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Archive for January 4th, 2010

We start the new year, the new decade, with the news:  “a total of 400 serving and former MPs were yesterday reported to be facing demands to pay back some of their claims. They range from a few pounds to about £90,000. The number is twice as high as previously calculated. (Independent)

MPs invoke 1689 Bill to avoid prosecution

“Independent reports the astonishing news that three labour MPs are arguing they cannot be prosecuted over expenses claims because they are protected by parliamentary privilege. The trio – Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine – are being represented by a legal firm that has acted as solicitor to the Labour Party since 1990. Their lawyers are understood to maintain that the Bill of Rights of 1689 makes them immune to prosecution. Police have forwarded files relating to the expenses claims of six MPs and peers to the Crown Prosecution Service.”

MPs are entitled, as is everyone in this country, to the correct application of the law. If it transpires that immunity is, indeed, provided under the Bill of Rights 1689 then it might be advisable for Parliament to clear that loophole up  – retrospectively?   The good thing about HP sauce is… you know what you are getting when you buy it…and it adds a bit of honest flavour to a bacon sandwich. The sandwich of greedy, troughing,  MPs is not, however, quite so palatable.

For more observations on legal life – do visit Charles Pugsley Fincher’s website – always worth a visit.  (I have not, obviously, been bribed to say this)

Fortunately, there aren’t too many people trying to bribe bloggers – although I do draw attention in my Blawg Review #245 to an astonishing situation where a blogger in the US ran a marketing campaign to persuade people to vote for his blog in the annual ABA Journal blog awards  – the prize money on offer?   $500!  The Times reports this morning: Eversheds offers guidance on new bribery law.  It is an interesting article because parliament is about to  to pass one of the most comprehensive laws in the world to stamp out the use of bribes, kickbacks, gifts and corporate corruption to secure contracts, especially overseas.

Apple not to blame for hearing loss from playing iPods too loud, says judge. The Times notes that a judge has applied a degree of common sense to a claim by holding that people do not need to turn the volume up to “11” and they are responsible for themselves. This contrasts starkly with a report this morning on Overlawyered: “Lawyer: Man who slipped on cruise ship deserves every penny of $9.5 million”

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary claims he has become so unpopular with the airline’s passengers that half would be happy to see him dead.

The Belfast telegraph reports: “He said many more would rejoice when he finally steps down in around two years’ time after more than 17 years at the helm. …..I think there will be great joy, I think there will be dancing in the street at the idea of O’Leary leaving Ryanair,” he said. “It will be a nicer, warmer, caring airline with me gone. I think half our passengers would like to see me dead and buried, actually, and eventually they’ll get what they want. Frankly, I couldn’t care less as long as they fly with us.”

The OFT has described Ryanair as ‘puerile’.  Fortunately, I do not need to fly Ryanair.  The Independent reports: “Britain’s top business regulator has accused Europe’s biggest airline, Ryanair, of “almost taunting” passengers in a strongly worded attack on its charges. John Fingleton, the chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading, described Ryanair’s levying of fees for paying by card online as “puerile” and “almost childish”, adding the carrier was only operating within “the narrow letter of the law”.

The Daily Mail, ever at the forefront of news reporting notes that Ryanair cabin crew have a safe pair of breasts

And finally for this first day back at work…

I have written to the Bar Standards Board this morning to ask about the progress of the report by the BSB into BPP Law School’s over subscribing on the Bar Vocational Course;  a serious over subscription netting BPP Holdings plc, now owned by US firm, Apollo a very substantial sum of money believed to be as high a £1 Million.  (I suspect the real gain is slightly lower than that).

The BSB told me in early December that the report, which they plan to publish, will be out soon.  I have asked them to let me know when the report is out so that clarity can be brought to this rather shoddy episode. I have written on the issue of clarity by BPP several times.  BPP is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.  I believe, given they have degree awarding powers, that they should be – and deliver their services on a level playing field with university providers who are subject to close scrutiny under FOI. Here is a recent post I wrote.

I will let you know as soon as I hear from the BSB.  They are opening for business, not today…but tomorrow: Tuesday 5th January. It isn’t easy being a regulator, clearly.  An extra day of holiday must be most welcome.

Hat tip to US blogger Cathy Gellis for alerting me to this US news story about online education and diploma mills in the states – which includes a reference to BPP Law School’s new american masters Apollo. BoingBoing story

Update 10.00 am: The BSB office may not be open until tomorrow as the Out of Office email I received indicated but I have had a further very swift response from BSB to say that the report will be published after further meetings this month.

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