Incoming Chair of the Criminal Bar Association: The Criminal Bar is Vital to Ensuring Justice
1 September 2011
Max Hill QC, who today begins a year-long term as Chairman of
the Criminal Bar Association, which represents criminal barristers
in England and Wales, has sent a stark warning to the Government
about the long-term effects of legal aid cuts. In a rallying call
to criminal barristers, he has warned that if legal aid cuts
cripple the criminal Bar, it will be almost impossible to
Max Hill QC, whose practice includes prosecuting high-profile
terrorism trials from 18 Red Lion Court, said:
"Criminal barristers play a vital role, both prosecuting and
representing people charged with criminal offences, in the public
interest. We operate on the front-line to ensure that our justice
system works efficiently, effectively and most importantly, fairly
for all involved. It is a profession filled with committed,
hardworking individuals, comprising dedicated public servants as
well as entrepreneurial privately funded practitioners, who work
for clients all over the world.
"Legal aid cuts and the new Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates
(QASA) represent the immediate landscape for my year as
"Tough times are undoubtedly ahead for the criminal Bar. But
rather than allowing these issues to divide and depress us all, my
mission must be to raise our chins from the floor. I have one key
message for anyone who will listen: you can destroy the publicly
funded Bar if you want, but you will want it back when it is too
late to recover what you have lost.
"Frankly, it is puerile to dismiss our arguments as little more
than financial self-interest, when the criminal Bar has for decades
proven that it is efficient and exceptionally hard-working. We have
nothing to fear from quality assessment; day-in, day-out criminal
barristers across England and Wales provide consistently excellent
advocacy. We are a profession with much to be proud of and
everything to fight for. I will not shy away from the challenges
which lie ahead."
Notes to editors:
1. Max Hill QC was Called to the Bar in 1987, taking silk in 2008.
He was appointed a Recorder in 2004. From his chambers at 18 Red
Lion Court, Max prosecutes and defends high profile terrorism and
murder cases, including representing the Metropolitan Police in the
Coroner's Inquests into the London bombings of 7 July 2005 and
prosecuting the successful second prosecution for the killing of
2. Max Hill QC succeeds Christopher Kinch QC as Chairman of the
Criminal Bar Association. Michael Turner QC of Garden Court
Chambers has been elected Vice Chairman.
3. For further information, please contact the Bar Council Press
Office on 020 7222 2525.
4. The Criminal Bar Association exists to represent the views of
the practising members of the criminal Bar in England and