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Archive for April, 2007

The Attorney-General goes to Israel – at the expense of the Israel, British and Commonwealth Association. Unfortunately – Lord Levy is a committee member of that association and, before you know it, the A-G is under fire from a Lib-Dem MP who takes the view that Law Officers should not accept hospitality of any sort – to remain independent and ‘be seen to be independent.’ (The Independent 28th April) Inevitably, this also gives further ammunition to those who take the view that the A-G should not be involved in any decision to prosecute in the cash for honours fiasco.

Legal Beagle goes to Birmingham voluntarily … to listen to a speech by the A-G. Unfortunately, the A-G droned and was less than inspiring in her view: speech delivered in a ‘dry, tediously soporific monotone.’ Robust views on solicitor-advocates and failed barristers who work for the CPS.

Villainy and opprobrium ended my week… with the extraordinary news of an abuse of process (covered below) in a mooting competition at a leading law school ‘somewhere in England.’

Sunday is the beginning of my week, a cunning management technique to avoid ‘Monday blues’, and is, of course, the day when The News of The World (NOTW) reveals information to improve my life.

First up from NOTW: “TORIES IN MUD HUTS”
David WebCameron is ‘forcing his Shadow Cabinet to fork out more than £1000 each on an aid trip to Africa.’ Excellent news.

George Osborne, William Hague and others who sign up will go and help WebCameron with his new found DIY skills and help rebuild villages destroyed by the war in Rwanda. Noble stuff, of course – but curious timing. Won’t the Labour party be embroiled in the coronation of The Highwayman as our next Prime Minister and First Lord of The Treasury in July? Would that not be a good time to press home political points? The Old Etonians in the ‘Team WebCameron’ tour party will have no difficulty whatsoever in surviving a period living in mud huts with few amenities. Having attended a public school in Scotland (Coincidentally, with our present Lord Chancellor) it always amuses me when I hear public school types claiming that ‘after a public school education’ they can survive harsh conditions. In my experience, this assertion has one fatal flaw; taking it into the category of ‘bollocks.’ The leading public schools have better amenities than many good hotels, with comforts to match! First reader to spot a member of the Team WebCameron tour party using that line in connection with their upcoming tour to Rwanda – wins a bottle of Rioja from my latest crate of the stuff.

Fraser Nelson (‘Your insider in the corridors of power’) writes in NOTW: “Two Libyans banged up on terror charges will walk our streets next week because Mr Justice Ousely says it isn’t safe for them to be deported. Judges like him put us all at risk.” Presumably The Home Office will have a bit more time to keep an eye on these and other resident or visiting terrorists after 1st May when many current burdens of The Home Office are shunted off to the new Minister of Justice, Lord Falconer?

And… the NOTW editorial usually throws up some good stuff. Today is no exception. Today, NOTW salutes Prince Harry for his bravery in going to Iraq, but can’t resist having a quick side swipe at the Royals; reminding us that but two weeks ago Prince William went to London club Mahiki, yelling: “Let’s drink the menu!”

Two weeks ago NOTW was having a Wales of a time lampooning Harry for falling out clubs at three in the morning and giving paparazzi a hard time. Today… “He is a fine young man. We wish him a safe tour of duty.”

One of the reasons I do like NOTW is that when they crusade they do it well.

“Chalk about over the Top” screamed the feature headline. This is a story about two 16 year old girls who were given an £80 fixed penalty fine for drawing lovehearts on a pavement with chalk. The charge was “Criminal Damage”. The chalk washed away with the first rain. These, clearly underworked, Plods work for The North Wales Constabulary headed by Robocop, Richard Brunstrom. Richard Brunstrom caused yet further controversy this week by using grim pictures of a motorcycle accident to publicise the Force’s already strong attitude to speeding. Without the permission of the relatives (who did not know the grim details of how their boy died – they do now) the North Wales Police force is reported to have used pictures of a decapitated biker in one of their ant-speeding publicity campaigns. The torso of the biker was embedded in the car after the 90 mph smash. His head, eyes still open and visible through the helmet visor, lay on the ground. This is appalling and, frankly, I agree with those who call for Brunstrom to ‘consider his position over the weekend.’ Insensitivity on this scale is not acceptable. He is not fit to lead a Police force after this latest outrage. Will Brunstrom resign? I hope so, but, I suspect, he will not do so. Thoroughly unpleasant business.

