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Monday Message 27.02.17

Chairman’s Update: 
Francis FitzGibbon QC


The Consultation closes on 2nd March (though the MOJ will continue to monitor its emails for a short while afterwards to pick up latecomers: [email protected]).
To help us to understand the thinking behind the proposals, the methodology, and the meaning of ‘cost neutrality’, Professor Chalkley has written this paper. You will find it highly informative.
It is vitally important for as many members as possible to respond individually to the consultation, whatever your views, by answering the questions as they appear on the consultation paper. If comments are negative, it is important to give reasons for them. Just objecting to reductions – where there are reductions – will make no impression. On the other hand, if you feel (as I do) that, for example, some of the categories and bandings need adjustment, and the rates for some junior work are too low, because otherwise progress to make the profession more diverse will be hindered, that is an argument based on something more than just the money and is more persuasive.
Prisons & Courts Bill
Hot on the heels of the MOJ’s final response to the responses to the Consultation Paper (see Chairman’s Message on 13th February), the Lord Chancellor has launched the Prisons & Courts Bill.  Its centerpiece is prison reform but it has provisions for greater use of video or phone conferences and email for many hearings, and more live-links for witnesses.
Other measures include:

  • indications as to plea (but not the plea itself) and choice of venue may be given in writing without a hearing.
  • Allocation decisions may then be made without the defendant attending.
  • Preparatory hearings may be conducted on paper only.

The Bill also introduces the optional, fully automated online guilty plea and sentence procedure for strict liability offences of fare evasion, and unlicensed rod-and-line fishing.
PACE Codes of Practice C & H
The new Codes can be found here.
Section 41
Professor David Ormerod QC will be giving a lecture at the Old Bailey on 21st March at 17.30 on Section 41 – does Ched Evans change anything? If anyone knows, he does. Unmissable.
Jonathan Davies
A memorial for Jonathan Davies will be held on 15th March 2017, 6-9pm, at the Parliament Chamber, Middle Temple.

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