Image via WikipediaRachida Dati, once Minister of Justice in the Sarkozy cabinet and now exiled to Brussels as a Euro M.P., doesn't have a good press. Brought into power as a symbol of the inclusion of ethnic minorities in government, it wasn't enough to protect her from the spite of the legal establishment or, come to that, the spite of Carla Bruni, thus...Brussels..... where she has been documented as being fed up with the whole thing and, recently and fatally giving vent to her frustration by rudeness to one of the established French journalists covering European affairs.
For me, she has one thing going for her. In the shake up of the French justice system, my local court has been abolished, thus ridding the area of a nest of corruption. Oddly enough, it was supposed to have gone in December but has had a year's grace - I wonder why -and the staff who were working there in the heyday of its' misrule have been reassembled from their current posts to return to the scene of their crimes. I bet the paper shredder is working overtime.
Still, what drew her to my attention again was her attempt to be called to the bar as a lawyer. I don't know why I am surprised, this being France, but it seems that if you are important enough, you can be called to the bar without having undertaken any legal studies or obtaining any legal qualifications.
It explains a good deal about some of the lawyers I have come across - except that I had had no idea that they had come from the ranks of high French society. Especially the one who, my case having been won, telephoned me repeatedly to argue that he deserved a sweetener over and above his fee for having done such a good job. For some reason he was reluctant to put his request in writing.
I suppose that, France being a logical nation, allowing the well placed and ignorant to practise law is quite reasonable.
After all, the results appear to be based on who you know and by whom you are known rather than any sense of justice, so why not just be open about the whole thing?
And Rachida Dati? Her request for admission was put off. She had forgotten to close down a consultancy she runs which is incompatible with being a practising lawyer.
There are some things which you just cannot do in France. Especially if you are out of favour at court.