The Lord Chancellor has attacked the Law Society following its call for QCs to be abolished and announcement that it is boycotting the soundings process.
In a furious letter to Law Society president Robert Sayer, Lord Irvine declares himself "deeply disappointed" with the society's adoption of a public position before Sir Leonard Peach's scrutiny of judicial appointments and silks is concluded.
He says: "It is difficult to see how the interests of solicitors can conceivably be advanced by a decision to withhold assistance previously given."
The Law Society repeats its demand that QCs be abolished and that existing QCs be paid at a "justifiable rate", in response to the Legal Aid Board's consultation paper on very high cost cases.
The attack has also drawn criticism from solicitors with the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association.
LCCSA Secretary and Burton Copeland partner, Mark Haslam says: "QCs sometimes receive very substantial remuneration but this is because they work very hard and have extensive experience."