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Is Jolyon Maugham the new Alan Partridge? His self-serving lawfare is a tragic farce

Back of the net! (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Back of the net! (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


April 26, 2023   5 mins

“Because we are not a charity, with narrowly defined objectives, we have to ask ourselves constantly what we are for,” confesses Good Law Project chief Jolyon Maugham, in his new fundraising pamphlet disguised as a memoir, Bringing Down Goliath. It is a good question, since, to the casual observer, it may appear that the GLP’s short history of noisily accusing government departments of wrongdoing has achieved very little. Those who might want answers — judges and donors, for instance — can find them in the book, but only if they look closely.

Maugham’s cases have occasionally succeeded. In 2019, he had a hand in the application that led to the Scottish Court’s ruling that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful. Unfortunately, two hours later, the High Court in London gave its reasons for having rebuffed Gina Miller’s plea for the same decision five days earlier. It rather overshadowed Maugham’s efforts, much to his irritation: “The decision of Scotland’s highest court made barely a ripple in the national press. The BBC made room for a single interview with me on its news channel.”

Nevertheless, his work here was arguably of public benefit. I have heard persuasive moral defences of Boris Johnson’s 2019 prorogation of Parliament, but most lawyers, even on the Right, saw it as a constitutional travesty, and one that could have set a dangerous precedent.

More often, though, the GLP loses, which costs them. Last year, they were ordered to pay more than £350,000 to the Government Legal Department to cover the expense of defending failed GLP claims. This sum was mainly crowdfunded from small donors. People are free to donate as they please, of course, but questions about transparency — a virtue vaunted by the GLP — continue to swirl. When the High Court rules that your claim “fails in its entirety”, and orders you to pay 80% of the other side’s costs, as they did to the Good Law Project in their Covid appointments action, is it really ethical to spin that outcome to donors as an unalloyed victory — as having won “at every substantive level”? Yes, all right, Maugham’s co-claimant got part of what he wanted (a limited “declaration”), but both of them failed to persuade the court of the headline allegation of “cronyism”. Never — ever — to be deterred, Maugham insists that this failure was only at “a deeply technical level”, now a droll euphemism for a forensic spanking.

Indeed, the judgment in that case could be seen as paving the way for tighter restrictions on who can bring a claim for Judicial Review, which is the GLP’s modus operandi. The requirement that a claimant has to have a “sufficient interest” in the impugned decision has long been interpreted generously, in favour of campaigning groups and the like. But Maugham’s scattergun shirtiness and unabashed politicising has severely tested that generosity. Lord Reed, now president of the Supreme Court, said in 2012 that “a distinction must be drawn between the mere busybody and the person affected by or having a reasonable concern in the matter”. Thanks to the GLP’s busybodying, successive Lord Chancellors have threatened to tighten up the “sufficient interest” test, in a way that is unlikely to benefit the public. Is this what the Good Law Project is for?

Fortunately, the Napoleonic ambition of Maugham’s project looks beyond the law of Judicial Review. The GLP is now planning legal action against Instagram’s parent company, Meta, for irresponsible advertising to children. They have instructed a “global law firm” to “scan Europe for the best jurisdictions in which to litigate”. “We don’t know whether the case will win,” Maugham adds.

Thank goodness, then, that a “better metric” than success-rate, as he informs the reader, is “the frequency and aggression of the attacks directed against us by Government ministers”. Rishi Sunak once named him 10 times in a press release on plans to put tighter limits on “lawfare” — as Jolyon tells us at least three times. One gets a sense that here is where he gets his kicks. “There is no greater compliment you can be paid by the power you challenge than to force it to speak your name, to breathe into your lungs the air of power, of saliency”.

With his beady lawyer’s eye, Maugham identifies wrongdoing and forces Tory ministers to stop cheating, or so the story goes. But Bringing Down Goliath is a bold title for a tale in which Goliath suffers nothing worse than the occasional stubbed toe. Towards the end of the book, the myth-making gives way to something closer to reality. Referring to their litigation over the procurement of PPE during the pandemic, Maugham writes: “we generated literally thousands of pieces of mainstream, national media coverage about the scandal… Against that background, the ultimate decision in the case was almost irrelevant.” And so he admits what many have long suspected: the Good Law Project sees the Administrative courts as Just Stop Oil sees snooker tables — as a platform for attention-seeking.

