Revealed: What barristers keep in their mysterious wheelie suitcases

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If you thought it was all practitioners’ texts and robes, think again…


A criminal barrister has lifted the lid on what members of the bar carry around in their mysterious wheelie suitcases.

Chris Smith, a criminal specialist at Leeds and Newcastle set New Park Court Chambers, took to Twitter to publicly unveil what he hauls around the courts of England and Wales.

A far cry from the latest copy of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice, it appears that Smith, who was called to bar in 1997, enjoys to wheel around what Legal Cheek believes are the makings of a romantic date.

According to the snapshot (embedded below), Smith has in his suitcase a bottle of white wine, chocolates, Pandora jewellery, Parma ham, salad, cherry tomatoes, some moisturiser and finally what appears to be a laptop charger.

Legal Cheek is fairly sure Smith doesn’t actually attend court with all this. After all, you’re lucky to get your cheese sandwiches past a disgruntled G4S security guard these days, let alone a reasonably priced bottle of plonk.

Any other barristers out there willing to reveal their suitcase stash?


Lord Harley of Bollocks

Not enough cocaine to be a barrister’s suitcase…..



Missing firearm as well, little known fact is that all members of the Western Circuit are permitted to carry (in wheeled luggage only) a scorpion machine pistol.


Boh Dear

Twitter handle @uktopbrief – yuk


Up myself QC

Me, a suitcase, Crown Court, on Circuit – go foik one’s-self.
Clerk(s), hernia, high court, not lifting a thing with these pointy piano playing digits.



Are you feeling alright?



A colleague of mine in chambers had finished in court for the day on a Friday and was offered a lift home from a friend.

The friend had arrived at court with a pupil, and the pupil had left her case in the boot of the car.

In exchange for a lift home, my colleague offered to return the case to the pupil from the car as the pupil was staying at court.

On his way through security, the usual checks were done and the bag was opened, revealing a collection of lacy women’s underwear.

Before my colleague could give an explanation, the security guard said, deadpan: ‘It’s no concern of mine what you get up to at the weekend, Sir’.



Guns. Loads of guns.



Not a barrister, but I do bring wheelie bags around a lot. I wish my wheelie bags contained something fun like the one above. They just contain files, a few dead business cards, a broken pen and some stray paperclips, and a bright pink calculator. Clearly the solicitors bring all the important stuff!



My neighbours keep seeing me with a suitcase and have told my partner that they think I’m either an air hostess or an Ann Summers sales rep. They’re going to be so disappointed when they found out.

Also, Lord Harley of Bollocks made me laugh out loud!



i’d often wondered…



Dear Legal Cheek,

I might have posted the picture but I never claimed the bag was my own.

And it wasn’t.


@uktopbrief (ironically)



I carry hair straighteners, a makeup case, and practitioner books.


Viscount Bartholomew Thwisttletwat

This illuminating missive reminds one of an unfortunate incident at my old chambers from the green days of my tenancy. I had returned to London from a glorious weekend shooting exotic game at the estate of a fellow old Wellingtonian in Suffolk. My splendid and hardy trunk, already stocked full with the legal tomes of the day, was positively fit to burst once I had piled on the treasured spoils of our labours on the field. The most grandest specimen was a African Clawless Otter. I had planned to consume this prized creature at a small gathering of friends at my family’s old country retreat out in Bucks. To this effect I scratched out a brief note to my manservant Meelwood, requiring him to skin, butcher and hang the beast forthwith. However in my haste to rush off for a fortifying glass of stout at The George (the establishment was a jewel of the Strand even in those days) I neglected to bestow the before-mentioned trunk to Meelwood’s charge. The trunk remained, festering, at my chambers office until the morning. By the time it was discovered the blasted Otter carcass had bled out, ruining not only the trunk (a family heirloom), but spoiling my fine mink rug (an antiquity from the Far East) and creating a most almighty stench which filled the building and lingered for several weeks. Needless to say, it was an avoidable matter of most profound regret.



Is there any self respecting barrister that doesn’t carry condoms in their wheelie? You and your oppo need something to do when your jury’s been out for hours.



Surely the implicit trust which negates the need for handshakes applies equally to prophylactics between counsel?



It certainly does. But there are an awful lot of sol-ads around these days.



Hello Alistair!



Wrong I’m afraid – I’m a lady barrister. Have you got Alistair’s number though?



I am so wheely bag desensitised from too many years around Fleet Street and Chancery Lane that I hadn’t even considered that normal people do not routinely take one to work every day.



Returning from an invigorating day against a litigant in person I have whiled away some time sorting out me wheelie bag and have found: a laptop plus cable; a three month old copy of Counsel magazine (unopened); four different kinds of painkillers; at least eight packets of those yellow sticky labels; indigestion tablets; spare set of bands; pair of laddered tights; a White Book Procedue update (unopened); a copy of Harry Potter/half blood prince; another packet of painkillers; and a pair of very sharp scissors which at least a months worth of security guards have missed.



Gosh that was exciting. Next week Can you do your glovebox?



I can’t wait for the film version!


Rufus Obscurus

Whenever I open mine, it seems to be full of old Guardians, Private Eyes and editions of Viz.


Lord Lyle of the Isles

Bodkins, electric hair clippers and hedge clippers have all been confiscated by High Court security in London, but never scissors for some reason. BTW a judge was once struck in the head with an orange in the 19th century. I believe the culprit was hanged



Dirty washing from a week in the city, blue notebooks, random pen lids, tangled pink ribbon…that book I never manage to read, papers, an unread copy of the Evening Standard, un-eaten snacks, laptop and charger…catnip mice as a peace gift to the cats when I get home.



Papers, duplicate copies of documents incase the court has lost them, stationery, fags, lighter, phone charger, iPad, headache tablets, chewing gum, heartburn tablets, spare tie, emergency chocolate bar, unopened letters from HMRC (oops), dirty rugby kit and my cheap crap business cards.

Wish it had porn, whiskey and coke so I appear more exciting!


Filigree of Counsel

Wig (rotting), gown (tatty), brief (coffee and wine stained), brief-string (worn), bottle of whisky (half empty), last week’s sandwiches (rotting), long forgotten sensitive ABE DVD’s (unwatched), few-notes, unopened letters from HMRC, incontinence pads for Court of Appeal appearances (both used and unused), Valium, red bag (rotting). Not bad for 40 years at the Bar.


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