Today the Girls and Boys of the Northern Circuit take their wigs off and attend a meeting to discuss the reforms to the Criminal Justice System promulgated by this atrocious government under that catchy title “Costs & Efficiency”.
But these reforms are nothing to do with costs and the effect will be anything but efficient. This is a wholesale attack on a system which ensures that, regardless of who you are, what colour your skin, who/what you kneel down and pray to you will be represented if accused of and prosecuted for a crime.
These reforms will deprive you of the rights you currently have to instruct a solicitor and Counsel of your choice (unless you have very deep pockets). “Average” representation will become acceptable and the Excellence we currently enjoy will disappear.
Contrary to popular belief, the Criminal Bar is not a means to lining one’s pockets at the expense of the public purse. It is not well paid by any stretch of the imagination. Fees are paltry and the hours are long – would you work an 18 – 20 hour day?
This meeting is being heralded as a strike by the Bar. It isn’t of course.
However, the fact that so many are willing to give up a days work, risk the opprobrium of the CPS, other government departments as well as Judges and their lay clients shows how deeply the Bar opposes these changes. It also demonstrates what will happen to those accused of an prosecuted for crimes if this noble souls are forced out of their chosen area of work because they cannot afford to carry on.