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Monday 23 October 2017
Letters to the Editor

Why the exclusion of attorneys from speech?

THE EDITOR: An open letter to the president of the Law Association:

I don’t know if you are aware of it (you ought to be), but a lot of practising attorneys were prevented from attending the speech by the Chief Justice in the Convocation Hall today (Monday).

A young attorney reported to me that he attended the church service and wanted to go to listen to the Chief Justice’s speech. He said he was aware of the call for a boycott but as this was his first year as an attorney he wanted to take part in every aspect of the ceremonial opening of the courts.

Imagine his surprise when he turned up for the speech and saw with his own eyes that the Convocation Hall was about 90 percent empty but was told by an usher that he couldn’t get in because “seats allocated for attorneys had already been filled.”

Now you’ve only got to look at it to see that this is absolute nonsense and very wrong. Frankly, I am astonished to hear that in a matter such as this that practising attorneys rank behind lay people. One would have thought that the ceremonial opening of the courts is more for us than for anybody else.

In these circumstances I request and require a definitive statement from the Law Association on this. Does the Law Association agree that practising attorneys should rank behind “invitees and other dignitaries” in matters such as this? In other words, we the members of the Law Association are not as important to the courts of this country as foreigners and other so-called “dignitaries?” And our association accepts this?

If the Council of the Law Association believes that this is acceptable, kindly tell the membership and please explain why. I know that members would be most interested.

For the record, I personally think that this exclusion of attorneys was unacceptable because we are officers of the court and should therefore rank before anybody else in all ceremonies relating to the court.

It is probably better that I leave unexpressed my opinion as to the real reason why there was this exclusion of attorneys other than to note that this opening of the new Law Term was not without controversy.

ROBIN MONTANO

attorney

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