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Barristers Strike over legal aid fees

By July 7, 2024 July 9th, 2024 No Comments
Barristers Strike

The recent barristers’ strike in Ireland has drawn significant attention and raised important questions about the state of the legal profession. Here’s a breakdown of the key points and background information on this noteworthy event:


1. Legal Aid Fees: The core issue driving the barristers’ strike is the matter of legal aid fees. Barristers, particularly those in the early stages of their careers, rely heavily on legal aid work. The fees for legal aid have not seen a significant increase in years, which has become a growing concern for many legal professionals.

2. Pandemic Impact: The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the situation. With courts closed and cases delayed, many barristers experienced financial hardship, highlighting the precarious nature of their earnings.

The Strike

1. Date and Scale: The strike, which took place on July 4, 2023, saw a substantial number of barristers across Ireland refuse to attend court. It was a significant move, marking a rare instance of such widespread action within the legal profession.

2. Demands: The striking barristers demanded an immediate increase in legal aid fees. They argued that the current rates do not reflect the complexity and importance of the work they do, nor do they allow for a sustainable career in law.

3. Support and Opposition: The strike garnered mixed reactions. Many barristers and legal professionals supported the strike, understanding the financial pressures faced by their colleagues. However, there was also criticism from some quarters, including concerns about the impact on clients and the justice system.

Wider Implications

1. Impact on the Justice System: The strike caused disruptions in the courts, leading to delays in cases and hearings. This has raised broader concerns about access to justice and the efficiency of the legal system in Ireland.

2. Public Perception: The strike also brought the issue of legal aid and the financial challenges of the legal profession into the public eye. There has been increased discussion about the need for reform and support for barristers, particularly those starting their careers.

3. Government Response: The government’s response to the strike has been cautious. While acknowledging the concerns raised by barristers, there has been no immediate commitment to increasing legal aid fees. Discussions and negotiations are ongoing, with hopes for a resolution that addresses the financial sustainability of legal professionals.


The barristers’ strike in Ireland is a significant event highlighting the challenges faced by legal professionals, particularly regarding legal aid fees. It underscores the need for a balanced approach that ensures fair compensation for barristers while maintaining access to justice for all. The outcome of this strike could lead to important changes in the legal aid system, impacting the future of the legal profession in Ireland.The Bar Council is recommending its members take action again on Monday 15 July and Wednesday 24 July.

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