I write this column with a somewhat heavy heart: this will be my last editorial. I started my term as editor of the Advocate in December 2006 and have really enjoyed the job. But, as will be clear in this edition, it is time to move on to pastures new ? and, I suspect, a prospect even more daunting.

I have to say that I have played only a minor part in producing this publication: the vast majority of the work ? including many of the ideas, thoughts and preparation ? is down to the sub-editor, Gwyn Morgan. My sincere thanks to her for all the hard work she has done. I also pass on my thanks to those ? all with busy lives ? who have taken the time to contribute to the magazine over the years. Congratulations and good luck to our new editor, Nicola Hill. I am sure she will do a sterling job and I look forward to reading her first edition in due course. I hope that you continue to enjoy reading the Advocate and find that it is useful to you. The spending review, announced on 20 October, includes, of course, the inevitable reduction and reform of the legal aid system.

The government is going to consult on these reforms. Perhaps, this time, they will listen to those with experience at the coalface. We are also told that they want to deliver wider reforms such as the more efficient use of courts. Can they please ask us about this? We may just be able to help!

My thanks for all your kind comments about my editorship. I make no apology for being a little acerbic when writing some of my past editorials; I hope it got the point across.

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