This pic of the MoJ’s Xmas tree hasn’t gone down well with criminal lawyers

‘Utterly detached from the reality’, wrote one barrister on Twitter, as crumbling courts and case backlogs proceed to blight justice system

The MoJ’s Christmas tree

A photograph of the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) Christmas tree has sparked a flurry of outraged responses from criminal lawyers on Twitter.

The MoJ’s everlasting secretary tweeted from her official account a photograph on Friday exhibiting the ornamental tree up in the atrium of the MoJ’s London headquarters.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” she wrote as the caption. “Still much to do between now and Christmas — but the tree is up at MOJ HQ!”

The cheery tweet appears to have despatched criminal barristers over the edge, with many questioning the MoJ’s priorities as courts throughout the nation crumble and the backlog of instances continues to develop.

“Good to see you’ve got your priorities right,” tweeted Ben Edwards, a criminal barrister at Foundry Chambers. “[P]erhaps you should use the money you paid for this ridiculous tree to ensure crown courts’ heating worked or to ensure the ceilings aren’t falling in… instead you think THIS is more important?! Shocking. Get a bloody grip.”

Criminal barrister turned Labour politician Karl Turner MP waded in with a tweet saying: “How absolutely lovely. Let’s not mention the 75k cases blocked up in the crown wourts, criminal solicitors and barristers absolutely shattered and defeated. Court buildings crumbling and much more. We’ve got the Chrissy tree up! Well done Dominic Raab you are an absolute saviour.”

In the meantime, tutorial and lawyer Becca Jiggens instructed the MoJ launch its personal creation calendar with a twist.

Missed alternative to have an MoJ Creation Calendar, reopening a closed court docket every day.

— Becca Jiggens stays fucking outraged (@beccajiggens) December 3, 2021

Elsewhere, Tomas McGarvey of 2 Bedford Row wrote: “Utterly detached from the reality of the criminal justice system.”

His chamber mate Nick Barraclough tweeted in response a photograph of what seems to be a flooded hall in a court docket constructing. “Them and us,” he wrote.

Fellow criminal barrister Tony Kent shared a picture of an out-of-use urinal in one other court docket constructing to which different Twitter customers responded, “Merry P*ssmas” and “MoJ literally taking the p*ss”.

Jail Storm, a Twitter account devoted to the state of the nation’s prisons, wrote:

“…A groundswell of deep frustration exists across courts and prisons which is in stark contrast to the apparent festive cheer within the Westminster bubble.”

Simply weeks in the past Justice Secretary Dominic Raab irked barristers by sending a pre-recorded message to the annual bar convention while he was out at a Christmas pageant and snapping selfies with an enormous roller-skating Christmas pudding and bauble.

Raab mentioned over the weekend that there is not going to be a MoJ-wide Xmas get together this yr amid issues over new coronavirus variant Omicron. The MoJ will as an alternative be holding “appropriate drinks at a smaller scale” — a lot to the delight of criminal barristers.

The MoJ has been approached for remark.

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