Archive for September, 2006

And…I say unto you…

Cameron weblog.. “Welcome to WebCameron…watch out BBC and ITV…we’re coming after you!”

Good grief… it brought tears to my eyes to watch this videocast. It is certainly novel. Cameron weblog

Scene 1: Cameron is in his kitchen and faces the camera for his opening line. Young child calls out that she wants to wash her hands (It may be a boy – I’m afraid I am not on intimate terms with Cameron Famille.) Leading man bends down and asks her if she can do it later, stands up and tells us all that WebCameron is a great way to communicate. Leading man is ‘terribly keen that we communicate with people properly.’ Camera changes angle to reveal what appears to be Cameron’s underwear on a clothes rack drying in the dining room. Very stylish. One assumes that it is a dining room or family room because the kitchen faces directly onto it. We can see this through a hatch. Leading man waffles on a bit about how there are a few days yet until the conference – time to write a few more speeches, prepare a few policies and perfect the sound bites. He then, somewhat mysteriously says that he has to ‘wash up the porridge.’

Perhaps even more bizarrely… all I could think of when I was looking at the section of the film where the Cameron underpants are shown… was the cartoon character ‘Captain Underpants’. I have no idea how I know about some things… it does worry me occasionally.

Thanks to Miss H of Twenty-Something (See Blogroll) for pointing me in WebCameron’s direction. I shall be watching avidly.

They look like underpants to me… but, I could be wrong

I have returned from my evening out and always mindful of the rules of ‘Evidence’, I thought it best to put the evidence before you.

All you need to consider is a balance of probabilities. Ignore the Policies – he doesn’t have anything to say about ‘policies’ in this film… but are they underpants?

The first film was riveting – a tour de farce. I am pleased to make an award of my ‘Lobster Award’ to this innovative website. I fear that it will not be long before I have to award the most coveted award of Lobster First Class ( For this first attempt – the award is: Lobster Award Second Class)
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Cameron on the Delhi undergound, waffling to a commuter about her future career, and some weird guy…who may be a Shadow Chancellor in waiting… with him. I just can’t be sure. Is this the same person who was Gideon Osborne..now ‘George’ Osborne… or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

I will have another look as The Tory Conference progresses…

Certainly a bit more pacy (but just as ill conceived?) – than the Muttley Dastardley LLP trainee blog.

EDIT at 00.42 Sunday 1st October
Please make the time to watch the ‘Cleaning up politics’ film… In fact, if you have time, watch all the films. Cameron even manages to sound like a tour guide as he gives us a tour of Delhi. I really do think that this series of webcasts will rival ‘The Office’. David Brent… ‘Watch out… we’re after you.’ might be a better catchphrase for the person who calls himself ‘Dave’ who posts to this site. Is this ‘Real?’…is it a wind up?’.

It isn’t a wind up/spoof. Here is the front page of the new Tory website

The Economist takes a sanguine view of Cameron’s intellect – according to the latest Private Eye… perhaps “I am the only fool in the village’ may be a better analogy?



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I don’t know … (Reflective… and almost sensible.. with the warmth of Rioja in my heart, as I write) … I get up at 4.30 am every day and work until 6.00 pm…( I call it the ‘Time of the yardarm’) … write/work/administer and produce … in other words, get on with all the things which I have to get on with – do my best to fit in wine tastings at The Swan/ The Bollo and then…when I return to my staterooms, after a hard day of toil, replete (such a good word) with wine, I find a need to comment on the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. Why ? I could do something far more uplifting.

I might take the view… given that John ‘Witchfinder General’ Reid has to sit there smiling thinly at the Labour Party Conference – that he may well be thinking “I might have a chance to be the next PM.”

Can you imagine the pressure of getting into bed at night thinking you are going to be the next Prime Minister of Great Britain? I rarely think of this possibility – a great relief to my relationship manager at my Bank and others who know me well.

Rev G Brown (as I like to think of him) has had to do it for years… and, look what happened. ‘The Minotaur” ( It doesn’t make me a bad person to think of Knossos, Crete, whenever I see Gordon Brown on television does it?) sits there at the Labour Party conference… rather like a ‘wuthering height’ (origin: Sir Winston Churchill about Lord Reith – first DG of the Beeb) and ‘wuthers’.

He didn’t even find Tony’s joke about not having to worry about ‘Cherie running off with the bloke next door’ funny. I did. It was a good joke.. but, there again, I am easily amused after a dash of Rioja. Will he really be able to walk tall on the world stage with a group of bizarre world leaders? I give a few examples: Chirac, Berlusconi, Blair, George Dubya, Kim Il Sung, that guy from Iran who everyone knows but cannot pronounce his name, and the very weird guy from Venezuela. (Regular viewers of The History Channel will be able to quote examples of other world leaders who made an impact. None of them were as sensible as Gordon Brown.)

Sorry Gordon – you are just too normal, just too good at your job as Chancellor, just too sensible – to be PM.

Thankfully it doesn’t really matter what Charon thinks… all I can say…“is that you, the people of Britain, are the future($)”… England expects.

