Archive for September, 2008

25 September: Daily Legal News and podcast

Daily Legal news and podcast now up on Insitelaw

September promo: Insitelaw has arranged for your to obtain a FREE one hour course (I hour CPD) from CPD Channel.  If you would like to check out their free offer to top up your CPD hours online – why not give it a go.

The Insitelaw blog is now operational – you may access it from here or through Insitelaw magazine.


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24 September: Daily Legal News and podcast

Daily Legal News and podcast up on Insitelaw

During the course of each day (Weekday and some weekends) I will be covering events as they arise with links to law blogger posts and legal news.  The Podcast and outline coverage is on the magazine and comment, as it is published each day,  will be on the Insitelaw blog

If you would like a blog post profiled – please email me (email on Insitelaw blog and magazine

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Audio podcast: Charon Reports (7) : From The Labour Party Conference 2008

I report tonight from Manchester – a City, I discovered from Google Earth, to be in the North of England. The Labour Party annual smug fest is under way.  Yesterday we had Alistair Darling, Chancellor, telling us things would be fine, provided the government cracked down on bankers running amok with bonuses.  Today, Gordon Brown, not one of life’s natural orators, had his chance to tell us that he was getting on with the job.

If I expected to see back benchers skulking around in togas, daggers hidden, I was disappointed.  i didn’t, however, expect this because the annual conference is not about politics, it is about presentation; an opiate for the faithful who are unlikely to change their voting habits and an opportunity for the party to give the Unions some pride back and make them feel vaguely relevant to the very different world of the 21st century.

As with all my other reports, I could have done it by staying on the boat and dosing myself up with a bit of NeuroBBC… but, today, in the interests of political journalism, I managed to find my way to Manchester.

Gordon Brown managed to remind us that he likes the job, is getting on with the job and is the best person for the job.  I quote from my Reuter’s newsfeed: “I know what I want to do in this job. And I know that the way to deal with tough times is to face them down. Stay true to your beliefs. Understand that all the attacks, all the polls, all the headlines, all the criticism, it’s all worth it, if in doing this job I make life better for one child, one family, one community. Because this job is not about me, it’s about you.”

Well frankly, Gordon, you have to do a bit better than make life better for one family… there are thousands of daytime television viewers out there, soon to be joined by cardboard box carrying investment bankers – who are relying on you to take this country to the promised land.

Gordon then played the “I’m not a Celebrity” card…. so he obviously does not want to be “Out of here”….  In a remarkable use of the English language, pathos and complete speech writing bollocks, Gordon told us “I didn’t come into politics to be a celebrity or thinking I’d always be popular. Perhaps, that’s just as well…..And I didn’t come to London because I wanted to join the establishment, but because I wanted and want to change it. So I’m not going to try to be something I’m not. And if people say I’m too serious, quite honestly there’s a lot to be serious about — I’m serious about doing a serious job for all the people of this country.”

Hinting darkly, possibly, at dastardly deeds – possibly even going back as far as the famous Granita Restaurant shafting…. Gordon said “What angers me and inspires me to act is when people are treated unfairly.”

The Prime Minister, rising to his theme, remembering perhaps those ripping sermons given in The Church of Scotland and going to the heart of his message… thundered…  “First transparency, all transactions need to be transparent and not hidden. Second, sound banking, a requirement to demonstrate that risk can be managed and priced for bad times as well as good. Third, responsibility, no member of a bank’s board should be able to say they did not understand the risks they were running and walk away from them. Fourth, integrity, removing conflicts of interest so that bonuses should not be based on short-term speculative deals but on hard work effort and enterprise. And fifth, global standards and supervision because the flows of capital are global, then supervision can no longer just be national but has to be global.”

It was at this stage of the proceedings that I began to lose the will to live, to understand what it must be like to be Nick Robinson or Andrew Marr who actually try and interview the man.  I persevered.  Brown then started talking about foreign policy – a subtle reminder to David Miliband that the Lord giveth and The Lord can taketh away.  he may as well have been talking about the relief of Mafeking.  It doesn’t matter.  It is all window dressing…. all the real politics is going on behind closed doors.  The men in suits will wait until the standing ovations are over and then there will be resolution one way or another.  I have absolutely no idea why I bothered to report on it. I should have set the washing machine to spin cycle and left the BBC to get on with it.

I did think about wandering around Manchester to see if Wayne Rooney and his wife Colleen were around  but London beckons..

This is Charon, reporting from Manchester

Source: Reuters


Audio podcast: Charon Reports (7) : From The Labour Party Conference 2008

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Daily Legal News and Podcast now on Insitelaw.