As a youngster, Maugham says, he never doubted that he would be successful. And if we adopt his definition of success — basically, winding people up ‘til they slag you off — he was correct. It is his insistence that he is, and was at all relevant times, right that precipitates much of the text of this work. (“Of course I get stuff wrong sometimes,” he concedes, but details are not shared.) Journalists who upset him, colleagues who question him, solicitors who take against him, and of course judges who find against him: they all have their turpitude explained to them, in painstaking detail. This book has a central and unfulfilled purpose in common with the Good Law Project itself: the protection and improvement of the reputation of Jolyon Maugham KC.

Some who have paid attention to the sententious verbiage, the heavy-worn learning, the big head on narrow shoulders, compare Maugham to a windy little vicar from a 19th-century novel. For others, the fictional character most readily called to mind by his obsessive score-settling and unbending devotion to status — so much dinner, with so many very senior civil servants — is Alan Partridge. “Giving a speech on receiving the Praeses Elit in Dublin,” begins one of Maugham’s sentences, before it clarifies: “a prize awarded to those who have advanced the discourse in their line of work and are a source of inspiration to young people”. On this occasion, he “reflected on Gandalf standing on the bridge at Khazad-dĂ»m in The Lord of The Rings. The fiery twin-horned Balrog approaches. And, although Gandalf knows the Balrog is too much for him, he plants his staff on the bridge and he says: ‘You shall not pass’.” As with Partridge, so with Maugham: he is much funnier than he intends to be.

Good law is difficult and, to most people, rather boring. It does not play well on social media. One benefit of the less highly networked culture of the recent past is that the acquisition of influence tended to be slow, and meritorious; whereas today, a certain kind of status within the ever-growing online legal world can be achieved swiftly, by playing to the cheap seats. So, for the time being at least, it is hard to completely refute Maugham’s clichĂ©d insistence that “the real court is that of public opinion”.

We may look to the future with some foreboding, then; but for the GLP, it seems bright. Big plans are underway, involving tech platforms, shareable legal advice, and “ready-made legal structures” to provide “new ways for communities to live and be”. Though Maugham admits that he “can’t claim to have built a social movement”, that is clearly where his ambitions lie. And if he fails, well, the publicity generated in the attempt will render it a success — although perhaps not on a deeply technical level.


Adam King is a criminal barrister at QEB Hollis Whiteman.

adamhpking

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Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
1 year ago

‘The real court is public opinion’ – this, coming from a practitioner of the law in a democracy is a disgraceful comment.
I’ll paraphrase that for you Jolyon:
‘The mob is the real judge and the real jury’

Last edited 1 year ago by Seb Dakin
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

If the ‘real court is public opinion’ then why do we need foreign judges blocking the will of a democratically elected government and preventing the first duty of any government which is to defend our borders ?

tom j
tom j
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Can’t we turn it back on him more simply: if the real court is public opinion, then isn’t Brexit the right thing to do?

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  tom j

…they were clearly the WRONG public, holding the WRONG opinion!

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago
Reply to  tom j

…they were clearly the WRONG public, holding the WRONG opinion!

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Tom J got there before me. Why doesn’t this fox-killing ambulance chaser just foxtrot oscar?

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

He is just a numpty who stumbled over a way to make some money and become a somebody, instead of a bum, which is really what he is.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

If the ‘real court is public opinion’ then why do we need foreign judges blocking the will of a democratically elected government and preventing the first duty of any government which is to defend our borders ?

tom j
tom j
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Can’t we turn it back on him more simply: if the real court is public opinion, then isn’t Brexit the right thing to do?

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Tom J got there before me. Why doesn’t this fox-killing ambulance chaser just foxtrot oscar?

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

He is just a numpty who stumbled over a way to make some money and become a somebody, instead of a bum, which is really what he is.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
1 year ago

‘The real court is public opinion’ – this, coming from a practitioner of the law in a democracy is a disgraceful comment.
I’ll paraphrase that for you Jolyon:
‘The mob is the real judge and the real jury’

Last edited 1 year ago by Seb Dakin
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

“Referring to their litigation over the procurement of PPE during the pandemic, Maugham writes: “we generated literally thousands of pieces of mainstream, national media coverage about the scandal
 Against that background, the ultimate decision in the case was almost irrelevant.””
What sort of legal professional could write that ? Some of Maugham’s behaviour seems to be getting close to bringing the profession into disrepute.
Meanwhile, any legal system has finite capacity and there must be some prioritisation of cases. If Maugham and the ever increasing amount of judicial review are clogging up the system, are not more important cases being delayed ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter B
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Indeed.

And the irony of “literally thousands of pieces” of anything being generated in a case involving PPE seems lost on him.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“Some of Maugham’s behaviour seems to be getting close to bringing the profession into disrepute.”

