I know all about financial hardship at the criminal Bar. My novel Wig Begone is based on my early years of penury as a barrister, doing a difficult and challenging job. I often worked weekends and sometimes late into the night when briefs were returned to me at the last minute. Nor was I blood -sucking leech, attempting to get the guilty off by all possible means. If a client told me he had committed the crime then I would never make out to a court that he was innocent.Also, as an independent practitioner, I prosecuted as well.

The administration of justice benefits enormously by having a group of independent professionals offering their services to both sides.But that group – the Bar – will ultimately be destroyed if the most able lawyers desert it at an early stage, or never come at all. Ultimately, the public will suffer if cases are not properly presented and conducted: the cost will be much greater to our society and they won’t be just fiscal either.

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