Skip to main content

Monday Message – 30.10.23

Dear colleagues and friends,

Your welfare

Our profession has a unique support network, from our colleagues acting alongside us to colleagues and staff in Chambers, on the Circuits and at the wider Bar.  We are supported at court by court clerks, ushers and catering staff who provide a friendly face and a cup of much-needed coffee.  As we are asked to take on more cases at short notice, to prepare and present them without compromising our integrity and high standards, it is inevitable that this will take its toll on our health.  We are a body of people driven to do our very best for whichever side we represent and limits on time results in tiredness, anxiety and stress.  Remember to take breaks to rest rather than taking on even more work.  We appreciate this is easier said than done in a profession previously unsure where the next case would come from but the landscape has changed.  Look after yourselves and look out for your colleagues, you never know when you might need them to step in for you.

Section 28

The Statutory Instrument increasing the fee for Section 28 cases (from £670 plus VAT to £1000 plus VAT) has been laid and will apply to new cases after it comes into force.  It is the result of the CBA’s continued engagement with the MoJ and the efforts of criminal barristers who conduct this difficult work.  We keenly await news from the CPS that they will be put in a position to ensure parity between prosecution and defence barristers.

The Justice Select Committee call for evidence on Section 28 is available here.  The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 6th December 2023.

Common Platform update

We thank Paul Keleher KC for his work on behalf of the CBA on the Common Platform.  Please find here an update from Daniel Flury, Crime Programme Director at HMCTS.

Racial Bias and the Bench: one year on

In 2022 the University of Manchester published the Racial Bias and the Bench report.  On the 7th November 2023 Professor Gary Younge will chair a panel at the British Academy in London to consider whether there has been progress in the legal system.    The report is available here.

To attend the event please register here.

Sentencing factsheet for Women with Mental Health difficulties

The primary care Mental Health Treatment Requirement (MHTR) is a sentencing option for individuals with mild to moderate mental health difficulties in London.  Please access the factsheet here.  A similar factsheet for male defendants will follow.

Law Commission Invite to Young Bar Members

The Young Bar are invited to a roundtable on appeals in summary proceedings, as part of the Law Commission’s project on Criminal Appeals.  The discussion will be hosted by the Chief Magistrate, Paul Goldspring, and will take place on 2nd November, 4-5.30pm, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

The discussion will focus on questions raised in the Commission’s recent Issues Paper on criminal appeals:

  • Is there a need to reform the processes by which decisions of magistrates’ courts in criminal cases can be appealed or otherwise reviewed?
  • Should the ability to challenge decisions of a magistrates’ court through appeal by way of case stated or judicial review, be retained, abolished or reformed (and if reformed, how)?
  • Should a leave requirement be introduced in respect of appeals from the magistrates’ court to the Crown Court? If so, should the grant of leave to appeal be followed by a rehearing or a review of the magistrates’ court’s decision by the Crown Court?

If you are able to attend, please contact the law commission on: [email protected]

The Winter Conference – Saturday 18th November 2023, Inner Temple London

The Winter Conference is a valuable opportunity for us to get together and update our knowledge on a variety of topics.  We are honoured that our new Lady Chief Justice will give the keynote speech.  Those who wish to attend are asked to email Aaron to confirm your attendance at: [email protected].

We are also looking forward to seeing as many of you as are able to join us at the CBA AGM this week (1st November 2023 on-line).  Please email Aaron to be issued with the access link.

I can be contacted directly by email at: [email protected].

The CBA team wishes you all well with your endeavours over the coming fortnight.

Be excellent as always and get some rest!


View more news