Many lawyers shared the surprise of Conservative MPs Dominic Grieve and Henry Bellingham when David Cameron gave neither a position in the Ministry of Justice in May. The legal profession had spent the last 12 months schmoozing the pair, who were widely expected to become justice secretary and legal aid minister respectively. In fact Grieve became attorney general and Bellingham was despatched to the Foreign Office. But their surprise, it seems, was nothing compared to that of those who were appointed to the MoJ. Giving his first major speech since taking office, justice secretary Ken Clarke last week candidly revealed that his entire ministerial team had not been expecting their appointments. Clarke said that, like his colleagues, he had been ‘set to go elsewhere’. Clarke said he was very happy that he had not retired, and was pleased with his new office as it is a ‘serious subject…with serious responsibilities’. Obiter suggests that the two reviews announced last week by the MoJ – one of criminal justice, and the other of the family justice system – could present the legal profession with an opportunity to educate the team on how things should be done.