Fair comment

Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 970 4395, e-mail lawyer.edit@chiron.co.uk, DX44700 Soho Square

Your light-hearted article in Tulkinghorn (The Lawyer, 16 June 1998) "Light father/ light son" was, underneath the irresistible tease, also light on factual accuracy.

Serle Court Chambers has prided itself for years on its selection procedures, which benefit from skilled interview techniques and which we have always considered to be scrupulously fair.

It would have been easy to deny Daniel Lightman a fair opportunity to apply to his father's old chambers, merely to preserve an image of equality. In fact, the exercise turned into a competition between us and our competitors to attract him, such was his quality on paper, in mini-pupillage and in interview.

Equally, he could have avoided the inevitable innuendoes of favouritism by accepting one of the offers of pupillage he received from each of the several sets to which he applied. Needless to say, most sets (including Serle Court) normally choose their tenants from among their pupils.

We understand that in reply to your reporter's specific enquiries about his legal qualifications, Lightman fils stated that the result of his CPE (i.e. his legal examination) was a distinction. He modestly failed to mention his double first in Classics from Oxford, although the due diligence of our selection process did not wholly ignore it.

By the way, Serle Court has the Homeric habit of occasionally departing from Mr Justice Lightman's views on legal qualifications – a failing from which the writer of this letter, with no connections, was one of the beneficiaries.

Michael Briggs QC, BA Hons History, Head of Chambers