Tag Archives: QC

An Article from M’Lud Magazine

GIVING THE GIFTED A GIFT

In barely a blink of an eye, awards season has come around again. And with it comes the dilemma – what to get that newly minted QC or Recorder as their appointment gift?

Well the lifestyle journos at M’Lud magazine have got their heads together to take the stress out of the act of giving and to make sure you don’t get “court” out. 

This year there are some definite no-nos on the gift front for that someone special. We understand that the perfect present for the part-time Judge in your life would seem to be a gavel. Don’t be fooled. If your nearest and dearest receive the gift of a gavel there would definitely be cries of “Order! Order!”  

Why? As every journalist knows – the court comes with its own gavel. It would be a case of “did you keep the receipt?” all round if the token of your affections turned out to be a double parked little mallet. 

What is the “must avoid” QC congratulatory present? It depends on the practice area of your loved one. If they do crime do not buy anything that hints at having a hobby. No one wants reminding, in their moment of triumph, that they are about to have a lot of time on their hands. That will definitely be a “Silence in Court!” moment. 

Does the new QC do medical negligence? Don’t buy them a medical dictionary. They are already almost a fully qualified doctor, capable of diagnosing the ailments of their colleagues in chambers!

An employment QC? Do not buy them the “Idiot’s Guide to the GMC”. That’s a gift to get them a few months after their appointment, the perfect moment being when you hear them mumble “bloody rise in tribunal fees….”

So what do you buy that special someone in your life when they receive their letter from Her Maj?

There are lots of gift ideas out there. Nothing says “I love you, Your Honour” like the perfect present, tailored to the personality of your newbie member of the judiciary. 

Have they previously spent twenty years doing civil work? Are they now sitting in crime? Easy-peasy. Give them the gift of Archibald. This is a bit of an “adults only” gift. The Chapters on Hearsay and Bad Character are enough to give any civil practitioner sleepless nights! The CJA 2003 is the lawyer’s equivalent of the shower scene from Pyscho.

Does your spouse have a wicked sense of humour? Get them a little black cap. When sentencing burglars they can have hours of endless fun in removing their wig and slipping into something a little more fatal, with hilarious consequences. Simply capital!

If the neophyte, part time Judge has previously been a solicitor and does not have a wig and gown then there are a range of options open to you depending on your budget. 

Here is a bit of an insider’s tip – don’t waste your money on those expensive outfitters just off the Strand. Get yourself an EBay account and search for “Judge’s wig” in Fancy Dress. You get two gifts for the price of one here. A wig for court and a wig when you want to go dressed as Louis XIV!

Of course their appointment as a Recorder is just the very first step. Show them that you share their ambition and buy them some ermine trimmed gloves. There is a specialist website for the personalised gift for the ambitious. Head over to “NotOnTheHighCourtBenchYet.com” and start planning for the pension. 

And why wouldn’t they want to be a High Court Judge? Give them a push in the right direction with a card that mentions their 3%, sector-busting pay rise. 

Is your other half a commercial Silk? The age old dilemma – what do you get the man/woman who already has everything? The answer? Simple. Get them a life…..time subscription to M’Lud magazine, the original Luds’ Mag. 

Any new QC is going to be thrilled to receive the gift of a SatNav. Their profile has reached national recognition. And the road map of their career now has lots of nights away from home. 

If you and your partner have an “appointment” with romance, you can’t fail with a pair of silk stockings. And some patent shoes. And some breeches. Ding-dong!

At this time of year we should not forget the disappointed. Did your other half receive an email from the JAC which they could talk about straight away? Did one of their twelve referees let them down in their Silk’s application?

For the disappointed, aspirant Recorder perhaps they should take comfort from wine. M’Lud’s wine expert recommends a Sauterne or a Tokay. Sour grapes are best avoided. 

And for the deflated, wannabe Silk the perfect gift is the MoJ sponsored QC Appointments gift card – available in denominations of £3,500. 

Her Maj may have given them a Royal Warrant but you can give them the gift that really matters. If your significant other did “the double”, Silk and Recorder in the same year, then this could get expensive. But QC has never stood for “quite cheap”. 

Getting the perfect present is absolutely crucial. Follow our advice and you can’t go wrong. Get it spot on and stay on the right side of the law. 

All rise!

