PLUS: Women reign supreme
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The Times
Friday June 21 2019
The Brief
Jonathan Ames
By Jonathan Ames
Good morning.

Who’s up for a spot of Friday …?

Whitehall lawyers could certainly do with getting away from it all. First the government has taken a hit from the Court of Appeal, which has ruled that arms sales to Saudi Arabia are unlawful. Then the Home Office no-warning removal policy has also been branded unlawful in court by campaigners.

One former law officer is keeping busy despite the approaching weekend — Peter Goldsmith, QC, Labour’s ex-attorney-general, is gearing up to head an inquiry into gambling and crime.

If you are thinking of popping down to the beauty salon before a big Friday night out, check out the court award of £10,000 for a hair dryer injury.

And it is good to see that the Ministry of Justice is finally getting round to sorting out the many broken boilers and leaky roofs afflicting the court estate in England and Wales. See our Blue Bag diary for details.

All that and more in this morning’s must-read of all things legal, including news, comment and gossip.

Catherine Baksi, a freelance journalist, contributed to today’s bulletin.
Today
COURT RULING HALTS ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA
Taxi rapist Worboys admits to four more druggings
Barristers 'must report unreasonable judges'
Tweet us @timeslaw with your views.
 
Story of the Day
Court ruling halts arms sales to Saudi Arabia
Ministers have temporarily suspended the award of new arms exports licences to Saudi Arabia after campaigners won a significant legal challenge at the Court of Appeal.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) argued that continuing to license the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia was unlawful owing to alleged violations of international humanitarian law by a coalition of forces led by the Gulf kingdom in the Yemeni civil war.
Read the full story >
Best Law Firms 2020
We need your views for The Times Best Law Firms 2020
Last year we asked the legal profession who they rated as the best firms and law professionals in England in a ground-breaking peer to peer survey of the industry. You can read about the results here.

This year's survey will be published later this year and for the first time will include a separate listing for Scotland. If you are a legal professional and would like to give us your views on The Times Best Law Firms 2020 click here to take part in our short survey.
 
Comment
Floating on the stock market offers law firms a raft of opportunities
Ditching the partnership model can unlock capital for investment and boost diversity, writes Matthew Doughty

Shifting from partnership to PLC can be too radical a change in culture for many law firms, but those that are agile and innovative can reap the benefits.
Read the full story >
News round-up
Taxi rapist Worboys admits to four more druggings
John Worboys, the black cab rapist, has admitted to drugging four more women in order to sexually assault or rape them. Worboys, who came close to release last year, targeted women who hailed his cab and drugged them in order to attack them. At an Old Bailey hearing yesterday morning he pleaded guilty to offences against the women, who came forward last year after a backlash over plans to release him.
Read the full story >
Barristers ‘must report unreasonable judges’
Judges cannot expect lawyers to work all hours of the day, the most senior family court judge has said, amid concerns over stress in the legal profession. In an online blog Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division, said he had seen two tweets at the weekend in which senior family court barristers described “oppressive and unreasonable judicial behaviour”.
Read the full story >
Home Office no-warning removals are ‘unlawful’
A charity is challenging a “manifestly unfair” Home Office policy that allows the forcible removal of migrants from the UK in a case before the High Court. The court suspended the “no-warning” practice in March, after the challenge was lodged by the charity Medical Justice, amid fears that migrants were being denied a fair chance to put their case before being removed — often because they were not represented by lawyers.
Read the full story >
Former attorney-general leads inquiry into gambling and crime
A former Labour attorney-general is to lead the first study to investigate the links between crime and problem gambling. The Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling, set up by the prison reform charity the Howard League for Penal Reform, will run for three years under Lord Goldsmith, QC.
Read the full story >
Banker wins £10,000 after being burnt at hair salon
A banker has won £10,000 from a hair salon after suffering a 20p-size burn on her head from a hot dryer. Sarina Saul-Hassam, a senior financier at HSBC’s Canary Wharf office in London, told a judge that colleagues stared at her after the injury. It caused a “very noticeable” burn mark on the centre of her forehead and left her feeling self-conscious at work.
Read the full story >
In Brief
  • Ex-MP tells court of ‘Kafkaesque nightmare’ after Carl Beech sex ring claims – The Times
  • Scotland 'will not extend legal recognition to non-binary people' – Pink News
  • How companies are drawing top legal talent in-house – Financial Times
Twitter
Tweet of the day
Wonderful moment in my trial today:- HHJ: Right it’s nearly 4 o’clock, that’s enough for today. To be honest I’ve got to pick my kids up from school. Top judge.
@wardbarrister
Comment
Businesses cannot afford to be complacent after #MeToo
Misconduct complaints are an opportunity to improve workplace culture and avoid future issues arising, write Chris Chapman and Chris Fisher