Buona notte. Absum (Thank you – to coin a phrase much used at the Labour Conference – Geeklawyer, for reminding me of the latin word ‘Absum’)

$ – (Copyright: William Jefferson Clinton III, former President of The United States of America – Cameo appearance at The Labour Party Conference September 28 2006)

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The twenty-something blogspot…yes….liked it…

I like this blog – the style and Miss H’s use of photography and Photoshop is excellent. Amused by her tales from her mini-pupillage. I can’t see her joining Muttley Dastardly LLP however!  Not quite her style.
Definitely worth a good look around…

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Wednesday 27th September: Cocktail Party

Continuing the reports by trainees on life at ‘MD’… James writes… (His offering was not actually published on the firm’s website, but he did keep his write up on his PC for his own record of life at MD.

The trainees were gathered together in the main conference room shortly after 5.30 by Matt Muttley’s PA, Eva Brown. We were to be briefed on etiquette and behaviour at firm cocktail parties. Eva Brown picked up a house telephone and spoke briefly. A moment later, two waiters came in with a large tray, on which were plates of canapes and two with glasses full of water.

With a cheerful smile, Eva asked us if any of us had experience of working in cafes or restaurants. No-one put up their hand. “Pity” she said sharply. It was a bit puzzling at first when one of the waiters stepped forward and told us “You holda the plate like this, you walk slowly so as not to spilla the drink and you hold the tray forward. It is not difficult. I think you must all practice this?”

And practice we did, for about twenty minutes. Eva explained that while the catering staff would handle the serving of guests, it was important to keep an eye on any clients who were looking around for a drink and, if no waiter was available to respond, to step in and keep the client happy. Her final words of briefing were “If the client wishes to get hammered, as many of them do, that is his or her prerogative and it is only good manners to ensure they are kept supplied. Drink by all means, but don’t overdo it. Engage with the clients when you speak to them. Ask them about themselves – most people like nothing better than talking about themselves, as you will discover when you finally meet the senior partners.” With a smile, she wished us ‘Good Luck’.

And so, I attended my first firm client party. As it happens, none of us had to hand around food or drinks. The staff were amazing. We didn’t get to meet the senior partners – they were in a roped off area of the main dining room, closeted in conversation with American bankers – “The Triple ‘A’s” – so called for their ‘ability, acumen and anonymity’. They were also extremely important clients of the firm.

It was very different from the parties I had attended on my LPC course. I suppose the partners and clients were real, as opposed to law lecturers pretending to be clients and law firm partners. But it was not just that. This was ‘for real’. These clients mattered to the firm. It was quite difficult at first, but as I felt the warm glow of champagne coursing through my veins I felt at home. This was a world I could cope with. I had read about ‘working the room’; I grabbed another glass from a passing waiter and then another and sauntered over to an elderly gentleman in a black jacket and pinstripe trousers, who was standing alone, surveying the room keenly. It was a bit embarrassing in retrospect.

“Good event you have organised here for our clients. Extremely efficient.”

“Good event I have organised?…what are you talking about?.” replied Jeeves, as I had named him in my mind.

“This cocktail party…excellent bubbly, fantastic grub… yes, very well organised. Well done.”

Jeeves’s face seem to redden suddenly.
“I’m a High Court Judge…. I don’t organise cocktail parties. I’m giving the keynote speech at the dinner.”

The LPC hadn’t prepared me for this. My pulse raced like it did at those dodgy parties in Notting Hill. I felt almost sick. There was nothing in the course manual about coping with embarrassing situations. I was, mercifully, ushered away by one of the junior partners who whispered in my ear. “Brilliant start to your career with us. I’d advise you to go and drink a lot water.”

As I scurried from the room, I heard the junior partner say, suavely “Sorry about that Judge. One of the newboys I’m afraid. Nerves. Happens to us all. Now… how many people have you been able to put away for The Home secretary this week?”

I heard the Judge roar with laughter.


James is still with the firm – but has to attend a ‘Social deportment’ course and is on the warned list for random drug and alcohol testing.

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Clarity vs Popularity

Consilio, the free online magazine for law students which publishes my blog, (A Practitioner version is available through The Legal Practitioner Newswire) has a thoughtful and interesting article by Peter Rouse on Clarity vs Popularity.

Here is a taste…

“How much easier it is to avoid having to be clear with others such as colleagues and clients, or with yourself.  Why put your cards on the table, set the record straight or do or say anything that might lead to conflict of any sort?  Isn’t it better to leave it to another day, avoid unpleasantness, and be somehow kind by not dealing with the issue now or at all?  Why be risk being unpopular?  Well, I hope to persuade you that clarity beats popularity any day and no mistake.”

Read the full article on Consilio or The Legal Practitioner Newswire

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You are the future now…make the most of it

I spent an hour this afternoon listening to The Lord Protector give his final address to the faithful. The BBC and leading newspapers will cover this far better than any non-political blogger will, so I make no comment about the detail of the content.

It was a tour de force, a classic speech, well written, precise, composed and delivered with passion and style. Blair, always good with humour, was able to inspire with his words, was able to stress the positive aspects of ten years of Labour rule, accept that others may disagree with some of his policies and yet avoid falling into controversy about Iraq. He even managed, deftly, to endorse Brown without endorsing him as the next leader.

