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CBA Monday Message 05.03.18

Chair’s Update:
Angela Rafferty QC

The Executive Committee met on Tuesday. The impact of the scheme was still being processed and we are doing work around the figures with the executive members. We know there is a high level of concern about these reforms. We really need more responses. We know that we are all beleaguered and morale is low – however without your feedback it is difficult to come to a conclusion as to the general effect of the reforms. Please send any views or figures you would like the Committee to consider to [email protected].

Heads of Chambers Meeting
This will take place on Tuesday 6th March at BPP, College of Law, Red Lion St, London. This should (along with your emails) provide us with a reliable barometer of views about the reformed scheme. Following this we have another Executive Committee meeting on 13th March and next steps will be discussed and you will be informed.

The Way Ahead
The crisis in the system has become so well known that it is in danger of being seen as unchangeable. The relentless cuts and refusal to recognise the importance of a principled, and not political, approach has left us all reeling. We must vociferously lead the campaign to stop this downward spiral. Action for justice is required. We should all stand together going forward and we are starting to take the steps needed to unite with other groups in the system to speak together on our common issues.

Wellbeing/lunch breaks/working for free/morale
Everyone is ground down and the latest fee reform will feel like another huge worry.  I know that you are all being asked to do more and more for less and less including training outside work hours and the constant drafting of documents and reading of huge volumes of material you know you will never be paid for.

In a straw poll recently (conducted unscientifically by me) very few barristers had had a full lunch break in weeks. The following things are routinely expected of advocates when everyone else is having a break – conferences, drafting admissions, preparing interview edits, legal research for the Judge, and sometimes doing skeleton arguments that have been asked for at a moment’s notice – and the list goes on. All of this might be acceptable if we are being properly remunerated and valued. But we are not. The system relies heavily upon the goodwill of the criminal bar, but the present crisis means that many are struggling to survive. Our working day doesn’t start when the court sits or end when it rises. We are losing our talented members who simply cannot cope with the attrition of endless hours for little pay. We hope those members of the judiciary reading this are sympathetic and will make efforts to make our lives a bit more manageable.

The Wellbeing officer is mobilising and she wants to remind everyone of the Employee Assistance Programme which is at everyone’s disposal.
Username: CBA
Password: Wellbeing

The Women In Law
The launch on 1st March sponsored by the CBA was a great success despite the blizzards. This organization is going to continue to thrive. The energy and enthusiasm of all who attended was fantastic. Find details of the organisation and how to join it here.

On the theme of women we are holding another “Imposter Syndrome” event from 18.00 on Wednesday 28th March at Middle Temple. Please email Aaron. It will consist of a panel and audience of Silks and some judges to discuss the issues and how to overcome them. Last years was a roaring success. You can book your place here.

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