First we had the shelving of the Legal Services Board’s report on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s actions before the collapse of Axiom Ince. Now the pre-election shutdown – the phenomenon formerly known as purdah – has claimed more victims in the legal world.

A star attraction at Saturday’s annual Bar Conference should have been the lord chancellor, Alex Chalk (pictured). Alas he pulled out, along with Victoria Prentis, Shabana Mahmood and Sir Robert Buckland. But never mind: party politics were represented by a session with Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Labour), Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (Liberal Democrat) and Sir Bob Neill (Conservative). 

Alex Chalk

Source: Thomas Krych/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock

A more bizarre cancellation was that of the LawtechUK Conference, which had been scheduled for this Wednesday at London’s Mansion House. Organisers LawtechUK told us last week that the event is now off until after July’s poll. ‘This decision was made following careful consideration by the Ministry of Justice of pre-election guidance,’ Obiter was told. ‘LawtechUK is hopeful that we will be able to reschedule the event in the future and will keep you informed of any developments.’

Obviously the announcement set us wondering what it was about the event that could possibly prejudice the outcome on 4 July. True, the LawtechUK programme is funded by the MoJ – and the dosh is due to run out in March next year. But we cannot imagine even the most obsessive lawtech enthusiast letting the issue decide their vote.

Or was it something on the event’s programme? Perhaps the fact that it will be the only major legal technology event in history not to feature an address by Professor Richard Susskind?