Archive for August, 2010

Dear Reader,

I write this week with news, that owing to the exigencies of the international betting market, I had to post my weekly *Postcard* on Monday, as opposed to Sunday.  This has resulted in a lot of greedy, venal, f**ks making a great deal of money.  No money changed hands with me, of course, and recent pictures in the News of The World showing me counting a large amount of money are published out of context.  I quite often spend a happy hour or so of an evening   counting my money and on the evening that particular picture was taken, I was, in fact, watching an episode of The Dragon’s Den and I wanted to get in the mood for the programme.  Context and evidence based analysis and reporting is all.

Talking of greedy, venal, peopleJohn Bolch brings news, on a tweet,  of the well deserved bank holiday for bankers.

So… to Twitter…

Law blogger Jack of Kent a serial twitter user as well – writes with passion (and knowledge)  about the law and backs up his views with practical pro bono support for others  where is able to do so. After being hauled over the coals/challenged by the Transgender community for daring to post about practical issues – he has explained why he is a liberal and what this means to him. What is liberalism?

I don’t always agree with Jack of Kent’s analyses but respect the way he puts analysis and comment together. This does not, of course, mean that I am right.  It just means that I don’t always agree.

There are dangers in all blogging, and the use of twitter,  that the blogger or twitterer will get what I choose to call Popeitis – an infallibility complex. This is rather more dangerous than sitting on top of mountains for a while and then descending with tweets of stone to educate the assembled multitude.

The Social Media Maven pronounces (2010)
Oil on Canvas

The third category of danger, and one that Jack of Kent may well be ‘guilty’ of, is what I call Zeusitis – sitting on top of a mountain and hurling a few thunderbolts about to wind up Libertarians and other members of the knee jerking and ranting classes. I may well have done a bit of this myself on occasion.  I say ‘danger’ because tweeters seeing Zeusitis tweets are particularly likely to come scurrying out of their lairs – especially late of an evening when over refreshed – and tweet like a beserker or, indeed, if others join in, tweet en masse like a group of Beserkers on a quick raid down the Northumberland coastline.  This, I think, is fair game – they, the Libertarians and ranters, are more than able to cope.  I do enjoy debating with Jack of Kent and, being that it is a debate and not a hearing before a court of justice, I am more than prepared to use every means at my debating disposal to ‘win’ the point – including obfuscation, dissimulation, treachery, blackops and even a bit of law thrown in to spice it up a bit.  Few, I hope, regard this as attacking Jack of Kent – who needs no help from anyone in defending himself!  Fight the good fight, Jack.  Never surrender!

And talking of knee jerking – here is an amusing parody of Iain Dale’s DiaryIain Fale’s Diary

Twitter may also be used to put the boot in….

Tom Harris MP wrote a well reasoned piece on the Save The NHS campaign being pushed by Prezza – making the not unreasonable point that Labour also planned to cut NHS Direct in favour of another NHS proposition – 111.

Tom replied to Prezza with this: @johnprescott I’m sorry you want to make personal comments about me, John. I’ll stick to the politics (fortunately for you).

I rather like the idea of an experienced MP – here a Labour MP –  taking a point of principle, being honest and open and not knee jerking or responding along *Tribal* lines.

Well… the silly season ends with the end of the bank holiday and I am quite pleased that autumn approaches and I can get back to some semblance of commenting on law and do a spot of work.

Best, as always



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Conservatives ready to repay Asil Nadir’s donations

Guardian / Observer: Tory party officials say they will return £440,000 donated by Asil Nadir, if former Polly Peck boss is found guilty of fraud

Disaffected pupil?  Surely no-one is daft enough to conduct their own defence at the Crown Court?

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Chatting to  a  local who knows a fair bit about cricket this morning while having a coffee at the caff –  He wasn’t surprised about the revelations in the News of The World this morning…saddened for fans, yes… but not surprised.  Tragic.  Hopefully this mess will be cleaned up along with Cricket – truly great game.

Match-fixer pockets £150k as he rigs England Test at Lord’s

News of The World

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Nick Clegg acknowledges Liberal Democrat ‘anxieties’

Guardian: Deputy PM says next month’s Lib Dem party conference could be difficult, but insists ‘debate is not a bad thing’

I did enjoy this quote from The Guardian…..

Clegg has faced criticism from fellow MPs as well as rank-and-file party members. The veteran Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock said on Tuesday that Clegg would face a “sticky” party conference, after the Institute for Fiscal Studies concluded that the coalition government’s June budget was regressive.

“We didn’t sign up for a coalition that was going to hurt the poorest people in society, and I certainly didn’t get elected to do that ever,” Hancock said.

