Weekly Round Up – 16.03.12
SURVEY You have been completing the online Survey in huge numbers. However, I have decided to extend the Survey for one more week, until 4pm on Friday 23rd March. If you have not done so yet, please go to the CBA website and complete the Survey now.
CPS What are we to make of the ‘Follow-up thematic review of prosecution advocacy and case presentation March 2012’, published by HMCPSI this week? You can read the full report HERE. What do you make of the following parts of the Executive Summary (emphasis and capitals supplied):
1.10. The CPS has increased crown advocate deployment in the Crown Court and has made significant savings in counsel fees as a result. However, not all are properly deployed as crown advocates, despite receiving the UPLIFT IN SALARY and there remain significant variations in the proportion of crown advocacy work undertaken.
1.5 …Despite the amount of non-contested work undertaken, the review found a decline in the quality of crown advocate performance since 2009 and an improvement in that of self-employed counsel, particularly at the higher level.
1.7 The performance of advocates was adversely affected by inadequacies in case progression prior to court; this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
1.13 Progress has been slow in addressing the recommendations and aspects for improvement in the 2009 report. Only two of the 22 issues have been achieved fully and substantial progress made on one other. Seventeen issues are subject to limited or no progress.
Doesn’t all of this go to prove what we have been saying for so long? Is anyone listening to us?
LASPO Our long campaign for the release of restrained funds in order to pay defence fees and take the most expensive cases out of legal aid is bearing fruit. Political niceties required Lord Thomas of Gresford (to whom we are enormously grateful for his efforts) to withdraw his amendment changing section 41 of POCA; but government minister Lord McNally said this:
“The Government recognise that there is a public perception that rich people are being given free legal aid because their assets are restrained. There are good policy reasons behind the current regime, but I can assure noble Lords that my department is currently working with the Home Office and the Attorney-General’s Office to explore options that might allow the Government to recover legal aid costs wherever possible.
“My noble friend-and this I welcome-has stimulated activity and cross-departmental examination of this issue in a constructive way. I cannot accept the amendment tonight, and I am not likely to within the context of the Bill. However, he can claim credit for stimulating active working with my department, the Home Office and the Attorney-General’s Office, and we will see where this initiative takes us. In the mean time, I hope that my noble friend will withdraw his amendment.”
Subsequently, Assistant Secretary Dermot Keating and I met with MoJ officials yesterday to discuss the issue. Although there is a risk that government will not go far enough, merely looking to bolster confiscation and recovery of costs post-conviction, we are trying to persuade them to release restrained funds from the start of proceedings. Wealthy defendants should not be a burden on the state by receiving legal aid at all. We are thankful that government is talking at last. We shall press our case.
Finally this week, you may have noticed my inclusion in the Times list of 100 most influential lawyers. Very kind, but forget about me, the Chairman of the CBA should always be on the list. I shall be pressing for Mike Turner to be included next year.
Several months ago the Committee commissioned an independent design company for the re-construction, layout and overall design of the current website.
The majority of the site is Now only accessible by members of the Criminal Bar Association. In order to log in for the first time you will need to have your individual unique CBA reference, those of you who have completed and returned your Direct Debit Mandate would have received this pin earlier this month. If you haven’t then you will need to complete a form HERE and send back to me., upon receipt I can provide you with your reference by email.
I had previously informed you that the two areas of the site that couldn’t go live until certain provisions were in place were Event Booking and Shop – both of which required us to have SAGE PAY installed and to obtain Merchant Numbers from our Bank. . Unfortunately there has been a delay with the Bank and these functions will not be accessible for another 10/ 14 days. I apologise for any inconvenience.
As you may recall, Ed Vickers and Aaron Dolan met with Philip Bristow of Vector Professions Finance (a Bar Council Service Partner) and negotiated a deal for CBA Members who take out loans in the coming months. Vector will waive their fees (£120 including bank TT fees) for any CBA members applying before 31st August 2012 (to cover July tax payments). The application is straightforward – application form, full aged debt and last 12 months gross receipts – and transfer of money can be completed within a week. You need to quote reference BAR 888. Contact Philip Bristow at [email protected] ; for more information, the link is here. This offer also applies to FLBA members.