And so to “beating, bondage and biting.” Sunday would just not be the same without a bit of salacious titillation from The News of The World. Apparently, as reported in NOTW, “boozy Brits winner”, Amy Whitehouse, likes to beat/slap and bite her lovers. If her music sales decline in future years, she may like to consider a career at The Bar.

Mind you… getting a wig onto the top of her beehive may be a challenge too far – if she takes up criminal work; where wigs, we are told, will continue to be worn. It is, of course, doubtful that her interest in this field of sexual activity would be of any interest to the current crop of judges, Heads of Chambers or frolicking Silks. After recent revelations about a senior judge getting arrested for indecent exposure, members of the legal profession are being highly disciplined about their private lives and seem, in any event, to prefer being tied up with work.

***
See… I’ve been infected. I’m turning into a tabloid hack…. and enjoying every moment of it as I type furiously, Silk Cut hanging out of my mouth, glass of Rioja to hand!

Anyway… that is quite enough. Now, for my own sanity, and yours, if you are reading this, I must start reading The Observer.

In the light of the foregoing, at least I have tried to do something sensible on my blog this week with four excellent contributions from my guests on four podcasts: Nigel Savage, CEO, College of Law on Legal Education and Diversity | John Bolch of Family Lore on Family Law | Nick Jarrett-Kerr on Coping with setbacks | Nearly Legal on obtaining as training contract and Housing Law.

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Today I talk to Nearly Legal about his career change to law (after an academic career), his experience of the LPC, gaining a training contract as a mature student and his Housing Law passion . I also discover that he enjoys SCUBA diving

Podcast 19: Nearly Legal on Housing Law and other matters.

Nearly Legal Blog

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If you go down to the moots today

The blogs are alive… with the sound of mutiny…

The music to Teddy Bears Picnic and, curiously, The Sound of Music came into my mind as I settled down to write… and, I was pleased to note, that…. Josephine Bloggs added….

“…’cause that’s the way the Pre-sid-ent has his piiiiiiiiicnic!”
Comment by Josephine Bloggs on Accidental law Student

***

LAW BLOGGERS V EL PRESIDENTE

I write from my Staterooms in West London… of villainy, outrage, and ambition….

“O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!”

Hamlet (I, v, 106)

At a Law School… ’somewhere in England’ – a Mooting Competition has caught the imagination of law bloggers, students and… Charon.

The facts, from the many reports I have read, are as follows:

1. A mooting competition was held at a Law School in England. The President of the Mooting Society (’El Presidente’) was eliminated from the moot competiton at the quarter-final stage (’his first internal moot’ See: Blog Reports [2007] )

2. While there is some evidence that ‘The society’s usual course of action was not to replace mooters who dropped out but to continue with however many participants remained’, El Presidente re-entered himself into the semi-final of the competition to replace people who had dropped out, went on to win the semi-final and, subsequently, The Final. El President, thereby, won the ‘entire competition’ and, I quote from the report: ‘having participated in a mere three out of five moots of which only two were successful, and the first of which had disqualified him from the competition altogether.’ (I am grateful to Accidental Law Student for his precise raportage)

3. El Presidente : ‘immodestly drank a champagne toast to his own ‘victory’ from the silver winner’s trophy of this year’s internal mooting competition.” per Josephine Bloggs

***

I spent a most enjoyable hour last night reading the various accounts of this extraordinary event.

For my part, the bloggers who are objecting to the behaviour of El Presidente have a point. It is ridiculous that a competitor, eliminated from a quarter-final, should re-appear in the semi-final and then go on to win the Final. (Mind you… it has to be said, if the England Cricket Team had been able to pull a similar stunt off in the cricket World Cup… it is likely that I would overlook such a solecism !)

