Heartiest congratulations to friend of the Gazette Jeffrey Gordon, who this year celebrates a vanishingly rare feat — 70 years in the profession. Gordon served five decades of articles –‘for that my father, by no means a wealthy man, had to cover 250’ — prior to being declared in 1956.
He is still practising in criminal defence out of West London, working mostly from home throughout the pandemic. ‘I’m not going in to court but I’ve been doing a great deal of police station function on the phone,’ he informs Obiter.
In the career, Gordon is best known for introducing the idea of the McKenzie friend after the eponymous client was refused legal aid at a contested divorce on the ground he was not domiciled in the UK. Gordon sent along a young Australian barrister to help out, and after a run from the Court of Appeal, the concept of the McKenzie friend — for better or for worse — became recognized.
Gordon was also a key figure in the former British Legal Association, which under the old regulatory regime specialised in making noises in locations where the Law Society could not.
A notable case during Gordon’s posts was an appearance in front of a snuff-sniffing judge in a case regarding the right of appeal on street trading licences. The judgment went against him but was overturned 27 decades later. ‘My experience taught me that legislation is one big cock-up after a second,’ he states.