The Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) caveat over which barristers are the highest-paid legal aid practitioners appears to be absolutely justified.
The MoJ was really driving the point last week that fees received by barristers last year did not represent the amount billed.
It is an important argument, especially since the ninth highest-paid criminal barrister Thomas Derbyshire, who received £668,000 last year, stopped practising in December 2006.
Derbyshire’s departure from the bar coincided with the Sultan of Brunei’s brother Prince Jefri suing the former barrister and his wife Faith Zaman for allegedly siphoning off almost £12m of property and cash while working as the Prince’s advisers.
Fortunately for Derbyshire his legal aid fees are not likely to line Prince Jefri’s pockets after the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the case last May.