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‘Monday’ Message 02.04.24

Dear colleagues and friends,

We hope you have managed to arrange some rest and relaxation over the Easter break!

According to the NHS “Health is the New Wealth” and it makes sense to look to the future, guard against overloading ourselves and make provision for our health.  Particularly at the Criminal Bar, managing the increased workload, together with increasing volumes of evidence and new technology, requires measures to be put in place individually and collectively.

The CBA have been working to promote our Well-being Protocol, consulting with the BSB, the CPS and the Judiciary to establish an understanding on working practices.  As you all know, attending court is but one aspect of preparing a case and reading, cross-referencing and advising on the now constant stream of information drip-fed in cases has to be accommodated in the mornings, evenings and weekends to ensure cases are ready.

The CBA and our Judicial Liaison and Well-being Committee are asking all Chambers to sign up to the CBA Well-being Protocol.  At our Spring RASSO Conference on the 27th April 2024 we will be announcing those Chambers who have signed up and presenting them with the CBA Well-being logo for their web-sites.  This is but one way we can support each other to protect our health.

On the subject of preparing ourselves…

Accounting Basis Period Reform – a warning for January 2025

With thanks to Alistair Richardson of 6KBW for raising this with us.

HMRC has introduced new rules coming into effect for the tax year 2023/2024 requiring all self-employed barristers to calculate their taxable income on a tax year basis (i.e. to the year 5th April).  For those with a different accounting year end the new rules are likely to result in a sudden and significant acceleration in tax liability.  For many with a 30th April year end it will result in 23 months’ worth of tax falling due on the 31st January 2025.

A measure to ameliorate this is the provision that additional months may be spread over 5 years so that individuals can pay just over 14 months’ worth of tax (roughly a 20% increase) over 5 years of practice.

We are advising you all of this as there has been little to no publicity warning the self-employed Bar of this and given many remain in debt due to the pandemic when the courts were closed we appreciate the heavy burden this will place on many criminal barristers who are already working to make up for lost income.

We will be consulting with the Bar Council on this to see what can be done to alleviate the burden this will place on an already depleted Criminal Bar.

Joint Bar Council and CBA Response to the MoJ Crime Lower Consultation

With thanks to the YCBA Committee for their work on this paper submitted jointly with the Bar Council.  Also thanks to Kate Aubrey-Johnson for her assistance.  The importance of high quality advocacy for child defendants in the Youth Court cannot be over-emphasised.  Please see the paper here.

Domestic Abuse Protection Order – information about the pilot for legal practitioners

In the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the Government legislated for a new, police issued, Domestic Abuse Protection Notice (DAPN) to provide immediate protection following a domestic abuse incident and a new civil Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) with a flexible duration to provide longer-term protection where necessary and proportionate. The DAPO will be the first order available in all courts: police can apply for an order to the magistrates’ court, victims and third parties can apply to the family court and specified civil proceedings. Courts can also make a DAPO of their own volition in criminal, family and specified civil proceedings.

The letter detailing the pilot is here.

The Guidance for Legal Practitioners is here.

Application for costs against convicted defendants – Scales of Cost 

With effect from 1st May 2024, the CPS will be revising its Scales of Costs guidance where an application for costs is made against a convicted defendant.

The CPS applies for costs against convicted defendants or unsuccessful appellants under s18 of the Prosecution of Offences 1985, unless the circumstances of a specific case mean that such an application would lack merit or an order for costs would be impractical. The award of costs and value of any order is at the discretion of the judiciary.

Following a review the 2009 Scales are being amended and will apply from yesterday, 1st April 2024.  They are indicative of single defendant cases only.  In cases featuring multiple defendants, the figure will typically be increased by 20% for each additional defendant.  The amount applied where the case prosecuted was complex, involved complicated legal issues and/or extended preparation may also be increased.

The new guideline rates are set out in this document.

Annual Nomination Period for Election of Masters of the Bench of The Inner Temple

The annual nominations and applications period for election of The Inner Temple’s new Masters of the Bench in 2024 is now open.  We would like to encourage members of The Inner Temple to consider applying to become a Governing Bencher.

Governing Benchers are members who have been called to the Bar by the Inn – practising barristers, judges, or other professionals – who have been elected to assist with governance and carrying out the Inn’s activities and functions.

Closing date for applications is 19th April 2024 at 17.00hrs.

Guidance on eligibility, procedure and selection criteria for applications is available on the Inn’s website.

HMCTS pre-recorded evidence (PRE) new technology webinar for advocates

You are all invited to an interactive webinar where you can learn more about the new technology and how to access Section 28 recordings. There will be a demonstration of PRE, the new functionality and its benefits and a live Q&A session where you can ask questions about using the new system.

The event will take place on Thursday 11th April from 16.30hrs for 45 minutes.

Further information and to register your place.

Judicial Reverse Mentoring

The Judicial Reverse Mentoring scheme was developed with the central purpose of fostering greater understanding among the judiciary of the experience of individual lawyers from underrepresented groups, and of the particular barriers faced by these groups in accessing a career in law and in the judiciary. ​

The 2024 application deadline is 26th April.

Further information and to register your place.

CBA / London Legal Walk 2024

If you want to join us on the London Legal Walk 2024 please email Aaron to sign up to walk with the CBA on Wednesday 18th June.

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