Criminal Bar Association makes awkward U-turn over Global Legal Summit

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

Previous chairman described controversial event as Putin-esque; his successor is a confirmed speaker


When he was at the helm of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) Nigel Lithman QC heavily criticised the government for its plans to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta with a ‘Global Law Summit’.

In view of the legal aid cuts, the glitzy summit being organised by justice secretary Chris Grayling to trumpet Britain’s lawyering excellence was “rank hypocrisy”, claimed Litham.

The combative silk illustrated his point by comparing the government’s two-faced approach to the legal profession to Vladimir Putin’s attempt to portray himself as progressive. The Global Law Summit was, Lithman added, like:

“Mr Putin showing off Russia in the Winter Olympics whilst behind the scenes setting back the rights of gay and lesbian people by generations.”

However, since then it appears that there has been a rather awkward U-turn at the CBA. A quick search of the Global Law Summit (GLS) website reveals that current CBA chairman Tony Cross QC, who took up the top slot in September 2014, will be speaking at the £1,750-a-head event.


News of Cross’ appearance first surfaced on a Legal Cheek comment thread before being picked up on Twitter by John Copper QC, who issued a string of tweets highlighting the matter.

This week Cross issued the following explanation:

“The terms of my engagement were discussed at the most recent CBA Executive. There was criticism from some of my appearance however the consensus was that this was a perfect forum to put forward our case.”

In an interesting postscript to this story, Cooper found himself “blocked” by the official CBA Twitter account after speaking out about Cross’ Global Law Summit gig. This decision has since been reversed with an apology issued.

Rather not shell out for the Global Law Summit? Instead try the comedy alternative that costs just a tenner.


Like the Ritz, Grayling’s embarrassing ‘Global Law Summit’ is open to all [Legal Cheek]

£1,750-a-head Magna Carta ‘summit’ hijacked by legal aid event that costs a tenner [Legal Cheek]