Archive for December, 2010

When I start ze restaurant Maison Charon, I specify that ze entrance must have ze big glass doors, pas de valeur architecturale… zut alors!… non!…. mais… so my maître d‘ can see ze punters coming in more ways than one.

You English have ze saying… less is more… I take zis to my heart….so in Maison Charon…. we are, how you say…. minimaliste…. minimal decoration, minimal service and ze minimal portions pour la haute gastronomie.  You English have been watching too much of ze Masterchef avec Chef Michel Roux, so I am more than happy to, how you say, fart about with your food and construct ze tours absurde on ze plate and smear ze sauce avec merit artistique. Zis allows me to give you less and charge more…. you see?… I am anglophile!

It is also important… pour ze clientele who frequente Maison Charon zat I ensure there is bollocks complète on ze menu, so I hire l’expert en marketing to write ze bollocks complète to describe ze dishes I prepare.  Zis is one exception to ze ‘less is more’ rule.. here… more description means we can serve less…..

I give un exemple of how less is a lot more.  Zere is a chef in Denmark… Chef Rene Redzepi of Noma…. amusingly ze best restaurant in ze world… mon dieu!…… and he collects ze seaweed, berries, grasses and other delectations du nature, serves zem up on a plate and… Voila!….. ze hyperventilation of ze clientele est superbe!.

I do zis at Maison Charon..only se ozzer day. I send a sous chef to Wandsworth Roundabout and Hyde Park  avec a book on  foraging and say I want grass, berries, anything edible…..   I get anuzzer sous chef to go to B&Q to buy some Welsh slate roof tiles et Voila!…. ze Cuisine naturelle a La Suède. I wanted to put ze description a La Pseuede… mais…. maître d‘ he says to me…. “Chef Charon… you have eighteen Michelin stars to your name…. even though you give them to yourself… this is a step too far….. to mock ze punter is Le Sport… to ridicule ze punter is not good business.”  So… with free ingredients from Wandsworth Roundabout, a few absurd smears of sauces, berries arranged at each corner of ze welsh slate from B& Q and much pantomime from maître d‘… we serve three tiles of grass, and edible leaves and berries and charge £38.50 per portion…. who needs an amuse-bouche when one can do zat?!

Ze best part?…. when I come from le cuisine...to le salon de la gastronomie….avec mon chapeau de chef on my head to take ze adulation of ze punters…. and tell zem how much they have enjoyed l’experience du Maison Charon.….. and tell zem we take ze  AMEX.   Aussi… I try very hard not to drop my fake  accent français

I wish you all a Joyeux Noël

Chef Charon

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The United States appears to have a few ‘issues’ with judicial systems that do not fall within their control.

WikiLeaks cables lay bare US hostility to international criminal court

Guardian: US embassy dispatches reveal American preoccupation with discerning court’s views on Iraq

The international criminal court has proved one of the most controversial international institutions since its creation in 2002, drawing fire from some for its exclusive focus on Africa, and accused by others of pursuing the policy objectives of America and Europe. But America has also been hostile to the court, refusing to join it for fear its own citizens could be put on trial for war crimes.

US criticises court that may decide on Julian Assange extradition, WikiLeaks cables show

Guardian: Leaked dispatches reveal diplomats’ disdain for Council of Europe’s stance against extraditions to US and secret renditions

US officials regard European human rights standards as an “irritant”, secret cables show, and have strongly objected to the safeguards which could protect WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from extradition. In a confidential cable from the US embassy in Strasbourg, US consul general Vincent Carver criticised the Council of Europe, the most authoritative human-rights body for European countries, for its stance against extraditions to America, as well as secret renditions and prisons used to hold terrorist suspects.

And these posts may be of interest to you…

Joe Biden v. Joe Biden on WikiLeaks

Glenn Greenwald from Salon.com

It’s really not an overstatement to say that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are the new Iraqi WMDs because the government and establishment media are jointly manufacturing and disseminating an endless stream of fear-mongering falsehoods designed to depict them as scary villains threatening the security of The American People and who must therefore be stopped at any cost……..

Assange begins mansion arrest, but his ‘source’ feels the heat

The Independent: Bradley Manning spent yesterday, his birthday, alone in a tiny, bare prison cell, without a pillow or sheets on his bed, in weak health and wracked with anxiety at the prospect of a prison sentence of 52 years.

