Behind the frilly doorways of its Africa Home workplace lie twin marble staircases adorned with golden banisters and a consumer reception full with skilled baristas. Mishcon de Reya’s foyer has change into one of many very first thing visiting attorneys comment upon, often adopted with a grudging admiration for its model coherence.

That model coherence extends to the letters it sends on behalf of its shoppers, on view earlier this week when Mishcon turned a public participant in a poisonous battle over anti-Semitism which is threatening to engulf the Labour Celebration and Jeremy Corbyn particularly.

Mishcon has been appearing for Labour MP for Barking Margaret Hodge for the reason that celebration’s normal secretary Jennie Formby opened an investigation on 18 July into her feedback when Hodge labelled Labour celebration chief Jeremy Corbyn “an anti-Semitic racist” the day past over the choice to not absolutely undertake the Worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) extensively used definition of anti-Semitism as a part of the celebration’s code of conduct on how anti-Semitism inside it’s recognised and disciplinedThe organisation was established to make sure a robust community of consultants and representatives are in a position to present a coherent voice to combat anti-Semitism. This dispute comes at a very related time for the IHRA which has bookmarked the following 4 years to focusing its efforts on “countering Holocaust distortion”.

The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as “a sure notion of Jews, which can be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and bodily manifestations of antisemitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish people and/or their property, towards Jewish group establishments and non secular amenities.”

The Labour code of conduct acknowledged that “anti-Semitism is racism, It’s unacceptable in our celebration and in wider society” however stopped in need of adopting the IHRA’s definition in full. The celebration does endorse the IHRA’s stance and contains behaviours that it considers anti-Semitic, however critics indicated there have been 4 factors that had been omitted:

  • Accusing Jewish individuals of being extra loyal to Israel than their house nation
  • Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour
  • Requiring greater requirements of behaviour from Israel than different nations
  • Evaluating up to date Israeli insurance policies to these of the Nazis
Libson
Mishcon accomplice James Libson

Labour’s new stance was one of many key grounds which Hodge and the huge proportion of the Jewish group took difficulty with, leading to Corbyn’s repute coming below intense scrutiny. After Hodge obtained Formby’s letter concerning the investigation opening, her tactic was to tweet the responses of her attorneys with Mishcon government accomplice and head of personal consumer James Libson main her defence.

Libson’s remaining letter on Hodge’s behalf started diplomatically sufficient, asserting that the agency “welcomed” Labour’s choice to tug the investigation’s plug earlier than attacking Labour for a number of allegations.

The ultimate letter’s penultimate paragraph mentioned: “You may have failed to clarify the precise conduct [Hodge] is below investigation for; whether or not the obvious complainants witnessed the confrontation with Mr Corbyn; what the standing is of Mr Corbyn and [Labour non-executive committee member] Mr [Peter] Willsman’s apologies to the Jewish group given your suggestion that an apology isn’t act of contrition or legal responsibility; or certainly why you prompt to the media in Mr Willsman’s case that you just do ‘touch upon particular person instances‘, if you had been very happy to temporary the media about your ‘investigation‘ into our consumer.”

Libson had dared Labour to blink within the agency’s earlier correspondence, saying: “Our consumer is not going to tolerate this risk of investigation being hung over her head indefinitely. You may have supplied a method out: an apology. Our consumer is not going to apologise. Given this, you will need to now both proceed with the investigation, offering the knowledge requested and a good timetable, or you will need to unconditionally drop it.”

Mishcon’s correspondence on behalf of Hodge has been performed out for the world to see on the uber-public discussion board of Twitter. Labour has now closed the investigation into Hodge’s remarks, ending Mishcon’s involvement, although this supplied a textbook instance of how the agency goes about its enterprise.

Connoisseurs of the nuances in political-legal circles may have loved the overlapping connections among the many gamers on this episode. Hodge, a revered Labour veteran, has at all times had sturdy connections with the authorized and civil liberties scene, partly by means of her late husband The Honourable Mr Justice Hodge, one in all three founding companions of Hodge Jones & Allen, the Camden agency that continues to be a standard-bearer within the authorized support house.

Mishcon de Reya itself emerged from the Labour stronghold of Lambeth in South West London with its founder, Victor Mishcon, serving as a councillor for the borough within the three years instantly following the Second World Warfare, finally changing into a Labour peer. These ties are historic and, lest we overlook, the Labour MP liable for the constituency Mishcon’s solely UK workplace is located in – Keir Starmer – was, as we revealed in July 2017, inches away from becoming a member of the agency final yr as a authorized adviser.

For a case centred on anti-Semitism, the Labour MP picked a lawyer with appreciable expertise. Libson was simply an affiliate on the agency when it scored a significant victory towards discredited historian David Irving in 2000. Irving’s accusation was that the American educational Deborah Lipstadt’s 1994 e-book Denying the Holocaust: The Rising Assault on Reality and Reminiscence was libellous when she known as him a “Holocaust denier”. His accusation was roundly dismissed, leading to a £2m invoice for prices, and Libson’s repute grew from there. The trial garnered such consideration when it was heard that it was introduced again into the general public eye as a movie final yr, ‘Denial’. As a accomplice, Libson fought for Gina Miller in her problem of Article 50 (workforce pictured above) which was one of many standout instances of 2016, contributing enormously to the discourse and form of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Evidently, then, that when Hodge was on the lookout for illustration, Mishcon would have been an apparent alternative.

With the anti-Semitism row not displaying any indicators of dying away, the main focus will flip to 20 Essex Avenue silk Gordon Nardell QC. One key takeaway from Shami Chakrabarti’s 2016 report on anti-Semitism was the necessity for Labour to nominate a normal counsel. Two years down the road and the celebration continues to be with out anybody within the position. In the interim, Nardell – which The Jewish Chronicle reported as additionally being towards adopting the IHRA’s full definition – is advising the celebration as director of authorized affairs and can proceed in that position for just below one other yr. The investigation into Hodge’s feedback was Nardell’s first distinguished contribution to Labour in his capability as its first lawyer drafted in to take a look at disciplinary issues.

What the Hodge affair tells us is that the Labour authorized machine – similar to it’s – was spectacularly bested when it comes to reputational litigation ways. Tweeting the letters allowed Hodge and Mishcon to manage the narrative and lower by means of the Twitter noise to guide the mainstream media headlines. Job completed.

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The submit When politics and repute meet: Mishcon has cemented its punchy model within the Labour anti-Semitism dispute appeared first on The Lawyer | Authorized perception, benchmarking information and jobs.

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