From today, I plan to provide commentary and analysis of the legal events of the day on the Insitelaw blog – with links to law based posts from UK and other law bloggers.  This will leave me free to run amok on the Charon QC blog without the guilt of having to concern myself overly about the law.  I shall, however, continue to write in Charon on matters of law where I feel it might provide a different insight obtained through necking bottles of Rioja.

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Having written Postcard from The Boat (1) yesterday – here is Postcard (2).

This morning I chose a different cafe just off The King’s Road.  I have been there many times – the food is good and I can sit outside, smoke, read my papers and, especially if it is cold and slightly drizzly, I am usually on my tod.  This morning, however, in a late climatic rally, the sun was out and so were the weird people.  Some would call them chavs.  Two over nourished female barrage balloons with hair drawn off their faces and held in a pony tail to make themselves look even more over-nourished waddled about and sat down at the tables nearest the cafe door. They were soon joined by a bloke with a moustache wearing Chelsea FC football strip. The Polish waitress took their order, smiling away, but even she found it difficult to maintain her composure when man with moustache farted – a ripper that GAZPROM could probably have sold on the natural gas market.

I’m afraid that I was unable to contain myself and started laughing in a mildly manic way, like a weird guy on the Tube, prompting the barrage balloons to swivel in my direction. I was reading The Observer and, rather than state the obvious and congratulate the man on his remarkable expertise I pointed to an article I was reading, muttered away like Boris Johnson,  and continued reading. I watched out of the corner of my eye as these weird people started eating.  They did not appear to understand cutlery.  Further farting followed… with the odd belch.  It was not a good start to the day.  Thankfully I was only having a coffee. I had to leave. Chelsea is a curious place – more observations on The King’s Road in later postcards.

And now to something vaguely sensible:

I produce, as regular readers will know, an online magazine; a newswire where I focus on news, current events in the law and profile, as best I can, the posts of law bloggers when they write about law. I have revived the Insitelaw blog and plan, each day, rather than use the website, to post articles and commentary on the blog and enjoy an easier life where search engines, filing and the like is all done by WordPress.  So – if you fancy a bit of law and news, a daily legal news podcast and some commentary – please visit Insitelaw. All FREE.  Now the long summer is over I shall be posting most days – probably every weekday. If you would like to write something for Insitelaw (no money in it, I’m afraid) I will be delighted to publish.  My email is on the magazine website and on the blog. Will start posting to blog from tomorrow – only intro stuff on there at the moment.

Insitelaw Magazine | Insitelaw Blog

Drink is the scourge of the drinking classes
I was speaking to White Rabbit yesterday about life, the universe and a plan to have a glass or two when he informed me that Jimmy Bastard’s blog Nevermindthebollix was down.  I checked… it was indeed.  I emailed JB to ask if the Polis had hacked in or if he was planning some cunning developments to the blog.

I received an email back – but his comment on his blog explains all: “In Early September 2008, after imbibing a serious amount of alcohol, enough to kill several Priests, Jimmy clumsily sent his world famous collection of several thousand observations on life as we know it, into cyber space. They remain there to this day. A story not to be missed, a man not to be ignored. Jimmy Bastard still pulls no punches as he relaunches his 3rd blog as he see’s it.”

I have suggested that there may be a government grant to assist in the retrieval of web heritage material and it is to be hoped that Nevermindthebollix is restored to full and rude health soon.

BREAKING NEWS 23.20 Hrs Sunday 22 September: We interrupt the scheduled programmes tonight to announce that shortly after 23.00 hrs GMT tonight, there have been developments in the Nevermindthebollix saga.  We go over now to Ron Knee for the true story

and… it is worth a visit!

Ed of Blawg Review sent me the details of a blog called Feral Strumpet written by Allyson Shaw, ex-pat novelist and poet living in London. In her own words: “This is my blog about loving London. About hating London. About homesick dissonance and the gift of distance. About my wet island home.”  I’ve started to dip in.  Good stuff – and if you want a different take on London have a look at Feral Strumpet

Ed of Blawg Review also notified us all through his blog that the next host of Blawg Review, Peter Black, an aussie academic, is going to be publishing Blawg Review #178 on Twitter as well as on his blog.  Good grief!…  using Twitter for something sensible…. I thought it was only our American and canadian friends who did this.  I’m afraid I abuse Twitter -and do not intend to change my ways.  I shall, however, take a look at Peter Black’s Twittered review.

