Archive for the ‘Charon After Dark’ Category
I am not a fan of the *Honours* system – but be that as it may ….as my learned friends might say…as they do.
I do, however, wonder if the judges should accept honours from the State in an independent judiciary.
I’ll get my coat…..
The #Reinventlaw conference is underway asking about the future of law… is this it?
I do hope not… still.. the delegates seem to be having fun…. and this is fine by me.
I am told that the hashtag #Reinventlaw is trending in Little Wallop..and this is also good.
Have a good weekend. And do keep an eye out for those G4S vans in your area…
I am grateful to The Criminal Bar Association for drawing attention to this from Hansard
I have taken the liberty of extracting the relevant passage to save you the trouble of scrolling down to find it. It would appear that Mr Grayling – who some say is not an expert in knowing arse from elbow – is not fully aware of the distinction between the Bar Council and The Criminal Bar Association
Valerie Vaz (Walsall South) (Lab):Will the Leader of the House ask the Lord Chancellor to come to the House to explain his flawed policy on legal aid? He refuses to meet the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, the Law Society is threatening legal action, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls are against it, and it undermines the English legal system. We need a statement or a debate in Government time.
Mr Lansley:I sat here with my right hon. and hon. Friends during Justice questions a few days ago when almost exactly the same point was made to them, and I heard them reply and say how often they meet the Criminal Bar Association and others and that they had done so recently. I will, of course, draw their attention to what the hon. Lady has said, but I heard them say that it is not true that they are not discussing this issue with those affected.
I marvel – The CBA say that Grayling refuses to meet with them and Michael Turner QC. - Astonishing…
It would be good if Mr Grayling could meet Mr Michael Turner QC , Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, for a chat….. he will be better informed on his legal aid reform schtik..
Perhaps Mr Grayling, Lord High Chancellor….may like to listen to my podcast with Michael Turner QC to get a bit of arse from elbow briefing action before talking to Mr Turner?
My Vapidity Beyond The Call Of Duty award for last week must go to the Westminster, Oxford and Bullingdon Club educated Mr Harry Mount – who even has a whole Wikipedia entry to himself.
I marvelled as I read the nonsense he wrote about the legal aid reforms in his seminal article in The Spectator: Take it from a former barrister: Chris Grayling is right to reform legal aid – “There’s only one problem with Chris Grayling’s legal reforms – they don’t go far enough”
It is fair to say that Mr Mount’s absurd article drew the attention of the lawyers on twitter and elsewhere – derision and ridicule in the main. There is, after all, absolutely no point in getting angry with buffoonery. I particularly enjoyed Simon Myerson QC’s elegant evisceration of the article in the comments section – a must read.
Mr Mount did a pupillage but did not proceed to tenancy. He also writes for The Daily Mail, I understand. Research did not appear to be Mr Mount’s strongpoint in the article according to experienced practitioners who commented on the article.
I did enjoy this: Justice ‘Overrated’, claims Justice Secretary
And on a more serious note, before I go on to lose the plot completely… a bit of serious law content on the Legal Aid Reforms
theintrigant: Fourth Letter to the Lord Chancellor
That is probably enough serious stuff for the present…onwards and upwards…or downwards, depending on your viewpoint of such matters…
Most UK and US lawyers are fairly measured in their approach to putting themselves forward by way of advertising or using social media as a platform for their views and writings.
NOT so this US lawyer: ADAM REPOSA: Lawyer, Patriot, Champion – You really don’t want to get in his way. A truly astonishing advertisement – available on YouTube. Do have a look if you haven’t seen it already. You will laugh, I am sure. You may bang your head on the table afterwards, though.
It isn’t just the experienced lawyers who want in on the ‘unusual way to practice’. Legal Cheek covered the case of a Freshfields trainee:
A spokesperson for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer told Legal Cheek: “We are taking the matter very seriously and have started an investigation.”
Some weeks ago I did a podcast with ex-Tory MP and barrister Jerry Hayes - who was most eloquent and amusing about Grayling’s legal aid reforms. I am pleased to draw your attention to a post he wrote in Legal Cheek: ‘I HEARD A VOICE WHISPER: “WHAT A GHASTLY PORTRAIT OF INSUFFERABLE ARROGANCE” – AND I REALISED HE MEANT ME’
The law just keeps on giving…
RollonFriday reports: “The University (née College) of Law has banned students from using electronic cigarettes in exam rooms after several were spotted puffing away during assessments. Authorities sent the following strongly-worded email to the GDL intake after University spies reported that several nicotine addicts were smoking e-cigs under exam conditions” Read….
