Skip to main content

Monday Message – 11.05.15

CBA Chairman’s Message:
Tony Cross QC 

Monday 11 May 2015


E: [email protected]
T: 07860 692693 

Quality of Advocacy
I congratulate the Right Honourable Michael Gove on his appointment to the office of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice and I look forward to commencing constructive talks with the new Lord Chancellor and his team.  As he will know we, at the CBA, are committed to the fundamental principle of access to justice for all which in our belief must be underpinned by legal representation of the highest quality. 
We know that as Lord Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Justice understands the importance to society of a healthy and effective criminal justice system.
The recent reviews by Sir Bill Jeffrey, Sir Brian Leveson, and His Honour Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC have all endorsed the primary importance of high quality advocacy in the Crown Court to ensure both justice and efficiency.
We will engage constructively to protect what is best about our criminal justice system. 
The Lord Chancellor will know that the criminal justice system has already shouldered severe cost cuts as part of the wide austerity drive. Targeted savings to the nation’s annual legal aid bill have already been achieved four years ahead of government-set timelines, with the legal aid spend down to £1.5bn (including VAT) last year, a target set for 2018/19 and a fall from the £2.2bn spend in 2010. There is no fat, no meat even as the criminal justice system has already been cut down to the bone. 
Two tier Contracts
So it is that we will welcome open discussions with the new Lord Chancellor and the Ministry of Justice about plans set out in the last government to introduce Two Tier contracts which, if they come to pass, will effectively fix the market for legal work and curtail competition in the provision of legal services for criminal justice.
We believe competition provided by the current, centuries old system, has been the best and proven safeguard of the highest standards in providing access to justice. It would be a tragic irony if any government which looks to liberalising markets in general to incentivise better service, closed down the open market currently in place which already seeks to secure the high quality service and efficacy in the provision of criminal justice that society expects and deserves.
The Survey
I implore you to enter the debate.  It is vital that we hear every single voice.  There is no simple solution and there are arguments both ways.  The deadline is the 19th May. Spread the word. Challenge your Chambers’ colleagues.  ‘Have you responded? Have you expressed your views?   Send out email to all your colleagues asking them to respond. Pester your rep.
It could not be simpler.  Answer this question HERE.
The Annual Dinner
Thank you to all those who came to the dinner at Middle on Friday.  It was a great pleasure to welcome the Common Serjeant, HHJ Richard Marks QC as our guest and speaker.   My very great personal thanks to him and of course to Aaron for organising a wonderful evening.

View more news