POLITICIANS… and what has been happening recently

Gordon Brown is in the midst of telling the nation that he is the only man for the job, crushing rebellions, and appearing on The Andrew Marr Show.  Guido was not impressed.  I agree.  Marr was not as his best. Perhaps he thought he was presenting Strictly Come Dancing… who knows?  It was not incisive. Brown rambled through it and escaped unscathed.  The questions were anodyne.  We need Paxo for interviews with Brown. The Official website of The Prime Minister’s Office website has had a makeover. They are at the cutting edge – twitter, Flickr, YouTube videos… the lot.  If you are a GCSE  student, you will find it a useful source of historical research material for your project.   If you are, however, looking for any news, comment, analysis, then the site is not for you.

Fat Bigot has many interesting observations on his blog – but his latest considers the convention that US and UK politicans do not comment on each other’s electioneering. Worth a read – as is his analysis of Credit-crunch and last week’s banking crisis.

Iain Dale has an amusing ascerbic commentary on Sir Alan Sugar’s support of Brown at the Labour Party conference – contrasting it with rather different remarks made by the then Mr Alan Sugar in 1992.

And finally, in this brief political round up… The BBC reports that Gordon Brown is going to be tough with ridiculous City bonuses.  How he is actually going to frame legislation to thwart contractual arrangements is another matter…. but perhaps another rule book can be toirn up and thrown out of the window?  And the increasingly shrill Hazel Blears seems to think that Gordon Brown lacks emotional intelligence, but accepts that women do it differently. The Independent reports: “The tiny but perfectly formed figure of Hazel Blears has collapsed into giggles. I have just suggested that her department’s new “£1bn housing market rescue plan” brings to mind the words “pissing” and “wind”.

“I perhaps wouldn’t have put it so graphically” says the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, 52, when she recovers her composure. “I think that’s probably a male way of putting it. Because women do it differently – we do, trust me on that.”

Well that’s all for this week from The Boat… a long week past, a long week ahead.  I suspect there will be more shocks to come and I suspect also that last week’s record FTSE bounce may well bounce down again before too long.  We shall soon find out.

One for Family lawyers…. although of general appeal, sent in by a very good friend, a female barrister currently living in Australia.

“A man comes home, finds his wife with his friend in bed. He shoots his friend and kills him.

Wife says, ‘If you keep on behaving like this, you’ll lose ALL your friends’

Regards, as always

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I woke early on the Saturday morning, made a black coffee and started writing.  As the dawn came up I noticed that the Thames was like a mill pond, flat, calm and the chill air still.  It was low tide.  The sun was breaking on the horizon and flared over Battersea bridge.  Unfortunately, I only have a mobile phone camera available at present as my camera and other kit is still in store.  The photograph doesn’t do justice to the beautiful morning but, hopefully, gives you a sense of the scene this morning. The other view is up river.

A trip to breakfast at a cafe on the King’s Road – the usual 7.00 am patois of the builders, scaffolders et al, happily absent.  When I say ‘patois’,  I will give a taste of what I can hear most mornings…. it runs something like this:-

“B***ding hell… Frank… I could murder a F******g egg and chips….” … “Yes…. Dave…. I think I’ll have a F******g egg and chips as well, mate”… and so it goes on.  For the few guys who actually bother to bring a newspaper in with them it is, inevitably, Ingerlands favourite newspaper The Sun. Football is, of course discussed, as is Page Three… punctuated with colourful anglo-saxon and if politics is discussed at all it is in terms of “Bleeding hell…. or   “What has that C**t Brown done now?…. B******d!”… and, my favourite:  “Mind you that tosser Cameron… he ain’t any better.” …. believe me, I do not exaggerate. I have never heard mention of any LiB-Dem politicians at these early morning political round ups.  I enjoy it.  Quite different from and far more amusing than the domestic minutiae and angst I used to have listen to from the middle classes of Chiswick when they took breakfast at my then local cafe.

I’ve started talking to a few of the guys in the morning. At first, in the English way, it was nods of recognition and then, gradually, a “Morning, mate / Guv etc..” and now a chat about what is in the news.  It is a good way to start the day and can be very amusing.  This morning, however, it was good to read the papers without listening to the masterclass in expletives going on around me.

Saturday disappeared in admin… necessary and tedious. I went on to Twitter to see if Infobunny, Geeklawyer and the usual suspects were on – raising the reputation of UK law blogging (of a type) throughout the world – and discovered Google Translate.

Google Translate… we can speak in many tongues nation unto nation!
I have a couple of German friends – both amusing with a sense of the bizarre.  One, fortunately, is in London – so I could not resist a quick email to tell him that I had learned to speak german in only five days : “Guten Abend Hans. Ich schreibe aus meinem Boot nach dem Lernen zu sprechen Deutsch in nur fünf Tagen. Das ist gut … ja?”

