Public Funding

SecretE-Diary - September 2012

A nightmare in the woods; and time to give the publicly funded legal profession a sporting chance

August 13, 2012: “The only athletic sport I ever mastered was backgammon”
Douglas William Jerrold.

Filled with the joy of the Olympics, the hopeful young athletes from all over the world competing for honour and pride, I felt young again. Anthony Joshua, who won Great Britain’s final medal, a gold one, in boxing said he drew inspiration from King Leonidas, of “300 Spartans” fame. Whilst Leonidas lost his life and his entire force, his bravery became a rallying point for Greek success. I may be doing the commentator who was interviewing young Mr Joshua a disservice, but it sounded as though he just thought the boxer was rambling after a heavy match. Those of us who were forced to undergo a classical education knew otherwise.
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A Future? Law centres – a case study

Having spent the year after university working in a law centre in Birmingham, Emily Johnson examines the possible effects of the proposed legal aid reforms on the Law Centre Movement.

On 13 May 2010 Liam Byrne MP, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, somewhat ominously forewarned his successor that “there is no money”. The latest figures indicate that the UK has amassed a national debt totalling £770 billion, upon which it is paying interest at the annual rate of around £43 billion.

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Legal Aid - where are we?

The continuing uncertainty over legal aid reform; BSB entity regulation; concerns over CPS panels; key note speech for June 20; and the opening of an  ADR centre in Kolkata.

I begin by offering hearty congratulations to Michael Todd QC and Stephen Collier on their election as Chairman-Elect and Treasurer-Elect; we are fortunate to have the service and commitment of such high quality practitioners.

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SecretE-Diary

William Byfield, Gutteridge Chambers

This is what we’ve come to ... no longer just having our fees cut to the bone, hitting the good and the bad alike, but being second-guessed by incompetents.

14 February 2011:

“I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.”
– Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (Act II, Sc II), William Shakespeare

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Supreme Court funding is not “satisfactory”

JUSTICE SYSTEM

Lord Phillips has called for greater security of funding for the Supreme Court.
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Secret E-Diary

William Byfield, Gutteridge Chambers
To hell with slashed fees, the BSB, higher taxes, HM Government, and my client in the Claude Allerick trial! In the frozen countryside, there lurks worse.

15 January 2011:
“… look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser.”

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,
Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle

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Legal Aid revealing the grim reality

Roger Smith OBE spells out what the consultation means for practitioners

The legal aid cuts advanced by the consultation paper Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales are so deep that they will force major change to the very structure of both branches of the legal profession.

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Publicly funded Bar must diversify

New Bar Chairman’s inaugural speech

Peter Lodder QC, the new Chairman of the Bar Council, has called on publicly funded barristers to diversify their practices.

The Chairman reassured barristers who do legal aid work that they have a “realistic future”, but urged them to follow the lead of the privately funded Bar and to be “creative and entrepreneurial” in their pursuit of opportunities.

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The waiting game

Reaction to the recent Government consultations

This is my first column as your Chairman, written at the beginning of December but because of printing timetables it will not be published until January. This is an odd time. I have delivered my inaugural address setting out my hopes and aspirations for 2011, and I have been interviewed by The Times and other media.

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Bar Council calls for access to justice in an age of austerity

SPEAKING at two fringe meetings at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the Chairman-Elect of the Bar Council, Peter Lodder QC, stressed the importance of the legal profession working with Government to maintain access to justice, despite forthcoming budget cuts.

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