Clegg said next month’s conference could be difficult, but “debate and people expressing their views is not a bad thing”.

I agree.. people expressing their views and YouGov/Sun polls indicating Lib-Dem support running at 12% for some weeks now is, probably/possibly/ineluctably, a fair indication of *sentiment*.

I shall be tuning in to the Lib-Dem conference this year.  Perhaps we shall see a new political party being born? Who knows.  Not even Nostracharondamus predicted that we would have a Lib-Dem DPM running the country while Cameron is on leave. All empires die eventually… but the unusual factor about the Lib-Dem *empire* is that they managed to lose it without actually having an empire in the first place.  But there we are…..

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A week or so ago I wrote, reasonably seriously, about a half baked plan to have Magistrates Courts set up in shopping malls – an idea that The Magistrates Association appears to have retreated from.

Law Review: Magistrates call for courts in shopping centres – a parody?

Unfortunately, another even less baked idea has been put forward by a magistrate… as reported in The Guardian today.  I am grateful to @BristolRed for the tip off to The Guardian report.

The Guardian reports: “Any takers for the justice bus? This unlikely sounding proposition, a mobile court travelling far-flung parts of the country dispensing justice, was floated recently, along with the idea of “pop-up” courts in supermarkets.

Both were suggested as ways of preserving local justice in the face of the huge court closure plan. Ministers want to save £15.3m by redrawing the justice map and closing 157 magistrates and county courts.

…. “As for the justice bus, a Norwich JP, Diana Reid, has in mind a decommissioned double-decker to take justice to remote communities. In a recent article for the Magistrates Association magazine, she describes the Tardis-like properties of the vehicle: “Upstairs are the supporting admin staff, and a separated area for the lawyers. On the lower level the space is divided into a very small waiting area; the ‘court room area’ and a very small ‘retiring area’.” Quite; there’s not much room for dignity, let alone anything else.”

It might be a good idea for Ken Clarke, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice to have a look at some of the people who are magistrates as part of his review of criminal justice – if these ideas are popping into the minds of those who are dispensing justice on the cheap?

Twitter often comes up with a pithy comment and I think @djhanks has hit the nail on the head with this one worder  tweet….

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Dear Charon,

“I’m an NQ lawyer suffering a minor spiritual crisis. I am quite enjoying the work so far, but my problem is that I look around the office at the partners, all of whom are perfectly pleasant, but rather dull and grey, and think: ‘That’s me in 15-20 years’.

No, I have not set up in business as an ‘Agony Uncle’.  This came from a wonderful article in Legal Week where the writer asked the perfectly reasonable question:

Do big personalities exist at law firms?

The comments are marvellous as well… here is a taster…well worth a read.

The drive to institutionalise clients has also contributed to this, which is why a lot of partners are really just senior account managers. It’s only odd that lawyers then scratch their heads and ask why clients struggle to differentiate them. But the upside is that there are less loony, racist, bullying, sexual harassing, alcoholics kicking around the Square Mile, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.

Your post reminds me of my in-house colleagues’ horror story about a boozy dinner with her husband’s (big, corporate) firm. She was sat between one partner who kept saying “see, what you’ve got to understand about me is, I’m really, REALLY clever!” while the partner on the other side slurred “you know, when I draft a perfect clause in a contract, it’s just the most beautiful feeling in the world!”

I am sure there are some very amusing lawyers out there – but I suspect they can be forgiven, in their daily lives at the coal face, for not exhibiting their more ‘eccentric’ side.  There are, of course, crashingly dull ones as well. But have you ever attended a conference of greedy business people? Now… therein lies boredom.  There are still some ‘unusual’ characters at the Bar though.

My online magazine doesn’t write itself and I am always grateful to those who (a) sponsor the free student materials and (b) who contribute. Kevin Beare & Co are doing both and hopefully lawyers and other will find their articles linked on Insite Law from their own blog useful to their work and lives. Kevin Beare & Co are Chartered Accountants to overseas companies operating in the UK. They focus their marketing activities solely on companies wishing to enter the UK, or who are already here with overseas parents.  Kevin Beare has operated as Finance Director/CFO for subsidiaries of multinationals, and in 1992 started his own practice. For over 20 years Kevin’s aim has been to provide cost-effective CFO resources to overseas companies operating in the UK.

What particularly interested me, talking to Paul Beare, Kevin’s son, is that  Kevin’s business model  is structured around local, qualified part-time employees working child friendly hours. Indeed written into the contracts of the team are child friendly clauses including specifically allowing time off to attend Nativity shows.  This must be a sensible option for some smaller law firms?  I don’t know – I don’t practice,  but I do know that when I was running a law school I was very much the beneficiary of very bright women solicitors and barristers who were able to teach part-time and bring up their children with hours which were convenient to them.

