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British legal system and lawyers earn praise from Boris

Posted by: Laurence Simons 02/03/15

Britain's lawyers and legal system are truly wonderful, according to London mayor Boris Johnson.

The London mayor chose to dish out some praise at the Global Law Summit, which was held in the capital 800 years on from the signing of the Magna Carta. He made reference to the document as being the basis of an English legal system that demonstrated a clear commitment to equality and fairness.

Just as it is possible for the London mayor to be sent a letter demeaning he pay his congestion charge - with his own name on it - and ordered to take down a small garden shed, so it was "only in London" for a "Latin-American despot to be plucked from his bed and made to answer for crimes committed in the 1970s", while "crusties" could set up camp outside parliament and criticise those sitting inside.

Of course, some might suggest that such rules could apply in other British cities - it remains to be seen if Boris is quite so London-centric when he is an MP again - Uxbridge and South Ruislip is a very safe seat - and no longer mayor, with wider issues to consider than his constituents in part of what used to be Middlesex. This will be particularly so if he really does want to be PM, despite previously suggesting this was about as likely as him "being reincarnated as an olive".

While Boris had much praise for the apparently incorruptible English legal system, he did have some warnings, suggesting it is "in the dock" over a couple of matters, with some suggesting it does too little - a case in point being concerns over recent restrictions to legal aid - while others would argue it does too much. The latter concern turned into a jibe at "ambulance-chasing, Better Call Saul-type lawyers.

Mr Johnson also suggested the planning system is too convoluted, making it more expensive to build homes in Britain than anywhere else.

Of course, that one cannot be blamed on the lawyers, but the lawmakers in government. Perhaps Boris can do something about that himself one day, assuming he has not turned into a small green piece of fruit first