Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.





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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

TAKING THE QUEEN`S SHILLING



With the recent government furore over barristers` withdrawal of labour and attempted discrediting of the criminal Bar for its allegedly high incomes still fresh in its memory the Ministry of Justice yesterday trumpeted the appointment of two Queen`sCounsel to the new Public Defender System.  The setting up of this service last year was not accompanied by the usual barrage of press releases and media interviews.  It was indeed a “stealth” operation.  The newly appointed QCs will apparently be on a salary of £125,000 p.a. which seems about the equivalent of a fee income for a QC in chambers of £200,000 - £250,000 and not a lot different from the salary of a District Judge. Previously this lowly and unpaid member of the judiciary  had the impression that when QCs decided to apply for salaried and pensionable appointments it was as judges.  Be that as it may one of the newly appointed Public Defenders,  Gregory Bull QC was  not reticent in his criticism last year of the changes (now being applied) to the Legal Aid system in this country.  Indeed he was scathing in his remarks to Wales on Line which reported in June, “He said many people will be faced with financial ruin in a bid to defend themselves in court and the Criminal Bar as we know it would be “decimated”.  The complete article is available here.



No doubt he will live to regret his candour and be unlikely to repeat such remarks now he is in receipt of the Queen`s shilling.

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