History

Birth of an Association

From our founders' archives come these documents:

The following two articles by CLANT founding President COLIN McDONALD QC were first published in the Law Society of the Northern Territory journal Balance, in 2011.

A Chance Discovery …CLANT’s 25th Birthday

History is easily lost.  This is true of history in the legal profession, particularly amongst criminal Lawyers.  However, accidents of history recording do occur and history sometimes throws up an unlikely historian.  History often has much to do with the result of chance discovery.

I was reminded of the ironies and fragility of history on Thursday 18 August 2011 whilst rummaging amongst files, letters and photos in my garage in Stuart Park.  I chanced upon several folders marked “Criminal Lawyers Association”.  I opened the covers and inside I recognised documents I had forgotten about and which were, for all intents and purposes, lost to history.

My curiosity engaged, I sat in the silence of the garage reading and remembering events 25 years ago.  I was reading the foundational documents of the Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory formed on evening of 22 August, 1986.

The Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory (CLANT) has become an active association hosting every two years what has emerged as Australia’s most significant criminal lawyers’ conference in Bali.  Amidst growth, change and success it is easy to overlook humble origins.  As I sat there in the unprepossessing atmosphere of my garage in Stuart Park, I kept reading and looking at frozen images and postures of colleagues and former colleagues reliving notionally a chapter in the life of the Northern Territory legal profession, a chapter in my own life.  In the silence, I was absorbed and confronted with the passage of 25 years, a bracket of time that had appeared to pass so quickly.

Conscious of the significance of my chance discovery and its timing, the next day I took the files to the current CLANT President, John Lawrence.  After I announced the purpose of my unarranged visit to his Chambers, John transformed his concentration from the case on his desk and read with increasing eagerness and engagement.  He read occasional passages out aloud.  With a conspirational smile and a characteristic twist of his eyebrows, John declared:  “The 22nd of August 1986.  I can feel a dinner coming on.”

One of the reserve powers of the President of CLANT, the one most readily used over the years, is the power to declare a CLANT dinner.  John picked up his diary and examined dates.

For my own part, I determined I would write a short account of the formation of CLANT so that there would at least be a record.  History of course, is recorded by those who write and document.  The corresponding responsibility of the historian is to document events and themes as accurately as possible for those whose history it is.  So I will attempt to record the formation of CLANT from the documents and the jogs of memory those documents prompt with as little editorialship and opinion as possible.

On 12 August, 1986 an invitation went out to criminal Lawyers and judges.  The initiation was headed “Inaugural Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory Dinner”.  The invitation was brief and to the point all typed out by the head of Criminal Prosecutions, Ray Minahan’s Secretary Lynne Zeraffa;it read:

PLACE Sheraton Hotel Ballroom DATE Friday 22 August 1986 TIME 7.00PM FOR 7.30PM COST $25.00 Dinner only (alcoholic excess, within legal limits, at your discretion and cost)

GUEST SPEAKERS Mr Jim Glissan QC and Mr Kevin Murray QC

RSVP By Wednesday 20 August to Mr R Minahan, PO Box 1722, Darwin or phone 897533 and ask for Lynne

The invitation was accompanied by an explanatory document which referred to a recent International Criminal Law Congress held in Adelaide where it was resolved to form the Criminal Law Association of Australia.  It was perceived that there was a need for criminal lawyers and others to debate, at a national level, the plethora of issues which arise out of the daily practice in the Criminal Courts.  The Criminal Law Association of Australia was to become a division of the Law Council of Australia with the States and Territories to form their own associations which would become an integral part of the national organisation.  It was to be formed formally in February 1987, in the High Court with the then Chief Justice, Sir Harry Gibbs as patron.  This was the context that gave rise to the invitation.  The rest is history.

An interim committee was formed to bring the association into being.  The interim committee comprised Michael Palmer, Patrick Loftus, Ray Minahan and myself.  Michael Palmer was a former barrister and, at that time, Police Commissioner; Patrick Loftus was a prominent private practitioner specialising in criminal law fondly known as ‘loopholes’, Ray Minahan was the Head of Crown Prosecutions and I was new to the independent Bar in the Northern Territory after a three year stint at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service.

