Law: Briefs

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LAW SOCIETY president Robert Sayer walks into a pub and tries to pick a fight with the Bar. Sitting in the corner is Dan Brennan QC, the out-going Bar chairman.

"Oi you," says big Bob, "we're fed up with rich, toffee-nosed barristers coming in here and lording it over us solicitors. Now we're taking over."

Unfortunately it takes two to have a punch-up, and on Saturday Mr Brennan made it perfectly clear he wouldn't be removing his jacket. He told a meeting of the Bar: "The Bar Council has too busy an agenda to waste time promoting ideas which are complete non-starters. We must move the agenda forward to the real business. The Bar Council is always happy to work with the Law Society. We believe in constructive engagement with all professional bodies in the law over issues of mutual interest."

AMERICAN LAWYERS were astonished to learn last week that two out of three British people called up for jury service shirk their duty by asking to be excused. But a poll of jurors in America, where jury service is revered as a national honour, discovered something far more alarming.

According to a survey in the National Law Journal, 12 per cent of American jurors said they could not be a fair juror in cases involving parties who were homosexual or lesbian. And almost 10 per cent of respondents aged 65 or older said they could not be fair in a case represented by an African-American lawyer.

THE TITLE for this year's Independent/College of Law Essay Competition, is: "With the legal market-place becoming increasingly more commercial and global, is there a role for the ethical lawyer?" Submissions should be written to a maximum of 1,500 words and the winner will be published on The Independent's law page.

The closing date is 14 January 2000. Entries are invited from law undergraduates or students on the Graduate Conversion Course who will be starting vocational training as either solicitors or barristers in autumn 2000. For an entry form write to: The College of Law Essay Competition, the College of Law, Braboeuf Manor, St Catherines, Guildford, GU3 1HA, or e-mail: