Archive for August 4th, 2007

Zulus… there were thousands of them…

This morning I decided that I needed to have a relaxing lunch, perhaps a glass or two, read the papers, write a bit and just enjoy the day. I went to The Swan, another favoured local of mine. They have a garden at The Swan, shady in part, with luxurious foliage. It is a place where a blawger may relax and drink; sometimes with others who pop in with the same idea.

I fell in the door as The Swan opened at 12.00, took a position at table 47 in the garden, ordered a pint of ‘Numbers’ to quench my thirst after the great trek from my staterooms, and opened the Guardian to read of the events of our times as seen through the eyes of a Guardian journo or features writer. I then ordered a glass of Tempranillo and the pasta of the day (large).

It was then that I heard, not the beating of spears against animal hide shields, but the sound of babies and investment bankers getting out of SUVs. The women poured in first, wrestling oversized prams through the rear doors of the pub, onto the decking. The babies in the prams were already crying. And then came the men, almost to a man, dressed in adolescsent cargo pants cut off at the knee, polo shirts, or ordinary work shirts with no tie, sleeves rolled up and shirt tails left hanging out. To my jaded eye, they were a mix of City types, and, probably the odd City associate or ‘of counsel’. Some had shades, others appeared to be doing deals on their mobiles.

A friend of mind, leant forward and said “MILFs” and said that he had to go. There were Americans, South Africans, a few New Zealanders / Aussies and a few Brits. Given the number of introductions, it was clear that they did not know each other. If they did, then I think they need to consult their doctors and get treatment for attention deficit disorder. Quite a few of the men were holding beer bottles with slices of lime in them. Christ on a bicycle… so late Eighties as to be laughable.

It was like an updated version of ‘Happy Days’. The modern day ‘Fonz’ sported jeans, a Turnbull & Asser shirt, and aviator shades and kept saying ‘Hey…. readies behind the bar, brother.” Maybe he was the head honcho… I was beyond interest or caring.

And still they came… like Zulus… thousands of ’em. A ‘smugness of bankers”?

I could take no more. I went up to the Bar to pay my bill and escape. A lovely Aussie adventurer, doing the European grand tour and working at The Swan, laughed and said “Like the babies squealing?”

“It is like Montessori meets a City lawyers or bankers conference out there… and I can’t listen to any more forced bonhomie and corporate merde du boeuf. I’ll be back at 6.00 when, hopefully, the men in cut off trousers, and the babies and eager parents have gone.”

Aussie adventurer laughed.

I am now back at my Staterooms – improving my mind listening to Italian opera and thinking. I have a glass of Vitriolla to my right, Silk Cut to my left and I am looking at a sign on my private office door, in my own home, which reads “It is against the Law to smoke in these premises.” I did not steal the notice. I was given it by a publican friend of mine.

I have, this day, become a grumpy old git… again.

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Bad-ass biker barrister Clive Wolman, 11 Stone Buildings, seems to have had his bad ass biker butt booted into touch by The Court of Appeal.

Clive Woolman had been given 100 parking tickets (£8000 worth) by parking wardens. Mr Wolman argued that his bike was not parked on the pavement because, balancing on a centre stand, neither wheel touched the pavement.

Lord Justice Moore-Bick noted in the judgment (Para 5): “Mr. Wolman’s chambers are in Lincoln’s Inn. When at work he occasionally parks his motorcycle on the pavement in Chancery Lane resting on its stand with both wheels suspended slightly above the surface of the ground. To balance a motorcycle on its central stand so that neither wheel is in contact with the ground would seem to require a considerable degree of skill, but Mr. Wolman assured us that it can be done and I accept for present purposes that he is right. The pavement in Chancery Lane forms part of an urban road other than a carriageway within the meaning of the Act in the City of London.”

HH Robin Laurie had declared, taking a purposive approach to the construction of the regulations: “It is declared that section 15(1) of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 as amended by section 15(2) of the London Local Authorities Act 2000 (which prohibits causing or parking [permitting] any vehicle to be parked in Greater London with one or more wheels on any part of an urban road other than a carriageway) on its true meaning includes parking with one or more wheels raised over the surface of any such part.”