At a very successful dinner at the Sheraton Hotel ballroom (now the Crowne Plaza Hotel) attended by over 70 persons, including 60 practitioners, it was unanimously resolved on the motion of Tom Pauling QC (seconded by the then Solicitor-General Brian F. Martin QC) that there be formed a body to be known as the Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory.  Guest speakers were prominent Sydney criminal law silks James Glissan QC and Kevin Murray QC.  Adelaide solicitor Mr Phillip Scales, the executive director of the national body, also spoke to those assembled.  Apparently, I also spoke, but I cannot remember this and there is no record of my having spoken.  However, Jon Tippett QC, who was present on the night, recalls that I did and addressed attendees as “comrades”, an expression that apparently irritated the late Justice Phillip Rice who was also present and who expressed his irritation in the gentleman’s toilet.

Later, on 25 August 1986, I reported to Justice Nader on the formation of CLANT.  The letter to Justice Nader, inter alia, reported:

The Territory Association received telegrams and letters of support from all State bodies.  The Territory Association is automatically recognised as a constituent body of the national Australian Criminal Law Association.  The national body, whilst being fully independent, will also become a section of the Law Council of Australia.  The Law Council will provide funding and administrative support.  Without compromising the independence of criminal lawyers, the link with the Law Council will make the national body viable in the future.

Membership of the Association is open to all criminal lawyers, i.e. those who are admitted to practice or at least have a law degree and work in the criminal law area.  Judges, of course, can be members.  It was decided (by majority) at the last national executive meeting that Judges were in fact lawyers!  For the record, I voted with the majority.

Thus, with the energetic support of Ray Minahan, I have in part discharged the responsibility you reposed in me when you nominated me as the Territory delegate of the national body in Adelaide in October last year.  My remaining responsibility is to deliver up to the national body an active, financially stable and vigorous body at the launch of the national Association at the High Court in February, 1987.

The first elections are to be held in or about February, 1988.  Until that time, a regime of ‘guided democracy’ will prevail.  For the first year, I want simply to get people involved in the steering committee who are prepared to work.  Thereafter, the politics can surface and the various candidates face the electorate.  It seems however, until that time, that the national constitution gives me powers similar to those of General Zia in Pakistan (who, incidentally, has also postponed his country’s elections until early 1988)!

The reference to General Muhammad Zia-Ui-Haq Pakistan’s 6th President, had some historical poignancy with the reference to deferred elections.

I cannot remember whether the postponed February 1988 elections ever took place.  General Zia died mysteriously in an aircraft crash on 17 August 1987.  The death of General Zia was certainly not taken as any omen of the consequences for postponing elections in CLANT and all past presidents remain hearty despite regular air travel.

On Tuesday 26 August 1986 on page 4 the NT News carried this small article:

Criminal law group formed

The newly-formed Northern Territory Criminal Law Association will work to help the legislators develop a “principled and balanced” justice system for the Territory.

The association was launched at the weekend at the largest gathering yet in Darwin of the legal fraternity.

It will hold seminars, debates, workshops and functions aimed at developing members’ skills and promoting discussion on current criminal law issues. Members will also participate at a national level in the Australian Criminal Law Association.

“Criminal law is the most important and probably the most exacting area of practice in law in Australia,” newly-elected president Mr Colin McDonald said.

“We hope the association will act as a reservoir of talent for Government and other bodies to draw upon and to help develop a principled and balanced criminal justice system for Territory citizens.”

“One of the first discussions will be on the desirability of a Territory director of Public Prosecutions. Members are planning a seminar on the recently released National Criminal Code.”

In those early years there was talk of having and ratifying a constitution.  There was also talk of incorporating the association, but nothing happened.  Among the files, I came across two circulated versions of a possible constitution.  So too, I found a letter dated 25 May 1989 on Elston and Gilchrist letterhead from the ever diligent and active CLANT member Geoff Barbaro about having Steve Southwood draft a constitution and the formation of elected officers.  The letter was addressed to me with a bracketed qualification: “Mr President for Life”.  This title had immediate appeal amongst CLANT members.  Talk of a constitution died away.  CLANT was very active in the legal/political world from its inception and contributed significantly to public debate and law reform, police powers and the content of our criminal laws.  CLANT was outward looking and determined.  The members of CLANT wanted their organisation to be effective politically and professionally.  The idea of subjecting themselves to corporate regulation by incorporation was shunned and unwanted as an unnecessary interference.

