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CBA Chairman’s Message – Friday 20 December

CBA Chairman’s Message


Friday 20 December 2013


Personal Email: [email protected]

This morning I have received the following unsolicited e mail from an eminent non criminal silk and am sharing it with you:

I saw the CBA Chairman’s Message of 18 December 2013 on ‘BSB Guidance on deliberately failing to attend court’ and his reply to the BSB. I particularly noted Dr Davies’ assertion that ‘Refusing to attend court in pursuit of a protest will not be regarded as “some other substantial reason ” (rC26.8)…’ It seems to me that in so asserting, the BSB have failed to consider its obligations to respect the right to strike under Article 11 of the European Convention; I consider that the ‘chilling effect’ of the BSB threat would be unlikely to be justified by reference to Article 11(2) (necessity in a democratic society for one of the specified reasons there set out). This is, I consider, supported by a now substantial body of ECtHR jurisprudence in the ‘right to strike’ cases. I add that though barristers are not ‘workers’  for the purposes of UK legislation on industrial action, the right to strike protected by Article 11 extends to ‘everyone’. I would be very happy to assist the CBA (pro bono, obviously) on this subject having had some experience in this area of law.

Do let me know if I can be of help to the CBA, I don’t need to tell you how sympathetic we civil practitioners are to the plight of our colleagues at the criminal Bar.

I note the Law Gazette report of Saturday’s CBA meeting. If I could be of any assistance in relation to the legal issues that arise in relation to a “strike,” I should be very pleased to do so. I gave Advice to the Bar Council on this subject in January 2004 but things have moved on since then in a number of ways, not least because of the developing jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights on the right to strike.
Let me know if I can help.

Nigel Lithman QC

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