The Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has welcomed the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) announcement regarding appointments to its new Advocacy Panel. However, it has acknowledged the length of time taken to reach this stage, as many practitioners have faced an uncertain future, at a time of increasing pressure on their services.
Michael Todd QC, Chairman of the Bar, said, “We are pleased that the results of appointments to the Advocacy Panel have now been announced. The Bar Council has worked closely with the CPS on the formation of the scheme and the fact that 94% of applicants have been awarded a place on a panel demonstrates the high quality of those applying.
“However, it is unfortunate, for a number of reasons, that the panels have taken such a long time to confirm, when so many practitioners have been unsure as to their futures, in many cases exacerbated by the Legal Services Commission’s failure to make timely payments for defence work, for those who both prosecute and defend. We hope that now the issue has been resolved, the Panel will operate successfully and ensure the highest standards of representation.
“Looking ahead, it will also be important to ensure that the appeals system for those who were not successful works quickly and effectively, to ensure that if any mistakes have been made, they can be swiftly rectified, in accordance with the arrangements which have been agreed.”