However, the democratic history of CLANT is best described as ‘patchy’.  When the title “President for Life” attracted the additional description of “Amin Dada” I sensed it was time for change, appointed my successor, Jenny Blokland.  Numbers were organised and, at an election of sorts, on the unanimous hands, Jenny assumed the office of president notwithstanding the absence of a constitution. Life is, of course, filled with ironies and for as a determined and driven body of practitioners as CLANT attracted over its early years, the rule of law and constitutionalism had very little to do with the internal workings of CLANT, its origins or its early history.

As I rummaged in the files, I came across many photos of colleagues, judges and friends in those time frozen postures looking much younger and enjoying CLANT organised conferences in Bali which started in 1987.  But the CLANT conferences and their historical significance are perhaps the subject matter of another article another time.

Suffice it to say CLANT outlived in the National Criminal Law Association of Australia.  CLANT’s strength has always been its collegiality, shared values, its informality and its focus on trying to have harmonious criminal laws and criminal procedure and its courage to speak out when injustices are threatened to an unknowing  and dumbed down community.

An unlikely historian, I have written these lines on my back verandah imbibing Bali coffee accompanied by the scent of Balinese incense.  I have enjoyed reflecting on CLANT’s creation, the people, the events and the passions that emerged from the papers I chanced upon in the garage.  An accident of history … or was it?  May the spirits of CLANT live on!

 

A CELEBRATORY LUNCH… AND REFLECTIONS ON CLANT’s 25 YEARS

Somehow way leads on to way. Following the chance discovery of the foundational documents of CLANT in my garage on 18 August 2011, John Lawrence hastily convened an impromptu lunch at the old Noodle House in Knuckey Street on Monday 22 August 2011 to mark CLANT’s 25th birthday. It was a fitting occasion. John, in his capacity as President of CLANT, proposed a toast to the founding of CLANT, precisely 25 years before. By any standards, the lunch was a convivial affair. The founders were all present. Ray Minahan came in from Howard Springs, Pat Loftus rang in from Hong Kong and Richard Coates spoke with humour and accuracy about CLANT’s early adventures and forays in public debate concerning the rule of law and criminal justice.

Amidst mellow and stimulating conversation and enjoying the company, I momentarily mentally detached myself from the energetic conversation and genuine camaraderie. I asked myself why had CLANT not only survived, but also grown in those 25 years. The search for the answer to this question prompts this, a second article about CLANT’s origins.

Context is everything. The context of my notional detachment at the celebratory, convivial lunch no doubt fuelled my enquiry. At next to no notice, persons who had been witnesses at the creation of CLANT and who had steered it deftly for 25 years had come together enthusiastically from busy lives at the beginning of the working week to celebrate an accidentally discovered birthday. What really did bring us together?

To the amusement of those present, I circulated photographs of early CLANT functions and the early Bali Conferences documents. The photos I chanced upon in my garage were all preserved in photo folders hailing from the pre digital age, that age when there was actually some ceremony involved in taking pictures and having them reproduced to share, preserve and enjoy. In those days there was at least a celebratory record.

Two groups of photos from the 1989 Bali conference perhaps captured it all. The first group of photos were of the final conference dinner where mock prizes were handed out at a ceremony called ‘Darryl’s Barrel’. There, sitting in the front table, was the then Attorney-General Daryl Manzie and his wife Maureen enjoying the occasion. Standing at the front with a wicker basket held aloft (‘the barrel’) was the ‘barrel girl’ Jenny Blokland. Brisbane lawyer, Terry O’Gorman stands with a handle of Bir Bintang in hand, his job to pick out the prizes from the barrel. Behind held aloft a painting by the late Indonesian artist O.H. Supono with the stylised wording: “Daryl’s Barrel”. Lucky recipients had to come up to Terry, receive and open their prizes, show due appreciation all to the amusement of the dinner guests. Judges, prosecutors, defence lawyers, the Attorney-General all coming together after a week of deliberation and constructive discussion about the direction and quality of our criminal law and procedures and considering how do we really better protect society. Behind the pageantry there was a serious side to it all – everyone, I mean everyone, understood that. That it came together naturally and without jibes of lack of political correctness underscored the cohesiveness and shared respect of those gathered.

