LETTER:Barristers must preserve independence from the CPS

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a barrister (and former solicitor) I agree with the Lord Chief Justice (report, 4 April), in opposing rights of audience being granted to employed lawyers - whether the employer is the Crown Prosecution Service or some other - and to solicitors unless they qualify in the manner provided. That only a few solicitors have sought higher courts certificates demonstrates that the demand for them is very limited.

It is important to preserve the independence of barristers so that those who prepare cases in the Crown Prosecution Service may receive independent advice. Suppose that a future prime minister was to appoint as Director of Public Prosecutions someone as determined on a particular course of action as, for example, the current Home Secretary. What would happen when a crown prosecutor, employed by the CPS, thought his instructions from the DPP were wrong? Where would be the independence of action if the prosecutor had simply to act as the mouthpiece for the man he believed wrong in bringing or refusing to bring a particular prosecution before the courts?

Stanley Best

Winkleigh, Devon