Archive for November, 2008

Sunday night…. a great time to blog….

It has been a cold, wet and grey sky day on the boat – and, I assume, in many parts of the country.  I have read all the newspapers, considered the Jacqui Smith interview on Andrew Marr this morning – she did not seem comfortable – so…. and with no sensible work to do this evening… and  having wondered if the boat  should be swept for hidden listening devices,  I thought I would just write for a while and see if any civil servants happen to drop by with brown manilla envelopes. (Dawn on the boats the other morning – when the sun was about – towards Battersea Bridge and Central London)

There has been a bit of fun on Twitter with various US lawyers (and, I have to say that I have joined in) tweaking the tail of US lawyers who push… push… push the marketing value of blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Digg – although none, as yet, have resorted to wandering around with sandwich boards to promote their practices… unless you know differently?  I am very pleased to say that I simply blog… I don’t justify it, I don’t have to do it, no-one has to read it and I shall continue to write about whatever comes into my head – I may even shoehorn in a bit of law from time to time.  (I am, of course,  delighted that a number of people… and who knows… MI5 and GCHQ?…  like to drop by and read and comment)

Let me introduce you to two very interesting US Blogs: Simple Justice, written by Scott H Greenfield and A Public Defender written by @gideonstrumpet – to use his Twitter ID.  I enjoy reading US blogs (and I am putting together a fairly extensive Pageflakes for US blogs I read and find interesting.)  Scott has written some pretty powerful stuff about (a) lawyers and marketing and (b) about his reasons for blogging – explore at your leisure and Gideon / Public Defender has produced, through a fellow blogger, a rather good badge for bloggers who do not feel the need to use their blogs as overt marketing tools. Since there is an invitation to take the badge… I do so with pleasure and link, naturally, back to Public Defender’s post and invitation!

Geeklawyer has turned his attention away from Twitter and the business of drafting complex pleadings again to review the BBC2 programme “The Barristers”. Reviewing episode 3 … I give you one choice quote… he says (considering the role of in-house salaried CPS lawyers) ” The down side of course, on the small matter of justice, was that while the Independent Bar was, mostly, treated with respect by prosecutors, their professionalism and skills at litigation management treated as unquestionable, the lot of the CPS Prosecution Monkey is very much a less happy one.” Enjoyed the review….

The BBC reports: Leader of the Commons Harriet Harman QC MP  has said she is “very concerned” by the arrest of Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green.

The Independent: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith today defended the right of police to arrest a Tory MP over alleged Home Office leaks – suggesting the case was more serious than reported.

An assault on all our rights

Conservative Party leader David Cameron writes for News of the World
– not many big words… but… it is NOTW.. so big headline!


If you wish to listen to Carl Gardner, Head of Legal talking with me in a podcast on The Damien Green arrest – you may do so here. (or scroll down)

If you wish to listen to Gordon Brown telling Frank Bough, some years ago, that he had leaked information from a civil servant – of great public interest – then Guido Fawkes has picked that wonderful film up… here.

Well… that probably wraps it up for this eventful weekend… back to sensible stuff on Insite Law tomorrow.  I should make it through the night… aided… by the rest of a rather absurd British Red fortified wine at 15%.


UPDATE: Sunday 30 November 21.39 hrs…

“Has a tipping point arrived for Twitter”… have a look at what a UK Blogger thinks… Neville Hobson (not a lawyer)


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Guido Fawkes has a very amusing film on his blog…. a film of Brown, when in opposition, admitting that he used leaked information from a civil servant who was concerned that the government was trying to suppress information!

It is Sunday…. film won’t take long.  Definitely worth a visit!

As one of Guido’s ravening horde of commenters (always worth a look) says… “Arrest him!”…?

Please scroll down for Podcast with Carl Gardner on Damien Green MP affair / Other coverage.

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So… it came to pass, after much deliberation, that St Peter Mandelson was brought back from the wilderness and… Lo… within but days… the Prince of Darkness had wreaked havoc and destruction in Tory  ranks with his gospels about George and Oleg the Oligarch.  St Peter, in his Revelations to the Media Pharisees,  then said… “There would come a man… the new Moses…. Gordon Brown… to lead us from financial hell to the promised land…. and so there was.”

I had to go out and buy a bottle of British fortified wine earlier after reading that.  I want to do my bit for Britain…. and when my eye saw the alcohol content at 15% …. I thought why not?  It does the business.  This may not explain what drugs Moses was on when he received the Ten Commandments… but it certainly enhanced my appreciation of the irony of calling Gordon Brown, son of the manse, Moses…

It also triggered my memory of a rather good quote from Prime Minister Golda Meir of Israel… appropriate today… “Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!”

