PLUS: Two Simons on the bench
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The Times
Thursday October 7 2021
The Brief
Jonathan Ames
By Jonathan Ames
Good morning.

Lawyers should feel a sense of pride in being referred to two years on the trot by Boris Johnson at the Conservative party conference, albeit not in the most glowing terms.

Last year at the Tories’ Covid-affected gathering, the prime minister lashed out at “lefty human rights lawyers”, which was brief and to the point. Yesterday, at the back-to-normal full gathering in Manchester, Johnson’s language was more florid, but no more complimentary.

He lambasted a decision by Labour, which he described as being “led by lefty Islington lawyers”, to vote against tougher sentences for serious sexual and violent offenders. Moreover, Johnson continued that he had read “a learned article by some lawyer saying we should not bother about pet theft. Well I say to Cruella de Vil QC — if you can steal a dog or a cat then there is frankly no limit to your depravity”.

For the sake of completeness, the Bar Standards Board’s register has no record of a silk named Cruella. Perhaps she’s Australian.

Someone who looks in need of a good lawyer is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The ruler of Dubai faces a police investigation after Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the family division of the High Court, concluded he ordered the hacking of a Tory peer’s mobile phone using surveillance software.

Legal wrangling over whether climate change protesters should be allowed to bring the country grinding to a halt peaked earlier this week when they were targeted with a draconian injunction as ministers tried to stop them from causing traffic chaos.

And a 61-year-old Christian nurse is taking on a south London hospital trust over allegations that her bosses racially discriminated against her by demanding that she remove a cross necklace.

Ramifications continue after the sentencing of Wayne Couzens, the former Metropolitan police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard. Below is coverage in Times Law and commentary by Felicity Gerry QC and the solicitor Harriet Wistrich.

Until next Thursday.
In this week's Times Law
Speaking up for victims of crime
A personal impact statement in court can be the only time the victim is heard, says Catherine Baksi

Impact statements from the parents of Sarah Everard — who was murdered by Wayne Couzens, a former Metropolitan Police officer — lay bare their loss and anguish, and cast a spotlight on victims in the court process.
Read the full story >
Features round-up
More from Times Law
In conversation | Peter Eguae
From ward of court to the Bar
In Black History Month, Peter Eguae tells Catherine Baksi about his journey and the importance of diversity for defendants

Peter Eguae compares his path to qualifying as a barrister as “like starting the London Marathon from somewhere in Cumbria”. Eguae is one of the social mobility advocates in the Bar Council’s campaign to encourage those from under-represented backgrounds to join the profession. His story makes for distressing reading while at the same time demonstrating a triumph of the human spirit.
Read the full story >
Criminal justice is long overdue a rebalancing in favour of women
The murder of Sarah Everard draws attention to the myriad ways the law entrenches misogyny, Harriet Wistrich writes

The brutal sexual assault and murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer, who used his police issued warrant card to gain and abuse her trust, is perhaps the starkest example of the failure of the criminal justice system to meets its obligations towards women and girls.
Read the full story >
Fuel queues are no excuse for suspending competition law
This knee-jerk response from the government may not even help the situation, Matthew Hall

Faced with images of queueing motorists, the government quickly decided to suspend the application of the Competition Act 1998 to certain agreements in the fuel distribution sector. The widely reported move meant that voters became aware that there is “competition law” and that it can be inconvenient.
Read the full story >
‘Opt-out’ order opens door to more collective proceedings
With such a new regime any judicial guidance is welcome, Benedict Walton and Caroline Harbord write

The Competition Appeal Tribunal gave permission last week for a landmark £600 million claim to be brought against BT, granting an “opt-out” collective proceedings order to Justin Le Patourel.
Read the full story >
NHS needs to learn lessons from negligence cases
Fixation on costs could backfire as specialist law firms leave the field, Paul Rumley writes

The costs of clinical negligence cases have been falling for the past two years, according to the last two NHS Resolution annual reports, and we need an open debate about the true facts regarding this litigation.
Read the full story >
In Brief
Elsewhere this week...
  • Duke of York's lawyers allowed to see secret settlement between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre — The Times
  • Killer Sam Pybus felt more remorse for his dog than his victim, says wife — The Times
  • Financier avoids jail over £2.6m divorce bill — The Times
  • Plans to increase child prison sentences may breach international law, government warned — The Independent
  • College right to sack lecturer for ‘lobbing’ cardboard at student, tribunal rules — The Times
  • Watchdog rebukes Irwin Mitchell over funding advice — The Lawyer
  • Non-practising barrister fined for calling herself “barrister-at-law” — Legal Futures
  • Trainee solicitor pay reaches £62.5k in the City — Legal Cheek
  • Law firms launch wellness schemes to reduce burnout and retain talent — Financial Times
  • Pinsent Masons mourns head of Hong Kong office — Law Gazette
  • First Arab-American Muslim woman argues at US supreme court — Bloomberg Law
Blue Bag
Little green book
Lawyers continue to hop aboard the green bandwagon. This week alone, two big-name players — DLA Piper and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer — had their tickets clipped by the eco-friendly conductor.

DLA, a transatlantic practice, announced that it had set itself a “science-based target to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2019-20 pre-pandemic levels”. The firm also committed to getting all its electricity from renewable energy sources by the same year, an increase from its current level of about 60 per cent.

It’s a pity that noble intentions get lost in a welter of jargon. DLA said that it would achieve that ambitious goal by invoking “sustainable procurement, a thoughtful travel policy, carbon accounting, cloud-based data management for every office and an internal engagement campaign”.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, an Anglo-German outfit and one of the City’s “magic circle” gang of five, signed an open letter that called on G20 leaders “to redirect public spending towards keeping the 1.5C climate goal within reach, and to strengthen national climate targets”.

Rounding out the green week, the Chancery Lane Project, which includes 200 legal profession organisations, published a “net-zero toolkit to help lawyers amend their contracts to meet net-zero goals”. Matthew Gingell, the project’s chairman and general counsel at Oxygen House, a green investment house, also cracked open the little green book of jargon.

“Whether a company is in the foothills of their net-zero journey, unsure of what exactly net-zero is or where to start, or if they have already implemented climate-aligned clauses and are looking to be more ambitious in their net-zero drafting,” he said, “this toolkit is for everyone. It gives lawyers the tools they need to amend their agreements today to create the best climate outcomes as fast as possible and to lead the way in the race to zero.”
Tweet of the week
@thehumm2010 @BarristerSecret What we need to do is to automate the system. I am sure a Tory Party donor would be willing to employ someone to write an algorithm to dispense justice. Think of all the time and money saved.
The Churn
Simon says solicitors can go to the bench
Solicitors, through their professional body in England and Wales, the Law Society, have been moaning ever since implementation of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 that insufficient of their number are appointed as senior judges.

Times are a-partially changing. Last week not one but two City lawyers — from the same firm, no less, and both named Simon — were among a batch of 40 new deputy High Court judges. Simon Gleeson and Simon Tinkler (pictured above), partners at Clifford Chance, started the part-time role at the beginning of this month.

Other solicitors on the list were Richard Farnhill from Allen & Overy, Campbell Forsyth from Dentons and James Healy-Pratt from Keystone.
Quote mark
Quote of the day
“I went to Top Man and bought a cream waistcoat and trousers and a black collarless shirt with silver buttons.”
Barrister Peter Eguae telling The Brief about the clobber he bought for a fortnight's work experience at the Crown Prosecution Service
Times law reports
Court of Appeal: Conditional permission to bring a derivative claim not appropriate
Where a claimant applied for permission under rule 19.9 of the Civil Procedure Rules to bring a derivative claim in circumstances where it had also brought a separate claim to rectify a defendant company’s register of members to record the claimant as the legal owner of shares in that defendant and therefore establish its standing to bring the derivative claim, the correct approach for the court was to adjourn or stay the permission application until determination of the rectification proceedings within a reasonable time.
Read the full story >
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