23rd April: News up on Insite Law

The news, editorial, profession updates – now up on Insite Law.

Editor pick of the day
23rd April 2009

Solicitors fight back against judge who was critical of solicitor-advocates.

Hat Tip Magistrate’s blog: Further and better particulars

What the judge had to say | Read this extraordinary response by Bullivant

When lawyers try to make the case for the other side disappear
David Pannick, QC

Editor
Mike SP
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7 thoughts on “23rd April: News up on Insite Law

  1. Hi Natasha…. indeed… now get over to the Scrabble Board and do your worst. I couldn’t bring myself to look this morning… QUAGS… what a word!

    James C: Extraordinary story, extraordinary comments by the judge.. clearly Bullivant and Partners a bit upset…

  2. James

    I have read both the judge’s views and those of Bullivant with particular care.

    It is difficult to judge the situation without having been present, as I am sure you will accept.

    I do not think it is a good idea for judges to make comments of this nature in so public a way. If there is an issue with the behaviour of counsel / solicitor advocate it should be referred to the appropriate body privately for investigation.

    By effectively holding an impromptu ‘press’ conference – albeit holding it in open court (itself, arguably, a less than sensible way of dealing with the issue), ensuring the press were present (Bullivant claim) and then handing out a hard copy of his remarks afterwards, Judge Gledhill has opened the matter to legitimate public scrutiny.

    He is on the front cover of the Law Society Gazette, complete with a photo of him in costume for his pains – and now will be judged by a very much wider and eclectic mix of commentators, professional and lay.

    The SRA will now investigate – so we must wait for the outcome of that investigation – assuming it is given due publicity.

    If there are issues with the professional competence of any practitioner I would prefer to see them handled in a fair way through apprpriate process by the regulators and not trial by press or other media.

    The Bullivant and Partners response was direct, but courteous and they did preface their remarks buy observing that they would not ordinarily wish to be critical of a judge in publioc. Given Gledhill opened the batting with a very public statement, I am sympathetic to Bullivant and Partners making their response public.

    I can’t really comment any further.

    A further thought…
    I can add this, as a personal opinion:

    Judge Gledhill, by criticising the lawyers in open court did not give them an opportunity to defend themseleves or give the press an account from their perspective. This, from the perspective of fairness (let alone the issue of whether he should have done it at all) lays the judge open to a perfectly reasonable view that he is not a fair person, that he lacks judgement; both qualities that are rather important in a judge.

    I’d be interested in what practising barristers and solicitor-advocates have to say about the matter.

  3. Pingback: Our sceptred isle… redux… « Charon QC

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