Friday, 20 April 2012

That's why I joined up...Miss Middleton and what a performance from that Scots judge.....

Paul Mendelle QC in the Guardian on why I went to the Bar:

The shortest answer is to say that we don't defend people who are guilty of these crimes; we defend people who are accused of them and who tell us they are not guilty. Contrary to just about every drama series on TV, barristers do not provide their clients with defences. It's the other way around: clients give us their instructions, and we are bound to act strictly upon them. The joke among barristers is that if we were in the business of providing our clients with defences, we'd come up with something a damn sight better than they do.
The more complex answer is that one of the most fundamental rules of our profession, and what distinguishes barristers from all other advocates such as solicitors, is the cab-rank principle: we are obliged to act for our clients and we cannot refuse to act because the nature of the case is personally objectionable to us or to a section of the public, or because the conduct, opinions or beliefs of the client are unacceptable. It is enshrined in our code of conduct, and we fight hard to preserve it. That means that we cannot refuse to act for the sex offender who claims that the 11-year-old girl was sexually precocious and "led him on", the antisemitic terrorist who says that the bomb in a public place was just a hoax, the demonstrators who want to kill a cartoonist, or the woman accused of torturing her baby to death. The rule applies whether the client is paying privately or is publicly funded.
And who would want it any other way? It's not for us to substitute our opinion of guilt, still less our distaste or repugnance, for the judgment of the court. What kind of society would we have if barristers could choose not to represent defendants merely because they disapproved of their views? That's a short route to a police state. How are the poor, the ill educated, the illiterate and the disadvantaged to defend themselves against the state with all its powers and resources if they cannot call upon advocates to guide them through the thickets of the law, to speak on their behalf, and put their case fairly before the court?

Did Pippa Middleton break French criminal law?

Waving a gun, real or fake, at a photographer is a crime in France. Pippa Middleton and her friend, allegedly a lawyer, are reported to have been questioned by French police. Has she broken the law?

Plus I am loving Scots judicial robes - and what a brilliantly dour TV performance...

1 comment:

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