Remainiacs – The Brexit Podcast
Though it covers issues of law, policy and politics, the “No-Bullshit Brexit Podcast” as it calls itself, with its hashtag #owntheremoan, is fairly obviously biased in its sympathies. But the twice weekly updates presented by Ian Dunt, of politics.co.uk, Dorian Lynskey, who writes for the Guardian, and Peter Collins, former business editor of the Economist, provide a jokey but informative discussion with a range of guest commentators on the current ups and (mostly) downs of the Brexit process. It’s generally rather better informed than most of the mainstream news broadcasts and a lot more detailed.
Recent guests have included David Allen Green (of Twitter and the FT), Heidi Allen MP, and Gavin Esler (author of Brexit Without The Bullshit – again, not hard to see where he’s coming from). The last episode, which featured The Times’s resident parodist Hugo Rifkind, was recorded on the day Boris Johnson PM announced his intention to prorogue Parliament, so there were snippets not just of breaking news, but possibly even breaking democracy.
Law Pod UK
There have been discussions about Brexit, particularly the legal aspects, on the podcast produced by the barristers of One Crown Office Row chambers. For example, there are regular sessions with EU law expert Prof Catherine Barnard of Cambridge University, discussing the latest political developments and their legal implications. But this podcast, presented by Rosalind English and Emma-Louise Fenelon, aims to cover “developments across all aspects of civil and public law in the United Kingdom”. One week that might be a recent case on medical negligence, another on the use of artificial intelligence in legal process, another on widening participation at the Bar.
Some really interesting recent episodes were recorded at this year’s annual conference of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA) prompted by the Reith Lectures given by Lord Sumption (see below). These included a high-powered panel debate, an interview with Sumption (by Lord Justice Singh), and the panellists’ responses to questions from the floor. The topics covered included the relationship between law and politics, the pros and cons of a written constitution, and the proper role of judges in a democracy.
Before listening to the ALBA conference discussions on Law Pod UK, anyone who has not already heard the Reith Lectures, given by Lord Sumption at locations ranging from Middle Temple Hall to George Washington University and broadcast on Radio 4, should hasten to do so. Under the series title “Law’s Expanding Empire”, Sumption, who retired as a Justice of the Supreme Court earlier this year, explains why he thinks law has expanded to fill the space which should be occupied by politics, with the judiciary taking advantage of the growth of public law and human rights to enter into areas of policy that politicians should be dealing with (but increasingly fail to do so). Though apparently critical of activist judges, he acknowledges the extent to which politics has failed, with Brexit providing both the symptom and the cure. He also compares the role of the Supreme Court in the UK with that in the USA, and its relationship to the legislature under its (written) constitution. Whether or not you agree with his thesis (and the questions at the end of each lecture indicate that many do not), it all makes for stimulating and instructive listening. (But do go on and hear the ALBA discussions afterwards.)
First 100 Years
First 100 Years is a fascinating soci0-historical project charting the changing roles and growing participation of women in the legal professions since 1919. It has been inspired by the centenary this year of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which first enabled women to work as lawyers. Each of the ten monthly podcast episodes presented by Lucinda Acland will cover a decade since that watershed year.
Removing the statutory barrier was just the start: as the podcasts illustrate, women continued to face non-legislative barriers, such as the entrenched sexism and male dominance of the profession, its often trivial objections to women entrants, and the uphill struggle of balancing family life with a career. For example, Nemone Lethbridge, who appears in The Fourth Decade: 1949 – 1959, was the first woman to get tenancy at 3 Hare Court, where she was barred from using from the lavatory: a lock had been installed on the lavatory and each male member given a key, and she was told to use the public toilets in the Kardomah coffee house in Fleet Street.
Another episode covers The Fifth Decade: 1959 – 1969 which features among its guests Baroness Butler-Sloss. Having become the first woman appointed to the Court of Appeal, she had to battle against the statutory requirement to title her Lord Justice of Appeal. None of this stopped her becoming President of the Family Division and one of the most influential judges of her generation. The same episode discusses Dame Elizabeth Lane who preceded (and mentored) Butler-Sloss as the first woman High Court judge, and the experience of women senior partners in top solicitors’ firms with Dame Janet Gaymer and Susan Roscoe.
The Pupillage Podcast
This is one of a number of podcasts dealing with pupillage and offering advice. Hosted by Middle Temple members Beatrice Collier and Georgina Wolfe (both of 5 Essex Court), each of the 10 episodes is focused on a different aspect of the pupillage process, from creating your CV and joining an Inn, to acquiring advocacy experience and doing pro bono work; from how to approach mini-pupillages, to applications and interviews. The presenters interview a range of guests whose advice and recalled experiences will help candidates focus their applications.
Voices of Family Court
Presented by Chloe Lee, this podcast aims to help “give non-lawyers a better understanding of key issues within family law and also the problems that the public often encounter with gaining access to justice”. She talks to a number of practitioners and commentators about their work and their views about family law. The quality is a little variable, but we can certainly recommend episode 3, Transparency in the family courts, featuring Lucy Reed, family barrister of St John’s Chambers, Bristol, who is chair of the Transparency Project.
See our earlier roundup: Law Podcasts
(Was it really three years ago? How time flies.)