I can’t really see what the fuss is about. Criminal lawyers have to deal with some very unpleasant issues – the exam question is fairly mild in terms of examples of criminal behaviour? But…hey… it gave RoF a chance to do some ‘Breaking News’ and mock the tabloids – rightly.
Apropos of absolutely nothing… I used to set Contract and Sale of Goods law examinations – marking some, it has to be said, imagining myself with a square of black silk (A Black Cap) on top of my head. I may have had a different life had I been an academic in the field of criminal law or, for that matter, chosen to be a criminal mastermind like Professor Moriarty.
It isn’t all bad news for the legal profession. At least one Tory MP is concerned about assisting the legal profession…
This tweet prompted Mark Lewis, a very experienced media lawyer, to suggest…
I had a heavy (and strange) week last week… but I did manage to comment acerbically on the Grayling legal aid reforms…
Right… orf for a walk. No doubt, while I am away, Nicholas Witchell will be standing around outside a London hospital – pointlessly – waiting for some Duke of Edinburgh action so that BBC News can cover it ad nauseam. No doubt, also – my emails will be read by GCHQ…aided and abetted by the United States drone hovering over the River Medway as I write..
I shall return on the morrow with more ‘tales’…
Have a good evening..
Best, as always
The #SAVEUKJUSTICE demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday was well attended. Coverage of the event has been extensive and well dealt with in the law blogs
A few observations….
The unified stance taken by the Bar and Law Society has been a remarkable feature of the campaign. Leading lights from the legal profession have given time and thought to putting the message across through blogs and on twitter. Many bloggers have written on the subject. Patrick Torsney has a comprehensive listing of blogs written by lawyers and others from the legal blogging community.
Unfortunately, the extensive use of the #SAVEUKJUSTICE hashtag on Twitter served to irritate some, including lawyers, and the PR was almost certainly not sufficiently directed to the issue of fairness – at times, the message seemed to focus on how little the lawyers were being paid which is not a message likely to receive sympathy from some members of the public.
The petition, as of today, stands at a remarkable 79,000. But there are many thousands more lawyers – so it should have been relatively straightforward to get the 100,000 signatures needed to persuade Parliament to debate The Lord Chancellor’s plans? On the assumption that many thousands of signatories to the petition would have come from non-lawyer members of the public through publicity being generated by lawyers on Twitter – and, importantly, Stephen Fry, Bianca Jagger and other ‘celebrities’ who punted the petition actively, pleasingly – it must follow that a good 40,000+ lawyers did not sign the petition.
I have spoken to quite a few commercial and City lawyers recently. Some said, predictably, that they were not really aware of the issues and did not use twitter. A couple took a more hostile line and felt that the message of the criminal lawyers was wrong and too oriented to their own jobs and not the interests of the public. Others have said – and I agree with this latter stance – the message could have been addressed more to the needs of the people and the importance of preserving the Rule of Law rather than ‘profession oriented’. The message was not clear enough, they argued: There was a ‘whiff of’ loss of law jobs with the reduction from 1600 to 400 firms which may have given the impression that this reduction was more important than justice itself.
Certainly, I saw quite a few tweets along the lines of ‘Lawyers have been keeping access to justice exclusive with high fees for years’
I am not a practitioner. I am a mildy reclusive observer. But I do believe that the criminal barristers and solicitors are right. The Rule of Law will be compromised by Grayling’s reforms and I do believe that these criminal lawyers, the majority of whom do not get that well paid – less than £50k a year I have seen quoted – are regarding the profession as vocational rather than commercial.
The City and large commercial law firms turn over billions. Their lawyers are well paid – very well paid. A newly qualified lawyer at a ‘Magic Circle’ firm starts at £63,000+. So what? They run commercial businesses. Their clients are men and women of commerce, large corporations, banks, in a global legal market. A cynic might observe – and I am a cynic at times – that commercial and City lawyers are more interested in the ‘Certainty of Law’ rather than the Rule of Law. I once heard a senior commercial lawyer say that “Contract law is not about ‘Justice’. We want certainty so that we can advise clients to avoid well established legal pitfalls and operate at the lawful edge of the legal envelope.”
I also heard words to the effect “Any bloody idiot can tell a client what they cannot do . We don’t want bloody idiots. We want good lawyers who can tell the client what they can do within the law as it is set down by Parliament. ”
The City / Commercial firm practice is a different world – but it is not a world paid for by taxpayers. Of course, the City and commercial firms benefit from the reputation of our legal system and ‘Rule of Law’. As a friend of mine @taxbod observed bluntly on twitter only t’other night - “But yet, any of those civil/commercial flog the British justice system when whoring to Russian chavs etc.” Sometimes… blunt… is good.
