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Archive for January 15th, 2010

Lawcast 162: Law News round up with Matthew Taylor

Today I am talking to Matthew Taylor, a solicitor, who is also author of the MTPT blog. In the last week two important legal issues have caught my eye – the motion granted to John Hemming MP about contempt of parliament by a law firm and the European Court of Human Rights decision that s44 stop and search powers are illegal. In fact, there has been a lot of law news this week and we’ll be exploring some of these issues in the podcast today..

We consider also:  Trial by judge alone, Marco Pierre White case against Withers, television in court and the Iraq Inquiry.

Listen to the podcast

Podcast version for iTunes

This is the first Law News round up style podcast which I plan to do with an invited guest on a regular basis. I’m afraid I have a cold and some snuffling noises were picked up.  Apologies – mea culpa…but the show had to go on!

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George Osborne, the Guardian reports, can’t wait to start cutting.
The Guardian reports..

George Osborne identifies cuts for first weeks of Tory government

Shadow chancellor says £178bn fiscal deficit means he cannot wait for initial post-election budget before cutting expenditure.  This prompted the chief secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, to say: “What is clear is that in his rush to cut spending in 2010, George Osborne would put the recovery in grave danger. But until he says how he’ll do it, and whether he’ll match Labour’s pledge to halve the deficit in four years, his speeches must be taken with a huge pinch of salt.”

New rules to cut down frivolous injury claims

Independent: Unscrupulous firms that urge people to make frivolous legal claims after suffering an injury face being shut down under radical proposals designed to cut millions off the cost of civil justice. So-called “claims farmers”, which sell on cases to personal injury lawyers, would be banned under a plan drawn up by one of Britain’s most senior judges. The clampdown is part of a series of reforms aimed at cutting back Britain’s burgeoning “no win no fee” legal industry. Lord Justice Jackson, a judge in the Court of Appeal, said: “The focus of our litigation process should be upon compensating victims, not upon making payments to intermediaries and others. That such substantial referral fees are being paid shows that there is too much money swilling around in the personal injury compensation process.”

Hat Tip to Scott Greenfield, Simple Justice, for alerting me to this wonderful advert from a US Law firm about personal injury cases

The film is worth a look.  It isn’t  a long one.

Whatever your politics… Lord Tebbit of Chingford is one of Britain’s most outspoken conservative commentators and politicians…and he writes a damn good blog in the telegraph… worth a read.

Why won’t the two main parties do anything about the madness of taxing the poor?

This is his second piece… and it will give you a good taste..

My increasingly jaded eye, when it comes to PR material spun out of law firms and elsewhere, was caught by this piece of analysis  in AllAboutLaw, a good magazine primarily focused at students.

The recruitment manager from a law firm  reflects on ….The LLM – the employers perspective.

After giving four reasons why students take an LLM – 1. They have a genuine, long term interest in the subject matter. 2. They have no idea what they want to do next in their career, it’s a way of killing time. 3. They have poor previous academics and want to ‘prove’ themselves at a higher level. 4. They have secured employment in the distant future/have been deferred and want to continue to academically stretch themselves….

The piece goes on with this wonderful ‘case study’… “Let us take a case study. Doing an LLM in Family Law in the hope that it will increase your chances of securing a training contract with a firm like Trowers & Hamlins would have little impact on your application, Trowers & Hamlins doesn’t have a family department, nor are they likely to gain one in the foreseeable future.”

Perhaps realising that this last ‘case study’ might be too Stating the Bleeding Obvious 101 for Law Firms – the writer does go on to suggest that a relevant LLM may be of more use.  I’m afraid I lost the will to go on after reading… ““Even if the LLM is valuable to your future employer it must sit alongside a stellar application”

I had no idea what a stellar application is. I iz old git, yeah..not down on da street with da kidz.. not sav wid teh internets.  I did check Google to see if I could download one to an iPhone – but then I realised  she was talking about the application form.  BUT….ever thorough…then I discovered that there is even a book about stellar application writing… so if you don’t measure up, have a totally inappropriate LLM, have a pretty ropey cv… or are just exhausted after being patronised by dumbed down articles on law school or law careers websites, you may find this book of some value… so your LLM can ‘sit alongside a stellar application’…

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IT HAS NOT BEEN A GREAT WEEK FOR WITHERS

Not only are they now facing the prospect of being hauled before the Bar in parliament to answer a charge of being in contempt of parliament (in fact, this is unlikely) they have managed to get into RollonFriday and may have irritated Marco Pierre White… big time.  RollonFriday, as is often the case, has the story… If you do feel inclined to visit the Withers website… it may be an idea to wear sunglasses.  The front page of the website is… shall we say… a bit ‘sudden’.

RollonFriday reports…The Court of Appeal has ruled that Marco Pierre White can seek damages from Withers after his personal mail was intercepted. The celebrity chef is in the middle of a divorce from his wife, Mati. She is represented by Withers, and during the course of proceedings letters to White were produced by the firm (including a contract from P&O and a letter from his daughter). White said he’d never seen these documents before, and claimed Mati had said that Withers had said she could go through his post….”

But it is this bit.. that I enjoyed most…and I quote it in full…

A spokesman for Withers said, “We have always maintained that any allegations made by Marco Pierre White against Marcus Dearle and Withers LLP are completely unfounded. But as Sedley LJ commented, ‘…  the desire for vengeance on the lawyers acting for an estranged spouse is as  common as it is irrational.'”

So, that’s calling a volatile and mouthy chef “irrational“. Smart – watch this space”

It is Friday… not much law news about… and I do enjoy a bit of left field on a Friday morninng.  Today, I shall have a traditional bacon and eggs breakfast.  in fact.. I shall cook it now.  Enjoy the weekend.

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