Lawyers coin new ‘Grayling Hearing’ expression

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By Alex Aldridge on

A wave of adjourned cases due to the unavailability of protesting barristers has spawned a new term.


Argent Chambers’ Richard Bentwood has documented this important linguistic development on his blog.

Grayling Hearing

‘greɪlɪŋ hɪərɪŋ’


1. A term used to describe a non-effective hearing which is adjourned by reason of the non-attendance of defence counsel. eg. Can’t believe I had to go to Maidstone for a Grayling hearing. [circa 2014 after legally inept Lord Chancellor, Christopher Grayling (con) forced bar to remove its goodwill from the CJS]

Legal Cheek anthropologists have traced the first written mention of a “Grayling Hearing” to a Twitter exchange that took place last Wednesday.

It is estimated that there have been around 200 Grayling Hearings since the criminal Bar launched its “no returns” protest on 7 March. “No returns” means that barristers are no longer accepting “return” briefs from other barristers who are unable to attend scheduled hearings. The informal system has long helped to facilitate the smooth-running of the criminal justice system.

Follow the impact of the “no returns” protest on Twitter.