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Partner gets basic law questions wrong in excrutiating televised evidence
25 November 2016
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A partner who held himself out as an an expert on employment law has been humiliated after he was unable to answer basic questions about key legislation in a filmed session with Scottish politicians.

Patrick McGuire is a partner at Scottish personal injury firm Thompsons Solicitors, where his profile states that he specialises in personal injury and health and safety law. However, in his spare time McGuire submitted evidence to the Scottish parliament's economy committee on the consequences of leaving the EU. In it, he argued that worker's rights were protected by Brussels more than Westminster. McGuire was called to explain his position to a group of MSPs in a televised session at Hollyrood.

It did not go that well. Conservative MSP Liam Kerr, who happens to be an employment lawyer who previously worked at McGrigors and CMS Cameron McKenna, began by asking McGuire, "Can you help the committee, when was the first Race Relations Act brought in?"


After a long pause, McGuire attempted to dodge the question with some EU waffle.

But Kerr refused to let the partner off the hook:  

McGuire looked over his shoulder for help:

The chair got tired of waiting:

So, finally, McGuire whispered his response:

Zoom in on that. 

    And again. 


Attempting to disguise his glee, Kerr replied, "Er, not 1969? Or 68?" When McGuire looked over his shoulder a second time, he was scolded by the chairman:

McGuire conceded, "You may be correct". But Kerr refused to let his nightmare end, continuing, "I'm just looking at some of the assertions made in your paper Mr McGuire. When was the Equal Pay Act brought in?" A beaten McGuire admitted, "I can't answer that question", to which Kerr responded, "Forgive me, I though you were the expert on employment law here". Although the partner visibly squirms in his seat, the ground refused to open up and swallow him.

Later in the hearing, McGuire transformed his embarrassment into righteous indignation, interrupting himself to tell his torturer, "It is wonderful, Mr Kerr, that you shake your head at me as I speak," adding, "It is nice to be invited to this committee and to have someone stare at me and shake their head at me". One SNP MSP agreed, commenting, "I have to ask is 20 minutes attacking a witness a good use of this committee's time?"

RollOnFriday asked Thompsons the same question, but it did not provide a comment because the dog ate its homework. However, a source close to the firm said, "two Conservative MSPs who didn't like what Patrick was saying set this bullshit didactic trap for him".


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anonymous user
25/11/2016 09:21
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Although it is undoubtedly fun to embarrass a law firm partner, I have to agree that this a bit harsh. He wasn't being asked about current legislation - you might as well ask me when was the first Companies Act.
anonymous user
25/11/2016 09:36
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Is the definition of a good lawyer someone who has memorised the date that old laws came in?
anonymous user
25/11/2016 11:26
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As an employment lawyer these questions were not hard or obscure in any way. I would expect an employment seat trainee to know this and fact he didn't is damning. The history of the Equal Pay Act and its interrelationship with our entry into the EU in particular is something I would expect someone presenting themselves as an expert in context of Brexit and impact on workers rights, to be able to discuss. It is not exactly a passing detail.
26/11/2016 07:56
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Why did he agree to go on when this is not his specialist area?
Was the point that some assertions in his paper were wrong - that things like discrimination were things we cared about before the EU? If so he and Brexiters are correct to some extent and if his submission suggested otherwise he is right to be called out on it.
anonymous user
28/11/2016 17:05
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Boring story. Anyhow - he claims to be an expert in personal injury and health and safety law (website) not employment law......