IN THE NEXT EDITION OF M’LUD WE HAVE :

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS FROM INSIDE THE WEDDING OF TWO CELEBRITY LAWYERS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF AND CARE ABOUT EVEN LESS

WE CHAT EXLCUSIVELY TO A LAWYER WHO IS MARRIED TO SOMEONE FAMOUS ABOUT THEIR WORK, THEIR GLAMOUROUS LIFESTYLE AND HOW THE MANAGE TO LOOK SO DARNED STUNNING ALL THE TIME


AND WE BRING YOU EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE OF THE SILKS’ CEREMONY. WHICH QC WILL WIN THIS YEAR’S M’LUD NOBBLY KNEES COMPETITION? WHO WORE WHAT TO THEIR DATE WITH THE LORD CHANCELLOR?

 

The Crook, The Brief, Her Instruction and Your Money

There has been a spate of celebrity trials in recent weeks and months. One feature of the cases stands out. No it is not that they are all sex cases or even the fact they are all famous. The noteworthy aspect is the instruction of a Queen’s Counsel to prosecute the cases. The case of Stuart Hall was prosecuted by a Silk. Coronation Street actors William Roache and Michael le Vell were prosecuted by a Silk. To members of the public these will seem like serious criminal cases and the fact that “QC” appears after the name of those prosecuting the case when they are reported in the news may well not have registered as anything remarkable. However to those regularly appearing in the courts it does stand out. On any given day in Manchester, the courts where I regularly appear, cases of the nature of the aforementioned trials are being conducted without a QC in sight. Indeed I would venture to suggest that sexual cases of more gravity, complexity and involving even more serious consequences are consistently prosecuted by advocates who have not achieved the rank of QC. Cases such as the Rochdale sex ring trial which occurred in Liverpool was prosecuted by Junior counsel.

And the phenomenon is not simply restricted to sex cases. The Huhne/Pryce case was prosecuted by not just a QC but by Treasury Counsel, the best of the best. Now admittedly it involved the defence of marital duress but it was only a pervert the course of justice allegation that merited a few months imprisonment. Even more remarkable is the use of a Silk to prosecute Lord Edward Somerset (news report can be found here) for offences of assault. From the look of the report these were either way offences (in other words cases that are generally less serious) that were resolved by a guilty plea (no trial). I am not for a moment suggesting domestic violence is not serious. However these cases are the type of cases that are dealt with on a daily basis in the Crown Court by some relatively junior advocates.

How is the decision to instruct a QC taken? The CPS have a guide called the decision tree which provides the circumstances leading to the instruction of multiple counsel and the engagement of a Silk. You can see that the last box talks of whether the case features “substantial complicating factors of gravity, sensitivity, complexity or responsibility which could not be adequately prepared and presented other than by Queen’s Counsel”. This is in reality the test as to whether a QC is engaged to prosecute the case. Was William Roache’s case more complex than the majority of sex cases that pass through the courts? Was Lord Somerset’s domestic violence more grave than the domestic violence perpetrated in a high rise in Hulme? It is difficult to say with certainty but it certainly raises the simple question – are these cases being allocated Silks because of the fame or status of the accused?

A case could be made out that the status of the accused may make the case one of greater sensitivity, if you read sensitivity to mean invoking interest from the press and therefore the public. However it is difficult to see how this impacts upon the preparation and presentation of the case. If the answer is that these cases are being allocated Silks due to the status of the accused then that is something of concern to us all. Why should the alleged victim of a non-celebrity be any different from the alleged victim of a soap actor? Why should public money be spent in this way? Why would the CPS instruct a junior advocate to prosecute the murder of a spouse but a Silk to prosecute the assault of a spouse with a title?

If the answer is “public interest” then, and I have always firmly believed this, the greatest public interest is in the cases of the utmost gravity being prosecuted and defended by Silks. And by that I mean murder. The public have to see that cases involving the deliberate taking of a life, where Parliament has decreed that there will be a mandatory life sentence, are dealt with by QCs. If there is to be a benchmark as to the instruction of Silk it should not be the fame of the accused. It should be the mark of the nature of the case.

In an ideal world the majority of sex cases would be prosecuted and defended by Silks. In this world they are not. In those circumstances the deciding factor should not be the X-Factor rating of the accused.