And so… to BBC 2 The Barristers: Episode 3

After grinding through episodes 1 and 2 of The Barristers,  which I did not find that interesting, I did enjoy episode 3.  Much as I like the engaging students in the programme, I felt that the director spent too much time on ritual, baraphernalia and the students.  Episode 3 actually got down to the nitty gritty about the work of criminal barristers and was interesting television.  The focus was mainly on criminal work last night – but as I know little of that world, I found it interesting.  I’m afraid I have no idea if it was a true and fair portrayal of the life of a criminal barrister – but it did show us a snapshot of the relationship between the CPS and the independent Bar – not brilliant, it would appear! – and the work of Dickie Bond an experienced member of the independent Bar.  There were some amusing moments of banter between Bond and his opponent in the case in the robing room.

I can’t help feeling, given the sophistication and intellectual range of the work of the Bar,  that the producers have missed a trick by not looking more closely at the diverse and complex work and involving more experienced barristers across the range of work done by the Bar.  There is still episode 4 to come, so I may be jumping the gun.  I regret to say, I have rather lost interest in what happens to any of the students and my only observation is to say – I hope they make it – but for me the interest lies more with the experienced members of the Bar.

Much of the latter part the week was taken up with the horrific events in Mumbai, covered so well in the Indian and world media and by Tweeters on Twitter.  Twitter certainly provided so much good *live* content that they were often quicker than the television companies… so quick, the Indian government asked twitter to stem the flow in case the terrorists were on Twitter themselves.

But we did have our own *Breaking News*:  The arrest of Damien Green MP. AS with many other law and political bloggers I covered it in a post and, in fact, did a podcast with Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog on Saturday morning.  Carl is always on the money with his observations on constitutional law and it was a pleasure to spend half an hour in discussion with him about this fascinating story.

I have a feeling that the story has a bit to run. The Speaker, certainly, has some explaining to do, given reports in the press today casting doubt on the consent to enter parliament issue.

My eye was caught by a story on Inner Temple’s excellent  Current Awareness RSS feed: “A High Court has upheld a tribunal’s findings that a West Yorkshire dentist urinated in his surgery sink before treating a patient.” It appears, from the BBC report, that the dentist did urinate into his surgery sink – but the High Court quashed the “findings Mr Hutchinson used dental instruments to clean his ears and fingernails.” BBC.

Twitter has many benefits and while I continue to abuse it and tease the enthusiastic marketer lawyers from the States… I did learn that an armless man has been caught driving in China through Twitter – so I’m a fan. If you want to wast some more time and follow the good, the bad and the nonsense (and Stephen Fry is an enthusiastic Twitter user) … follow me and reach @Geeklawyer, @Infobunny, @Scottgreenfield, @Colinsamuels, @Jaffne, @gideonstrumpet, @kevinokeefe and a whole raft of rather amusing and interesting people. I’m afraid that my *Tweets* drone on about the boat, ducks, Hans and his U-Boat surfacing in the Thames right outside my boat – but others are more ‘sensible’….. or are they?

An excellent post for smokers in The Devil’s Kitchen today by guest “The Filthy Smoker”: “One the best things about the smoking ban is that you no longer have to step over dead bodies to get to the bar. We all remember, don’t we, the familiar sight of nonsmokers clutching at their chest as that lethal secondhand smoke triggered one cardiac arrest after another. On any visit to the pub you could be certain to witness at least one heart attack. The life expectancy for barmaids was three weeks. Thank God those days are over.”

The Filthy Smoker notes that the media fell over themselves to applaud the smoking ban when it was revealed that heart attacks, particularly in Scotland, were falling – but now it seems that the heart attack rate has been falling for some years… mind you… pubs are going bankrupt and many pubs, some say,  are thoroughly miserable places nowfull of non-smokers nursing a pint or nipping outside to drink with the pissed smokers – and that the smoking ban has not been the medical “promised Land’ lazy hacks from the media hyped it up to be!

Rather more interesting, for me however as a man who enjoys ‘turns of phrase’,  was the language employed by Filthy Smoker. I give a few examples which made me laugh….

“Inevitably, one the hatchet-faced gurners from Action on Smoking and Health piped up to make the implied connection with passive smoking explicit…”

“Even in the swivel-eyed fantasy world of anti-smoking nutjobs….”

As they say… some of my best friends are non-smokers, but they seem pretty tolerant when they are standing outside in the cold wet rain drinking as we smokers puff away!

There is a lot of navel gazing, over-analysis and horseshit going on in *social media* at the moment. here is yet another article… this time not from the States but from Canada… It’s not just the housing bubble and the stock market that crashed, says Steve Rubel, the digital media guy at PR giant Edelman. People’s attention spans have also burst after a prolonged distension… The number of things coming at us has outstripped what we’re capable of managing,” he said, as blogs, Twitter, and information on demand continue to proliferate.”

