LEGAL CHEEK FIELD TRIP TO OCCUPY LONDON

When I got a tip-off from Kevin Poulter last Friday about a legal tent at the OccupyLondon protest at St Paul’s, I knew it’d make a great story, so I got on my bike and headed down to take a look. My article about Occupy’s legal team is in the Guardian today. It includes my conversation with the camp’s head of legal, Ben Bailes (pictured below).

Bailes, a lighting engineer by day, is being supported by several other trained legal observers, some of whom are provided by Green & Black Cross, the organic chocolate manufacturer protest group. Below is a pic of the outside of the legal tent.


Occupy is being assisted on a pro bono basis by some top civil liberties lawyers, including last week’s ‘Poorly disguised Twitter boast of the week’ winner, John Cooper QC.

And they have also had a visit from head of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, who turned up at St Paul’s last Thursday offering her services as an independent mediator.

Chakrabarti’s husband, Martyn Hopper, is a partner at Herbert Smith, where profit per equity partner is ¬£862,000 a year, so she doubtlessly understands both sides of the dispute.

Speaking to other lawyers assisting  Occupy, like Paul Ridge, a partner at top legal aid firm Bindmans, it was striking how much respect they had for the protesters, whose commitment and focus they seemed to really admire.

Alex Aldridge is the editor of Legal Cheek.