SERENDIPITY AND THE SECRET BARRISTER: A TALE OF TWO T-SHIRTS

I was reminded yesterday that many of the people who read this blog do not have Twitter. They will not therefore know the result of the Secret Barrister T-shirt auction. A tale of high drama, contractual confusion,  and eventual salvation  which (for a short while) had potential international consequences.

A REMINDER

Having obtained a Secret Barrister T-shirt, by some obscure “deeming provisions”*  the only fair thing to do was to auction it. (*There were only 50 T-shirts made for the Vigil for Justice on the 18th April. They were available to the first 50 people to attend.  Somehow, despite there being a few hundred  people there by the time I arrived, I was deemed to be the 50th.) To add to the attraction the T-shirt is to be signed by the Secret Barrister and then carefully ironed by James Turner QC .

THE AUCTION

The auction was on Twitter and bidding was brisk.  It was set to end at 11.45 pm on Monday the 23rd January. All of the proceeds were going to Save the Children, via the Billable Hour charity.

THE PROBLEM

The time, 11.45 pm, was not set by accident. I had figured that I would be safely ensconced at home able to monitor any last minute bids coming in (since it was largely lawyers bidding there was bound to be some last minute bidding).  However I was distracted by a trip to the train station to pick up a family member *and I missed a bid.

(*this is a very poor “excusable reason” and I know it would not pass muster in the Court of Appeal – or many courts for that matter)

INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE

The bidding stood at £200, with Dr Jo Beswick. Shortly before the deadline I had an offer from Canada. Paul Ceysenns

 “Canadian lawyer bids £250, having a QC iron it is the best-ever

THAT “OSCAR” MOMENT

So Paul was announced as the winner.

THE TROUBLE WAS…

I had overlooked an earlier bid for £250 from renowned employment lawyer Daniel Barnett.  There were two equal bids.

THE LEGAL DILEMMA

The legal directories have no category for specialists in “cross-border, charity auction, T-shirt ownership, litigation issues”.  However the consensus of legal opinion was that the first bid in time should be the winner (that was Daniel’s bid).

THIS MAKES YOU FEEL REALLY GOOD (BUT MADE ME FEEL A BIT BAD)

Having announced my dilemma  both Daniel and Paul said, independently of each other, that they would make the donation to Billable Hour, regardless of whether they received the T-shirt -each offering it to the other.

DON’T LOOK TO TWITTER TO ANSWER YOUR PROBLEMS

Twitter was awash with advice as to how to resolve this dilemma. (I won’t name names at this point because, at some time in the future people may regret this). Included in the “useful” advice from the legal twitterati:-

  • “Rock paper scissors”

  • “Trial by combat”

  • “A duel in the Inns of Court, so you can charge and raise more money…”

  • “A Twitter vote. Each candidate explains why they want it and we caste a vote”.

  • “This T Shirt is of national significance. It can’t be exported to Canada without a licence … which won’t be granted.”

 

HEAVEN PRESERVE US FROM FAMILY LAWYERS

If the legal twiterrati were not quite helpful, the family lawyers, really went to town.

  • “Joint custody. Summers in saltspring, winters in Outer Temple. Beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

I will name names now, Lucy Reed (@Familyloo)

“sshh Gordon – you have to say “clothes arrangements” (CAO) not custody. It’s almost as if the poor thing was an inanimate object, like chattel… also, the best interests of the clothes are paramount”

And the (soon to be ironing) James Turner QC, in response to issues relating to the finer details of the T-shirt sharing arrangement.

“Yep – setting out details of the arrangements as to with whom the shirt will spend its time and precisely how that time will be shared, and whether it may be removed from the jurisdiction from time-to-time etc.”

Following my comment that with identical T-shirts I was essentially separating twins someone, who will remain anonymous,

“Never separate siblings. Haven’t you seen Blood Brothers”.

THANK HEAVEN FOR THE SECRET BARRISTER

Fortunately for me SB (and their publishers) came to my rescue. As you  may have gathered from the title an extra T-shirt was found.  Daniel is getting mine, the other is going to Canada. Both are going to he lovingly ironed before given to their new owners.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Well, as a result of a mistake,  the Billable hour gets twice as much to support Save the Children; SB’s eventual canonization is virtually assured; I am out of a tight spot, and continuing diplomatic relationships with Canada are secured.

WATCH THIS SPACE

I am sending the T-shirt to the publishers to be signed by SB. I am promised photographs of James Turner ironing both T-shirts (he has agreed to double his workload). Daniel has promised me a picture of his shirt (which is to be framed) and I hope to have pictures of the T-shirt in Canada.

THE FINAL WORD

Whilst I was still wrestling with the dilemma of two equal bidders, and each was offering to forego the T-shirt, Chris Dale tweeted

“I don’t know why but you seem to have come across two thoroughly decent bidders”

I hope they enjoy the T-shirts as much as I have (eventually) enjoyed auctioning them.