Ten momentous cases which have changed the way we live and are governed
The legal system is the guarantee of civilisation as disputes are decided rationally and peacefully. Advocacy in Britain has influenced the legal systems of 53 countries and has a sway across a third of the world’s population. At the heart of the law is the court system and its lifeblood is the Bar.
Professor Gary Slapper
The Bar is the most powerful profession in the country. No other profession, for example, has produced as many Prime Ministers. The Bar produces a spectacular array of leading campaigners, public figures, millionaires, and the judges who shape our law. The Bar is the largest single professional group in Parliament. Every day in courtrooms throughout the country barristers animate our law. At the heart of our democracy is our law, and at the heart of our law is the Bar.
Barristers are known for many things, including their wit when in front of the judge. The advocate F E Smith was famous for such exchanges. JUDGE: Mr Smith, having listened to your case, I am no wiser. SMITH: Possibly not, m’lud, but much better informed. And in a case, when Smith had directed a jury on a point of procedure instead of leaving it to the judge: JUDGE: What do you suppose I am on the bench for, Mr Smith?’ SMITH: It is not for me, Your Honour, to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. Barristers, though, are also a key part of the machinery of democracy. What rights you have as an employee or employer, as a driver, parent, student, civil partner, campaigner, immigrant, consumer, householder, tenant or landlord are all governed by law. The ultimate safeguard that your rights will be protected is the legal system, and barristers are the blood that runs through the courts. The law courts are, and have been for many centuries, places where our law is manufactured. This is called “common law” (because it applies to all of us in...