England: Barristers less satisfied with working lives than NHS staff

A new survey of English barristers has found they are even less satisfied with their working lives than NHS staff, the Law Society Gazette reports.

The South Eastern Circuit and Criminal Bar Association (CBA) invited 2,000 members to complete surveys on quality of working life and the courts’ flexible operating hours (FOH) proposal.

Of the 354 barristers who responded to the surveys, an enormous 81 per cent said they had felt stress at work, compared with just 47 per cent of respondents to a similar survey of 953 NHS staff.

Just 28 per cent of barristers told the survey that they are satisfied with their working life, compared to 49 per cent of NHS staff.

On the FOH proposal, which HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has temporarily put on hold, 78 per cent of barristers said they strongly disagreed that the proposals in their current form are practicable, while 74 per cent said they would fail to meet the intended aims.

68 per cent of respondents did not think the FOH proposal would improve services for the public, 89 per cent said they would affect those with childcare unfairly, and 80 per cent said it would affect work-life balance.

Angela Rafferty QC, chair of the CBA, told the Gazette that the Association wanted “empirical and persuasive evidence” to challenge the “further assault on our working lives by the FOH proposal”.

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