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Any readers familiar with gritty US crime drama The Wire will know the oft-exasperating concept of the chain of command.
But what, one wonders, would Bunk Moreland and Lester Freamon make of the goings-on over at the Supreme Court? For it is there that silk extraordinaire Jonathan Sumption is headed, if talk in the Inns is to be believed.
Which is all very well of course, except that Sumption is also set to take the reins on one of the biggest High Court battles of the year. He is lead counsel for Roman Abramovich as the Chelsea supremo prepares to throw down against old pal Boris Berezovsky (see story).
The problem is that the trial, as has become traditional over the last 800 years or so, is likely to be presided over by a judge. And the feeling is that that judge may not be sitting entirely comfortably when one of his or her Supreme Court superiors-in-waiting struts his stuff all over the High Court.
Such concerns might not bother Sumption too much as he pockets between £3m and £10m for his valedictory performance (depending on who you believe).
Either way, it should keep him off the streets of Baltimore for a while.