The Bar Council has released new figures on barristers’ earnings.
The statistics are drawn together on an annual basis to work out how much barristers should pay in practising certificate fees.
They show that 16 per cent of barristers – around 2,500 – make more than £240,000 a year.
However, a further 13 per cent of barristers (around 2,000) make under £30,000, and nearly one third make under £60,000.
The reason for the discrepancy in salaries is largely due to barristers’ differing areas of practice. While even junior barristers at top commercial chambers can earn in excess of £70,000, their counterparts at criminal and family sets can make £20,000 or less at the start of their careers – before deductions for chambers’ rent, clerks’ fees, tax and VAT, travel costs, insurance, and compulsory CPD programmes.
The attrition rate at the criminal bar has been rising in recent years as juniors have failed to make enough money to live on.