I liked the word *distension*… must shoehorn that into my next Christmas lunch speech….  Mon dieu….. why  all the analysis… It is only a bloody blog….Facebook or Twitter…. analysis schamanlysis.. I fear.

I did, however, have some difficulty trying to decipher what the writer meant by this paragraph… ” But, Rubel claims, he’s fortunate to have found a vocation where his ADD is able to work in his favour. He says spending so much of his time in the overstimulated digital culture gave him a special appreciation for how to market to its attention-deficient natives.”

I am sending it to M15 and GCHQ.

And finally… at least for Part I…. RollonFriday.com continues with the search for unusual law firm names…

Irish firm Argue & Phibbs;

Knocker & Foskett Senior Partner, Mr R Don;

– Trainee Mark Reckless and partner and water industry specialist, Trevor Turtle, at Herbert Smith;

Chad P Ennis and Sanford (affectionately known as Sandy) Weiner, at Vinson & Elkins.

Scott Greenfield, US Attorney and author of the Simple Justice blog has an interesting post today – where mention of a Judge Lawless is made.

That is all for tonight… the British 15% fortified red has woven a spell…. I’m now going to lie down and think… of many things.  Back tomorrow…

Regards, as always…

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Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, a barrister, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog about the extraordinary arrest  by Police of shadow frontbench spokesman on Immigration, Damien Green MP.

We break the discussion into five sections: (1) The power of arrest and the potential charge –  (2) The PM, Home Secretary and senior government ministers did not know about the arrest in advance, yet The Speaker, David Cameron and Mayor Boris Johnson did – why? – (3) The Speaker’s role – he authorised the search (4) Cross party anger and irritation and (5) Will there be a prosecution.

It was a wide ranging discussion, bringing in opinion from the traditional media and well known UK law blogs.

Listen to Podcast 80: With Carl Gardner on The arrest of Damien Green MP


Related link from Charon blog: Arrest of Tory  MP Damien Green

Related link from Head of Legal blog: Justifying misconduct in public office

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Arrest of Tory MP: Cameron comment

David Cameron, interviewed by the BBC early this morning, gave a strong statement of concern that a front bench opposition spokesman was arrested yesterday and asked the perfectly reasonable question why it was necessary for nine counter-terrorism police officers to search his house and others to search his office in Parliament.  Cameron said “If they wanted to talk to Damien Green… why didn’t they pick up the telephone.”

The BBC reports: ” Police say Mr Green was held on suspicion of “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office” and “aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office”. He was released on bail until a date in February….. The MP has denied any wrongdoing and said “opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account” and that he would “continue to do so”.

Cameron made the point that government ministers did not know anything bout the arrest – despite the fact that both he and the Speaker had been told shortly before – and that in itself raised further questions and that if they did not know “what do they think about the fact that an opposition politician has been arrested for making public information in the public interest and which may be uncomfortable for the government.”

We hear that leaking has been almost a tradition of government in this country – and, it would appear,  political journos are waiting to see if the famed “Treasury Mole” is soon to be outed – so what was exceptional in this situation..?

The BBC has a Q&A page on this:   One question is particularly interesting…

Has this happened before?

No. It is unprecedented for an MP to be arrested and his office searched by police in connection with a leak inquiry. The law Mr Green is suspected of breaking is an obscure, little-used piece of legislation.

The story unfolds….


UPDATE: 13.30 Friday 28th November

1.  Edinburgh advocate Reactionary Snob has a robust view

From the comments section… “But I don’t believe that this was a breach of the official secrets act, or that doesn’t seem to be what the police are saying…….Furthermore, is Jacqui Smith not in operational control of Counter Terrorism?

I am struggling to believe that none of the Attorney General, the Home Secretary or the Justice Secretary knew about this knew about the intention to arrest a senior MP and search his offices (a la King Charles)?….. The speaker and the serjeant at arms knew about it… and are we to believe that Gorbals Mick did not think to ring the PM with the juicy goss?”

See also: Reactionary Snob:

The crunch of jackboots on the autumn leaves

This is a matter for the police…The Prime Minister had no prior knowledge of the arrest of Mr Green and was only informed after the event.

“Hmmm. I don’t believe this, I can’t believe this. The Police are either completely fucking stupid (admittedly not outwith the realms of possibility) but more likely they were either a) instructed to do this (unlikely) or b) made sure that their arses were gold-plated before they arrested an MP (i.e. getting direct authorisation to proceed from within Westminster). Dim as the Met can be there is no way on Earth they would have sent 6 armed anti-terror police into an elected representative’s house (and offices) without covering themselves from the inevitable shitstorm.”

UPDATE: 2.30 pm 28th November

1.  Douglas Carswell MP“Speaker sanctioned Police Raid.”

Carswell writes: ” Guido Fawkes is brilliant today – pointing out that no action was taken when public officials conspired to give the BBC’s Robert Peston sensitive information – allegedly.

