In the light of the Post Office prosecutions scandal, this is the email I hope every in-house legal team will consider sending to their Board and Executive colleagues now:
The miscarriage of justice caused by the Post Office – where were the lawyers?
This message is sent on behalf of everyone you employ in your legal team. We all approve this message and ask that it is read with the same care, respect and kindness with which we have prepared it.
Everyone in our business will have seen and read about the Post Office prosecutions scandal. No doubt there will now be repercussions for those executives and lawyers who were directly involved. We will not judge things too quickly before all the facts are known, but what is absolutely clear is that there has been a shocking miscarriage of justice. The lawyers and executives who were most closely involved have the most serious questions to answer about what they knew and how they behaved.
The role of lawyers in any business, including your lawyers in this business, is to protect your interests expertly and fearlessly. However, the role of lawyers can never be just about carrying out the wishes and directions of their employers. At the heart of what all lawyers do is to explicitly and diligently uphold the administration of justice.
No matter what the business imperatives or the pressure we all feel, we hope you know and welcome that we will not be silent if we need to raise concerns or objections to a decision, policy, behaviours or course of action that undermine our duties as lawyers.
We are proud to be employed here, and we hope you are proud to support us in fulfilling our role.
Your legal team.”