Archive for August 2nd, 2006

The Judges v The Home Office….

There can be no doubt – when the Court of Appeal is convened with The Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and The President of the QBD that something serious is being decided. One can only assume that such a constitution was intended.

It was, of course, the appeal involving anti-terrorism laws, or more particularly, the appeal from Mr Justice Sullivan’s quashing of the control orders on six suspected Iraqi terrorists subjected to house arrest for 18 hours a day. The Independent report gives the background.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Mr Justice Sullivan had ‘compelling reasons’ for quashing the control orders.

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Will you still love me when I’m 64?

Have I any interest in McCartney v McCartney?

To be honest. No – for the perfectly sensible reason that it is a private matter, or should be. So I won’t be covering this all too public, and I suspect, rather unpleasant battle – if the info in the tabloids to date is proved. He’s a rich guy who entertained millions (but, not everyone) and she will, in all probability, be very rich soon. Let us hope that our profession rises to the occasion and serves both parties well. Amen.

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Opus dei?…

Mark Stephens, Partner at Finers Stephens Innocent, needs no introduction to many of those who read my blawg. He is also a Times Blogger – and I particularly enjoyed this piece from his blog – the ultimate contractual provision. Being a Contract specialist, the clause appealed to me.

This reminded me of a very old contract law joke…

The professor of a contract law class asked one of his better students, “If you were to give someone an orange, how would you go about it?”
The student replied, “Here’s an orange.”
The professor was outraged. “No! No! Think like a lawyer!”

The student then replied, “Okay. I’d tell him `I hereby give and convey to you all and singular, my estate and interests, rights, claim, title, claim and advantages of and in, said orange, together with all its rind, juice, pulp, and seeds, and all rights and advantages with full power to bite, cut, freeze and otherwise eat, the same, or give the same away with and without the pulp, juice, rind and seeds, anything herein before or hereinafter or in any deed, or deeds, instruments of whatever nature or kind whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding…'”

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Time for a look at the human condition.

I rise early – often at 4.30 am. It is then, Silk Cut to hand and an espresso from my new Gaggia to my right, that I start my research on the net; reading the newspapers online, fiddling about with the latest legal news and reports which interest me and my thoughts as I surface. It is then that I write some of my posts.

I came across a wind up jumping lederhosen. As the website says – “Don’t ask us what the point of this thing is…why anyone would make it…why someone would buy it!” If you want one: click here

City tries to ban standing at the Bar

One may have thought that Police had better things to do ‘Up north” – but, apparently not. The Times reports

I quote: “Police in Preston, Lancashire, think it is not as simple as that. Vertical drinking, they believe, is one of the country’s main causes of public disorder and would like to see it banned in the city’s pubs. Vertical drinking is a new term for what used to be called standing at the bar, long regarded as the natural refuelling posture. Sixteen pints of lager slip into the tanks much more easily when the gullet is erect rather than kinked by the body being squeezed into a chair like a half-shut penknife. Drinking while standing in a like-minded group, police argue, is a contributor to booze-fuelled violence.”

Personally I prefer to adopt a seated position when I take on Rioja. I find that a table in front of me has several benefits. I may place my espresso, my mobile, my Silk Cut and my wine before me. I may then look across to the person seated opposite and engage in conversation to the best of my ability without fear that he or she will suddenly lurch forward, through intoxication, and disrupt my thoughts. As the reporter said..“There is only one incontrovertible advantage to addling the brain with alcohol while seated. It’s less far to fall.”

Here is a serious burglar…quite extraordinary – underwear on his head? Bizarre.

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — Police have arrested a man accused of robbing a popular candy store.
Bryan Schoonover, 32, was arrested over the weekend. He was charged with burglary and theft.
Police said Schoonover is the man captured on video surveillance robbing Laura’s Little Chocolates earlier this month. The man was wearing underwear on his head. He took several hundred dollars in cash and two pans of fudge, which is about eight pounds of candy. Full story

Imagine breaking The Prime Minister’s nose while playing football. Well this footballer broke his President’s nose doing just that in Bolivia. BBC story

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Think twice before cheating!….

This caught my eye on the net.

I thought this might be useful for Family lawyers who are not served that well on my blawg – simply because I have given up troubling the Superintendent of Marriages etc etc – at least for the time being.

I do, however, like direct action – full marks to Emily. Pure class!

PS.. I’ve also given up on the fact that Linkiewinkie will ever wink at Charon!

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What’s that stink over there?

Bullying in the workplace

The Independent reports today : “Helen Green, 36, who worked as a company secretary assistant, successfully sued Deutsche Bank Group Services (UK), for turning a blind eye to “schoolyard” bullying in the “department from hell”.

This action has cost the Bank £1 million. It beggars belief that mature men and women, in serious jobs, in a serious business environment, can behave like schoolyard bullies and make someone else’s life a misery. There is a big difference between banter, teasing and bullying. Helen Green was subjected to bullying by four other women. I quote from the Independent report: “(She) suffered a nervous breakdown after being targeted by four female colleagues who, she said, subjected her to “offensive, abusive, intimidating, denigrating, bullying, humiliating, patronising, infantile and insulting words and behaviour”.

Another passage from the report in the paper describes the scene: “One day, she was working alone when the women trooped in. Ms Dolbear asked the others: “What’s that stink over there?”, and put her hand over her nose. “Daniella was shouting and saying, ‘You stink’, and that sort of loud behaviour and laughing in my face and blowing raspberries,” Ms Green said.”

Apparently one manager dismissed the complaints Ms Green made by remarking that “Everyone has to take their turn,”

Well I don’t think everyone has to, or should have to, take their turn. Employers owe a duty of care to ensure that their employees can work safely at work – and this includes safety in the context of being free from puerile bullying. Deutche Bank have not decided whether they will appeal but deny breach of statutory duty and that Ms Green was bullied. On the facts of the case as reported in the Independent – it seems pretty clear that the High Court took a robust view. So it will be interesting to see if Deutche bank do appeal and what the result of the appeal will be.

The Independent report makes it clear that this is not an isolated case and cites several other examples of large payouts being made by banks and other City organisations. It is extraordinary that bullying at this or any other level exists in the workplace. I know business can be tough. Sometimes it can be dog eat dog, but that is usually between equals in a business context, or at least between business people who are used to the cut and thrust of business life. There is no excuse for this type of bullying in any situation, let alone the workplace.

What’s that stink over there? It is the stench of poor management at a respected bank. The Judge, Mr Justice Owen, made the point “The management was weak and ineffectual. The managers collectively closed their eyes to what was going on, no doubt in the hope that the problem would go away.”

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