I met some striking barristers in Parliament today to express my solidarity with them and those barristers across Greater Manchester during their strike action.
They are rightly furious at the dramatic underfunding of the criminal justice system, poor conditions and poor pay.
It is so bad that young barristers just starting out in criminal work are earning well under the minimum wage and are leaving that area of the profession in droves.
Nina Graham QC said in Manchester ““There aren’t enough barristers to prosecute or defend cases, the judiciary is struggling and not enough judges are being recruited, criminal barristers are leaving and the numbers are huge. It is a crisis of massive importance.
This is unprecedented. Barristers are not a striking profession. Wigs and gowns on the picket line is not something you are used to seeing.”
And this should worry us all.
Access to justice is the cornerstone of democracy and any society that rations access to justice and starves funding for proper representation, in the way the UK is currently doing, is not a democracy, it is frankly on a dangerous path towards barbarism.