Money, cuts and taking action

Here is something I said few years ago that cost me my scholarship: 

[Words to that effect not direct quotes]

 
Question: What do you think about the Criminal Bar, people aren't paid enough and yet they do extraordinarily important job. Sometimes there isn't any work for young people, like yourself, to even earn any money.


Answer: I think people who are complaining about money should find other ways of either working harder or more efficiently. If the system is wrong then it needs to be changed. But if the issue is just about the amount payable (wanting to be paid more for the same job) then those who entered the profession for money alone should not be there, perhaps they should leave and make space for those who will take on these tasks at the price as it currently stands. 

 
Silence.



 

I am still to this day wondering why I applied for this scholarship and then went on to say the above.

I guess my honesty was not really the best policy here? After this answer I would not give myself that scholarship. i.e. 'then make it without our scholarship, as you say in your own words: work harder or more efficiently...?' It was only when I finished speaking I realised how badly I shot myself... not even in a foot, I shot myself in the face. Because the panel could not see past the final remark I made about if you don't like it either change it or leave. I could see in their minor facial expressions that they could not comprehend how I can be so ignorant of the fact that they have children to feed. Frankly and unsurprisingly they wanted me to leave!

There were two points I was making in the same statement about efforts and the system, which is why it came across rather badly.

The first was about the attitude towards low paid work on assumption there is enough work available for everyone and the system works just fine. In other words, if we accept there is work available, there is money to be made. Those who want even more money than what is already available, they should try something else as the Criminal Bar was never particularly known to be a lucrative area. The other side of this coin relates to some individuals who struggle to commit, adjust and make things happen for themselves (they should know how that are self-employed at the end of the day) then they should leave and move on to doing something else.

The second was about the system mentioned very briefly although the key point! If we are really in a bad place (not that I would know as I was not in practice at the time of making this comment) and people cannot make a living despite their best efforts, that's not a very good system and it needs changing. I was indicating that moaning about it will not do the trick - what I should have done there and then was to ask a question: what have these super powerful people did to change the Criminal Bar?

What I am stressing is the need for taking responsibility and taking action. I am taking my full responsibility for what came across as a rather ignorant statement I made few years ago. Now, it is practitioners' responsibility to make a change! The conversation about the Criminal Bar has been on-going since I can remember, but it wasn't until more disappointing changes were announced recently that someone decided to take action. Thank you Garden Court for more doing and less talking. Others will follow when they realise it is their duty.




 

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