Skip to main content

Weekly Round Up 29.06.12

CBA News:

Chairman’s Update:

I want to dedicate this weeks message to the appalling consequences of the governments fee policy for ‘ELECTED EITHER WAY CASES’. As you know, we marshalled principled objections to so many of the fee changes which the government foreshadowed in the consultation which led to LASPO last year, only to find that the government forced the changes through using secondary legislation, meaning that we were afforded no opportunity to fight against the changes by lobbying both Houses of Parliament, which we can at least attempt with primary legislation.

Now let us look at real examples of what government policy means for real barristers in real cases. What follows are the anonimised facts of two cases brought to my attention by CBA members this week alone.



D charged with theft (shoplifting). Magistrates accepted jurisdiction and D elected Crown Court trial. This was therefore an elected eitherway case for which new funding rules applied. From 3 October 2011 the fixed fee for counsel was £203. For cases of this nature after 1 April 2012 the fee reduces to £194. These fees are applicable if the D pleads guilty in the Crown Court or the Crown offers no evidence, essentially where no trial takes place the fee is fixed regardless of how many hearings occur or how much work is involved. 


In this particular case, there was a plea and case management hearing in the Crown Court when a not guilty plea was entered and the trial placed in the warned list. Subsequent to this, the case was listed for an application to transfer legal aid. This hearing was adjourned. Another hearing therefore took place and the D’s application to transfer refused by the judge and the trial date put back.  On the Friday before the start of the warned list (when all preparation for trial was complete), the Crown notified the defence that they would be offering no evidence. This was of course very good news for the D. Nevertheless the Court insisted on a hearing for the same to be done, despite a request that the matter is dealt with administratively in order to avoid another hearing and expense to the public purse. 


There were therefore a total of 5 hearings in this case. The fee for each hearing is therefore £40.60.  Not all the hearings could be covered by intended trial counsel, due to other professional commitments, which means that two fellow juniors in chambers had to cover the case, and each will receive the grand total of £40.60. This figure does not include their travel to the Crown Court (approx £16 day return), nor does it take account of chambers rent (20% of the fee), neither does it account for income tax or National Insurance contributions.  


The actual fee to counsel is more like £12. This doesn’t of course adequately represent the time taken travelling to Court, time at Court, conference time with client, drafting an attendance note for the solicitor etc.  This level of remuneration is nowhere near the national minimum wage. 


Counsel undertook a substantial amount of work in preparation for trial, namely a detailed advice on evidence, advice on the extension of legal aid x2, hearsay application x2, special measures application and also reading and responding to some 52 emails from the instructing solicitor regarding the case. 


Defending a trading standards and fraud prosecution brought against a sole trader plumber/builder. He had started work, taken money and failed to complete, and what he had done was not to an acceptable standard.

5 of the 8 charges were brought under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – engaging in a commercial practice which was reckless and which contravened the requirements of professional diligence….and that such failure was likely to materially distort the economic behaviour of an average consumer.


Client pleaded not guilty in the Magistrates Court, insisting that he was going to finish the job, and that he was acting honestly. The Magistrates accepted jurisdiction but he elected Crown Court trial.

There was no Legal Aid in place in the Magistrates Court.

By PCMH, Legal Aid was still not in place, and counsel accepted the case to ensure that the Defendant did not go unrepresented. An application to adjourn to resolve the funding position was refused, and the case was listed for trial.


Legal Aid was duly granted, a defence expert was instructed, and two conferences were held with the Defendant, totalling 2 hours and 45 minutes.

In addition to the PCMH, there was an application to vacate before the case came to trial. Counsel also drafted a 10 page written advice to assist the Defendant, who was by then having second thoughts about his pleas.  In written advice counsel set out the evidence against him, highlighting the difficulties he may face at trial.


The case came up for a three day trial listing, when ultimately the Defendant instructed counsel to negotiate a plea. The prosecution deemed pleas to counts 6 to 8 to be acceptable, and a basis of plea was also accepted. Guilty pleas were entered.


Counsel receives £203 for all of this.


Yet the total work done consists of:


4 hours preparation and research

2 hours drafting an advice

5 hours 15 mins conferences

PCMH hearing

App to vacate hearing

Trial hearing (3 day estimate)


There is additional preparation for the sentencing hearing, travel to court again, and another conference with the Defendant.


Taking into account the sentencing hearing, counsel has made 5 journeys to court, and one to Instructing Solicitors. The fuel cost for those journeys is in the region of £80 to £90. Deducting chambers expenses and fuel costs, all of counsel’s preparation, advice and advocacy is valued at around £80 or £90.


Thank you to both members for coming forward with this information. To every CBA member, I say we should all use examples such as these wherever and whenever we can, to publicise the dire situation faced by dedicated and professional self-employed criminal barristers. This is our livelihood, which this government is steadily draining away. We must all be responsible for getting the message across to the public, so that they understand what is happening to the publicly-funded legal system in this country.


Have a good weekend. I shall be judging the national student mock trial advocacy competition at Hertfordshire University on Saturday, and speaking at the World Bar Conference on Sunday.

More on all of this in my message to you next week.


Nominations for Vice Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association:

One week left to submit your nomination

Nominations are invited for the position of Vice Chairman of the CBA. These should be sent to the Administrator by email; [email protected]

Nominations must be received by 4.00 p.m. on Friday 6 July 2012.