Legal Aid is paid for by tax payers, most legal aid lawyers are not well paid. A legal system where people are not given a fair hearing – because they cannot afford lawyers, civil and criminal – is not a fair legal system
That being said – congratulations to all – lawyers and non-lawyers alike – for a good campaign. The Ministry of Justice seems to have won the mainstream media PR war with their coverage in The Daily Mail yesterday:
£15m for just one firm on legal aid gravy train Scale of taxpayers’ bill revealed as Coalition vows to save £200m
Ministry of Justice released a breakdown of payments to lawyers
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling says system is ‘not sustainable’
Demonstrators waved placards reading ‘justice is not for sale’
But the campaign is not over. Surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility to get over 100,000 signatures? Even if lawyers have to get on the phone to non-criminal law lawyers?
And lawyer or non-lawyer, if you would like to sign the petition – you may do so here
And… you can keep up to date with developments by following @TheCriminalBar on twitter
A selection of links:
The Criminal Bar Association: Do read the Monday Message 03.06.13 – some real gems in there.
Legal Cheek: LAWYERS PROVE THEY CAN PULL OFF A DEMO – AS BRITAIN DISCUSSES #PUBLICW*NKINGONYOUTUBE
The Legal Cheek post includes some marvellous pictures and recordings of speeches by Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal Blog.
Head of Legal: Geoffrey Robertson QC: there is a hidden agenda
Head of Legal: Michael Fordham QC: the avocado of justice
Michael Fordham QC was I think the star of today’s “Saving Justice” demo outside the Ministry of Justice. His speech was both angry and funny – he called the Ministry of Justice “wankers”. And his avocado of justice, odd as it sounds, went down a storm with his audience.
The Bar Council: Bar Council responds to Legal Aid consultation
Circuit Judges: Critique of the proposals from the Judiciary
The Law Society: Law Society responds to legal aid consultation
And…as Legal Cheek noted: AS MOJ CONSULTATION ON LEGAL AID CLOSES, THE UK CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS PLACED ON EBAY
Quote du Jour
“I’ll deny having said this, but it’s a bribe … the sort of thing I can say to these guys … you put that question down now, I thought you were interested in Fiji, would you like to come down to it, you know, I believe it’s quite nice … I can whisper that.”
Lord Laird as reported in The Telegraph story: Lord suggests best way to ‘bribe’ colleagues
In the wake of the astonishing ‘Cash for Questions’ saga – more to come on that, inevitably – let me draw your attention to an excellent blog post done last year by A dragon’s best friend: Cash for applications?
For my part – I would be quite happy to see the abolition of the House of Lords, a unicameral system (or at the least an elected second chamber) and the abolition of all honours. It won’t happen of course – but holding these views allows me to keep vaguely sane in the current dystopian landscape.
But there we go… now to the law blogs…
I know nothing about crofting but I know a man who does. Brian Inkster of Inksters is the man to go to for crofting law action. And there is a lot of it about with the recent Crofting Law Bill.
Crofting Law Blog: 6 out of 10 to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee
Brian Inkster manages to give a Strictly Come Dancing / Eurovision feel to an otherwise serious analysis. That is classy blogging!
For those who are not operating in the Crofting Law field, Brian also blogs at The Time Blawg - the latest post, a very comprehensive review: LawTech Futures 2013 Reviewed: The one with the neocortex
“Now let me point a finger, not at the Lord Chancellor, but at the legal profession. How the hell did we let this happen?”
Legal 2.0 is the man pointing the finger and I agree with him on the premise that the campaign should not be focused on preaching to the converted. I raised this with Michael Turner QC , Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, when I did my podcast with him. In fact, the CBA and others were successful in raising public interest – in the mainstream media, on twitter and also managed to get Stephen Fry , with his millions of followers, interested – and over 70,000 people signed the petition. The campaign should have been directed more to the general public? Some, rightly, have voiced the opinion that the campaign leaders may have benefited from hiring in experienced PR campaign specialists. John Busby’s addition to a blog post written by Paul Wise of WiseCounsel is well worth a read.
