The London Advocate

Advocate Issue 55

PUBLISHED January 11, 2010

As we approach the New Year, our thoughts must turn ? with some trepidation ? to what might happen and how we can play our part in the process. The Advocate's editor recently attended a meeting of the London Criminal Justice Board and raised a number of concerns on behalf of defence practitioners. For instance, he mentioned that we are not consulted ? as other agencies are ? about summary trial movements to other courts. I indicated that I had understood we were equal partners. The reaction was ? and this is a fair point ? that it is very difficult to consult defence practitioners for various reasons, one of which appears to be non-attendance at the relevant meetings. I appreciate that, at these meetings, we are likely to be the only people around the table who are not being paid for their time; but it is very important that defence practitioners get involved with court user groups ? both at the Crown Court and at the magistrates? court ? so that our views can be heard. Even if they fall on deaf ears, our views and ideas can be minuted and we should, at least, provide a presence. So, please, at these very difficult times, give some thought to joining your local court user group to assist, not only yourself, but also your fellow defence practitioners ? and the association. Even if the forthcoming election brings a change of government, things may not not improve immediately ? if at all ? and our voice will become even more important. The association and its committee continues to work for all members and, if you do have views, please let any committee member know. If you don?t, we cannot try to help. We know that, given the news announced on page 3, my wishes may have a somewhat hollow ring but, "Happy New Year!?