Archive for October, 2009

Halloween…whatever that is…

I’m off to London to meet some tweeters… for Halloween… and why not…. Back tomorrow with Podcast from the Staterooms-On-Sea.. Have a good one..

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Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced today that he found Professor Nutt’s advice inconvenient and not consistent with policy… or so it would seem.

The Guardian reports rather more precisely:

“Professor David Nutt, the Government’s chief drug adviser, was sacked today after claiming ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol, Home Office sources said”

Ah well…. The Curse of The Home Office appears to have another victim.

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A rather grave matter…

When I was a law student, I dug graves to keep myself amused with cigarettes, wine and other sybaritic pleasures.  I don’t dig graves these days,  but as I get older I am definitely interested in the idea of supermarkets flogging coffins.  I can quite happily picture myself, on a Saturday when I collect my shopping, wheeling a coffin out of of Sainsburys on a trolley, taking it home and perhaps using the coffin as a coffee table (and storage facility) until the time comes to get into it.

I just could not resist this story from the BBC this morning…. Halloween?  What’s that? This is far more ghoulish. Have a good night if you are out and about on the night of ghouls.

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A Round Tuit (7)

A Round Tuit (7)

Colin Samuels, author of four award winning Blawg reviews and until recently a sherpa on Blawg Review – produces an excellent weekly round up of Blawgs.  While inevitably US centric, Colin looks at a range of blog posts each week and often features blog posts from elsewhere.  Always worth a read – the themes covered are, more often than not, of interest to all lawyers and students wherever they practice.

Do have a look?!


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Legal Technology Insider

Lawcast 159: Charles Christian on new technologies for lawyers


Today I am talking to Charles Christian, lawyer, writer and Editor of Legal Technology Insider. Over the next 12 months law firms will once more be ramping up their investments in legal IT as the country climbs out of recession – but what sort of technologies should they be looking at?

Listen to the podcast

Podcast version for iTunes

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This seems horrific… is this why the UK government is so keen to have everything in court (Binyam Mohamed and Civil) heard in private?

Caveat: I do not know about the weight given to this report because I don’t follow enough US material to judge – but do have a look.  Pretty heavy stuff if it is true… and ‘pretty’ isn’t the right word.

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Imagine a country where the right to trial by jury has been undermined, where an individual can be tried twice – the rule on double jeopardy abandoned – where well over 3000 new crimes have been enacted in the past ten years; where racial, sexuality and religious tensions are said to need the protection and might of law.

Imagine a country where the chief justice and many leading judges fear for the future of justice and civil liberties because the government of that country has eroded civil liberties in the name of countering terror and  has reduced support for those of limited means, and vulnerable people, to fight their corner and pay for lawyers.

Imagine a country where people are imprisoned without charge for 28 days (42 days was defeated).

Imagine a country where the right to speak freely is restricted and individuals can be threatened by lawyers who can simply telephone a judge in Chambers to restrict them from speaking out,  on what may well be a matter of great public importance,  to protect sectional and very private corporate interests, where attempts to restrict the reporting of the proceedings of the press are routinely granted through the use of super-injunctions and, latterly, a country with laws which allowed lawyers to attempt to restrict the reporting of proceedings in parliament itself.

Imagine a country that leads the world in CCTV surveillance with more cameras per head of population than any other on Earth.

Imagine a country where not only the police but local authorities and other civilian bodies can routinely spy on you, intercept your email, bug your phone and can intrude to examine your bank accounts and then, even for quite minor offences, can seize your assets, freeze your bank account and seize and crush your car; powers intended to tackle terror and organised crime but which now will, inevitably, be used for far less serious offences.

Imagine a country which has restricted the money paid to experienced criminal lawyers with the result that many lawyers can no longer afford to practice in the field and the quality of representation may decline as a result.

Imagine a country with over 85,000 people in jail, a country where the Justice Ministry wants yet more prisons and even considered hiring prison ships from elsewhere.

Imagine a country where the government uses the device of statutory instrument to slide controversial legislation through into law without the eyes of the public, expert commentators or members of parliament being able to see, or objective  minds,  to consider those laws.

Imagine a country that allows the prime minister to wage war without the consent of the elected representatives of the people…

You don’t need to imagine such a country.  You are living in it.

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