2. Guido Fawkes: Arrest Osborne next – he seems to be in receipt of  secret Treasury information?

3.  I am doing a Podcast on this Farago with Carl Gardner, Head of Legal tomorrow morning.

Should be fun.

UPDATE: 6.45 pm 28th November

1.  Joshua Rozenburg in The Telegraph suggests that the arrest of Damien Green MP was not as perplexing as it would seem.  A worthy (and interesting)  article explaining the law – but doesn’t address the real issue of *Why* the PM, Home Secretary, other senior government ministers were not told in advanve whereas The Speaker, David Cameron  and Boris Johnson were told in advance

Rozenburg suggests that Green was arrested after Parliament was prorogued and to make it easier for the Police to search his office when he wasn’t there.  Surely the Police did not withold information about the imminent arrest from the PM, the Home Secretary and other Labour officials in case ‘the information leaked out’?   That would be ridiculous.

2. Bearwatch:  A warning from History

Charles I attempts to arrest five Members of Parliament, 6 January 1642

The story continues…..

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Daily Legal News and updated law blog news now up on Insite Law

Senior Tory, Damien Green MP, angered by his arrest

The BBC reports
that a senior Conservative MP has reacted angrily to his arrest by police investigating the alleged leaking of Home Office information.
“Police say Mr Green was held on Thursday on suspicion of “conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office”. He was questioned, but has not been charged and was bailed until February.

Speaking outside the House of Commons, Mr Green said: “I emphatically deny I have done anything wrong….“I have many times made public information that the government wanted to keep secret – information that the public has a right to know….. In a democracy, opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account.”

The full story has yet to break but David Cameron has called a press conference for 8.00. Guido Fawkes and other political commentators are also pointing to the issue of the ‘famed Treasury mole’.

Guido Fawkes has a rather poignant graphic comparing Brown to Mugabe:
“Guido can’t remember anything like this happening in his lifetime. This was not a national security issue. Counter terrorist police arresting opposition politicians?”

Carl Gardner, author of The Head of Legal Blog, has a fairly detailed analysis

“I don’t for one moment think the government knew of, ordered or connived in the arrest – if they did, it would be a British mini-Watergate – and part of the reason I take that view is that this is extremely unhelpful to them politically. The apparent involvement of counter-terrorist police seems massively over the top and the whole affair throws the David Davis approach to civil liberties into sharp relief…..”… more from Head of Legal

More information will inevitably come through today. If the government was not aware of counter terrorism police activity (or any other unit of the Police Service) – as they maintain; arresting a senior frontbench opposition spokesman, searching his office in Parliament – surely they should have been?

We shall see what transpires as news comes out.

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‘Summary justice’ soars as courts bypassed

The Times reports: ” Out-of-court punishments accounted for more than half of all offences dealt with by the criminal justice system last year, according to figures published today. The rise of summary justice at the expense of formal court hearings in courts is worrying both magistrates and judges who fear it is making a mockery of justice.”

While I plan to address this question rather more sensibly in Insite Law tomorrow morning – I thought I would cover the point as I see it rather less sensibly – but with a degree of raw honesty – here tonight. I am not surprised that magistrates and judges are worried about the rise of summary justice.  Summary justice can be a very dangerous tool in unskilled hands.

The Labour government over the past ten years has created more new laws than any government in British history.  That burning at the stake for littering  has not been brought in is, quite possibly, an oversight at the Ministry of Justice and Revenue Generation.

I am a fan of good, moderate, proportionate, sensible policing.  Most people are and properly trained police officers, policing with ‘consent’ do a pretty good job overall.  Yes… there are problems  with some Police officers but these tend to be high profile incidents and are investigated thoroughly. In the great scheme of things and daily operational life there are not that many serious breaches of law or procedure by police officers.

Unfortunately, we now have many more offences, a boatload of organisations with power to do this and that, to levy fixed penalties and regulate our lives and….  we have the Police Community Support Officers. I watch them shambling down the High Street each morning – resolutely searching for another caff to have another bun, knowing that they would not be able to deal with any serious crime or disaster should one arise. What is the point of them?  Would you want a relatively untrained PCSO assisting you in a bad car crash?  I wouldn’t.  I’d want a highly trained and experienced cop, even better a specialist traffic cop,  and a paramedic on scene.

We have fixed penalties for speeding, for parking infringements, for littering, for not putting our dustbins out on the approved day in the approved  way – and so on and so forth. We were even threatened with ‘Smoking Police’  when the smoking ban came in. There are cameras everywhere recording our transgressions – and these cameras provide the evidence for yet more minor offence infringement notices and fines.  Meanwhile the bankers and politicians have brought this country to its knees and crime will, as sure as night  follows day, rise in time of economic hardship, poverty and unemployment.  This time, of course, the crimes may well be rather more serious than  minor speeding, littering or failing to put the dustbin out on the approved day in the approved manner.

