Obiter braved freezing temperatures on Tuesday to head to committee room 15 in the Palace of Westminster, where representatives of the Bar Council, Bar Standards Board, CILEX and CILEx Regulation were grilled by the Commons justice select committee on regulation of the legal professions.
The Law Society will be giving evidence next week so there were no awkward encounters in the corridor. Chancery Lane has objected to CILEX’s proposals to switch regulator and protested that allowing execs to call themselves ‘chartered lawyers’ will confuse the public (of course it will – that’s surely the point).
Given the cold weather and 4pm start, Obiter was not expecting the evidence session to draw a huge crowd – so was surprised to see a gaggle of students quietly make their way along the back benches halfway through. Regulation of the legal professions is not exactly a topic that screams excitement so Obiter assumes either nothing else was going on in parliament or the committee room was doubling as a ‘warm bank’.
Still, it was a shame the students did not walk in a couple of minutes earlier, when committee member and solicitor MP James Daly livened things up by accusing CILEX of doing over solicitors. They did arrive just in time to hear CILEX chair Chris Bones acknowledge Daly’s ‘general defence’ of the solicitor profession and the MP’s testy if slightly incoherent reply: ‘It is not a defence, it’s your deliberate attempt to destroy it’