Skip to main content

Weekly Round Up – 20.01.12

Chairman’s Update:

I hope that you achieved what you wanted from the CPS Panels results. I am fully aware that, although the national statistics are good (94% overall success rate), they mask some individual tragedies. There may be nothing we can do in some cases, but in others it is through full use of the appeals process that injustices will be corrected. I hope that you will take full advantage of the Circuit organisation and assistance in your area. Forgive me for using one regional example only, but the guidance offered by Nick Hilliard QC on the South Eastern Circuit is valuable, and you can read it here.

The tax payment date is looming. You can read the Bar Council website guidance here. Remember that you can negotiate with HMRC for a deferment of at least a part of your tax liability.  Our Treasurer Ed Vickers and I met with senior HMRC staff on Tuesday. We used the personal examples which you have sent through, and which include a case in which one barrister is being asked to make a tax payment which exceeds their total net profit for the tax year ending 2011, because of the extent of unpaid ‘aged debt’ fees on cases concluded more recently. Common sense dictates that it must be impossible for that barrister to pay in full and on time. We continue to press the HMRC to use its discretion, which lies within HMRC care and management powers, to allow taxpayers more time to pay. We cannot think of another profession or trade, taxed on an earnings basis (HMRC call this ‘true and fair’ taxation), where there is no power to sue for unpaid fees, no power to charge interest for late payment, and where the sole debtor is the government itself (ie the LSC). I must record our thanks to senior HMRC staff who have met us to date. However David Gauke MP, the Exchequer Secretary to whom I wrote urgently on 10th January has neither acknowledged nor replied.

This afternoon, 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.

My thanks to Mike Fitton QC and the Western Circuit for organising my visit to Bristol yesterday. I met with most of the Heads of Chambers or crime teams in the south west, and separately addressed 50 members of the Bar practising on the Bristol side of the Circuit. Thank you for such a warm welcome. This followed the CBA Committee meeting on Tuesday, marred by breakdown of the telephone links to the Circuits, but the Minutes have now been circulated. We are all engaged in tackling every one of the big issues faced by the criminal Bar. Never give up.

Have a good weekend



Practice Direction – Leicester Crown Court

Click here to read the Practice Direction received from Leicester Crown court




Criminal Law Week – updates (issue 2)
Key updates from this week’s issue of Criminal Law Week:

Loss of control – the Court of Appeal examines the new partial defence to murder in sections 54 and 55 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009:  R. v. ClintonR. v. ParkerR. v. Evans, C.A. (CLW/12/03/5).

Confiscation order – Court of Appeal reviews case-law on when the evasion of excise duty will amount to a benefit for the purposes of the confiscation regime under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002:  R. v. James and Blackburn, C.A. (CLW/12/03/8).

Bad character – guidance from the Court of Appeal on the need for a jury direction about the risk of collusion or innocent contamination where the evidence of complainants is treated as cross-admissible under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, s.101: R. v. N. (H.), C.A. (CLW/12/03/1).

DNA – whether DNA evidence can be left to the jury where the differing opinions of two experts reflect genuine and real differences in interpretational approach within the scientific community:  R. v. Hookway and Noakes, C.A. (CLW/1/03/2).

Failure to surrender to bail – the point at which a defendant can be said to have surrendered to bail for the purposes of the offence contrary to the Bail Act 1976, s.6(1):  R. v. Evans, C.A. (CLW/12/03/3).

Deprivation order – matters to which the court must have regard when making an order under section 143 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000:  Trans Berckx BVBA v. North Avon Magistrates’ Court and Swindon Magistrates’ Court and Other Interested Parties, D.C. (CLW/12/03/10).


CBA Events for your Diary:

Date: Friday 20th / Saturday 21st April 2012
Title: The CBA Spring Conference, Northumbria University, Newcastle

Date: Friday 18th May 2012
Title: CBA Annual Dinner, Middle Temple Hall, Middle Temple, London


Other Events:

South Eastern Circuit Lecture – CPS Paperless Prosecutions

Thursday 26 January at 6pm
Middle Temple Hall
1 CPD Point
Reserve a place email: [email protected]


Seventh Dame Ann Ebsworth Memorial Lecture

‘Looking the Other Way – Have Judges Abandoned the Advocates?’ – The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Moses
Monday 13 February 2012 at 6pm
Middle Temple Hall
1 CPD Point

Reserve a place email: [email protected]

Details on website:


Leslie Scarman lecture – Justice Edwin Cameron

The lecture, “What you can do with rights”, will examine South Africa’s experience – viewed over the 18 years since the end of apartheid and the creation of democracy – of constitutionalism and the rule of law, and of rights-talk. Justice Cameron will talk about the country’s constitutional achievements amid scepticism about rights, and ask: what can law and legal rights do in securing for people the benefits a decent society should promise?

Justice Cameron was first appointed a judge by President Mandela in 1994 and has been a Justice of the Constitutional Court – South Africa’s highest court – since 1 January 2009. He was a leading human rights lawyer during the apartheid era and has received many honours for his legal and human rights work, including a special award by the Bar of England and Wales in 2002 for his ‘contribution to international jurisprudence and the protection of human rights’.

Wednesday 25 January 2012. Doors open at 5.30pm. We anticipate that the lecture will start at 6.00pm and last for approximately one hour. It will attract 1 CPD point

Middle Temple Hall, London; further details can be found here


Masters Course in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management 

The Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, offers a two-year part-time Masters Course in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management, which is highly suitable for criminal barristers interested in broad professional development. Next year’s course begins in March 2012. Further details, including course fees and dates, and testimonials from former students, can be found here:


Invite for CBA members to Inquest Law conference

Wednesday 28 March 2012
Central London
A discount to all CBA Members is available
For further information on the Inquest Law conference click here


The 5th ICAC Symposium – Registration

Fighting Corruption in a Changing World
May 2012
Hong Kong
For further information on the 5th ICAC Symposium click here


Amicus Events

Assisting lawyers for justice on death row
US Death Penalty Training
Spring 2012 – London
Friday  16 (evening), Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March 2012
Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April 2012
For further information on the Amicus events click here



Event on Show Trials with Martti Koskenniemi and Jacques Verges (aka The Terror’s Advocate)

It is a debate with Martti Koskenniemi, the distinguished Finnish jurist, and Jacques Verges, also known as “The Terror’s Advocate” (because of his notorious list of clients, see:

The event is entitled “International Justice: Between Impunity and Show Trials” and will use as a springboard for the discussion the upcoming cases against Saif Gaddafi (Libya) and Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast). I would greatly appreciate it if you could circulate the poster and this information among your mailing lists and encourage those who are interested to register on the website.

We purposefully scheduled the event for a Friday evening, the 3rd of February, with a reception at 5:30pm, and start of the debate at 6:30pm (so that there is space and time to come after work or travel into London if need be).

View more news