It is getting out of control and while it may be attractive to a government to have these highly efficient revenues and provide work for filing clerks and bailiffs – there will come a time when this type of justice will so irritate that it will become counter productive and lead to revolt – revolt through the ballot box in our case.


There are many pleasures to be had living on a boat. One is that I don’t have Fuckwits from the Police Community Support Service turning up on my door to tell me to cut my hedge because a criminal could hide behind it.

Right… I feel better.  Please feel free to have a RANT in my comments section. If you would like to get roaring drunk before you do post – bookmark this post and  come back.  I shall only edit comments if they are likely to result in me being issued with a fixed penalty notice!  Enjoy….

Editorial note:  I am quite aware that this is (a) a rant (b) irrational rambling and (c) fails to address the issue sensibly.

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26th November: Daily legal news up…

Daily legal news from the press and the blawgs is up on Insite Law – podcast to follow by 11.00 ish.

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Twitter: When two tribes go to war

Appropriate for Twitter, so I will start with a line from the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song Two Tribes… ” Listen to the voice saying follow me”…  (Pic through Google from Ivanpope blog – a good pastiche)

Twitter, a tool for procrastinators or a useful marketing and communication tool?

Frankly, I don’t care that much how people define Twitter, what they use it for or whether they get hot under the collar about it when others don’t use it in a *suitable* manner.  For the professional curmudgeon ( I fall into this category very occasionally) … there is the *Unfollow* button and on a cold wet windy evening, a bottle of wine to hand, there are pleasures to be had in blocking spammers and in thinking… “I wonder what will happen if I *unfollow* this person?

Needless to say, I do not use Twitter for any sensible purpose whatsoever… at least… not *knowingly*…

I did find something useful recently, however, through Twitter. Last week, I did a podcast with Susan Cartier Liebel, founder of the Solo Practice University – an interesting idea.  Yesterday I read that Scott Greenfield, the first SPU ‘professor’ to be appointed to the SPU Faculty was also the first  to resign.  Scott Greenfield gives his reasons with precision and they are worth reading in full.  I am not a practitioner, but as entrepreneurs and self employed people know – one has to be in it to win it… so marketing is important.  The question is one of degree before marketing becomes so irritating to the viewer that it becomes a positive disincentive to engage with the provider of the service being marketed.

I’ll content myself in this debate by quoting from Scott Greenfield’s blog post and leave it at that…  I quote:

“Still, I can offer this one word of caution.  It’s a lie.  Everybody doesn’t do it.  Marketers make their living off you believing that it’s okay, that the law isn’t a profession but a business, and everybody in business sells, sells, sells.   Other lawyers who do it want you to do it too, so they won’t feel as dirty and ashamed about themselves.  But great lawyers don’t walk the streets in search of clients. Envision where you want to be ten years after you’ve gone solo, then consider whether the best way to get there is to take the high road or the low road.   Chose wisely. “

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The Fool?…and a few other matters…

It is perhaps a little cruel to use Vogther’s Fool to illustrate this piece – but certain types of idiotic behaviour cross the subtle divide between folly and stupidity and a recent example of this involves a juror being kicked off a jury for consulting her Facebook friends in a jury trial.

The Sun takes up the story…

A JUROR was kicked off a trial after using Facebook to ask pals if they thought the defendants were guilty.

The woman posted details of the child abduction and sex assault case on the website. Then she told friends: “I don’t know which way to go, so I’m holding a poll.” Jurors are forbidden from discussing details of cases even with their closest family members…. Last night a legal source said the juror could have been charged with contempt of court — and the trial scrapped. The expert added: “It defies belief. She obviously has no grasp of how the judicial process works in this country. “She had been asking her mates what they thought — and some people came back with guilty verdicts”

I rather liked the bit at the end of the story.. “… and some people came back with guilty verdicts”

Not having a great deal to do at 8.00 this evening… my train of thought turned to the concept of ‘folly’ and ‘fools’.  A quick trip to Google revealed some useful quotations from the famous…

‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.’ – Abraham Lincoln

Plato, on a rather more serious note took the view… “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” but my favourite quote on this theme is from Will Rogers…

“If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”

Prescient words indeed in these difficult financial and fiscal times.



Making it perfectly clear that there is no connection with the story below and the general theme of this post, despite George Osborne’s recent *From Rusia With Love* momentGuido Fawkes reports that ‘the boy dun good’ and hacked it in what appears to be an excellent speech rebutting Darling’s ‘Mortgage Britain PLC – Do not pass Go’ speech today.