The young American soldier has faded into the background as international ructions continue over the hundreds of thousands of pieces of classified material from the US government that he is supposed to have supplied to WikiLeaks.

Now the fate of the whistleblowing website’s founder, Julian Assange, who has very much held the centre-stage, lies in the hands of the 23-year-old former army intelligence analyst.

Yesterday US sources revealed that prosecutors are awaiting a decision from the American Attorney-General, Eric Holder, on what form of plea bargaining they should offer to Manning in return for him incriminating Mr Assange as a fellow conspirator in disseminating the classified information.

Officials at the US Justice Department, who are under acute pressure to prosecute, privately acknowledge that a conviction against Mr Assange would be extremely difficult if he was simply the passive recipient of the material disseminated by Private Manning. Any evidence that he had actively facilitated the leak, however, would make extradition and a successful case much more feasible.

A typical day for PFC Manning

The US lawyer representing (? – I saw a twitter reference to this) Bradley Manning writes on his blog today…

PFC Manning is currently being held in maximum custody. Since arriving at the Quantico Confinement Facility in July of 2010, he has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch. 

His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length.

The cell has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet……

Wikileaks and Freedom of Speech: Can self regulation work?

LSE Media Policy Project Blog: Mark Stephens is right when he says that the current controversy around Wikileaks marks a key moment in the evolution of media responsibility and freedom. Legal matters – starting with the extradition hearing of Julian Assange this week – will move rather quickly even though it is going to take some time to work through the broader implications. Stephens says that the case engages article 10 of the European Convention – the right to free speech – but it remains to be seen how and if such a freedom could be invoked in Assange’s defence. Ultimately, there will be a question of balancing Assange’s speech rights (along with our right to know) and the rights of others such as citizens and soldiers that may have been endangered.

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I write from The Staterooms in #ICEAGE Battersea Square….

A glacier is moving slowly down Vicarage Crescent towards The Square and I have not seen snow like this since the early 1960s when I was a kid. The snow is white, cold and it has a satisfying feel to it when rolled into a ball which can then be lobbed, in meaningless protest, at passing Ferraris and Bentleys reduced, humiliatingly, to doing a very cautious 5 mph.  I do love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning.  I neither confirm nor deny that I lobbed aforementioned snowball nor, indeed, do I admit to even having such a projectile about my person at any time.

I took the view that as I was unable to travel anywhere – save to Mazar, my local caff of choice, and unable, therefore, to do ANY Christmas shopping, I would send a picture of a wrapped Christmas present nicked from Google images to potential recipients by email.   I spent a few moments on Twitter marvelling at the #UKuncut protest tweets in my twitter timeline.  Apparently these brave foot soldiers of the modern era were able to generate a great deal of public support for their CUTS cause by farking up the busiest shopping day before Christmas.

I understand that the main focus of these #UKuncut protesters was the fact that large companies have been able to structure their tax affairs within the laws of England & Wales in such a manner as to minimise their tax liability. As I took a draught of the drink of the gods,  I wondered if the #UKuncut protesters would try to break in to H M Revenue & Customs to declare their support for taxation by filing their tax returns early.  I have seen nothing on the News to suggest that such a protest occurred.

This tweet, being a smoker, did amuse….

Non smokers… how can you live with yourselves… avoiding all that tax and living to absurd ages and putting pressure on dwindling Government pension resources?

Tomorrow is another day… and there may be more SNOW… and the Battersea Square glacier may have moved across the bridge to Chelsea.  I am only sorry that The Thames has not frozen.  It would have been fun to amuse the Archbishop of Canterbury by tap dancing on the river opposite Lambeth Palace.. but there we are… perhaps after Christmas?

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I appear to have started the Christmas holiday period earlier than I intended. This is fine by me as I plan to start my F**kART paintings for 2010 tomorrow and enjoy two weeks of solitude.  It snowed in Battersea today while I was sitting outside at Mazar, my caff of choice in Battersea Square.   The owner of Mazar, Marlon, a very amusing Lebanese man , has provided an outside sitting area now protected from the elements with an awning and transparent  ‘nylon’ (as he calls it) sheets.  These are ‘smoking legal’ because of the cunning construction of gaps to come within the ‘No Smoking’ laws.  I always sit outside, even in appalling weather. There are wall heaters. It took approximately 15 minutes for Battersea Square to be converted into a winter wonderland this morning.  More snow is on the way – but I have a spade and I shall do my duty and make the 65 yard journey from my ‘riverview’ apartment to the caff each day for an excellent breakfast and Marlboros and excellent conversation with regulars.  If you find yourself in Battersea Square – Mazar really is a very good cafe / restaurant.  The Lebanese red is most acceptable…. not that I drink wine at breakfast that often.

