The Law Society has made an official complaint over what it says were ‘inappropriate comments’ by a Crown court judge about the alleged incompetence of three solicitor-advocates.
Chancery Lane has written to Mr Justice Calvert-Smith, the presiding judge of the south-eastern circuit, about remarks made by Judge Gledhill QC in open court at the end of a two-week trial at Southwark Crown Court. Gledhill criticised the performance of three solicitor-advocates and suggested that their firms had chosen to keep the case in-house for financial reasons.
The two firms involved deny the accusations (see  Gazette, 23 April, 1).
A spokesman said: ‘The Law Society is extremely dismayed to read Judge Gledhill’s inappropriate comments about solicitor-advocates, made without giving the advocates concerned any opportunities to comment or respond.
‘Judge Gledhill has acted improperly, and by mishandling the matter has caused substantial harm to the solicitor-advocates concerned. We expect an assurance that this sort of judicial misconduct will not be repeated.’
Des Hudson, the Law Society’s chief executive, said: ‘Any solicitor-advocate inappropriately treated by a judge can be confident of the Society’s full support.’
Gledhill declined to comment.
Meanwhile, the Society of Solicitor Advocates in Scotland held an extraordinary meeting to discuss criticisms made of solicitor-advocates in an unsuccessful appeal following a murder trial. The consensus was that objective advice should be given at all times to help clients make an informed choice of representative.