Do’s and Don’ts for Human Rights Lawyers … and Play Fair 🙏

Geoffrey Bindman now writes “Erskine and Birkett were heroes of our profession but they were obviously not aware of your situation which arose many years after their deaths. You dishonour their memory by claiming their support for a baseless complaint.” I shall tweak this to respond with a more detailed response later.

Lots of people have different rights on the roads, in education, in the Middle East, everywhere. Often they conflict.
What happens next?
I quote Sir Norman Birkett, 1st Baron Birkett Kt, PC, QC on lawyers’ professional responsibility.

The lawyer “puts forward to the court submissions which he may or may not think sound, but that is the role of the advocate. …. He may be putting forward a view of which he profoundly disapproves, but he is putting forward for the client, the view of the client.”
That is what I paid Bindmans LLP to do, namely to write a pre-action protocol letter that the assistant local government Ombudsman said that I should secure from a solicitor if I wished to initiate a judicial review against her decision that had rejected my complaint about the proposed cycle lanes and red lines on Gosforth High Street in Newcastle.

Visit my earlier post and see four photographs and an extract from Newcastle Council’s Ambitions Bid – today bollards designate the cycle lanes the Council had in mind at the time. Lawyers from Bindmans LLP dismissed a 100-page dossier I had given them and said that judicial review would be “bound to fail”, professionally neither they nor I, as a non-practising barrister, could write the letter.

I would like to put this in the public domain, but Bindmans LLP will not read what I write. They threaten to sue me for libel if I publish it, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority describes this as “robust”.

This is how I think people should assert their rights, the system should facilitate it, not make it difficult or impossible to do so. Lawyers should assist them.
GREEN – GO for them.
RED – STOP! Do not ignore your neighbours’ rights when they are different and right for them. Do not abuse your rights.
Human rights do not licence selfishness and suppressio veri. And, what is right for you may well not be right for everyone. Recognise that.
Remember people are equal only sometimes, unequal most times, and always different.
Pursue excellence. And play fair.


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