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Activist Lawyer: ‘A Celebration of Failure’ – Irish barristers plan ‘walk out’ due to legal aid rate

The latest episode of the Activist Lawyer podcast features Dublin barrister, Darren Lalor. 

Darren speaks to host Sarah Henry about his distinctive journey into law, as he studied to become a barrister at the age of 36 while also working as a taxi driver in Dublin. 

Darren also provides listeners with a moving, frank and honest insight into the dysfunctional legal aid system in Ireland’s District Courts. Darren discusses the ongoing campaign he launched with his colleagues at the Bar to highlight the abysmal rates of pay for those working in criminal defence. Barristers are getting paid €25.20 for a remand, €50.40 for a plea in mitigation at a sentence hearing and €67.50 for a full hearing of a contested trial. 

Some of those working in criminal defence at District Court level favour strike action unless rates are increased while others are leaving criminal defence work altogether.  Barristers across Ireland have already staged protests to demand government action on what has been deemed the State’s failure to restore cuts on legal aid that were imposed over 20 years ago! On 2nd May 2023 lawyers will again mark the failure of the Irish State to honour its Rule of Law obligations in criminal legal aid funding by staging a ‘walk out’.  The campaign entitled a ‘Celebration of Failure’ will see barristers gather outside courthouses across Ireland between 10am and 3pm to have their voices heard. 

In this recording of Activist Lawyer, Darren is candid and upfront about the realities of working in criminal defence as matters currently stand in Ireland however, he is open to discuss the experience of working at the Bar with students or anyone who is interested in a career in law, no matter what their stage of life.

To listen to this recording download and subscribe to Activist Lawyer:

Activist Lawyer is a platform for lawyers working in Human Rights and Public Interest Law to share their work, thoughts and aspirations.  For more on Activist Lawyer, contact

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