At Paragraph 14 in the judgment Moore-Bick LJ states: “I agree with Mr. Wolman that a motorcycle laid on the pavement (whether or not any part of either wheel was in contact with its surface) would not ordinarily be described as “parked” and I also agree that a vehicle parked with its wheels resting on sheets of paper or blocks of wood would ordinarily be said to be parked on the pavement. However, that only goes to emphasise the unreality of Mr. Wolman’s argument. When parked in Chancery Lane in the manner I have described his motorcycle can quite properly be said to be parked on the pavement, even if neither wheel is directly in contact with it.”

The full judgment may be read here: Lord Lustice Moore-Bick deals with the matter by stating ” I would therefore allow the appeal to the extent of setting aside the declaration made by the judge and substituting for it a declaration that by parking his motorcycle on its stand on the pavement with its body and one or both of its wheels on or over the pavement the claimant was in contravention of section 15 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 as amended by section 15(2) of the London Local Authorities Act 2000.”

Victorian Maiden / Mystery QC writes in Ruthie’s Law:

Mr Wolman was given a bit of a ‘stuffing’…. and later… :“It is given to very few to go to the Court of Appeal with the fundamental error in their case clearly expressed in their own pleadings.” and concludes… “that Mr Clive Wolman of Counsel is what Tucker would call “a total fookin’ prat”. That cannot be right: after all, the man is a barrister, even if only a minor junior.”

All good stuff of course (and I did enjoy the wry comment about ‘fundamental errors being expressed in their own pleadings’) – interesting for students on the way judges interpret statutes… but, I suspect, a bit of a waste of court time?

Reading law reports on a sunny Saturday morning is waaaay beyond the call of duty and.. so.. I return to other matters…

Financial watchdogs tell people of Britain that Bank of England £20 notes do NOT have pictures of Homer Simpson on them

The Sun reports, today: “SHOPKEEPERS, bar staff and pensioners are being urged to check £20 notes after consumer watchdogs seized hundreds of fakes featuring film characters and football stars instead of the Queen.

While we learn from The Times that no further charges will be brought against Lord Justice Richards, recently acquitted of flashing, The Washington Post reports: “Roy Pearson, the D.C. administrative law judge who sued his neighborhood dry cleaners for $54 million and lost, will receive a letter that starts the process of putting him out of a job”

Full marks to the vigilant RollonFriday reader for picking up on this advert placed by Bristows in The Lawyer.

Worthy of the marketing team at Muttley Dastardly LLP

Yesterday morning my front door bell rang. I have my own cctv camera at the door. Two Community Support Police officers, dressed in flak jackets, and, it has to be said, looking rather unfit for any serious frontline ‘villain nicking’, were at the door.

“Yes…how may I assist you, gentlemen.” I whispered croakily into the intercom in the manner of The Godfather.”

“Do you know who the owner of the silver Saab is?”

“No… I know nothing.”

The ‘faux-plod’ looked a bit baffled.

“Do you know that your hedge is overgrown?”

I watched the two officers in the monitor. I remained silent. I now know what it is like to be Big Brother talking to housemates in The Diary Room.

“Hello?… are you there?”

“Yes… I’m still here. I am thinking.”

The two officers looked at each other.

“Yes… The hedge is a bit overgrown. Have I broken any regulations?”

“No. Sir… ”

I began to wonder if, like the wandering Pole who visits the neighbourhood to cut hedges from time to time, they were offering to do the hedge for me.

“Is there a problem?”

“It is a security risk. A burglar could not be seen from the road if they were trying to break into your house through the ground floor windows, and the view of your front door is also partially obscured.”

“Yes… I can see that a burglar may find some comfort behind the hedge but it also prevents drunks, nosy people and other itinerants, peering into my ground floor front rooms as they pass and I don’t like net curtains.”

“We are trying to advise people in this area about how they can reduce crime.”

“Yes… no, very good. Excellent, in fact. I’ll try not to commit any this week.”

They did have the grace to laugh and I thanked them for their time. Half an hour later, I went out. On the hall mat was a ‘Metropolitan Police Notice’ advising me that I had had a visit from crime prevention officers and to confirm that my hedge was a possible security risk.

I slept easy in my bed last night knowing that the thin Blue line was working and that soon the Police will have everyone’s DNA on their database – apart, that is, from Geeklawyer’s…. who has an amusing take on the Police wish to start DNA testing litterbugs and other social misfits.

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