Archive for November 23rd, 2010

Legal Education Review: Where does the knowledge come from?

Professor Richard Moorhead writes:

It’s very early days. The SRA, BSB and ILEX’s IPS have announced the review. The LSB have indicated a desire that the review be as fundamental as the Ormerod Review from 1971. I do not know what shape the review is going to take. The College of Law has already come out of the blocks through its think-tank with proposals to do away with the training contract and parks an elegantly written tank on the University law school’s lawn with the suggestion that it should ‘advise’ law schools/law students of the options that students should take under a qualifying law degree. The Chair of the LSB has indicated the desirability of shorter training and more on the job training. There are proposals for aptitude tests at various stages of development from the Bar and the Law Society and also a report from the Law Society suggesting that ethics should be required as part of the degree training of solicitors. Some of these ideas I currently support and all of them merit debate but I want to stand back slightly, though, with a few key facts and a little horizon scanning. My first key fact is there are no key facts, or there are rather few of them…..

Professor Moorhead’s blog post is excellent and raises some very important points.

Professor Stephen Mayson of The Legal Services Institute (Funded by The College of Law) has a very detailed paper on The Education and Training of Solicitors: Time for Change – advocating, inter alia, the abolition of the training contract.

This is only the beginning… the regulators plan to review legal education… I have made a number of preliminary observations in these very broad brushed blog posts:

Law Review: Legal Regulator in CUT student debt by CUTTING study shock!

Breaking Shock Horror: The law is dominated by public school boys/girls… still!

Law Review: Law schools face crackdown as legal education goes under spotlight

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Quite how I managed to come up with the idea of cloning myself and buying some petri dishes on twitter this afternoon… I have no idea – save, that I had done a decent day’s work, having started at 3.30 am this morning as usual, and felt that I may as well have a couple of glasses of Lebanese red wine at Mazaar in Battersea Square this afternoon  ( an excellent caff where I take breakfast every day, cooked by chef proprietor Marlon who is  very amusing and smokes Marlboro Red) – a late lunch, if you will.

I also noticed that there is now a very large (and fine) Christmas tree in the square.  There will be lights, I am told. This was another reason to celebrate.

As I don’t have children and do not have any plans to have them… my thoughts turned to the end of my *Line* when I finally go to the great Bar in the sky…. My line, I can trace to…. the time of my ancestor Julius Charonus who invaded Britain covertly long before the days of CIA rendition flights.   I have, therefore, as my *legacy*,  amused myself by doing a working ‘construct’ for a sculpture…. of myself…. drawing, rather heavily it has to be said, on the work of another of my ancestors Charonangelo.

It is entirely possible, if I continue to drink Lebanese red, that I shall be making this sculpture later……as part of my December 2010 F**kART series – coming soon!

That is all.

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Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers to take appeal to high court

Guardian: Paul Chambers to appeal to high court over conviction for joke Twitter message about Robin Hood airport

This is a brave decision on the part of Paul Chambers. Lawyer,  David Allen Green (aka author of the Jack of kent blog) tweeted to say that the lawyers are doing this work at well below their usual rates.  If the team wins the case – the ‘other side’ will pay.  In this case – the ‘other side’ will be the government…or the tax payer.  It is, however, a very important case for all who use the internet to communicate whether through twitter, Facebook or blogs et al.  The Jack of Kent blog has the most comprehensive coverage of the background to s.127 and the proceedings so far.  Ben Emmerson QC, a heavyweight human rights lawyer, joins the team.

Author of Legal Futures, Neil Rose, is on a roll with some excellent articles recently in The Guardian and on his blog.  Today… this…

UK lawyers start to take TV advertising seriously

Guardian: Law firms are trying to build brand identity because there is business worth £15bn out there – and possibly more

Is this the future of lawyer advertising on our televisions? “If you and your spouse hate each other like poison and want to get out of the hellhole you call a marriage, you’ve come to the right place,” begins the advert from Steve Miller of DivorceEZ, a Florida law firm, concluding 30 seconds later: “You’re on your way to getting rid of that vermin you call a spouse.”

Right Solicitor?

Recently, I came across Right Solicitor. I liked their style and approach – offering potential clients the opportunity to ask a solicitor a question and get a speedy response.  In fact, I persuaded them to sponsor – for a modest fee – my free student materials on my online magazine Insite Law. I would have been more than happy to write about their service in any event – but I am quite happy to be open that they did help defray the costs of the free student materials on Insite as other sponsors do…

Briefly: Consumers simply submit a question at www.rightsolicitor.co.uk and will receive an email response within 60 minutes. Right solicitor panel Solicitors also agree to offer a free 15 minute follow-up consultation with no commitment to use the solicitor.

A government backed report, “Developing Capable Citizens”  – highlighted that “One-third of the population has experienced a civil justice problem, but many do nothing about it – often because they think, wrongly, that there is nothing they can do or that there is no local legal advice provider who might help… This extraordinary lack of understanding is a major reason why around one million civil justice problems go unresolved every year. This is legal exclusion on a massive scale.”

Paul Careless, CEO at RightSolicitor, commented “Consumer confusion reigns in UK legal services. The time is right for a consumer focussed legal service to allow people simple, friendly and timely access to the legal profession, through a brand they can trust; allowing customers to ‘try before they buy’. This is what RightSolicitor intends to achieve”

Coulson’s imminent departure is just the beginning

by Tom Watson: Andy Coulson will resign as Downing Street communications director within the next few weeks. When the moment comes, his powerful but embarrassed friends will breathe a sigh of relief. They want it to be the end of the phone hacking scandal. It is just the beginning.For, as any investigative journalist will tell you, it’s always the cover up that sinks you. Senior executives have been clinging onto the line that “Clive Goodman was a rogue reporter” like it was a life belt on the Titanic. The unanswered questions are pouring in.

There is a police investigation and at least three court cases. There are two Parliamentary enquiries on top of a damning report by the media select committee. There are whistleblowers. Insiders are breaking ranks, beginning to talk. Shareholders are asking questions. Coulson may be on his way, but the story won’t go away, despite hardly being reported in some of the best-selling newspapers.

Woman jailed for falsely retracting rape claim is freed

Guardian: Lord chief justice says there is important distinction between false allegation of rape and false retraction of rape allegation

A mother jailed for falsely retracting allegations that she had been raped six times by her husband was freed today on appeal.

There was an outcry earlier this month when the 28-year-old was sent to jail for eight months for perverting the course of justice after she decided to withdraw the rape allegations – not, she said, because they were false, but because her estranged husband and his sister had “’emotionally blackmailed” her into doing so.

Ordering her immediate release today at the royal courts of justice, the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, said the judiciary had a duty of “compassion for a woman who has already been victimised”. Quashing her sentence, he instead gave her a community sentence and a supervision order for two years.

Seems to me to be a good bit of *judging* here…..

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