YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE FUTURE OF THE CRIMINAL BAR
1. Do Right Fear No One: Chairman’s Comment
“Our lives begin to end the day we stay silent about the things that matter”.
Not my words, but the words of a truly great man, Martin Luther-King Jr. I have received a number of comments recently, particularly from those involved in politics that the CBA has become rather uncomfortably vocal. Yet other politicians privately express sympathy for our position and recognise the merit and substance of our arguments. The say there is nothing they can do, with the only proviso if an issue captures media and public interest. We have championed the public interest.
We passionately believe about raising awareness about the things that matter not only to our membership but to the wider public. When we know that our system of justice is being dismantled before our eyes should we not speak out?
We believe there is a widely held view at the Criminal Bar that QASA in its current form is not in the public interest. Our regulator, the Bar Council has been required by statute to delegate its powers to the BSB. Whilst the BSB have conceded, that QASA in its current form, is not in the public interest, the BSB are still intending to implement it and the Bar Council is seemingly powerless to stop them. We have an oversight regulator in the LSB, who believe that referral fees are fair competition and that the Cab Rank Rule should be abolished. The effect of the latter appears only to limit the individual’s choice of representation. The Criminal Bar huge advances in enabling ethnic minority backgrounds into the profession, are now under real jeopardy as financial constraints are now such that the opportunity of pupillage is so rare that it has the unintended effect of discriminating against those who most deserve a chance. We experience on a daily basis victims of crime and those accused of it being let down by a disclosure system that is a near breaking point and delays caused by a blinkered belief that putting the delivery of public services into the corporate private sector saves the tax payer money.
We all, I believe recognise that if OCOF or contracting come to pass the Criminal Bar dies with it. All of these thing matters.
The CBAs duty is to represent your views. Use the forums, the website, or contact your chambers representative. There are a number of ways where you can make your voice heard.