Bar Council chair to tell Conservative delegates: protect civil liberties

Chairman of the Bar Council Michael Todd QC is to call on the Conservative party to preserve civil liberties and fair access to legal representation for all.

Todd has said that while attending the upcoming Conservative Party conference in Birmingham he will remind MPs and Ministers of the Coalition Government’s promises to “restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power.”

In a statement he said: “Actions speak louder than words. Since entering government in Coalition, the Conservatives have participated in the wholesale removal of access to justice from vulnerable individuals through further cuts to the scope of legal aid, and made proposals for ‘secret courts’, as well as changes to the interception regime, which fly in the face of its avowed commitment to protect civil liberties.

“The Government has done some excellent work to promote the UK’s legal services overseas, recognising that they are vital to our economy. But it must ensure that the justice system is open to all, and not just those with the means to access it,” he said.

This follows the news that the Young Bar Conference will focus on restrictions to justice resulting from austerity measures. (4 October 2012)

In a speech at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Brighton last month, Todd said that the soaring cost of education and repeated cuts to publicly-funded fees were making life for the junior Bar particularly difficult. (24 September 2012)