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Editorial: Talk before you strike, barristers

Barristers who are on a collision course with the State on the issue of fees are right on the entitlement of defendants to legal representation.

Under our system, people who are facing criminal charges, and who can't afford to pay for their own lawyers, are entitled to have the costs paid by the State.

But the State is also right in wanting to bring down costs.

Indeed, some will wonder how we have got to a situation where the State is paying up to €2,000 a day to a barrister in a criminal case.

Is that a 'reasonable' amount to be paying out of the public purse for any kind of work?

A strike by barristers would, of course, cause massive disruption -- not least to people whose trials would be further delayed.

One would hope that, with all their skills, barristers would be able to negotiate a satisfactory outcome to this dispute without going on strike.