Those wishing to stand must be either Queen’s Counsel or Senior Treasury Counsel and must be a member of the CBA and be proposed and seconded by members of the CBA. The successful candidate will be expected to take over as Chairman in September 2013, having served as Vice Chairman for the previous year. 


The Criminal Bar Associations Annual General Meeting:

The Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday 17 July 2012 at 17.30 in the Videoconference room (2nd Floor) at the Bar Council Offices.  To register your attendance please email [email protected]


Health Support and Advice for the Bar – Law Care:

LawCare provides an independent and confidential service which assists members of the Law Societies of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the Isle of Man; the Institute of Legal Executives; the Bar Councils of England and Wales, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland; the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland; the Department of Justice; the Institute of Barristers Clerks; and the National Association of Paralegals.  This is a confidential advisory service to help lawyers, their immediate families and their support staff to deal with the health issues and related emotional difficulties that can result from a stressful career as a lawyer, or working with lawyers. LawCare is there to support and assist you, too. 

LawCare offers you the opportunity to discuss problems that are interfering with, or have the potential to interfere with, your work performance and / or your family life and to seek to help in resolving these problems.

Through LawCare, help is available to those who are suffering from stress and/or depression, or who have alcohol, drug or other dependency concerns, or eating disorders.


There is a helpline which is open 365 days a year:-

9am – 7.30pm, Monday to Friday

10am – 4pm Saturday, Sunday and UK Bank Holidays

0800 018 4299

Further details can be found on the website here


Follow the chairman on twitter:



CBA Events:

Child Injury and Expert Evidence: The Lessons of Al-Alas

The Association of Lawyers for Children and the Criminal Bar Association jointly present an evening seminar

Wednesday 4th July 2012

6pm-8pm; followed by drinks and canapés

Michael Turner QC, Jo Delahunty QC and Kate Purkiss speaking with Martha Cover, Co-Chair of the ALC Chairing

To book your place please email [email protected] or download the booking form from the CBA website


Other News:              


Criminal Law Week – updates (issue 25)

Key updates from this week’s issue of Criminal Law Week:


Retrial – whether prosecution had acted with “due expedition” where failure to comply with statutory time limit for re-arraigning defendant was due to “breakdown of communications” within the CPS:  R. v. Pritchard, C.A. (CLW/12/25/1).


Confiscation order – valuation of realisable assets where asset jointly owned by joint offenders:  R. v. Gangar and another, C.A. (CLW/12/25/2).


Extradition – to Minnesota, U.S.A., where there was a real risk the fugitive would be subject to indefinite detention under an order for “civil commitment” if convicted of sexual offences alleged against him:  Sullivan v. United States and Secretary of State for the Home Department, D.C. (CLW/12/25/3).


Crime and Security Act 2010 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2012 – bringing into force of sections 24 to 30 (domestic violence) in specified police areas (CLW/12/25/5).


International News & Events

For the latest upcoming international Events and opportunities click here



The Red Tape Challenge is a government initiative to reduce the amount of regulation affecting business. Each government department is required to identify the regulations within in its purview and consult on possible deregulation measures. The method of consultation is through a website which highlights a different sector of business every few weeks. At the end of the consultation period the relevant department is required to put together a package of deregulation proposals.


The Ministry of Justice is responsible for the “Legal Services” sector which is now “highlighted” on the Red Tape Challenge website. The regulations on which comments are sought include, regulation of the legal profession, registering an interest in land, bailiff action, date protection, arbitration and claims management companies.  As well as comments on specific regulations general comments about regulation and future regulation are welcome. There is also an email address to which comments can be sent.


Three sector champions have been appointed for the “Legal Services” sector (myself and representatives from the Law Society and the LSB consumer panel). Our principal role is to engage in a dialogue with the comments placed on the website. So far the response to the Legal Services sector consultation has been slow. I think there are a number of  reasons for this:

·       The publicity given to the Red Tape Challenge in the legal press at the outset did not provide details of how to get involved

·       The start of the consultation process coincided with the Jubilee weekend

·       Consultation fatigue

·       The dryness of the subject matter


The PBA and ChBA have emailed or agreed to email their members details of the Red Tape Challenge. The MoJ has recorded a video clip of me explaining the process which they tweeted to their followers


Anything else we can do to raise the profile of the Red Tape Challenge and get across how it works would be much appreciated by the MoJ.


The website closes for comments on Legal Services sector regulations on 5 July 2012.


The website address is:


The email address is: [email protected]


The video clip of me explaining the Red Tape Challenge is here:


Zachary Bredemear


Other Events:       

Free training course on identifying victims

1 Grays Inn Square Chambers  are offering a free training course on identifying victims.  Aimed at those working with criminal clients, to assist in the identifying of clients who may be victims of human trafficking, and who possibly have a defence/strong mitigation to any criminal charge. 

5th July 2012, London (venue to be confirmed) 6-8.  12th July 2012, Canterbury Christchurch University, Broadstairs Campus 3.30-5.30 (2 CPD applied for).  

RSVP: [email protected] or [email protected]    See www.alisongurden.wordpress for further information.


The South Eastern Circuit Annual Dinner

Friday 13 July at 7pm, in Middle Temple Hall

For further information and to download the booking form, please click here.


The Slynn Foundation are delighted that The RT Hon the Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers KG, who will retire as President of the UK Supreme Court in September, has agreed to deliver the 10th Slynn Foundation Lecture on Monday 12 November 2012. More details will follow but please note the date.


View more news