10 of the things the Bar Council did in July 2018

1 August 2018

  1. A social mobility campaign, I am the Bar, was launched by the Bar Council in the week its flagship social mobility initiative, Bar Placement Week, marked 10 years of giving sixth form students from non-traditional backgrounds the opportunity to spend a week experiencing life as a barrister.  

  2. The Bar Council and other legal bodies announced the first ever Justice Week, a new initiative to put justice and the rule of law at the centre stage of public and political debate. Taking place between Monday 29 October and Friday 2 November 2018, the week will replace National Pro Bono Week. 

  3. Ahead of the Government's Post-Implementation Review of Part 1 of LASPO and subordinate legislation, the Bar Council launched a survey of the family and civil Bar on LASPO, which will form part of the Bar Council's submission to the review.   

  4. The Bar Council responded to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee's report on the current state of criminal legal aid in England and Wales. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC, said: "This report shows clear and candid cross-party acceptance of what the legal profession has long been warning about: that years of savage cuts have led us to a crisis in criminal legal aid, which in turn threatens the future efficiency and effectiveness of our criminal justice system." 

  5. "The impact of dramatic cuts in funding for criminal justice cannot be ignored," said Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC in response to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee's  report following its inquiry into disclosure of evidence in criminal cases. He added: "The Government have to accept that there is a clear link between disclosure failures and the sustained budget cuts that it has imposed on all parts of the criminal justice system." 

  6. The Public Accounts Committee report on the HMCTS courts modernisation programme endorsed many of the concerns raised by the Bar Council. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC, said: "Modernising our courts and tribunals, partly through digitisation and better use of existing and new technologies, is urgent and vital work.  But HMCTS must not allow ambition to run too far ahead of what can actually be achieved and delivered." 

  7. After the Government's Brexit White Paper was published, the Bar Council issued the text of a  draft agreement that would ensure that court judgments made in the UK and EU can still be enforced across international borders after exit day

  8. Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC, joined the presidents of the Law Society and CILEx to lead the legal sector on the London Pride March. 

  9. At the meeting of the Bar Council, members discussed the issue of onerous security measures for getting into court. The Bar Council confirmed it was developing a digital ID card system for barristers and that HMCTS would soon announce a pilot ID security programme. 

  10. The Bar Council-sponsored Legal Aid Barrister of the Year award was won by Martha Cover of Coram Chambers at the annual Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards.