Wannabe barrister sparks newspaper letter row over Justice Secretary’s record

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By Judge John Hack on

City University law student and local council candidate triggers defence of Chris Grayling in MP’s constituency newspaper


An anonymous newspaper letter in support of legal profession bête noire Chris Grayling has praised the justice secretary for cracking down on legal aid lawyers who “spiel out rhetoric and stretch a case as long as possible”.

The tirade came in the form of a letter to the editor at the Epsom Guardian in Surrey, the local paper in Grayling’s parliamentary constituency.

It was a riposte to an earlier published letter from wannabe barrister and local council candidate Alex Cisneros. The part-time Bar Professional Training Course student at London’s City University is bidding for seat on the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, which will be contested on general election polling day, 7 May.

Last month, Cisneros wrote to the newspaper following criticism of Grayling in the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

“Mr Grayling is the first non-lawyer in 440 years to be in charge of our courts and legal system,” he wrote. “Since getting the job as Justice Minister [sic], he has cut legal aid to the bone, caused barristers across the country to strike for the first time ever and required dozens of essential law centres to close. To find out now that these cuts were pushed through without proper scrutiny, or even any evidence in some circumstances, is disgusting.”

But at least one local constituent is perfectly happy with Grayling’s performance. However, the fact that the letter is signed off with “name and address supplied” has led to a round of speculation that the correspondent must be one of the MP’s mates from the Dog and Duck in Epsom high street.

Indeed, the correspondent’s syntax suggests that the letter was penned after a rather long session in the public house.

“Mr Cisneros states that Mr Grayling is the first non-lawyer to be in charge of our courts,” writes anonymous. “At least he would not have been involved in the old boy network and would be able to see the whole law situation without being tainted by the system which has been in place forever.

“We are fortunate to have an honest and hardworking MP who has done so much for his constituents.”


BPTC student stands for local council in Grayling’s constituency [Legal Cheek]