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CBA Monday Message 08.01.18

Chair’s Update:
Angela Rafferty QC

Happy New Year.

I hope you have managed to have some time off.
With morale so low and conditions ever worsening January is likely to be even grimmer than usual.

Please remember our wellbeing support systems.

2018 is likely to present us with significant challenges and opportunities. We should face them together with unity and purpose.

Legal Aid
There has been no announcement from the MOJ about the reform of AGFS. We are pressing for information. We must be prepared as an association to discuss this issue together and to decide what our response should be in a unified way.  The onslaught on criminal legal aid from every direction in the last decade has brought the system to its knees. Every criminal barrister who does publicly funded work will be affected by the reforms.

The spotlight currently shining on this issue will move on.  When it does we will remain one of the only safeguards the system offers those at risk. We prosecute and defend regularly and we have first hand knowledge of the terrible systemic problems with disclosure day after day. We are raising this at the highest level with the CPS and we want our members assistance to keep this issue at the very top of the agenda.  Many of you have already contacted us about it with examples. Can you continue to send all information you have of cases that have been materially affected by disclosure issues to our redoubtable secretary Donal Lawler.

New Silks
Congratulations to all the new silks announced just before Christmas. Here is a link to the list. We wish you well and we ask as many of you as possible to step up to help the CBA support our junior members. This is an ongoing campaign. This year we will continue our efforts to encourage more women to apply for Silk and judicial posts with similar events as last year planned for the near future. Any new Silks with help to offer please email me at [email protected].

Prosecuting Counsel
We are starting a new campaign to improve the lot of prosecution counsel. Those who prosecute are at the hard end of the disclosure debacle and suffer significant lack of morale and remuneration. There appear to be constant demands to do more and more work with a never expanding ‘brief fee’. Members who prosecute are under pressure and we want to help them.  Reform of fees is long overdue. A working group is being set up and we will report back to the executive committee our progress on this front.

Other campaigns
We carry on with all our initiatives from last year. We remain implacably opposed to the introduction of allegedly flexible hours and continue to make our representations robustly and directly to those who can do something about it.

Our Youth Justice Work will be the subject of a message a bit later in the year.

We remind all of you to complete the Quality of Working Lives survey by 12th January.

This is important, please do take the time.

Modern Slavery Act means change to sentencing guidance for sexual exploitation offences:
Following the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, additional explanatory guidance to assist courts sentencing offences of sexual exploitation under section 2 of the Act has now been included in the Sentencing Council’s sexual offences guidelines.

The Council has added guidance to the existing sentencing guideline and has amended Annex A of the guideline to include ancillary orders that can be made under the Modern Slavery Act.

The sexual offences guideline can be found HERE. The trafficking for sexual offences guideline is on page 99, and the Annex is on page 153.

Old Bailey ‘Yet More Trial & Error’ Show Dates:
Tickets will go on sale today for this annual treat.
Full details and booking procedure HERE.

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