Bar up-and-comer whose profile-raising attempts haven’t always gone smoothly wants profession to “move with the times”
A blogging barrister who once referred himself to the profession’s regulators after a judge threatened contempt proceedings during a recent high profile trial wants to be elected to the Bar Council.
Henry Hendron — an eight-year-call junior at London’s Strand Chambers — is the latest in a long line of frisky young things bidding to “shake up” the establishment.
But not everyone seems to be treating Hendron’s candidacy with the respect it doubtless deserves, as this recently-spotted defaced bus stop banner shows.
However, the civil law specialist certainly comes with form in the shaking it up department. Last spring, Hendron was ticked off by the Crown Court judge in the trial of former deputy speaker of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans MP, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges.
As Legal Cheek reported at the time, Hendron, a friend of Evans (both pictured below), attended the trial to write daily updates from a “ringside view from within the court house”. But the defendant’s own counsel, Peter Wright QC, said Hendron’s musings “startled” alleged victims as they prepared to give “extremely personal evidence on potentially embarrassing matters”.
That led the judge to report Hendron to then-Attorney General Dominic Grieve, saying:
“This is a prima facie contempt of court and it could influence jurors too. This is a very serious contempt.”
In the end, the A-G did not issue proceedings. Nonetheless, Hendron deleted the blog posts, apologised to the judge in court and said he was hauling himself straight off for a caning from the Bar Standards Board.
Having recovered from that chastening, Hendron — whose description of himself as ‘Barrister Hendron’ on his personal website has amused Legal Cheek commenters — now seems keen to join the establishment, albeit, to give things a good shaking.
An enthusiastic fan of direct access, Hendron maintains he’s scooped loads of work from the grasp of those pesky solicitors with newspaper ads (pictured below) as well as bus stop banners. He told Legal Cheek that the bar needed to embrace change:
“We cannot do what we as barristers have always done,” he said. “That is to say, we cannot sit in chambers and expect the clients to just walk through the door — we must go out and find them and we must be more approachable and accessible; that change must be driven from the top.”
Doesn’t seem that bonkers. On the evolving professional landscape, Hendron continued:
“With the advent of barristers being able to conduct litigation, the playing field between solicitors and barristers is now almost level, we at the bar have an enormous potential to thrive and unsettle the whole legal community to our advantage. The bar’s actions now will determine its long-term viability and ultimately its fate.”
Hendron acknowledged that the only professional body lawyers hold in more contempt than the Bar Council is the Law Society, the Chancery Lane gang that purport to represent solicitors. However, he’s not letting that disrespect deter him.
“While the Bar Council may be out of step with the realities of serving at the bar, it would be wrong to dismiss the Bar Council as not relevant. It is relevant because it is the Bar Council who government consult on legislative reform affecting barristers; it is relevant because the bar council sets the professional practising rules, which we all must follow, and it should be relevant as a driver of continuing professional education and training to ensure that the excellent of the bar continues.”
Hendron’s pitch for election to the Bar Council can be viewed below.
The annual elections for the Bar Council got underway this month, with the deadline for completed ballot papers 10am on Monday. Successful candidates will join from 1 January 2015 for a three-year term.
Blogging barrister refers himself to the Bar Standards Board after committing ‘very serious’ contempt of court [Legal Cheek]