Getting into the spiritual of things

Justice must be fought for, Dalai Lama tells lawyers

How can the words of the Dalai Lama and the adversarial system be reconciled by London’s leading litigators? The zen world of the Tibetan spiritual leader can hardly be called compatible with the cut-throat battles of the High Court, where to be called a rottweiler is taken as a compliment.

Yet speaking to an audience of well-heeled lawyers at the London School of Economics (LSE) last week the Dalai Lama sought to extol the virtues of humanity and encourage lawyers to embrace their inner spirit.

“At a fundamental level we’re all the same,” he said, adding that justice can only be achieved if it is fought for – a timely reminder to rich and powerful suits that fulfilling the stereotypically aloof advocate role is unwelcome.

This went down rather well with the silks at Matrix.

“We should recognise our humanity and the humanity of others within the process and act with integrity, kindness and respect,” Matrix silk Tom Linden QC commented.

But for some the concept seems at odds with the make-up of a litigator. Raza Husain QC noted that it is for lawyers with power and influence to behave more compassionately.

“The Dalai Lama identified how the law can be used to represent the weakest in society,” he said.

Lawyers, then, should embrace the spiritual wonder of the world, behave compassionately towards others and it will go full circle – perhaps even coming back through a positive ruling.