Addressing the annual dinner of the Criminal Bar Association dinner at Middle Temple Hall last month, Hill said that when he was elected vice chair two years ago, he knew “it would not be easy” but did not anticipate “such heartache, depression and personal bankruptcy”.  “I did not know that criminal barristers would email, ring or meet me to tell how they couldn’t pay their tax in January, because the earnings-basis assessment for tax produced a payable sum which exceeded last year’s profit, and which far outweighed the actual payments received in the current year, because the Legal Services Commission was keeping them waiting month after month.”  Hill said low fees meant the role of the criminal defence barrister was becoming less viable. He called for high value cases involving wealthy defendants with frozen assets to be taken out of legal aid in order to free up money for other cases.