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Monday Message 13.10.14

CBA Chairman’s Message:
Tony Cross QC

Monday 13 October 2014

E: [email protected]
T: 07860 692693 

Groundhog Day
I got the papers at 7.00 last night, they were incomplete; The defendant wasn’t produced; she was produced late; the witnesses were not warned; only half the witnesses were warned; the witness didn’t have enough money to come to court; the prosecution failed to provide the papers until this morning; I need more time; the witnesses are saying they can’t come until tomorrow; counsel had to return this case because the witnesses didn’t turn up in the case she is doing until a day late; the defence solicitors only instructed me this morning I have no papers; the defendant didn’t turn up for the conference; the photocopier in the CPS office isn’t working; the case worker is ill and there is no one to replace him; the prosecution have served a disc with 10,000 pages of evidence as unused which I plainly need to read; the LAA wont grant legal aid for the expert; the expert is refusing to do the report without a guarantee of payment; the canteen is closed and the witnesses and the defendants’ family are threatening each other; there’s been a fight in the local café  between witnesses; there’s no one here from the solicitors and I can’t contact the witnesses; the officer in the case is on leave and there is no one here; the solicitor hasn’t sent me papers and the Wi-Fi at court isn’t working; the solicitor kept the case in house and then sent it out at the last minute; the CPS kept the case in house and sent it out at the last minute; the DVD player isn’t working; the sound is not clear; the courtroom is cold; the court room is too warm;the air-con isn’t working; the papers haven’t turned up from the magistrates; the papers are not in the file.. I can’t pay my mortgage; the train was late; the bus was late; I can’t pay my student loan; I’m not as busy as I was, I’m depressed; I don’t have a pension; I’m worried about my instructing solicitor; the firm who have been instructing me for years are going out of business, they’re my friends; what will happen when two-tier advocates come in; my instructing solicitor has been approached by an advocate offering to pay him 20% of the fee; the PDS are getting paid and they are not doing any work; I’ve done three days work this week and not getting paid for any and now my case has been taken out of the list because there isn’t a court room; the judge is going on a course and I can’t get a marking on my brief, we can’t send the jury out because there’s only one bailiff and that means I’ll miss my case tomorrow; the Court won’t help in printing the papers…..
The QASA scheme is lawful say the Court of Appeal. The Court said nothing about the merits of it. It is nonetheless a bad scheme. It would still be a bad scheme even if designed in times of good but the imposition of the scheme at this moment in our history when morale is at an all time low and systemic failings are rife will be a disaster. (Moses LJ’s lecture says it all for those of you who need a spot of revision, read it HERE)
Any attempt to introduce this scheme at this moment in our history is equally insensitive to Bar and to Solicitors. The Divisional Court in January had the good sense to counsel delay until Jeffrey had reported. I urge the LSB to think again about imposition. The overwhelming majority of the Bar of England and Wales oppose it. I advise the LAA to pause and think again; wait for the result of the two-tier consultation and whatever effect that has on the market; wait for all three tiers of Leveson to report and then to consult again with the professions. Never more has there been a need for some joined- up thinking. Meanwhile whilst the question of any appeal is determined we begin a process of consulting you, our members. I remind myself that unity is strength.
Before leaving this topic it would be remiss of me not to thank our legal team of  Dinah Rose QC, Tom de la Mare QC. Mark Trafford, Tom Richards and Jana Sadler- Forster. Special thanks must go to the team at Baker & McKenzie LLP. All provided their services pro bono in what the court described as ‘no ordinary piece of litigation.’
Two tier Contracts
The deadline for responses ends on the 15th. Please respond. The timescale for responding has been ridiculously short and demanding of the profession. Our team of Mark Fenhalls QC, Daniel Sternberg and Tom Wainwright worked tirelessy and at short notice on your behalf. You will undoubtedly find OUR RESPONSE helpful in drafting your submission. The response hub provided by the CLSA and LCCSA can be found HERE.
Kalisher Lecture
This week I look forward to the Kalisher Lecture to be given by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, on the 14th October 2014. The Lecture will take place at the Central Criminal Court, at 5.15pm.
Perhaps never before have the words of the The Rt. Hon Lord Judge, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. been more appropriate when he said that
“Diligent, skilled and committed advocates are essential to the smooth running of the courts, and the effective administration of justice.
It is also vital to recruit talented and able young lawyers from every social background so that the profession, and ultimately the judiciary, reflects the diversity of the society it serves.
I was a great admirer of Michael Kalisher, and I warmly support the continuing work of the Trust in providing financial help to young members of the criminal Bar.”
The CBA Bursary Fund
In a similar way our own bursary fund provides assistance for those most in need. The deadline for applications is the 31st October. Please encourage your junior tenants to apply. The award scheme is available for those who have been in independent practice for no more than three years from the start of pupillage and is designed to assist those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. the full details are HERE
And finally..
It has been international week this week so a week of inaction for the Clarets but don’t worry, those of you who await such news (sic) I’m sure that next week’s fixture v West Ham will provide food for thought.

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