The Christmas tree – provided by the businesses and others of  Battersea Square  – is far more impressive than my mobile phone pic reveals.  It has white lights and is quite dramatic at night.













After seeing an extraordinary exchange between the blogger formerly known as Iain Dale ( @Iaindale – who has given up blogging )  and David Allen Green ( @davidallengreen ), who veers between several alternative egos on Twitter aka Jack of Kent, today on the issue of RT (Re-Tweeting other people’s tweets’) I came up with a ‘plan’.

Re-Tweeting other people’s tweets on twitter is quite common.  Unfortunately it carries a few dangers. It could be seen to be a ‘mark of approval’.  If another tweeter, OUTRAGED by someone else doing an RT, assumed  same to be an approval, it is possible that a twitter bitchfight could ensue.  It did between Dale and David Allen Green today.  I believe the two gentlemen have virtually hugged and made up and I assume that tweets made on both sides have now been deleted.  (They may still be there…if you are quick)  I did, as it happens, take screen grabs from both, and I shall be sending these to Wikileaks later today!  Freedom of information is all…. natch! (I won’t do that).

I often RT other people’s tweets.  This does not mean that I approve. It may be because I find them interesting, because I do approve, because I wish others to look at a different point of view,  or because I find the tweet amusing or in wonderfully bad taste.

So… I came up with a plan for RTs by suggesting a symbol format and tweeted same: RT+  (approval) |  RT- (disapproval)  | RT0 (Neutral)….then I had a drink and I now have a fourth category RT**** (Wonderful Bollocks)

Have a good weekend..and try not to get into too many bitchfights on twitter… it is Christmas…after all.

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Lawcast 175: Professor Gary Slapper on the reform of legal education

Today I am talking to Professor Gary Slapper, Director of The Open University Law School.  Legal education is under review by the profession and this podcast is the fourth in a series of eight on this the reform of legal education


Listen to the podcast


Other podcasts in the legal education reform series

Lawcast 172: On the reform of legal education with Scott Slorach, College of Law

Lawcast 171:  Nigel Savage, CEO of The College of Law

Lawcast 170: professor Richard Moorehead, Cardiff Law School, University of Cardiff

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I am rather concerned that a lot of tweeters and bloggers, some who ought to know better, are pumping out congratulatory messages to bloggers et al  who are writing about the rape allegations in the Assange case.

I have no idea whether Assange is or is not guilty of anything. As I write, he has not been charged with anything.  The Swedish prosecutor wishes to interrogate him on the allegations being put to determine whether charges should be brought.  I am advised, having talked to a Swedish lawyer this afternoon, that they have a fair and liberal legal system in Sweden which operates much like our own.  The prosecution has to put a case and prove it. A verdict will be reached.  If a person is convicted, punishment will follow as prescribed by their laws. If a person is not guilty, they are released.

Until the  Swedish courts determine this issue, should they be called upon to do so – I would rather let due process take its part in the matter of the entirely separate matter of rape allegations in relation to Mr Assange.  Wikileaks is a separate matter.  As yet, the United States has not put any charges to Mr Assange.  They may well not be able to do so.  We shall see.

So… comforting though it may be to be seen to support Mr Assange by heaping adulation on bloggers and journalists who are outraged about matters in relation to Mr Assange – I would venture to suggest, at the risk of being pilloried, that it is best to let due process proceed?


Of course, I accept that this attitude may be so last century as to be risible… but there we are….

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It is Christmas…. so I suppose we should show good cheer to all men and women. First up for your delectation and delight is this truly astonishing flash mob ‘production’…. [ Hat Tip to @Legal_Week ]

On December 15, 2010 at 1:30 p.m., a group made primarily of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes) articling students, and a few partners, associates and staff, performed a Flash Mob dance at the Commerce Court food court in Toronto, to the song “I’ve Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas!

You may watch the video here – if nothing else it could be a most useful warning to practitioners who think they have better ideas than their marketing professionals !

