Is it possible in Jersey?

If you are poor?

Or on the “wrong” side?

Read the informed opinion of one Jersey Advocate.


Regular readers will know that following the Jersey oligarchy destroying my career through illegal repression by what passes for a criminal ‘justice’ apparatus in Jersey – they remain determined to jail me for a lengthy period of time – for the unpardonable ‘crime’ of trying to protect my former constituents from rape, serial-killer rogue nurses and child abusers.

Throughout this oppression – I have had to resist the full, unlimited might of Jersey’s politicised prosecution and judicial oligarchy without legal representation.

The thought occurred to me some time ago, that as this war has to be fought – I would use the opportunity to achieve as many broad advances for ordinary people as possible. One of those would be finally securing affordable – and effective – legal representation for all who need it.

To that end, I’m challenging the current law that guarantees a monopoly to Jersey lawyers. At present, if you need a lawyer to represent you in a Jersey court – you cannot, for example, employ an English barrister to speak on your behalf. Only a Jersey Advocate enjoys ‘rights-of-audience’ before Jersey courts.

I wrote about this subject in some detail in my blog-posting of the 4th January, titled ‘Legal Representation in Jersey’.

Predictably enough – the Jersey Law Society – the lawyer’s union – are mobilising against my legal challenge, and to that end recently wrote to all their members.

However – at least one Jersey lawyer – Advocate Philip Sinel – understands why I should have felt it necessary to challenge the present exclusive right of Jersey lawyers to practice before Jersey courts.

Reproduced in full, below, is Advocate Sinel’s response to the Jersey Law Society.

It amounts to a damning critique of the present – inadequate – system of ‘legal aid’ in Jersey – and of the deep and predictable hostility of the judicial establishment – towards anyone who upsets them.

Essentially – Advocate Sinel says that any Jersey lawyer – even if I could afford one – that did, by some chance, represent me effectively, would incur lasting hostility from the judicial establishment. He says: –

“The inevitable consequence of making a proper job of Mr Syvret’s representation would be to engender discrimination and hostility from the judiciary and others in this jurisdiction for evermore.”

That is – of course – true.

And we all know it.

Advocate Sinel points out – by way of contrast – that Baker & Partners are being paid a very substantial amount of public money to prosecute me. He also asks just how much public money has been channelled each year to the UK legal chambers of 7 Bedford Row – the pet legal practice of the Jersey judicial establishment?

7 Bedford Row being, of course, the legal chambers from which Advocate Stephen Baker originated.

Advocate Sinel’s letter is reproduced below – and it, and its publication, are of great significance to the cause of justice in Jersey.

What Advocate Sinel has written will, of course, infuriate many people in the Jersey establishment. But he is no political revolutionary; on the contrary, he is a very successful commercial litigation lawyer. The profound irony of the situation is that, if only a few more successful figures from law and finance in Jersey had exhibited the wisdom and courage displayed by Advocate Sinel in stating obvious – but usually unspoken truths – the Jersey establishment would never have got itself in the damaging and disastrous mess it now faces.

After all – is it really so ‘radical’ – or ‘ dangerous’ – to expect effective political opposition – and reasonable access to effective legal representation – and a non-politicised judiciary – and some meaningful funding for legal aid – in a modern, 21st century, democratic society?



By E-mail and Post:

Advocate Jane Martin
The Law Society of Jersey
PO Box 493
St. Helier
JE4 5S2

3rd March 2011

Dear Advocate Martin

You sent recently a letter to the profession, asking for details of the numbers of Advocates, because you had been called upon to assist the Court, presided over by Sir Christopher Pitchers, in relation to allegations made by former Senator Syvret, as to the inadequacy of resource available to Defendants in this jurisdiction. Your email made reference to our exclusive rights of audience being under attack.

I very much hope that you will be presenting Sir Christopher with a balanced and accurate picture of the position. My views on this matter include at least the matters following.

Those responsible for upholding civil liberties in this jurisdiction are almost exclusively members, of what I might term, the Criminal Bar. As crime is almost completely unremunerated this acts as a profound disincentive. The fact that monies are not made available under the legal aid system for the majority of criminal cases has, to my mind, a severely detrimental effect upon calibre of representation and the amount of choice (frequently none at all) afforded to Defendants in criminal trials.

