Your View

An open letter to the Chief Executive of the Law Society

This is a guest post by Harry’s Place commenter amie

Dear Mr Hudson

I have had sight of your responses (pdf) dated 2nd and 4th November to the correspondence from the British Israel Law Association relating to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine’s session to be held at the Law Society’s premises.

It appears that even at this late stage you are under the impression that the numerous objections you have received to your letting your premises for these proceedings is because the content is “controversial”. This is not the issue, as many have made clear. The issue, especially for those of us of the legal profession, is that this self appointed, self styled People’s Tribunal has concocted a spectacle which is a travesty of a judicial hearing. It militates against every principle of substantive justice and procedural fairness underpinning the legal tradition which the Law Society represents.

The fact that these proceedings take place on the premises of the Law Society will lead many people to make the association. This is even more so as this was until very recently reflected on the Russell Tribunal’s website, and although the explicit mention of the Law Society has now been deleted from the Tribunal’s website many people will have read the original version. This ostensible imprimatur of the Law Society, notwithstanding your assiduous protestations to the contrary, will inevitably have the effect of bestowing an aura of juridical probity on proceedings which have all the impartiality of a tribunal presided over by a panel of proverbial marsupials.

Lest you argue that this confusion will not have arisen in the mind of the rider on the Chancery Lane omnibus, should she have read the original website or other material produced by the Tribunal, I would draw an analogy from the test for Passing Off. This is, as you know, where the reputation of someone providing goods or services is appropriated by another, to give the impression that his services are those provided by the former. In the tort of Passing Off, as you are of course aware, the case law holds that the claim cannot succeed if only a “moron in a hurry” would confuse or conflate the products or services of the two parties.

It is indeed possible for even a person such as yourself, by no means a moron in a hurry, to the contrary – one steeped in the discipline of forensic caution and studious research- to suffer from confusion when perusing websites: In your letter you “note that Russell Tribunal website subtitle is Jews for Justice for Palestine”. (sic)

In fact the Russell Tribunal website contains no such “subtitle” and only mentions Jews for Justice for Palestine once in a list of “endorsers”. What I can only imagine has happened is that if you Google “Russell Tribunal Palestine, the 6th result that comes up is “Russell Tribunal on Palestine/Jews for Justice for Palestinians”. If you click on this link, you will find the Tribunal’s event publicised on the site of the jfjfp. Their invitation to “Share and Enjoy” this information would seem to indicate their approbation of this event, but that is not quite the same thing as the impression which you seem to have that they are organisers or underwriters of this event.

You will see how easy it is to make a mistake, even if one is not a moron in a hurry. The potential for confusion regarding the good name of the Law Society is even greater.

Yours faithfully

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