Whatever your view of Blair, whatever your politics… if you are just about to start reading law, or are part of the way through your studies – may I urge you, without actually advising you, to read his speech, or even better…..watch it on the net. It contains much for the lawyer as a communicator, much for the lawyer as an advocate and persuader. I found the speech impressive.

But… are we seeing, played out before us, in terms of succession and a departing leader… MacBeth, King Lear, Coriolanus or Richard II. ?

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Muttley Dastardly LLP is a niche practice, founded by two absurdly good looking, successful, junior partners in a leading City firm who tired of waiting to be elevated to full equity. In the three years since they broke onto to the City landscape in their new offices in Canary Wharf, they have completed a number of very successful lateral hires. By assiduously reading The Lawyer and Legal Week they were able to work out who was doing the big deals with who and then, very subtly, approach the in-house team and poach some very high quality work away; minor work at first which led to much more sophisticated and profitable work later. It helped that Matt ‘Top Gun’ Dastardly had served in the New York office of the firm he had been in. A diet of bagels, 16 hour days and living under the mantra “Bill, bill, bill…roger, roger, roger” he has developed a focus envied by many corporate finance lawyers in the City.

Muttley Dastardly LLP took a high risk strategy by allowing their trainees to write a blog.

Here is one of the first entries…

It is written by ‘Helena’…

My heart pounded as I arrived in the reception of Muttley Dastardly LLP. There were eight of us, six women and two men. I thought it was exciting that there were so many women among the new intake. We were taken to a beautiful room on the fifth floor – the senior partners’ dining room – exquisitely furnished. It is so important to make a good impression with clients. We were given coffee and pastries and business cards, Mont Blanc pens, inscribed with the name of the firm, a beautiful black leather briefase which was also inscribed with the name of the firm, and a book of vouchers for a nearby hotel.

Shortly before 10.00, we were collected by Matt Muttley’s PA who looked more like a super model than a PA and was dressed beautifully in La Croix and very high heeled shoes. My suit looked dowdy by comparison. A short walk down the corridor, we were taken into a conference room with a raised dais at one end. All very hi-tech. We were asked to sit down.

The PA walked to the dais, flicked a switch and a panel in the wall opened to reveal a wide screen HD TV. She pressed another button and the television came to life. It was startling at first. The music was by Queen. ‘We will Rock you’, I think it was. There were images of fast cars, thoroughbred horses, yachts, private aircraft, oil rich arabs, expensive London apartments and villas in Monaco – all very corporate and inspiring. And then we saw Matt Muttley for the first time – his face dominated the entire screen. He didn’t say much – but I will always remember his words.

“You are fortunate indeed”, he said with a smile “to have been selected by my firm. Your first two years here will be hard and demanding. You will work long hours, you will work hard, you won’t have much time for a social life – we provide a canteen for trainees so that you don’t have the inconvenience of having to find somewhere to eat in your lunch break. We don’t have ‘lunch hours’ here – well some of us do – which is why we call them lunch breaks. I welcome all of you. Only three of you will survive to be taken on as associates. That is the way of our world. We have provided you with vouchers to a new japanese style hotel with sleeping capsules, which is nearby, in the same building, in fact, to save you the inconvenience of having to go home if you have to work late – which may well be fairly often . They have laundry facilities.”

Matt Muttley smiled and continued…. ” You will learn how to be an effective lawyer. You will learn to be a focused lawyer and above all, you will learn to be a lawyer who bills. Right from the beginning you will be making a positive contribution to the firm’s wealth which, one day, you will share in. We work in competitive times. Bill hard, bill quickly and pay late. That is our culture, that is our mantra. Be happy in your work. It is still not too late to back-out. My PA has a briefcase with your signed agreement in it. If you wish to leave now – please give her a cheque as you do so to repay us for your LPC tuition fees and expenses. I wish you well. Your first course will start in 10 minutes, in this room. It is a demanding programme which will take approximately 18 minutes to complete, after which you will start making your contribution. It is called “PAGINATION 101, a cliche, maybe, but pagination is very much a part of our work here and it is this work that you will start your own progression to wealth with. Thank you.”

No-one wanted to leave. It was so exciting. Law School was a walk in the park compared to this. I’ve been here two weeks now and I don’t miss by boyfriend at all.

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Time to toss your wigs away?….

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, has begun a consultation exercise with the judiciary that is expected to see the traditional horsehair headgear scrapped in civil, commercial cases and family cases — although kept in the criminal courts. Times.

One of the advantages of any form of uniform is ‘uniformity’. We saw what happened when schools adopted a more liberal approach. The chidren started competing with each other to see who could turn up with the best designer gear – or the anarchic simply looked as if they had dressed in the dark.

Are we to see members of the Bar eschewing Ede & Ravenscroft for more sophisticated business clothing? Are we going to see members of the judiciary in Armani?

I have a close friend whose wig is astonishingly battered and yellow – I am sure I saw it writhe on its own in the oval tin box whih he keeps it in one particularly hot day in July.

