The South Eastern Circuit
Leader's Update

This week I addressed a jury all of whom were actually sitting in the jury box without a piece of Perspex in sight; it really does feel like we are moving forwards post-pandemic, I hope we are. The news from HMCTS that the cap on sitting days has been lifted for another year is welcome and will make some impact on the backlog but there is much still to do. Cases cannot be heard without counsel and I know that you are still all stretched thin and extremely weary. Those of you who sit as Recorders are constantly reminded of the vacancies; I know many of you do but do please sit as often as you can. I am constantly told that the main problem HMCTS now have is  judicial capacity. 
Courts and judges are aware of this pressure and, for the most part, sympathetic.  They are doing their best to make the situation provided by the “no returns” policy manageable. As always you know where I am if you want to speak with me. 
The CBA is currently taking soundings on whether to escalate the action – if you would like to let me know how you feel about this, I would be happy to hear from you. Even better, speak to your Heads of Chambers and let them know how you feel. There is to be a meeting between the CBA and Heads of Chambers which do criminal law on 9th June. 
While on the topic of courts, I would like to draw your attention to
this form. This is part of a new complaints and feedback service which is being piloted in a number of Courts and Tribunals. If the court about which you wish to comment is not listed, there is a link which allows you to make a specific comment. 
The East Anglia Bar Mess would like volunteers to help at the Open Day at Norwich Crown Court on 17th September. The new Resident Judge there, HHJ Robinson, is looking for people to take part in mock bail applications, sentences etc. Please 
contact the Chair of the EABM, Riel Karmy-Jones QC if you are interested. 
Finally, the Chief Crown Prosecutor of London (South) has asked me to draw your attention to arrangements surrounding the imminent cases of Insulate Britain protestors at Inner London Crown Court. In particular:

In addition to the defendants, we’re also expecting a number of their supporters to attend site. In order to mitigate potential security breaches, there will be a police presence and OCS are supplying a number of additional security guards. On the days that we have IB hearings, there will be enhanced security checks which will involve persons entering the building being required to remove their shoes and submit to a pat down search. OCS will have female members of staff to conduct these searches on females. Can you please ensure your team are made aware of this. It may be on these days, your team would look to entering the building early and bringing in their lunch etc so as to minimise entry to and from the building. Also, they may wish to consider whether or not they choose to park their vehicles in the main car park.
Training and Education
Moving now to training and education, please do book a place in person or to attend remotely at the CBA’s Spring Conference 2022. Taking place on Saturday 28th May at IET London, and with Dame Anne Rafferty as the keynote speaker, it is a great opportunity to catch up on developments in criminal law, including:
- Crown Court practice,
- Mags Courts practice, 
- confiscation,
- substantive criminal law,
- fraud law,
- sentencing, and 
- evidence.
More details can be found 
In addition, the SEC’s flagship Advanced International Advocacy Course returns to Keble in August this year and there are a few scholarship places for juniors left. Do consider attending this excellent and enjoyable educational event – more details can be found 
And we look forward to bringing you news of several new initiatives soon. The Circuit is setting up an advice scheme for those from under-represented backgrounds who wish to apply for Silk, and we are also starting a judicial reverse mentoring programme which should be hugely beneficial to mentors and mentees alike. Finally, we are also looking into establishing a bursary fund for those experiencing financial hardship. Details on all three projects to follow, but please get in touch with me if you would like to be involved in any of them.
Social Events
And, in news of social events, the Isleworth Summer Garden Party, hosted by the Judges, returns at last on Tuesday 5th July. All are welcome and it is free for members of the Bar and solicitors. For more information, 
please contact Neil Griffin. And the Essex Bar Mess are holding a dinner in November 2022. 
There will be a Circuit dinner on Friday 14th October – more details to follow. Please put the date in your diary and make a special effort to come if you can. 
Becoming a Judge
The Judicial Appointments Commission will open a Circuit Judge competition on 21st July 2022. If you are interested in applying please see the
announcement here.
You might also find it useful to
attend this webinar.
I’m very aware of the fact that this update is ‘crime heavy’. As you know I am always happy to hear from practitioners in other areas of law and ‘in house’ members of the SEC. Please do get in touch if you feel there is anything I should know about and if you think there is anything either I or the SEC should or could be doing. 
I hope the next few weeks will bring some much-needed sunshine to us. I also hope that we are able to resolve, in at least some way, some of the issues that have been affecting the bar for so long. You know where I am if you need me! 


