Barristers attacking the new Lord Chancellor have been accused of misogyny.

Liz Truss has replaced Michael Gove after he was sacked by Theresa May in her cabinet reshuffle. Truss is the third non-lawyer in a row to be appointed to the job. But while many lawyers gave Gove credit for undoing almost everything proposed by his predecessor, bungling Chris Grayling, Truss' promotion has attracted scorn.
 
This week the chair of the justice select committee, barrister Bob Neill, said that in order to fulfill the lord chancellor's role of representing the interests of the judiciary, “It helps if the person in charge has been a lawyer or has been a senior member of the cabinet".  Whereas, he said, "I have a concern, with no disrespect to Liz, that it would be hard for someone without that history to step straight in and fulfill that role”.

    No disrespect, yesterday

Tory justice minister Lord Faulks joined in the attack by quitting his role in protest at Truss' appointment. Suggesting that she would fold to treasury demands to protect her career in government, the former head of 1 Chancery Lane chambers said, "I have nothing against Ms Truss personally. But is she going to have the clout to be able to stand up to the prime minister when necessary on behalf of the judges?"

Friends of Truss, who is the first female Lord Chancellor since 1254, have accused her detractors of sexism. Speaking to the Guardian, one unnamed source accused Neill of "thinly veiled misogyny", suggesting that neither Gove or Grayling were criticised in quite the same way by “old, pale, male judges and politicians”. Neill called the suggestion “wholly wrong as far as I am concerned and bloody outrageous to suggest it”.

Truss did not respond to RollOnFriday's request for comment. Which is a shame, because it might have been a beaut given the excrutiating speeches she delivered while she was at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. They included the immortal line, “We import two-thirds of our cheese. That. Is. A. Disgrace." and a plea that children be taught "the proper names of animals".
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Comments

Roll On Friday 22 July 16 10:43

It's bizarre that they've chosen yet again to appoint a layperson to the office of Lord Chancellor, given that Parliament seems to be infested with lawyers. That's not a criticism of her, but of her appointment. Similar comments were made when Gove and Grayling were appointed.

I'm even more confused by the news comment. Why is her line "We import two-thirds of our cheese. That's a disgrace" described as "immortal"? Surely she's right that we shouldn't be so reliant on imports of a commodity we're perfectly capable of producing domestically?

Anonymous 22 July 16 12:28

I think the point is it's a bit overdramatic since cheese isn't, in fact, a commodity and there's no real strategic risk to preferring, say, brie to cheddar...

Anonymous 27 July 16 11:35

Sec of State for Defence must be a General - nope. SoS for Health, a doctor - nope. Challencor, an accountant - nope, Foreign office - an ambassador - nope. So why does the DOJ need a lawyer to be LC? I am delighted to see yet another vested interest undermined by someone who is not part of the established order of things. Go Trussy.

Roll On Friday 27 July 16 14:13

To anon at 10.35:

Because the office of Lord Chancellor is unique in entailing judicial, as well as political, duties. He or she should be as independent from the normal machinery of party politics as is practical, and their appointment should be free from political patronage. They should also be familiar with the mechanics of the judicial system.

Strictly, if they really wanted to appoint Truss (or the other non-lawyers) they should have made her Lord Keeper of the Great Seal instead, and dispensed with the need for a Lord Chancellor, for which there is a precedent (albeit not since George III).