OK it wasn’t exactly Tony Hancock’s take on Twelve Angry Men, but three days of High Court hearings over the lord chancellor’s controversial criminal legal aid reforms included the occasional lighter moment.
Court Three of the Royal Courts of Justice erupted in laughter when an apparently shocked Lord Justice Laws asked who was responsible for inserting a pink heart-shaped Post-it note in his court bundle. The identity of the mystery ‘admirer’ remains unsolved, but perhaps the Valentine’s Day motif is a clue as to when we can expect the judicial review decision.
Later, laughter was mixed with a definite sigh of relief when Laws LJ reminded Martin Chamberlain QC, who was about to start making the lord chancellor’s case for pressing ahead with two-tier contracts for criminal legal aid, that it was 4.10pm on a Friday.
‘I think I know how to take a hint,’ Chamberlain responded. Adjourned to Monday.
But for Obiter the highlight of the hearing was definitely the performance of Dinah Rose QC, for the Law Society, as she ripped into the lord chancellor’s case. Chamberlain opened by saying that he had 10 contextual points to make: as soon as he was done, Rose jumped to her feet and said she had counted only four.