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‘Monday’ Message 28.05.24

Dear colleagues and friends,

Two weeks ago the CBA was represented at the World Bar Conference 2024 hosted by The Bars of Northern Ireland in Belfast and Ireland in Dublin.  This bi-annual conference brings together practitioners from across the common law jurisdictions including the 4 nations of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

The International Council of Advocates and Barristers (“ICAB”) was formed in 2002 by the Bar Associations of these countries and organizes the conference to discuss important issues facing the independent referral Bars.  The theme this year was Global Challenges and the subjects covered included: Cancel culture and freedom of speech, the Rule of law in times of conflict, AI and the law, Climate Crisis, Migration and Human Rights and the Independence of the Bar and Judiciary from Judges’ perspectives.  It was a thought-provoking and invigorating Conference and we send our congratulations to ICAB and all responsible for its organisation.

The poet Seamus Heaney was quoted in the opening address by Lady Chief Justice Siobhan Keegan: “It seems appropriate to remember how fundamental to civilized life is our agreed respect for the workings of law and how fragile”.  The language used to describe barristers and judges that has become common in recent years demonstrates that fragility of respect for the law and those who espouse it.

Sam Townend KC, Chair of the Bar Council on one panel was forthright in explaining the importance of the cab rank rule for both access to justice and to demonstrate barristers’ independence.

The Conference recognized the challenges independent practitioners face, particularly those at the publicly funded Bar, but the unity and solidarity between Bars was evident together with a determination to stand up to tyranny.  The words of Lord MacDermott, former LCJ reminded us all of why the rule of law matters:

“… the law should … enshrine the rule of law which is the badge of a free people, it stands for equality before the law, for the independence of the courts, for the absence of arbitrary government and for established sources of law.”

Criminal Courts Backlog
Please see the CBA Submission of evidence to the Public Accounts Committee Inquiry “Reducing the backlog in the Criminal Courts.”

Also please see the National Audit Office report “Reducing the backlog in the Crown Court.”


Many congratulations to all those successful in offers of Pupillage, we look forward to working with and for you as you pursue your career at the Criminal Bar of England & Wales.

Education and Training

Paris Bar Exchange 2024
Open to barristers from all Inns, the Paris Bar Exchange is an exchange programme for those who have been in practice for up to 7 years and offers the opportunity to spend the month of September doing a stage in Paris. Avocat members of the Paris Bar of similar seniority spend the month of July doing a stage in London.  (Being able to speak French sufficiently well to participate is a requirement.)

Closing date for applications is Friday 7th June.

Full details are here

New CWJ Lawyers’ training on representing victims of domestic abuse accused of offending
Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) is launching a new training programme for criminal defence lawyers and prison lawyers representing victims of domestic abuse who are accused of offending.  Please join us for the four online training sessions, which will take place in June/July 2024.

CWJ is a lawyer-led charity focused on challenging failings and discrimination against women in the criminal justice system. We have developed a new training programme for criminal defence and prison lawyers – both barristers and solicitors – on representing victims of domestic abuse who find themselves accused or convicted of offending.

CWJ’s research and practice over many years has identified gaps in law and practice that often lead to victims of domestic abuse being prosecuted in circumstances where their experience of abuse is not properly taken into account.  This includes a gap in knowledge and understanding for many criminal defence lawyers and prison lawyers, which can mean victims in these cases are not effectively represented.

Please see further details of the training sessions here. The price for attending each online session is £25, with a 10% discount for those attending all four training sessions.

Please share these details with any lawyers you think may be interested in attending.

To register your place, please click here.

Judicial Leadership Mentoring Scheme

Applications for the scheme are invited from practitioners under 10 Years’ Call.  The deadline for applications has been extended until Wednesday 5th June 2024.  The following testimonial may be of interest:

HHJ Ian Unsworth and Isha Shakir (

For further information please contact the organisers of the scheme Vanessa or Ian:

Full details are here

YCBA Lecture 26th June 2024
We extend our thanks to Mrs. Justice Cheema-Grubb and Duncan Atkinson KC who will be delivering an online talk regarding presentation of legal arguments and advocacy for Juniors on the 26th June 2024 at 18.00hrs.  The access link will be circulated on the 26th June.

Sad News

Her Honour Judge Suzanne Norwood
The CBA were sad to learn of the passing of Her Honour Judge Suzanne Norwood on the 15th April 2024 aged 98.  She was a formidable Judge, small in stature who was never without her cushion and a huge handbag.  She was indeed, as is reported, a fierce critic of counsel who did not measure up to her demanding standards and she did have a reputation for failing to remain impartial at times although she was praised by the Court of Appeal for her intellect and clear jury summing ups in difficult cases.

She was Called to the Bar by Grays’ Inn in 1951 and practiced on the southeastern circuit after 1962.  She became resident judge at Isleworth moving to Middlesex Guildhall and retired in 1995.


Wood Green Crown Court Listing Policy
Accessed here

We extend an invitation to all CBA members and practitioners to join us in coming up for air at our Summer Reception on the 12th July 2024.

Be excellent as always.


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