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RollonFriday picked this up and, intrigued, I went and had a look for myself. Rollonfriday news is always worth having a look at…you may look at the WFW Blog story here

The concept is a reasonable one. Arrange for new trainees to write something about their experience in the firm to provide prospective applicants for a training contract with an insight into what they can expect. WFW is a well known law firm. Indeed, many years ago I knew one of their more senior partners and had the pleasure of meeting two of the ‘name’ partners. I also had a very good lunch.

However… being the person I am on my blawg, I could not help thinking as I read all the ‘posts’ to the WFW trainee blog posted to date, that it is not so much a blog (It does not use recognised blog software) but is a series of articles in PDF format, written by trainees, obviously scrutinised and cleared by a partner before publication. I have no quarrel at all with that. As I said, above, it is a perfectly reasonable idea. I just wander how many students, reading the ‘reflections’ of the new intake of trainees, will think of dubious Soviet era communications designed to appear open, but pregnant with the control apparatus of the state in the background, and wonder how accurate the ‘insight’ really is. It could backfire.

I will give you a taste and let you judge for yourselves.

Here is Rebecca with her first impressions…

“After being coached in positive first impressions, career development and what not to wear if you want to get to the top, I wonder how many of us were planning a lunch time dash to the shops? We were also given an insight into the intricacies of time recording; I now understand why law schools try to prepare the ground by dividing timetables in to ten minute slots.

There seems to be a refreshingly down to earth and approachable atmosphere, which makes for a welcome contrast to
the tales of trainee baiting and mysterious errands to the post room in some of the larger city firms. Another perk
comes in the form of a first rate restaurant, where food is lovingly served up by a smiling Frenchman. I hear his home
made truffles make the perfect accompaniment to morning coffee. ”

Rebecca, I wish you luck with your truffle eating. Gulp the coffee and consume the truffle quickly. Time is money and…remember that 10 minute time recording slot – rounded up or rounded down? Shopping at lunch time? As McEnroe used to say….”You cannot be serious”.

To give a bit of balance – and have the view of a male trainee – here is Charles…

“There were quite a lot of computers, phones and photocopiers this week. Obviously the management are a little bit
scared that we are going to start undoing the office so the IT trainer and one of the secretaries guided us through all of
the office ‘technology’. This was well taught and well received. “

It is, of course, very important that a lawyer knows how to use a photocopier and a phone system.
And here is a bit from Phillipa…

“Towards the end of the week we were given a talk on ‘Ten pointers for a successful Training Contract’. It may seem like
common sense, but apparently there have, in the past been instances at some firms of trainees being sent home for
drunkenly flirting with clients, and a host of other delights which of course none of the exemplary WFW trainees of
2006 will ever encounter. “

I seem to recall a story in the lawyer many years ago when a Freshfields trainee got drunk at a client event and fell off the boat into The Thames. Perhaps this was an urban myth. Flirting drunkenly with clients? Whatever next. I tend to the view that flirting drunkenly is an occupation which occasionally may bear fruit.

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I don’t really know where to start on this one…

It is not often that The Times headlines scream like a tabloid.. but I suppose this story from the world of horsehair wigs and gowns made it almost irresistable to the Times. I have chosen The Times version of events for you to read for the full story – because I enjoyed their treatment of it and their headline which I quote below.

it is not often that I get the opportunity to combine bizarre stuff with our profession.

Briefly….if you cannot be bothered to read The Times report for the full story (It is, actually, worth doing so) …

There are two judges involved (Asylum and Immigration Tribinal, lest anyone think that we might be dealing with the High Court/Puisne/Red variety of judge) – Judge ‘I” (Male) and Judge”J” (Female). We do not know their names because of an anonymity direction made by the presiding judge at The Old Bailey (Source: Ruthie: Geeklawyer blog).

Judge “I” started an affair with his Brazilian cleaner (Ms Driza/”Ms Chili Hot”.) Brazilian cleaner was introduced to Judge “I” by his former lover, Judge “J” – one assumes for a cleaning position. Unfortunately Judge “I” decided that the Brazilian cleaner’s cleaning skills were so good that he decided to start an affair with her. (Come on Baby, ‘wipe’ my fire?)

It is difficult to follow the story as told in The Times report – but it appears that when the female judge (“J) decided to dispense with the Brazilian cleaner’s services, Judge “I” thought it ‘prudent’ to end end Ms Driza’s employment with him as well.

I have not, of course, seen the papers and rely on the precision of The Times newshound for my info on this.

Brazilian cleaner then pops over to see Male judge “I”. It is clear, from the Times report, that their relationship of Employer/Employee, at least, had ended when this meeting occurred. The meeting was, according to The Times, ‘amicable and friendly’. Touchingly, male Judge “I” and Brazilian cleaner made a coffee and then cleaner left saying ‘see you again’.

I have to resort to a quote from The Times to keep myself, let alone you, the reader, clear on the timeline.

“A week or two later she came round again. “It became clear she wanted to pursue (Judge) J for what she claimed to be compensation for unfair dismissal. I started seeing her socially,” said Judge I.

Asked by David Markham, QC, whether socially became “intimately as well?” the judge replied: “Yes it did. She stayed at my place. I did not tell J about the relationship at that stage.”
So, it appears that… Judge “I”, who had been Judge”J’s” lover, on hearing that Brazilian cleaner was about to sue his former lover for unfair dismissal, decides to see the cleaner socially and have ‘intimate relations’ with her.

