RASSO Survey 2024
Dear colleagues and friends,
If society learns nothing from the Post Office scandal it should learn that our Criminal Justice System without proper investment, like the NHS and other fundamental systems in our society will fail to protect the very people it it is there to protect, the innocent.
Whilst the Inquiry continues we can point out that independence in prosecuting criminal offences is fundamental to justice being done. Prosecutors as Ministers of Justice in our courts should be free from pressures brought to bear by anyone with a vested interest, whether that be large organisations, government, lobby groups, media, investigators or complainants. The Criminal Bar guards its independence fiercely for this very reason with many barristers prosecuting and defending in turn, our training in ethics and standards ensures our suitability for the role and our instincts for fairness and compliance with the rule of law are ingrained.
The Criminal Bar, with its vocational practitioners, needs to be sustained. In particular we are all aware of the lack of prosecution and defence barristers generally to deal with our backlog but particularly in RASSO cases that involve the most vulnerable participants.
We have made it clear that proper on-going funding is urgent to ensure our highly trained, highly skilled workforce grows and continues, independently, to prosecute and defend the most serious and sensitive cases in our courts. But funding is only one issue that needs to be addressed.
We are so proud of our criminal barristers who prosecute and defend in rape and serious sexual offences across England and Wales. There has been insufficient public and governmental appreciation of the importance of excellence in this field for decades. We are delighted that there is now cross-party interest in achieving long-lasting results in this neglected area of law and a clear commitment that these cases are important and must take priority.
In order to assist us to work collaboratively with government, the judiciary, the Crown Prosecution Service, defence solicitors, HMCTS and the Ministry of Justice, we need to understand the past, current and future issues affecting our members and what would make a difference to practitioners who undertake this challenging, exhausting work.
To that end, we look to our membership for assistance and urge all practitioners to complete the RASSO Survey linked below so that we can continue to highlight the disparities in fees and working conditions for those who conduct this work compared to other areas of practice.
We encourage all criminal practitioners who feel able to conduct RASSO work to do so and will be providing a free, national training programme which is accredited and recognised by all parties within the criminal justice system. Our bespoke RASSO training programme for prosecution and defence advocates, in this complex and ever changing legal and scientific field, will aim to confirm excellence with a badge of honour for advocates which our courts and the public can trust.
In April 2024 there will be a day long RASSO Conference lead by our Education & Training Committee. We hope to see you there.
The Survey will close on Sunday 28th January at Midnight.
Meanwhile, we continue to wish you all well in your endeavours. Be excellent as always!
Tana Adkin KC Chair
Mary Prior KC Vice Chair
On behalf of the Criminal Bar AssociationView more news