LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswirer – A little-know lawyer emerged this week as the highest-paid legal aid barrister in the United Kingdom, receiving more than £1.1 million in a year.
Balbir Singh, who has never been made a QC, was paid £1,116,000 in 2005 to 2006, according to figures released today by the Ministry of Justice.
The former magistrates’ clerk is the only non-QC in the top 10 of the highest-paid barristers from criminal legal aid work only and has beaten more prestigious rivals in the pay league.
Between them the top 10 received almost £8.6 million in public money. In last year’s list, Mr Singh came in fifth with earnings of £750,000 – meaning that in two years he has pocketed almost £1.9 million of taxpayers’ money, mainly to defend criminal cases, the Daily Mail reports.
He is likely to have a further income from his private practice legal work.
Today the barristers’ earnings were condemned as an “absolute disgrace” by an MP who has campaigned against the huge fees paid to individual lawyers from taxpayers’ money.
Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon, said: “This is an absolute disgrace. Law centres and advice services are being squeezed at the bottom end to pay for multi-million-pound, bewigged fat cats at the other.”