The Magistrates’ Blog considers the speculation about Ministry of Justice plans to ‘privatise the courts’: A Straw In The Wind - “Until last Autumn my court had a nice little snack bar, looked after by a lady who supplied reasonably priced refreshments to court users, staff and magistrates. It was a meeting point for lawyers and others, and was run at no cost to HMCTS. Last Autumn the lady decided to move on, and the bar closed. We were assured that a replacement was being sought, but had to go through the full ponderous civil service procurement process. Then silence……”
While the Government continues to ‘wrestle’ with compliance policy in relation to European Court of Human Rights judgments – the Scots are having issues of their own in relation to prisoner voting rights in the forthcoming independence referendum. Lalland’s Peat Worrier is on the case: Fulsome prison blues…
Ipso Jure by Dr Peter Groves, Solicitor, continues to provide analysis and commentary on intellectual property law and has a free textbook for law students.
I found this blog post by Paul Bernal most interesting: Google Glass: just because you can…
Paul writes…”As a bit of a geek, and a some-time game player, it’s hard not to like the look of Google Glass. Sure, it makes you look a little dorky in its current incarnation (even if you’re Sergey Brin, as in the picture below) but people like me are used to looking dorky, and don’t really care that much about it. What it does, however, is cool, and cool in a big way. We get heads-up displays that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago, a chance to feel like Arnie in the Terminator, with the information about everything we can see immediately available. It’s cool – in a dorky, sci-fi kind of way, and for those of us brought up on a diet of SF it’s close to irresistible.”
Time to go for a long walk while the late afternoon Sunday sun continues to shine. I am sorry if I have not managed to cover all the familiar blogs in this series of four reviews of and from the law blogs. I plan to look at some more, including US, Canadian and Australian blogs, soon and will, of course, cover interesting blog posts in my normal review of the ‘wonders of law’ in my regular postings.
I leave you with an old letter from Lord Shagger – who sends his best wishes from Monaco. He is much amused by the greed and stupidity of parliamentarians caught up in the recent ‘lobby’ scandal.
Franz Liebkind: Not many people know it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer.
The Producers (1968)
Apologies to The Pythons for hijacking the ‘Lumberjack’ song for pic above
As the EDL and BNP marched in Britain today to a faster pace, dreaming of being the master race, and a #UKIP activist calls Lee Rigby’s family “idiots” for denouncing the #EDL - I could not help but recall the Mel Brooks Classic, The Producers (1968) and, in particular the ‘Springtime for Hitler’ song.
While laughing at fascists is good for the soul – and is probably quite a good way or dealing with them – they do spread hatred and the threat of and use of violence to express themselves. This purple prose nonsense from a BNP supporter on the BNP website is fairly typical of the nonsense and hatred they spout:
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
The people of this great nation must remember the attitudes and beliefs that made us the Greatest Empire on Earth: intolerance of injustice; absolute belief in our duties; and resolutions to make the world a better place.
Islamist extremism is a cancer that must be purged. The ethnic communities of this country that nurture and cultivate extremism must at all costs be removed. We must remember what it means to be British.
Lee Rigby represents the warrior alive in each of us. One by one Islamist extremism is covertly ambushing our goodwill and butchering our culture.
Immigrants to this country must assimilate or expect to be extradited. We, the British people, must not sacrifice our beliefs, our children’s safety, our way of life and willingly surrender it to the cancerous invaders, savages and murderers, being accepted into our society.
Perhaps Mr Farage will check the background of candidates and supporters more closely to ensure that UKIP doesn’t turn into the ‘nasty party’ and become BNP / EDL Lite?
AND…on to the law blogs…
“It’s official! Kysen is now working for the man “with the best profile pic of any QC” according to the legal twitterati. Hardwicke‘s PJ Kirby is shown here in full silk regalia, and clearly in a state of high excitement, on his way to the silks’ inauguration.”
I tend not to ‘gush’ or ‘exude’ – but I like Clare Rodway, and her blog, The Conversation, is fascinating, providing insights into the world of lawyers through sharply observed cameos. Well worth a bookmark!
And another excellent blog – on the ‘Art of Food’ – with some beautifully crafted observations on restaurants is The Food Judge written by Brecher managing partner, Nicky Richmond.
I’d been up till two am the night before, discussing the merits of good lighting with Hugh, my new BFF and the man who is going to help make my house look mid-Century-modern-fabulous, so I really hadn’t planned on being sociable, especially not with clients….
I dipped into the world of restaurant reviewing (and was actually commissioned to review a few restaurants – an amusing ‘wheeze’) a couple of years ago with this nonsense: Charon goes to a restaurant run by East European border guards?
And John Bolch – provider of a very comprehensive review of analysis and comment on his Family Lore blog – has also created Edgar Venal, a man who lives up to his name and who is the senior partner of Venal & Grabbit, Solicitors
The Campaign for Freedom of Information (“CFOI”), one of the most important public interest campaigning bodies in Britain in recent decades, is in financial difficulties and needs help urgently.
