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Monday Message 29.01.24

Dear colleagues and friends,

This week we have received some good news from the YCBA Committee.  In response to the YCBA Committee report on working conditions in the Magistrates’ Courts, the LCCSA has agreed to implement a 15% increase in the Magistrates’ court fees protocol confirming the report’s conclusion that the rates were unsustainable.  This adjustment will contribute to access to justice and maintaining the provision of high quality advocacy for those facing proceedings in the Magistrates’ courts.

Zayd Ahmed, Chair of the YCBA reported:

“After meetings and consultations, the LCCSA have agreed to increase all fees at the Magistrates Court by 15%. This is a necessary step forward in addressing the imbalance in the Magistrate’s court for junior barristers, however, we recognise more work needs to be done.  We will continue to work with our solicitor colleagues and the government to ensure the fees continue to increase to attract more people into the profession.”


We met this week at the CLAARB with our Chair, Deborah Taylor.  There was a sense that things are starting to move with ideas being shared on practical changes that can be tested to address the backlog.  Consideration of how the £5.1 million promised for Youth Court fees will be distributed is underway.  More on any recommendations of the CLAARB after the next meeting in March.  With thanks to Richard Christie KC, Daniel Oscroft and the CBA Remuneration Committee for their preparation of papers for the CLAARB to consider.

RASSO Survey

We thank all Counsel who have completed our RASSO Survey.  We know you are incredibly busy but but would be grateful for as many members as possible to complete the Survey.  We are extending the deadline by a week to the 4th February 2024.

We already know that the number of specialist RASSO Counsel is not sufficient to meet the need and we ask your views on what can be done.  We have raised the matter urgently with the MoJ, the Lord Chancellor and at the CLAARB and look forward to our meeting with the DPP this week.

Access the Survey here.


Members are invited to attend the below Lecture Chaired by HHJ Sarah Whitehouse KC, Senior Circuit Judge at the Old Bailey.

Mapping the changing face of cross-examination in criminal trials

Thursday 1st February 2024 between 5pm and 7.30pm at the Nuffield Foundation, 100 St. John Street, London EC1M 4EH.   Full details and to book for this in person event.

Members are also invited to purchase tickets to the immersive and fabulous “State Trials and Error”, the 10th Anniversary of this Fundraising Show at the Old Bailey.  Tickets are available for performances in Court 1 between the 18th and 21st March 2024 as well as an open dress rehearsal on Sunday 17th March at 5pm.  Further information here.

Finally I wanted to thank our Circuit Leaders who take up our concerns with Resident Judges.  They are working hard to improve things for us in court.

As January reaches its end we continue to meet regularly with the MoJ, with the Lord Chancellor and with other interested parties.

Please feel free to email me with your concerns and experiences in court so that we can take these forwards, examples of good practice as well as bad!

Wishing you well with your endeavours, be excellent as always!

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