Here are a few links to give you a taste. Insite Law will be covering information provided through Kevin Beare & Co’s blog where it  will be of value to lawyers and others who read my blog.

Kevin Beare & Co – Chartered Accountants to overseas companies operating in the UK

Doing business online

July Investment news

VAT Schemes for Small Businesses

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Lawcast 167: Oliver Wharmby, Priest & Co, on Professional Indemnity Insurance for Solicitors

Professional Indemnity Insurance for solicitors is a matter of great importance – without it, solicitors cannot practice. I talk to Oliver Wharmby of Priest & Co, lloyds Insurance Brokers on the the current state of play in the insurance market which is by no means as straightforward as, perhaps, it was in previous years with Quinm not re-entering the solicitors professional indemnity insurance (PII) market this year in England & Wales.

We discuss:

1.  Introduction – what is PI – what does it cover and why do solicitors have to have it  – how much cover do big / small firms typically arrange? – any maximum on payout?  – What about excess?

2.  What is the scale of claims – roughly how many each year – value of claims – who are the biggest claimers / biggest risk

3.  Who provides the Insurance – qualifying insurer – how many – effect of Quinn / Hiscox – how difficult is insurance to get?  – what do insurers look for?  – difference between major Magic Circle firm and small practice – premium differential.

4.  When do solicitors need to get their Insurance organised by?

5. What if no-one will cover a firm?

6. What is the outlook for the forthcoming renewal season?

7.When is the best time to be obtaining quotes?


(Due to internet connectivity issues – there is a very short passage midway where sound quality deteriorates.  It is, however, brief)


Priest and Co are Lloyds Insurance Brokers and specialists in Professional Indemnity Insurance for the legal profession. They are happy to work in a broker capacity approaching the markets they have access to, but also in an advisory role to ensure all markets have been approached. They also have access to a distressed market for those firms that have no other alternative but the assigned risk pool.

If you would like some advice or to discuss matters with Oliver Wharmby – he would be delighted to assist.  You may contact him by email or through his office at Priest & Co

Tel: 0207 648 4122

The Law Society require that cover is provided through a qualifying insurer and in line with the minimum requirements. Because the Law society require cover to be so broad, there are very few insurers that are willing to provide the insurance. This creates a lack of supply for the large demand. There are roughly 12,000 law firms in the UK with one renewal date on 1st October.

Law Society Update

PII support

Quinn update

We have just learned that Quinn Insurance Limited has confirmed that it will not be re-entering the solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance (PII) market in England and Wales this year.

Articles worth looking at to follow up on this topic





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I have come up with a new idea to accompany my Smokedo exercises.  I have decided to walk for precisely 30 minutes and see how far I get and then walk back.  This will ensure that I walk for at least one hour daily and have a random experience.  Today, I started from Battersea Square and ended up at Sloane Square Tube station.  While I was tempted to get on a 319 bus back to Battersea Bridge I resisted – and then got completely soaked in the deluge. Tomorrow, I hope to get further for my 30 minutes… and so on.  I could end up in Birmingham with a bit of practice, dedication and effort – and then what will I do?

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Silly Season News

After implausible tales of a rogue long distance swimming salt water crocodile terrorising French and English bathers in the English Channel last week in The Sun (It turned out, predictably, to be a large log),  we have the equally implausible story of the football loving Coalition government backing the Ingerland World Cup hosting bid –  with Mao Tse Clegg, deputy prime minister, saying our bid is ‘unbeatable’. (BBC)  [I like a bit of good old Ingerlish ‘hubris’.  I remember that the Ingerland footer team is ‘unbeatable’… well…. they did win the 1066 World Cup when the team was captained by The Duke of Normandy]

You will note that he did not say that the Ingerland football team is ‘unbeatable’. That would be an incredible thing to say, even for a running dog imperialist historico-political revisionist who has ‘Road to Damascus’ moments most days when he recants on his previously held Lib-Dem views expressed before the election.   You will also note that he tells FIFA that England, as opposed to Ingerland, has a passion for football.  This may or may not be true.  I did not notice many Ingerland or England supporters actually watching the World Cup on television in the Battersea Square bars after Ingerland knocked themselves out of the last World Cup in Vuvuzela Land.

I don’t actually care whether England hosts the 2018 World Cup or not – but there again, my interest in the London Olympics is also close to zero – unless they allow the athletes to enhance their performance with drugs.  As I have often said – I’d pay good money to see a man jump 70 ft into the air or do 100 metres faster than Clarkson can do it in a Bugatti Veyron.  I suppose one advantage of hosting the World Cup is that Ingerland would actually get into the first round without having to go through the unpleasant and angst ridden business of ‘qualifying’ and we could come up with some annoying ‘gimmick’ to equal the Vuvuzela and get everyone to sing Rule Britannia when Ingerland get knocked out in the second round.   It is not known how many of the present public school dominated Cabinet even know what a football is. Perhaps a Freedom of Information request?

