News Bites

Bar 'satifaction' snapshot; Lord Chancellor inquiry; VAWG conviction rate soars; 'Winter of the World' events; Mini-pupillage guidance.

 


Bar ‘satisfaction’ snapshot

The second biennial Barristers’ Working  Lives survey has been published by the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board. Although 88% still believe that their work is interesting and say that they are proud to be a barrister, the Bar might be seen to be less happy than two years ago: 49% found it to be ideal or that it met most needs compared to 55% in 2011, while 30% were not satisfied or not satisfied at all (vs 21% in 2011), figures strongly affected by the particular experience of the Criminal Bar. Social conscience remains high, with 39% engaged in pro bono work. A corrected Bar Barometerhas also been released with revised tenancy statistics. The September issue of Counselwill analyse both reports.

Lord Chancellor inquiry

The House of Lords Constitution Committee has launched an inquiry into the office of Lord Chancellor. Lord Lang of Monkton, Committee Chairman, said: “The office... is one of the oldest in the British constitution, but relatively recent changes have changed the role considerably. It is now approaching 10 years since the passing of the Constitutional Reform Act, which ended the Lord Chancellor’s role as head of the judiciary and presiding officer of the House of Lords. This followed a hasty reshuffle in which it had been suggested that the office of Lord Chancellor would be abolished. We will look at the role as it is now.” Interested parties are invited to submit written evidence by 29 August.

VAWG conviction rate soars

The highest ever recorded conviction rate for domestic violence prosecutions was announced by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders CB, at the Women’s Aid national conference in Birmingham on 2 July. The seventh annual CPS Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Crime Report showed that 74.6% of those prosecuted for domestic violence were convicted in 2013-14. Prosecutions for VAWG offences overall, including sexual abuse, child abuse, forced marriage and honour crimes, also showed the highest conviction rate at 74.4%, and an 11% increase in the volume of defendants charged since 2012-13.

‘Winter of the World’ events

On 28 July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. It was the opening declaration of World War I and over the coming week, nation after nation followed with declarations of their own. A series of events at Temple Church will commemorate the War’s outbreak. From 28 July until the end of the year an Exhibition in the Chancel of the Temple Church will tell the story of the War through the life, service, campaigns – and in many cases the death – of members of Inner and Middle Temple (see also p 12). Admission is free to members of the Inns of Court, to all others who work in the Temple, and to their guests. For members of the general public there is a charge. Choral Evensong will be held on 28 July  at 5.45pm: music sung by the Temple Singers will include ‘Set me as a Seal’ by William Walton and ‘Lord, thou has been our Refuge’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Last Post and Reveille will be sounded and the Two Minutes’ Silence will be observed. For up-to-date details, please check www.templechurch.com.

Mini-pupillage guidance

The Bar Council’s Professional Practice Committee (PPC) has published guidance on the legal and ethical issues surrounding mini-pupillages which covers confidentiality/privilege, data protection, client wishes/understanding and the conduct of mini-pupils. It identifies barristers’ legal and ethical obligations, explains what they may mean in practice, and suggests practical approaches and solutions. All barristers and chambers are encouraged to review their practices and contractual arrangements with the assistance of this document, and to make any necessary changes. For more details, see www.barcouncil.org.uk and this month’s Professional Update on p 41.

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