Grayling Magna Carta party latest — win raffle to open a bridge

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Highlight of Ministry of Justice’s controversial Global Law Summit to be a bottleneck of traffic in east London


The latest wheeze to emerge from the Ministry of Justice’s international backslapping event to celebrate Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary is a raffle — with the winning prize being the honour of standing above the windswept banks of The Thames on a cold February day and pressing a button.

The Law Society of England and Wales — one of the great-and-good bodies queuing up to play ball with what critics argue is little more than pre-election politicking by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling — has advertised the competition to coincide with the Global Law Summit at end of next month. The winner gets to open Tower Bridge.

The late-Victorian quasi-folly has an obvious connection to the document that gave much of the common law world core rule of law concepts, having opened a mere 680 years after the Magna Carta was sealed.

Still, with the Tory side of the coalition government accused of pushing forward the date of the summit shin-dig so ministers can catch some international leader glow before UK polling day, what’s the point of quibbling about the historical accuracy of iconography?

In any event, it is widely accepted in UK legal circles that Americans and Australians are more interested in the significance of the Magna Carta than lawyers in its home country — and foreigners love Tower Bridge.

But the Law Society is teaming up with the City of London Corporation to encourage home-grown lawyers to join the raffle to open Tower Bridge. All they have to do is complete a quiz on the society’s website to enter the raffle and have chance of glory.

Legal Cheek had a pop and only managed to answer four of the 10 questions correctly, but then opening bridges in the cold and wet doesn’t do much for the cynical hacks at Cheek towers.


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