The following met with the Minister of Justice and a team of 5 at Portcullis House at his invitation.
Nicholas Lavender QC, Mark Hatcher, Nigel Lithman QC, Sarah Forshaw QC, Paul Lewis QC were in attendance. On line were Tony Cross QC, Mark Wall QC, John Elvidge QC, Andrew Langdon QC, Andrew O’Byrne QC.
1. In the light of the CBA Executive’s commitment to await and adopt the outcome of the ballot, the Minister of Justice confirmed his agreement to leave the deal “on the table” until the CBA membership has spoken.
2. The Lord Chancellor reinforced his belief in the “independent bar” and said he has no intention to expand further the Public Defenders’ Service beyond recent recruits.
The position remains that whether individual barristers undertake this work is a matter of personal choice but we reemphasised that many would be unlikely to do so at the current reduced rates.
4. It was relayed to the Justice Secretary the LCCSA and CLSA wished to meet with him and he acknowledged that wish.
5. We agreed to meet regularly – and more constructively than we have in the past – to discuss the future of the criminal justice system, the first such meeting to follow the report of the Jeffrey Review later in April.