ANNE Rafferty QC has stood down as chair of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) bringing "eight-and-a-half-years of unpaid service to the profession" to a close.
Rafferty, a forthright critic of the last government's crime policies and once widely tipped as a future Bar Council chair, handed over the leadership of the CBA to fraud specialist Roy Amlot QC on 1 June.
She said she was looking forward to concentrating exclusively on her criminal practice and confirmed that she would "definitely not" make a pitch for the Bar leadership.
Rafferty was head of the CBA for two years and has been involved in Bar politics for nearly a decade. Her departure coincides with a move within the CBA leadership to reduce the term of each chair to one year to lessen the burden of the on its incumbent.
Amlot, who was elected unopposed, said he personally favoured such a move, which will be put to the CBA's autumn AGM if the committee approves it.
He said the most important issues facing the CBA were the impending reforms of the CPS and legal aid and the question of rights of audience".
He added that he saw the limited rights of audience granted to the CPS as a grave threat to the Bar.
"An independent barrister in court is vital," he said.