RESPONSE OF A SUB-COMMITTEE OF THE JUDGES’ COUNCIL
TO THE GOVERNMENT’S CONSULTATION PAPER CP12/10,
PROPOSALS FOR THE REFORM OF LEGAL AID IN ENGLAND AND WALES
What we have said about the value of leading counsel leads on to a further and deeper concern. There is a reluctance among junior advocates practising in criminal law to apply for silk. The reason given by them is that they see no future for Queen’s Counsel in publicly funded criminal work. This is a serious problem. There needs to be sufficient incentive for Queen’s Counsel to undertake such work, since otherwise there will be insufficient incentive for junior barristers and solicitor advocates with higher court rights in the field of criminal law to apply for appointment as Queen’s Counsel. If the ranks of
Queen’s Counsel experienced in criminal law diminish and ultimately disappear, it will have serious implications at both ends of the profession. Those with ambition and talent who are seeking to enter the profession are likely to avoid criminal work and to look to specialise in other areas. Over time, this will have adverse effects on the availability of skilled representation for prosecutors, defendants and on the efficiency of the trial process. Just as worryingly, it will reduce the pool of candidates suitable for appointment to the bench as criminal judges.
A most interesting document….. I don’t really need to comment on this. Some lawyers will read it…. but will anyone else? Will Government bother to read it? Yes… but will they take any notice of it? Only time will tell….and there was a time when I would have been able to say… that government probably would take notice rather than leave the answer to the ‘effluxion of time’ to find out the answer.
There is a lot more in this paper than the extract on Criminal Law above…. far more…and all of it of value to the legal landscape of our future ….
Document Dated 11 February 2011.