Who? Trevor Asserson, senior partner, Asserson Law Offices, London.
Why is he in the news? The High Court ruled that a controversial ‘cab rank’ policy adopted by north London coroner Mary Hassell was unlawful. Asserson represented Jewish funeral organiser Adath Yisroel Burial Society, which issued judicial review proceedings.
The Gazette was told in a statement that the senior coroner looks forward to the Chief Coroner’s new guidance. She will then consult with stakeholders, before producing her own policy. This will take into account all relevant considerations, including the special needs of each individual family, in accordance with the High Court judgment.
Thoughts on the case: ‘[The coroner] or her policy have been described variously as “over-rigid”, “irrational”, “discriminatory” and “unlawful”. That was our assessment from the start.
‘The fact that she has now issued another ill-thought- through protocol, stating that she “will consider every family for priority” indicates that she might have learned nothing from this judgment. Obviously to prioritise everybody is to prioritise virtually no one, and would be, in our opinion, unlawful and discriminatory.’
Dealing with the media: ‘At Asserson we have always recognised the importance of informing the media as swiftly as possible, but it was even more important here, as the media interest was extraordinary and consistent. That speaks well of its sensitive antennae for diversity issues. From the start, we ensured that the media were well briefed – not only on the legal developments, but also the views of our client AYBS. The interest of the prime minister, Sadiq Khan, MPs and many others has been heartening as well.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘To work with friends, have fun, earn money, help people (both clients and colleagues) and have a job I love – mission more or less accomplished.’
Career high: ‘Building and running an English law firm based in Tel Aviv, staffed by brilliant lawyers and lovely colleagues, and working on ground-breaking cases while totally disrupting industry norms. I am living the high every minute.’
Career low: ‘Turning up at court on day one of a new job, clutching the wrong file and not even knowing my client’s name. My opponent found me, filled me in and I won the hearing.’