If you want a break from the Olympics, tune in to ITV1 tonight at 9pm to catch the first of a revealing two-part behind-the-scenes documentary about the lawyers and colourful clients at the Manchester office of Tuckers.
The Briefs was made by film-makers Chameleon Television, who spent a year with the firm, which for the uninitiated is the largest criminal practice in the country. It deals with around 10,000 cases a year, more than half of which are legally aided. ‘At a time when the legal system is under scrutiny this is how the justice system really works,’ narrator Nicholas Jones tells viewers.
During the first programme we meet Alex, a man with 22 previous convictions for burglary, who is charged with burglary; 63-year-old Vera, the ‘oldest drug dealer in town’ charged with possession with intent to supply; Malcolm, charged with blackmailing Coleen Rooney after her camera containing family photos went missing; Gary, a convicted sex offender charged with harassing the victim; and Nigel, who is charged with racially aggravated assault.
We also encounter some of the straight-talking team of lawyers who advise and assist the mixed bag of people navigating their way through the justice system. Of the clients encountered, two plead guilty. The outcomes for the three who pleaded not guilty are mixed - one changes their mind in the witness box; another gets the case binned; and the third is acquitted following a half-time submission.
If you want to know which is which, tune in. And for those solicitors who don’t know anything about criminal practice, Obiter recommends you give it a whirl too - it’ll be eye-opening.