NEW CBA CHAIR
01 Sep, 2011
Incoming Chair of Criminal Bar Association says the Criminal Bar is Vital to Ensuring Justice
Max Hill QC, who today begins a year-long term as Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, which represents criminal barristers in England and Wales, has sent a stark warning to the Government about the long-term effects of legal aid cuts. In a rallying call to criminal barristers, he has warned that if legal aid cuts cripple the criminal Bar, it will be almost impossible to restore.
Max Hill QC, (pictured) whose practice includes prosecuting high-profile terrorism trials from 18 Red Lion Court, said:
“Criminal barristers play a vital role, both prosecuting and representing people charged with criminal offences, in the public interest. We operate on the front-line to ensure that our justice system works efficiently, effectively and most importantly, fairly for all involved. It is a profession filled with committed, hardworking individuals, comprising dedicated public servants as well as entrepreneurial privately funded practitioners, who work for clients all over the world.
“Legal aid cuts and the new Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) represent the immediate landscape for my year as Chairman.
“Tough times are undoubtedly ahead for the criminal Bar. But rather than allowing these issues to divide and depress us all, my mission must be to raise our chins from the floor. I have one key message for anyone who will listen: you can destroy the publicly funded Bar if you want, but you will want it back when it is too late to recover what you have lost.
“Frankly, it is puerile to dismiss our arguments as little more than financial self-interest, when the criminal Bar has for decades proven that it is efficient and exceptionally hard-working. We have nothing to fear from quality assessment; day-in, day-out criminal barristers across England and Wales provide consistently excellent advocacy. We are a profession with much to be proud of and everything to fight for. I will not shy away from the challenges which lie ahead.”