Hill said legal aid cuts and the new Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) would be key issues in the coming year. He warned that the long-term effects of cuts on the criminal Bar could be difficult to reverse.

“I have one key message for anyone who will listen: you can destroy the publicly funded Bar if you want, but you will want it back when it is too late to recover what you have lost,” he said.

“Frankly, it is puerile to dismiss our arguments as little more than financial self-interest, when the criminal Bar has for decades proven that it is efficient and exceptionally hard-working. We have nothing to fear from quality assessment; day-in, day-out criminal barristers across England and Wales provide consistently excellent advocacy.

“We are a profession with much to be proud of and everything to fight for. I will not shy away from the challenges which lie ahead.”

Hill, whose practice includes prosecuting high-profile terrorism and murder trials, was called to the Bar in 1987, was appointed a Recorder in 2004, and took silk in 2008. He represented the Metropolitan Police in the Coroner’s Inquests into the London bombings of 7 July 2005, and prosecuted the successful second prosecution for the killing of Damilola Taylor.

He succeeds Christopher Kinch QC as chair. Michael Turner QC of Garden Court Chambers has been elected vice chair.