The story continues…

Female judge “J” decides to call on her former lover (Judge “I”). Presumably, as she was being sued by her cleaner for unfair dismissal, and assumed that Judge “I” had dispensed with the Brazilian cleaner’s cleaning services as well, she did not expect to find her former cleaner at Judge “I’s” residency, let alone to find her sitting on Judge “I’s” lap.

Not surprisngly when Judge “I” saw Judge “J” the next day (The Times reports) Judge “I” said: “she was pretty appalled that I had lied to her. Although we were not living together we were still good friends. The defendant continued to live with me for some time, but eventually I persuaded her to leave the flat. J and I were really good friends and I did not want to jeopardise that.”

Judge “I” is then reported to have taken the view that it was time to give Brazilian cleaner the ‘heave-ho’ and ask her to leave. She did – reluctantly. Judge “I” then changed the locks!

But then… the cleaner returned. There was a knock at the door. Judge “I” lets her in. Judge “I” lets her sleep in the spare room, expecting her to go the next day.

We then learn that the cleaner stayed ‘for months against his wishes’.

Judge “I” makes it clear to the cleaner that he does not want her to be there. Brazilian cleaner responds...”She would not go and if he tried to do anything she would tell the Lord Chancellor that she had been illegally employed by J and himself”

One can imagine that this information would be a bit difficult for Judge “I” who, one must remember, is an Immigration judge. The cleaner also mentioned that “she had been to the House of Commons and posted letters to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and others and that she had a contract with a newspaper prepared to pay her £20,000 for her story.”

The Brazilian cleaner, Judge “I” is reported as saying ” was living rent free.’ The judge was doing most of the shopping. So.. we have a Brazilian cleaner shacked up in the spare room of a judge’s residency – against his will, and he is doing ‘most’ of the shopping. One assumes he is doing all the cleaning as well – unless he has employed another cleaner to do it. It is difficult to see why Brazilian cleaner, living rent free, doing a spot of alleged blackmail, should suddenly decide to get the cleaning kit out and do a bit of hoovering.

Then we learn… that Judge “I” goes off on holiday to Canada with Judge “J” – leaving Brazilian cleaner at the residency in the spare room and returns from canad to find her still lurking in the spare room.
Unfortunately Judge “I” learns that the Brazilian cleaner has found videos of him having sex with other women. Unfortunately one of the videos showed Judge “I” and Judge “J” having ‘intimate relations’ and Judge “J” snorting cocaine in Thailand. See Times Report.

You may read the full reports in The Times – so I will simply end this post with a final quotation…

“(The relationship between Judge “I” and the Brazilian cleaner) continued until Miss Driza was arrested, at his house. In e-mails to Miss Driza, the court heard yesterday, that Mr I described her as “real chilli-hot stuff” and “a lovely shag”.

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The academic approach…

A question of criminal law…

My brother, Charon QC, has little taste for writing on matters of law. This is not the case with me.  I have devoted a large part of my life to writing law books, articles and monographs designed to make the law as obscure as possible to student and practitioner alike.  I believe that I have been quite successful in so doing.

Recently, Ruthie posted a question on Criminal Law on the Geeklawyer website.  It was a post headed ‘Back to School’ 

The question posed 

“As its back to school time Ruthie thought she should pose a mock exam question for budding criminal lawyers.

Ruthie reads today about a woman who has allegedly given white “mints” containing animal sedative to five ponies belonging to her son’s competitors in a show jumping contest in Jersey. The woman was seen by a witness to kick one of the “mints” into the dirt after it fell from a pony’s mouth. One of the “doped” ponies smelt of hay, had slurred speech and was unsteady on its feet. The event was cancelled before any of the ponies ran.

The prize for winning was a mere twenty pounds, but the event was apparently prestigious to win.

So, what if any criminal offence has potentially been committed here? For the purposes of the question assume that English, rather than Jersey law applies, although no doubt some smart arse will give me an answer in Jersey law. Remember to show your reasoning.”

I rarely write for free these days – but, for this question, I make an exception.

Here is my opinion 

At the request of my brother, Charon QC, I am pleased to be able to comment on the question and, perhaps, lower the tone of reasoning and debate.

For thirty years I have taken the view that students should be put to the sword from the very first day in law school. I recall a film, ‘The Paper Chase’, I think it was, where the professor asked a student in his class a question. The student was not able to provide a satisfactory answer. The professor took a dime out of his pocket, held it up and said “here is a dime. Go telephone your mother and tell her you aren’t going to be a lawyer.”

I must enter a caveat to the effect that I know absolutely nothing about the criminal laws of this country. My brother Charon QC does – because he has been up before The Beak several times on speeding charges. He rides a motorcycle, which, frankly, is absurd for a man of his age. It is not so much the riding of the motorcycle which offends my eye. It is the mirrored sunglasses and bright yellow helmet which is an affront to good taste. And as for those bright yellow racing boots, black leathers and bright yellow jacket with a black panther on the back – ridiculous! Mutton dressed as lamb.