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I am gradually developing the Insite Law online magazine to increase the coverage of daily legal news from the traditional media and, as important, the UK and other law blogs.

This process will continue over the next few weeks – but I have made a start – Daily News and the latest from the blogs is now up on Insite Law.


Blawg Review 187: Lawyer Casting
It so happens that Monday is Evolution Day, which celebrates the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication of The Origin of Species on November 24, 1859.

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It was snowing at 8.00 this morning for a few brief moments before the sleet set in and making climbing the gangway from the boats to the Embankment a fairly challenging exercise;  holding wind blown umbrella in one hand and keeping myself upright with the other hand gripping the gangway rails. One benefit – plenty of room to sit outside the cafe this morning for my espresso, a bit of breakfast and a quick run through several Sundays.

Excellent news today about 10,000 Tasers being issued to 43 UK Police forces?
The Independent.  Ironic that this story comes but six weeks after an amusing report in The Register – that ‘Trigger happy Welsh cops have been tasering sheep’. Unfortunately, most reports about the police using firearams and tasers are rather more serious: Police accused of firing taser into head of innocent man | Now Police can usee tasers against children

Ed of Blawg Review is on Twitter.

blawgreview Charlie Green says, “blogs and communities and twitter feeds et al have not rewritten the rules of relationships.” Here is the link.  There is a lovely bit of irony in the final paragraph.  It is quite possible hat I found it o after a glass or two earlier.

It is, hopefully, unlikely that any blawger will need liability insurance – but if decide to run amok one night, hit the juice and then the *Publish* button…. this ‘may’ be for you.
Saw this on Guido Fawkes blog… Drinkers Alliance?… Yes, I thought to myself… this is a plan… a good one.  If you click the link you will also find an opportunity to have your voice heard if you believe the government is going to tax responsible  middle aged binge-drinkers and bring us into line with our younger generation of binge drinkers.
On that note…. a very brief postcard.  Have to hit the futon early….

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Broome & Delancey a US diner in Battersea?…

My ‘career’ as a restaurant reviewer for LawandMore continues, and pleasurably so.  Last Tuesday evening  I left The Boat in Chelsea, crossed Battersea Bridge,  and found myself in Battersea Rise at Broome & Delancey at 8.00 on the dot ready to eat good food, drink a decent wine and be a restaurant reviewer once more.  I had been offered the opportunity to review a restaurant in London’s Mayfair – but Battersea, frankly, seemed to me a better bet and, quite possibly, more fun. No money was harmed during the production of this review.  The role of restaurant reviewer is pro bono and carries no ‘honorarium’ – not even a right to herd sheep across a London bridge.

So there I was, last Tuesday night, wearing my trusty Australian Driza–Bone®, being led to the cocktail bar on the right of the entrance by one of the highly efficient and very pleasant crew; accompanied by a very good friend of mine who hails from South Africa and who knows a thing or two about biltong and cooking.  His knowledge of wine, from personal and regular consumption, was also helpful.

Broome & Delancey describes itself as follows: “Named after two of Manhattan’s most vibrant and eclectic streets, Broome & Delancey combines Parisian glamour with New York vitality. Situated on Battersea Rise near Clapham Common, this classic yet contemporary restaurant features a striking open plan kitchen, two attractive dining spaces, an al fresco terrace and a dedicated cocktail and wine bar.”

I  shall return to the food and the wine later. Tania, from Lithuania,  who had done five years training as a cocktail barwoman,  asked us what we would like to have. Regular readers of my blog will know that apart from the odd shot of grappa (and the very occasional brandy / vodka / gin / double malt whisky / bourbon / naval rum) I do not tend to drink spirits.  I was, however, in an extremely well equipped cocktail bar, complete with stainless steel shakers – and it just had to be a cocktail from their extensive list.  I felt mildly piratical that evening so, passing on the traditional ‘Martini’, I asked Tania for something rum based. It was like being back at university in a geochemistry laboratory, which I studied as a part of a geophysics course before changing to Law.  I watched as Tania poured strawberry juice, rum, various other extracts, juices and potions into a glass, slotted the glass into the metal shaker, shook it about – a wonderful performance in itself –  and then delivered, with crushed ice,  a drink of fabulous flavours and a decent level of potency.  Mint was added and a straw… but… no umbrella.

I have absolutely no idea what Johnny Biltong, as I will call my South African friend, had – but it put a smile on his face. Mea culpa – I forgot to take a note and, as I write, he is entertaining himself somewhere in London, so I cannot consult him.The cocktail list is extensive.

We were then collected by a very amusing waiter and taken to our table by the window. I noted the heaters affixed to the walls on the outside of the restaurant – and a seating area.  This would prove most useful to both of us for a bit of serial smoking later in the evening.

