National politics

Welcome to the 21st century Michael Mansfield QC

91 Farringdon Street

A huge scalp for Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and his reforms of legal aid. Extreme left wing barrister Michael Mansfield is winding up his fancy barristers chambers at 81 Farringdon Street.

The spin from Mansfield & co. is:

The dissolution of Chambers is the direct result of government policies on Legal Aid. The public service we provide is dependent on public funding. 90% of our work is publicly funded. The government policies led by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling are cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law.

These changes may be devastating for Mansfield’s expense account. They may require him to work from home like 100,000s of other professionals who wouldn’t dream of hiring out expensive offices in the West End. He might have to learn to use a PC and do without a secretary. The changes will not affect the rule of law or access to justice. Welcome to the 21st century Mr Mansfield.

If you read a bit further down the press release you get to the meat of the thing:

Michael Mansfield QC and others are actively pursuing the possibility of reconfiguring resources in order to create a new and alternative working model based on an electronic hub and a compact physical space. This is particularly intended to support publicly funded practitioners who are committed to continuing the struggle for social justice both inside and outside the courts.

The Telegraph goes on to say:

Mr Mansfield said he plans to form his own, low-cost chambers “within the near future”.

Fifteen barristers from Tooks are expected to join the new set, to be called Mansfield Chambers, which will keep overheads low by employing fewer clerks, sharing desks in cheaper offices and using free computer software.

So, in future this privatised extension of the public services will be run more efficiently eschewing expensive real estate. You can find more info here.

One reply on “Welcome to the 21st century Michael Mansfield QC”

Surely the answer would be to rationalise the English legal system rather than restricting access to this hi-cost luxury by cutting legal aid? The removal of the caste of barristers who frequently are “briefed” on the day of the hearing and are employed to give a good performance and a move towards a more inquiry-based system (without wigs) where an ordinary person can go into a court and present their own case at whatever level would be more appropriate.



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