AND… I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post from Giles Peaker who started the Nearly Legal blog some years ago… most amusing: A lesson in professionalism
Do have a look to see what lawyers who blog have to put up with sometimes from people with a ‘sense of entitlement’ – even though we blog ‘free to view’.
PINK TAPE covers the legal aid reforms in relation to Family Law: YOU HAVE BEEN CONSULTED
It is important for Lawyers to be LinkedIn, Fleecebooked (HT @afneil) and on Twitter…is it? Really?
Quick round ups…
Obiter J covers the whole life term imposed on Mark Bridger. Those unfamiliar with judicial sentencing practice will, I am sure, find this analysis useful: Whole life term imposed for murderer of April Jones
Carl Gardner on his Head of Legal blog covers a webinar from the Law Society: The future of press regulation: Law Society webinar
The Justice of The Peace considers: BAD DRIVING AND COMPUTERS
The Justice Gap: SAVE UK JUSTICE DEMO: TUESDAY, JUNE 4 – There will be a rally outside the Ministry of Justice next week, on Tuesday 4th June 2013 – the day the consultation on the government’s proposals to ‘transform legal aid’ closes – from 4.30 to 7.30 pm – see (here) for details.
Conflict of Laws.net: ECJ Refuses to Extend the Scope of Article 5 (3) Brussels I to Coperpetrator
David Allen Green on Jack of Kent: Public interest and the Computer Misuse Act
The Bizzle: When is an alteration not an alteration? - “ Exciting news about public sector outsourcing (well, it’s relative) draws me back to the blog . This time it’s Serco, fingered by the Guardian (EXCLUSIVELY!) for alleged misconduct in the performance of a contract to supply out of hours GP services in Cornwall. The allegations include understaffing and excessive wait times for the patient helpline. There’s also this….”
The Panopticon blog from 11KBW: Surveillance: RIPA and the Communications Data Bill
Litigation Futures: LSB calls for regulator focus on DBA ‘mis-selling’ risk
The Justice Gap: UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL, SAVE UK JUSTICE
And with that…I am orf to watch a bit of Nordic Noir…. I shall return with Review 4 soon…
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.
Communication has been occupying my mind for a few days. This morning on BBC Breakfast they were taxing their minds with ‘spelling’ and one of the presenters was asked to spell *Supersede*. Like many before him, he had a crack at it and came up with *Supercede*.
With way too much time on my hands early this morning , I made myself a cuppa and, as I did so, came up with the thought “One precedes, but one supersedes.” This was enough to set me up for a sardonic day and knowing that bananas can walk has set me up nicely for a weekend of Sybaritic pleasure drinking tea (not Earl Grey) and… in Britain we spell it ‘grey’ not ‘gray’ when referring to the colour or our skies.
But does spelling matter? Can you read this?
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it
Well…there we are…
ON to the law blogs…with a bit of dead tree press action to kick off….
In the wake of the tragic murder of April Jones we had the predictable call for ‘something’ to be done in relation to internet pornography. A view that the state should not intervene in sexual activities between consenting adults which cause no harm to others – an old fashioned Benthamite utilitarian stance to be sure – seems a not unreasonable starting point for debate.
Given that our government has developed the skills of the whirling dervish and a predilection for U-turns, one hopes that there is not a pandemic of Kneejerkitis acutis toriensis on the part of the shield munching beserkers (pictured right) on the Tory benches, forcing yet more ill thought out snap reaction legislation, when Parliament eventually gets back to work again.
On the subject of the so-called ‘Snoopers Charter’ being revived in the wake of the murder of Lee Rigby, and the decision by the BBC to shunt Anjem Choudary onto Newsnight, David Anderson QC provides wise advice to government in this article from The Guardian: Anjem Choudary controversy sparks debate over TV censorship - “anti-terror law reviewer David Anderson QC says broadcasters should decide whether to show radicals on their channels.”
It seems that the Police are also getting in, rightly, on the sensible, cool headed, side of the debate. The Telegraph reported: MI5 failures over Woolwich probably ‘misjudgement’ not lack of snoopers’ charter, says Sir Chris Fox
And now for the law bloggers….
Why Does Everyone Want to Go to Law School?
For some reason people in America and the UK people have come to regard Law School as some sort of panacea. The pinnacle of academic learning and the route to meteoric career earning: the ultimate career backstop that offers glamour, big respect and guarantees a bulging bank balance.
Let’s call this ‘Law School Think’: the reason why everybody wants to go to law school.
However it’s all a myth.