NO, the reputation of ‘the profession’ or British Justice, was irreparably damaged years ago by the behaviour of one ‘Lennie’ Hoffman during the Augusto Pinochet extradition case.

It will never recover from that debacle, thus this affair is of little consequence.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Do any of you 13 ‘thumbs downers’ even recall the Pinochet case?

@ 13.22 BST.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Yes. Fairly clear recollection – it also messed up my trip to Argentina and Chile. Had to skip the Chile section and stick around in Argentina a bit longer as that was friendlier to us at the time. Can’t recommend Argentina enough.
But what specifically were you referring to ?
My recollection was that the gutless Jack Straw bailed out at the last moment. Either you arrest Pinochet and bring it through to trial. Or you don’t arrest him in the first place. But I guess that was New Labour’s famous “third way” in action – i.e. in reality gesture politics.
I’m not sure what the downvoting’s all about here either.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Hoffman sat as a Law Lord in the extradition case of Augusto Pinochet.That case had been brought to the House of Lords by Amnesty International (AI) and others.

Hoffman was also Chairman and Director (unpaid) of Amnesty International Charity Ltd, a satellite of AI. Hoffman’s wife had also worked as an administrator at AI for many years.

When this was revealed, and because of possible accusations of bias, it meant the UNPRECEDENTED setting aside of the House of Lords judgement, because in the words of another Law Lord, Lord Hutton:” public confidence in the integrity of the administration of Justice would be shaken if his Hoffman’s) decision was allowed to stand”.

Thus is the words of BBC’s then Legal Affairs Correspondent, Joshua Rosenberg, “ The Hoffman affair must have done great damage to the International reputation of the English judiciary “. How right he was!

Perhaps a perfect example of New Labour’s third way, as you so rightly say.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?*

(* J.Satire VI,347-8.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Thanks. All clear now. Doesn’t mean Hoffman’s decision was necessarily wrong, but that’s clearly a conflict of interest that should never have been allowed to happen. He should have declared an interest and stood down. Process clearly corrupted in that instance, regardless of result and whether accidental or deliberate. Not very professional – by any of the parties involved.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter B
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Hoffman should have stood down as he well knew! No ifs no buts!

When I spoke to Lord Slynn, one of the Law Lords also sitting on the appeal, he said he was mortified by the episode, particularly as he knew of Hoffman’s connection to Amnesty International, and he naturally assumed Hoffman would stand aside.

The whole episode cost the taxpayer a reputed ÂŁ2 million in 1998 money!

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

Well done for sticking to your guns in the face of all those thumbs-downs, and arguing your point with clarity and facts. You deserve the later thumbs-ups!

Andrew E Walker
Andrew E Walker
1 year ago

If Lord Slynn knew of Hoffmann’s connection to a charity devoted to upholding the rule of law and fighting the use of torture, which is wholly unexceptionable in a Lord of Appeal-in-Ordinary, why the hell was Hoffmann invited to sit in the case?

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

Well done for sticking to your guns in the face of all those thumbs-downs, and arguing your point with clarity and facts. You deserve the later thumbs-ups!

Andrew E Walker
Andrew E Walker
1 year ago

If Lord Slynn knew of Hoffmann’s connection to a charity devoted to upholding the rule of law and fighting the use of torture, which is wholly unexceptionable in a Lord of Appeal-in-Ordinary, why the hell was Hoffmann invited to sit in the case?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Hoffman should have stood down as he well knew! No ifs no buts!

When I spoke to Lord Slynn, one of the Law Lords also sitting on the appeal, he said he was mortified by the episode, particularly as he knew of Hoffman’s connection to Amnesty International, and he naturally assumed Hoffman would stand aside.

The whole episode cost the taxpayer a reputed ÂŁ2 million in 1998 money!

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Thanks. All clear now. Doesn’t mean Hoffman’s decision was necessarily wrong, but that’s clearly a conflict of interest that should never have been allowed to happen. He should have declared an interest and stood down. Process clearly corrupted in that instance, regardless of result and whether accidental or deliberate. Not very professional – by any of the parties involved.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter B
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Hoffman sat as a Law Lord in the extradition case of Augusto Pinochet.That case had been brought to the House of Lords by Amnesty International (AI) and others.

Hoffman was also Chairman and Director (unpaid) of Amnesty International Charity Ltd, a satellite of AI. Hoffman’s wife had also worked as an administrator at AI for many years.

