This week ICLR participated for the first time in the #GreatLegalBake organised by the London Legal Support Trust. Among the creations on  display were representations in cake form of ICLR’s key publications, both online and in print.

For the online version, Paul Magrath created a batch of chocolate brownies iced to represent the minicards on the home page of our online platform ICLR.3 – each of which is colour coded according to its legal topic. Although his official title is Head of Product Development and Online Content, this does not usually include edible products or content.

Cake summaries – freshly baked caselaw

For the print editions, we had a copy of the ‘Red Index’ (aka Law Reports Consolidated Index) familiar to law librarians and practitioners who like to find their case law in the old-fashioned way. Hard to believe this is a cake. It was baked and decorated by one of ICLR’s reporters, Georgina Orde, who normally covers the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

Cakes in law

Of course neither could be said to have set a precedent. Cakes in law have a venerable history. How else to account for a manifestation of Magna Carta in cake form, baked to mark the great victory of those latterday Runnymede barons at UNISON against the contemporary King John played by Chris Grayling LC in the tribunal fees case ( R (Unison) v Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 51; [2017] 3 WLR 409[2017] ICR 1037), as cited on Twitter:

A further tribute to the tribunal fees win came some months later:

By then we’d also witnessed the citation on Twitter of the ‘White Book’ or standard guide to the Civil Procedure Rules, to mark a civil practitioner’s birthday:

Nor are these practitioner cakes confined to our own jurisdiction. The USA has its famous Supreme Court, and not surprisingly tributes to its decision making have appeared in EDF (edible document format):

Cakes in court

Cakes have, of course, featured in legal proceedings in courts of both our own and the American federal jurisdiction. The most famous recent cases (one in each jurisdiction, and in each case awaiting the consideration of its respective Supreme Court) have involved disputes over whether their right to respect for religious opinions and/or freedom of speech (and therefore non-speech) entitles a cake decorating business to refuse to fulfil orders for cakes decorated with pro-LGBT or equal marriage sentiments (often described as the ‘gay cake’ cases).

One case arose in Northern Ireland: Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd [2016] NICA 39. For background, see RightsInfo, What Was The ‘Gay Cake’ Case All About? and Are Businesses Allowed To Discriminate Against Their Customers?

The other in Colorado, USA: Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (Docket No. 16-111) (heard on 5 December 2017 but opinions not expected till about June this year). For background, see Guardian,’This happens all the time’: why a gay couple took their cake case to the supreme court and New York Times, Justices Sharply Divided in Gay Rights Case. (And, as the sharp eyed will have noticed, it is the case featured in Anthony M Kreis’s tweet above.)

We await both results with interest, not least because there are two of them, and this will demonstrate (perhaps) how the common law rights and liberties that can be traced back to Magna Carta have, or haven’t, diverged on either side of the Atlantic.

Cakes have appeared in cases in other situations. For example, the question whether a Jaffa Cake is a cake or a biscuit was famously determined in United Biscuits (UK) Ltd (No 2) (LON/91/160) VAT Decision 6344, in which the VAT and Duties Tribunal rules that they were actually cakes and should be zero rated as a food for VAT purposes. (See this background note from Kerseys Solicitors, Why Jaffa Cakes are cakes, not biscuits  and the discussion in a later case, Torq Ltd v Revenue and Customs [2005] UKVAT V19389.

A political cake

Politics as well as law can be celebrated in cake form, as this splendid cake marking the triumph of the suffragettes attests:

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The ICLR bakeoff array, in the open plan office where our reporters are based: we also had cakes and biscuits baked by ECJ reporter Geraldine Fainer,  desk editors Abigail King and Nicky Sears, and Marketing & Events Co-ordinator Holly Powell. Thank you to all our bakers.

Most of the money raised was through cash donations in house. But you can still donate via our Virgin Money Giving page (link below), which will also cover the Great Legal Walk later in the year. Thank you to those who have already given. We’ll update the sum total once we’ve added in the cash contributions.

UPDATE: we have raised £145 (as at 27 Feb 2018).

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