ALBA Seminar: The broken conduit? A seminar on the Supreme Court’s Miller judgments

ALBA’s first seminar for 2017 will consider the Supreme Court’s judgments in Miller and Dos Santos v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (“Miller”) (and the joined cases with it). Discussing the decision will be Professors Nick Barber and John Finnis.  Professor Barber was co-author of Pulling the Article 50 ‘Trigger’: Parliament’s Indispensable Role, published in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote which first advanced the argument that the Prime Minister was constitutionally unable to issue a notification triggering the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union without having been first authorised to do so by an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament, as to do so would be to remove rights created by statute. Professor Finnis responded to this argument by contending that there was no requirement for statutory authorisation as the rights at the core of the Claimants’ case were not statutory rights at all, but rather European rights, brought into the United Kingdom legal system through the ‘conduit pipe’ of a statute. This argument formed the centerpiece of the Government’s appeal to the Supreme Court and is reflected in the dissenting judgments.

Chairing the discussion will be Helen Mountfield Q.C, who was leading counsel for the “People’s Challenge” parties before both the Divisional Court and Supreme Court in Miller.

The seminar will be held in the Large Pension Room at Gray’s Inn on Thursday 23 February 2016 from 6pm to 730pm. The seminar is free and open to all, but advance booking via the ALBA website is essential.

CPD Changes

As you may be aware, the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for barristers regulated by the BSB have changed as of 1 January 2017. The Bar Standards Board has now published guidance on the new rules, which are intended to be less prescriptive, more flexible and more suited to barristers’ actual training needs. Full details of new CPD system can be found here.

 In summary, the changes shall mean:

  • There is no longer a requirement for barristers to complete accredited hours;
  • Barristers will no longer have to complete a minimum number of hours;
  • Barristers now have individual responsibility for the training they require;
  • Barristers will have increased flexibility in the types of CPD activities that they can complete;
  • The BSB will assess whether barristers have planned and completed their CPD in a structured way;
  • Assessments of CPD compliance will be made by taking into account barristers’ CPD activity in previous years; and
  • The role of the BSB’s supervision team in setting corrective action for non-compliance has been formalised. This means that the focus on the regulation of CPD will not be on disciplinary action but on ensuring that barristers comply with the CPD requirements.

 Practically, barristers are required, at the beginning of the year to prepare a plan of the CPD that they intended to undertake by reference to identified “learning objectives”. If you have not yet done so, it would be advisable to prepare your plan now. ALBA have prepared a template (which is adapted from the guideline template prepared by the BSB) to assist with the preparation of individual CPD plans.

Thereafter, barristers are required to complete CPD activities so as to achieve these objectives, followed by a process of “reflection”. The template is designed to assist practitioners approach the task of “reflection” in a structured way.

It is ALBA’s intention to continue to offer a series of seminars and lectures throughout the year, as well as our annual conference, to assist members with achieving their learning objectives, and therefore fulfilling their CPD obligations. While there is no longer a requirement for individual events to be accredited with the BSB, ALBA will continue with its practice of recording attendance at our events in case you are spot-checked by the BSB for compliance purposes. As previously, you should keep a record of the events which you have attended, and the template provides an example of how this could conveniently be done.

Yours sincerely,

The ALBA Committee