I recall Professor Griew many years ago – an excellent role model for any aspiring Professor of Law. (Criminal Lawyers may well be familiar with his book on The Theft Act.). This recollection is not, of course, relevant – but I always think about my tutorials with Edward Griew when I think about Criminal Law. He used to smoke No 6 cigarettes. Older readers will recall that No 6 were cheap and very much smaller than normal King Size cigarettes. He kept them furtively in a metal filing cabinet and would take one out of the packet and smoke it in the tutorial. Sometimes he had two cigarettes during the course of the one hour tutorial. In those days I did smoke cigarettes. It was always a pleasure to smoke in Griew’s tutorials. I am pretty sure all six of us the room smoked then – so it was quite smoky by the end of the hour. I digress. Allow me to return to the point in issue.

Clearly, a number of offences have been committed. The relevant law is contained in The Subversion of Horse Racing Act 2006 which came into force only this morning to cover events such as those postulated in the question. I pride myself on keeping up to date, even in subjects which I know absolutely nothing about and read the Act this morning with my coffee. I do not share my brother’s desire to drink espresso – an affectation which he believes gives him a certain ‘je ne sais crois.’ Nor do I smoke. I take snuff, straight up the barrels of both nostrils. One may do this even in a No Smoking area.

Unusually, The SHRA 2006 has retrospective effect – a new idea put forward by John Reid, the current Home Secretary, to ensure that any blunders by the government can be cleared up after the event.

s23, 24 and 28 are the relevant provisions. S.23 provides that it shall be unlawful to administer any veterinary medicine, drug or preparation likely to enhance the performance of horses, ponies, camels, greyhounds or any other mammal, insect, arachnid, reptile, bird or fish involved in racing or other sporting competitions.

S. 23, therefore, covers the first point raised: The administration of the ‘doped mints.’

S24 makes it an offence to attempt to hide evidence which may be useful in relation to the proving of an offence under S.23. Kicking the mint into the dirt would, therefore, come within this provision.

S.28 makes it a criminal offence to be in possession, ownership or charge of a horse, pony, camel, greyhound or any other mammal, insect, arachnid, reptile, bird or fish involved in racing or other sporting competitions.

The woman who administered the doped mints would be classed a person ‘in charge of a doped pony’ and would, therefore, be liable to prosecution under this section.

The penalties are set out in Schedule 5 of the Act. Persons convicted under SS23, 24 and 28 SHRA 2006 are liable upon conviction to imprisonment for up to 10 years or be detained, at the discretion of The Home Secretary, without trial, at a suitably secure location in Eastern Europe provided there is room and the Americans agree to fly the convicted person out in one of their ‘extraordinary rendition’ flights which leave routinely fom all UK airports, including Luton.

I suspect that I may have missed a few of the more subtle, subtextual twists which examiners always insert into exam questions to ensure that no student can achieve a mark higher than 72%. It would, to say the least,  be a shock for an examiner to realise that one of his or her own students was actually more clever. Our marking system in the UK, mercifully, is designed to avoid such a possibility.

Professor RD Charon Ph.D, D.Litt CBE

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Is English so difficult to learn?…

I am a bit pressed for time today but hope to write on Saturday.  As it happens I may even manage to write about law… but in the meantime, let me share something which I found on the net.  You may have seen it.

Why english is a pain to learn

The bandage was wound around the wound.

The farm was used to produce produce.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

They were too close to the door to close it.

After a number of injections my jaw got number.

Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

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Ars sine scienta nihil est

Ars sine scienta nihil est… or.. ‘art without science is nothing.’ A most apposite latin maxim. Tonight I went to the ‘Quiz Nite’ at The Bollo in Chiswick/Acton. It was most enjoyable. Mr and Mrs Codebreaker attended, as did two of my neighbours. We did our best in the face of the adversity of bottles of Rioja which appeared miraculously on our table (I have no intention of offending any Christians with this statement) to cope with the questions – and we managed to acquit ourselves with a degree of resolution and dignity which was surprising.

A full report will/may/but probably will not follow – but, lest I forget, I mention only one question which troubled me – despite my long experience in teaching. The question was: “What is the word for the ‘ the art and science of teaching’. Having taught law for many years it was humbling not to get the correct answer. ‘Didactics’ was the answer – which, I suspect, came as a surprise to pretty well everyone at the Quiz Nite. Ironically – I know the word well…and use it in a perjorative sense with my brother, Professor R.D. Charon. It was galling to find that I failed to answer the question correctly – a much more subtle way of saying that I was wrong.

There is, however, pleasure, in discovering that one is not ‘infallible’. I suspect, however, that The Pope, in the light of his recent remarks about Islam, may well be more concerned with his speech making skills than I am at having failed to answer a question in a quiz. Is he going to give a speech about Buddhists now, in the wake of the recent coup d’etat in Thailand?

However, I am pleased to report that I did manage to be able to contribute the information that Ringo Starr was one, of two, Beatles, who is left handed – and on that note… I feel that I can return for another Quiz Nite. It was a strangely relaxing and enjoyable experience. The questions were well put together – the organisation impeccable – and, it was enjoyable. The Quiz Master was excellent – even though he was without his usual microphone. One of our number, a female friend of mine, was particularly interested in him.

