As I wish you all a happy New Year, it is with some trepidation that I embark on this, my first editorial as the new editor of the London Advocate.

Why trepidation? I share the view, expressed by many members, that Malcolm Duxbury did a superb job when he was in charge of the newsletter and I now wish him extremely well in his new position as the Association?s president and take on his old role, hoping that I shall be able to maintain his very high standards. I hope you agree with me that this issue includes some items which will meet with interest. At a crucial moment in the development of government policy on sentencing, we carry an interview with Frances Crook, director of the Howard League, from which it is clear that Ken Clarke has been listening to the League?s arguments about short sentences and prison work. So, can we be optimistic that, with the publication of the green paper on legal aid, this enlightened minister will also have the wisdom to heed the common sense in what practitioners have to say about legal aid funding? It is disheartening that proposals for best value tendering are again on the agenda, but let us hope that we shall be listened to. Members can be assured that the LCCSA committee will continue to argue our case. Whatever policies are developed during the course of my tenure as editor, this journal will continue to play its part as a forum for discussion, a venue for ideas and a place where our readers can find the occasional wry reflection and amusing comment.

As Tim Lawrence pointed out in his speech at the association?s AGM, legal reforms and funding strategies come and go; but the LCCSA is now over 60 years old. It may last a little longer yet.

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