President's Report

President’s Bulletin 21st April 2021

PUBLISHED April 21, 2021

CLAR Call for evidence
The Independent Review has issued a call for evidence from the profession and invites replies by the 7th May  We are preparing out response to this wide-ranging consultation and urge members to take a look and respond as they feel able. It is so broad there would be something everyone could comment on.    Ultimately the answers come down to one consistent theme; criminal legal aid needs urgent investment, more than 2 decades of neglect cannot be addressed by mere structural changes.  We will share our response with members in advance of the deadline should it assist you on any particular area.

The LAPG census
In my last email I urged members to complete the LAPG census to assist in building an evidence base for a fairer settlement the CLAR.  I hope many of you have now done so.  Now I ask you to reach out to your colleagues, past and present to invite them to respond.  This census is as much for those who have given up criminal legal aid as it is for those still present.  Please also ask those in practice support roles to complete the survey, which caters for them also.

Common Platform finally arrives
From 11th May Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court and Kingston Crown Court will join the Common Platform.  Members should by now have registered for an account and can read the latest user guidance here. Please make us aware of any issues that arise so we may feedback to HMCTS and the project’s managers.

Court safety
As we come out of lockdown I am asked to remind all advocates that the rules for mask wearing and keeping 2 metres apart will continue to apply.  In court, advocates are asked to remove their masks only when addressing the bench.  Wall mounted hand sanitisers will be another step taken in the coming weeks to add to measures to mitigate risks.

Kind regards,

Mark Troman