Solicitors give White Paper thumbs up

Despite fierce Bar Council opposition to extending rights of audience, the legal profession is overwhelmingly supporting the Lord Chancellor's consultation paper.

Of 100 responses to the paper, 64 backed the proposals, 12 opposed, 11 were neutral or did not comment, and 13 were mixed.

The paper, which outlined plans to allow solicitors and Crown prosecutors to speak in higher courts, went out in June and is part of the criminal justice reforms set out in the Modernising Justice White Paper.

It has gained strong support from solicitors who, if the proposals became law, will be looking to establish one-stop shops where they manage the litigation and perform the advocacy.

Jonathan Baume, general secretary of civil servants trade union FDA, said it would be “a chance for the Crown Prosecution Service and the Government's legal service to make better use of their barristers”.