The second group of photos depicted scenes of enjoyment at a small Sanur Warung that graced in the name “The Bali Yobbo”. Delegates congregated at the Bali Yobbo in the evening. Terry O’Gorman was there with his dedicated Bintang drinking group. At the Bali Yobbo people met, ate, drank and sang songs. There is a splendid photo of the late Justice Philip Rice, Justice John Nader and then Justice Austin Asche singing a hearty rendition of the ‘Chatanooga Choo Choo’ to the enjoyment of defence and prosecution lawyers and the consternation of other foreign tourists and locals. Those involved seriously in the stressful criminal law process came together in a real spirit of collegiality and enjoyment of each other. There should be more singing among lawyers – there is a life to it.

I return to the Noodle House lunch and I am again listening to the conversation. Richard Coates spoke of CLANT’s early involvement in police powers debates and CLANT’s successes in ameliorating some of the draft legislation that came out in 1987 and 1988 concerning police powers to detain following the High Court decision in WILLIAMS v THE QUEEN (1986) 161 CLR 258. Richard had a clear recollection of his role in the Police Powers Review Committee and a public debate organised by CLANT at the Beaufort Hotel ballroom (now the Holiday Inn) on the Esplanade where he, Dean Mildren (then President of the NT Bar Association) and I debated the Police Commissioner Michael Palmer and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Law Peter Conron to a packed audience of members of the public, journalists, politicians and members of the profession. We argued openly on the range and ambit of appropriate police powers. Richard’s words jogged my memory as did the documents I had recently discovered. I remembered the debate, the meetings, the associated media, the arguments. They were heady days. CLANT was a confident, forceful and very public organisation from its inception. CLANT was outward looking and focussed. Members shared values, were drawn together in the public interest by those values and had convictions (rather too many of them) which were held confidently.

That confidence and outward looking approach did go back to CLANT’s inception. On Tuesday 26 August, 1986 on the same day the NT News reported on the foundation of CLANT, the High Court handed down its decision in WILLIAMS v THE QUEEN in Adelaide. I remember the day and remember receiving a telephone call from Michael Abbott QC to the effect that the High Court had upheld the appeal brought by the late John Kable QC from the Tasmanian Court of Criminal Appeal. The High Court held it was unlawful for a police officer having custody of an arrested person to delay taking him before any justice in order to provide an opportunity to investigate that person’s complicity in a criminal offence, whether the offence under investigation was the offence for which the person had been arrested or another offence. This landmark decision simply confirmed authority in Australia and the United Kingdom. Notwithstanding it proved a clarion call for police forces around Australia. The Northern Territory Police force was no exception.

Back to the luncheon table. I marvelled at Richard’s clear memory and the precision of his recollection. Michael Palmer, the Commissioner of Police, was an interim committee member of CLANT, but this High Court decision drove a wedge between him and other members of the interim committee and now ‘elected’ office bearers. The Commissioner understandably sided with the police position that the WILLIAMS decision needed to be legislated away. He thereafter took little or no part in CLANT’s internal affairs, but he did remain a constructive and attentive Commissioner who took the values and role of CLANT seriously and dealt with it in correspondence and committee work as a serious stakeholder. That CLANT had something value-driven to say and said it publicly is part of its success.

Again, I come back to the hastily convened lunch at the old Noodle House. Ray Minahan recalled a Supreme Court trial in which CLANT wrote to the Attorney-General with a view to the Sunday Territorian being dealt with for contempt of Court. I had forgotten this despite my personal involvement. The discovered documents confirm his recollection. On Sunday 23 November 1986 the Sunday Territorian ran with the headline ‘I nearly died. Stabbing Victim sees red over verdict’. The victim was pictured pointing to a stab wound and interviews followed with the victim and the Police Association President both giving negative opinion on a jury verdict of ‘not guilty’ in a trial before Justice Nader in the Supreme Court. Page 3 of the paper continued the paper’s job on the verdict and highlighted another stabbing at a Darwin disco. To complete the picture, an editorial was published headed: ‘Strange NT Justice’. The editorial was a classic of the times. It read:

Strange NT Justice

A 17-year-old thug who stabbed a young man and kicked him in the head while he was laying bleeding on the ground was acquitted on Friday by a Darwin jury.  NT Police Association president Sergeant Gowan Carter, is not the only one who is ‘astonished’ by the result.

“It is amazing a young fellow who admitted to carrying a knife used it, and then kicked a mortally wounded person in the head, gets away with it,” the Sergeant said: Indeed it is.

