Bar Council raises concerns about advocacy in criminal courts

SPEAKING in Vienna, where he is attending the European Bar Presidents Conference, the Chairman of the Bar, Desmond Browne QC, warned of the dangers of the ever increasing quantity of advocacy work being handled in-house by the Crown Prosecution Service. In drawing a distinction between the English adversarial and the continental inquisitorial systems of justice, he pointed out that in England there was nothing which corresponded to the District Attorney or the juge d’instruction.

Desmond Browne QC said:

“Until recently, it was rare in England to find the conduct of a prosecution in the hands of barristers dedicated to that type of work. Until now barristers have prosecuted one week, and defended the next. This dual role has ensured the admired independence of the English Bar with its dedication to the cabrank rule.

We need to start a public debate as to whether we wish to see a monolithic state prosecutor, and how in future young selfemployed barristers will learn their trade if they do not receive instructions to prosecute.”