And talking of Freedom of Information requests…. Guido Fawkes has an interesting one on his blog this morning…..

Just Asking

Guido asks…… for information about Christopher Mayers (25) former driver to William Hague – and now a Special Adviser…  I can do no better than quote Guido: “Seems odd that young Christopher Myers (25) should go from driving William Hague (49) around his constituency during the election to become his third SpAd. According to Peter McLay the FCO says the Foreign Secretary “needs another adviser because he has additional responsibilities, having bagged the Peter Mandelson title of First Secretary of State. Perhaps so, but Mandelson didn’t hire young friends as special advisers, so far as I know.” Quite.”

And some far from silly, silly season news….

The cruel and unusual punishment of Teresa Lewis

The case of the first woman to be executed in Virginia for a century highlights America’s death row shame.

Alex Hannaford writing in the Guardian: “On 23 September, 40-year-old Teresa Lewis will become the first woman to be executed in the state of Virginia for almost a century. She’ll also be the first woman put to death in the US since 2005. Considering that, in the intervening five years, around 220 men will have been executed, it puts it into perspective: executing women is unusual. Of more than 1,200 executions carried out since the US supreme court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, only 11 were of women. And each time that happens, it’s stunningly bad PR for an increasingly unpopular facet of the American justice system…..

Hannaford reminds us: “And later this year, there’s a good chance that a British passport holder, 51-year-old Linda Carty, will join Lewis. I have written about Carty before: her trial was seriously flawed, and if, like Lewis, she is also given a 2010 execution date, it will draw even more attention to the US’s dire record on capital punishment.”

I am a fan of America and the Americans I know – BUT: I deplore their use of the death penalty – it puts them on a moral par with those states which employ stoning as a means of punishment. And before we get the absurd argument that putting someone to death by electrocution, gas or lethal injection is ‘more humane’ (it may well not be – Ronnie Lee Gardner chose to have five men shoot him to death with rifles rather than have lethal injection in Utah recently) – the result is the same: State sanctioned murder. It is only fair to point out that not all states in the USA use the death penalty and many Americans are against it.

So… back to some silly Silly Season news…where else, but The Sun?

First up….

Olly: I’m furious with my twit bro – OLLY Murs says he’s ‘disgusted’ with twin brother for claiming he tore their family apart


And for Sun readers with an unusually low libido or who need a ‘saucy’ good old British seaside postcard to assist them……

Peek-a-boob, Bey

BEYONCE and Jay-Z move their holiday on to France – but star obviously forgets her bra

And over at SCROUNGER WATCH…..

THE benefits scrounger who is dad to 11 kids and has one on the way has fathered yet another – by the BEST FRIEND of his missus.

The Sun

But at least over at the refined world of Cricket which is no longer administered world wide from Lords in London by the MCC but from Dubai – wherever that is …. this from Ricky Ponting…

Ponting: You’re not real Poms

RICKY PONTING fired up the Ashes phoney war, taunting England for a lack of true Poms

I have now lost the will to continue… enjoy your day.

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I was fairly certain that Wakefield is in West Yorkshire, but for reasons which will become clear I confirmed that this is the case by using Google maps.  Hat Tip to @Crime Counsel on twitter for drawing my attention to this extraordinary website promoting ‘Wakefield’ solictors which appears to have been translated from the original Russian into English using Google Translate or Babelfish

Will I need a Solicitor or Barrister in Wakefield?

Increasingly, a difference between barristers and solicitors has proved to become obscured because some solicitors secure the position in order to symbolise his or her clients in during later stages of legal proceedings and a growing amount of barristers deliver legal advice as well as the work conducted in court.

Helpfully, The draftsman – who may, as @Crime Counsel observed, have played a part of drafting Criminal Justice legislation, goes on to reveal….

Solicitors in Wakefield

Usually, solicitors provided advice for clients and, in criminal trials or litigation instances, organized their matters for them whereas the principle role of barristers would be to represent them at court. Yet, your initial point of contact will typically be the solicitors organisation. While a number of barristers will accept direct instructions from clients (mainly commercial kinds, especially pertaining to tax and insolvency), the large majority are not and are only addressed by means of a solicitor.
Even so, many that do, can often prove less expensive than utilizing a solicitor yet you have to understand how to utilize barristers and not hold expectations of the clerical backing supplied with a legal practice.
Solicitor: a Solicitor will be qualified and skilled who will have achieved post-graduate certification as well as a 2 year work placement including training….