The service was exceptional – and, most important, friendly and amusing.  Ben, the manager for our evening, a lively New Zealander, came over to chat and told us about the restaurant.  Even though the staff knew that *I* was doing a ‘review’ – I can assure you that everyone else in the restaurant (which was pretty busy in these credit-crunch times) got the same friendly and excellent service.

I have never eaten at a restaurant combining ‘Parisian glamour’ and ‘New York vitality’ – so I was looking forward to the experience of straddling two great continents in food terms. The food is good.  A sensibly restricted menu offers sufficient choice for carnivore, fish eater and vegetarian alike and was good.

I am a great fan of liver, bacon, onions and mash.  My problem is that I like the liver  to be cremated.  I asked our friendly waiter if Chef would be happy to do it ‘well done’.  I did not mention the *Cremation* word.  Chef was happy to cook to the customer’s requirements, I was assured.  I was very tempted.  On a cold winter’s night – liver and mash can do the business.  I decided, however, to go for something a bit more subtle – a chicken paillard – basically, a chicken breast pounded with a rolling pin until it is a lot thinner.  In this case, the chicken paillard was excellent; moist, infused with rational amounts of herbs,  and it tasted like good chicken.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Johnny Biltong did not surprise me in his choice.  Perhaps used to raw or air dried meat,  and not having consumed enough of the stuff since breakfast that morning, he went for the Broome & Delancey rib-eye steak and chips.  Very few chefs can mess up a steak – and he enjoyed his. A very generous portion.  It was, for me, quite amusing to see him struggle to eat it all.

Prices are pub gastro level ranging from £5-6 pounds for very good starters (We had tiger prawns and an exceptional smoked salmon) to £9-16.50 for the mains. The puddings, also rather good – particularly the chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce –  are priced at £5.50. I have to say that three courses was a bit of a challenge for me – I am maintaining a slim look this season – because the portions are generous.

So what did we have to drink? The wine list is sensible and fairy eclectic.  I make a point of always drinking the house wine when I do reviews, even if something more generous is offered. A decent restaurant will always offer a sensibly priced good house wine. Delancey & Broome followed this tradition.   I enjoyed the bottle of house red. I can’t show you the wine list – because they don’t seem to have it in pdf format.  Usual suspects well represented.

And so… to the pleasures of being in a restaurant and, more particularly, this restaurant

Unfortunately the Broome & Delancey website has gone for pictures of an empty restaurant.  This is usual with restaurants, but a pity – because the restaurant is far better looking in the flesh than it is in the stylish photographs on the website.

Johnny Biltong was surprised, as I was, to find that the restaurant was pretty busy on a cold Tuesday evening in credit-crunch Britain.  The atmosphere was good.  I have no idea if I felt particularly Parisian or whether I felt I could be in New York.  That didn’t matter – we were able to nip out for a cigarette in the heated seating area outside – the aluminium chairs were a bit cold – and return to find napkins folded and the table tidied by the stealthy staff.  The restaurant had a good feel to it – chatting friends, couples – an eclectic mix. The place felt relaxed and enjoyable to be in – and that, for me and many others, is important.

I end, to reflect the New York diner theme, by quoting a famous American – W C Fields who remarked: “A woman drove me to drink, and I’ll be a son-of-a-gun but I never even wrote to thank her.”

I would certanly go to Broome & Delancey again.  I can see why it is popular with locals – so, if you fancy a reasonably inexpensive night out – a good cocktail, some good food and excellent service – try Broome & Delancey.  Bring a bit of Paris and New York into your life? Not sure about that one – but it was a good place to spend an evening in – and the other diners seems to be enjoying themselves.

This review will also appear on the LawandMore website at some point next week.

Broome & Delancey: 35-37 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1HG  Phone: 020 7228 9400   Fax: 020 7990 9968

The head chef at Broome & Delancey is Wyatt Shevloff. Initially based on the West Coast of Canada in the Rocky Mountains, Wyatt has worked throughout Asia and Europe during his career. His most recent post in London was as Opening Chef for All Star Lanes. Wyatt’s passion for honest, classic food and his enthusiasm for launching new venues will deliver a premium dining experience at B&D.

Opening Hours
Mon: CLOSED | Tues-Fri: Noon-Midnight
Sat: 9am-midnight | Sun: 9am-10:30pm

You may find three courses too much – go for two and you must try the cocktails.  They are good.


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BBC2 “Barristers” Episode 2

I’m watching Barristers Episode 2 on iPlayer – simply because I don’t have a TV on the Boat at present.  There is a wonderful irony in the iPlayer listing for this programme.  “More Like This – The Real Hustle.”  Priceless!

I will review tomorrow.  So far… quite interesting but even more bizarre than I expected.

