Stephen Cragg, in the Maldives to observe on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee the prosecution of ex-President Mohammed Nasheed, reveals a very different side to the ‘paradise’ islands.
The Maldives is a destination probably best known to some barristers as a place to soak up some winter sun and relieve the stress of professional life, on one of the luxurious island resorts which are strung out both north and south of the capital city of Male, home to about two thirds of the 300,000 population of the Maldives.
Criminal barristers could resort to “stopping the courts” in protest at low fees and delays in payment, Criminal Bar Association (CBA) chair Max Hill QC has warned. A CBA survey of its members found 89 per cent of those who responded favoured “lawful” protest action, such as not attending court, while a similar number would consider refusing to take on new cases. About half of the CBA’s membership responded to the survey.
Significant progress has been made towards finalising the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) in relation to criminal advocacy and the Bar Standards Board has confirmed that the full Scheme will go live with a phased implementation based on Circuits in early January 2013.
2 Bedford Row consists of 18 silks and 55 juniors practicing domestically and internationally in their specialist areas of Crime, Fraud, HSE, Professional Discipline, Regulatory and Sports Law and has a high profile client base both here and abroad .
Tell me about your day today and the week ahead?
I’m prosecuting a trial in Croydon where there are allegations of serious sexual misconduct involving a teacher on one of his former pupils. I’m starting another trial next week in central London dealing with the paedophile unit and I’m also lodging documents with the Court of Appeal in respect of an appeal against conviction and making a trip north where I’m representing a defendant charged with relatively serious fraud allegations.
The plight of the criminal Bar; the independence of the Bar threatened by fee cuts, referral fees and price competitive tendering; and such developments under scrutiny from the rest of the common law world
Michael Todd QC, Chairman of the Bar
It’s a funny old world. For years the criminal Bar have thought of themselves as the “real barristers”; and, in a sense, justifiably so. Traditionally the Bar was the profession of Advocates. And the criminal Bar have always prided themselves as being the true advocates at the Bar. Whilst other practitioners at the Bar undertake advocacy services to a greater or lesser extent, it is the criminal Bar who are on their “hind legs” in Court, day in and day out, prosecuting, defending, protecting the vulnerable, exercising their advocacy skills more in the public interest than for the money it brings in.
Lucy Perman explains the work of theatre company Clean Break.
Clean Break uses theatre to change the lives of women offenders. We were founded 33 years ago by two women in prison at HMP Askham Grange in Yorkshire and today we have grown to become a critically acclaimed theatre company, commissioning and producing plays by some of the UK’s best female playwrights on the theme of women, crime and justice; and providing high-quality theatre-based courses, qualifications, training opportunities and specialist support which are critical for the rehabilitation of women offenders.
The long-standing ban on televising, or photographing, court proceedings, is due to be overturned. Clause 22 of the Crime and Courts Bill allows the Lord Chancellor by order, made with the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, to provide that the relevant “banning” sections in the Criminal Justice Act 1925 and the Contempt of Court Act 1981 do not apply.