Tuesday 31 October 2006


I have posted on both Dizzythinks and Ellee recently about the pernicious effect of lawyers. A few thoughts below on my increasing dismay with the effect they have on government.

The UK is the world leader in Legal Affairs. All the top law firms in the world are UK based or UK run, top graduates and scion of wealthy families inevitably contribute to the legal world.

This has some good benefits, we have a legal aid system with enough lawyers to staff it and a set of City based firms that pay good wages and taxes.

However then there is the negatives: The hundreds of failed lawyers trying to get into parliament (one is even PM now, eh?). The over-representation of the legal strand in our country is a huge hold back to our development.

Lawyers always think the law is best and that is their solution to any problem; trust the law, not trust the market or trust people. Tony Blair clearly believes this, he can't make enough laws fast enough in his whole time in power; but what have all these laws achieved?

One thing they do achieve is to hobble good governance and common sense. Take Dizzy's post on the EU. The UK takes a legalistic approach to its commitments, we suffer from its poorly thought out edicts like Rural farm Payments, the French and Germans ignore the rules and so do no suffer. Even on the major issues like economic governance these two countries just ignore the parts they don't like.

In the UK many new laws are argued over in legal detail to the point at which their paragraphs become so vague and accommodating that they cease to mean anything; the new laws are pointless and instead start a new wave of 'challenge' cases.

But it is more pernicious than this, the liberal elite who are the top lawyers at the moment, babyboomers them all, have other agenda's. They fight any cause all the way to the European Parliament (their fees being important here, Lawyers are not interested in right and wrong per se). On some major issues, like the defence of liberty, this is a public good. Increasingly however, the attention is turned to marriage, 'human rights' etc. Here the lawyers campaining for their clients to the detriment of society and the riches of themselves (a case in point, Cherie Blair).

I am not saying all lawyers are bad, but the legal system we have is being abused by the lawyers for their own benefit. Having possibly hundreds of lawyers in Parliament exacerbates this situation.

We need less lawyers in Parliament and more representatives from the rest of society; the current make up does us no good at all as a society.


Anonymous said...

Regarding your last sentence, I wonder what percentage of MPs comes from the law profession. You are right to say we need a good cross-section of the community. That is certainly the case with MEPs where they have a Romany gypsy, can you imagine a gypsy being elected for Westminster?

Pogo said...

You miss the essence of the whole debate, namely that "The Law" exists for one reason and one reason only... The enrichment of lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Pogo, I guess I'm not as cynical as you.

CityUnslicker said...

If I get the time ellee I will look into it. I think it will make an important point about our democracy

Praguetory said...

I'm sure Croydonian looked into this (number of lawyers in Parliament) lately. Give him a shout. Also, try to join up with Dizzy and Croydonian on one of their pub nights out. Good fun.

Croydonian said...

The place is indeed crawling with lawyers, although Dizz and I were only looking into the Tory A-list.

As a reformed lawyer (never practiced...), I'd dispute that all of the planet's biggest firms are UK based - Baker & McKenzie and Skadden Arps are enormous and are based across the Pond. However, 'we' own accountancy - Price, Waterhouse, Deloitte, Touche, Peat, Marwick and Young (sticking with the names that still feature in the Big Four) all hailed from these parts. The Coopers and the Ernsts were Americans. Ditto Andersen.

If you fancy a pint in town, e-mail me.

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