The impact of the #MeToo movement on UK businesses is not only a matter of liability — allegations of sexual misconduct can destroy brands, devastate share prices and disrupt management structures.
Read the full story >
Blue Bag
Women to reign Supreme
Catherine Yass, a Turner prize-nominated artist, above, is to create a piece for the Supreme Court to commemorate the centenary of the 1919 Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which paved the way for women to practise law.

The work, commissioned by the First 100 Years project, which archives and celebrates women in law, will feature female legal pioneers and will be the first time that women from the legal profession have been portrayed at the Supreme Court. It will be displayed in courtroom two, where the first majority-female court — three out of five justices — sat in October 2018.

Yass, who trained at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, the Hochschule der Künst in Berlin and Goldsmiths College, London, is known for her films and brightly coloured photographs, which usually combine a mixture of positive and negative imagery.

She was chosen through a competitive process, judged by a panel that included Baroness Hale of Richmond, president of the Supreme Court, and Mark Ormerod, its chief executive, with the help of advisers from the Contemporary Art Society. Lady Hale said she was thrilled that there would be a piece of art that would commemorate the achievements of women in the law and provide inspiration for the future.

Dana Denis-Smith, founder of the First 100 Years, said: “By commemorating these women in the Supreme Court, we will be sending a powerful message about the value of women’s contribution to the law.”

The Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives — the bodies that represent almost all lawyers in England and Wales — have put their heads together to send a similar message about the value of women.

At the society’s international symposium on gender equality yesterday they launched a Women in Law pledge designed to encourage firms to commit to making the profession more diverse. Organisations that sign the pledge will commit to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the profession, setting clear plans and targets around gender equality and diversity and publishing an action plan and publicly reporting on progress.
Man from the ministry updates on broken boilers and leaky roofs
Such is the condition of the court estate that the Ministry of Justice sent out a statement yesterday with details of its court maintenance over the past year.

Literally to stop the roofs falling in on the English justice system, the Treasury doled out an extra £15 million on top of the £8 million 2018-19 maintenance budget to fix more than 450 problems at about 200 courts.

This included roof repairs at Chester crown court, new lifts at Swansea civil justice centre and Thames magistrates’ court, new boilers at Newton Abbot, Peterlee and Plymouth magistrates’ courts, redecoration at Leeds combined court and security improvements at Croydon combined court.

But, according to the spoof twitter feeds @MaidstoneCCLift and @CourtLift, the money did not stretch to mending the lifts at Maidstone crown court or Reading county court, which are out of order. As the author of @MaidstoneCCLift related: “I’m out of order. You’re out of order. This whole system’s out of order!”
Quote mark
Quote of the day
"Trying cases at first instance puts you in the best position to continue that process of understanding and remembering the advice I offer to every judge I have sworn in: to reflect that the most important person in court is the person who is likely to lose and who has to feel that he or she has had a fair crack of the whip — a fair trial."
Sir Brian Leveson, president of the Queen's Bench division, giving a valedictory address at the Faculty of Law, University College London.
Read the full story >
Closing Statement
Friends for life
Perhaps the best compliment I was ever paid as an advocate (writes James Morton) came when, in the early days of the Crown Prosecution Service, I was acting as a prosecution agent.

During the magistrates’ coffee break a woman in the public gallery waved at me. “You don’t remember me,” she said, “but you defended my husband for murder. I’m here for my son who’s up for drugs.”

I was about to say I would make sure someone else prosecuted when the boy’s advocate turned up and barked: “What are you doing speaking to my client’s mother?”

He was firmly put in his place. “He’s not a pros,” said the mother, referring to me. “He’s a friend.”

James Morton is a former criminal law solicitor and now author
 
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