Archive for November, 2009

Ah… a plot…. let’s go and lose it…

The day began well enough  shortly before 4.00 am, the time I usually rise to beat the Grim Reaper to it  – It being well known that a lot of people snuff it at 4.00 am)  – and I enjoyed doing two podcasts later in the morning: One with Paul and Jack from All About Law and one with Geoffrey Woollard, a prospective parliamentary candidate.  This latter  podcast goes up tomorrow morning.

To illustrate the type of day I am having – the more vigilant will have noticed my use of a capital letter after a colon in the paragraph above. In fact you may use a capital or a small letter after a colon and, if you are feeling particularly pedantic,  you may use one or two spaces after the colon. I have known this for some time… in fact, since I was ten, at a school in Scotland, where I spent a fair bit of my time in class wondering whether a board duster was going to come flying my way or not.  I did actually manage to catch a board duster lobbed in my direction on one occasion and asked if the teacher would like it back. He did want it back. But there we are….

I went for a walk after my podcasts, to get some fresh air and buy essential supplies of wine, fags and some provisions.  I bought myself a Marlon Brando Godfather mug.  I really shouldn’t be allowed out…sometimes. Still.. it is a very fine mug for a cuppa.

The day is not over yet… I am getting cabin fever, having confined myself to barracks for two full weeks and my only social contact has been on Skype video…. so I am planning amusements for Saturday.


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Lawcast 160: Paul & Jack from All About Law

Today I am talking to paul and Jack, the founders of All About Law – a law careers oriented site for law students with independent reviews of law schools and much much more..

Listen to the podcast

Podcast version for iTunes

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Libel: Doctor stands up for freedom of speech

The Times reports: “A British doctor who is being sued for libel after criticising an American company’s research has pledged to turn the action into a test case for freedom of speech. Peter Wilmshurst, a consultant cardiologist at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, told The Times that he aims to use a public-interest defence to fight the claim from NMT Medical and establish the principle that scientists may engage freely in academic debate.”

Dr Wilmshurst is to be applauded for standing up for a very important principle. As he says – he could lose his house if the decision goes against him.

Dr Wilmshurst said: “I have got a responsibility to fight this. There is a fundamental principle of science at stake here. People have to be free to challenge research.”

There is growing concern about the use of England’s draconian libel laws to stifle expert scrutiny of scientific evidence. Simon Singh, the science writer, has been sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association over an article in which he questioned the evidence that spinal manipulation could treat childhood conditions such as asthma and colic.


The Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, is well aware of the pressing need to rein in the growing problem of libel tourism and the use of libel law to suppress fair, public comment and scrutiny.

Mark Lewis, Dr Wilmshurt’s solicitor said, “Libel law was having “not so much a chilling effect as a killing effect” on scientific debate, by making researchers think twice before challenging findings with which they disagreed.

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The dangers of punditry…

While most bloggers try to comment accurately on the issues of the day and, possibly, add a perspective from their own experience, this excellent post from Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice does illustrate the dangers of punditry and the art of  talking ‘complete and utter bollocks’ as we say down on the Medway.

Freedom of Speech is a prized right… do read the comments (82 when I was on earlier)… they are well worth reading!

And… while you are at it… do go and have a look at WhatAboutClients? run by Dan Hull and his colleagues… it is always worth a read and if you like ‘direct’… you will certainly get it there!

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I have created  a widget on Insite Law Magazine for daily Iraq Inquiry news direct from the Iraq Inquiry RSS feed.

Iraq Inquiry RSS feed widget on the right hand panel of Insite Law

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Cruel Britannia

Is this how low we have fallen?  Is this why David Miliband, Foreign Secretary, is so keen to keep secret the information which our judges wish to make public as part of the due process of law?  Is this what is being done in our name?  Is this how we preserve our so called freedom?

The Guardian reports:

‘Cruel, illegal, immoral’: Human Rights Watch condemns UK’s role in torture

The attorney general was under intense pressure tonight to order a wider series of police investigations into British complicity in torture after one of the world’s leading human rights organisations said there was clear evidence of the UK government’s involvement in the torture of its own citizens.

After an investigation spanning more than a year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) today condemned Britain’s role in the torture of terror suspects detained in Pakistan as cruel, counter-productive and in clear breach of international law.

Critically, a report published today by HRW – entitled Cruel Britannia: British Complicity in the Torture and Ill-treatment of Terror Suspects – draws upon corroborative evidence received from the Pakistani torturers themselves.

Read the full report in the Guardian


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Blawg Review #238 from Ireland….

‘Main of the Match: Appalling Conflations and Tenuous Links As An Island Recovers From A Close Brush With Injustice…

Today HRinI is pleased to host this week’s Blawg Review, following in the footsteps of previous Irish hosts Daithí Mac Síthigh and Eoin O’Dell.

An amusingly themed Blawg Review – but one from a very good Human Rights blog from Ireland

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