I write in defence of barristers (Letters, aj 4.6.98).
Over the years I have provided expert evidence in a number of litigation cases and suffered from exposure to the full force of the inquisitorial probings of barristers, both in and out of the witness box. My experience leads me to conclude that Mr Salisbury is incorrect when he states that 'justice is obtained by barristers heaping exaggeration and rubbish on each other'.
Barristers, the good ones at least, demonstrate a clarity of thought and an ability to think logically that peel away the onion skins of exaggeration and rubbish which surround a dispute. Exaggeration and rubbish in building litigation cases arise, very often, from the participants' unrealistically high expectations, partly encouraged by solicitors striving to do their best for their clients. No professional person willingly accepts the possibility of their own negligence, and their insurers would prevent them admitting it if they did, so they blame the builder. Builders believe the design to be at fault, at least in greater proportion to their own incompetence, and the building owner believes the property business to be a risk-free zone.
A clear-thinking outsider, with no axe to grind, could be very beneficial.
Bickerdike Allen Partners