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I am not a ‘grinch’ but I am not a great fan of the annual Christmas period. I found it pretty tedious as a child and still do. But, here we are at the start of a new year;  an opportunity to repeat mistakes of old and an opportunity to craft a few new ones.

It would appear that French influence in the world is waning?

I have decided to return to riding motorbikes.  A car in London isn’t of any value to me and, in any event, I far preferred my motorbikes to the many cars I had in my past.  So, I shall sell the Jaguar and buy a Honda Blackbird. (I have had five of these marvellous bikes in the past – always started and not one breakdown.)

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So…let’s kick off the new year with a look at what  Tim Kevan’s marvellous creation Babybarista is up to: Solicitor Advocate 

“Jo Worby is one of those rare people in business who is more interested in talking about other people’s success. “ Clare Rodway, of the wonderful Kysen PR firm, writes an excellent blog: The Conversation.  Here she interviews Jo Warby

John Bolch continues, pleasingly, to cast a sharp and, at times, caustic eye over matters relating to Family Law.  His Saturday Review is well worth a look – with a rather spectacular graphic in the post.  The following quote will give you a taste of John’s left field approach to the subject.  (He does serious as well, though)… “The only time my wife and I had a simultaneous orgasm was when the judge signed the divorce papers.”  ~ Woody Allen 

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This is why Criminal barristers are taking action on Monday 6th January

“In 24 hours time criminal lawyers will be on strike for the first time in history.” #walkout4justice” : Follow @TheCriminalBar on twitter for details.

And for a bit of prognostication from Brian Inkster’s The Time Blawg: Future Law: IT and Legal Practice Predictions for 2014: http://ow.ly/shlhH  #LegalIT #LegalTech #futurelaw

Fellow blogger and podcaster, Carl Gardner, writes: Alan Turing: a strain’d quality of irrational and arbitrary mercy

John Flood on his  RATs blog continues to analyse the profession:

“In law we live in comparative prehistoric times. Regulation is our protection, our safeguard, to prevent savages from invading our sacred spaces…”
Are We About to See the Arrival of Multidisciplinary Practices?

Simon Myerson QC – always a pleasure to read – pulls no punches in this blog post:

Ahead of Monday’s action (reminder: which I reluctantly support), the MoJ has published an “Ad Hoc Statistical Release”. Its purpose is clearly to prejudice readers, which will include the media, against the Bar. As such it is a disgusting piece of work – a Ministry should not seek to argue a political case against a group of private citizens at all, still less by the use of data obtained in an effort to promote ‘efficiency’. The counter-argument is that everyone is entitled to “the truth”. Alas, that argument cannot properly be deployed in this case because….

Misinformation By Public Bodies

Obiter J in his Law and Lawyers blog asks:  New Year’s Eve 2013 (1) – Are Human Rights approaching a knife edge?

“There is no British diplomatic mission in Syria, no latter-day Foley can help any of those facing death and destitution….”

Francis Fitzgibbon QC explains in his blog Nothing Like The SunRighteous Among the Nations?

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And finally – Dan Hull in his WhatAboutClients blog writes:

How to Pick a Fight in a Global Recession.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.

–Henry Kissinger, quoted in The New York Times Magazine, June 1, 1969

Answer: You choose fights more carefully–and you go on the offensive only when you must. As Rome discovered too late, protecting every terrain and border is expensive and draining. As business and trial people learn young, butting heads with everyone who has ever done you a disservice, or fighting every point in an oral argument, or an evidentiary or discovery dispute, will not just be expensive and draining. It will defeat you. And it will make you go bonkers.

Back later in the day… hopefully.

Par Avion from The Staterooms…

I thought I would start with some good news and head south after that…

QC brother of PM supports legal aid strike: Cameron’s barrister brother lends his backing to legal aid strike designed to undermine Government reforms:  Daily Mail

Well…there we are. Siblings don’t always agree with each other.

BUT… while I am on the topic of politicians, it occurs to me that the word *Sociopath* may be  a perfect description for some Tory MPs judging by their performances in the Daily Mail and other right wing rags?

An interesting note on the distinction between a Psychopath and and a Sociopath

With Britain getting back to the joys or miseries of work (take your pick) next week, I will be able to get back to podcasts and comments on the law, should I be seized of a desire to so comment.  In the meantime, I am enjoying Twitter and the net and the unusual things that pop up in my timeline.

