Archive for December, 2006

The High Road and the Ivy…

There was a time when celeb Chefs were on pretty well every UK television programme to a point where one feared they would end up reading the News and..even, in an extreme case, training as pilots or cabin crew with EasyJet to get even more publicity by appearing in that truly bizarre programme – on Sky – ‘Airline’.

Thankfully… the British obsession with watching cookery programmes and then going out to eat or nipping down to Iceland, M&S, Sainsbury, Tesco to buy pre-prepared Boeuf Buggeroff et al, might just be coming to an end. I really do not want to see another Chef swanning about front of house in a restaurant, on TV, in a chemistry laboratory, or even driving a minicab. It is time for ‘Cook’ to get back in the kitchen and stop prattling on about ‘cooking things off’… and looking smug on Ready, Steady Cook and actually do some cooking for their customers who… perhaps naively, expect to eat food cooked by the celeb chef who founded the restaurant.

I put to you this postulate: If a ‘person in need of legal advice’ briefed a famous Silk and then found that ‘famous Silk’ had told his ‘sous-barrister’ to handle it… would that be fair? One cannot imagine such a situation ever arising in our ‘beautiful Game’ – yet Chefs get away with it all the time.

I went to High Road Brasserie in Chiswick this morning. I was wearing motorbike leathers – simply because I was riding a motorbike and my usual breakfast establishments were closed. The fact that my usual establishments were closed was not the reason I decided to put my leathers on. I simply felt that I should look the part…in case I bumped into King Herod, ruining Christmas for the children of West London, or handing out tax returns, or Good King Wenceslas – and…anything is possible in Chiswick since  ‘High Road House’ opened on the high street.

I looked at the breakfast menu at High Road Brasserie (Chef Impey pictured above with tomatoes on the ‘vine’ – even Sainsburys sell them like that now.) Good value, I am sure… but…when I saw the people sitting in there, at 9.15 this morning, and the ‘faux Parisien’ staff in their black and white outfits, with aprons, I thought… ‘Sod it’… I might not see another White Christmas (Apparently most Brits only see eight of these in a lifetime) and I really do not need to have breakfast in a trendy Chiswick brasserie simply because I was hungry. The truth is… I was worried about committing a solecism by actually wanting to eat something… and… I had the feeling that entering this hallowed establishment with those thoughts in mind, this morning, was not appropriate. [The Heinz tomato sauce and HP sauce bottles on each table – looked like a ‘homage’ to Damien Hurst but may have had a utility beyond the ken of some diners, unused to smearing sauce over their Oeufs Benedict]

Of course, I accept that many people who go to this establishment do actually eat… but… having been interested in Law for nearly 30 years… I always like to think about the mens rea and actus reus. I felt that I did not have either this morning.

I went, in the end, to Cafe Rouge and poured so much pepper on my scrambled eggs that I made the dish inedible. ‘C’est la vie’… but, having been to a detention centre in Perthshire (13 – 18 years old) which provided excellent teaching, the odd Scotland Rugby Captain, and other luminaries – and truly appalling food (things may well have changed) – I coped.

I wish you a Merry Christmas… I have noticed. by the time stamp facility on this software, … that it is now Christmas Day. I will return during the day… to other matters.


Astonishing thought this may seem, to some viewers, I am sitting in my Staterooms with an avuncular old gentleman from Lapland wearing red robes, which reminded me of the higher judiciary, who landed on my roof half an hour ago to drop off a couple of bottles of Rioja. Unfortunately my chimney has been bricked over… which was causing him some difficulty, so I let him in through the door to my roof garden. Nice Chap. Told me that he was looking forward to watching the 4th Test tomorrow night when his work was done. He’s just about to leave.


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Once in Royal David’s City…

Or perhaps this post should be titled: ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen
let nothing you dismay’

I have seen that a number of my fellow bloggers are slacking. Justin Patten of Human Law seems to have retired until 3rd January. Geeklawyer is doing wonderfully weird things with mobiles, podcasts, dildos et al on his blog – but, I am pleased to see that Dan Hull of What about Clients is still at it… The U.S work ethic in operation. (All in my blogroll to the right)

Charon never closes. I will be blogging throughout the Christmas period – even on Christmas Day. I was with Codebreaker at The Swan last night (They are now closed until 3rd January) and he told me that Christmas Day was the one day in the year where one could almost map out what most of the population of Britain will be doing. I was into my second glass. Codebreaker was one set up on me. I asked him what he was talking about. “Well”, he said “At 3.00 most people will be watching H M The Queen.” Codebreaker gave further illustrations which I won’t trouble you with. You may well be doing them yourself on the day.

I told him that I would not be doing so. He scoffed at my republicanism. “No..no” I replied… “I will download the royal podcast later” 15 all. Apparently a lot of people do their tax returns on Christmas Day. (Codebreaker revealed this information after telling me what most people would be eating – as if I was an alien with no understanding of British culture.) I had to reach for the bottle at this news.

