UK Tour Report #8 – John Cooper QC on the problems facing the Bar in 2012 and beyond
The Bar, as with the other branches of the legal profession, is having to adapt to the fast changing legal landscape. As part of this preliminary series of podcasts, in which I try to set the scene for the tour as a whole, I talk with John Cooper QC, a well known crime and human rights advocate, about the challenges facing the Bar.
We discuss a number of key issues:
(a) The problems being caused by the cuts to legal aid funding.
(b) The undermining of the rule of law when defendants cannot afford legal representation.
(c) The practical difficulties faced by barristers in practice at the crime, family and common law bar.
(d) The debate between the Solicitors Regulation Authority and The Bar Standards Board on which regulator should regulate trial advocates.
(e) The role of the CPS and prosecutors – who will be fully funded by taxpayers.
(f) The complex and controversial issue of ‘referral fees’.
(g) The role of the Bar Council and whether it is doing enough to represent barristers as a whole.
Note: Because John is in the middle of a trial outside London we had to record the podcast over Skype. The sound quality, accordingly, is not as good as for the face to face recordings. A couple of times, because of time lag or lack of Skype clarity, John had to ask me to repeat the question. the hesitation in response on occasion was due to the time lag and not to any hesitancy on John’s part.
John Cooper QC: 25 Bedford Row, London
Leading in serious crime including murder, serious violence, drug trafficking, terrorism, fraud, human rights and media. Regulatory work including fraud and sports regulation. Inquest work including Judicial Review. John Cooper QC has been named by The Times as one of the Top 100 Influential Lawyers of 2012 in the UK. He is also visiting Professor of Law at Cardiff University and a Master of the Bench at Middle Temple.
John Cooper was lead counsel in the successful Twitter Joke Trial appeal
Podcasts in the series coming up in the next two weeks:
1. Jeremy Hopkins, Director of Operations at Riverview Law on his view of the changing landscape from what he sees and hears on the ground.
2. Professor Fiona de Londras, BCL, LL.M, PhD (NUI) – Guantanamo and international human rights.
3. Sheila Bramley, Director College of Law Guildford on the changes in legal education.
4. Sean Jones QC, 11 KBW, on current key issues in employment law.
5. Nicky Richmond, managing partner at Brecher, on the role of a managing partner in a modern law firm
and her perception of the future legal landscape.
6. Tom Harris MP on the role of the law makers in Parliament and how laws are made and implemented.
I will publish the podcasts due to be recorded in December shortly.