When It Comes to Lawyers, Shakespeare Called It Right

Daily Mail (London), April 5, 2011 | Go to article overview

When It Comes to Lawyers, Shakespeare Called It Right


Byline: Richard LittleJohn

THIS column doesn't often quote Shakespeare, but a line from one of the Bard's lesser works has kept coming back to me over the years. In Henry VI (Part 2), Act 4, Dick the Butcher tells his fellow rebels: 'First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.'

There's been much debate as to whether this is a back-handed compliment to the legal profession, since the rule of law is seen as a barrier to bloody revolution.

Whatever Shakespeare's intention, the quotation is reported to have been greeted with cheers and laughter by the audience when it was first performed. Lawyers were no more popular then than they are now.

In the second decade of the 21st century, the case for putting lawyers to the sword seems compelling.

I'm not talking about the trusted family solicitor who guides us through estate planning and dabbles in a little light conveyancing; or those poorly rewarded briefs who toil in pursuit of justice in Uxbridge magistrates' court; nor blessed libel practitioners, who have kept this column out of the dock for more than two decades.

The problem is the burgeoning legions of 'yuman rites' parasites, judicial activists and tribunal advocates.

Some of us can't help reaching for our scabbards every time we see the smug visage of Michael Mansfield QC or read the latest pronouncement from the absurdly pompous judges of our shiny new Supreme Court.

There are times when I'd be happy to see the streets running with the blood of those spiv lawyers behind those adverts on daytime TV, which promise the gullible and greedy a fortune in 'comp-en-say-shun' for the most trivial injury.

The adage 'accidents will happen' has been replaced by a modern creed of 'where there's blame, there's a claim'. Just call Blame Direct and it's trebles all round.

No-win, no-fee outfits have created the false impression that there's no cost involved in spinning the wheel in the compensation casino.

The truth is that we all pay for these chancers, through extortionate insurance premiums and higher prices for goods and services, levied to meet the crippling cost of litigation.

Whatever Ken Clarke's other failings, his decision to scrap no-win, no-fee arrangements is the best piece of news to come out of the Coalition.

But it only scratches the surface of the tyranny of the modern legal system. Laws were originally designed to protect us. Increasingly, they are employed to oppress and exploit the paying public.

New Labour was a party of lawyers, by lawyers, for lawyers. Incorporating the European Human Rights Act into British law was the most ruinous, pernicious action ever undertaken by any government.

In addition, we have been subjected to an avalanche of unnecessary legislation, most of it originating in Brussels, which has restrained our freedom and granted inalienable 'rights' to criminals and terrorists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

When It Comes to Lawyers, Shakespeare Called It Right
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.