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Unity is strength
Thursday 31 May 2012 by Max Hill QC
Des Hudson and Avtar Bhatoa’s remarks (Hudson: bar strike would ‘damage profession’) will, regrettably, be music to Whitehall’s ears.
The criminal bar does not want to strike. Over a number of years, we have lobbied and campaigned in the public interest against reforms and cuts that we believe are undermining and diluting the quality of our criminal justice system.
There must come a point when, as a profession, we say ‘enough is enough’. We still hope that will be avoided. Nowhere in my speech at our annual dinner did I criticise the solicitors’ profession. But as with the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders bill, the Law Society has once again taken the misguided stance that attacking barristers’ fees will somehow improve their position. It won’t. It is playing into the government’s hands if we are unable to stand together and agree as an entire profession that the criminal justice system is under severe threat.
The Criminal Bar Association is not hostile to solicitors; we recognise the important role they play in the justice system. Attacking each other and allowing ourselves to appear so openly divided will only make it more difficult for us to achieve the high-quality and sustainable criminal justice system which the public deserves. No one will benefit from this.
Max Hill QC, Chairman, Criminal Bar Association
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