Former Bar Council chief Richard Atkins apologises for posting tweet quoting not too long ago deceased decide

A high QC has come beneath fireplace for suggesting pupil barristers ought to have “effectively polished sneakers” and a “correct hair reduce”.

In a tweet final week, Richard Atkins QC, who served because the chair of the Bar Council final 12 months, appeared to again the views of a not too long ago deceased Excessive Court docket decide.

His tweet was dismissed as “outdated” by the authorized Twitterati, with many questioning what a “correct haircut” is and what a barrister even appears to be like like.

Household barrister Lisa Edmunds wrote:

“The career must look forwards and never backwards … ‘appear like a barrister’ means what precisely? I’m all for sensible {and professional} however that sounds old skool and Dickensian to me.”

In the meantime, One Essex Court business barrister, David Wolfson, stated, “A barrister isn’t meant to ‘appear like’ something. A barrister ought to ‘be’ many issues: brave, truthful, decided, dependable, sincere and (no less than) competent”.

He added: “I imagine you might be all of these issues, even when your sneakers aren’t well-polished.”

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Others reminded Atkins that it’s 2020, not 1920, and, as one silk quipped, “Wait a minute! We’re speculated to get totally dressed for courtroom lately? I assumed that resulted in March? #tophalfonly #dontstandup”.

Human rights lawyer, Dabaleena Dasgupta, stated “this concept of ‘trying like a barrister’ is rooted in patriarchy, racism and classism”. She elaborated: “As a result of when that recommendation was given and sadly nonetheless a lot of the time now, ‘trying like a barrister’ means being male, white, and posh.”

Atkins’ tweet referred to an obituary in The Times (£) of the previous Excessive Court docket decide and fellow Bar Council chairman Sir Robert Johnson QC.

It described Johnson as “a believer in being accurately dressed” and somebody who “adhered longer than most to the standard male barrister’s apparel of a black jacket and waistcoat, pinstripe trousers, stiff collar and bowler hat”.

The obituary concluded: “He anticipated his pupils to have their hair correctly reduce and to put on effectively polished sneakers. ‘Even in the event you don’t know any legislation … you possibly can no less than appear like a barrister’”, he’s reported to have stated.

Atkins, who heads northern set St Philips Chambers, instructed Authorized Cheek that the tweet was meant to pay homage to Johnson. He stated:

“I’m sorry that the message I tweeted on Thursday quoting Sir Robert Johnson has prompted some folks upset. That was not my intention, I had by no means meant to offend anybody. I had meant to pay homage to Sir Robert Johnson, a person who set excessive requirements for thus many issues. It was additionally meant to be light-hearted. I’ve spent a big a part of my life searching for to advertise a contemporary, ahead pondering, numerous bar, open to all, and can proceed to take action.”

The Twitter row comes as a confrontation erupted between household legislation agency Vardags and a authorized staff’ union over a leaked costume code electronic mail. The unbelievable 1,000-word file, which found its way to Legal Cheek in September, included trend and life-style pointers corresponding to dressing “discreetly attractive and vibrant and flamboyant on the identical time in line with your choice”.

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