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CBA Monday Message – 07.08.17

Chair’s Update: 
Francis FitzGibbon QC

(In)flexible Operating Hours
I understand that the Blackfriars Crown Court pilot scheme is due to go live on 30th October, with cases being selected from now on. There has been an unusual amount of public commentary by Judges – some advocating FOH, others bitterly opposed. In case you missed them, here are the CBA’s questionnaire and the guidance.
Body Worn Video
Here is a useful guide for using
And it’s Goodbye from Me
This should be my last Monday Message before Angela Rafferty QC takes over as CBA Chair on 1st September. With her and the team of Officers and Aaron in charge, the CBA could not be in better hands. Their support has been invaluable to me, and we have operated as a real team, debating and discussing all the important things. Chris Henley’s election as vice-Chair leaves a vacancy for Treasurer. The election will be in September – step up! I am also grateful to the Executive Committee, who have supported the leadership and improved our work in numerous ways.
The educational side of the CBA is one of its great strengths, and if it has not had much airtime in these messages, it’s because the education committee under James Mulholland QC does its work smoothly and brilliantly. Kudos and thanks to them for the lectures, training conferences and learning materials they have produced, which we all find so valuable.
I had hoped that the AGFS reform would be completed during the last 12 months, but as you know the process turned out to be much more laborious than anyone expected. A satisfactory resolution is achievable, but without adequate funding any new scheme, however well it has been designed, will be still-born.  We have done all we could – the ball is now in MOJ’s court.
I don’t know if the CBA will ever be respectable – if that means giving up its independent and at times awkward voice, I hope it never will. Criminal lawyers are people who will not take no for an answer – or even yes, on occasions. Our independence is our USP – we do not shrink from telling people what they don’t want to hear when it is what they need to hear. That makes us unpopular at times, but we should not seek popularity for it own sake. Still, the CBA remains an organisation that people listen to – in the judiciary, in government, in other parts of the legal world, and in the media. We may not be respectable, but our visible dedication to serving the public as prosecutors and defenders, and our reasoned take on legal affairs, has earned us respect.
I hope that these Messages have been helpful, or at least occasionally entertaining. It will seem odd, now, not spending the weekend writing them. I will continue to share my thoughts on legal matters on the ‘Nothing Like the Sun’ blog, but perhaps not every week.
I wish you all a great summer holiday, and bon courage for whatever lies ahead.

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