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.