Who? Richard Parry, consultant and senior solicitor at Saunders Solicitors, London. 

Richard Parry

Why is he in the news? Acted for Ernest Moret, a French publisher arrested under anti-terror laws on his way to a book fair. Moret was awarded substantial damages by the Metropolitan Police.

Thoughts on the case: ‘Civil liberties lawyers have long expressed concern over the abuse of police powers to stop and detain under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act. In this case the police clearly crossed the line by detaining someone for questioning on public order matters, rather than terrorism. The Independent Reviewer said this stop should never have happened. It is a very useful case in a difficult area where there is almost no defence except to argue abuse of process. We hope that the schedule 7 code of practice will be amended. My client still awaits a formal apology from the [Met Police] commissioner.’

The Met Police said: ‘The details of the settlement remain private, and we will not be commenting on it further. We cooperated with a review into the circumstances of this case, carried out by Jonathan Hall KC. Following the publication of his report, we also voluntarily referred the matter to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC). The IOPC subsequently directed the Met to carry out a local investigation and that is ongoing.’

Dealing with the media: ‘I was fortunate my client was a publisher on his way to the London Book Fair so I was able to leverage his media contacts even while he was in custody. As a result, there was something of a press storm and coverage was sympathetic. I had a lot of press contact and requests for quotes, and had assistance from my client’s publishing company who translated our press release and distributed it through the French media. I had friendly contact with a number of journalists. The Guardian in particular ran several positive articles.’

Why become a lawyer? ‘My first love was history, but, politically, I was keen to help people who found themselves on the wrong side of the law and the state. After a stint as an outdoor clerk and police station rep, I took the CPE conversion course and then the LPC, which I enjoyed immensely.’

Career high: ‘Every little victory is a career high. The greatest thanks often come from vulnerable clients in comparatively “trivial” cases who would have been completely unable to defend themselves in court without legal assistance. Such victories always make me feel I am doing something worthwhile.’

Career low: ‘Once, under pressure, I was sharp with a highly motivated political client, who wanted me to run a difficult legal argument over a fairly minor charge. We won her case, but I regretted my sharp words and made sure I never lost my temper with a client again.’