Well…there we are.. Now to Webcameron. After receiving the message from The Three Wise men at Webcameron that we have all won the Time Person of the Year award – I decided to go and have a look at what David.. the man who would be King… was up to. I watched the latest film. Fascinating stuff. He was in a car going to his constituency – which he does every Friday. He told me that he was having Christmas lunch with his staff – which was ‘very important’. He then rifled through a cheap looking briefcase to reveal a bundle of letters, a slim Ryman’s folder with papers to be signed and a bundle of post and what appeared to be a brown envelope ( A tax return form?) We then received information about his diary of the day which included drawing a raffle ticket and opening a charity shop. This is all good practice for the future if he gets a Red Box… I’m afraid I could watch no longer. My life was draining away slowly…

However… you may enjoy watching former Big Borether contestant, Derek Laud, droning on about himself and declaring that he is ready to serve his country. I don’t know why – but his ramblings reminded me of Widow Twankey in panto.. the end of pier stuff. He is very excited about being a conservative and, on the verge of hyperventilating, told us that it is a good time to be a Conservative…’particularly if you are black and gay.’

Let nothing you dismay…indeed!


Bystander’s blog (The Magistrate’s Blog) always has something useful in it – and, pleasingly quite a few of his readers seem to find their way on to mine – hopefully not for any insight into the law?

Bystander is not slacking: I have taken the liberty of quoting his latest entry in full which raised my spirits:

A Speeding Case in the High Court

Crime Line points us to this case in which a speeding driver, heavily reliant on material downloaded from the Internet, appealed against a conviction for doing 117 mph. The High Court supported the magistrates’ decisions, and rejected the appeal. The concluding remarks as to costs do, as Andrew Keogh points out, show that a sense of humour can sometimes be found on the High Court bench.

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While Lord Stevens has been busy of late on rather more important matters: clearing the Royal Family and The Establishment of any involvement in the death of Princess Diana and, more recently, (subject to further investigation) trying to determine whether any bungs have been given in the beautiful game – one of my brothers, recently retired rozzer, Inspector ‘Morose’ Charon, has been lining his pockets and drinking copiously from the trough, by taking on a number of investigations of his own.

I am only relieved that Matt Muttley, managing partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP, has been exonerated completely by Inspector Charon’s latest report into whether Matt Muttley had attempted to subvert the very foundations of the Constitution by handing a brown envelope containing £50,000 to Number 10 to buy a knighthood. Inspector Charon’s report has been confirmed by Downing Street.

A Downing Street spokesperson said today (Transcribed from the live tv transmission) ” It is an incontrovertible fact that a brown envelope was received from Mr Muttley by a police officer at Number 10. The envelope was examined by a specialist forensic team at Number 10 and was found to contain not £50,000 but £5. A note was received with the £5 which read: ‘Please pass this small gift to the PM with my heartfelt wish that he enjoys his retirement.’ The Prime Minister has returned the gift to Mr Muttley as it could not be regarded as a non-disclosable donation to a political party and, while the PM was touched by the gift, it is not permissable for a serving Prime Minister to be interviewed by police officers… sorry…that should read.. to receive personal gifts of money.”

I am relieved. I am told that this enquiry only cost the tax payer £49,000. My brother tells me that he trousered £46,500 and spent the rest on disbursements. If only legal aid was so generous.

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Well.. here we are. Friday night on the 22nd December – the winter solstice (Yes… I know most people think it is the 21st Dec… but Chief Druid had a word with some astronomer/ The Met Office who told him differently (it was today) – and from there, I discovered this. I am not a Druid… but… I think I might like to be. I was a mason… but…there we are.. not quite the same thing… I did ask my dentist why he was injecting me with ‘tubalcain’ once. He didn’t find it funny.)

This deliciously patronising email came in from Web Cameron (I have joined as Charon QC) … “Well – 2006 is nearly over, and it’s been quite a 12 months. Time Magazine has named you as Person of the Year – because of your interaction with sites like Webcameron. First of all, then, congratulations are in order.”

Time Magazine did, indeed, name bloggers and other pro-active users of the net as ‘Person of the year’ – but it really managed to irritate me that Webcameron thinks it is anything to do with his blog… amusing (sometimes, unintentionally) though that may be. There are times when politicians should just butt out.. and leave things be…and this is one of those times… WebCameron is fine… and, no doubt, will suit the new Libory party, as I feel like styling them tonight. But… Congratulations are not in order from Mr Cameron.

The email goes on… rather bizarrely…This site will ultimately be judged on how interactive it is; we are excited about the Ask David feature, which gives Webcameroons the chance to choose which questions David answers each week.

