Another Spring, another trip to Court 1 at the Old Bailey to see a mix of actors, barristers and judges strutting their stuff in Trial and Error to raise funds for very worthy charities: the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund and Pan Intercultural Arts. Devised by former RLC Head of Chambers HH Peter Rook KC the shows marked the ninth year with cases and vignettes re-enacted in the actual location of many of the original trials. This year, the focus was on the role of the jury, celebrating their ability to stand up to oppression from the Establishment and rejoicing in their capriciousness, demonstrating that, at times, the law can indeed be an ass.

The evening started with poignant singing from the Amies Freedom Choir, a female ensemble helping those who have been subject to trafficking. Their raw, untrained voices added to the poignancy of their singing, a truly moving start.

The show moved with effortless flow through the centuries, from Penn and Mead in the late 1600s to the hippy watershed of the Oz trial in 1970 (prosecuted by my ex-roommate, Brian Leary!), ending with a slightly self-conscious rendition of the Age of Aquarius. Along the way, we met many luminaries (legal and otherwise): Thomas Paine, the Earl of Cardigan (‘what, what’), whose duel, fought with a banana (you had to be there!) was made more realistic by the splendid gun flash lighting effects (Bravo, Rose Bruford), the Seddons and DH Lawrence himself, breaking the law by joining the jury in its deliberations from beyond the grave. DH was portrayed by RLC’s very own David Etherington KC with his usual gusto (and a Black Country accent, who knew?).

The music was a particular feature of the show. Laura Casas Cambra took over the keyboard this year and played with great flourish, accompanying a wide range of musical styles from a snippet of the Beggar’s Opera to a French Revolutionary song, Tom Leher’s glorious ‘Smut’ and Stevie Wonder singing about cheese (as I say, you had to be there).

The show was dedicated to the memory of Tony Arlidge KC, one of the founders and first director of T&E. He was a force of nature and this show did him proud, capturing as it did the solemnity, lunacy and Quixotic nature of the law and legal system; all characteristics of that unique advocate, whom many of us had the privilege of knowing and counting as a friend. While Ellis Sareen did it more than justice, how I’d have loved to hear the Arlidge drawl deliver Peter Cook’s hilarious summing up, ‘Entirely a Matter for You’. Tony will be sadly missed.