Lawyer, represent thyself!

Dear Reader,

You might expect that a doctor could diagnose  his own complaint or that an accountant would never go bankrupt, or that a lawyer would never fail to make a case for himself.

How often is the opposite true.

The criminal lawyers in Northern Ireland make the point, rightly, that the new legal aid fees do not allow them to properly represent their clients.

Put another way. If they were to carry out, diligently, all the work necessary to give their clients a proper  defence, the lawyer would be working for minimum wage , or less.

The same situation obtains in England. There, many senior legal figures  have spoken out. Here, Mr Justice Weir ,tentatively,  put his bewigged head over the parapet.

Ford has a budget and says that it is not his role to provide work for lawyers. True. But it is his role to see that justice is served.

Justice is something that happens to others until you are arrested.

But I digress. The Bar is at best lukewarm to the issue. You see, the fat cats and the civil lawyers are rather like the public. It’s not going to happen to them.

Worse, the lawyers who are supposed to defend the accused and make a case for them have made a pretty poor case for themselves, when compared to the junior doctors.

As some might say, in that case, they deserve all they get [or don’t].

The Bar Council and reality

At a time when access to legal aid is more restrictive since the 1960s and when criminal legal aid access threatens to lead to many miscarriages of justice, it is reassuring to see that the Bar Council is in touch with the common man.

On its website it quotes Aristotle. Not a premier league footballer nor a eurovsion singer but a person who was born in 384 BC.

He taught Alexander the Great , whose forces raped and conquered the entire world. A sort of old fashioned IS. When Alexander had found no new worlds  to conquer, according to Plutarch, ‘he wept”. As one would. As Hitler would have done, or Pol Pot, given a break.

So there, the Bar Council wants you to know about Aristotle. So when your child is taken from you, or sexually abused or worse, don’t worry be Aristotle…

What planet does Gerry McAlinden and his Council inhabit? Of course , being chairman of the Bar Council often leads to the High Court bench, how silly of me….