The Law Society Gazette, 16 February 2006

Carter sets terms for legal aid revolution

Lord Carter’s government-commissioned review of criminal legal aid ‘will drive small practices out of business’ if they fail to merge, solicitors have warned. Under Lord Carter’s plans, firms will be bidding against each other for criminal defence work by 2009. Firms will be encouraged to consolidate.

14 February 1996

The cover up

Newspaper readers in late 1992 could have been forgiven for thinking that a new creature had been born – ‘the gagging order’. Occasionally, during the media frenzy which followed the acquittals in the so-called Matrix Churchill trial, some of the more responsible journalists made passing reference to this creature’s proper name, the public interest immunity (PII) certificate.

19 February 1986

How to address the bench

In the Gazette of 22 January I raised the delicate problem of how an advocate should address the bench: should he direct his remarks to the chair, referring to the chairman as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’, as the case may be, or should he collectively refer to them as ‘your worships’? It seems that magistrates themselves prefer advocates to address them as ‘your worships’.

18 February 1976

A Royal Commission on the Legal Profession

The announcement by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on the 12 February of the setting up of a Royal Commission on the Legal Profession is the most important event for the profession this century. The news did not come out of a blue sky. For weeks, if not months, the work of the profession has been criticised in parliament, in the press and even on television. A television programme on the BBC has set itself up as an unofficial court to investigate alleged errors or omissions.

(The Benson Commission was to report in October 1979.)