Fellow law blogger Legal Bizzle has an excellent Christmas story for you…

A jar of humbugs: an in house lawyer’s Christmas

And….Lord Sugar does it again. I do like @Lord_Sugar… The Apprentice has been excellent this year and his bitchfight with Piers Morgan on twitter over followers and his truly relentless plugging of his book is amusing.  Apparently there is a spoof Lord Sugar.  Unfortunately, Lord Sugar appeared to send this message to himself!  I checked the link.  He did!

AND…since I am here… I rather liked this story…..from a newspaper that you may not read that often or at all…

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Every month, the IPso Jure podcast brings you the latest developments across the whole of intellectual property in the UK, the European Union and often elsewhere too. Listeners seem to like it: patent attorney Nia Roberts wrote:

It’s not like listening to a lecture at all, more like sitting having a conversation with a very knowledgeable (and funny) friend … You have a very clear way of putting things and a very reassuring voice, and I like the way you maintain your enthusiasm throughout.

Accredited by the SRA, each programme is worth an hour’s CPD. Barristers can count it as unaccredited CPD – BSB approval would break the bank.
Visit www.ipsojure.co.uk to download a sample programme and to order a subscription (£240 per year plus VAT).

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Friend and fellow blogger, David Allen Green (who writes the Jack of Kent blog), has been on a pilot for a C4 News programme.  I have a face for radio, so harbour no desires to appear on telly myself – but then, as I had another Christmas Party on my own earlier this afternoon, the thought came to me, given David Allen Green’s excellent blogging and incisive analysis of legal issues…. that he could have a pop at Britain’s Got Talent as well.  I’d pay good money to see that… in fact… I’d even audition with a leprous dog with a pirate patch over one eye to see if I could get at least one vote….

OK…. I’d better run now… before Jack of Kent visits the wrath of justice on me…. well… it is Christmas….at least it is here, at The Staterooms.

Being serious – if you have not read David Allen Green’s Jack of Kent blog – it will be well worth your while.

And…back to nonsense…..

The Sun reported this morning…

A PERVERT was caught pleasuring himself in a public library — while reading Alan Sugar’s autobiography.

That was amusing enough… but Lord Sugar’s tweet was funnier.  He has been having an amusing ‘bitchfight’ with Piers Morgan on Twitter to see who can get the most followers and betting sustantial sums of money – the loser to donate to Great ormond Street Hospital… here is the tweet…

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Law Review: No Win No fee reforms

BY Richard Craig, Accident Advice Helpline
No win, no fee reforms

Let’s take a brief look at the effect that Ken Clarke’s no win no fee reforms will have on personal injury claimants.

The most common type of PI case in the UK is an RTA-related whiplash claim. Legal fees, on average, amount to £1540 or thereabouts for each case. The mean value of a successful compensation package is £2500. If victims now have to pay their own counsel’s fees, this means that Joe Bloggs will now take home £960. Is this fair?
Mr Clarke’s 25% cap on fees, an apparent act of benevolence, actually makes it the case that a PI claimant would have to be awarded compensation of £6200 before the cap would ‘cut in.’ Most RTA cases do not meet this threshold unless a fairly serious injury is sustained.

The Justice Minister also says that compensation should be raised by 10% to offset this downturn. But again, this will not do much. Say a worker breaks his finger at the factory and is awarded £2000. Under the new system, he will lose £500 of that to his lawyer and then regain 10% of the total sum, leaving him with £1650. Essentially, he has been charged VAT on top of his claim.

These new proposals risk taking the most from those with the least, and need serious reappraisal before they are enshrined in the law.

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It being a law blog, I should shoehorn a bit of law into the Advent calendar – so, first up, legal history in the making as the judge in the Assange bail application today permits live tweeting of the proceedings. Freelance troublemaker, reporter, author, Heather Brooke (her description of herself on Twitter!) is live tweeting from the Assange bail application today, as is Times correspondent  Alexi Mostrous

Head of Legal blogger, Carl Gardner, notes that I did a podcast with him on Assange yesterday.

Convicted judge swears and walks out of court

The Independent: A judge swore and stormed out of court today when she was convicted of failing to control her dangerous dog.

Judge Beatrice Bolton, of Rothbury, Northumberland, strode out when the verdict was announced, branding the decision “a f****** travesty”.

The 57-year-old was found guilty by a judge sitting at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court of allowing her pet German Shepherd to bite 20-year-old Frederick Becker, her neighbour.

