It never occurred to me that expanding my office from a small converted ground floor cobbler’s shop in East Leeds into the flat above would attract the local authority’s wrath.

One day, I received an official notice advising me to cease operations upstairs as I did not have the requisite planning consent. It was accompanied by a refusal of planning consent. There followed a negative telephone conversation with the planners which necessitated an immediate appeal so that my colleague (in one room); I (in another room) and our photocopier – along with a newly arrived fax machine on the upstairs floor – could continue as before. 

By now, I had become quite well-known for family legal aid work in the a...

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