Fellow blogger, Corporate Blawg UK, weighs in with a comment: “Yeah – he sounds like a weasily cheating b*star*d who deserves to be properly screwed (but without the full facts it is hard to tell for certain). The professional caveat in brackets is noted by Charon!) See: Comment

Josephine Bloggs took a robust view: “Seems to be rather lot of jiggery pokery altogether”

London Law student goes straight to the point: “Not for the first time, the internal mooting competition has thrown up a distinctly bad smell.”

Follow the links I have given above and you will find out even more. (BTW: If the facts are as represented in the various source blogs there is no defamation.)

***
Was it the fact that El Presidente won the Final after pulling a quite astonishing stunt, drank champagne out of the ‘Winner’s Trophy’ or just broke the rules? … who knows… ?

Excellent stuff… I have only this to add… a message to El Presidente:

“Ad eundum quo nemo ante iitTo boldly go where no mooter has gone before”
Have a good weekend… one and all… and I just happen to have a bottle of vino rosso to drink!

(Vinum bellum iucunumque est, sed animo corporeque caretIt’s a nice little wine, but it lacks character and depth)


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Law / Management: Coping with setbacks

Today I interview Nick Jarrett-Kerr of Kerma Partners about the techniques which may be used to cope with setbacks.

Nick was managing partner at Bevan Ashford and is now a consultant and management guru. We cover a lot of ground in the talk – and there are some notes below from Nick which we hope will be useful

Podcast 18: Coping with setbacks

Download 10 tips for coping with setbacks document (Word)

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Today I talk to John Bolch of Family Lore about Family Law.

John talks about Reform of Divorce – Cohabitee rights – Child support – Children disputes and Legal Aid.

John also reveals that he is a microlight pilot and tips the Aussies to win the Cricket World Cup

Podcast 17: John Bolch, Family Lore on Family Law

Podcasts coming up in the next 7-10 days:

Chris McLaughlin, Editor, Tribune Magazine: On the political firmament

Nearly Legal: Legal Aid – Legal Education – Housing Law – Art and copyright…and just maybe, a bit of Housing Law

Phil Knott, Director, Nottingham Law School: Legal Education at Nottingham Law School

Nick Jarrett-Kerr: Management issues: Ten Practical Tips for Coping with Setbacks

Putting together a weekly webradio programme – have a few takers – anyone like to do a podcast or be part of a weekly webradio prog? Please indicate in comments section and I’ll get back to you.

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I started to read The Times today….

On Tuesdays I usually read the online Times Law section. I was about to read what a High Court judge felt about diversity… to improve my mind… but I was distracted by an article entitled “Save world one square at a time and annoy Bush’s brain”. Mind you.. it was a close run thing with another article linked on the same page “Catapult boy is eaten after taunting crocodile in pen.”

According to The Times…“The singer Sheryl Crow opened a new front in the fight on global warming yesterday with a call for people to use only one sheet of toilet paper after each visit.”

Apparently, Ms Crow has just toured the US in a biodiesel powered bus (whatever that is) and made the suggestion on her blog.

Ms Crow is reported as saying : “I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don’t want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.”

I don’t know why, but it made me want to go to a football match and chuck at least 6 bog rolls onto the pitch – and I do not follow football.

Anyway…. moving on: I read Mrs Justice Dobbs article on diversity in the judiciary – all solid, reasoned stuff, and I remembered that Professor Griffiths was writing about this nearly thirty years ago when I was reading Law. [ Politics of the Judiciary(?) ]

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Today I talk to Nigel Savage, CEO, The College of Law about legal education at the academic and professional stage and diversity.

Nigel Savage has had a long career in legal education and has overseen some remarkable developments and changes at the College of Law in the past ten years. In this podcast he gives us an insight into those changes and, characteristically, has robust views on diversity, the GDL, the LPC and the BVC .

Podcast 16: Nigel Savage on legal education

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