And I did enjoy this tweet vis-à-vis the above on Psycho/sociopaths…

Pleasingly bizarre, also in the ‘provenance’ of the tweet…

Solicitor, Jules Carey had an unusual letter….

While I have taken up the amusing habit of *Vaping* with my new E-cigs when faced with restrictions on smoking fully leaded Marlboros – I have not taken up nude smoking.  However, should I be seized of a desire to do so, I shall be sure to invest in the natty fag pack holder pictured below.

And finally…. a wonderfully pointless talent to have… Backwards reading…

Back later, hopefully… orf to see a man about some cough mixture and cold medicaments.  One can never find a Carbolic Smokeball on the high street these days.

What do the Jackson Reforms mean to the general public?

The chances are that the majority of the general public will never have heard of the Jackson Reforms. Indeed in a small survey where I questioned acquaintances as to what they knew of the Jackson Reforms none had ever heard of them. Needless to say none of those asked were lawyers or politicians. Asking the same question of the latter groups would no doubt elicit a more positive and knowledgeable response. They would probably be able to say that the Jackson Reforms arose from his year-long review of 2009 into the rising cost of civil litigation. His report of 2010 went on to become the principal tenets of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which was implemented on 1st April 2013 and which has radically changed Civil Procedure Rules with the major objective of curbing the ever-escalating costs of civil litigation. Given that many solicitors, barristers and even judges are struggling to learn the new rules, it is hardly surprising that the general public remains oblivious.

However, if one small word is changed in our title-question and it becomes: “What do the Jackson Reforms mean FOR the general public? “then  it becomes more pertinent and easier to answer.

Key areas of reform are in the fields of Personal Injury (PI), Road Traffic Accidents (RTA), Employers’ Liability and Public Liability Claims. Basically the reforms have aimed to reduce solicitors’ costs by clarifying rules and speeding up procedures. The biggest changes for clients relate to how costs are calculated. For example, lawyers are no longer able to recover success fees and ATE (After the Event) insurance premiums from losing defendants. Payment of lawyers, always the biggest worry for impecunious litigants, will be allowed through contingency fees replacing C.F.A,’s and new Damage Based Awards. In PI cases success fees have been capped at 25% of damages and in RTA cases the cap for claims has increased to £50,000. Rules are now much more stringent and budgets must be prepared and approved at set stages. Such budgets are designed to ensure proportionality of costs to value of claims.  Probably a best known aspect of the Jackson Reforms is that they come at a time of the virtual disappearance of government legal aid. Addressing how litigants can fund their litigation, the Jackson Report endorsed and envisaged the growth of third party litigation funding. Previously it had been unclear how far the courts approved of third party funding, but since Jackson was looking for ways to increase access to justice it is clear he had to give it the green light. For the claimant to give up a percentage of his winnings to the funder might be a small price to pay, especially where the alternative might be to abandon the claim.

Lawyers are still attending courses to better understand the implications of the new post-Jackson rules. They must watch as new case law evolves under the new regulations. Only then will the full meaning both to and for the general public be really clear.

This article was brought to you by our friends at Vannin Capital. To find out more about corporate litigation visit their site today.

A bit of the old ‘Rive Gauche’

It is a bit early in the new year for any law firm, or lawyer for that matter, to have managed to get themselves into the Darwin Awards or appear as a feature on RollonFriday or Legal Cheek, so I shall have to content myself with other matters…

This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy

Brussels has kept quiet about a treaty that would let rapacious companies subvert our laws, rights and national sovereignty

“The purpose of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to remove the regulatory differences between the US and European nations. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. But I left out the most important issue: the remarkable ability it would grant big business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections. Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.

A most interesting article in The Guardian from George Monbiot.

Reflecting on the death of the wonderful John Fortune and his satirical creations, with John Bird,  led me to Google.  There is a big difference between ‘satirical’ and satyrical.  An error of typing led me into a very strange world of Google pics.  At least some lawyers only wear the hair of a horse on their heads.  The amateur Satyrs go for a half man half horse look. It isn’t a good look, judging by the pictures on offer on Google.

RIP one of the creators of Sir George Parr – the clips always worth a second or third look. 

Well..there we are.  The new year is underway and a bit of real work beckons.

A Guide to Appearing at Court for a Driving Offence

If you’ve never been to court before, you’re unlikely to know what to expect. Being accused of a driving offence can lead to serious ramifications for your social and business life, so it’s important that you get to grips with the legal process. An informed defendant is likelier to emerge with a more positive outcome than someone who didn’t do their homework. Remember that legal cases can be far-reaching and expensive.

