…As MoJ names top legal aid earners

Balbir Singh, head of Birmingham-based Equity Chambers, has been revealed as the highest-paid legal aid criminal barrister for the second year in a row, according to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures.

Singh, a former magistrates’ clerk, received £957,000 from criminal legal aid work in 2006-07, after earning £1.1m the previous year. Over the past three years he has been paid more than £2.8m in legal aid.

The top 10 barristers on the MoJ’s criminal defence list earned a total of £7.8m between them.

John Rees QC of 2 Paper Buildings was the second highest earning criminal barrister last year, pulling in fees of £956,000, up from £947,000 in 2005-06. In third place was Oliver Blunt QC of Furnival Chambers, who earned £924,000.

On the civil legal aid list the top 10 barristers earned £3.4m between them, with Jeremy Rosenblatt of 42 Bedford Row heading the list with £508,000.

The MoJ noted that the figures do not represent the personal earnings of the barristers in any one year as payments can be made for work over several years. In addition the fees are subject to VAT and do not include barrister overheads.

TOP EARNERS

CRIMINAL BAR

Balbir Singh

, Equity Chambers: £957,000
John Charles Rees QC, 2 Paper Buildings: £956,000
Oliver Blunt QC, Furnival Chambers: £ 924,000
George Carter-Stephenson QC, 25 Bedford Row: £763,000
Abbas Lakha QC, 9 Bedford Row: £ 760,000
Trevor Burke QC, Charter Chambers: £ 711,000
James Lewis QC, Three Raymond Buildings: £692,000
Peter Lodder QC, 2 Bedford Row: £678,000
Thomas Derbyshire QC, formerly of 2 Bedford Row: £668,000
Richard Ferguson QC, Carmelite Chambers: £663,000

CIVIL BAR

Jeremy Rosenblatt

, 42 Bedford Row: £508,000
Paul Storey QC, Southernhay Chambers: £362,000
John Godfrey, Wilberforce Chambers (Hull): £357,000
Stephen Knafler, Garden Court Chambers: £350,000
Simon Taylor QC, Cloisters: £334,000
Robin Tolson QC, Outer Temple Chambers: £328,000
Jonathan Baker QC, Harcourt Chambers: £323,000
Simeon Maskrey QC, 7 Bedford Row: £284,000
Eleanor Hamilton QC, No 6 Chambers: £281,000
Ian Peddie QC, Garden Court Chambers: £272,000