The Bar Council sent senior representatives to the three main party conferences this year. Delegates went armed with two contrasting messages. First, that the legal profession and indeed access to justice will be immeasurably affected by the proposed cuts to legal aid.
In meetings with Ministers, shadows and backbenchers, and in speeches and questions at fringe events, the Bar Council made the case against these changes which, it has argued, are against the public interest. Second, that despite the current difficult economic circumstances, the Bar has much to offer the UK economy through its unrivalled expertise in international dispute resolution. These were excellent and fruitful opportunities to put across the Bar Council’s key concerns around the LASPO Bill and promote the Bar to important parliamentarians.
Senior Bar Council officers, including Peter Lodder QC and Michael Todd QC, attended the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. As well as meeting with ministers and other parliamentarians, including two Justice Ministers and the Attorney General, Peter spoke at a fringe event co-hosted by the Bar Council on Tuesday. Co-sponsored by the Prison Reform Trust, the Criminal Justice Alliance and the Society of Conservative Lawyers, the event focussed on whether the Coalition can deliver a fairer, more efficient and effective justice system. Peter spoke about the Government’s proposed changes to legal aid, alongside the Justice Minister, Jonathan Djanogly, and the Directors of the Prison Reform Trust and the Criminal Justice Alliance, Juliet Lyon CBE and Vicki Helyar-Cardwell.