It does get worse…..or, if you fancy a laugh….better…

It appears that the web developers may have consulted the very helpful web guide for ‘Other Law Firms’  produced by Muttley Dastardly LLP here and here (Get your ass out there)

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To listen you have to be silent!

Lying in bed listening to the heavy rain with Radio 4 on in the background.  Heard the words that to listen one has to be silent.   Listen and silent have the same letters.  I rather like that

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Eva Braun walked into the waiting area outside Matt Muttley’s office on the top floor, elegantly dressed in a dark tailored suit and black court shoes. “Mr Muttley will see you now.  I will show you in.”

James Harrison, confirmed as an associate with the firm only three weeks before, walked into the large darkened office and was invited to sit in a high backed chair facing Muttley’s desk, but set back exactly ten feet away. The chair, inspired by art nouveau concepts, was made of metal with a curious curved back which made it difficult for the person sitting in it to sit comfortably or with any degree of elegance.  Harrison decided to perch on the front section of the seat and put up with the discomfort.

“Well, good morning James.  Do the names Friedrich Miescher, Francis Crick or James D. Watson mean anything to you?  If I was to  tell you that polymerases are enzymes that synthesize polynucleotide chains from nucleoside triphosphates,  would you find that inordinately fascinating or even know what I was talking about?”  Matt Muttley sat back in his chair and put his hands behind his neck, his expression expectant.

“I do not know the people you mention.  I am certainly not dealing with their files at present.   And I would have to say that I would not find the information you have given me on polymerases of any immediate interest, simply because I have no idea what they are and they are not germane to any of the files I am working on currently.”

“If I was to say….. Deoxyribonucleic acid… would this assist you in your thinking….? thinking in relation to a personal matter which has been drawn to my attention by our covert surveillance unit headed by Dr Erasmus Strangelove, our esteemed Director of Education and Strategic Information.

James Harrison paused before answering, glanced upwards, noticed a discreet cctv camera pointing straight at him and answered “You are talking about DNA, but how is that relevant to my work here?”

“Spot on James.  Let me tell you where I am coming from on this, to borrow from the well worn phrase used by James Caan on Dragon’s Den.  We routinely monitor the internet traffic of all members of the firm.  This is covered in clause 1441 of your employment contract. We chose 1441 as the clause for this as a bad joke to reflect our view that it was our ‘weapon of mass destruction’.  We issue iPads to all our employees not because we are philanthropists, but because we want you to work, work and work some more.  We want the first thing you reach for in the morning to be your iPad and the last thing you touch at night to be your iPad. I understand that Eversheds have taken a similar policy of issuing iPads to all their fee earners – but I rather suspect that their intentions are honourable, while ours are not.  This is covered in Clause 1441(d)(viii) of your contract of employment.  Dr Strangelove, during his routine sweep of Facebook accounts, noticed that a woman by the implausible name of Squirrelnutkin 4 wrote on your ‘Wall’.  This is what she wrote…”

Muttley flicked his fingers over his goldplated iPad – a gift from a company one of the Dragons had invested in, but not signed, fortunately,  by Frank Lampard on the back.

Muttley quoted: “Hello Bigboy Jimmy Babes…. Have I got NEWS for you!  You remember that night of erotic passion and entirely random sex we had after you took me to that nightclub?  Well…. I am pregnant…. seriously pregnant….and it is yours!!  I hope you are earning a lot of money at that crazy law firm you are working at… because Jimmy Babes… you are going to need it.  I have engaged the services of JAWS, one of the most famous family lawyers in Britain… and, boy… is he coming after you… big time.!”

The colour drained from Harrison’s face and his forehead went clammy.

“A glass of water, James?”  Muttley asked, a dry smile playing on his lips.

“Er… no… not thank you Mr Muttley”

“We look after our staff at Muttley Dastardly.  We also look after ex-staff.  Clearly, it cannot be acceptable for a firm of our stature and reputation to employ lawyers who randomly impregnate people, and even if you are found ‘not guilty’ as we say in our business, we certainly can’t employ someone who goes around on Facebook calling himself BigBoy Jimmy Babes. Do you watch the Dragon’s Den, James?”

“No… I don’t have time.”

“But you do watch The Apprentice. We know this from your internet traffic records.  Well…as SurAlan, now Lord SurAlan, would say… You’re Fired!  Eva Braun will give you a black bag with your belongings, your severance pay and the telephone number of Cellmark – the DNA testing specialists.  We use them all the time here… for our clients.  We didn’t imagine having to use them for one of our staff…. or, indeed, ex-staff.”