The jury’s decision will do nothing to curb increasing thuggery in the streets.  Armed assaults are becoming more prevalent. Breaking and entering is a plague the police do not seem able to control. Violence has become a way of life in this Territory. We suffer more violent crime per capita than Chicago. It is time to get tough. Hoodlums confuse kindness with weakness. Their law is the law of the jungle.  Wrapping them over the knuckles with a feather means nothing to them.  But putting them behind bars for a long stretch means a great deal.  The Courts should be in no doubt that the community expects it.”

The whole inflammatory attack on a verdict that was open obviously concerned Justice Nader who, mindful of the significance of the institution of the jury, criticised the article and opinion piece. He expressed himself to the full jury panel assembled in the Supreme Court on Monday 24 November which included the jurors who had delivered the not guilty verdict the week before. Under the heading of ‘Nader Criticises Paper’s Report’, the NT News of 25 November reported:

Nader Criticises Paper’s Report

Supreme Court Judge, Mr Justice Nader criticised a weekend newspaper report and editorial yesterday which he said asserted a Darwin jury had performed a miscarriage of justice in acquitting a youth on Friday.

He also attacked NT Police Association Secretary Sergeant Gowan Carter, who he said should have known better than to criticise publicly a jury’s verdict after a trial.

Judge Nader said there was an ‘unambiguous implication” in the Sunday Territorian articles that the jury’s verdict was wrong or that members were misdirected in the case of Shane Julius Peterson.

Grounds

Peterson was found not guilty of causing grievous harm by stabbing footballer Steven Liddell during a fight outside Fannies disco on February 20.
He fought the charge on the grounds of self-defence.

Judge Nader was commenting yesterday on the full jury panel for the present criminal sittings including the 12 people who sat on Peterson’s trial. Before a jury was selected for a new trial yesterday he said he was prepared to excuse any member who felt affected as a possible jurist because of what was printed in The Sunday Territorian. “It is essential none of you should feel morally intimidated by anything said by this newspaper” he said. Judge Nader said it was grossly improper and not the function of The Sunday Territorian, Mr Liddell or Police Association secretary, Sergeant Gowan Carter, to impugn the verdict of a jury after a trial. “It was clear to me you paid close attention to the evidence, addresses and final summing up.” Judge Nader told jury members. “It was clear you conscientiously and honestly reached your verdict and that it was a verdict which was open for you to reach.”.

“No one has a right to attack you for it.”

He said one could not expect to think better of the press but Sergeant Carter should have known better.

Witnesses

“Neither The Sunday Territorian nor Sergeant Carter was present when the stabbing occurred,” Judge Nader said. “If they were, they should have been witnesses at the trial”.”

Hghlighting the NT News editor’s abiding interest in the issue, a cartoon at page 6 depicted a young militant leaving home, his mother knitting in front of the TV. The militant is armed with a shield, hand grenade, pistol, knife helmet and flak jacket and is drawn turning to his mother saying: “I’ll see ya later mum, I’m just going for a quiet rage around the night spots.” Subtlety was not an attribute of the NT News at the time.

CLANT did a media release endorsing Justice Nader’s comments and concerns and wrote to the Attorney General requesting the Attorney to consider contempt proceedings given the ‘ill informed’ content of the original article and editorial. On 9 December 1986 the Attorney-General declined politely to institute contempt proceedings, inter alia, noting in his letter to me:

“I refer to your letter of 1st December, 1986.

I appreciate your concern but after careful consideration, at this stage, I do not consider I should take the action you suggest.

I note that Mr Justice Nader’s remarks to the Jury concerning the article also received significant publication. I consider Mr Justice Nader dealt with the matter most adequately. Again, I do not consider I should take the matter further.

I welcome correspondence from the Association on any matters concerning the administration of justice. I thank you for your interest.”

CLANT’s defence of the constitutional right of a jury to return a verdict of not guilty, let alone one open on the evidence and the subject of judicial directions, was all too much for the editor of the NT News. CLANT had clearly irritated him. A speech in Darwin given at the time by the editor was, not surprisingly, reported prominently in the NT News of 4 December 1986. At page 3, the paper carried the heading: “Association’s Move Criticised”. The article made amusing reading in the Roma Bar at the time and further galvanised CLANT members. The article says everything about the editorial view at the time. It read:

Association’s Move Criticised

Any attempt to extend the laws of contempt could lead to circumstances where villains were protected by the courts from public exposure, the managing editor of the Northern Territory News, Mr John Hogan, said today.

