Fair is Fair 2024 | Withdrawal of Services



Criminal barristers will withdraw services for a third time this month on Wednesday 24th July.

Despite a commitment to do so, Government has not engaged in a review process examining the structure and level of fees paid to criminal barristers.

In October 2023, at the time of our first withdrawal of services, fees paid by the State to criminal barristers were more than 40% below 2002 levels in real terms.

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Government have failed to honour their commitment to an independent review of fee rates.


Cuts ranging from 28.5% to 60% have been applied to fees from 2008 – 2011.


Two thirds of criminal barristers leave after just 6 years.


Other workers in criminal justice have had pay restored.

  • In 2008, Government unilaterally broke the link between fees paid to barristers with increases applied under public sector pay agreements.
  • This means that barristers are paid a flat rate, with no provision for inflation or cost of living increases, in marked contrast to those employed in the public sector.
    September 2008Non-payment of 2.5% increase (per public service pay agreement)
    March 2009Reduction of 8% in fee levels (at the same time as FEMPI cuts imposed)
    April 2010Reduction of 8% in fee levels (at the same time as FEMPI cuts imposed)
    October 2011Reduction of 10% (no equivalent cut was imposed on the public sector)
    January 202410% fee restoration granted as part of commitment to an independent review and pathway to full restoration
  • The planned withdrawal in July is an escalation on the unprecedented action which was taken by barristers nationwide last October 3rd.
  • The Bar of Ireland is seeking an independent, meaningful, time-limited and binding mechanism to determine the fees paid to criminal barristers by the Director of Public Prosecutions and under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Scheme.

Government Inaction Leaves Justice At Risk

Already Delivering on Flexibilities

The flexibility delivered by barristers has enabled significant and valuable reforms to improve the experience of victims, their families and vulnerable witnesses; including but not limited to

  • Implementation of Victims’ Rights Directive
  • New measures to protect vulnerable witnesses
  • New pre-trial procedures to assist victims of crime

These reforms simply could not have been implemented without the cooperation and goodwill of barristers.

Further Impacts Include

  • Delayed justice due to a dearth of criminal barristers to deliver criminal advocacy services.
  • The future pipeline of criminal barristers is already under strain.
  • In addition, the public trust and experience of the criminal justice system relates directly to the strength of our rule of law.

Our communications with Government

In addition to the communications below, and preceding communications since 2016, in preparation for the July withdrawal, we have also communicated with all TDs and Senators; the Judiciary The Courts Service, NGOs and various agencies in the justice sector.

Locations, dates and times of action

The withdrawal of services will be taking place nationwide for the full day on the 9th, 15th and 24th of July.

View the list of locations

View our press release



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