The idea of Law School being a panacea is a perception ingrained so deeply that young men and women enrol in the face of hard facts that scream out: “Don’t go to Law School!” Slate writer Eric Posner provides a great prefatory note here.
A MESSAGE FROM DR ERASMUS STRANGELOVE
Senior Partner and Director of Education, Muttley Dastardly LLP
Dr Strangelove wrote this some time ago. It still seems to reflect the current state of affairs?
Dear Prospective Applicants,
It is that time of year again. You are back at university. The long summer holidays are over. Binge drinking in Cornwall is a long distant memory. Your *Gap Yah* is finished and your parents are now able to get on with what is left of the rest of their lives knowing that you are safely on the treadmill called life. Now you are back at your cash poor universities or are attending one of the shiny new reassuringly expensive law schools doing your LPC. If you haven’t already been snapped up by one of the big law firms, sponsoring you, you are probably sick with worry about your future prospects – and, frankly, you have every reason to be. We are not out of the bears shitting all over the credit crunch woods yet… Lord Browne is about to release his entirely predictable report to allow the Vice Chancellors to increase their fees, law firms are still reeling from the credit crunch… well…some law firms are…we at Muttley Dastardly LLP are not..in fact, to be honest, we are rather enjoying it.
Over the next few weeks, on The Lawyer, Legal Week and LawCareers.net websites you will be able to find lots of shiny brochures to download from BIG law firms and BIG law schools – implausibly showing pictures of glossy potential lawyers smiling away….possibly even sitting on the grass…although why they should be sitting on the grass when they should be inside working is a matter of some surprise to *US* at Muttley Dastardly LLP.
There will be lots of pictures of young people in suits, carrying briefcases, looking busy and important. Our Psyops team has replicated the genre below…. we’ve gone for the lawyers happy on a beach look… (right).
OK… we talk straight… expensive… but straight at Muttley Dastardly LLP. Listen up…. and, I cannot resist using that dreadful phrase so beloved of cliche ridden writers…and smell the coffee.
1. The economy will improve
2. Law firms will recover
3. Universities will raise their fees – and so will the BIG law schools for you (although not for us!)
4. The Legal profession is changing – read the journals and keep up to date.
5. You have to get a 2.1 to even stand a chance of selection for a decent law school at LPC level and, being honest, a decent university if you are going to get into a City law firm or any major commercial firm.
6. Being really honest… you haven’t a chance of getting into Muttley Dastardly LLP unless you went to Oxbridge or a top Russell Group university – why would *WE* take second best?
7. Be realistic… City practice is not for everyone – there is a wonderful world of law out there for lawyers who don’t want to be rich beyond the dreams of avarice, who don’t want to be movers and shakers in the City and business world, who don’t want to rub shoulders with the likes of Duncan Genocide from The Dragon’s Den. [Good one, Harry & Paul] We don’t have a clue what these lawyers do… but hey.. there must be a Facebook group.. or Twitter hashtag… and you could always Google?! FTW!…as, I believe, some say….. LMFAO, ROFL etc etc etc…..
8. We will always be honest with you…. if we take you on as a trainee, you will be worked beyond the limits of The Human Rights Act, you will learn a great deal about *OUR* type of practice and if you don’t cut it… we will give you a black plastic bag to take your belongings away in and that’s it.
Good luck with your studies this year. I look forward to hearing from you… if you think you are hard enough.
Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Strength & Profits
Having been involved in legal education for thirty odd years – and continue with a Churchillian stance of ‘buggering on’ through blogging – I do get the feeling that the law schools, particularly those providing vocational courses for the BPTC and LPC, are more concerned with their own profits and survival and this may outweigh their ‘corporate social responsibility’ to those they eagerly seek to enrol – and who may, despite all the third party advice on offer, be eager to enrol.
Law students have reacted with anger and disappointment to the news that the National College of Legal Training (NCLT) has discontinued its legal practice course (LPC) and graduate diploma in law (GDL).
The NCLT announced last week that it is to stop teaching the LPC and GDL, blaming market conditions and a drop in the number of students for its decision (24 May 2013).
Legal Cheek had a good piece by David Banks this morning: ‘JOURNALISTS PROBABLY DEAL WITH MORE LAW THAN ANYONE ELSE – INCLUDING LAWYERS’
Professor Richard Moorhead has an interesting post: Does legal education impact on how small businesses see the world?
