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CBA Monday Message 30.04.18

Chair’s Update:
Angela Rafferty QC

Lack of detail in this update is necessary as we are at a critical time. The Executive Committee met this week and considered recommending escalation of the action. You will be notified through your Chambers once we are in a position to give you further information. The CBA will remain in regular contact with the Bar Leaders during this extremely sensitive time.

We have been told that there are various judicial protocols issued as to the impact of the action on case management. We are meeting the Senior Presiding Judge this week where no doubt this will be discussed.

The Solicitors Regulatory Authority has issued guidance as has the Law Society.

We have prepared a short information document about rights of audience in the Crown court, which is not intended to be advisory but might help members find information about this when dealing with the judiciary and when assisting solicitor colleagues with the legal principles involved. If you wish to see this document please email [email protected]and we will make it available to you. It is important that all practitioners deal with every case on its own merits as a blanket approach to the issues could not be in the interests of justice.

We remind the government that no barrister wants to take this action. Our repeated calls for a principled and practical solution stand. Justice should be placed in its rightful place. Investment across the system is required.

Parliamentary debate:
The Government has conceded that a debate on the new regulations implementing the scheme is required. The Speaker of the House said that the absence of a debate was ‘regrettable’. The debate will take place on 8th May 2018. Please continue to lobby your MP and to raise awareness of the state of our system.

On the same day the CBA and Young Legal Aid Lawyers will launch our crowdfunding event at Westminster to distribute copies of the Secret Barrister’s book to all MPs. We should all continue to highlight the state of the Criminal Justice system to those we know.

On Tuesday we, and solicitor’s representatives, have been invited to appear before the Justice Select committee in relation to disclosure. Yet another case, this time an HMRC prosecution, has collapsed due to “lamentable” disclosure failures. In another case an accused person spent his life savings in defending a case that was stopped and could not recover the majority of his costs. The degradation of justice affects us all. Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd has recently said that in relation to disclosure the “cuts have gone too far”.

Disclosure Management Documents:
The CPS is undertaking a trial of the use of a Disclosure Management Document in all rape and serious sexual offences and complex cases.  These were introduced from 26 March and the cases that will be using them will be coming up for PTPH shortly. It will be sent to the court and the defence in advance of the PTPH and the Senior Presiding Judge has recently sent a letter to all Resident Judges informing them of it.   See this link.

Sad News:
On 22nd April Ramiz Gursoy, of Red Lion Chambers, died of cancer. He was a much loved member of his Chambers and a warm and generous colleague who will be sorely missed and mourned. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his family and Chambers.

Other updates:
The European Crimnal Bar Association has published a document about their Initiative 2017/2018 for Agenda 2020: A new Roadmap on minimum standards of certain procedural safeguards.

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