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First, we don’t know all he said.
Second, caution and second thoughts are not sins.
The problem stems from a societal - repeated, maybe cynically, by our legislators and civil service - ignorance of the purpose of an independent legal profession. This began with the deprofessionalising (my word) of our profession. When I started there wasn’t much legal aid - I remember dock briefs - and litigation was subsidised by the conveyancing “monopoly “. It also - esp criminal work - was the only way that a firm or solicitor’s name could appear in the papers. No advertising.
We all know where we are now.
The bar has not followed that route. So he’s right to worry that it might, or be forced to. The Kia Foster’s understandable post about prioritising litigants (but without a plan to protect them as competent lawyers will) points to a route that I think would be disastrous - I would of course. Kia Foster will differ.
As for the judges, their problems arise from their accepting in good faith the blandishments of successive governments to join in the managerial process of running the court process. They were to have input. The reality, as it seemed to me, was to load them - as the public face of justice - with responsibility for decisions that they had not made or in the spirit of seeking genuine accommodation to accept positions they’d rather not take. It has been incremental.
The reduction of the office of Lord Chancellor and its replacement with a series of inexperienced middle ranking ministers in a hurry has been a disaster both for the professions and the judiciary. But not for the powers that be who are made stronger by it.
For what it’s worth, I’m with the protesters. But I’m not blind to the possibility of a worse outcome in the end. The government may back down - but it will have the last word.
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