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Monday Message – 09.03.15

CBA Chairman’s Message:
Tony Cross QC 

Monday 9 March 2015


E: [email protected]
T: 07860 692693 

Tomorrow the CLSA and the LCCSA commence their appeal of the decision of Lord Justice Laws and Mr. Justice Cranston.  This was a decision, which had it not been appealed would have allowed the government to press ahead with its controversial two-tier contract scheme for duty solicitors.
We all welcomed the decision to appeal because of the direct threat to the Solicitors’ profession and because of the devastating indirect consequences that there would be for the self-employed Bar.  We hope that the courts find these proposals, as they have so many recent proposals brought by this government unlawful. The Solicitors organisations who are bringing the appeal are seeking to raise funds to cover the costs.  Many of you, individuals and chambers, will wish to donate.  You will find the link to make a donation HERE.
The Supreme Court has granted permission and the full hearing will take place on March 16th.  This appeal is supported by the CBA and all the Circuits and we are grateful to all who have made such a huge contribution.  We are still seeking to raise funds to finance the Supreme Court action and should members wish to make a donation, they can do so HERE.
In praise of HHJ Christopher Kinch QC:
There are marvellous resident Judges throughout the land who go about their business quietly day in and day out.  There are those who go out of their way who try to ensure that working time at their Courts are as comfortable and productive for work as possible.
One of the issues which has caused concerns recently has been the lack of catering at various court centres. It is a classic case of penny-wise pound-foolish. In an effort to save pennies through removing court catering contracts, the absurd situation has now arisen whereby at certain court centres, Jurys in retirement have to be released to get their own lunch elsewhere as the court cannot accommodate them. Not only does this cause huge delay and expenditure to trials, but it runs the real risk that trials could be jeopardised as jurors, witnesses and defendants all queue to get the lunch from the same external catering establishment.  This problem may have been alleviated in Woolwich where HHJ Kinch QC, has been doing his level best to not only sort out catering for all users but also to ensure that wi-fi is available to the Bar and Solicitors.  A fine example of Bench, Bar and Solicitors acting together for the good of the public.
Emma Nash and Sarah Vine:
Last week we said goodbye to Emma Nash, her time as Secretary is now over.  I have already sung her praises to the Executive of the CBA, now I can do so in this MM.   She has been a star, sacrificing her personal and professional life for the good of others.  We shall all miss her.
Sarah Vine now replaces her and from the evidence of the Officers’ meeting of last week I know that  Sarah will dedicate herself in the same selfless way shown by Emma. I look forward to welcoming her to the next meeting of the Executive.
Executive Meetings: 
Whilst on the topic of the Executive you will remember that I vowed to make the CBA less London-centric.  I hope and expect that during the remainder of my term a number of meetings will take place on circuit.  If we are to continue our growth we must make it easier for members out of London and the SE to participate.
Spring Conference- Manchester:
Please can I encourage you to book now for the Spring Conference at the University of  Manchester for Saturday 25th April 2015.  The line up for the conference is not yet finalised but the topic is “Excellence in Advocacy.” It promises to be a special event.
The City UK report and our value to UKand the election:
A new report from TheCityUK (here in The Barrister)  shows a significant increase in the legal sector’s contribution to the UK economy in 2013, rising 9.4% year-on-year in 2013 to £22.6bn, or 1.6% of GDP, as well as leading the way as the most international market for legal services.
As Alistair MacDonald QC, chairman of the Bar, said: “The UK can be proud of its legal services sector and the work of the Bar, which received specific praise for its contribution in the report. The City UK acknowledges the work of members of five specialist bar associations: the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), the Chancery Bar Association, the Criminal Bar Association, the Technology and Construction Bar Association, and the Intellectual Property Bar Association. The Bar plays a vital role in specialist advocacy and legal advice as well as expert evidence, not to mention arbitration work, spanning a wide range of sectors, including financial services, shipping, energy markets, insurance, banking, white collar crime and intellectual property.
“The Bar’s international standing is such that many overseas litigants come to the UK to benefit from our advocacy skills as well as the quality of the judiciary. Equally, our barristers are often called upon by other common law jurisdictions around the world for their expertise. Thanks to the work of the Bar Council’s international team and committee, the Bar is increasingly seen by international clients to occupy a turn-key role when resolving disputes England & Wales. They understand that coming directly to the Bar ensures expert and speedy analysis followed by reliable, strategic advice – even before our advocacy skills are engaged.”
Isn’t it time that our value to UK PLC is recognised? Isn’t it time for us to be proactive in causing all political parties to recognise that value and to reward us accordingly?
We continue to enjoy good relations with the LAA and I am looking forward to April when members from each Circuit will visit the LAA HQ in Nottingham to see for themselves how things operate.
Meanwhile the new costs decision of Thompson following Furniss can be found HERE.
Best wishes

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