Christine Agnew QC
Leader of the South Eastern Circuit


The South Eastern Circuit RASSO Training:
The recording and handout bundle are now available here

ICCA Pupilage Ethics Material:
The ICCA’s Pupillage Ethics materials have been designed to assist pupils in their preparation for the Bar Standards Board’s centrally-set Pupillage Ethics Exam.  
Please access the material here.

Advocacy & the Vulnerable Resources:
For those who are yet to study the Criminal A&V materials, there is a new activity at Stage 3 which is accessible via the 
Bar Council Portal. There is now just one interactive activity taking delegates through a 'best practice' cross-examination of the youngest complainant in the R v George Graham case study. For anyone who has already completed the course, the new activity is recommended revision!

Please support access to justice through Advocate, the Bar’s pro bono charity
The last page of the practising certificate renewal form contains the important opportunity to donate to Advocate. Pro bono can and should never be a substitute for legal aid, but through Advocate, the profession provides a lifeline for many vulnerable applicants who desperately need help and cannot access legal services. 

Your support cannot be overstated. Donations on renewal made up 41% of our income last year, with 43% of all barristers contributing. We received 17 requests for help every day in 2021 just for our core casework service. Our cases included assisting an asylum seeker suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, restoring registration for carers incorrectly accused of assault, and helping a seriously injured business owner to recover his IP rights and rebuild his business post lockdown.

Further information is available here.

Bar Council Guidance: Returning instructions in Criminal Cases:
New Bar Council guidance on Returning Instructions in Criminal Cases: R v Daniels [2021] EWCA Crim 44
The Ethics Committee of the Bar Council has produced new guidance document to assist counsel in criminal cases to determine in what circumstances they must or may return instructions to appear at trial on grounds of professional embarrassment and related grounds. Questions relating to returning instructions in criminal cases are fairly common and often need rapid resolution, depending on the stage the case has reached. The Ethics Committee hopes this new guidance will support the criminal Bar in understanding the relevant ethical considerations and some new caselaw in order that they can determine the right course of action, exercising their professional judgement. This guidance is applicable to all barristers practising in the field of criminal law. It has been published on the Bar Council’s , alongside the existing library of ethics and practice guidance documents. 

Wellbeing Recordings:

'Resilience - Part Two'
Recorded on Thursday 4th February 2021

A copy of the recording can be accessed here

'Parental Talk - Part Two'
Recorded on Thursday 25th February 2021

A copy of the recording can be accessed here

'Persistent Musculoskeletal Pain Talk'
Presentation Slides accessed here

'Kindness at the Bar'
A copy of the recording can be access here

Further Resources

SEC and Bar Mess Events:

Applied Memory Research:
Tuesday 14th June
18.00 - 19.00
Online Lecture

Full details and to book

The 2022 Advanced International Advocacy Course:
Less than 10 spaces still available 
30th August - 3rd September

Keble College, Oxford
Full details and to book

Silk Interview Training Seminar:
18.00 - 19.00
Online Lecture

Full details and to book

Other Events:

BACFI Event:
'The Employed Bar Garden Party'
Wednesday 15th June
Middle Temple

Full details and to book

The Inns of Court Alliance for Women:
'Cross-Profession Garden Party'
Monday 20th June 5.30pm - 8pm
The Walks at Gray's Inn

Full details and to book

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