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Exclusive: Attorney General responds to Bar anger at his ‘foolish’ barristers comment

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Legal Cheek‘s Kevin Poulter has just asked Attorney General Dominic Grieve what he meant by his comment last night that criminal barristers “would be foolish to resist” the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA). Grieve’s response is below…

“The point I was making last night,” the Attorney General told Poulter, was that to “go on strike or stop working” over QASA “would be a mistake”.

As a former criminal barrister himself, Grieve added: “I’m perfectly aware that QASA is controversial. I can understand – indeed I have some sympathy for the criminal Bar’s view – that it is something which they’d prefer not to have.”

He then fired this warning to barristers: “The criminal Bar would find itself in a very difficult position if it were to be seen to be resisting this move, because I don’t think that it is likely to have public opinion on its side in the arguments it is putting forward.”

It seems unlikely that this message will appease the likes of Twitter Joke Trial silk John Cooper QC, who this morning tweeted:

The full interview – in which Grieve goes on to predict that the Bar will shrink over the next few years, noting that there were just 3,500 practising barristers as recently as the late 1960s (there are four times as many now) – is below…