Lawyers told off by judge over court 'shouting match'


Three barristers have been told off for "regularly interrupting" each other during a High Court trial.

Matthew Persson, Sarah Cooper and Caroline Topping were representing two separated parents and their child at an appeal over living arrangements.

A judge said it was clear why the father had described it as a "shouting match" and reprimanded the trio saying it "does not assist the court".

The family cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The child's father was appealing against a family court decision made by a lower-ranking judge in Chatham in Kent.

The judge, Mr Justice MacDonald, said the barristers had a "concerning" tendency to interrupt one another during proceedings but added Ms Cooper did not do so as often as Mr Persson and Ms Topping.

He added: "In this case, the reception by the court of properly sequenced submissions was rendered extremely difficult by a concerning tendency on the part of the advocates simply to interrupt each other in an effort to advance their competing submissions.

"It should go without saying that this mode of advocacy does not assist the court and is to be deprecated."

Mr Justice MacDonald upheld the appeal saying competing arguments had not been "sufficiently" considered.

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