Britain's highest paid barristers command fees of up to £1.5m a year

Britain's richest barristers earn as much as £1.5m a year, according to a table of legal rankings to be published today.

Britain's richest barristers earn as much as £1.5m a year, according to a table of legal rankings to be published today.

Tax specialists are at the top of the list, charging an estimated £900 an hour in fees for advising some of the best-known companies on their tax-avoidance strategies.

Graham Aaronson QC, Michael Flesch QC and David Goldberg QC, are, according to this year's Legal 500 of leading barristers and solicitors, the highest earners at the Bar. They are closely followed by three commercial silks, led by the Labour peer Lord Grabiner QC, who are each estimated to have earned £1.25m last year. The other two are Gordon Pollock QC and Jonathan Sumption QC.

Teresa Sandon, editor of the annual rankings, which will be revealed tonight before an audience of 500 lawyers, said: "The specialist tax Bar has always offered the greatest potential rewards and has suffered less from the recent slowdown in litigation."

They can afford to charge the highest rates because they use their "financial wizardry" to save companies huge amounts in tax, she added.

Later this month a second legal table, published by Chambers & Partners, is also expected to name these six barristers as the Bar's biggest earners as well as a handful of other silks who belong to the exclusive "million-a-year club".

One silk expected to be named for the first time as a member of the club is George Carman QC, libel barrister to the stars, who announced his retirement last month after being diagnosed as suffering from prostate cancer. Although it has been often suggested that Mr Carman's practice was worth £1m a year, this is the first time he has been included.

Now much of Mr Carman's work is up for grabs and other libel lawyers are being approached as possible candidates to replace him in a series of high-profile cases due to start later this year and next year.

Ms Sandon estimated that there were no more than 15 barristers who received £1m in fees each year.

Today the Legal 500 makes clear that earnings at the Bar vary considerably and that it is the reputation of the barrister that counts the most. "A corporate tax junior of seven or eight years call [experience] can make as much, if not more, than a reasonably successful criminal silk. Top-flight silks at the commercial Bar earn four or five times as much as less successful ones," Ms Sandon said.

Hourly rates also vary from just £20 for a newly qualified barrister in criminal law to £900 an hour at the top end of the tax Bar, according to the Legal 500, which does not take account of deductions for tax and chambers rent.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence