PLUS: Tale of the silk's new gloves
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The Times
Tuesday March 12 2019
The Brief
Jonathan Ames
By Jonathan Ames
Good morning.

Processes for prosecuting the mentally ill need to be recalibrated, Max Hill, QC, has said, but the director of public prosecutions insists that the revised policy is not about driving down trials.

Meanwhile, MPs tell ministers to ensure that they protect human rights after Brexit, and a Christian student launches a landmark appeal after being thrown off his course over his “anti-gay” views.

Scroll down to our Churn column to find out which leading legal academic is going to head up the University of Law’s outpost in Hong Kong. And check out our Blue Bag diary for the tale of centenary silks and a pair of gloves.

All that and more in this morning’s must-read of all things legal, including news, comment and gossip.
Today
Chief prosecutor demands justice for the mentally ill
Law firm breaks new ground with £366m flotation
Ex-DPP tells ministers to crack down on economic crime
Comment: Criminal justice must be fair to those with mental ill health
Tweet us @timeslaw with your views.
 
Story of the Day
Chief prosecutor demands  justice for the mentally ill
Mentally ill offenders should only be prosecuted when it is in the public ­interest, the country’s chief prosecutor has said.
Max Hill, QC, the director of public prosecutions, opened a consultation on changing how the criminal justice system deals with those suffering from mental health issues. Changing the guidance to prosecutors would be a significant reform.
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Comment
Criminal justice must be fair to those with mental ill health
Prosecutors need robust guidance for cases where the defendant is affected, writes Max Hill

Mental health is an issue of growing significance. Great strides have been made to break down social taboos that surround talking about it and many high profile figures have bravely discussed their own experiences to help end the stigma.
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News round-up
Law firm breaks new ground with £366m flotation
The boss of DWF has become one of the wealthiest lawyers in the City after the mid-tier law firm broke new ground for the industry by listing on the main market of the London Stock ­Exchange (Tabby Kinder writes).
Sir Nigel Knowles (pictured), 61, DWF’s chairman, received shares worth £3.3 million, while Andrew Leaitherland, 49, who has run the firm since 2006, got shares worth £8.7 million.
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Ex-DPP tells ministers to crack down on economic crime
A criminal offence of corporate liability is needed to stop economic crime which is costing the UK hundreds of billions of pounds, a former chief prosecutor has said.
Alison Saunders (pictured), the former director of public prosecutions and now a partner at the “magic circle” firm Linklaters, said that the need for “new laws to allow more and easier corporate prosecutions” had become “increasingly apparent”.
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Christian student launches appeal over ‘anti-gay’ views
A Christian student thrown off his university course for “anti-gay” Facebook posts is launching a Court of Appeal challenge today against the decision.
Felix Ngole (pictured), 40, claims that the hearing is a bid to protect the rights of six million doctors, lawyers and other professionals to express their beliefs.
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Protect human rights after Brexit, MPs tell ministers
Human rights must be at the heart of post-Brexit international agreements, MPs have said, claiming that Britain’s present safeguarding system is not working.
The joint committee on human rights, chaired by Harriet Harman (pictured), urged ministers to ensure that human rights standards are upheld in all international agreements.
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In Brief
  • Begum’s family plead for Javid to change his mind – The Times
  • Surge in prosecutions of British jihadists 'may never happen' – The Guardian
  • Heathrow third runway challenge to say Chris Grayling ignored facts – The Times
  • All hail the demise of the male-shaped law firm pyramid – The Lawyer
Comment
Social media should be responsible for libels
More and more cases are being brought against individuals for Twitter defamation, but it is not only them to blame, Steven Heffer writes

AC Grayling’s victory last week in a Twitter libel case has set down a marker to those who think they can attack and insult people online with impunity.
Read the full story >
Twitter
Tweet of the day
Just amazing the savings a young barrister can make on eBay
@familybrief
Media law update
Have celebrity expectations of privacy gone too far?
Magazines voice concern after complaints over ‘affectionate’ gossip stories, reports Alex Wade

Celebrities thrive on the oxygen of publicity and will gladly ramp up the public displays of affection when it suits them. They can, however, be shy when coverage is not exactly what their PRs had hoped for. Several recent rulings from the Independent Press Standards Organisation have brought this paradox into relief.
Read the full story >
Blue Bag
Centenary silks
It was a cornucopia of big wigs, fancy collars and cuffs, and buckled shoes yesterday as 108 recently appointed QCs trooped in to make their declaration before the lord chancellor.

One of the 30 women among their number carried with her a pair of white silk gloves to mark the centenary this year of women being allowed to enter the legal profession.The gloves also pay tribute to the criminal barrister Nemone Lethbridge, who was not able to become a silk.

Now in her 80s, Lethbridge represented the notorious Kray twins in their early days. But she was forced to leave the Bar for almost 20 years after it was became public that she was married to a convicted murderer — Jimmy “Ginger” O’Connor — and she is still fighting to prove his innocence.

Lethbridge’s story was recently uncovered by Katie Gollop, QC, when she bought an old scrapbook that contained newspaper clippings about her cases. Last summer Gollop bought a glove box containing white silks gloves and glove stretchers at the same Wiltshire auction house from where she had purchased the scrapbook.

She told The Brief that they had reminded her of one the many anecdotes from Lethbridge’s early days at the Bar: her pupil master had raised an eyebrow at her sartorial choice, exclaiming “pink gloves, at the Old Bailey”.

“I also thought of silks day and how great it would be if there was a way of keeping Nemone’s name alive by starting a tradition where each year, the glove box is handed over to a new female criminal silk,” she said.

Lethbridge sent a message to accompany the gloves, reading: “Congratulations centenary silk! Onwards and upwards forever! With love and admiration!”The inaugural bearer of the “Lethbridge Gloves” was Narita Bahra of 2 Hare Court, who also became the 445th female silk appointed.Bahra (pictured) told The Brief that it was “an absolute honour” to carry the gloves, adding: “I never thought that I — an Asian woman from a state school — would be taking silk.”
Judicial, not domestic, goddess
The Court of Appeal bench could have been denied the experience of one of its leading women judges had her cooking skills been better.

Lady Justice Hallett, the state-educated policeman’s daughter, told her fellow judge Lady Justice Nicola Davies: “I didn’t plan to be a lawyer because people from my background, especially women, didn't become lawyers. And my teachers thought I should become a domestic science teacher.”

In a podcast released by the judiciary to mark International Women’s Day last week, Lady Justice Hallett recounted her amusement at that proposal given her lack of ability in the kitchen. “I’m not exactly a domestic goddess,” she said.

Looking back over their careers, Lady Justice Davies said she regretted studying a law degree, adding: “If I was advising the teenage me, I would say to her, ‘do English or history at university’ — which is what I wanted to do.

“I didn’t realise that I could do a non-law degree and then become a lawyer. It would have given me a breadth at that early age, 18 onwards, that I didn’t have.”

On this point the pair disagreed, as Lady Justice Hallett, who studied jurisprudence, “loved reading law”.

She also dispelled the notion that life on the bench is lonesome, dismissing the portrait painted by the author behind Rumpole of the Bailey, John Mortimer, of a judge eating his sandwiches by himself. “I never found being a judge lonely,” she said cheerily. “I’ve made dozens of friends since I became a judge – there is always someone I can talk to, to confide in and to comfort me.”

Despite reaching the top of the profession — Lady Justice Hallett was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2005 and is vice-president of the criminal division, and last year Lady Justice Davies became the first Welsh woman at the appellate court — both confessed to suffering from “imposter syndrome”, where they have doubted their ability to do their job.

“We don’t have male colleagues who suffer from this,” Lady Justice Hallett said, while Lady Justice Davies suggested: “Whether men lack confidence, I don't know, but I think they are better at faking it.”

Whatever the feelings of confidence or self-doubt felt by their brother judges, they both agreed on the need to bolster the women following in their footsteps. “We need to ensure that we support and encourage women. If they think they’ve been knocking on a door that’s closed to them, we’ve got to persuade them to keep knocking on the door because it may open.”
Quote mark
Quote of the day
“From a labourer to a QC in three generations, albeit over 149 years. That is social mobility …The honour and role that I receive today was simply impossible for my grandfather.”
Jamie Hamilton, QC, of Nine St John Street chambers in Manchester, who took silk yesterday, writing on his blog A View from the North
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