Lawyers at the Crease

James Cartwright looks forward to the Lawyers’ Cricket World Cup


The first Lawyers’ Cricket World Cup, held in Hyderabad in January 2008, was so much enjoyed that the players decided to make it a regular event. The next Cup will be held between 26 July and 4 August inclusive. The qualifiers will be played in Cambridge and the Final at the Oval itself.

There will also be a seminar at Churchill College on 30 July, which will attract CPD points. With the Master of the Rolls presiding, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and other distinguished speakers will discuss the International Criminal Court, and there will be a panel consisting of academics and practitioners considering sport and the law. Extra places will be available for those not attending the cricket.
The Cup will be opened, on 26 July, at Fenner’s in the style of the old Assizes by the Lord Chief Justice after which there will be an exhibition match between an XI of judges and an XI of the oldest members of each visiting team. This is clearly the day for visitors. The lifted finger will replace those old oft-heard words: “I am against you, Mr Smith.” The unreasoned judgment of the cricket pitch eve reminds us of life’s unfairness.

No less than 12 teams from around the Commonwealth (and Ireland, as a dispensation) will descend on Churchill College. Not only will we have the laws of cricket to keep us amused but also the extensive Rules of the Cup to interpret—both are drawn up in England and not Brussels.

Whereas other countries will provide teams of “lawyers”, England and Wales will be represented by separate teams for solicitors and barristers as we intend to maintain the distinction between our honourable professions. A selection day was held at the Oval to choose additions to the “India” team. Four shake-down matches have been organised to precede the Cup, including a tour in Toulouse, which has already taken place and in which the Bar won both its games. This, it is believed, is the first time that the Bar has created a representative national cricket club and we shall remain in being, not only for the next Cup to be held, perhaps, in Australia, but also as a standard bearer for our beleaguered profession.

For those taking part this will be a return to innocent times and an opportunity to play cricket as it should be. The rules of the games limit the numbers of young players in any one game in order to prevent too great a competitive urge from compromising the spirit in which this Cup has been designed to be played.

Such has been the support of the senior judiciary and the Bar Council, that the impetus for the Cup is now irresistible and it will become a major biennial event.

We intend both to limit the expenses of our Commonwealth friends and to entertain them. Chambers are therefore warmly invited (as solicitors will be elsewhere) both to advertise in the glossy brochure to accompany the Cup and to come and bring clients to the matches in Cambridge and in particular to the Final at the Oval on 4 August. We intend to donate a proportion of the funds we raise to  the charity Chance to Shine: “the Cricket Foundation’s drive to regenerate competitive cricket in state schools”.

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James Cartwright is a barrister at 10 King’s Bench Walk

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