Michael Gove is a sincere, intelligent man who is doing the right thing. And we trust him at our peril.

Gawd bless that nice Mr Gove! Why, in only a few months he has already been fulsomely complimentary about how smashing we barristers are, has made some tremendously liberal squeaks about rehabilitating prisoners, and successfully squared up to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on how it’s a rum idea to offer to teach the Saudis how to dismember their own prisoners. And now,…

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Gayle Newland’s sentence was both entirely proper and wildly disproportionate

And so here we are again. The relentless churn through the predictable life-cycle of the tabloid-tickling criminal case. Unusual case through to polarising verdict, through to “controversial” sentence and culminating in a red-top digging out a different case sentenced by the same judge to make whatever point fits their agenda. The unusual case du jour…

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Witnesses in criminal cases deserve to know the truth

The criminal courts are horrible. That is an inalienable truth. It is also a succinct way of summarising the findings of a report published last week by the Criminal Justice Alliance following a 20-month study of the Crown Courts. The paper – Structured Mayhem: Personal Experiences of the Crown Court – relies on observations of…

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Who needs Donald Trump when you have Philip Davies MP?

In my time I’ve shot the breeze with some fairly rum types. The kind of cads you probably wouldn’t want to be sat next to at one of those Islington-metropolitan-elite dinner parties to which people with my views are allegedly invited. Men who’ve killed random people for sport. Parents who’ve raped their five-year-old children. Premiership footballers….

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Sexism? Welcome to the Bar, love.

When I was a baby barrister, one particular instructing solicitor used to send me his most unappealing, horrible clients on the basis that, in his words, “You look like a child, and judges will find it harder to slam my clients with your little babyface peeking up at them”. At the time I accepted the backhanded compliment with…

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Bozo the clown shows that the government doesn’t even understand its own grotesque Criminal Courts Charge

Do not mistake this for a witch-hunt. It is not. Rather, it is a ninny-hunt. In fact, if there was sufficient slogan space on the t-shirts that I, as a modern-day Thomas Danforth, would distribute to the villagers along with their flaming torches, it is a Legally-Illiterate-Ninny-Who-Has-Inexplicably-Found-His-Hands-On-The-Oxidated-Levers-of-Justice hunt. Shailesh Vara MP, the under-secretary of state at the Ministry…

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Bozo the clown and the court closures

A somewhat disheartening intervention yesterday from junior justice minister Shailesh Vara, the mendacious bozo behind the false statistics on barristers’ earnings fiasco, as his written ministerial statement heralds a consultation envisaging the closure of 91 courts and tribunals. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Courts and Legal Aid made the following observation: “The estate costs taxpayers…

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The ballad of Steak Pants Man and the Criminal Courts Charge

This week brought forth a shimmering example of the perfect insanity of former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s parting gift to the criminal justice system. Insanity for which you, the taxpayer, are going to pay. In his last weeks in office, Mr Grayling snuck in through the legislative back-door secondary legislation giving effect to the Criminal…

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