News

The Ministry of Justice has done one of the worst tweets ever seen on Twitter

By on

“This might be funny if these were not the people running our justice system,” says Dinah Rose QC, as fellow top lawyers round on MoJ in Twitter storm

facepalm-old

Since the advent of Twitter in 2006, there have been some extremely unfortunate tweets. Sally Bercow’s Lord McAlpine posting springs to mind, as does the recent Ian Botham penis affair.

The Ministry of Justice’s tweet about Friday’s High Court ruling on the legal aid consultation process lacks the mainstream appeal of these celeb embarrassments (and is neither libellous nor sexually explicit). But in its own niche way it is just as awful, managing to wreak reputational self-harm with the awesome efficiency of the very best sub-140 character howlers.

For the uninitiated, at the end of last week the High Court ruled that the Ministry of Justice’s consultation process for cutting legal aid was so unfair that it was illegal. This was unequivocally bad news for justice secretary Chris Grayling and his MoJ pals.

How, then, to impart such unfortunate information?

The answer to this question should have been obvious given the core audience of top QCs, other legal high-fliers and well-informed members of the public which the MoJ was addressing: play it straight and admit defeat in this particular battle.

Alas, the MoJ chose to behave as if it was addressing a group of primary school children and opted to gloss over a few facts while adding a veneer of upbeat-ness.

Here are a selection of eminent lawyers’ responses.

Doughty Street’s Jon Whitfield QC

St Pauls Chambers’ Simon Myerson QC

Financial Times legal blogger David Allen Green (aka Jack of Kent) and Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC

Garden Court’s Tom Wainwright

Pump Court’s Matthew Scott

1 KBW’s Philip Marshall QC

Hardwicke’s Colm Nugent

The full judgment in the solicitors’ case against the MoJ is below, with summaries in the Guardian and the Law Society Gazette.

The Queen on the Application of Lccsa Clsa v the Lord Chancellor

The MoJ Press Office is definitely worth a follow.