Female barristers face discrimination

Women barristers face persistent discrimination over the cases they are given and their rates of pay, legal experts have warned.

They are routinely given cases involving sex crimes, which are paid less than many kinds of criminal brief, according to Kim Hollis, QC, a member of the Criminal Bar Association.

In addition, she said, those who did not get into “preferred” sets of chambers would not be given briefs by the Crown Prosecution Service.

“Under the code, the onus is on chambers to ensure fair access to all types of work,” Hollis said in quotes carried by The Times.

A barrister who took on a rape trial — likely to go to a woman — was paid a brief fee of £975, she said. A brief fee for a murder trial was twice that.

Stephen Irwin, QC, chairman of the Bar, said there were concerns about women leaving the profession. The Bar could encourage flexible working hours, he said.

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