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Archive for March 30th, 2010

Insite Law Newswire – 1st Edition

Here is the first edition of the new Insite Law Newswire – a work in progress, inevitably,  covering key information of relevance (I hope) to practitioners and students with the occasional contribution from ‘Charon QC’.  The newswire is rather more ‘serious’ than Charon Reports.  The plan is to publish once a week on a Monday but with the Easter Weekend coming up I thought I would publish this week’s edition now and another next week before settling into a Monday publishing date.  If you would like to contribute an article or a blog post, please get in touch.

It is, of course, free to view and if you would like to subscribe and get it by email weeklyplease register here – or simply visit Insite Law Magazine on a Monday and pick it up directly.  You will not receive any emails other than the newswire. You may unsubscribe at any time and your email will NOT be given to third parties.

Download the first edition here

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The Home Office is to ban Meow Meow plant food within days. I suspect the net drugbarons are devising some quite different plants food as I type…

…and, as the newspapers are now suggesting, rubbing their hands with glee as they stockpile and wait for the price to rocket for retail on the streets.

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The difficulties of the Criminal Bar are considered by Frances Gibb, legal editor at The Times.  It would appear that mechanics are not being paid £60 gross per hour (£40 net).  As ever, the comments in the Times continue to reveal the pulse of the nation…

Keith Welton wrote:

1/ virtually all car mechanics take home pay is less than £10 per hour.
2/ The work a car mechanic does is useful to society unlike much that is performed by a Barrister.

I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies and that we don’t face the problem in the industrial and construction world where immigrants from Europe can undercut British workforce fees and, some say, do a better job.

Blawg Review #257

Blawg Review this week comes from Lance Godard (who helps law firms grow and prosper) and is ‘innovative’.  In Lance’s own words…” To celebrate the first anniversary of 22 Tweets, our Twitter interviews of practicing lawyers, we’ve put together a special version of Blawg Review. What does that mean? First and foremost, it means that we’ve selected 22 posts from this week’s legal blogs: 22 authors, 22 blawgs, 22 posts.”

It also means no free ride and, indeed, I have to respond to a question lance posed to me…on Twitter.  I am thinking about my 140 character response. Lance asked me…as if I would know…. (and if I did, I would probably wish to charge a fee for my ‘view’ .”)

@charonqc What would you say is the most significant issue facing the legal profession today? Can it be resolved? How?”

Any ideas? Good Blawg Review – it will be interesting to read the responses of the other 22 bloggers asked.

MPs told they can keep employing family members

The Times reports: MPs will be allowed to continue employing spouses despite overwhelming public hostility, the head of the new expenses watchdog said yesterday. Sir Ian Kennedy, the chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, risked the wrath of the Speaker and the Committee on Standards in Public Life by allowing one family member to be employed per MP.

It seems to me, not unreasonable for those MPs who did not abuse the system (and there are a fair few), to be allowed to continue to employ a spouse or other family member to work with them.  I would have thought that we get better value for our taxpayer buck from a wife / husband or husband / wife working together?  Sir Ian Kennedy, a former Dean at King’s College Law School, is no fool and he will have examined the matter most carefully.  The tabloids, naturally, are awash with talk of climbdowns etc etc.  Fun though it is to read the random ranting of journalists in newspapers who one minute are gung-ho for Labour then turn overnight into a ravening horde for the Tories.. I would prefer to see the future governed by people who actually know what they are talking about than hacks appealing to ‘single Mum (35)’ or ‘Joe the builder’ to give us their thoughts on the matter. Perhaps I am being unreasonable?

The Lawyer has picked up on the BNP barrister story: BNP barrister sparks debate on workplace ethics.

A noble effort on the part of the The Lawyer (at least they tried) – but on reading the story, which was rather thin, it appears the debate is not that ‘fierce’ or, indeed sparky…or spark plugs, come to that, given the ‘satanic mechanic’ stories raging about barristers being paid less than car mechanics. In fact there appears to be only one comment on the story at the time of writing this post but they did manage to dredge up a couple of quotes…

Wragge & Co senior ­partner Quentin Poole said: “It’s possible to imagine a situation where an individual apple would taint the whole barrel, but it’s unlikely. We instruct St Philips and I’m quite sure our litigation partners will talk about this and decide what their view is.”

That said, an instructing partner at another Birmingham firm said that if ­Grierson had remained at the set its business would probably have suffered.

“I think [the set was] worried that in Birmingham there are a number of solicitors from ethnic minorities that instruct the chambers. What it boils down to is money,” he emphasised.

I think that rather sums it up. Perhaps it is, after all, a matter of money and busy lawyers are far too busy making the stuff to concern themselves about ‘sparking a debate’?

But… it is not all bad news… The Times reports:

Accounting firms facing rise in negligence claims amid credit crunch fallout

The Times notes: “Although the number of claims last year was far lower than the 61 that reached the High Court in the wake of the dot-com collapse — when auditors were criticised for their their role in corporate scandals such as those involving Enron and WorldCom — lawyers predict that this is the beginning of a wave of cases that will emerge from the financial crisis.

“The sudden jump in professional negligence claims suggests that cases relating to the credit crunch have started to reach the courts,” Jane Howard, a partner of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, said.”

And finally…. with a due Hat-tip to The Sun headline writing team… I did watch (but was rather bored by)…

The Clash of The Tight ‘uns

The Times report is rather more sane… “Alistair Darling and Vincent Cable ganged up on George Osborne last night to heap derision on the Conservatives’ proposed tax cut.”

Inevitably, on Twitter, Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home  was on twitter immediately to pronounce 7/10 for Osborne – placing him in clear ‘Blue’ water between his rivals Darling and Cable.  @ToryBear told a grateful nation ‘Well done, George’ – the lefty twitters derided Osbore… but a poll did seem to place Vince Cable first, Darling 2nd and Osbore 3rd… hey-ho…who cares what the pundits think?… there is only one poll that matters – fun though it is to see twitterers and political bloggers hyperventilating and wetting themselves online with excitement at every small stage managed activity… therein lies the real fun.

I found the actual ‘debate’ between the Tight ‘Uns rather dull.  I suspect the debates – even more stage managed and controlled between the party leaders – will be even more dull;  but we shall soon see… coming to a television set near you…shortly.

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