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Archive for July 26th, 2010

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Prisons minister says criminals could cut jail sentences by saying ‘sorry’

• Crispin Blunt wants victims to confront offenders
• Restorative justice would lead to ‘rehabilitation revolution’

Guardian

It seems, however, that Cameron has slapped this rather good idea down…..

See John Hirst, writing on Old Holborn’s Blog – a thoughtful piece and well worth reading.

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The bizarre case of Earl Spencer, his divorce lawyer…and seven little piggies

The Daily Mail reports: “One of the country’s leading lawyers told the Earl that he had named his sow’s piglets after the character traits of a High Court judge – including ‘self-regarding’, ‘pompous’ and ‘pillock’….. The insults were revealed by Princess Diana’s brother as he prepared to sue the lawyer over the handling of his divorce. After the Earl handed £5.65million to his ex-wife last year, Sir Nicholas Mostyn emailed him about Lord Justice Munby, who heard the case.The keen farmer, now a High Court judge himself, said his sow had given birth, adding: ‘The piglets will be named: James, Munby, self-regarding, pompous, publicity, seeking, and pillock…’ The insults were included in a writ Earl Spencer issued last month in the High Court.”

Bizarre indeed.  The Mail notes that Mostyn and Munby are, however, good friends…so there should be little difficulty between the learned friends.

Fast-track deportations from UK ‘unlawful’

BBC: The fast-track deportation of foreign nationals refused permission to remain in the UK has been declared unlawful by the High Court. A judge ruled that the Home Office policy meant people were being given “little or no notice” of removal and were deprived of access to justice…… Home Office lawyers argued that the deportation policy was “sufficiently flexible” to avoid any human rights breaches, and that detainees were given as much notice as possible before removal

Well, on this occasion the High Court disagrees.  That’s the trouble with law… it can get in the way of new policies. Back to the drawing board again for the Home Office.  Given the number of Home Office ‘disappointments’ recorded in the press one wonders why the people working there don’t have a look at the law before acting or, at the very least, consult their lawyers.  Perhaps they do?  I’m not sure which is worse…not consulting the law in advance or acting after taking advice from the lawyers!

The graphic above comes from a post I did on a quite remarkable statement by a lecturer at BPP recenttly….

Actually, I take the “BPP is a sausage factory” criticism as a compliment – Katie Best, BPP Business School

First private university in decades to be created

BBP, wholly owned by US company Apollo, has been granted university status. Report

It will be interesting to see what happens – the plan is to go into health and teaching degrees. Fees at BPP for their degrees, while not on the BPTC scale of nigh on 15k p.a. are likely to be higher than traditional universities – at least until traditional universities are allowed to put their fees up.  They are set, for the moment, at the same level as the maximum fees permitted to be  charged by traditional universities..  One of the problems that BPP will face, of course, is ‘currency and value’.  There is a pecking order of universities in the United Kingdom based on quality. There is not the same perception of law schools providing professional training at LPC and BPTC level  to anything like the same extent.  BPP University College will, I suspect, have to start at the very bottom of the university degree reputation pile – as they have no track record on degree teaching of any substance yet.

The only issues of any worth considering are these: (a) Can BPP hack it in a competitive and well proven university degree sector? (b) Will a BPP degree be worth anything to employers? (c) Will BPP degree holders be able to compete with the very best students from the top universities? and (d) Will BPP be able to expand their business without damaging the reputation they enjoy for law and accountancy training?

A fifth question could be: Does BPP University College plan to do any ‘research’ or is this likely to be a costly inconvenience to the business of running a business and  teaching?  These are the questions students and their competitors will and should be asking.

Only time will tell.  It shouldn’t take long to get an objective market assessment.  I shall return to this shortly in more detail.

As for Mr David Willetts’ statement  (The government minister responsible for the decision) …“I am delighted that, less than four months after coming into office, we are creating the first new private university college in more than 30 years.”

This is serial bollocks, of course.  The Coalition government did not build BPP or Apollo.  They did.  All the Coalition government has done is rush into a decision.  We shall see if they get credit for doing so or criticism…in time.

The BBC reports:”But Sally Hunt, leader of the UCU lecturers’ union, attacked the creation of the new university college as a threat to standards in higher education.

“Today’s news could mark the beginning of a slippery slope for academic provision in this country,” she said.

“Encouraging the growth of private providers and making it easier for them to call themselves universities would be a disaster for the UK’s academic reputation. It would also represent a huge threat to academic freedom and standards.”

“Private providers are not accountable to the public and do not deserve to be put in the same league as our universities,” said the leader of the lecturers’ union.

BPP University College of Professional Studies Ltd (The full name of the Institution)  – which I assume has to be the vehicle for this given the grant of degree awarding powers was to this wing of BPP – is NOT subject to The Freedom of Information Act and is therefore NOT accountable nor transparent.  It took me some time to get the QAA report from Peter Crisp, the Dean of BPP Law School.  This must change if there is to be an honest and fair ‘level playing field’ between public and private sector.  It is not known at this stage whether Mr Willetts has considered this aspect – or even if he had it in his mind when making the decision. The new University is not a British owned university.  It is owned by Apollo, an American firm.  This may or may not be a disadvantage…and does it matter?  We shall see.

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