10 of the things we did in September 2017

1 October 2017

The Bar Council warned that the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill's approach to 'bringing rights home' is a recipe for confusion and puts the rights of UK citizens at risk. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, said: "It is a recipe for confusion. Far from bringing rights home, this Bill sets up UK citizens for second class status."

Robin Allen QC, Chair of the Bar Council's Equality and Diversity and Social Mobility Committee, responded to the Lammy Review. He said it was a major contribution to the important and urgent task of securing a fair and equal criminal justice system. He also announced that the Bar Council was developing a foundation course in judgecraft - to be undertaken pre-application - that will demystify the skills needed for judicial appointment and increase the confidence, particularly of ethnic minorities, women, and those from a non-traditional background, when applying. 

The Bar Council announced that its annual Pupillage Fair would be free for students to attend at the University of Law in Moorgate, London, and that the popular CV clinic would return. 

Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, welcomed the HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) decision to postpone pilots for a flexible operating hours court. The Chair said: "Past experience shows that rushing into decisions can backfire on the government, employment tribunal fees and the impact of LASPO on vulnerable people being just two examples. We will continue to talk with HMCTS, who are in listening mode, on this issue."

The second phase of the Wellbeing at the Bar initiative was announced. The Bar Council announced the introduction of a Certificate of Recognition to recognise efforts made to promote wellbeing across the Bar.

Chair of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC and Chair-Elect Andrew Walker QC attended the Labour and Conservative Party conferences to promote the Bar Council's Party Conference briefing The Case for Justice and meet party policymakers.

Responding to the Bach Commission's report The Right to Justice on legal aid and access to justice, Andrew Langdon QC said: "Change is afoot. This report is part of a shift in how legal aid is being discussed. Lord Bach makes the important point that the rule of law and legal rights do not mean much unless citizens are able, through the legal system, to have them upheld, and that cuts to legal aid have made that impossible for many, especially the most vulnerable in society."

Breaking with tradition, the Bar Council published its annual report as a website rather than a traditional report, making it easier to see the achievements of the Bar Council in 2016/17.

The Bar Council participated in another successful English-Cypriot Law Day, which saw the Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC lead a delegation of barristers to Limassol to meet with Cypriot lawyers and discuss issues of joint interest.  

An open letter from the Bar Human Rights Committee, Bar Council and Law Society was sent to the President of Tanzania condemning the violence against lawyers in Tanzania. The letter came in the wake of the shooting of Tundu Antiphas Mughwai Lissu, the President of the Tanganyika Law Society.