Judge Bolton was heard yelling “I’ll never set foot in a court again” from outside the courtroom.

Judge Bolton, who was asked by the court usher during the two-day-trial to stop chewing gum, had denied a single charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Well well…. somewhat unusual behaviour by a judge – chewing gum?…in court?  Whatever next?

The floggers, hangers and honourable members who probably cannot wait for water cannons to be deployed against sundry students and anarchists are not happy with Ken Clarke, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice….


Tory pack rounds on Ken Clarke

You don’t always have to agree with people to recognise their value. And if Tory sectarians can’t see the point of Clarke, they will be in trouble sooner rather than later…..

UK’s first Twitter law firm launched

One of the country’s top legal entrepreneurs has launched the UK’s first Twitter Law firm, giving free legal advice on individual cases that have been tweeted to him in just 140 characters.

Nicholas Jervis, who was a solicitor for 14 years before founding marketing firm Loyalty Law, set up Twitter Firm @thelegaloracle, in a bid to make the law accessible to thousands of Brits who find the legal process too complicated and intimidating.

Student fees protest: lawyers launch legal challenge to kettling

Guardian: Kettling breaches human rights, lawyers for five student fees demonstrators tell Metropolitan police commissioner

Apparently, there are plans for students to kettle police in their lair at Scotland Yard… or did I just take too much of the juice of the gods last night and imagine or dream this?

Youth crime has fallen, report suggests

The Law Society Gazette reports….. I don’t watch X Factor, but I do enjoy the manic tweets on Twitter about it under the #xfactor hashtag and have come to the conclusion that it would be interesting to know if the crime rate dropped during the X Factor show…nothing would surprise me.

And here is a cartoon I like from Charles Fincher a talented US lawyer and fellow artist. We tweet on Twitter.

And… if you are not Assanged out…. do have a listen to the two podcasts I have done on Assange and Wikileaks with Mark Stephens (Julian Assange’s lawyer) and Carl Gardner.

My Thanks to Accident Advice Helpline who are now sponsoring my free law materials for students on Insite Law magazine

And Bail is granted to Assange on conditions… next hearing 11th January. Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor, tweets that prosecutors have two hours to appeal bail decision…

Read Guardian coverage

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I am a fan of Legal Week and did some writing for their Legal Village section last year. Now Alex Novarese, the editor, is inviting law bloggers to participate (and get a wider audience for their writing) by getting involved in Legal Village.   I think this is great – we are not in competition with each other as bloggers and we are certainly not in competition with the major legal news journals like Legal Week.

I did like this… from Alex Novarese…

For me it started in a waiting room at Kingston Crown Court. Having been called up for jury service just before Christmas last year, I was forced to spend nine days in wintry February shuttling between a room that looked like a small airport departure lounge and a courtroom. I know a lot of people see the idea of jury service as fascinating, but personally I found being lawfully detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure as a captive audience for a bunch of lawyers about as welcome as a root canal procedure. The court stuff is fine, but all that hanging around…

Anyway, as the mind-numbing boredom set in, I started whiling away the hours reading legal blogs on a BlackBerry, while also discovering the weird and compulsive world of the Twitterverse. That starting point led to a growing interest in legal bloggers, not to mention an unhealthy obsession with what Charon QC was doing at three in the morning.

Say what you like about bloggers, but to a world-weary journalist, they sound fresh in comparison to the bland diction of traditional media.


Alex Novarese is looking for bloggers… read the article in Legal Week and get in touch with him.

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Lawcast 174: Carl Gardner on the Assange Extradition

Today, by way of further analysis and to complement the podcast I did with Julian Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, last Friday, I am talking to Carl Gardner and  look at the law in more detail on the bail and extradition aspects of the case and examine the position under European law.

Listen to Podcast 174 with Carl Gardner


Lawcast 173: Mark Stephens, Julian Assange’s lawyer, on the rape allegations, Extradition and Wikileaks generally


Listen to the podcast with Mark Stephens

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It is always a pleasure to see student law societies taking their law studies seriously by looking at law in different ways and it gives me pleasure to give some modest publicity to law students at Birkbeck College, University of London for inviting a film director over to talk to them about The Specialist.