Harrison stared at Matt Muttley, puzzlement clear in his eyes… “You mean I’m out?”

Muttley smiled.  “Yes… you’re OUT!  Goodbye.  Oh….do look at the section on the Cellmark website What is the process for DNA testing – a most useful video. The baby, after all, may not be yours. We would, of course, be happy to represent you if you fight.  I regret that we do not do discounts for anyone – although Partners get all our services free. ”




With thanks to Inksters Solicitors ,
Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
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F**kART: “Evil Dave”

“Evil Dave” came from a well known web pic of David Cameron. Using my new *Painting by Numbers* technique; reducing tone and shape to essential colour blocks – I can knock these out quickly enough to stop me getting bored.  When I was in my early twenties one of my nicknames was ‘Risotto’ – ready in 20 minutes.  I tend to favour paintings or drawings which can be done quickly.  I blame all forms of government, modern technology and an inbuilt, but very British, tendency for shallowness and ephemera!

The split down the middle reflects my view that Cameron is, actually, a rather nice chap and  a true liberal;  but has to play Tory and do the business because he just happens to be our prime minister and leading a party, whose members, some of them, judging by their comments on blogs and other media, are orf the bleeding wall when it comes to humanity and caring for the interests of the wider community.   The title of the piece is a deliberate falsehood; consistent with the times we live in of smears, obfuscation, smuggery, Toby Youngery, venality, brutal self interest and crassness! (Just to get a few thoughts orf my chest)  – I don’t think Cameron is evil at all. In fact… I’d be quite happy to vote for him if he defected to Labour!

Having a glass or two and doing a bit on nonsense art (mixed media these days!)  keeps me amused.  I could be out raping the people of Britain by working in an investment bank or making things using child or foreign ‘slave’ labour and hedging my earnings offshore.  I’d rather earn a lot less and enjoy Britain.

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Surge in Britons exported for trial

The number of people in Britain seized under the controversial “no-evidence-needed” European Arrest Warrant rose by more than 50 per cent last year, figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show.

The Telegraph reports: “In total 1,032 people – almost three a day – were detained and extradited by British police on the orders of European prosecutors in the 12 months to April, up from 683 in 2008-09. The Home Office expects a further 70 per cent rise, to 1,700 cases, next year. The increase will fuel growing political concern about the “unfair” and “disproportionate” nature of the warrants, which British courts have little power to challenge……

They can spend long periods in jail – here and abroad – for crimes which might not even have been prosecuted in Britain. They can also be seized for offences which are not crimes in Britain.Foreign prosecutors do not have to present evidence to the British courts, just demand the person be “surrendered”……

Mr Blunkett said: “I was right, as Home Secretary in the post-9/11 era, to agree to the European Arrest Warrant, but I was insufficiently sensitive to how it might be used.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government is committed to reviewing the UK’s extradition arrangements.”

The Telegraph notes: “Britain has the same rights to request no-evidence extraditions from other EU countries, but uses the power sparingly. The latest figures show that 98 people were brought to the UK on European Arrest Warrants in 12 months, a fall of 6 per cent on the year before.” It would seem, on the bare facts above, that while we are keen to export our people, we are less than keen on importing offenders – perhaps, being cynical, this is just too much of an effort and costs too much?

I am sure that the European Arrest warrant is valuable and ‘warranted’ in the more serious crimes – but driving without insurance, driving off without paying at a petrol station?  I’m not so sure in the case of minor fines which could, surely, be dealt with by fine and paid by credit card with agreement of the person charged?

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The new Coalition government, or Tory government propped up by Tory Lite if you prefer, is keen to do business with India, China, in fact, any country it can do business with.  This is perfectly understandable and some might say laudable.  Do I, however, want to buy goods produced under conditions tantamount to slave labour or worse, child labour?  Do I want to associate with countries where human rights atrocities are routinely sanctioned by the state?  Do I want to associate with one party states where, in the name of a  god or some form of deity or prophet, the rights of women are downgraded to have less value to the men than their exotic motor cars and houses?  I don’t – but it seems that a great many of us do. But  I don’t have a choice, you don’t have a choice –  because our government may well force us indirectly to turn a blind eye to these through our need to reduce the deficit and promote the interests of what David Cameron referred to as the ‘sharp elbowed middle classes’.  And there was I thinking, naively, that Britain in the 21st century was at last moving away from the class system!

The government proposes to stop recording human rights abuses across the world, a process first established by then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in the name of ethical foreign policy.

