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CBA Monday Message - 18.09.17 - The Criminal Bar Association

CBA Monday Message - 18.09.17

Chair's Update: 
Angela Rafferty QC


The Young Bar
The number of barristers under 5 years call has fallen by 30 per cent between 2005 and 2015. This is a threat to the future of the profession. It is not known how many of those who leave are from Crime – the suspicion is that it is many. Survival instinct alone should make us act. 
 
The Young Barristers Committee annual report reveals that following a survey it is still the case in 2017 that many of the most junior Bar have done hearings in the magistrate’ court where they do not expect to be paid at all.  The Bar Council’s protocol for payment of Magistrates court fees dates back to 2008 and appears to frequently ignored. When fees are paid they are often less than the protocol requires and delays are endemic.  When reports are made nothing changes and there are also concerns that raising this issue may compromise the barrister in Chambers.
 
We all know talented and committed junior barristers who have left or are thinking of leaving. It isn’t good enough to think that this is the way it has always been. The most economically vulnerable amongst us must be supported and protected.  It is unacceptable that the most junior among us still face these problems. Heads of Chambers and clerks have a duty to ensure that those who appear in the magistrates court are paid and in good time.
 
The CBA supports the Young Barristers Committee proposal that fees should be paid directly to counsel from the court.

The report from the YBC is here.
 
The Protocol is here.
 
AGs call for evidence on the Impact of Social Media on the Administration of Justice
In 2015 a jury was discharged in a high profile murder case because of the prejudicial effect of social media comments made in response to news reports about the case. Some of these comments were described at the trial as ‘vile’. The case can be found here and is worth reading in full to provide context for the Attorney General’s call for evidence about the impact of social media on the administration of justice.
 
There are 7 questions in total and individuals and organisations are asked to respond by 8th December 2017.  We will be providing a formal response for the CBA. However our individual members are uniquely placed to provide evidence from the cases we do at all levels on a daily basis. It is important that a real picture emerges. No doubt it is appreciated that one case does not necessarily reflect a systemic problem.
 
Read it here.
 
Social mobility
We are compiling a list of willing volunteers from across the nation. If you are willing to be involved on projects on this issue, please email; socialmobility@criminalbar.com.We will be discussing this at the Executive Committee meeting on 26th September. If you are worried what you might be letting yourself in for drop me a line for reassurance and blandishments.
 
Treasurer election
We have a new treasurer Gillian Jones QC. Gilly is a former CBA secretary and has been involved in dedicated work for the profession for many years. She is a committed and talented barrister with a wicked sense of humour. Which she will need.
 
Vulnerable Witness Training
The Northern Circuit trained 100 Delegates in “Advocacy and the Vulnerable” over the weekend in Manchester. This is a massive effort for self employed people at the weekend and for free. This is in addition to other circuits and organisations pressing ahead with this major programme of education. Enormous credit is due.
 
Consultations
We have responded to the consultation about sentencing in child cruelty and female genital mutilation cases. Many thanks to Eleanor Laws QC, Sophie Shotton, Mary Aspinall-Miles and Max Hardy. It takes up a lot of time in already busy lives to help with these consultations and we are extremely grateful to our members for this work.
 
This week with the help of the officers I will be responding to the Bar Standards Board consultation on compulsory registration for youth advocates.
 
Lammy Review Conference: 
An hour-long conference is taking place on the evening of Monday 2nd October at Middle Temple Hall: 18.00 for 18.30 start. Solicitors and barristers from the criminal/regulatory/legal aid side of the profession will discuss the ramifications of ‘The Lammy Report’ and how we can all help to implement the recommendations immediately.   
 
Full details and how to book will be released shortly. 
 
Old Bailey Lecture Tomorrow night (19th):
Former CBA Chair, Max Hill QC will be speaking on 'The work of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation'  in the Bailey Bar Mess from 17.30 on Tuesday 19th September.  Please secure your place with Aaron

Date added: Monday 18th September 2017
Latest updated: Monday 16th October 2017

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    aaron.dolan@criminalbar.com