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The challenges facing the junior Bar

Young barristers are finding new ways of working to combat the pressures of legal aid cuts, court fee increases, and the heightened costs of training, says Louisa Nye

23 February 2016

Being a barrister in the early years of practice has always been challenging: there are long nights doing work to prove yourself to your solicitors, clients, and clerks. Not to mention the financial insecurity of managing a practice at the self-employed Bar, where sometimes you will not be paid for work you have done for well over six months.

Now there are the added pressures of the legal aid cuts, which have substantially reduced the work available at the criminal and family Bar. Increases in court fees mean that litigants in the civil sphere have no money to spend on representation: they spend
what money they do have on commencing the claim, or decide not to go to court at all. Access to justice is being eroded, which means that litigants are representing themselves or giving up on the law as an avenue to resolve their disputes. This means the work that young barristers used to do in lower value or less complex cases...

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