I don’t really know what to think about the outcome of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) hearing into the case of Alistair Brett, the former legal manager of The Times. Here was a man plainly admired by many in the media law world. Many watched with spine-tingling horror as his reputation disintegrated under cross-examination at the Leveson inquiry (you can still watch it online). But for that, he may well have escaped prosecution, let alone censure. It is a rare day that sees someone’s litigation tactics scrutinised under cross-examination by a QC and a Court of Appeal judge.
The rarity of the scrutiny is important. Does it mean such cases are one-offs or symptomatic of broader problems? Readers of this blog will know there are a list of cases which raise, at the very least, anxiety. Does rarity of detection mean rarity of occurrence and does that make the need for punishment less strong or stronger?