My observations on the need to trade with the ‘Good, the bad and the ugly’ will be met, possibly, by the easy retort that the last Labour government caused the deficit and the government needs to put that right.  Received wisdom indicates that this bald statement is not entirely true. One can accept that there were instances of over spending, poor management, chaotic procurement policy, lack of control and lack of clear policy (endemic in most governments?) – but the collapse of the world economy cannot be laid at the door of the last Labour government.  What would it have been like had the Bank of England not embarked on a programme of quantitative easing?  What would it have been like had the Brown administration not continued to spend?  What would it have been like had sharp elbowed middle class bankers behaved like honourable human beings instead of avaricious, venal and thoughtless human beings? We cannot, now, know – because all these things happened and others did not.

I will, however, accept that Labour were responsible for many of the oppressive erosions on our civil liberties – a phenomenon I still find  puzzling from a party with the core ethic of acting in the wider interests of the less advantaged but stated, by Blair, when he began his premiership to be for all the people of Britain.

Britain scraps annual assessment of human rights abuses across the world

NGOs concerned that ministers are ‘blindly’ pursuing commercial interests in countries where atrocities are taking place

The Observer reports: ” The coalition government is plunged into a major row today over its commitment to human rights amid claims that it will scrap the Foreign Office’s landmark annual assessment of abuses across the world.

The Observer has learned that civil servants have been told to stop working on the next edition of the FCO Annual Report on Human Rights, which highlights incidents of torture and oppression, monitors use of the death penalty and aims to expose the illegal arms trade. The report also acts as a guide to MPs and businesses over which countries it is ethical to trade with.

The former Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, broke ranks last night to claim that any move to end the annual report risked “downgrading human rights” and would be met with “fierce resistance”. NGOs said that doubts over the future of the report, which was introduced by Robin Cook in 1997, fuelled their concerns that coalition ministers were “blindly” pursuing commercial interests in countries where atrocities were taking place…..

It makes interesting and sobering reading.  Roll on the Great Repeal Act, much trumpeted by Deputy Prime Minister Clegg.

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Dear Reader,

In the latest edition of Carter Ruck’s originally named Newsletter they refer to the fact on page 4 that they are acting for a number of lawyers who are on  the Solicitors From Hell website.  Private Eye, obligingly, informs us that Carter-Ruck are on the Solicitors From Hell website as “Premium Players’.

And so it came to pass after much measured judgment by the twitterati (and some outraged knee jerking) on the story that Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, was to be prosecuted for rape…  that he isn’t wanted for rape after all. Quelle surprise.

I may have mentioned it before – and I accept that my irritation with Toby Young is, probably, irrational, but I find him irritating in the extreme. He pops up all over the place, pulling various faces from smug to concerned to imperial, pronounces on a fair few matters he knows (or appears to know) little about and then manages to look even more smug.  It would not surprise me if he has mirrors in every room of his house.  I did, therefore, enjoy reading in Private Eye this afternoon…


TOBY YOUNG was in fine form as he launched into an attack on George Orwell’s essay The Lion and The Unicorn, a mere 69 years after it was first published, in 7 Augusts’ Spectator.

In the essay, written soon after The Battle of Britain, Orwell suggests that the incompetence of the British ruling class was hindering the war effort.  An affronted Young lays into Orwell, writing of the Battle of Britain: “The young men risking their lives to protect Orwell….were nearly all public schoolboys”. Later, he become overwhelmed with emotion: “It’s worth remembering that the few whom we owe so much to were all members of Britain’s ‘clapped out’ ruling class.”

Except, of course, they weren’t.  Some 70 per cent of them were state educated. Only about 200 of the 3000 pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain had been to a public school, and only 4.6 percent were educated at the top 13 public schools.  Even Churchill himself complained about the “almost entire failure of Eton, harrow and Winchester to contribute pilots”.  A fifth of the pilots were foreigners.

I don’t usually extract entire sections – and I do hope the Eye doesn’t mind on this occasion – but apart from it being an excellent piece – it does tend to confirm (for me, at least)  why I find Mr Young irritating. Blue Nun of us are infallible.  But at least we don’t appear on television at every opportunity to pontificate and, one assumes, get paid for doing so.  If Sky, Channel 5, Dave, QVC Channel want to contact me… I can knee jerk with the best of ’em… for a very large fee.  For the Beeb and C4… I’d even do my best to talk sense… for FREE.  Unfortunately, I am now a recluse and will only appear on national television if I am allowed to wear a burqa.

I am happy to draw my readers’ attention to a NEW book for lawyers: THE NAKED LAWYER. Truth can be stranger than fiction sometimes…and this is in the very finest traditions of legal marketing.  I am sure that Dr Strangelove of Muttley Dastardly LLP will be getting in touch. I have read the extract… I particularly liked the threat contained on page 2 of the extract…

Unauthorised duplication of this material in any form is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN.  Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But… helpfully….. The Entrepreneurial Lawyer does cover herself – although, strangely, her pdf would not allow me to copy her words, so I used *GRAB* instead….

