We are pleased to welcome HHJ Martyn Levett to the Circuit Bench.
We are pleased to welcome HHJ Maureen Bacon Q.C. to the Circuit Bench.
Herts and Beds
1. HHJ Stephen Gullick retired and had a valedictory in court on 6th February. His retirement dinner is fixed for 27th March. He will be much missed by the Bar and Bench.
2. Thanks as ever to HHJ Andrew Bright QC for hosting the annual St Albans Crown Court Charity Quiz Night on 20th March. His generosity and energy are much appreciated by the Bar and Court users.
3. The Bar Mess wish our outgoing Treasurer, Richard Storey our very best wishes. Sadly he recently left the independent bar to go in house. He leaves with our thanks for the hard work he put into the Mess. The Bar Mess is actively looking for a Treasurer to replace him. Anyone interested please contact Will Noble or Kerim Fuad QC.
4. The Bar Mess arranged for the Chairman of the Bar, Alistair McDonald QC to visit Luton Crown Court with Max Hill QC, the leader of the SEC and meet members of the Bar 2 weeks ago. It was a great success and good of Alistair to make time for the Mess.
5. Terry and his company Eatalia have taken over the catering contract at Luton Crown Court which has resulted in the resurrection of the quality of food there for the Bar, Bench and jurors. It shows that quality food can be provided after the demise of the national catering contracts.
6. "Open Day 2015", to coincide with the octocentenary celebrations of Magna Carta, will take place at St Albans Crown Court on Saturday 13 June 2015. Like its predecessor in 2011 there will exhibitions, talks and simulated legal proceedings [applications, sentences and mock trials] in both the Magistrate and Crown Courts. An organising Committee has been meeting to consider the arrangements. Approximately 20 practitioners will be required. We already have the names of eight volunteers. Thank you to Kevin Molloy, George Heimler and others for their time in volunteering.
Use Of Electronic Files [Within Thames-Chiltern CPS Area].
7. This development will continue this year in both Magistrates and Crown Courts. Further information about technological innovations to facilitate the use of such files in court will be made available over the coming months. In response to concerns by practitioners [especially from some of a pre-digital generation struggling to adapt to the new technology in a courtroom environment], I know that the judges at the courts will be understanding, and patient, with those advocates presenting cases using laptops and tablets at hearings. It was only through such use that the strengths and difficulties encountered with such technology would be exposed.
8. The Mess is grateful for the continued support of the resident Judges HHJ Foster (Luton) and HHJ Bright QC (St Albans).
Kerim Fuad QC
(1) Despite anything said to the contrary, those who are required to attend at Aylesbury CC to explain why a case which cracked did so and didn't do so earlier, it is the litigators only who are to attend, not Counsel. As yet, the practise hasn't spread to Reading and won't spread to Oxford.
(2) Although both Aylesbury and Reading are trying to have as many "in custody" PCMHs done via the video link, Oxford will still "produce" defendants if the list Office is asked by midday of the preceding day.
Martyn Levett, the Essex bar mess chair is now HHJ Levett! A new chair has not been appointed. He will have to be removed from the email list in the near future.
The Essex Bar Mess is delighted to welcome HHJ Leigh to the bench at Basildon Crown Court. The Mess also sends its congratulations to Martyn Levett who has been appointed to sit at Ipswich Crown Court and thanks him for his efforts whilst Bar Mess Chairman. The Mess is currently seeking to appoint a new Chairman.
On a sadder note, the Mess sends its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Frances Coles- Harrington (of 187 Fleet Street) who passed away on Friday 20th March 2015.”
The Bar Mess is delighted to welcome Her Honour Judge Bacon QC (previously Maureen Baker QC) as a judge at Norwich Crown Court and His Honour Judge Martyn Levett as a judge at Ipswich Crown Court. Both are well known faces in the region and will add considerable value to both Benches. The Bar Mess is holding a dinner on Thursday 14th May at the Assembly House in Norwich. This will be the Mess' inaugural Annual Dinner and will be an opportunity to welcome our two new judges, as well as marking some impending retirements. News of those in the next Mess report!
At Southwark Crown Court on 23rd April at 5.00pm, the Chairman of the Bar Alistair MacDonald and Stephen Crowne, the Bar Council Chief Executive will attend to speak to Mess members about their concerns and their views about the future of the Bar and current issues. It would be great if we could have a good turn-out.
At Woolwich Crown Court His Honour Judge Kinch QC is overseeing improvements which have begun with the catering. The new caterers have taken over and are starting slowly to review how best to improve services not only to members of the public, but also the Bar. They have plans for redecorating and reorganising the facilities in the bar dining area so that it may be used effectively again. The next plan is for WiFi across the whole court, which would be an enormous step forward.
James Thacker of 9 Gough Square has agreed to take over as the Mess Junior and we thank Dickon Reid of 5 KBW for his help over the last few years. Robert MacAllister, also of 9 Gough Sqaure has agreed to be the representative for Central London County Court. The Mess is looking for other keen members to assist existing representatives for our courts; Blackfriars, Inner London, Southwark and Woolwich. We shall then have an AGM in the early summer. Any interest, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. It is with great sadness and fond memories we inform you of the passing of HHJ Medawar QC and HHJ Khayat QC.
2. The Lord Chief Justice is visiting Snaresbrook (but not sitting) on the 29th of April.
3. There was a Court Users meeting on the 11th March, which was well attended and at which the Mess was represented.
The topics discussed included the following :
(i) High workload had stabilised, with diversion of work from Hackney going to Wood Green and Havering work to Basildon for 6 months as from the beginning of March (ii) The ineffective trial rate for both January (7%) and February (7.4%) was at a record low.
(iii) A new Judge is expected to start on the 28th April (identity not yet known) and he/she will be welcomed in Court by either Kaly Kaul QC or appointed other.
(iv) HHJ Lamb is moving his Crown Court sittings to Kingston as from the 4th of May
(v) HHJ Korner will be moving to Southwark CC as from the Autumn. We will be sorry to see them leave.
(vi) Caterers – Clarkes – have now been signed up following their success at Snaresbrook, by Blackfriars, ILCC and, possibly Woolwich. HHJ Kennedy's contribution to finding the caterers is greatly appreciated.
Caterers now in residence and food, by all accounts, much improved and value for money.
Nothing to report
Cambridge and Peterborough
We welcome a new Judge in Court 7 at Peterborough Crown Court - HHJ Tina Landale.