Shed some light

I hope Mr Justice Lightman will sit hard on The Lawyer's reporter for reporting his disparagement of non-law graduate barristers in such a way as to make it sound much more like vapid assertion than argument in the article "Judge attacks barristers without law degrees" (The Lawyer, 9 June 1998).

My respect for High Court judges is such that I am sure that his lecture was based on a considered, wide-ranging and detailed analysis of recent evidence of the failings of law – and non-law graduate barristers who have appeared before him, and whom he has come to know or hear about by other means, and that all such failings in non-law graduates as he has identified are explicable only by reference to the fact that they did not study law at university.

No doubt the empirical evidence on which he relies will be published in due course, and be so detailed and transparently impartial as to immediately command widespread popular and expert assent.

I can find no obvious analogy between the extent to which a biology O-level student resembles a GP and the extent to which a non-law graduate barrister with, say, 10 years' experience resembles a law graduate barrister of similar seniority in relevant respects, but I dare say the analogy only appears false to my sparingly educated, ex-CPE mind.

I hope, however, that Judge Lightman can publish answers to three questions, in a forum, perhaps The Lawyer, where all can hear and evaluate his answers. First, why do chambers, take on non-law graduates and retain them in chambers once they become successful if they are so unvaryingly deficient?

Second, why do solicitors, the CPS and lay clients, working in a competitive market, continue to employ and instruct them again and again?

Finally, why do so many law-graduate employers of ex-CPE barristers and solicitors say that many present-day CPE students outshine many law graduates?

Heon Stevenson