Ties that bind

THE RELATIONSHIP between lawyers and politicians continues to dominate the news on both sides of the Atlantic. The most senior judge in the UK, Lord Neuberger, spoke today, Thursday, in an unusual intervention during an interview with the BBC’s Today programme on Radio 4. Politicians ‘could have been quicker and clearer’ in their defence of the judiciary following the Brexit court challenge, the president of the supreme court said. The vitriolic criticism from certain sections of the media – most infamously the Daily Mail’s headline ‘Enemies of the people’ – led Neuberger to argue ‘I think some of what was said was undermining the rule of law. The rule of law together with democracy is one of the two pillars on which our society is based.’ 

THIS FOLLOWED Wednesday’s letter from 250 UK legal academics to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain later this year. The letter expressed ‘collective dismay’ regarding May’s strategy of a close relationship with Trump given his disregard for the law. Dr Rose Parfitt of Kent Law School said: “We are in the process of teaching law students about the importance of legal process and deliberation in an open and democratic society. President Trump’s behaviour and the behaviour of his administration constantly undermines this.’

MEANWHILE, in a widely shared op-ed piece in The New York Times, Stanford Law School Professor Richard Thomson Ford was discussing other ties that bind – namely the comically long ones often around the President’s neck. ‘Could a misbegotten (and far too shiny) necktie reflect weightier issues of self-discipline, competence and integrity?’ Ford asked. Refreshingly for those disquieted by frequent discussion regarding the dress sense of high-profile women, Ford’s article temporarily at least drew attention away from Theresa May’s shoes: ‘Mr Trump’s tie symbolises one of the central questions of his presidency. Is his seeming ineptness genuine? Or is it part of a contrived performance designed to deploy the symbols of power while rejecting the conventions of civility that have traditionally defined and constrained them? Mr Trump’s… overlong tie stands out like a rehearsed macho boast, crass and overcompensating.’ 

AT THE SIGNET LIBRARY on Wednesday evening, the semi-final of the Sir Alexander Stone Mooting Competition was held in the Commissioners’ Room. Contested between students from Edinburgh and Glasgow Caledonian Universities, the standard was very high, resulting in a narrow win for Edinburgh. The competition is contested by all the law schools in Scotland. Mooting is described by the Oxford Law Faulty as ‘a specialised application of the art of persuasive advocacy’. The WS Society is always delighted to host such events and welcome the lawyers of the future.

THIS EVENING brings another audience to the Signet Library, this time to enjoy ‘Taking the Case on a Pro Bordeaux basis’, a wine tasting hosted by the WS Society’s Fife-based supplier, L’Art Du Vin. Salut!

— “Writer”

Writer's Week is not intended to represent the views of the WS Society or its members.