In-house lawyers are competent

I am quite incredulous that the House of Lords can block audience rights for employed lawyers (The Lawyer 1 Feb).

What do a couple of inbred land owners and zimmer frame career politicians know about the work of in-house solicitors, and whether or not they are competent to appear in the higher courts?

Employed lawyers may be used to being treated as second-class citizens by their professional bodies, but at least they have some defence in that they know a bit about what they're talking about part of the time.

For the Lords there can be no such excuse.

Many of the lawyers who do sit in the Lords were last in a court room when Lord Denning was in shorts.

In my experience, a move from private practice to in-house is not associated with a sudden drop in brain cells.

In-house lawyers are competent professionals and can be trusted to act ethically and professionally.

Few private sector colleagues agree.

Surprisingly I am quite adequate in appearing in court against the stars of the independent bar, even if many of them seriously doubt it.

Of course many in-house lawyers do not want to appear in Court and will continue to use outside solicitors.

But surely the issue here is that in-house solicitors should have the choice.

Clearly the Government and Lord Irvine agree that we should.

It is a travesty that the House of Lords does not.

Name and address withheld