It has been a very busy few months in Parliament. The Bar Council submitted its response to the Human Rights Act Review call for evidence and we are planning a series of roundtables with members of the profession. The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented the Budget for the next year - with no mention of justice. The Lord Chancellor announced a six week consultation in response to the findings of the Independent Review of Administrative Law.
The Chair of the Bar, Derek Sweeting QC, met with the Lord Chancellor to discuss court recovery, backlog and sitting days. He also met with the new Attorney General and new Solicitor General. Our Chair also met with Sir Bob Neill MP (Chair of the Justice Select Committee), Rt Hon David Lammy MP (Shadow Lord Chancellor), Lord Falconer (Shadow Attorney General) and a number of MPs and Peers.
The Chair of the Bar chaired a breakfast meeting with Justice Minister Lord Wolfson, representatives of the Bar Council’s International and EU Committee and a group of Specialist Bar Associations (SBAs), about the importance of legal services internationally. A similar meeting was held with SBAs, Lord Hunt and Laura Farris MP.
The Government has introduced a Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Members of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee and the Legal Services Committee will be reviewing the Bill and we will be briefing MPs ahead of Committee stage. With the Domestic Abuse Bill completing its final stages in the House of Lords, the Bar Council has met with members of the Opposition to discuss our call of the removal of means-tested legal aid for domestic abuse victims and how to proceed ahead of the Bill returning to the Commons.