When this was revealed, and because of possible accusations of bias, it meant the UNPRECEDENTED setting aside of the House of Lords judgement, because in the words of another Law Lord, Lord Hutton:” public confidence in the integrity of the administration of Justice would be shaken if his Hoffman’s) decision was allowed to stand”.

Thus is the words of BBC’s then Legal Affairs Correspondent, Joshua Rosenberg, “ The Hoffman affair must have done great damage to the International reputation of the English judiciary “. How right he was!

Perhaps a perfect example of New Labour’s third way, as you so rightly say.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?*

(* J.Satire VI,347-8.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Andrew E Walker
Andrew E Walker
1 year ago

Of course I remember it. The notion of undeclared interest was nonsensical. What judge ever declares an interest because one of the Silks who appears before him is a member of the same Inn?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Yes. Fairly clear recollection – it also messed up my trip to Argentina and Chile. Had to skip the Chile section and stick around in Argentina a bit longer as that was friendlier to us at the time. Can’t recommend Argentina enough.
But what specifically were you referring to ?
My recollection was that the gutless Jack Straw bailed out at the last moment. Either you arrest Pinochet and bring it through to trial. Or you don’t arrest him in the first place. But I guess that was New Labour’s famous “third way” in action – i.e. in reality gesture politics.
I’m not sure what the downvoting’s all about here either.

Andrew E Walker
Andrew E Walker
1 year ago

Of course I remember it. The notion of undeclared interest was nonsensical. What judge ever declares an interest because one of the Silks who appears before him is a member of the same Inn?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

Do any of you 13 ‘thumbs downers’ even recall the Pinochet case?

@ 13.22 BST.

Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

He seems to be saying that if you spread an accusation as widely and as often as possible it doesn’t matter if it is eventually found to be untrue. That doesn’t seem that far removed from the Goebbels’ quote that if you repeat a lie often enough it eventually becomes the truth.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Indeed.

And the irony of “literally thousands of pieces” of anything being generated in a case involving PPE seems lost on him.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“Some of Maugham’s behaviour seems to be getting close to bringing the profession into disrepute.”

NO, the reputation of ‘the profession’ or British Justice, was irreparably damaged years ago by the behaviour of one ‘Lennie’ Hoffman during the Augusto Pinochet extradition case.

It will never recover from that debacle, thus this affair is of little consequence.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

He seems to be saying that if you spread an accusation as widely and as often as possible it doesn’t matter if it is eventually found to be untrue. That doesn’t seem that far removed from the Goebbels’ quote that if you repeat a lie often enough it eventually becomes the truth.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

“Referring to their litigation over the procurement of PPE during the pandemic, Maugham writes: “we generated literally thousands of pieces of mainstream, national media coverage about the scandal
 Against that background, the ultimate decision in the case was almost irrelevant.””
What sort of legal professional could write that ? Some of Maugham’s behaviour seems to be getting close to bringing the profession into disrepute.
Meanwhile, any legal system has finite capacity and there must be some prioritisation of cases. If Maugham and the ever increasing amount of judicial review are clogging up the system, are not more important cases being delayed ?

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter B
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

It seems to me that this Jolyon chap is trying to act like a politician without having the bottle to seek election.

At least Gina Miller started her own political party which of course flopped miserably, but a more honourable course of action.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
F Jones
F Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I was at JM’s party after he Took Silk (I had to remind myself constantly not to congratulate him for Touching Cloth) It was a strange evening. Most of the conversation centred around which safe Labour seat his wife could be parachuted into. It was one of the smuggest and unintentionally hilarious gatherings I’ve been to.

F Jones
F Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I was at JM’s party after he Took Silk (I had to remind myself constantly not to congratulate him for Touching Cloth) It was a strange evening. Most of the conversation centred around which safe Labour seat his wife could be parachuted into. It was one of the smuggest and unintentionally hilarious gatherings I’ve been to.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

It seems to me that this Jolyon chap is trying to act like a politician without having the bottle to seek election.

At least Gina Miller started her own political party which of course flopped miserably, but a more honourable course of action.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

He should have called his book “Farce Majeure”.
Subtitled, “Memoirs of a fox-clubbing man”

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Jolyon seems very clubbable himself

Neil Cheshire
Neil Cheshire
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

‘Faux Majeure’ ?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Jolyon seems very clubbable himself

Neil Cheshire
Neil Cheshire
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

‘Faux Majeure’ ?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

He should have called his book “Farce Majeure”.
Subtitled, “Memoirs of a fox-clubbing man”

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Paradoxically, I think the book will be very successful because it’s unintentionally hilarious. Maugham is only outdone for pompous self-aggrandisement by James O’Brien, whose literary efforts scale even greater heights of self-parody.

