winnie pooh 1

A barrister contemplates speaking up.


A chambers has warned its barristers not to criticise China in case it impacts upon profits, RollOnFriday can reveal.

RollOnFriday reported last week on the existence of an email sent by The 36 Group which contained the guidance.

The set denied a source's claim that the email, which RollOnFriday had not seen at the time, suggested that members should not come out in support of Essex Court Chambers or say anything critical of China's human rights record.

The 36 Group said, "We have never sought and will never seek to silence our members, who, as self-employed barristers, regularly express their personal views on a wide variety of matters". It added that the description of the email by RollOnFriday's source "mischaracterises its content".

But, oh dear, a copy of the email was subsequently leaked. It reveals that the COO of The 36 Group wrote to everyone in chambers, "You have likely seen news of recent sanctions by the Chinese Government on Essex Court Chambers".

"I am writing on behalf of the EB [Executive Board] to urge the greatest caution over engaging in any online commentary on the matter, or related topics."

"Commentary or engagement from one person may have a detrimental impact on other individuals or practice areas within Chambers. This is especially so, given the significant links with and streams of work from that part of the world, enjoyed by at least two of the teams in Chambers."

The COO went on to tell members that The 36 Group's Executive Board was also "considering guidance for use of Chambers' and personal social and online feeds".

A source said the email "strikes at the heart of the independence of counsel" and "is precisely the consequence China wanted from their sanctions. To silence the English Bar".

Presented with a copy of the leaked email, The 36 Group said, "We maintain that your suggested interpretation of the confidential internal email is incorrect and taken out of context". 

Judge for yourself. Just make sure Xi isn't watching:

Dear all, 

You have likely seen news of recent sanctions by the Chinese Government on Essex Court Chambers. If you are unaware of the details, you can read the statement from ECC here: https://essexcourt.com/essex-court-chambers-statement-on-sanctions-imposed-by-chinese-government/

I am writing on behalf of the EB to urge the greatest caution over engaging in any online commentary on the matter, or related topics. Commentary or engagement from one person may have a detrimental impact on other individuals or practice areas within Chambers. This is especially so, given the significant links with and streams of work from that part of the world, enjoyed by at least two of the teams in Chambers.

The EB are currently considering guidance for use of Chambers and personal social and online feeds and will write to all members and staff in due course. 

If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please let me know. 

Kind Regards,

[COO of The 36 Group]

Contrary to The 36 Group's advice to its members, this week all four Bar Councils of the UK and Ireland did engage in some online commentary, and issued a joint statement condemning the sanctions imposed on Essex Court Chambers.

Calling China's measures an "indiscriminate attack on legal professionals", the group said the punishment represented "an unjustifiable interference with the professional role of lawyers and an attack upon the rule of law internationally".

Allen & Overy's co-head of arbitration, who was moving to Essex Court Chambers, immediately embodied that courageous stance by, erm, announcing he was off to Fountain Court instead. 

brave sir robin

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 30 April 21 09:32

Genocide, mass incarcerated, forced sterlisations, families split up, rapes, killing to order for organs.  We need to shout this in Xi Jinping's face every day and remind him that he is another Ozymandias and to recall what happened to the "gang of four". We will not shut up and we will not forget.

Freedom of expression is meaningless if you have to get permission from tyrants and their enablers and cronies to be able to say anything.

Anonymous 30 April 21 09:49

TBH, apart from those involved, I wouldn't touch Essex Court with a sh!tty stick if they think that is an acceptable position.

Oops 30 April 21 10:17

Can I use the “taken out of context” defence when the entire email is reproduced in full?
 

#askingforafriend 

Anonymous 30 April 21 10:48

They say this is an incorrect interpretation of the email. But they haven’t offered any alternative interpretation. 

I would genuinely be interested to hear their interpretation of that email. What were they TRYING to say 

Blue Iguana 30 April 21 15:59

"Genocide, mass incarcerated, forced sterlisations, families split up, rapes, killing to order for organs.  We need to shout this in Xi Jinping's face every day and remind him that he is another Ozymandias and to recall what happened to the "gang of four". We will not shut up and we will not forget."

Well said, Laz!  AKA Sir Woke XR Remainer FBPE MBE

Anonymous 30 April 21 17:35

Yes, that'll sort China out, a bunch of middle-class professionals in the United Kingdom saying 'Ozymandias' a lot on social media. The 'never shut up' routine will be a really terrifying change from their usual habits.

Xi will be out by Christmas...

Gerard Flood 02 May 21 08:37

So, instead of kowtowing to the malign CCP dictatorship, the princes of the formerly esteemed Third Branch of English Government might consider some of the evidence which demands an international, governments-constituted, official investigation into credible allegations of mass State-controlled killings, murders and depraved Crimes Against Humanity by the CCP :

1. “Bloody Harvest” David Kilgour & David Matas, 2006 & 07

2. “The Slaughter” Ethan Gutmann, 2014

3. “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: Update” Matas & Gutmann, 2016/17

4. “Harvested alive -10 years investigation of Force Organ Harvesting in china” Feb 19, 2017 youtube.com/watch?v=Od3Q6O7HMy8

5. “Medical Genocide”  facebook.com/watch/?v=371172450993531

6. China Tribunal Final Judgement

 chinatribunal.com/china-tribunal-final-judgement-and-report-17th-june-2019/

7. “What is the Evidence of ‘Forced Organ Harvesting’ in China?” Matthew Robertson, 9/7/19

jpolrisk.com/what-is-the-evidence-of-forced-organ-harvesting-in-china/

8. “Analysis of official deceased organ donation data casts doubt on the credibility of China’s organ transplant reform” Matthew Robertson, Raymond Hinde & Jacob Lavee, 2019 bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-019-0406-6

9. China Tribunal Full Judgement Report 1/3/2020 https://chinatribunal.com/final-judgment/

10. “Chinese doctors admitted in undercover calls that harvested organs were available,..” BMJ 3Mar2020.

https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m859

11. “The Darkness Deepens” The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2016-2020

conservativepartyhumanrightscommission.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/CPHRC-China-Report.pdf

12.  'Their goal is to destroy everyone': Uighur camp detainees allege systematic rape. Hill, Campanale and Gunter, BBC, 2 Feb 2021 bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-china-55794071?

13. "Conference on the CCP's Forced Organ Harvesting" Feb 25, 2021   youtu.be/p8V8OPalKbc

14. The Uyghur Genocide: An Examination of China’s Breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention 1/4/2021

youtube.com/watch?v=QCGpuBZfrSw

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