The Student Room Group

Top of the criminal bar?

It's a commonly known fact that junior criminal barristers' pay is pretty poor particularly in the junior years. However, what is the pay roughly like at the top criminal sets in London, like 2BR, 25BR, QEB, etc for juniors of around 10 (+- 2) years call? And could it reach a healthy 6 figures, as one gets to 10-15 years call, or potentially silk?

Will the fact that they are very high ranking sets mean that they'll receive better quality/higher paid work, more crown court/complex trials earlier on, and/or more privately funded work? Or is it still similarly poor pay comparatively?
I don't know what the expected earnings are for those sets because I am not a criminal practitioner, at one of those sets or based in London. However, I do know plenty of criminal practitioners elsewhere, including several good friends, and I know that some of them were making six figures at around ten years call. That is, of course, highly dependent on various variables, including their individual ability and the particular set and situation they were in. On that basis, I suspect that that level of earnings at those sorts of sets would be realistic around that level of call. That's because, as I think you realise, those sets should be able to provide better work quicker for more junior tenants. That may mean more private work and/or work in related areas that may pay a little better than more run of the mill legally aided crime, but it should also mean that juniors at those sets will see better work (i.e. substantive crown court work) quicker. As I say, I cannot speak for individual sets and the situation will always differ from set to set. The very junior end of crime in London is also tougher than in regional sets because the increased legal aid rates do not come close to off setting the substantially increased cost of living. But generally speaking I would expect ten years or so in that you should be making a comfortable living financially at those sets, as indeed should realistically be able to do so at the right set outside of London.

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