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Monday Message 04.04.16

Chairman’s Update: 
Mark Fenhalls QC


You may be delighted by a shorter message this week.  It may be a consequence of Easter holidays, or just a sign of things to come.  Several things to bring to your attention.

Happy 101st birthday Jeremy
The first Chairman of the CBA, Jeremy Hutchinson, turned 101 last Monday.  His doughty defence of legal aid at every opportunity is a delight and inspiration to us all. 

Privilege and the Investigatory Powers Bill
The Investigatory Powers Bill jeopardises the client’s right to speak with their lawyer in confidence and threatens the anonymity of journalists’ sources and whistle-blowers.  The Bar Council, NUJ and the Law Society are collaborating to persuade parliamentarians that amendments to the Investigatory Powers Bill are needed to provide greater privacy and confidentiality for these groups of people.   Read more about it HERE and write to your MP using the sample letter if you wish.

Dramatic Change in the Crown Court? – new practice directions 
A number of things to digest, (e.g. relaxation of rules re note taking in court, change of approach on use of intermediaries), but most interesting may be those concerning identification for juries of the issues in the case and the split summing up.  Please read, reflect and be prepared for Judges to be exploring this from today. Further details are available HERE and HERE.

Guide to the new Electronic PTPH form
You can find the guide to the new electronic form HERE.  The CBA website contains various documents that can help if you are having technical problems related to DCS or BCM

And Finally
Lest you are in any doubt, a rant in a robing room to all and sundry, or an anonymous whinge on twitter about some aspect of BCM and DCS may make you feel better but it does not help fix anything.  Write to me HERE and set out what has gone wrong, on what day, in which court and with what outcome, and there may be something we can do to help.  Those replies we have so far are very welcome and informative.  They will be used to tell the Senior Judiciary what is not working.  If you don’t bother providing detailed evidence, our ability to help is severely restricted.

And in the latest dramatic efforts by category A prisons to improve contact between lawyers and clients, I am told that HMP Belmarsh has now said you will be turned back if you show up with cufflinks.  Thank heavens they are concentrating on such important matters.

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