1. The Criminal Lawyer's action which took place over the summer was abandoned as a gesture of goodwill last week, without having obtaining any concessions from the Ministry of Justice. There is some confidence among the leadership of the profession that the MOJ are genuinely listening to our concerns. However, the attempts by criminal lawyers to conduct industrial action has up until now been bedevilled by a high level of amateurishness, so the decision to call off the action just when it was starting to have an affect may join the list of errors in dealing with the MOJ. It really points towards the need for lawyers to create a trade union.
2. On that note, a committee has been formed to try to encourage the unionisation of the legal sectors (paralegals and trainees as well as qualified lawyers). It will be a very slow build and is likely to appeal initially to those who are just entering the sector. The aim, at this stage, is to encourage members of the profession to join a particular branch of Unite that was established to represent those working in the charity sector in London but is now focussing on supporting those in the legal sector as well. I am, in theory, a member of the committee, but for the last few weeks I have been so busy with work that I have not really kept up with events. I will be in a position to give a proper update at the October meeting.
acknowledgements to Daniel Jones