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Monday Message 30.11.15

Chairman’s Update: 
Mark Fenhalls QC


The Spending Review has passed and the outlook appears slightly less bleak for the CJS than many of us had feared.  We welcome the government’s commitment to making the fabric of the court system fit for the 21st Century, but we are mindful of the harm that the years of accumulated cuts have done to the whole sector. We understand that significant staff cuts in HMCTS are expected, which risk further damage to the efficient running of the criminal courts. We also watch and wait with concern to see which courts may be closed.  Justice is after all meant to be local wherever possible.
Judgment has been reserved in the post-Furness fees appeal I mentioned last week.

The CBA’s response to the Consultation concerning advocacy in the Crown Court can be found HERE. Many thanks to the members who contributed to it, and to all those who have sent in their personal responses.

Please read the fourth BCM newsletter from Lord Justice Gross dated 27th November.

The Judges at the early adopter BCM/ DCS courts are keenly aware of problems with taking laptops into some prisons and want as much detail as possible so they can help address the issues.  Please send any accounts you have had taking laptops or tablets containing case papers, either visiting prison or cells at court, to [email protected].  All practitioners are most welcome to use this address too – see this announcement from the CLSA last week.  We will ensure all the problems identified are raised with the judiciary and NOMS as matter of urgency.

You may not yet have read the recent BSB report into Youth Court proceedings.

The BSB has accepted in principle the recommendations set out in the report and says it will consider how it can improve standards of advocacy amongst barristers working with young offenders.  The CBA will do what it can to assist.  Members who have a particular interest in this area are encouraged to volunteer their experience and views.

The CBA’s conference on 5th December is moving venue from IET to Grand Connaught Rooms. (The IET has been closed for 2 years for refurbishment and they are not quite ready for us).  Aaron will be in touch with delegates about the change.  There is a stellar list of speakers covering important topics and I urge you to come if you can.

Finally I would thank all those candidates who have put themselves forward for election, whether successful or not.  I look forward to welcoming newly elected members to the Executive next meeting. 

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