Upsetting the constitution

Last week the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) organised a conference to discuss the important issue of the future of legal services post-Clementi. An assorted bunch of solicitors, barristers, consumer group representatives and civil servants gathered at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands to listen to Lord Falconer’s keynote speech and then discuss it.

All well and good. But the event ran less than smoothly. Tulkinghorn and his colleagues arrived to discover that none of the hacks had been issued with name badges, prompting a pause while the DCA flunkies printed them out.

Upstairs, attendees were ushered into the ‘Platinum Room’ to hear Lord Falconer speak. The conference was introduced by BBC presenter Jeremy Vine, before the gathering was treated to a video of ‘vox pop’ opinions from Birmingham.

Which senior City partner was recently mistaken for a chauffeur outside The Ivy?

A selection of Brummies told the camera about their experiences of dealing with solicitors – including being ripped off, not having their phone calls returned and receiving letters written in incomprehensible legalese.

Vine then introduced Lord Falconer – “Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs”. Lord Falconer stepped up to the microphone and his name appeared on the big screen at his back. Except somehow they’d managed to give him an alternative title: Attorney-General.

Tulkinghorn prays that the implementation of legal services reforms goes a little more smoothly.