I received an email back in German – expressing, shall we say, a degree of bafflement that I had suddenly learned to speak German.  Of course, i was able to translate his German back into English and was able to reply that we British had surprised the Germans on many occasions over the past 100 or so years “Vielen Dank für Ihre E-Mail und zum Schreiben von mir auf Deutsch. Dies wird mir helfen. Sie sagen, Sie sind überrascht – aber warum? British haben wir überrascht, die Deutschen bei vielen Gelegenheiten in den letzten 100 Jahren.”

I have no idea whether Google translate is accurate – or how it works.  I do speak very bad  and limited tourist French, appalling Italian and it seemed, to my limited knowledge of these languages, that Google did a pretty good job of translating what I wanted to say into a form of French or Italian capable of being understood.  The possibilities are endless.  I shall email Prime Minister of Putin in Russian to ask him what his plans are to invade Western Europe and if I need to go short on Gas.

Unfortunately, my deception was rumbled when my friend emailed me back in German to say that he would telephone me to see how good my German accent was.  I did not have the heart to talk English with a Max Mosley style German accent….. so I had to explain that I was going out and may never be able to speak to him again.

It has been an astonishing week. I have covered it in some respects with my Law Review posts and my new toy “Charon Reports”…..

Splitting my postcard into two sections this weekend – more in Part II tomorrow.  Now.. it is time for some vino rosso…

I shall end with this thought… just for lawyers… THANK God/ your own belief structure, if any… Google hasn’t worked out “Google LAW”…. we’ll all be doing a Lehman then.

Buona notte


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Last week some thought the world would end when the CERN boys switched on the Large Hadron Collider.  This week it was the turn of the bankers to see what they could do to bring havoc to the world.  The blood ran on Wall St and through financial markets worldwide.  The masters of the universe, with names like “The Gorilla” who once ruled global markets,  find, five days after the horrors of ‘Black Monday’,  a very different financial landscape.  Lehman – gone.  AIG – effectively nationalised. Merrill Lynch – swallowed by Bank of America, Morgan Stanley contemplating selling 49% off to the Chinese,  HBOS – gobbled up by so-called ‘Black Carthorse’ Lloyds TSB and now… even mighty Goldman Sachs is wondering whether they too will be able to ride the storm.

So what is happening in our sector? There is, some say,  going to be plenty of work for litigators and barristers in scapegoat litigation – and certainly this is the view of one practising barrister who commented on my Calm Assessment? post yesterday.

The Lawyer reports: “Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has axed as many as four associates in its real estate group, becoming the first magic circle firm to make redundancies.”

Legal Week reports: “Lloyds TSB has today (18 September) confirmed that there could be legal job losses as a result of its £12.2bn takeover of stricken lender HBOS.”

EDIT: Lawslot, whose blog I have only just come across, has some interesting views on the future of the legal sector – well worth a bookmark and read.

Legal Week, rather cheerily, has a poll: The question they ask is – “Will a major law firm go the way of Lehman?  Naturally, I had to have a look.  As at midday the result is:

Ripping up the rule book?

Short selling has been outlawed for the time being to stop ruthless bankers taking advantage of falling share prices – or even, as some say,  assisting the drop in values by selling short.

Head of Legal, who knows a thing or two having worked as a government lawyer for ten years, has two interesting blog posts:  Short selling now market abuse | The Lloyds TSB – HBOS merger and Competition Law – both worth a read.

And now for a bit of stupidity…. ?

RollonFriday.com has a piece on a US lawyer: “Gabriel Schwartz may only be 29, but he’s already made a bit of a name for himself. He’s founder of the law firm Sandomire & Schwartz, and was recently selected to be a Colorado delegate to the US Republican National Convention. Here’s an interview with the charming fellow. “Less taxes and more war!” – what an arse.”

This guy demonstrates in one short interview why we should be concerned about the bellicose views of some americans – he also manages to demonstrate that having a legal education does not always bring wisdom, common sense, judgement and balance – but, hey… judge for yourself.  The full RollonFriday story and the film is a classic – definitely worth a few minutes of your time. There is also another aspect to the story which may amuse….he seems to have been relieved of up to $120,000 in jewellery and cash after picking up a woman in a hotel bar after a conference. RollonFriday film and story.

AND FINALLY… I am grateful to Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog, for sending me an email about the Brown Calculator – very definitely worth a go to lighten your budens and raise your spirits.  You just have to use this calculator – very amusing.

So… there we are.  Friday means the weekend is almost upon us.  The sun is shining, the world may look pretty bleak.  I think it may be time for a spot of lunch and a glass of Rioja after two days of abstention from all booze.

Postcard from The Boat will, of course, follow this weekend and I may also publish the next instalment of West London Man – who works in the financial sector and has had a dificult week. .

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