I am sure that our team will win the free champagne and the £100 prize one day; on the premise that Quinon proficit deficit – He who does not advance, goes backwards.

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Going to a Quiz ‘nite’?….

I cannot quite believe I agreed to go to a Quiz ‘Nite’.. but I did. Before I get onto that topic, I thought you might like to test your knowledge of geography with a new timewaster from Google. This website is from Mindpicnic. The test is far more difficult than I anticipated. You are shown a satellite picture and have to guess where it is. Difficult – when the picture is of a stretch of sea! I missed one by 5614 miles! Got close with a couple and then decided I really had to stop and do something more useful. Have a go?

There I was, having a quiet glass of wine last night at The Swan in Chiswick with Codebreaker (who occasionally writes on my blawg). We were into our second glass when someone mentioned a Quiz nite at The Bollo (a rival pub nearby) and asked if we would like to go. I started laughing and said that it was probably not my thing – but Codebreaker and Mrs Codebreaker thought it would be enjoyable. I agreed to go. I will report back on my findings tomorrow. I worry sometimes that I am losing the plot in my social life.

Quiz ‘nite’!…. not quite like Domus night at Lincoln’s – an event to which I have been invited by Ruthie / Geeklawyer… fellow bloggers and practising lawyers.

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The Supreme Court

Couldn’t we have come up with a better name? Supreme Court – been done… the Americans have one. I quite liked the old name. What about something faux latin? Curia Brittania? Anyway…does it really matter? Here is an artist’s impression of what the new Supreme Court will look like.

You will note that the Law Lords are on the same level as the barristers – apparently a stipulation which comes from the Law Lords themselves. I think this idea is entirely laudable – and it seems, from the drawing, that those watching are raised slightly so they can get a decent view – after all, Justice must not only be done… but be seen to be done.

It also seems that there are viewing galleries above. Unfortunately, I suppose that one would not be allowed to sit up there with a relaxing glass of Rioja while watching the proceedings. Open for business in October 2009 apparently. Let us hope that complicated engineering ( Like Wembley stadium) and complex IT systems (Like the 12 billion NHS fiasco) are not involved in the conversion of The Middlesex Guildhall.

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Cool water for the designer dog in your life…

What a way to start the day… Here is a most unusual gizmo for your dog. I have always been a bit puzzled as to why dogs prefer drinking water from a lavatory – apparently it is cooler than water left out in a dog bowl. This device will give your dog a sense of well being and fresh chilled water. My advice.. buy the water without gas.. or even better use tap water

Here is the website

And…because it is an unusual day this knife rack from the same website appealed to me… I shall be buying one.

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An unkind cut?….

I was sent this fascinating story about a penis transplant by, ‘Iolis’ a member of the Consilio discussion board.

Having encouraged members of the discussion board to send me oddities, snippets (if you will forgive me) and other interesting things – I was delighted to receive an email marked “FOR CHARON”. Now there is absolutely no reason, where the need arises, why a man should not wish to have a penis transplant.

The Guardian reports: “Andrew George, a transplant expert at Imperial College, London, said: “Doing a penis transplant should be no more complex than anything else. But it takes time for nerve sensations to kick in and it’s not clear whether the patient would ever be able to have sex with it.”

Unfortunately, for both the man and Dr Weilie Hu, a surgeon at Guangzhou General Hospital, who carried out the procedure – the man’s wife did not like the new penis and Dr Hu had to operate again to remove it. “Because of a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife, the transplanted penis regretfully had to be cut off,” Dr Hu said. An examination of the organ showed no signs of it being rejected by the body.

I sat at my desk after reading the Guardian report and felt for the man. I just had to move onto other matters. Thank you, Iolis… next time, something less eye watering, please!

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For Queen and country…

For some reason – perhaps it was a mild hangover – this picture amused me.  Clearly these guys have way too much time on their hands – but an interesting picture.

Smile if you what!?

A Washington merchant’s call to police Thursday did nothing to stop Jasun “Thor” Easley from standing on the sidewalk at rush hour with a sign encouraging passers-by to “smile if u masterbate. (sic)” Story

Local businessmen were none too amused by this sign.  Police were called. “The officers that were dealing with that did speak to the assistant city attorney and verified that it would not be considered a crime, and it’s a freedom of speech issue,” Police Sgt Dan Wojtech said.

I have no plans to test British freedom of speech laws myself by wondering around Chiswick with such a sign – but I wonder what the Police would do if I did?  Would I be arrested?  Would I get away with a freedom of speech defence?   I would be grateful to know – if any reader would care to comment!

NZ finds Black Cocks hard to swallow – Chinese not too keen either

Yes… believe it or not, this was an actual headline.  The story is even more bizarre. I quote: “It was a bloody silly idea in the first place, but New Zealand’s badminton world may finally have to concede that calling the national team the “Black Cocks” really is a bit too strong.”  the New Zealand Herald reports.

The report continues…“Badminton New Zealand adopted the name a year ago as “a gimmicky label to attract sponsors and fans”. It worked to a degree, because the organisation was quickly innundated with cash offers from companies such as – you guessed it – condom manufacturers.”

