Email typo causes lawyer to have a complete nightmare on live TV

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Steve N Allen and Jonathan Coad – credit GB News

There was an incredibly awkward moment on GB News yesterday evening when a lawyer criticised a presenter for revealing he had been asked to act for Matt Hancock.

The clip, shared widely on Twitter, shows lawyer Jonathan Coad scolding the show’s host Steve N Allen for mentioning that he was “actually recently asked to act for Matt Hancock”.

“I made it absolutely clear to your programme, I asked them not to disclose that,” Coad responds. “That is very, very poor journalism.”

“When your own television station has engaged in correspondence with me where I explained that I’m in a position to be able to comment on this and mentioned I’d been approached by Matt Hancock,” the media law specialist continues. “I asked you not to mention that and you mentioned it.”

The lawyer had been invited onto the show to discuss whether journalist Isabel Oakeshott’s decision to leak Hancock’s WhatsApp messages during the pandemic was in the public interest.

It was at this point things got really awkward.

The heated exchange continues for around five minutes, with Allen eventually pulling up the email sent by Coad to a GB News producer ahead of the interview.

This revealed that the lawyer had missed out a vital word in his email request. It read: “As a courtesy to the lady who approached me to act for [Matt Hancock] I would be grateful if it was mentioned that he asked me to act for him (via his assistant).”

Prompting much laughter from the live audience, Coad responds: “You’re absolutely right, it’s my mistake I missed out the ‘not’ — I take all of that back. You’re right and I’m wrong. Fair dos I’m absolutely wrong about that, my apologies.”

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Hats off for the immediate owning it and apologising.

There may be a more serious issue here though.

We get told by the BSB that we mustn’t reveal if we’re acting for any particular client without their express consent (or when it becomes a matter of public record, say by the time a case goes to trial.). But that’s a breach of both GDPR and the Bar Handbook.

I wonder if the SRA has similar rules?

Law School

99% of partners…but without the apology


The fact that he, a lawyer, did not proof-read his own email before sending it is absolute Coadswallop.


Proofreading does not guarantee an absence of typos. It happens, and our brains are wired in a way that can sometimes make spotting them in our own work very difficult.

Archibald O'Pomposity

THAT IS NO EXCUSE. I apologise for the capitals. I am not shouting. But some emphasis is necessary. Don’t ever excuse this type of error again. If one cannot proof one’s own work, a colleague can be asked discreetly. But “I can’t read my own writing”? No excuse.

*Pow! Wham! and Zowie! LLP*

A typo is a mistake
A mistake is an unplanned error
A lawyer _never_ makes errors

Tasty irony


Try Again

Not really irony when it’s a play on his surname…

“Keep your head down, lad” of Counsel

And that it why I’m not on social media and will never Court press attention in my career. A single word typo that has caused huge embarrassment and career damage. Could happen to anyone, but now anyone googling his name will know about it.

Archibald O'Pomposity

“And that it why I’m not on social media and will never Court press attention in my career. ”

But will you press Court attention?


Awkward for sure. But, definitely worth appreciating that he immediately owned it and apologized unequivocally.

Archibald O'Pomposity

Well there’s not much else positive to draw from this, is there? But let’s not pretend this makes it right.

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