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I used to listen to O’Brien when I was out delivering leaflets for the Lib Dems during the EU referendum. He actually succeeded in making me stop any involvement with the LibDems (the gender nonsense made me cancel my membership). His revolting attitude to people with different opinions – when they were allowed on (hardly ever as it was mostly about him ventilating his gigantic ego) – sickened me. I still think we would have been better off in than out but the public voted to leave and I respect and understand that wish. Talking down to millions of people and calling them filthy names and ascribing the worst possible motivations to them whilst sneering at their views, music, food, speech, accents, tastes – EVERYTHING – is unacceptable to me. Democracy is as much about gracefully losing as it is about the process.

Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Very wise and gracious comments, if may say so. (Yours, not O’Brien’s!) Like you (I assume) I voted remain in the referendum, but I had some sympathy with the leave case which I thought was critical to listen to and understand, even if not completely agree with. And once the vote was to leave, that was it, we’re all leaving. The smug, hostile, anti-democratic antics of O’Brien and his ilk in the following years sickened me.

Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Very wise and gracious comments, if may say so. (Yours, not O’Brien’s!) Like you (I assume) I voted remain in the referendum, but I had some sympathy with the leave case which I thought was critical to listen to and understand, even if not completely agree with. And once the vote was to leave, that was it, we’re all leaving. The smug, hostile, anti-democratic antics of O’Brien and his ilk in the following years sickened me.

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I used to listen to O’Brien when I was out delivering leaflets for the Lib Dems during the EU referendum. He actually succeeded in making me stop any involvement with the LibDems (the gender nonsense made me cancel my membership). His revolting attitude to people with different opinions – when they were allowed on (hardly ever as it was mostly about him ventilating his gigantic ego) – sickened me. I still think we would have been better off in than out but the public voted to leave and I respect and understand that wish. Talking down to millions of people and calling them filthy names and ascribing the worst possible motivations to them whilst sneering at their views, music, food, speech, accents, tastes – EVERYTHING – is unacceptable to me. Democracy is as much about gracefully losing as it is about the process.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Paradoxically, I think the book will be very successful because it’s unintentionally hilarious. Maugham is only outdone for pompous self-aggrandisement by James O’Brien, whose literary efforts scale even greater heights of self-parody.

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago

A barrister that only ever pursues matters they agree with and who does so in an explicit politically biased manner is a fraud. The Big Ego Project is about Maugham maintaining his stream of income. An awful sanctimonious fake.

Kevin Hansen
Kevin Hansen
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

I was going to say something very similar, but the steam I would deny him wouldn’t have been emanating from my porridge.

Kevin Hansen
Kevin Hansen
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

I was going to say something very similar, but the steam I would deny him wouldn’t have been emanating from my porridge.

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago

A barrister that only ever pursues matters they agree with and who does so in an explicit politically biased manner is a fraud. The Big Ego Project is about Maugham maintaining his stream of income. An awful sanctimonious fake.

J Mo
J Mo
1 year ago

From this it seems like another fictional parallel for Jolyon is Father Ted accepting his Golden Cleric award, “and now we move on to liars…”

J Mo
J Mo
1 year ago

From this it seems like another fictional parallel for Jolyon is Father Ted accepting his Golden Cleric award, “and now we move on to liars…”

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Lord Reed, now president of the Supreme Court, said in 2012 that “a distinction must be drawn between the mere busybody and the person affected by or having a reasonable concern in the matter”.

A distinction worth rolling out to society in general. There are plenty of busybodies around who must involve themselves in other people’s business. It has become fashionable to get yourself involved as a means of signalling your virtue – an excuse which was once seen as ‘worthy’ and now is becoming seen as increasingly desperate.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

There was a time when you could depend on good old English apathy. Now, we have an over-abundance of university-product and with too little to engage their (often female) minds they desperately seek a noble purpose. Behind that all too frequently heard battle cry: “We can change the world” lies the unshakeable conviction the world is going wrong and must be fixed by the virtuous while there’s still time. That, of couse, has been the mindset of crackpot cultists throughout history.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

Precisely, and we haven’t live such benign times since the fabled ‘Pax Romana’.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago

A bit too benign, if you ask me (which nobody ever does). When the administrators of our all-powerful institutions extol the twin virtues of tolerance and inclusiveness we, the beneficiaries of their grand vision, must ask: ‘Who or what is being tolerated and included – and what is the likely outcome?’

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

“The greed of the Patrician class and the savage impulse of the masses “ have destroyed us.

Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
1 year ago

Who ‘said’ that apart from yourself here. Quite like it except both parties exhibit same passions according to things which they can afford.

Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
1 year ago

Who ‘said’ that apart from yourself here. Quite like it except both parties exhibit same passions according to things which they can afford.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

“The greed of the Patrician class and the savage impulse of the masses “ have destroyed us.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago

“Fabled” as in mythical or imaginary, I assume.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

On the contrary, as in ‘famous, especially by reputation’.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

On the contrary, as in ‘famous, especially by reputation’.

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago

A bit too benign, if you ask me (which nobody ever does). When the administrators of our all-powerful institutions extol the twin virtues of tolerance and inclusiveness we, the beneficiaries of their grand vision, must ask: ‘Who or what is being tolerated and included – and what is the likely outcome?’

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago

“Fabled” as in mythical or imaginary, I assume.

Geraldine Atfield
Geraldine Atfield
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

Often female. Really?!!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

Precisely, and we haven’t live such benign times since the fabled ‘Pax Romana’.

Geraldine Atfield
Geraldine Atfield
1 year ago
Reply to  N Satori

Often female. Really?!!

N Satori
N Satori
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

There was a time when you could depend on good old English apathy. Now, we have an over-abundance of university-product and with too little to engage their (often female) minds they desperately seek a noble purpose. Behind that all too frequently heard battle cry: “We can change the world” lies the unshakeable conviction the world is going wrong and must be fixed by the virtuous while there’s still time. That, of couse, has been the mindset of crackpot cultists throughout history.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Lord Reed, now president of the Supreme Court, said in 2012 that “a distinction must be drawn between the mere busybody and the person affected by or having a reasonable concern in the matter”.

A distinction worth rolling out to society in general. There are plenty of busybodies around who must involve themselves in other people’s business. It has become fashionable to get yourself involved as a means of signalling your virtue – an excuse which was once seen as ‘worthy’ and now is becoming seen as increasingly desperate.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

Maugham has turned the courts into the playground of the rich. He pays only 80% of the costs of cases he loses. Courts are not able to hear other cases. He uses courts because he is not prepared to take his cases to the public. He is the epitome of elitism and the enemy of democracy. He would probably like the electorate to be limited to former students of Oxford and Cambridge.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

“He would probably like the electorate to be limited to former students of Oxford and Cambridge.”

Assuming they had been to Eton beforehand.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

“He would probably like the electorate to be limited to former students of Oxford and Cambridge.”

Assuming they had been to Eton beforehand.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

Maugham has turned the courts into the playground of the rich. He pays only 80% of the costs of cases he loses. Courts are not able to hear other cases. He uses courts because he is not prepared to take his cases to the public. He is the epitome of elitism and the enemy of democracy. He would probably like the electorate to be limited to former students of Oxford and Cambridge.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago

Please don’t judge all of us who practised law at some point in our careers by the disgusting Maugham. I wouldn’t give him the steam off my porridge.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago

Please don’t judge all of us who practised law at some point in our careers by the disgusting Maugham. I wouldn’t give him the steam off my porridge.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

No. Alan Partridge actually had some talent. And you could always turn him off (except when his show was piped into hospitals where the hapless patients couldn’t turn it off – according to Alan).

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Mind you, Alan Partridge was a fictional character.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Mind you, Alan Partridge was a fictional character.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

No. Alan Partridge actually had some talent. And you could always turn him off (except when his show was piped into hospitals where the hapless patients couldn’t turn it off – according to Alan).

Mark Goodwin
Mark Goodwin
1 year ago

Isn’t he the one that clubbed a fox to death that he found trapped in his garden a couple of Christmases ago?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodwin

Wearing his spouse’s kimono no less. Very ceremonial, but who are we to judge on the arcane theological traditions of an ancient legal order, barbaric as they might seem to us, that is the Religion of the EU.
And yes, Fox, Brexit voter, whatever.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodwin

Wearing his spouse’s kimono no less. Very ceremonial, but who are we to judge on the arcane theological traditions of an ancient legal order, barbaric as they might seem to us, that is the Religion of the EU.
And yes, Fox, Brexit voter, whatever.

Mark Goodwin
Mark Goodwin
1 year ago

Isn’t he the one that clubbed a fox to death that he found trapped in his garden a couple of Christmases ago?

