Bar Council chair calls for shorter court cases

The chairman of the Bar Council, Guy Mansfield QC, has called for the cost of long court cases to be cut and for the savings to be redistributed to barristers doing shorter pieces of litigation.

Speaking at the annual bar conference on Saturday (15 October) Mansfield said that the refusal of many practitioners to take on new cases had made its mark, and that Lord Carter of Coles’s review of legal aid now offered the best prospect of a solution.

Mansfield said: “The point has been well made that the Bar feels undervalued. It is not weak to wait, and work to make the best of the Carter review.

“The best prospect now for a long-term solution is for individuals to reserve their position and to await the outcome of that review.”

In his speech Mansfield echoed the words of the new Lord Chief Justice, Lord Philips of Worth Matravers, when he last week reaffirmed the need for an independent judiciary.

“Let me be clear. Parliament makes law: judges apply it. This simple legal principle is paramount,” said Mansfield on Saturday.

Mansfield’s speech came ahead of today’s publication of a White Paper on the future of legal services. The paper is being launched by Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, this morning (Monday 17 October).