“There are some interesting findings on attitudes risk and the incidence of legal problems in small businesses in the new study done by my colleagues Pascoe Pleasence and Nigel Balmer for the Legal Services Board. That study has drawn attention principally because it suggests a large latent market for legal problems. Small businesses have a large volume of legal problems which are not tackled with the assistance of legal advice. The median value of such problems was of the order of £1,2000 (though the mean value was much higher). Interestingly, also, whilst solicitors dominate service to this sector, accountants appear close behind…..”
Practitioners may be interested in Professor John Flood’s article: Institutional Bridging: How Large Law Firms Engage in Globalization
“I’ve just posted a new paper to SSRN titled “Institutional Bridging: How Large Law Firms Engage in Globalization“. It’s for a symposium put together by the Boston College Law Review and the Boston College International & Comparative Law Review on Filling Power Vacuums in the New Global Legal Order.”
And that is probably enough for a Friday evening…back with Part 3 of my review of and from the law blogs at the weekend.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
George Bernard Shaw
Law blogging, despite the predictions of the gurus and prognosticators, continues to thrive. Whether law blogs influence opinion is not of particular concern to me (nor, I suspect for many law bloggers), for I blog for pleasure – but I would hope that the opinions and thoughts of my fellow bloggers at least provide food for thought.
The UK Human Rights Blog even considers the right to blog in: Right to Blog, Lord Chancellor’s Legacy and Accountability for War Crimes – The Human Rights Roundup
Many law bloggers have been pre-occupied recently with the Legal Aid reforms. Patrick Torsney has a comprehensive listing of some very good writing on the subject.
theintrigant continues to provide a dash of black humour to the proceedings with this Third Letter to The Lord Chancellor
One very angry #LegalAidWarrior comes out fighting http://www.gcnchambers.co.uk/content/download/2561/17348/file/Response%20to%20Transforming%20Legal%20Aid%20Consultation%202013%20-%20Mark%20George%20QC%20GCN.pdf … One of GCN’s responses to the worst Ld Chancellor in history
A fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the governed is taking place: by restricting access to the law, the state is handing itself an alarming immunity from legal scrutiny.
But what of other matters?…..
Although the Ministry of Justice has apparently denied any intent to ‘privatise the courts’ – they merely want the courts to have more ‘commercial freedom’ – Obiter J considers the matter : Privatisation of the courts?
Obiter J also considers: Citizen’s Arrest – a limited power
The most high profile media case of the week was Lord McAlpine’s claim against Sally Bercow.
Informm Blog considered this in their excellent weekly round up: Law and Media Round Up – 27 May 2013
And – Antonin Pribetic, writing from Canada, wrote a thought provoking piece on the matter as a guest on my own blog: McAlpine v. Bercow and a New Era of ‘Twitter Chill’
David Allen Green, writing at his Jack of Kent blog, considers: The law and culture of phone hacking
The UK Human Rights blog analysed the decision in R (on the application of Sandiford) v Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs  168 (Admin) – read judgment : DEATH PENALTY LEGAL FUNDING REFUSAL: APPEAL COURT CONFIRMS LIMITS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
But it isn’t all serious on the law blogs….and I end this first (of several) reviews of and from the law blogs which I shall try and put together over the next few days…
Legal Cheek, as ever, continues to comment, provoke and amuse…
Last month, retiring Court of Appeal judge Sir Alan Ward (pictured) used his penultimate judgment to deliver a wistful nautical-themed allegory about departing the Royal Courts of Justice.
It wasn’t the first time that he’d made lawyers smile. Here are ten of his best lines…
And..mea culpa… it would be remiss of me to miss out a ‘tribute to our revered Lord Chancellor’ wot I did t’other day…
Back soon with more from the law blogs…
Well…at least some people know a bit….
The Telegraph reports: Leading barristers warn over legal aid cuts - Dozens of Britain’s leading barristers have warned that reforms of the legal aid system by Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, will “seriously undermine the rule of law”
AND… Anna Raccoon has a say: Judicial Chicanery
(Back later with a podcast with Charles Christian, editor of Legal IT Insider, on developments in information technology for lawyers)
Legal aid tendering: will it actually work?
Joshua Rozenberg in The Guardian: The MoJ’s public consultations on legal aid reforms show they are open-minded, but if the aim remains to reduce spending, what about the cost to justice?
Dr Elizabeth Gibby, head of legal aid policy at the Ministry of Justice, was answering questions at the first in a series of open meetings arranged by the department and advertised, very discreetly, on its website. This one took place at a hotel in Reading and attracted more than 100 lawyers; there are to be another 12 this month around England and Wales.
“We appreciate that the proposals [in Transforming Legal Aid] are causing deep anxiety and concern,” Gibby said, “and people have genuine worries about aspects of the [reform] model. That’s why we genuinely want to hear from people. I know people often think that responding to government consultations is a waste of time. All I would say to you is that we want to hear your views. We want to hear your suggestions.”
