Agreement first. It is an excellent idea to pursue JR to test QASA. It is splendid that we are getting organised to sell our case to the public and yes, winning some successful coverage.
It is wholly admirable that we are making common cause with our solicitor colleagues. And the agreed note following the meeting with the LC shows just how superbly the Circuit Leaders are putting our case.
Common ground – or it damn well should be. The bar must have in place an agreed high quality quality assurance scheme of it own AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. We cannot leave the public for one single moment with the impression that the present BSB scheme is unacceptable, but that we do not have our own in place or ready to go. That would be arrogance of the highest order and would undermine our case.
Areas of Disagreement
1. The vilification of our regulators. It must stop forthwith. Some very stupid barbs are undermining reasoned opposition
2. The down-tools approach if we cannot change QASA, bearing in mind the sanction. In the front line, unable to practice, would be the young and the not so young on two circuits, carrying the risk of immediate professional immobility. They should not be put in that position. Families come first.
3. The line between not agreeing to join QASA and so organising our affairs so that we disrupt court sittings may be blurred, but the end result is the same: we shall lose every ounce of public sympathy and fall an easy pray to a strong man.
4. it will mean that every trial we disrupt will be giving one or more ordinary member of the public delayed access to justice. That strikes me as irresponsible and just plain wrong. Whether it would or could itself break the law is beyond my sphere, but no doubt there are industrial experts out there who can answer such issues.
So for goodness sake let us get off this ridiculous QASA clanking treadmill and concentrate on a wholly legal hard fought extended campaign based on Reason and not a whit on threat. The good news is that enormous effort is going into coordinating analysis of the cuts. On that all of us can unite.
One final thought and it needs a separate blog. We need to look at exactly what The Lord Chancellor said to the Circuit Leaders as well as their excellent response. On the record.
That may prove very important in the fight ahead.
Nigel Pascoe QC