Sorry, Your Honour - Spear's Magazine

Sorry, Your Honour

There must be some slick financiers who are living in terror, afraid of the knock on the door of their corner office

There must be some slick financiers who are secretly living in terror, constantly afraid of the knock on the door of their corner office, when their secretary says, ‘These gentlemen from the FSA are here to see you.’ Financial fraud (and the detection thereof) rises during times of austerity, and like Gordon Gekko, mini-Madoffs will soon be exchanging Armani suits for lags’ blue.

You’d expect this in the City, certainly, although help in your hour of need may not come from one of the City’s glass-and-steel towers which house the Magic Circle firms but from somewhere perhaps unexpected: Kent. (Really.)

After being invited by Kerry Waitt, president of the Kent Law Society – the oldest law society in the country – to attend the annual president’s dinner, my advice to anybody needing a good criminal barrister is to get hold of a copy of the Kent Law Society list of members and organize a beauty parade at a local hotel before even thinking of going anywhere near a Magic Circle firm for advice on criminal law. (The Great Danes Hotel in Hollingbourne is well known to all members as that is where the annual dinner takes place.)

What I didn’t realize before the dinner is that Kent is a hotbed of organized crime – many of Britain’s top criminal gangs are based in Kent – and the Kent Law Society boasts some of the finest and seasoned criminal barristers in the country, which you can be hired at a considerable saving to the £500-per-hour London lawyers.

The dinner was packed with dozens of Crown Court and Family Court judges – along with the High Sheriff of Kent – which meant that the barristers know the judges, which is exactly what you want if you happen to find yourself facing a long spell behind bars for some credit-crunch-induced crime. It came as no surprise that one of the guest speakers was the distinguished criminal barrister Anthony Arlidge QC – the father of Spear’s own Chancellor of the Excessive columnist John Arlidge.