16 Sep, 2011

Bar Council to Address International Opportunities and Legal Aid and Lib Dem Conference



The Chairman of the Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, will welcome and highlight the growing opportunities for international legal work, but also warn of the threats posed by legal aid cuts during the forthcoming Liberal Democrat Party Conference.


Peter Lodder QC (pictured) will speak at two fringe events. The first, hosted by the Liberal Democrat Lawyers’ Association, will take place on the evening of Sunday 18 September and will focus on encouraging Liberal Democrat party members to hold the party to account on the Coalition’s legal aid policy.


On the evening of Monday 19 September, Lodder will join the Rt. Hon. Vince Cable MP on the panel of a discussion entitled ‘Jobs and Growth – is overseas trade the answer?’ jointly hosted by the City of London and the Financial Times.


On legal aid, Chairman of the Bar, Peter Lodder QC, will say:


“The Government’s proposed cuts to legal aid will have a devastating effect on the most vulnerable in society. The Prime Minister has stated his intention to apply a “family test” to all domestic policy. Let us make this clear to him: removing vast swathes of family law from the scope of legal aid will harm families, it will harm children, and it will harm victims of domestic abuse.


“Only 3% of respondents to the legal aid consultation supported the Government’s proposals to remove large numbers of cases from scope. The Bar Council suggested alternative ways to save £350m, including unfreezing defendants’ restrained assets to meet the costs of their legal services in criminal cases and introducing compulsory legal insurance for all corporate officers. The Coalition Government has ignored or dismissed these suggestions with little or no consideration of their potential. Instead they have chosen to slash and burn legal aid. We urge them to think again.”


On trade and industry, Peter Lodder QC will say:


“Our involvement with the fringe event hosted by the FT and City of London is particularly timely. The Bar has much to offer as an integral part of the UK’s efforts to boost overseas trade in services. The MoJ and UKTI released an International Action Plan in May, outlining plans to promote the UK’s legal services sector to markets around the world. The City of London’s position as a leading global financial centre is underpinned by the excellence of its facilities for determining international disputes. The launch later this year of a new, world-class business court, the Rolls Building, will enhance London’s strengths and capabilities as a leading global centre of legal services.”


The Bar Council’s involvement at Liberal Democrat Party Conference is part of a broader effort to update parliamentarians across the political spectrum on the Bar’s interests and activities. Bar Council delegations will also attend the Labour and Conservative party conferences.



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