Insights / News
Insights / News
“It’s one of the most professionally rewarding things I’ve ever done”, Barnett says. “People have problems which keep them awake at night and they don’t know where to turn. Just being able to talk to a lawyer, for free, for a few minutes, can be immensely reassuring and point them in the right direction.”
“It can be all sorts; consumer, landlord & tenant, employment, business disputes, and occasionally family law. I don’t take questions on crime, tax or immigration, but apart from that, I’ll take pretty much anything. The main thing I’ve learned is a willingness to say when I don’t know the answer. But I always look up the answer after the show, which means I’ll know the answer next time. Most of the calls involve relatively small amounts of money – often less than £100 – but for someone on benefits that is a week or more’s income. The largest claim was a commercial dispute for £14m; the caller had instructed a Magic Circle firm but decided to call a radio phone-in show for a 3 minute review of their advice.”
What have been the most memorable legal questions?
“I think the funniest call I’ve ever dealt with was a man who had been charged with public indecency for urinating in a petrol station forecourt. He started off saying it was his friend who had been arrested, but lapsed into saying ‘I’ instead of ‘he’. When I pointed that out to him on air, he got embarrassed and then started ranting about his human rights allowing him to urinate wherever he wanted.
It’s closely followed by the woman who had her gym membership cancelled because she kept taking her washing up to do in the changing room toilets, and ignored warnings to stop. She wanted to sue the gym. She genuinely believed she had been wronged.”
“Probably realising how incredibly talented the full-time presenters are. I’ve spent the ten years working with super-smart presenters, mainly Iain Dale and Clive Bull. It’s astonishing how much they know about every subject, no matter how obscure; they’ve heard it all a million times before and they make phenomenally useful contributions. It’s also fascinating to see how the producer and assistant producers juggle hundreds of calls each week to pick the top dozen to send to air, while simultaneously managing news and advert breaks, breaking news, and keeping the station running.”
“I’ve set up mini-studio at home, and I connect in via Skype. It works well, although I miss being in the Leicester Square studio with the rest of the team and going out for a post-show drink each week with Clive Bull.”
“About four years ago, we had a call from a man in his 50s called Stephen Simmons. He’d been convicted of mail fraud when a teenager, and he continued to deny the offence. I recommended he google the investigating officer, and it turned out the officer had been convicted for setting up and falsely convicting suspects in the 1980s. Twelve months later, Stephen’s conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal, and the Lord Chief Justice mentioned the LBC Legal Hour as the trigger for uncovering the miscarriage of justice. I met Stephen a few weeks later, when he was invited into the studio to meet me on air; it was an incredibly moving moment.”
Daniel Barnett is the resident legal expert on LBC Radio. You can hear him on DAB Radio, FM 97.3 or via the GlobalPlayer App from 9pm – 10pm on a Saturday.
Daniel Barnett is a leading employment and commercial barrister. With 25 years’ experience representing business, he has acted for international airlines, FTSE-250 companies, NHS Trusts, many hundreds of SMEs and a Royal Family. If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this article please contact his Practice Director, Nicholas Levett at email@example.com or call 020 7427 4908.
News 4 May, 2020