After nigh on a week of Kipper-in-Chief, Nigel Führage, (HT to @seanjones11kbw for the ‘modification of Führer) being overexposed by the BBC - I was amused by an excellent line in Ed Miliband’s response to the Government’s Queen’s Speech.
“They used to call [UKIP] clowns – now they want to join the circus!” EdM to Tories on UKIP in
The anti-Stobart Barristers rhetoric is building – hardly surprising given their rather aggressive comments about the legal profession. I quote from a piece in The Guardian:
The row within the legal profession over the plans is intensifying. The head of Stobart Barristers has described traditional law firms who rely on legal aid as “‘wounded animals waiting to die” and accused rival lawyers of sending his firm messages urging it to “Truck Off”.
And the article continues…
Trevor Howarth, its legal director, said the firm would be bidding for the new criminal defence contracts. “We can deliver the service at a cost that’s palatable for the taxpayer,” he said. “Our business model was developed with this in mind.
“We at Stobart are well known for taking out the waste and the waste here is the duplication of solicitors going to the courtroom. At the moment there are 1,600 legal aid firms; in future there will be 400. At Stobart, we wouldn’t use 10 trucks to deliver one product.”
Howarth said he had received emails from solicitors with the heading “Truck Off”. He added: “I have already taken calls from barristers [on our panels] who say they have been contacted by solicitors telling them they won’t use them again if they take instructions from us.”
On removing a defendant’s right to choose their solicitor, Howarth said: “I don’t think the lack of choice is damaging. [People are not] entitled to access justice with an open cheque. No one is stopping them paying for their own choice of solicitor.”
Some have expressed doubt about Stobart’s ability to deliver a service, others doubt about financing it and The Guardian pitched in recently with a story…
“High court judge rules Andrew Tinkler and legal director Trevor Howarth may have lied to secure gagging order on whistleblower”
Not an ideal start for a company wishing to provide legal services – if true? We shall see in time. I have noted tweets from Law firms suggesting that many law firms will boycott the process by not tendering.
I talked recently with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, about the legal aid reforms. If you haven’t already listened to it you may find it interesting. Tour Report #21: Podcast with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, on the legal aid reforms.
The Criminal Bar Association is on the case daily on twitter – rightly:
This is the official
@MoJGovUK spin that they are spoonfeeding to your MP http://www.parliament.uk/Templates/BriefingPapers/Pages/BPPdfDownload.aspx?bp-id=SN06628 …
And The Bar Council – possibly unhelpfully – decided to set up a petition of its own – while most people (over 32,830) have signed a petition set up some weeks ago
And legal academics have joined in the debate: Crimeline: Academics Strike out Against PCT
And in other news…
Letters of complaint can be works of art. Here is one I saw linked to on Twitter (forgotten who put the link up – mea culpa) which is certainly direct…
Legal Cheek – a most amusing read daily – identifies dirty deeds at The Bar?
I am still thinking about my response to BPP Law School’s ‘initiative’ in offering a free course to unemployed LPC examinees (but not to BPTC examinees – which is interesting) – but Legal Cheek has come out with a fairly blunt piece…
AND FINALLY… on a personal note…The sharp eyed regular reader may have noted the removal of a glass of Rioja from my header – a feature of my blog header since the early days. I was rather ill earlier in the year and self medicating with glasses of Rioja was less than helpful. I have packed the booze in completely – and, pleasingly, don’t miss it at all – a cuppa does the biz.
I am nearly back to full speed with recovery from the illness and have resumed my UK Tour – a gap of two to three months caused by the indisposition. I am also back to blogging and podcasting – and my blog will be updated almost daily ‘going forward’ (what a dreadful phrase)
I leave you with this… recorded some time ago – when, perhaps, I may have enjoyed the juice that evening rather too much!
I often listen to The Shipping Forecast on Radio 4 before heading for sleep. Here is my Drinking Forecast podcast, complete with ‘Drinking By’
listen (3-4 mins)
Adios for now…
best, as always
PS The tache has gone – but I still have the panama and the odd ceeegar.