Legal Profession

News, analysis, comment and updates from ICLR's case law and UK legislation platform

HHJ Pennyweather, the legal arms race and grumpy old judge syndrome

Sometimes I really think that the supposedly cleverest people in the world are in fact the most stupid. A case which came before me last week illustrates this point perfectly. It started life as an uncomplicated personal injury matter which should have settled out of court many years ago. But instead what happened was that Continue reading

Paying LiP service to April fools

It’s often said that a lawyer who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.* But a lay person who cannot get legal aid or insurance to cover the cost of a lawyer is not a fool – merely a victim of the new regime under LASPO (the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Continue reading

Litigants in Person: a cautionary tale

It’s often said that a lawyer who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. The trouble is, when it’s your own case, you are more likely to be persuaded of its rightness as a cause and blinded to its weakness as a case. This is no less true of lawyers than anyone Continue reading

Taking all the credit for a pupil’s hard work

OldSmoothie was against a very traditional opponent today who always insists on bringing along to court the original volumes containing the particular law report in question. This meant that as he came into court both he and his pupil were weighed down by piles of authorities whilst OldSmoothie rather smugly carried his slim bundle of Continue reading

Introducing His Honour Judge Pennyweather and the cab rank rule

Let me introduce you to a new character in the BabyBarista fold: His Honour Judge Pennyweather who sits as a circuit judge outside London. He’s grumbly, eccentric, crusty and seemingly older than his 68 years would suggest. The first part of his name brings to mind a penny for your thoughts which seem to leak Continue reading

Never forget that lawyers aren’t paid to be liked

“Is nothing sacred these days?” said UpTights. “What are you moaning on about now?” said OldSmoothie. “Once upon a time institutions were respected but in the last few years it seems like it’s all gone to pot. First, we find out that a fair proportion of our politicians were on the make at the public’s Continue reading

The Cab Rank Rule: still driving the Bar?

What is the meaning and purpose of the so-called Cab Rank Rule in the context of the new legal services market? Is it a Holy Cow or Shibboleth, taken for granted but more honoured in the breach? Or is it still a driving principle, a philosophical touchstone that underpins the approach of advocates to their Continue reading

Direct access to a barrister: Standards Board reviews training requirements

The Bar Standards Board, which regulates barristers in England and Wales, has announced that the training  barristers undergo for providing legal services directly to clients (i.e. without being instructed by a solicitor), is to be overhauled. Among the changes announced will be “an element of formal assessment to make sure that barristers have the knowledge Continue reading

BabyBarista – Introducing LiggerLawyer

“Have you ever come across a young barrister who seemed to crash every drinks party in the whole of EC4 this Christmas season,” asked BusyBody today. “Ah, so you’ve met LiggerLawyer,” smiled TheVamp. “She’s like the worst kind of Z-list celebrity who would go along to the opening of a briefcase if she’d been invited Continue reading

Judges on strike: could it happen here?

Judges in Egypt have threatened to go on strike in protest against a decree, issued by new president Mohammed Mursi, the terms of which place the president above any law and declare that his decisions cannot be challenged. According to reports from the International Business Times, the decree purports to give the president immunity from Continue reading