March 2019 Newsletter

Dear SAHCA members

Welcome to the March Newsletter. SAHCA continues to represent the voice of solicitor advocates, and it has been another busy month.

Chair’s March Statement

We have been engaging with the Equality and Human Rights Commission in respect to issues of recruitment of advocates to panels. Read more

Law Society Petition

The Law Society has launched a petition as part of its criminal justice campaign, calling for the government to increase investment in the criminal justice system.   It is very clear that the criminal justice system has been underfunded for generations.

Link to the petition here:

More information about the campaign, including a video:

QC Applications 2019

QC Appointments has launched the 2019 round of QC applications and at SAHCA we are particularly looking to encourage as many solicitor applicants as possible. Read more here

Criminal Legal Aid Review Defence Practitioner Advisory Panel

SAHCA Secretary Henry Hills reports:

The MoJ has recently established this Panel to look at all aspects of Criminal Legal Aid. It has a broad based membership, which includes representatives of numerous Solicitor associations/organisations, and the Bar. I represent SAHCA on this Panel. It is anticipated that the Review will take about twenty months.

I attended the first meeting on the 11th March 2019, and the primary focus of the meeting was, the Terms of Reference. I indicated that SAHCA would participate in practitioner working groups, to inform specific areas of the Review.

The next meeting is scheduled for the 25th April 2019. If members have any specific issues for me to take forward, then please contact me.

Poor Skeleton Arguments

SAHCA Vice-Chair Deborah Piccos considers the Court of Appeals criticism of Poorly drafted skeleton arguments. Read more

Essential Family Advocacy Training – 29th June 2019 East London

Advocacy in the Family Courts – a one day course specifically tailored towards family advocates, with the emphasis being on case preparation, cross examination and closing submissions using a realistic case study involving an independent social worker and a local authority social worker as witnesses, all conducted in a safe learning environment with an experienced advocacy trainer to support you.

For details and to book click here. Please note that places are very limited.

Other Training and Events

Training remains one of the priorities of our organisation. There are a number of levels of training. Our primary events are the Lord Slynn Memorial lecture, which this year will be held on the 12 June 2019 and the annual conference on the 5 October 2019.

We are pleased to confirm that the The President of the QBD, Sir Brian Leveson has agreed to speak at the Lord Slynn lecture. The very popular lecture will be followed as always by a drinks reception afterwards.

We will continue to arrange basic and advanced advocacy training regularly throughout the year.

In the next month’s newsletter we will announce the speakers and venue of both events.

Training Venue

SAHCA is always looking for firms willing and able to host advocacy training sessions on Fridays and particularly Saturdays. Thank you to the firms who have contacted us to offer their premises already. In order to keep costs to members as low as possible and to offer a wide geographic range of training venues, we are looking for any firms who are able to offer meeting rooms to be used for our one and two day advocacy courses (Friday/Saturday or Saturday). The small group training is run by SAHCA Advocacy Experts. The host firm would receive two free places on the course. If you are able to offer this space please can you contact Emma Richmond-Coggan at

Free Evening Training Sessions

SAHCA held the first of a series of free training event for its members on the 21 March 2019. Read more

Meet Your Committee

This month’s profile is Deborah Piccos, Family Expert and SAHCA’s current Vice-Chair. Read more 


As ever, please contact us with suggestions and comments.

Best Wishes

Emma Richmond-Coggan

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