Opening the Conference, Desmond Browne QC, the Chairman of the Bar, described the challenges facing the legal aid system, at a time of unprecedented pressure on public expenditure. Mr Browne set out his concerns about the state of the legal aid system, in what is the sixtieth anniversary year of its creation. He discussed the way in which the Legal Services Commission, the body responsible for administering legal aid in England and Wales, is managing its task, saying that “In the past few months the Legal Services Commission has been at great pains to have us ‘celebrate’ legal aid’s sixtieth all the party euphoria the Commission generated, it overlooked those fundamental principles which govern a social democracy’s obligations for the welfare of its citizens. Today, more than ever, at a time of deep economic recession and confronted by laws of ever-increasing complexity, we need to remember those principles – and be sure that we apply them in practice.”