Alternative funding?

I wonder if Lord Irvine's next objective is to subject the legal profession to a windfall tax. Such a move could be the rationale behind his rather peculiar comments last week.

In fact, it could be a great way of paying the legal aid bill. Lawyers may laugh at Irvine's about-turn but the man may well have a point.

Plenty of people would love the idea of lawyers funding the legal system – after all it is they who derive most financial benefit from it. And think of the financial savings. New Labour may have a point about all those overpaid lawyers.

On a more serious note, Lord Irvine has forgotten about the majority of barristers who earn nothing like a fat-cat salary – in fact quite the opposite.

There is no doubt that some do earn large amounts of money but what about those at the lower end of the bar who have barely enough work to keep themselves going?

Furthermore, as advocacy opens up, the situation at the bar is going to become even more competitive and the market forces which are currently causing the fat-cat scenario will resolve it further down the line.

I think that Lord Irvine should be more circumspect about his comments because sensationalism is not helpful to anyone other than the media.

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