Dr Gibby came a ‘bit unstuck’, floundering when asked to point to the section in the consultation paper dealing with the interests of the user:
“I’m sorry; I don’t quite understand what you are saying,” Gibby replied after a pause. (She continued to flounder as Rozenberg relates)
Then it was the turn of Tim Mouseley QC who questioned her on Grayling’s assertion in the consultation:
“Where is the evidence that the public have a lack of confidence in the legal system as it currently is?” the QC asked.
Dr Gibby ‘made it clear that this line had not come from her’.
Mr Rozenberg wrote :“What struck me as I heard Gibby explain all this is that officials really cannot be sure that any of this is going to work.”
Good stuff, Mr Rozenberg. It is good to know that our ‘political masters’ and civil servants are on the ball – not.
Some very useful reading on
A BARRISTER’S WIFE - a behind closed doors view of the justice system. A must read!
Baroness Deech, Inner Temple Bencher, gives speech on the impact of legal aid cuts in the Lords:
My apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan for ‘modifying’ the lyrics to the Lord Chancellor’s song in Iolanthe
I am sure you will be able to locate a true and real analysis of The Queen’s Speech on Google.
I shall leave you with this modification…back soon…adios for now
When I didn’t go to the Bar as a very young man
(Said I to myself — said I).
When I didn’t go to the Bar as a very young man,
(Said I to myself–said I),
I’ll work on a new and original plan,
(Said I to myself–said I),
I’ll never assume that a rogue or a thief
Is a gentleman worthy implicit belief,
Because his attorney won’t be getting a brief,
(Said I to myself–said I!).
Ere I go into the House I won’t read my brief through
(Said I to myself–said I),
And I’ll always take work the Bar is able to do
(Said I to myself-said I),
My learned profession I’ll do my best to disgrace
By taking their fees with a grin on my face,
When I haven’t been there to attend to the case
(Said I to myself–said I!).
For something serious – have a listen to my podcast with Michael Turner QC?
If you had any doubts about ‘external investment’ in the legal system in England & Wales…. Neil Rose’s article on Eddie Stobart will inform / amuse / irritate you!
Stobart Barristers sets sights on criminal legal aid contract
Stobart Barristers – the direct access service run by the famous logistics company – has given a strong indication that it will bid for the new criminal legal aid contracts the government is set to offer under price competitive tendering…..
He said the current model – with large numbers of firms doing identical work while fees are falling – was “unsustainable”. Even if they start to merge, that will not wipe out “the legacy of debt” most carry. He described criminal law practices as “very wounded animals ready to die”.
It would appear that Group Legal Director and founder, Trevor Howarth, has ‘form’… experience of the law as practice manager for the firm of celebrity solicitor Nick ‘Mr Loophole (TM)’ Freeman.Will the Stobart trucks used to ferry their lawyers to court be named as the trucks are for shipping goods? Could keep us amused ‘spotting them’…
You may be interested in listening to my podcast with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar, on legal aid reforms and the rise of ‘external investment and involvement’ in the legal profession?
Scroll down or click here
“High court judge rules Andrew Tinkler and legal director Trevor Howarth may have lied to secure gagging order on whistleblower”
Not an ideal start for a company wishing to provide legal services – if true?
I have marvelled, as many others have, at the antics of the Kippers in the run up to the local elections. After the extraordinary report of a Kipper – the article headline says it all… Physical exercise prevents you becoming gay, claims UK councillor candidate…“ John Sullivan, a UKIP party candidate, up for election next week, has made a series of anti-gay Facebook comments, including congratulating Russia for banning gay Pride, and comparing gays to termites” – I didn’t think it could become any more farcical.
But… today, the Kipper in Chief excelled himself by revealing that one of his candidates was not giving a ‘Nazi’ salute…he was imitating a pot plant.
NIGEL Farage has defended a Ukip candidate who was pictured seemingly giving a Nazi salute, offering the bizarre explanation that he was actually “imitating a pot plant”.
Nigel Unter Den Linden was quoted in the articles…” “I’ve looked carefully into this and spoken to Alex, and I believe him when he says that he was angrily trying to take a camera off his girlfriend who was annoyingly taking pictures of him in the pub imitating a pot plant,” he told the Huffington Post.
“These things happen – I should know!”
I am not at all sure that we need politicians – local or national – who want to imitate pot plants. The Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling is quite enough to contend with for the present.
Well…there we are… ain’t UK politics a larf….. ?