A chat with… Alistair Hewitt
You are Managing Partner of the Leeds office, tell us about your area of practice and role?
The Leeds and Cardiff offices provide a crucial regional presence for the firm to ensure we have a nationwide reach. I act mainly for individuals in regulatory, coronial or criminal proceedings. I regularly represent clients at Coroners Inquests as well as regulatory and disciplinary hearings. I represent clients from initial police interviews to Crown Court trial.
The Leeds office provides legal advice in other legal fields including police law, as discussed with Tom Nutter in a recent “Chat” in this series. We also provide employment law, data protection and other regulatory and compliance issues.
Do you foresee any changes to the way your team works following (hopefully the last!) lockdown?
Absolutely! Just about every organisation we deal with is finding new ways to work. Hearings, meetings and even police interviews are often by video link. It has significant advantages in most cases, but it is not right for every case and on occasions there is no substitute for ‘eyeballing’ those involved. Keeping the team going in the difficult circumstances has been an eye opener, who would have thought social events over Zoom would be such a hit!
Healthcare professionals, who are already under immense strain from the pandemic, may face legal challenges ahead as a result of almost impossible decisions they have had to take. Do you see any changes in the law which may protect them?
Mixed messages is my feeling at the moment. The regulators are currently being supportive, but then we are already seeing some cases, inquests especially, where the decision making of professionals during the pandemic is now being called into question. I fear it will be a bumpy ride over the next few years as the cases start to emerge. We are just hoping that the memory of these troubled times does not fade to such an extent that it is no longer taken into account.
Tell us something we might not know about you?
I had 2 minutes to prepare for a piece to camera with Danny Shaw of the BBC when my client was acquitted – the scariest thing I have ever done. Like Carina, in last week’s Chat, I also love scuba diving. I have dived all over the world – and was so keen I even dived in a flooded quarry in Leicestershire.
Managing Partner, Leeds office
T. 0113 341 1900