How many bras should a divorce lawyer own?

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May 05, 2017
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Lady Shackleton revealed details of her wardrobe to Vogue

Richard Cannon for The Times

One loyal reader points out that our recent reference to Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia never giving media interviews is nearly correct, in as much as the renowned “Steel Magnolia” of divorce lawyers and partner at the London law firm Payne Hicks Beach, has consented to the odd one or two.

One occasion was in May 2006, when Lady Shackleton spoke to this very newspaper. However, our correspondent has also dug up a 1990s copy of Vogue, which carried an interview with her, in which the cream of divorce lawyers confessed to owning only one nightie, six bras and no Wellington boots.

Our correspondent seems to adopt the view that six is a low number, but The Brief is open to alternative suggestions.

Judge reopens debate over role of lord chancellor

Lord Judge, the former lord chief justice, was in combative mood last Wednesday, when he gave the Bingham Lecture in London.

Not only did he deliver a powerful analysis of the legislative impact of Brexit, warning that the imminent "tsunami" of legislation would go unscrutinised by parliament, but he also had a pop at the constitutional mess existing around the role of the lord chancellor and justice secretary.

Lord Judge reminded the audience that when Tony Blair’s Labour government first mooted abolishing the lord chancellor role in 2003, the then lord chief justice, Lord Woolf, first heard the proposal on the radio. He said that one significant yet underreported consequence of that constitutional upheaval, which created today’s double-headed role, was that “there is no member of the cabinet who has had any specialist experience or practical understanding of the constitution which the lord chancellor in his former role brought to the table”.

It was a clear sideswipe at the incumbent, Liz Truss, but also a wider point. Lord Judge reminded the audience that the House of Lords constitution committee had recommended in 2014 that a senior cabinet minister be given responsibility for oversight of the constitution as a whole. That had been ignored.

He said: “That crucial function personally performed by the old-style lord chancellor in reality is not capable of being performed either by the minister for the constitution or indeed by the minister for the Cabinet Office, who has been assigned this responsibility. Neither is an office which is remotely capable of replacing the old style lord chancellor, who would have appreciated some of the subtle nuances which underpin our constitutional arrangements, and whose office carried historic and effective weight in cabinet.”

Lord Judge went on to note that when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister the lord chancellor carried that weight. Both when the holder was Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone and his successor Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Thatcher would often defer to them, Lord Judge said. And she never claimed – as she did about her other ministers - that they were “talking rubbish”.

Get an app for it

Ever since Baker McKenzie launched its dawn raid app last month, law firm rivals have been working tirelessly to get into the game, and now Taylor Wessing has hit the mark.

The Baker McKenzie app provides a handy guide to everything a chief executive needs to know when the regulatory authorities coming knocking at an uncivilised hour. Taylor Wessing has sensibly not taken on its counterparts in the same market, but has ploughed its own furrow with a data breach app. The flash piece of kit, which was released yesterday, aims to help companies prepare for and respond to data breaches in advance of the dreaded EU General Data Protection Regulation, which will be implemented in May 2018.

“Keeping that data secure is often difficult” intones Paul Glass, the Taylor Wessing partner charged with flogging the device. Indeed Glass presses the main button by referring to corporate wallets. “With the GDPR coming into force, fines stretching to millions of pounds will be introduced should security breaches occur. The message is clear – companies need to take action now or risk falling foul of the updated regulation.”

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