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Monday Message 20.06.16

Chairman’s Update: 
Mark Fenhalls QC


Jo Cox MP
On Thursday morning I was in Court number one at the Old Bailey to listen to a valedictory for Mr Justice Saunders. In his reply to the splendid tributes, there was one moment that stood out. He recalled the ghastly murders of two French students, Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez: “The misery and suffering that you have caused cannot be measured. These are the worst crimes I have ever had to deal with and, unhappily, no punishment that I can pass can ever bring any real comfort to the families.” He spoke of the families’ request that Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’ be read as part of the impact statements and the utter and profound silence in court, broken only as people wept quietly. It was a moving reminder of the devastating human tragedies that lie behind so much of our work, which sometimes become slightly obscured by process.

A few short hours later, we learned of the horror of the shooting in Birstall.

Jo Cox MP was plainly a remarkable woman and her loss is a desolate moment. The dignity of her family’s response is beyond belief.

Today at 2pm in Court 13, possibly by prison video-link, will begin the process by which the man alleged to have murdered her will be tried. Whatever course the case takes, the professionals involved will quietly get on with doing their jobs, investigating, writing reports, preparing case papers, taking instructions, advising on evidence, reporting on proceedings … Nothing anyone can do can alleviate the family’s pain, but everyone will do what they can. And we will hope that due process provides a small shred of comfort.

And spare a thought too for the 77 year old gentleman who risked his life to save Jo Cox and was stabbed. He, and the passers-by who sought to administer first aid and save them both, represent everything we cherish about courage in the face of such dreadful violence, eyewitnesses who will need all the care and support the system can offer.

The Referendum
Read last week’s message for a quick path to the Bar Council’s papers on the consequences of the Referendum.

I saw a graph from the FT tweeted last week that seemed to me to capture the poverty of much of the debate and the misinformation that underpins so prejudice about the EU. I tried to “cut and paste” it in, but without success, so I am going to resort to words.

These numbers are based on the Ipsos Mori polls on UK perceptions of the EU (with the caveat that I am estimating the % from the FT’s graph).

“EU immigrants as a % of UK population”. Guess 15%; Actual 5%.

“% of EU budget spent on admin”. Guess 28%; Actual 7%.

“% of international investment into UK by EU”. Guess 30%; Actual 48%.

“% of investment into UK by China”. Guess 18%; Actual 2%

There was a terrific Radio 4 programme on Saturday morning, “More or Less” with a fact check on both sides of the debate. It is easy to find on the BBC “iplayer” and well worth listening to. All of this sound and fury is being waged over something like 2% of our GDP. We risk breaking so much for so little.

Lots of people complain about lack of capacity in the system and frequently being “locked out”. There may be a relatively simple explanation. You are probably accessing the system via a CJSM Hosted Mailbox (CJSM Webmail). This is where all your CJSM mail is held on (hosted by) the CJSM server and you access this mailbox either via the CJSM Webmail Portal ( or you configure your own email software (Outlook, Apple Mail etc.) to access the mailbox for you. This is called a POP3 connection.

For those who insist on continuing to use webmail in this way, you can enlarge your mailbox from 50Mb to 100Mb capacity. Instructions for your local CJSM Administrator to increase all of your hosted mailboxes are HERE.

If you do this (and download and save all attachments, before deleting from the email), it may help a bit. But it will not be a lasting solution particularly if you attempt to use the webmail service to store materials.

But there is a much more effective solution. My Chambers, like many others, connects to CJSM via the SMTP Secure Server to Server route. This allows me to use my ordinary chambers email with the addition at the end. Those who adopt such an approach do not have the capacity problems that arise through webmail.

One more radio programme/ errata
On Saturday morning one of your CBA exec members Tim Devlin appeared on Radio 4 talking about historic sex offences and our work generally.  It is a really good programme and well worth passing on to friends and family if you have wearied of the age old questions about how we do what we do.  Tim is embarrassed that the programme makers have wrongly described him as a QC and has asked me to make their error clear. 

And while on the subject of errors, may I apologise to the Oxford law faculty.  It turns out the reference I made a couple of weeks ago to their criminal law lectures was utterly misplaced.  I had relied on The Times, but it turns out that this was based on a false story, which first appeared in the Mail on Sunday… a lesson I will not forget.

Elections for Vice Chair
Nominations closed last Friday.  We have two candidates who have been proposed, Angela Rafferty QC and Bernard Richmond QC.  We have invited both to prepare short manifestos which will be published on Friday 24th June. 

The election will run from 17.00, Friday 24th June until 17.00, Friday 8th July.

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