Anyway… if you are a lawyer who needs advice and are happy to subscribe to the full 12 volume set to get the revelation and wisdom  of The Naked Lawyerthen here is the link.

I am looking forward to the start of the new legal year, or at least, some vaguely sensible law to write about. Not a lot of law about.  There are, however, stories about crocodiles in the English Channel and  beaches being shut – only to find that the crocodile was a tree trunk.  Last year The Sun had Great White sharks off the coast of Cornwall with useful photographs of Great Whites in South Africa.  I am able to report, following revelations in The Sun this week that 2-3ft long  rats (with pics) are being found all over Britain (compounded by The Daily Mail which reckons there are 60 million of them),  that the news desk at The Sun is almost certainly now being manned by a seven foot long rat, wearing a homburg with a  *PRESS* card  stuck into the band,   having a larf.

On that note… do have a good weekend

Best, as always


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From The Desk of The Director of Education and Strategic Information
Dr E Strangelove LLB, BCL, MBA, Ph.D, Solicitor

21st August 2010


We  at Muttley Dastardly LLP appreciate that you come from a generation that has had everything served up to you on a plate by angst ridden middle-class parents who may well have sent you to ballet or music classes when you were a precious six year old. We know your parents pressure cooked you through your mollycoddled lives at prep and public schools – we do do Grammar (at a pinch) but not ‘State’ at Muttley Dastardly – and we are always amused at what you ‘say you did’ on your ‘Gap’ year.  We are not employing your parents, so please warn your parents that if they try to ring up our HR department to ‘exert a bit of influence or pressure’ we shall take the call as ‘instructions’, charge them for listening and send them a bill.  We will not, however, take a blind bit of notice, even if they start crying.  We are not like a British university admissions department at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

We also accept that you probably think that our generation – The Baby Boomers – have trashed the place and left you with a mountain of debt to cope with for  your entire working lives. You are right.  We have.  Live with it, as our American partners say.  If you cut it at Muttley Dastardly LLP, you won’t ever have to worry about debt or, indeed, anything –  ever again.

We are only interested in taking on the very best of the best. You will note that we only practise law in London and New York.  We do this for a reason – there is just not enough money to interest us elsewhere.  So you won’t be exiled to some godforsaken place, or worse, a forsaken place with a different god.  You will be joining the finest law machine in the world, honed by self interest and ruthless billing targets to a point that our clients value that they can simply  print our name on their prospectuses as legal advisers.  We do, naturally, charge a licence fee for this

If you have had the misfortune to be poor, or attended a university other than Oxford, Cambridge, or London, please do not apply. Some of you may think…”Well, I went to Durham”.  You can think that, by all means, but it won’t cut it with us.  We don’t do *Second* here.  If you think that you will get some kudos by saying you went to X or Y Law School to do your LPC – forget it.  You won’t.  We do not care which law school you went to to do your LPC.  We admire their capacity for rapacity in terms of fees charged, but it really doesn’t matter to us where you went for the LPC.  This allows us to say how *diverse aware* we are and say we take trainees from all walks of life.  It is a PR lie, of course, but we have to show willing on the diversity issue before some interfering busybody at the Law Society or DEFRA writes to us taking up valuable billing time.  Christ knows what DEFRA have to do with diversity apart from cloned animals… but that could be why, come to think of it.

There are many opportunities out there in the law. If you can’t join us, you could become an over worked family lawyer, a duty solicitor, or even work for local government or another law firm.  The Police service will, I am sure, suit those of you who managed to get a Desmond. If you managed to astonish even the most PC lecturer at your university and got a Third then, armed with this certificate of incompetence, there will be difficulties ahead for you and we won’t even get the benefit of having you as a client in our new criminal fraud and money laundering unit – because you simply won’t be bright enough to commit the upscale frauds we are looking for at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

What will your life be like at Muttley Dastardly LLP?

It will be short if you aren’t any good. If you can bill when all about you have lost the will, you will progress through the ranks and, one day, become one us – we happy few, we band of Partners.

I look forward to meeting you at interview.

I won’t say good luck.  Life is not a matter of luck – nor is getting into Muttley Dastardly LLP.

Dr E Strangelove

Strength & Profit

We will check Twitter and Facebook. Contrary to the attitude taken by other employers – we are looking for people who got pissed at university.  We are looking for people who nicked police helmets, dressed up as pirates and behaved badly. We find that they tend to be more interesting, adventurous and have the irreverent and anti-establishment qualities needed to be a truly independent legal professional.

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