Sole practitioner scores first in House of Lords

Lionel Blackman is also the first high street practitioner to act for a client as an advocate from magistrates court up to the House of Lords. Previously the only solicitor to lead for a principal party in the highest court is Herbert Smith’s Laurence Collins QC who represented Chile in the Pinochet case: he lost.

Lionel Blackman, represented the legally aided appellant, Stephen Morgans, in a case concerning the admissibility of evidence obtained by police through an unauthorised tap on Morgans’ phone line.

The House of Lords overruled a Court of Appeal decision which disallowed warranted phone tap evidence to be used in court, but allowed it to be used in court as evidence if obtained without a warrant. Blackman says: “I am the second solicitor to lead in the House of Lords and the first to win. Solicitors should be encouraged to take up their rights of audience in the higher courts.

“Crown Court judges can look down on you: they are sometimes rough on solicitors. But in the higher courts, the judges are only interested in law and are not fussed whether you’re wearing a wig or not.