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Paperless Trials from 1st April 2012 – A welcome or a concern?
Tuesday 27 March 2012
6.30pm – 8.30pm
27 March 2012
Speakers include out Chairman, Max Hill QC and The DPP, Keir Starmer
Church House, Deans Yard, Westminster
Silks, Solicitors and non-members £40 / Juniors: £30 / Pupils: £20
Please book by completing the booking form here and return with your payment to Aaron Dolan
The CBA Spring Conference 2012
This year’s CBA Spring Conference will take place on Saturday 21st April 2012. It is being held on the North Eastern circuit at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Speakers include Lord Justice Hooper, Penny Barrett (Criminal Cases Review Commissioner), Michael Tuner QC and Gareth Underhill on the topic of appellate advocacy and CCRC referrals, Professor David Ormerod on a roundup of the legal year, His Honour Judge Nicholas Browne QC and Patricia Lynch QC on serious sexual offences and Rudi Fortson QC on confiscation and sentencing in drug offences. It is expected to bring 6 CPD hours.
Prices remain the same as last year at £95 for members over 7 years call, £60 for members under 7 years call and £40 for pupils. Please book by completing the booking form here and return with your payment to Aaron Dolan. Dolan
CBA Annual Dinner
Friday 18th May 2012
Middle Temple Hall, Middle Temple, London
Guest Speaker – The Hon Mr Justice Calvert-Smith
For further information and to book please contact Aaron Dolan
Early booking is advised
Legal Services Commission – guidance to barristers on fee claims
Barristers and clerks who undertake legal aid work will wish to be aware of the February issue of the LSC Bar Bulletin which gives advice on how to reduce the chance of fees being rejected or unnecessarily delayed.
The Bulletin includes advice on:
- claiming for financial hardship;
- civil payments on account;
- Family Advocacy Scheme and VHCC claims;
- crime travel expense claims and the Local Bar Rule;
- acknowledging receipt of crime Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme claims;
- the identity of the Instructed Advocate;
- Pages of Prosecution Evidence, including paper evidence converted into electronic format;
- Criminal VHCC claims.
Click here for the full bulletin (Pages 9-13 on Criminal)
CRIMINAL LAW WEEK – updates (Issue 10)
Key updates from this week’s issue of Criminal Law Week:
Statutes – the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012 (which extends the s.5 offence to causing or allowing child or vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical harm) and the Welfare Reform Act 2012, given Royal Assent on March 8, 2012 (CLW/12/11/11 & 12).
Criminal Defence Service (Funding) – various amendments to the 2007 order applying to proceedings in which a representation order is granted on or after April 1, 2012: S.I. 2012 No. 750 (CLW/12/11/13).
Child abduction – whether the defence of necessity is available on a charge under section 1 of the Child Abduction Act 1984: R. v. S. (C.), C.A. (CLW/12/11/4).
Plea of guilty – whether a judge was entitled to refuse an offender credit for a guilty plea in an overwhelming case: R. v. Wilson (Paul), C.A. (CLW/12/11/6).
Abuse of process – whether, where defendant sentenced on basis of further admissions made as to drug use, those admissions constituted the facts upon which the proceedings were concluded when determining whether a second set of proceedings arose out of the same or substantially the same facts: R. v. Dwyer, C.A. (CLW/12/11/1).
Criminal Procedure Rules and the new-look Ministry of Justice website
Here are the new URL links to the Criminal Procedure Rules andRule Committee pages :
The Criminal Procedure Rules’ What’s New? page: www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal
The Criminal Procedure Rules: www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/rulesmenu
The Criminal Procedure Rules Forms page: www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/formspage
The Consolidated Criminal Practice Direction: www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/pd_consolidated
The Criminal Procedure Rule Committee: www.justice.gov.uk/about/moj/advisory-groups/criminal-procedure-rule-committee
The keen web-watchers amongst you will perhaps notice that the ‘CrimPR What’s New?’ page is about a month out of date. Colleagues in the Web Team are addressing that and promise that it should soon be corrected. Last week, I published a PCMH form for use in cases involving between two and five defendants. The related news item was dated 21 February 2012 and when you can are able to see that on the What’s New? page, you will know that the remedial work has been done.
