It's been a bad week for…

Watford's Sheila Metson, a legal secretary at her husband Harold's solicitors firm, whose 20-year affair with plasterer Brian Ward was exposed when British Telecom wrote to Ward asking if he'd like to include her number in its cheap-rate "Friends and Family" deal. Ward's calls were so frequent that British Telecom put Metson's number at the top of his "five favourite calls" list. (However, it's not all bad news. Ward – who has been kicked out of the home that he once shared with his wife – is now considering suing British Telecom for wrecking his marriage and is hoping for a lawyer to step forward and tell him what his chances are.)

The reputation of Justices of the Peace after the exploits of Kevin Hall, a former West Bromwich magistrate. Hall failed in his attempt to avoid paying child maintenance by sending his brother to take DNA tests on his behalf. Hall received a 12-month jail sentence after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice at Worcester Crown Court, while his brother was put on probation and ordered to do 100 hours of community service.

Actors. A case challenging the use of actors to bring life to otherwise boring testimony – which is permitted in US courts – is causing ructions among the legal community. Critics say actors sometimes take things too far – for example, one Detroit actress portraying a prostitute was rebuked by the defence, who said her heels were too high and her earrings too tacky, while a Chicago actor stopped shaving for several days and wore a loud check sports jacket to portray a private eye.

Divorce lawyers. Complaints from divorcees, claiming their lawyers have failed to take their ex-husbands' pensions into account in divorce settlements, are increasing, according to the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund.

Lord Irvine, who was found guilty of unlawfully appointing his friend Garry Hart as his special adviser and thus indirectly discriminating against lawyers Jane Coker and Martha Osamor. The tribunal slated Lord Irvine for refusing to appear personally to give evidence.