“The Specialist” comes at an interesting time in the culture. The producer and director, Eyal Sivan, has compiled and assembled black-and-white footage of the trial of the SS officer and war criminal Adolf Eichmann, and his film is the grimmest possible precursor to the occasionally frivolous “Court TV,” which plays on the current fascination with watching the judicial process grind exceedingly slow, and exceedingly fine. {The New York Times, April 12, 2000}

When: 17th of December 2010 (Friday), 6.45 pm
Where: Birkbeck Cinema (click here for map and directions)

Special Guest : The Producer & Director – Eyal Sivan

Bonus: Workshop and discussion materials for all attendees All Law/Human Rights/Film Students: A must!

Registration desirable to avoid disappointment BBK Law Society Members: Free admission

Non-members: £3.50 – Free drinks and snacks For bookings please contact: Neil MacKinnon: nmacki01@students.bbk.ac.uk
Other Enquiries: Despina Dokoupilova: dntoko01@students.bbk.ac.uk

And… News from the law schools


Title: BPP appoints Kate Hayes as Admissions Director
Summary: BPP University College today announced the appointment of Kate Hayes as Admissions Director.

Kate joins BPP after nine years as Director of Marketing at The College of Law, where she was responsible for a multitude of services geared towards ensuring excellent student satisfaction – including the Admissions department, Marketing, Customer Insight and the college’s Customer Contact Centre.

First for Leeds law firm John Delaney & Co as all its future trainees to be recruited from BPP law school

Summary: BPP Law School and John Delaney & Co have announced that that all of the firm’s future trainees will be recruited exclusively from BPP Law School ’s Legal Practice Course (LPC) students. High Street firm John Delaney & Co is a Criminal and Family Legal Aid practice, based on Park Row. As part of its relationship with BPP, the firm recently recruited 3 students who successfully graduated from the Law School ’s centre in Whitehall Quays.


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Today I am talking to Mark Stephens, Julian Assange’s lawyer. A great deal has been written about the rape allegation, the bail issue and, of course, the Wikileaks revelations themselves.    It is not hyperbole to say that this is probably the most famous legal issue in the world at the moment.

Mark Stephen’s is quoted in The Daily Mail …as saying says his client, WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange, is accused of ‘sex by surprise’ in Sweden.

‘Whatever “sex by surprise” is, it’s only an offence in Sweden,’ says Stephens.

Mark Stephens told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: ”It is quite bizarre, because the chief prosecutor in Sweden dropped the entire case against him, saying there was absolutely nothing for him to find back in September, and then a few weeks later on – after the intervention of a Swedish politician – a new prosecutor, not in Stockholm where Julian and these women had been, but in Gothenburg, began a new case which has resulted in these warrants and the Interpol Red Notice being put out.

”It does seem to be a political stunt.

”I have, and his Swedish lawyer has, been trying to get in touch with the prosecutor since August. Usually it is the prosecutor who does the pursuing, not the pursued..”
The Telegraph reported …”Mark Stephens said Mr Assange would ”certainly” fight deportation to Sweden on the grounds that it could lead to him being handed over to the US, where senior politicians have called for him to be executed.”

To put some structure into to this complex subject I have divided the podcast into the following key sections:


Listen to the podcast

I am grateful to Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of the Head of Legal blog,  who assisted me in focusing on the salient issues.  I am doing a further detailed podcast with Carl Gardner on these issues tomorrow.


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Government majority on fees rise 21 – so now future generations will pay a great deal, whereas many of us did not have to pay fees.  Maybe we could stop waging and paying for wars in the future and invest in people here – they are, after all, the future of our nation as well.

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A few interesting links today….. and if you are into legal education reform – scroll down for the latest podcast with Scott Slorach of The College of Law.

Bailing Assange

Scott Greenfield, a US defense lawyer, has an interesting take on this issue.

Wikileaks and the arrest of Julian Assange

The UK Human Rights blog from 1 Crown Office Row has a very considered view.

The Real Lessons of WikiLeaks for Lawyers: Non-Social Media Version

Antonin . Pribetic, a Canadian lawyer is well worth reading on this and starts his post with a bit of Shakespeare….

Marcus Antonius:
And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1, 270–275

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The Orwellian Present – Never Mind the Future.

Stephen Neary is a 20 year old man with Autism trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare.

It is a story that should be trumpeted from the front page of every main stream newspaper – but it won’t be. They will keep silent.

