Breaking the Law

Stephen Sedley

  • The Work and Organisation of the Legal Profession
    HMSO, 72 pp, £7.10, January 1989, ISBN 0 10 105702 4
  • Contingency Fees
    HMSO, 20 pp, £3.20, January 1989, ISBN 0 10 105712 1

Connoisseurs of fine ironies will be slapping their thighs at the sight of the Bar and the Government with their teeth sunk in each other’s legs, the former egged on by the judiciary, the latter by Dennis Skinner. It’s a fair guess that three-quarters of the Bar are loyal Tory voters. Yet how many of them, and indeed of their colleagues in the centre and on the left, had understood that Thatcherism is not just a tougher brand of Conservatism? What patrician Tories despise as the mentality of the Grantham grocer (as their parents despised Hitler for his vulgarity rather than his politics) is in truth a gut ideology which has no time and no room for any power élite that claims its status as a matter of right. Privilege, inequality, selfishness, exclusivity: these are of course important values, but they are to be earned in a cut-throat marketplace, not gerrymandered in the collegiate seclusion of the Inns of Court.

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