Monday Message 06.01.20
Caroline Goodwin QC
OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW:
Dusted off your New Year resolutions?
Not only said you were going to the gym but have actually been?
Decided to diet and so far stuck to it?
Or will it all happen tomorrow?
Let us hope that this year is a year of significant improvement for the Criminal Bar. We can all make that resolution.
We also welcome Amanda Pinto QC as the new Chair of the Bar. We are extremely lucky to have her in this important and influential position. We thank Richard Atkins QC for his tremendous hard work over the last year and we will ensure that what has been started will continue.
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE – AN URGENT PRIORITY:
This is an important year. We are part of the wider criminal justice review where our fees will be examined. It is important to remember that we are part of a criminal justice system that has been the subject of repeated cuts. Successive government regimes, devoid of insight and understanding have torn the house down. We have witnessed first-hand the disastrous results brought about by lack of investment. Tragedies have unfolded before our eyes and all because of a penny pinching mentality. We can drive the change needed and drive it forward, that is why I urge you to think not just of yourself in this coming year but also of your profession. It is imperative that we engage in the review and engage together.
Due to the December 2019 general election any real and meaningful engagement with the MOJ had to be put on hold. That has ended and we now have a series of meetings. Time is passing, we are acutely aware of this and so we are pressing on. We will keep you informed of the developments. The fees team is in place and as ever is ready and briefed. It is important to let you know the following. I am pleased to report that within days of the election result the MOJ made positive contact and as a result we have the aforementioned meetings. The Lord Chancellor is instrumental in the decision making process and we hope to have a constructive and continued dialogue with him. Let us hope that the wider powers recognise the significance of the changes required to ensure a future.
As previously we will be having open forum meetings in the coming months. We will keep you updated as to the dates.
Overall there are serious issues to address. The criminal justice system is an urgent priority for the government. Future investment is a must and cannot be ignored.
The following are some of the areas of concern:
- FAIR PAY
- FUTURE PROOFING
- YEARLY FEE REVIEWS
In addition to fees we will continue to monitor the court sitting days fiasco and highlight the utter waste of court resources.
SURVEY – Please participate:
Working Lives Survey – Young Barristers
The Bar Council is undertaking its biennial Working Lives Survey. This is the biggest survey of the working lives and wellbeing of barristers and provides much needed data that will inform Bar Council’s work.
The Young Barristers Committee is looking for around 20 barristers (ranging from pupils to those who are in their 7th year of practice) to participate in one of three focus groups with the researchers commissioned to undertake the survey. The aim of the focus groups is to assist the researchers with developing targeted research questions aimed at young barristers, so that a full range of issues are explored.
London: 14th January 2020 16.00 – 17.30 at The Bar Council 289-293 High Holborn London WC1V 7HZ.
Manchester: 22nd January. 16:00 – 17:30. St Johns Buildings, 24a-28 St John Street, Manchester, M3 4DJ
Winchester: 30th January. 16:00 – 17:30. Pump Court Chambers, 31 Southgate Street, Winchester, SO23 9EB
Please get in touch with ([email protected]) to register your interest.
I myself am in St Albans this week and will be holding a meeting in the robing room on Wednesday at lunchtime. Come and speak to me, highlight your concerns. We are really keen to ensure that we represent your views and it is a chance for me, a Northern practitioner to meet you. In addition, over the coming months the CBA will be coming out on circuit. Can mess juniors please send to details of mess and we would be delighted to attend.
I shall liase with Circuit Leaders over the next few days to arrange this. The Criminal Bar is a vibrant and positive profession. We are one, whether we are in London, Bradford, Cardiff or Exeter. Mess is one of those rare features of our profession where we can meet and have positive discussion in a convivial setting. We look forward to seeing you.
AND YES ITS BACK
FILM OF THE WEEK:
This is a gem, KLUTE. Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland. Give it a go. 70’s retro!
Next week I am going to highlight films sent in by yourselves. Please send in your personal recommendations. I have watched a few and as I said before the Christmas break its great that you send in ones you think are good!
So lets all move forward to what we hope will be a good and positive year
Onwards and upwards