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View profile for Casian Sala

Harry Potter, LLB

For those of us who take pride in being at the cutting-edge of the UK legal sector, and know it to be a vibrant profession keen to get to grips with twenty-first technology, the recent antics of a certain Welsh solicitor-advocate caused a considerable sinking of the heart. When Alan Blacker took to his feet sporting a number of coloured ribbons on his gown, the judge forbore to comment until the close of the trial, reasoning (wisely) that a case of death by dangerous driving was a sombre which deserved full attention.

Once the verdict was reached, however, Judge David Wynne Morgan gave full vent to his feelings, informing Blacker that he looked like something out of Harry Potter, and furthermore that “If you ever appear before this court dressed as you are at this moment, I shall exercise my right to decline to hear you.” Any advocate reading is likely to be cringing in empathy, and imagining the craven apologies that ensued, and the promises never again to bring the majesty of the legal system into disrepute. But no: Blacker responded by rather testily pointing out that the coloured ribbons represented medals earned for distinguished service – for voluntary medical work with the St John Ambulance. Whilst none of us would doubt the importance of the service in question, most will concur with the judge’s waspish response that if those who were awarded the Victoria Cross for valour in the Second World War refrained from wearing their ribbons, Blacker might consider following their example.

Bloodied but unbowed, Mr Blacker (or Dr. The Rt. Hon. The Lord Harley of Counsel KStJ. DPhil., as he styles himself), vented his feelings on Twitter. In response to a query as to exactly what he thought he was wearing on his gown, he tweeted: ‘Coloured wraps you ignorant cretin. When you have been decorated for service you can comment.’ Naturally enough the story has been leapt on by a gleeful press. What could be more gratifyingly Rumpolish than a long-haired advocate in preposterous robes and delusions of stately grandeur? But, of course, nothing could be less representative of the legal profession as it stands today. The past few years have subjected lawyers and solicitors alike to such broad-ranging and fundamental changes to the legal landscape that at times it has been like straddling the San Andreas fault. And the response? A profession aware that to survive in the twenty-first century it can only look forward, not back.

At Legastat, we’ve had the privilege of working alongside our partners in the legal profession for many years, and seen how tech innovations have helped their practice meet the demands of the modern age. If you – like us – are keen to ensure that your clients receive the cutting-edge service they demand and deserve, we are ready to work with you.