We’re not resting on our laurels but we’re excited to have set the agenda with this site: the sheer volume of spoofs (we think Blind Dave and Sexcameron are worth a look) has shown the impact it’s had – some are better than others but none had the same impact as Labour MP Sion Simon… “

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Legal week has a blog. Here is a question from that blog: Career Clinic: Is there any point in a non-Oxbridge graduate pursuing a career at the commercial Bar?

Here is a non-sensible response (but maybe meant kindly?) to this perfectly sensible question:

“Try shopping.”
Shopaholic partner, Clifford Chance

Charon’s view? Don’t give up the day job…shopaholic partner.

Thankfully…there were some sensible and useful responses.

The ‘Commercial Barrister’ response was particularly detailed – balanced, thoughtful, honest and, frankly, I thought it was a good effort – taking so much time to provide a useful response.

I wish the original poster ‘bon chance’.


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So what are they up to?….

Private Eye (No 1174) has an interesting take on the recent decision of the Attorney-General to stop the Serious Fraud Office probe into the BAE / Saudi £10 BN Eurofighter deal.

Eye reminds us that in The Telegraph (1 Dec) friends of the A-G maintain that Lord Goldsmith ‘still feels compromised by the way in which he was pressured in 2003 to change his advice to the government about the legality of the Iraq war ‘ and that he was determined to ensure that no political pressure would be brought to bear on any decision as to the bringing of prosecutions against BAE Systems executives.

I quote from Private Eye: “So what happened? Simple: Blair, having been leant on by the Saudis, leant on his attorney-general. Despite his experience before the Iraq war, Goldsmith did his patron’s bidding – thereby casually abolishing the traditional separation of the executive and the legal process.”

Falconer accused of ‘vandalism’

I have mixed views on this one – but The Telegraph is clearly taking the ‘outraged of Tonbridge Wells’ line on the re-development of the grade 11*-listed Middlesex Guildhall to provide a suitable Supreme Court.

“The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, was accused of “state-sponsored vandalism” yesterday over Government plans to strip out the interior of an important listed building in order to make way for the new Supreme Court.”

Barristers slam Human Rights Act
Story from The Lawyer…

“Almost two-thirds of barristers believe that the Human Rights Act leaves the justice system open to misuse and abuse by judges and lawyers, a new survey has found. The Bar Council survey of 230 barristers found that almost a third of the respondents had raised human rights law in their cases in the last week”

Here is the story from The Bar Council website: Impact of Human Rights Act less than thought


AND…here is a round up of some fellow bloggers… I thought I would have a good look around.

Pupilblog – excellent stuff

The more I read Pupilblog’s musings on the trial and tribulations of life in Chambers the more I like his blog – it really is a good read (especially if you are thinking about a career at the Bar – for the rest of us… interesting. I shall be a regular visitor.)

Geeklawyer and Ruthie: A Christmas podcast.
Well… what can I say – listen and learn!

Always a pleasure to hear the ramblings of Geeklawyer…. especially when he is three quarters through a bottle of red. He plans to not keep his New Year resolutions. Ruthie is as sharp as ever. Charon even gets a mention in despatches. AND… they sing a carol… mon dieu..whatever next.

Bystander: The Magistrate’s blog has a Christmas quiz set for the judiciary!
Yes… worth a look. No prize though!

Nearly Legal has a makeover
Good makeover – interesting content.

Binary Law
Interesting article link on why law firm newsletters are a waste of time. I tend to agree. Blogs and online magazines tend to get a better reception.

Unfortunately my surfing has been cut short by the exigencies of my other life… I shall return to review other blogs another time in another post.

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Christmas Caption Competition…

Christmas caption competition: I have started the ball rolling as usual – have a go.

The Prize! The winner will get 2 Study Pack CDs from our list on the LAWinaBOX website – worth 84 quid… and we will send them to you by post. The Study Packs contain detailed recorded lectures, a full course manual/textbook and, for core subjects – a Q&A pack and casenotes.

See LAWinaBOX for list of study packs

Winner Caption Competition 4

Pinochet: “Of course I look fucking depressed. That git over there said I was more morally dubious than Tony Blair. Still, at least I’ve got my health.”

Comment by Geeklawyer — Friday, December 15

Observant readers will note that that Geeklawyer is a fellow blogger. There is absolutely no truth in the story being put out in some circles that I am awarding him the prize this week because I wish to ‘persuade’ him to edit out some of my more ‘rioja moments’ on his blog…

Have a go with the pic above…and if you win and don’t want the study packs – I will be happy to take your instructions on donation to others.

Make a Dream come true report / update

A week or so ago I invited readers of my blawg and readers of Consilio to consider visiting Daniel Barnett’s website for the Dreams Come True campain he is running.

Dreams Come True is a great organisation which offers hope to children who are seriously or terminally ill. I can’t calculate whether all of the nearly £3000 rise in donations which followed in two days of my post and email came from you – but many must have done – Thanks. If you haven’t yet made a donation and wish to – read this post and then then, from there, visit the Dreams Come True campaign page by Daniel Barnett.

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