Inner London Justices’ Club Annual Party
Date: 20th March 2012 5.45 p.m. until 8.15 p.m.
Venue: The Judges’ Dining Room, Inner London Sessions House
Tickets are priced at £20.00 each and may be purchased from the Court Manager, Mr. Steve Jones, Inner London Crown Court, Sessions House, Newington Causeway, London SE1 6AZ, DX 97345 Southwark 3 (Tel: 020 7234 3100 / email: [email protected]) Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. CBA members welcome.
South Eastern Circuit Keble Course:
The 2012 South Eastern Circuit Bar Mess Foundation Advanced International Advocacy Course at Keble College, Oxford will take place from Monday 27 August 2012 (please note that this is a bank holiday), until Saturday 1 September 2012. Participants must attend each day of the course. The aim of this course is to encourage and develop the highest standards of advocacy amongst practitioners. The course is the most demanding and intensive of any advocacy course in the UK and was described by a former presiding judge of the Circuit as the “Best Advanced Course in the UK”.
Although the Circuit application process will not open until 2nd April 2012, if you wish to apply for a scholarship to attend this course from one of the Inns, the deadline for submissions is 14 March for Lincoln’s Inn and 15 March for Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray’s Inn.
To qualify for the course, you must join the Circuit and for further information regarding the course and the scholarships available, please visit the South Eastern Circuit website by clicking here
The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, is pleased to announce the following free events:
Date: Thursday 22 March 2012, 2pm to 5.30m
Title: Serving Time in a Foreign Land: The Framework Decision on the Mutual Recognition of Custodial Sentences
Venue: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR.
To register email: [email protected]. Admission Free, All Welcome.
(Organised in association with the European Criminal Law Association (UK).)
Invite for CBA members to Inquest Law conference
Wednesday 28 March 2012
A discount to all CBA Members is available
Further information can be found here
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights Introducing an essential tool for UK practitioners
Thursday 29 March 2012, 5.30 – 7.30pm
Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU
£45 (£40 for JUSTICE or BEG members) 2 hours CPD BSB/SRA
Event chaired by Lord Justice Laws, Honorary President, Bar European Group
For full details of this and how to book please go to www.justice.org.uk/events.php
ECBA Spring Conference
Defence Rights in Europe
27 & 28 April 2012 –
Further information can be found here
The Health & Safety Lawyers Association
Manchester Event – 3 presentations – each approximately 30 minutes, Followed by drinks reception
DWF LLP, 1 Scott Place, 2 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AA
Tuesday 8th May 2012
Further information can be found here
The 5th ICAC Symposium – Registration
Fighting Corruption in a Changing World
Further details can be found here
An Evening of Sacred Music
MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH PROJECT – TRIBUNAL LAWYERS NEEDED
A criminologist at Cambridge University is looking for volunteers to participate in a study seeking to examine lawyers’ experiences of working with clients with mental disorders. Participants would discuss their experiences with the researcher over the course of an hour’s interview taking place towards the end of March. This is an opportunity to communicate your views on the realities of working withclients with mental disorders: research of this kind is very rarely attemptedand is important in ensuring that debates about changing law and procedure are informed by the people who have to deal with law and procedure every day.
The researcher has had a number of responses from those with experience of cases involving hospital orders in the Crown Court and would like to encourage both barristers and solicitors who have appeared before Mental Health Review Tribunals seeking the discharge of such orders to consider participating. The researcher hopes to interview practitioners of varying experience –from those who specialise in this work to those who deal with one or two cases a year – and varying seniority – from trainees/pupils to senior practitioners. If you are interested in taking part in this research, or if you would like moreinformation, please email [email protected] with your name, the type oftribunal before which you usually appear (Crown Court or MHRT), the number ofyears of post-qualification experience you have, and the dates on which you are free in the last fortnight in March.
Interviews can be conducted in Cambridge or central London. Participants’ on-going duties of confidentiality to clientswould be respected, and only generalised information is sought. All participants who wish to receive a copy of the research findings will be sent a copy once the entirety of the study has been completed in July.View more news