How Long Will It Take My Case To Get To Court?

Usually, the police have up to six months (from the date of the incident) to summon you to court. That doesn’t mean that you have to be informed within this period; it just means that the police need to get the case to court within this timeframe. As a rule of thumb, if the authorities are slow off the mark, you may be going to court as late as 7-8 months after the incident.

Do You Have To Attend?

Depending on the offence, you may not have to be physically present. Most cases can be closed through correspondence. However, any serious offences will require your presence. If you could potentially have your licence disqualified, you will have to defend yourself. A legal representative can sometimes go in your stead, so ask before you travel.

How Long Will The Hearing Last For?

You have to come prepared. If you don’t, you will unnecessarily draw out the whole process. Guilty pleas can take as long as 30 minutes. Not guilty cases are usually considerably longer.

Will It All Be Over And Done With Then?

When the defendant pleads guilty, the Court will try to settle the matter in one sitting. It’s not necessarily guaranteed, so be prepared to adjourn. Not guilty hearings usually take at least two court hearings to finalise.

Will You Receive Help?

Once you’ve been issued a summons to court, you will be expected to take the necessary steps for your case, such as hiring a lawyer and gathering evidence. A legal representative and a carefully constructed case won’t be waiting for you when you arrive, unless you organise it yourself.

Can You Represent Yourself At Court?

You are within your rights to represent yourself in court, but it isn’t advisable; especially if the case is serious. Where possible, it’s best to hire a qualified solicitor that specialises in motor law. If you plan to represent yourself, at least seek legal advice before you do so.

What Are The Advantages Of Hiring A  Solicitor?

With a specialist motor solicitor, you can relax and let them take care of the complicated legal process, knowing that your chances of success are significantly increased. You’ll benefit from their previous experience of similar offences. If your licence is threatened, it’s best to put together the most watertight case possible. This is even more crucial, if you rely on your licence to do your job.

Composed by Ava Watkins on behalf of Driving Offence drink driving solicitors. Visit their drink driving solicitor page here http://www.drivingoffence.com/   for more information on these types of matters.

It being New Year – and little in the way of any law news about and a bit of time until Sherlock Holmes returns… I thought I would write another ‘Postcard…

I really could not resist this from Twitter..

‘Normal’ service will be resumed soon.

I thought I may as well start the new year the way I fully intend to continue…so, on that basis… this marvellous graphic which I saw on Twitter…

HT to @SvenRadio

 

The Farageisti must be terribly disappointed.   What will they have to bang on about next?  It seems that the Bulgarians and Romanians prefer Spain, Italy and Germany to our fair shores.

I recall having to sit through The Sound of Music, rather hoping they would be caught. I am not a fan of musicals – save for The Rocky Horror Show. I don’t think that my Mother was terribly impressed when I asked when they were all going to be caught by the nazis…. pronounced Nazees….in a loud bored tone. I recall being quite young at the time.   I did not enjoy the film – but I did enjoy reading: Skreeeeem! The Sound Of Music.

RollonFriday reports... “Two judges are to be struck off for misappropriating more than £1.5 million in legal aid fees. But for the time being they still get to be judges.”

Astonishing, really.

Lord Justice Ward comes across as a man with a sharp turn in humour.  Legal Cheek picks up 10 of the Best Lord Justice Ward lines.  The extract below from Legal Cheek will give you a flavour…

When a Fathers 4 Justice campaigner came to argue his case dressed in a Darth Vader outfit complete with Jedi weaponry, Lord Justice Ward asked: “Would Lord Vader kindly take off his helmet and put down his light saber before addressing the court?” Ward then proceeded to politely refer to the man as “Lord Vader” throughout the hearing. [The Times]

One of my favourite satirists is the photoartist and satirist Beaubodor – invariably nails it with each picture he produces.  If you haven’t seen his work – do, please, have a look!

Like many, I was sorry to learn of the death of John Fortune :  Rory Bremner on John Fortune: ‘A fearless satirist and a lovely human being.

I have need, now, to do some smoking.  While I enjoy the Electric cigarettes for inside use – nothing quite like huddling under an umbrella smoking the real thing..  Back later… hopefully…

But..finally…oh dear….

Lawyer who uncovered JK Rowling’s Robert Galbraith alter ego fined £1,000

Christopher Gossage told his wife’s best friend that obscure writer of The Cuckoo’s Calling was in fact Harry Potter author
It may be that I am too easily amused at this time of year…
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