really? It really does show how little idiots like Bridget Prentice know about the criminal bar.

I am too annoyed to type any more.

James E. Petts said...

Twenty Crown Court bail applications in a day would be inconceivable. Even a prosecutor in the magistrates' court would be unlikely to do that many. Three or four is more realistic.