Taxing the poor

“It’s so unfair that our professional indemnity insurance is based upon a percentage of our earnings,” said OldSmoothie today.

“It’s true,” said HeadofChambers. “What it means in reality is that the more senior you get, the more you earn and therefore the more you pay in insurance.”

“Even though you’re actually becoming a better barrister and therefore less of a risk,” said OldSmoothie.

“That’s highly debatable,” said BusyBody, “and anyway, surely it reflects the fact that you’re doing higher value cases which are generally taken to be more risky?”

“Completely untrue,” said OldSmoothie. “The cases where most of the mistakes are made are the smaller, less lucrative ones which people don’t necessarily give their, er, full attention.”

“I think you’re speaking for yourself with that little proposition,” said BusyBody.

“There is a fair point though,” said TheBusker. “I mean, maybe they should start offering no claims discounts to barristers who never claim.”

“The problem with that,” said TheVamp, “is that the numbers of claims are so small that pretty much all the senior barristers would be paying tiny premiums and it’d massively increase payments for those at the junior end.”

“Quite right too,” said OldSmoothie. “Why should we subsidise the junior Bar? We’re already doing it with the rent we pay, never mind our insurance premiums.”

“Don’t get him started on rent,” said BusyBody.

“Well, it really is ridiculous that my chambers rent has doubled in the last ten years even though I’m still in the same room and not turning over massively more than before.”

“But don’t you think senior barristers have a moral duty to support the future of the profession just as you were supported in the past?” said TheVamp.

“Not when there is no future for those at the bottom end of chambers,” came the reply. “Throwing good money after bad if you ask me.”

“Absolute nonsense,” said UpTights. “Greedy older barristers have been making these kinds of arguments for generations and they were as wrong then as you are now. Mark my words, they’ll still be debating the future of the Bar in thirty years time and in three hundred years time and there’ll still be the nay-sayers and Jeremiahs moaning on like the broken record that you’ve become OldSmoothie.” She paused before adding, “So don’t start getting ideas about trying to change the rent structure old man or you’ll have me to deal with.”

Which for once really did shut him up.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

April 30, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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