A private viewing

One of Tulkinghorn's colleagues contributed an incisive little article to Oxford University Law Society's magazine Verdict last month, but it wasn't the only good read in the Trinity Term issue. Running alongside the piece by Lawyer 2B's Jennifer Farrar and another by reformed drug smuggler Howard Marks was a fascinating piece by Trinity College president and Blackstone Chambers tenant Michael Beloff QC.

Beloff takes the opportunity to discuss 'views'. Views are site visits undertaken during the course of a trial and Beloff recounts his involvement in one of the most famous: when he appeared for the actress Gillian Taylforth in her case against The Sun, which had accused her of giving her boyfriend oral sex (or, as Beloff has subsequently taken to calling it, “a stationary traffic offence”) in a slip road off the A1.

He then goes on to describe his most recent view, which will have particular resonance for a number of lawyers who have previously graced these pages. Beloff received an instruction to defend the alcohol licence at Spearmint Rhino, the lap dancing club chain (like it needs any introduction here). When the clients suggested a visit to one of the clubs, Beloff jumped at the chance.

“I suggested we go at once,” he wrote, “insisting only that my solicitor come too, so as to interpose himself between me and the roving lens of any paparazzi. After a cursory glance at the lavish, if ornate, furnishings, the well-stocked bar and the naked ladies by the poles, I said that I was satisfied I had the flavour of the enterprise.” Apparently, though, the hosts “insisted” that he enjoy the “full monty”.

“I was hustled into an empty booth, guarded by a large bouncer, to be entertained by a striptease performed by a youthful blonde from South Africa, who told me that she had ambitions to be a ballet dancer, while I sat, trapped against a wall, with a gaze necessarily fixed at a level midway between her belly and her knees.” To be honest Mr Beloff, that is surely the last place one should be fixing one's stare.

Beloff wrote that it's all in a day's – or night's – work, for a lawyer – immediately boosting the popularity of the profession among Oxford's male law undergraduates.