Someone at the BBC is having a laugh – and it ain’t Jonathan Ross or Russel Brand as they have been suspended / resigned (Brand)


Update:  Watched the episode. Much more interesting.  Getting into what barristers do – Much more engaging… Grand Night at Middle where the Benchers had lobster and crab soup and others had corn and potato soup notwithstanding!… but even that was fun to watch – great filming and part of our nation’s history.

Enjoyed this episode – and next week looks very promising from the trail. It can’t have been easy for the students to be under the microscope – Iqbal got his pupillage, pleasingly.

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Wonderfully absurd quotes?….

Mumbo jumbo, management speak, meedja speak – all have contributed to the richness of our language.

Below is a quote from  DLA Piper Joint Chief Executive Frank Burch. DLA Piper are reducing their exposure to bank credit by suggesting that income partners contribute capital and get a slice of the pie.

“Everybody who is a partner in the firm will have some skin in the game, and as you evolve and progress you will contribute more capital and have more skin in the game.”

Can’t say fairer than that….

Worthy of Matt Muttley, managing partner Muttley Dastardly LLP.



Matt Muttley, managing partner of niche boutique City law firm Muttley Dastardly LLP, said today that a number of associates within the firm were taking an ’employee attitude’ to their work rather than thinking of the long term prosperity of the partners.

Matt Muttley said today:

“I discussed this problem with my partner John Dastardly.  As a result of this discussion, over a glass or two of Chateau Talbot 1982, we now have a number of our associates going through some specialised training.  The idea is simple.  We have rented a small allotment.  We gave each associate a 2p coin and some vegetable seeds, asked them to plant the 2p and the seeds in the ground and see whether a money tree springs up in three to four weeks time.  We believe that this training will re-focus our associates to think in tune with the partners and understand the realities of life at the top of a law firm in these difficult times.”

Notes to Editors:

1. Matt Muttley is managing partner of leading boutique City law firm Muttley Dastardly LLP

2. Interviews with Mr Muttley can be arranged.  The fee for each interview will be variable depending on what you want him to say but prices start at £5000 for a short sound-byte.

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Poll: The Barristers BBC 2

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News and… Fancy a bogus title Sir / Madam?…

The news / latest from the blawgs is up on Insitelaw (Podcast by 11.00)

The Times: “A solicitor was accused yesterday of being at the centre of a dishonest trade in bogus feudal titles sold to Americans and other foreigners.”Roger Pitts-Tucker practises in The City: Website. Interestingly he appears to have a coat of arms? (above)

An action group has been set up: Phoneynobletitles.com

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Today I am talking to Susan Cartier Liebel a US Attorney, author of the Build a Solo Practice LLC blog in the States, and founder of the Solo Practice University – a very innovative concept for US lawyers to continue their training under the guidance of experts where their law school left off.

Susan covers the idea behind Solo Practice University, the mission, the faculty, the response so far and the likely opening date.  It is a fascinating concept and Susan’s enthusiasm is very clear.  The interview was recorded over a telephone and sound is not as good as I would have liked.

Listen to Podcast 79: Susan Cartier Liebel on the Solo Practice University in the US

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Two tribes go to war?…

Daily news and blawg watch up on Insitelaw: Two tribes go to War?
Click here for Insitelaw

They are both distinguished lawyers. They both hail from the same part of the profession… but they are now taking diametrically opposing views on the legality of the Iraq war and given the pedigree of the critic, former Lord Chief Justice and senior law lord, Lord Bingham – we have to listen. Or do we? The Justice secretary, Jack Straw does not seem to be inclined to do so.

The BBC reports: “Legal advice given to Tony Blair by the attorney general prior to the Iraq war was fundamentally “flawed,” a former law lord has claimed. Lord Bingham said Lord Goldsmith had given Mr Blair “no hard evidence” that Iraq had defied UN resolutions “in a manner justifying resort to force”. Therefore, the action by the UK and US was “a serious violation of international law,” Lord Bingham added.

It was Churchill who said that history is written by the victors and that may well have been true in the past but with the internet, global communication at the press of an email send button, blog or website *publish* button – it is not quite so easy to control the ‘public record’ and lay down ‘truth’.

The BBC reports states: Responding to Lord Bingham’s criticism, Lord Goldsmith insisted the invasion of Iraq was legal. “I would not have given that advice if it were not genuinely my view,” he said.

This is a damning condemnation of what was an unjustified invasion
Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader

Lord Chancellor Jack Straw backed Lord Goldsmith, arguing that his advice “was shared by many member states across the world… I do not accept Lord Bingham’s conclusions, which do not, I am afraid, take proper account of the text of Security Council Resolution 1441 nor its negotiating history,” Mr Straw said.

The Guardian: Top judge: US and UK acted as ‘vigilantes’ in Iraq invasion
Former senior law lord condemns ‘serious violation of international law.

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