Andrew Langdon QC: A chance to shape the future of the criminal Bar

12 January 2017

In 2014, following years of cuts and contortions to the Advocacy Graduate Fee Scheme, the Bar was presented with an opportunity to offer the MoJ thoughts on a redesign of the scheme. A group of barristers, junior and senior, set to work. They were assisted by Professor Martin Chalkley, who has provided the Bar with assistance on AGFS during the whole of its twenty-year lifetime.

The (volunteer) barristers and Professor Chalkley went back to first principles and have produced an entirely fresh scheme. It was not an easy task and it took them a while. In fact the outline of it was published in October 2015 and has been on the Bar Council Website ever since. It is worth a look here if you want to see the thinking behind it.

You will see how the proposed scheme launched in last week's consultation, by and large follows this design. The figures in the boxes are an attempt to be faithful to that design, whilst working within the design brief which was 'cost neutral'.

The consultation launch has already produced a range of opinions, some more thoughtful than others. If you have not read it, you may want to look at  this message from the Chair of the Criminal Bar Association, but there are of course other views.   

Despite the hard work, I would be surprised if this new scheme under consideration cannot be improved in any respect.

We would like to have your considered views once you have had time to reflect. If you have proposals that we can consider before we finalise our own Bar Council response, as to any aspect of the scheme that you think could be improved - please let us have your views. We will collect and consider them. Please send them to avincent@barcouncil.org.uk. 

If you would rather keep the current scheme, make your views known. If you reject the suggestion made by some that the new scheme has been designed by silks for their own self-interest, and you see the sense in the suggested fresh design, make your views known. If you like parts of it but not others, say so and say why. 

Please, whatever your views, don't keep them to yourself. Get involved in shaping the future of the Criminal Bar. Make your views known to us. But, most important of all, make them known in your own consultation response. Here is the  link.

Andrew Langdon QC