Criminal barristers are to stage their first ever full day strike on 7th March, when they will walk out of courts across England and Wales.

The walkout follows a half day strike last month and is in protest at the £220m cuts that the Ministry of Justice is imposing on the profession. Chris Grayling, The Justice Minister, met with representatives of the Bar on Tuesday but was apparently unmoved by their pleas. The MoJ claims that many barristers earn over £100,000 a year from the state. Barristers point out that this equates to a salary of closer to £50,000 after chambers' expenses, VAT, travel etc*. are factored in.

What is certainly beyond doubt is that many barristers really do earn bugger all. And these cuts will certainly impact on access to justice, particularly in areas such as divorce where legal aid will no longer be available. Although this is unlikely to bother the Daily Mail, which will once more delight in the opportunity to show giggling protesters with horsehair wigs and £1,000 handbags.

    How it might look

Nigel Lithman QC, Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said that the walkout was a "proportionate response" and urged the MoJ to reconsider its position. The MoJ is due to announce its final response to the proposed cuts later this month.

*And luncheons at the Garrick, first growth claret, 400 bird day pheasant shoots and endowments to Balliol.

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