Criminal Bar goes to polls

ELECTION fever has struck the Criminal Bar Association as its 2,000 members go to the polls this week to choose a successor to chair Richard Ferguson QC.

Ferguson's return to private practice after two years as CBA chair has triggered the first contested CBA election for 10 years.

Three barristers are standing. The main contender is current vice-chair Anne Rafferty QC, of 4 Brick Court.

Rafferty is the only candidate to have served as CBA secretary (1989-91). She became vice-chair in 1993.

Between 1991-93, she served on the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice and is known for her persuasive resistance to extended advocacy rights for Crown Prosecution Service lawyers.

But a challenge is being mounted by Rock Tansey QC, head of chambers at 3 Gray's Inn Square.

Tansey, renowned for his work in criminal and human rights cases, is an active CBA member. He represented the CBA and the Directorate of Human Rights of the Council of Europe at a conference in Russia last year.

The surprise second challenger is Ronald Thwaites QC, head of chambers at 10 King's Bench Walk. A tough advocate, Thwaites has little committee experience on CBA matters.