Archive for November, 2008

‘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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