Dim view of Lightman

Mr Justice Lightman enlightened the Chancery Bar Association spring lecture on 3 June with his vision of litigation in the 21st Century.

Pitifully, his views regarding recruitment to the Bar were not so forward thinking. Mr Justice Lightman stressed his desire to afford full equality of opportunity to those who wished to become barristers as necessary to maintain both quality and public confidence in the profession.

However, he then dismissed every entrant to the Bar who had chosen to study disciplines other than law before undertaking the post-graduate conversion course (CPE) as being no more qualified than a doctor would be having passed O level biology.

Until last year, when it was abolished, both CPE and LLB students alike had to complete a 12-page application form, an assessed advocacy test and a three-hour written skills examination before entering Bar School.

As a CPE student I was justifiably proud to have competed and passed the entrance requirements on merit. Applications are now assessed by application form alone, I trust not by someone sharing Mr Justice Lightman's opinion.

Perhaps Mr Justice Lightman would prefer to return to the hallowed days of the Bar finals, pre-1970, when he and most of his contemporaries qualified. Admission was open to anyone who could afford the fees, attendance at lectures was non-compulsory, no practical training was offered, and the course itself could be taken in lieu of the third year of an undergraduate degree.

Stephen Mather, barrister

Barnes, London