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

A good analysis of JM, who seems to me to rival Jane Austen’s Mr Collins in his lack of self-awareness.
However, I must take issue with the author’s throwaway remark about the prorogation issue. Many lawyers believe the Supreme Court greatly over-reached. Even former SC member Lord Sumption, though he disapproved of the Government’s actions and approved of the SC’s changing of the law, said he would, if asked, have given the opinion before the event that the prorogation was lawful.
The Supreme Court has done lasting damage to our constitution (prospectmagazine.co.uk)
From his byline picture, Adam seems to young perhaps to remember when John Major prorogued Parliament early to avoid publication of an embarrassing report. No-one then turned a hair, or turned to the courts to determine an essentially political matter.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

A good analysis of JM, who seems to me to rival Jane Austen’s Mr Collins in his lack of self-awareness.
However, I must take issue with the author’s throwaway remark about the prorogation issue. Many lawyers believe the Supreme Court greatly over-reached. Even former SC member Lord Sumption, though he disapproved of the Government’s actions and approved of the SC’s changing of the law, said he would, if asked, have given the opinion before the event that the prorogation was lawful.
The Supreme Court has done lasting damage to our constitution (prospectmagazine.co.uk)
From his byline picture, Adam seems to young perhaps to remember when John Major prorogued Parliament early to avoid publication of an embarrassing report. No-one then turned a hair, or turned to the courts to determine an essentially political matter.

brian knott
brian knott
1 year ago

“When the High Court rules that your claim “fails in its entirety”, and orders you to pay 80% of the other side’s costs”

A total waste of time but the taxpayer still ended up paying 20%.

brian knott
brian knott
1 year ago

“When the High Court rules that your claim “fails in its entirety”, and orders you to pay 80% of the other side’s costs”

A total waste of time but the taxpayer still ended up paying 20%.

tom j
tom j
1 year ago

“And if we adopt his definition of success — basically, winding people up ‘til they slag you off — he was correct.”
Perfect, thank you.

tom j
tom j
1 year ago

“And if we adopt his definition of success — basically, winding people up ‘til they slag you off — he was correct.”
Perfect, thank you.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

I hope the fox that this depraved man beat to death while wearing women’s clothing is in a better place.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

I hope the fox that this depraved man beat to death while wearing women’s clothing is in a better place.

stefan filipkiewicz
stefan filipkiewicz
1 year ago

I’ve followed GLP for some time and it is a very mixed bag. Prorogation has already been discussed in this thread in some detail, so we can gloss over that.
However, the PPE procurement scandal was like pulling teeth one by one and no-one above seems to have picked up on it.
By law, the government must publish a summary of any publicly awarded contracts within a certain timeframe.
Initially, in turns out that a couple of contracts had been awarded to Tory party donors on terms unfavourable to the government and details not published.
A bit of digging by GLP and others uncovered the VIP lane.
Government reluctantly published a few more but insisted that was the lot.
It wasn’t

And so it went on.
Look up Lady Mone and her shenanigans

Anyone on this thread who believes that wasting billions – documented by the government’s own watchdog – on overpriced, unsuitable equipment is a good idea needs to have their heads examined.
Disappearing WhatsApp messages relating to official government business – contradicting the government’s own guidelines – was a case worth taking up, but lost. They work for us and should be transparent.
Make no mistake, I struggle with a lot of the posturing e.g. barristers are part of the “cab rank” system i.e. the next available is lined up to do the next prosecution but JM won’t prosecute Just Stop Oil protesters. Tough. That’s the system he signed up to; no doubt he’s prosecuted some he believed to be innocent.

stefan filipkiewicz
stefan filipkiewicz
1 year ago

I’ve followed GLP for some time and it is a very mixed bag. Prorogation has already been discussed in this thread in some detail, so we can gloss over that.
However, the PPE procurement scandal was like pulling teeth one by one and no-one above seems to have picked up on it.
By law, the government must publish a summary of any publicly awarded contracts within a certain timeframe.
Initially, in turns out that a couple of contracts had been awarded to Tory party donors on terms unfavourable to the government and details not published.
A bit of digging by GLP and others uncovered the VIP lane.
Government reluctantly published a few more but insisted that was the lot.
It wasn’t

And so it went on.
Look up Lady Mone and her shenanigans

Anyone on this thread who believes that wasting billions – documented by the government’s own watchdog – on overpriced, unsuitable equipment is a good idea needs to have their heads examined.
Disappearing WhatsApp messages relating to official government business – contradicting the government’s own guidelines – was a case worth taking up, but lost. They work for us and should be transparent.
Make no mistake, I struggle with a lot of the posturing e.g. barristers are part of the “cab rank” system i.e. the next available is lined up to do the next prosecution but JM won’t prosecute Just Stop Oil protesters. Tough. That’s the system he signed up to; no doubt he’s prosecuted some he believed to be innocent.

Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
1 year ago

I made up my mind about Maugham after listening to him being interviewed on the radio few years ago, not long after the fox-clubbing incident. The interviewer – of course – made a reference to Foxgate. Maugham blustered in response that this line of questioning hadn’t been agreed in advance. He thus came across a highly unsavoury blend of naivety (you might even say stupidity) and arrogance. The rest of the interview only served to reinforce the initial impression.
I understand the comparison with Partridge – the sheer self-regard, the monumental lack of self-awareness, the poisonous snobbery, the incredibly thin skin – but Partridge is allowed to be funny because we know he doesn’t really exist. Maugham does, and that’s not funny.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
1 year ago

I made up my mind about Maugham after listening to him being interviewed on the radio few years ago, not long after the fox-clubbing incident. The interviewer – of course – made a reference to Foxgate. Maugham blustered in response that this line of questioning hadn’t been agreed in advance. He thus came across a highly unsavoury blend of naivety (you might even say stupidity) and arrogance. The rest of the interview only served to reinforce the initial impression.
I understand the comparison with Partridge – the sheer self-regard, the monumental lack of self-awareness, the poisonous snobbery, the incredibly thin skin – but Partridge is allowed to be funny because we know he doesn’t really exist. Maugham does, and that’s not funny.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Peter
Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

Jolyon Maugham and Gina Miller are archetypal representatives of the Woking Class elite who hold the majority of their fellow citizens in contempt. They revel in their self-righteousness and assumed intellectual superiority. No wonder the country is in such a mess with such people infusing the ruling ranks of all political colours! Membership of the Woking Class knows no political boundaries.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

Jolyon Maugham and Gina Miller are archetypal representatives of the Woking Class elite who hold the majority of their fellow citizens in contempt. They revel in their self-righteousness and assumed intellectual superiority. No wonder the country is in such a mess with such people infusing the ruling ranks of all political colours! Membership of the Woking Class knows no political boundaries.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

….in as much as Alan Partridge is the persona played by the disgusting leftist hypocrite, Coogan.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

….in as much as Alan Partridge is the persona played by the disgusting leftist hypocrite, Coogan.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

Yikes, this piece is one long ad hominem attack. Perhaps Maugham is, indeed, an attention-seeking gadfly, but if Mr. King wishes to convince others of that fact he should build his case on the facts rather than his personal opinion of the man and scathing little pen portraits along the line of “the sententious verbiage, the heavy-worn learning, the big head on narrow shoulders” (and so far as sententious verbiage goes, isn’t the phrase “sententious verbiage” itself an example of…).
There is some interesting material in the article about the possible harmful effects of Maugham’s activities on the “sufficient interest” standard, but otherwise this essay reads like a hit piece motivated by personal animus, or perhaps I’m not used to the style of a UK criminal barrister. I’m sure Rumpole would have eviscerated Maugham with less bile and more humor.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I don’t think we were reading the same article – plenty of examples of attention-seeking (although to me the term gadfly has rather a rakish strain so maybe you are right in this). I actually think the level of personal attack was rather restrained with no mention of foxes/outfoxing/kimonos. I think the phrase “sententious verbiage” is used tongue in cheek. Not one of the downvoters.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The occasional comment which bombs is a hazard we must all endure!

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Not sure I agree with you, but at the very least it should be “heavily” worn learning.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I don’t think we were reading the same article – plenty of examples of attention-seeking (although to me the term gadfly has rather a rakish strain so maybe you are right in this). I actually think the level of personal attack was rather restrained with no mention of foxes/outfoxing/kimonos. I think the phrase “sententious verbiage” is used tongue in cheek. Not one of the downvoters.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The occasional comment which bombs is a hazard we must all endure!

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Not sure I agree with you, but at the very least it should be “heavily” worn learning.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

Yikes, this piece is one long ad hominem attack. Perhaps Maugham is, indeed, an attention-seeking gadfly, but if Mr. King wishes to convince others of that fact he should build his case on the facts rather than his personal opinion of the man and scathing little pen portraits along the line of “the sententious verbiage, the heavy-worn learning, the big head on narrow shoulders” (and so far as sententious verbiage goes, isn’t the phrase “sententious verbiage” itself an example of…).
There is some interesting material in the article about the possible harmful effects of Maugham’s activities on the “sufficient interest” standard, but otherwise this essay reads like a hit piece motivated by personal animus, or perhaps I’m not used to the style of a UK criminal barrister. I’m sure Rumpole would have eviscerated Maugham with less bile and more humor.