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On the front line

I always seem to be talking about the importance of the profession standing together and uniting, when and where necessary, to protect access to justice and the rule of law.

20 July 2015

On this topic, this week has been one of mixed emotions, professionally speaking.

As the Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove, addressed the Justice Select Committee, confirming that there would be a review of the Legal Services Act within the next five years and raising questions about the future make-up of legal regulation, the criminal Bar announced its intention to support protesting solicitors in not accepting new cases under the revised legal aid regime and operate a policy of 'no returns'. Although there was a turnout of less than 50 per cent by the balloted members of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA), of those who did vote, 55 per cent did so in favour of the action.

The no returns policy means barristers will no longer cover for colleagues in court at short notice where the matter cannot be dealt with by the allotted barrister, usually due to diary clashes. This is a courtesy frequently ...

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