Cotton on Appeal – the way ahead asap

This is a very strong judgement. I would not want to comment at all on the Court’s analysis of the original ruling. It was always common ground that a decision to stay is an exceptional course. Equally it must be in the public interest to pursue alleged offenders of this financial magnitude if a fair trial, necessarily encompassing proper and effective representation, can take place within a reasonable time.

What interests me are the final comments, which do bear close analysis and more importantly ACTION.

There is an absolutely superb paragraph about the value of expertise in this area. The bar should be quoting it at every opportunity.

The judgement without playing politics also plainly commends settlement as soon as possible. This is the language of realism before this dispute accelerates to absurd proportions.

In a phrase then, heads round the table as soon as possible to try to achieve a reasonable settlement. That, immodestly forgiven, was exactly my point in my previous blog on Operation Cotton. It is not in the interests of the Independent bar to allow further expansion of the PDS to cover the present emergency including the trials in the pipeline. What we should be doing is sitting round the table with the Lord Chancellor to negotiate far less Draconian cuts, sweetened by the absolute guarantee of payment upfront on a very regular basis.

Pushing it another way, to seek to hold out indefinitely is a battle that we will not be allowed to win. On the phone please as soon as possible.

And Lord Chancellor, forgive me, but please have the courage to be constructive. A big politician is one who is prepared to have second thoughts.

Nigel Pascoe QC

PS. Time for a skilled negotiator if the CBA and Circuits feel unable to pick up that phone. Ultimately the public will not tolerate the inability to try alleged fraud. And by the public I do not just mean the Daily Mail.

PPS. As for negotiating terms, in accepting say a 10% cut, how about sweetening the pill by a healthy upfront cheque on receipt of instructions?
Say £25k for silks, £18k for juniors. Then a guaranteed weekly cheque. That might clear the logjam. All it takes is a good negotiator aware of how the bar works and goodwill by the MOJ/LC. NP

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