I would now like to move on if I may, to the specifics of former Senator Syvret’s position. It is unlikely that anyone would want to act for Mr Syvret on legal aid or, for that matter, privately. The position is that the Government has a blank cheque in respect of its use of tax payers’ monies, not that the tax payer has been consulted, and it can spend hundreds of thousands, or indeed millions, on this prosecution.

Any member of a firm obtaining a legal aid slip for the defence has in effect immediately won the lottery in reverse. The costs of providing legal representation to former Senator Syvret would be prohibitive and would remove hundreds of thousands of pounds from the relevant firm’s balance sheet. To which I must add that any practitioner who dealt with the realities of that case, in the manner that they should be dealt with, would of course highlight inefficiencies, if not worse, within the system of Government in Jersey.

My experience of such actions is that they lead inevitably to judicial discrimination and persecution of the practitioner (see for example Mayo v Cantrade [1998] JLR 173 and [1998] JLR 106), Sinel v Batonnier [2000] JLR 93 and Sinel v Horsfall [1997] JLR 41. Thus it is that any person acting for former Senator Syvret would be intimidated before they started, and if they were not intimidated, that would point to an absence of perspicacity on their behalf. The inevitable consequence of making a proper job of Mr Syvret’s representation would be to engender discrimination and hostility from the judiciary and others in this jurisdiction for evermore.

It might perhaps at this stage be wise if the whole of the profession thought through the consequences of the system that we presently work under, namely that those who could, and indeed would and should, fulfil an important and legitimate function within our Society are deterred by at least the factors set out above. To which we must of course add that the Crown have unlimited resources in relation to any prosecution, to which the Defendants have no access. The prosecution have the Police, the Defendants do not have private detectives or a budget for intelligence gathering, or for that matter external Counsel. To my mind, the system in Jersey is a very long way from providing an equality of arms or anything akin to it. Likewise there is no provision for providing senior members of the Bar to those accused of serious crimes, or where points of universal application arise.

I also request by this letter that you ascertain from the relevant authorities how much of the tax payers’ money is paid to Number 7 Bedford Row every year and what the rationale for those payments is. It seems to me that a lot of money is being paid abroad, therefore it does not go into the local economy and, in particular, it bypasses the local legal profession when those monies could be better directed to growing and remunerating our colleagues.

In relation to former Senator Syvret, the question that he is raising with the Court, upon which you wrote to the profession, would not have been raised at all had he been given the ability to choose a suitably competent and qualified remunerated lawyer. His request to that end was flatly refused by Advocate Fitz.

Mr Syvret made through me a request of those responsible for providing funding in this jurisdiction, that a budget be made available for legal representation so as to give him some form of equality of arms (for a number of reasons, I did not do so on the basis that it would be this firm that necessarily represented him, as I felt that he should properly be able to look at a reasonable number of alternatives, including those who have more of a criminal practice than those in this firm). He was denied access to any funds in marked contrast to others. As I have said before, the Government is clearly paying a very great deal of tax payers’ money in relation to this prosecution to Baker and Partners.

The other point of concern in relation to this matter is this; that a number of the charges brought against former Senator Syvret relate to the manner in which he utilised information which he gained whilst fulfilling his function as an elected representative of the people of the Island in order to criticise the Government. Cases of that nature necessarily raise matters which are of great public interest and of universal application, it would be of the benefit of the Island if Mr Syvret was in receipt of an appropriate degree of legal assistance.

I very much hope that you will take this opportunity to publicise the need for us to nurture and protect our own and that we will not be saying that all is well. All is not well within the Island or within the profession.

There are many good reasons to preserve our exclusive rights of Advocacy if we can properly serve the Island’s interests.

As the recent case In the matter of MM [2011] JRC 002 demonstrates, we cannot yet attend our own affairs competently. We are a long way from becoming that positive force for legal and judicial evolution which we could and should be. That long journey should start by addressing the present position with candour.

Yours sincerely

Advocate Philip Sinel.

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