Addressing the Confederation of Industry and Commerce, Mr Hogan criticised the NT Criminal Law Association for advocating a closer examination of the role of the media in the criminal justice system.

The association has called on the Attorney-General, Mr Daryl Manzie, to investigate whether reports carried in the Sunday Territorian about the acquittal of a Darwin youth who used a knife in a street brawl outside a city nightclub last year were in contempt of court.

He said the association, which is chaired by Darwin barrister, Mr Colin McDonald, was intent on restricting freedom of speech and the fundamental right of people to know what is being said by whom and why.

“To define contempt in respect of restrictions on the reporting of criminal cases after the fact, beyond the rules which now exist to protect a fair trial, would be intolerable and lead inevitably to capricious censorship.

“The decision is a matter for Government, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Threat

“The pressure we are seeing is no more than an overt threat from an individual claiming to represent an association I am told has not been properly constituted.”

Mr Hogan said there was no dispute about the facts in the case. “The victim was stabbed and then brutally kicked in the head as he lay bleeding in the gutter. The assailant pleaded self-defence and was acquitted.

“I must say I can quite understand the victim’s motivation in speaking out in criticism. The NT Police Association did the same.

“The Sunday Territorian reported what they said and expressed some further quite proper concern about street violence.

“It is my belief that these matters of great public interest and concern may be discussed and criticised after the case is over and it is not contempt of court”.

Mr Hogan said Mr Justice Nader’s criticism of the Sunday Territorian’s articles was “quite astonishing” and a worrying development for the community.”

Worrying indeed! Enough of historical documents and back to the lunch and my query about how CLANT has survived and grown where other organisations have withered and died or continued in a desiccated, institutionalised form. CLANT’s strength has always been its collegiality and shared values, confidently held. CLANT has been outward looking not inward looking. CLANT has preferred informality to formality and has always spoken out to defend values and proper processes in the criminal law, just as it did with the verdict before Justice Nader in November and December 1986. The President is given much leeway and the ability to respond quickly and strategically in the media. There has been no media officer in CLANT’s history. The President’s responsibility is to assess the mood and intent of members and act publicly accordingly. This has proved very effective over the years.

As I listen to Richard Coates share reminiscences with Peter Thomas, I am reminded of another historical aspect which has contributed to the life and longevity of CLANT – the consistent support of successive Crown Law Officers and Directors of Public Prosecutions and their members. This contribution started with Ray Minahan as Chief Crown Law officer and was embraced enthusiastically subsequently by Rex Wild QC and Richard Coates in their capacities as Directors of Public Prosecutions. Jack Karczewski QC as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions was and remained a continuing strength and executive member through those 25 years.

More photos get passed around as food is served. Richard chuckles and exclaims, holding up a photo: “Peter you’ve got hair”. We all laugh. The passage of time makes the photos a source of amusement. That the successive number of prosecutors in the Northern Territory have shared and lived out the values of the legal profession and quietly supported successive CLANT Presidents in CLANT’s public advocacy and public stand on a range of issues is one of those themes that has ensured survival and growth for 25 years. Just as a house divided cannot stand, a professional group united in values and collegiality is a source of continuing institutional strength. Despite the rigours of the adversary system and the higher stakes in the criminal justice system, both prosecution and defence lawyers have been united under the umbrella of CLANT. No history of CLANT can understate the cohesive power and the contribution of successive heads of prosecutions and respect among members whatever side of the Bar table they sat.

Just as lack of confidence more than anything else kills civilisation, and cynicism and disillusion can be so destructive of organisations, so too confidence, vision and determination can be very energising. When achieved and generated in an informal, non-competitive collegiate way, confidence, vision and determination send a range of positive messages, especially the re inforcement of values. It is the strength and the intellectual power of the professional values underlying CLANT’s formation and continuing activities that have made it strong. In a world where many lawyers seem to be more business persons than professionals and are afraid to speak out for fear of economic repercussion, CLANT has endorsed professionalism and asserted the right and responsibility to speak out. Being a confident, cohesive and outward looking body not afraid of any economic backlash has been at the heart of CLANT’s success.

Richard opens a special reserve red he has brought for the occasion. Ray’s glass goes out. Richard pours generously. Mark Johnston joins the queue. It is a pleasant lunch. Much is shared. How time passes. Such are my reflections of a celebratory lunch and why CLANT has survived.

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