I don’t doubt that judges have a tough job. Running their courts in an efficient way is increasingly difficult what with endless cuts to just about everything to do with the criminal justice system. Cuts in legal aid to defence lawyers, pay and general funding to the CPS, cuts to the probation service, even the canteens. None of this makes the judges’ job any easier.
But last Friday HHJ Clayson sitting at Bolton Crown Court issued a Practice Note
which it seemed to me called for a response.
Barristers and solicitors also have a difficult and important and increasingly frustrating job to do. Without us the CJS wouldn’t function at all. I don’t expect every judge to issue proclamations of support for the action the Bar and solicitors are currently taking. Just as some barristers don’t support the action I am sure there are some judges who don’t approve either.
But before they think to follow the lead given by Judge Clayson they might care to consider for a moment that things must have come to a pretty pass when the Bar are reduced to taking direct action simply in order to try to get the MoJ to engage in a meaningful way over the very future of our profession. And if you do feel obliged to issue a Practice Note please don’t insult us by suggesting we have some sort of duty to undermine on our own action.