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Monday Message 14.07.14

CBA Chairman’s Update:
Nigel Lithman QC

Monday 14 July 2014

Personal Email: [email protected]

Although there might be said to be few, if any advantages, of reaching one’s 60s, it is right to observe that boys of my age were blessed with the ultimate teenage years. If we were not quite brave enough to swing with the sixties, or rich or brash enough to buy E Type Jags (the ultimate car), we were all able to look on in wonder at the space race and the lunar landing. Watching a Saturn Rocket, a most powerful machine, propel a tiny capsule into space was truly awe inspiring. Why the countdown went: “5-4-3 – we have ignition – we have lift off” instead of “3-2-1-zero”, I’m not sure. But I have 3 weeks of Monday Messages to count down before I too lift off and my era as your Chair more or less ends (usually not much happens in August).

Between now and then, I suspect will be two more meetings with government, the next being on the 15th July. The meetings will be on two topics. The first is one I am being repeatedly asked about: “What will be the arrangements for the cases waiting in the wings that would ordinarily be classified as VHCC?” and what will be the structure for ongoing discussions with government into the future.

Both are particularly significant. The achievement of the interim fee structure for the high cost cases that were clogging the system will now move into securing an acceptable alternative scheme, whilst the more general discussions will ensure the Bar is brought into the policy making process of the criminal justice system. I’ll report back on both.
This week our QASA team goes into bat in the Court of Appeal. I am part heard and unable to get there to watch the mighty Dinah Rose QC and Tom De La Mare QC, instructed by Baker McKenzie, continuing to act pro bono. Mark Trafford is also part of the team and I am sure will help me tell you about it next week. Meanwhile we wish them good luck. For two years we have maintained that this QASA is unacceptable and will continue to do so.
We are about to head into a new era. I promised a year in which much time would have to be spent in fighting off the cuts and so it has been. I’m just about alive with a smile on my face at the end of it.  But the year ahead is nitty gritty time. There is much work to be done.

  1. The Criminal Justice Reform Group meets again on the 25th July under the leadership of Geoffrey Rivlin QC.

  2. The Leveson Review is split into three thematic work streams: Case Management; Listing and Trial. A Review website is to be established, but it is also likely that the CBA will be contacted for other input into the three areas and I will return again to that shortly.

  3. Clearly one of the more important committees at this particular moment is the Remuneration Committee. The Rem Com Conference was on Saturday and Tony attended for us.  The skills of Ra Healey were on display (handout available HERE) and as we get near my valedictory and thank you time, she is toward the top of the list.

It is clearly a time when you must ask what you can do for the CBA rather than what it can do for you.
The manifestos of both candidates, MARK FENHALLS QC and PAUL KELEHER QC are linked HERE. I know both of them. Both are worthy candidates. They are doers not talkers. I was heartened to notice only one silk moaning on twitter about the election process. We saw the importance of voting during the ballot in which unprecedented numbers voted. PLEASE do it again.
You have until the 30th JULY to vote. Make it count.

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