Sir - I am a young barrister based in Nottingham. This week, I received my brand new 2009 edition of Archbold, the leading criminal law text, used by nearly all advocates and judges in English and Welsh court rooms.
Having taken my new barrister's bible out of its box, I cast an eye over the preface to this year's edition: "It has been a recurring theme of the preface to this work that there is far too much criminal legislation. The willingness of the Labour Government to continue its practice of legislating by trial and error has shown no signs of abating even in its eleventh year in office… The state of the criminal statute book is a disgrace. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is the usual hotchpotch of measures, with no theme, with much of the detail tucked away from close scrutiny in the schedules, and consisting in large part of textual amendment to earlier legislation. Much of the amendment is by way of undoing this Government's earlier legislation."
These words should be viewed seriously by those who care about our system of criminal justice. The current fashion of legislating to grab headlines is having a devastating effect on justice.
David Outterside, Nottingham
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thanks to Tony Tindale for quoting this letter (from the Telegraph)in the comments. It deserves greater prominence:-