Well…there we are.

School’s Welsh sign angers public BBC Story

A new shared-faith school in Wrexham has had to remove a sign after it was wrongly translated into Welsh. The sign that in English read “Pupils’ and staff entrance” at St Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican School was rendered into near-gibberish in Welsh.

It included a word for staff meaning “wooden stave” rather than workers.

The report continues…“Emlyn Edwards, who works for local community-based Welsh language paper NeNe, told BBC Wales: “We’d accept this if it was an English factory doing their best to translate – we have got people who can help them. But this is the council who’ve got a translation department. It’s disgusting and scandalous.” 

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I cannot, now, recall whether The Pope is or is not infallible – but he certainly seems to have got himself into the middle of a Jihad of his own with his recent speech on Holy War: BBC Story

It is some time since I have taken communion. My Archbishop was a little surprised by the amount of communion wine being consumed in my duomo – and I felt he over reacted when he called me a heretic simply because I had expressed the view that our forefathers, The Romans, were onto a good thing with many gods – but I still feel a sense of doom when I read stories about religious groups making comments about other religious groups. Bound to lead to trouble. I mean….look what happened when The Pope refused to sanction Henry VIII’s various divorces. The guy ran amok, dissolved the monasteries, took the money and set himself up as the Defender of the Faith. And…Jeez… all those Archbishops in England…Cranmer, Latymer et al being roasted alive by the Queen who liked Bloody Marys.

No… my advice, and a tenet by which I have lived most of my mature life…stay off religion.

It was good of cugino dall’Inghilterra to invite me as a guest on his blog. I can speaka da English. It is Italian I have difficulty with… but, for you people.. I will try to make myself clear. Stasera prenoterò una tabella in un ristorante con Charon e berremo (Drink) il vino molto rosso (Enjoyably sufficient quantities of red wine) . Comunicheremo ed ammirerò le donne inglesi – if you getta my meaning.. !

e, più successivamente andremo al rhino della menta verde per un buon tempo


Right…Thank you Cardinal..that is quite enough from you. I have only been to Spearmint Rhino once in my life and that was with a group of seriously pissed magic circle corporate finance partners. I was bribing them, I suppose – although I did explain to our Head of Chambers (When he asked for a quiet word) that it was probably good for business. The idea of taking these corporate finance masters of the universe to see some Opera, mooted by a very erudite, etiolated, fellow member of chambers, did not go down too well with the partner i/c Corporate Finance at that firm; I can tell you. Rhino della mente verde...indeed!
Charon QC

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You B’Stard…screamed The Mirror today…

It is easy to be lofty about tabloids – but, frankly, at 7.00 am, when I am sipping espresso at a pavement cafe in Parisian West London (Chiswick) and lighting a Silk Cut to ease myself into reading some nonsense, I cannot focus on the quality newspapers. I read them online at 5.00 am when I start work and, later in the day, read the paper version when I sip my first Rioja at 6.00 pm – please note the ‘pm’ bit. Am I becoming a creature of habit? Am I on a SAGA mailing list?

In fact, as any writer will tell you, it is a lot more difficult to write clearly, simply and succinctly than to have the leisure of prolixity. I find the tabloid style quite appealing on occasion.  The actual story on the front cover was about a Tory MP who left his wife (who had just recovered from cancer) for a barrister’s wife. A fairly unremarkable story in the grand scheme of world events – but a bit of Tory bashing by The Mirror cheers us up at a time when New Labour seems to have decided to fire a political shotgun into both feet.

But… I was encouraged to read on and found a story about The Tories. Apparently the Tories are getting rid of their Maggie Logo – the flaming torch – for a green and blue tree made of childlike scribbles, for which they reputedly paid £40,000.

The Mirror reports one Tory supporter as saying…“My daughter said, ‘Did David Cameron give his baby a crayon?'” As one commentator observed…”At least the tree leans to the right.”

Not content with mocking the Tories with Mr B’Stard MP running off withsomeone else’s wife, The Mirror managed to put the boot in with a story about another Tory ‘blunderer’. I quote from The Mirror “A BLUNDERING Tory sparked further outrage yesterday by backing the brutal culling of baby seals.”

Euro MP Roger Helmer said beating “dumb” cubs over the head was “humane” and that they deserved to die because they were “guilty” of eating too many fish.

Euroblunderer goes on.. in (an) astonishing email to a 17-year-old animal rights campaigner – “I think it’s mawkish, sentimental and unhelpful to adopt a Bambi attitude to animals.”

All good stuff. I ordered another espresso and lit another Silk Cut. I turned the page of The Mirror to find the story of the day – which turned gloom into light… and I can shoe horn in a bit of Law (Or at least Law and Order)… COPS & DOGGERS
PC sacked after joining couple for sex romp in car park while on patrol.
Here is the full Mirror report

Briefly: Uniformed copper patrols notorious ‘dogging’ site. Sees couple romping in their vehicle in front of ‘seedy voyeurs’. Plod, who is married, decides to join in. Tells colleagues who phone him while he is on ‘The Job’ “I’m busy now. I’ll get back to you in 20 minutes.” Plod then gets fired. Class!

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