Autism is a ‘broad’ word, describing a wide spectrum of conditions with defining characteristics involving a difficulty in communicating with other people, and a restricted range of activities and interests. It can range from the mild to the profound. It is most definitely NOT a mental illness.

This is a truly shocking story – I am not going to write about it, because a very well regarded blogger, Anna Raccoon,  has done so far better than I could.  Please take time to read her post – and the many comments.  If you can help by publicising this, please do so.

Thank you

Please read Anna Raccoon’s account of the plight of Stephen Neary

I am, of course, relying on the fact that the facts stated are true and I will certainly try to investigate further by contacting those who may be able to dig further.

I understand that Nadine Dorries MP is trying to assist by providing information or contact to local MP.  Obviously – I can only report on the issue in terms of what  Anna Raccoon has written.  The authorities may well have a different view of the issue but highlighting the issue may well lead to clarity?


This piece from law blogger Obiter J  (Law & Lawyers) is excellent with some very useful links to solid information

Deprivation of Liberty: the worrying case of Stephen Neary

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Today I am talking to Scott Slorach of The College of Law about the reform of legal education and his view on the need for useful learning.

In my last podcast the chief executive of The College of Law , Nigel Savage, he said that the law degree syllabus had not changed much since World War II – but this, of course, is not entirely accurate as most law degrees now offer a range of modern subjects including European law, Human Rights, Civil Liberties, Competition Law, Intellectual Property, to name but a few….

We focus on:

1.  The need for useful learning: for students, employers, professions, consumers and society
Usefulness is defined by the ability to apply that learning to some benefit.  Can we provide for the greatest good?  Would this be assisted by different approaches in undergraduate learning.  Yes – see below.

2. Who decided that academic and vocational are mutually exclusive?

3. The need for development in and therefore development of law degrees

4. Henry Ford’s customers would have asked for faster horses: what does the profession mean when it asks for “more black    letter law”?  Is this what it actually wants or needs?

Listen to the podcast


Other podcasts in this series on legal education

Lawcast 171:  Nigel Savage, CEO of The College of Law

Lawcast 170: professor Richard Moorehead, Cardiff Law School, University of Cardiff

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Dear Reader,

It has been a couple of weeks since I last wrote.  It has been a busy period and events have conspired to lead me to think that I should spend more time on art, literature and the decent…or , as @CarlGardner suggested to me on Twitter tonight – ‘indecent’ things in life and spend less time writing  about the venal, the foolish and the unpleasant.

I’ve been blogging or writing about law for a long time and not just since 2006 when this WordPress version started. I enjoy doing so and do so for enjoyment. WordPress tells me that I have written 2586 blog posts since 2006. Mon dieu…. tilting at windmills or what?  I’ve probably written more words than those million mythical  monkeys on typewriters with less result… but it matters not a jot because all blogging and tweeting is blown to the wind very quickly. I care not at all for stat porn, honours, awards or the ephemeral pleasures of fame which some lawyers seem to seek on twitter and elsewhere.  I believe that lawyers, whether academic or practitioner,  should be ruthlessly independent and neither court nor give ‘adulation’ – for, otherwise, how can they do their work without fear or favour or ‘fear of getting favour’?  I do not *do* heroes. I respect and like many and that works for me.

I spend a lot of time on twitter and barely a day goes by without some lawyer or law firm (many from the US but, increasingly, from the UK as well) pushing themselves or their ‘product’ and some do it so badly by ‘broadcasting’  that it verges on the risible.

AND then, of course, there are those who, with little experience themselves of the medium in a social sense, run courses or write books or vacuous articles on how lawyers can use ‘social media’.  I shall be writing about these denizens of twitter soon… probably in the context of Muttley Dastardly LLP posts. I shall, of course, ensure that I set up 500 + mirror sites, encrypt the file to 256, and give the key to a mate so that if ‘anything happens to me’, this ‘thermonuclear’ file can be read as my body explodes in the crematorium due to excess alcohol from wine at my funeral.

Well.. there we are…..  I am fairly certain that this post does not contravene the US Espionage Act 1917 and as I have no plans to visit any European countries in the near future,  there is little prospect of being extradited via those countries to face the wrath and justice of Mr Huckabee-Finn, Sarah Palin and other assorted nutjobs for ‘treason’.

Back tomorrow with some vaguely sensible stuff on law…

Have a good week and try not to have nightmares about Wikileaks or European Extradition Warrants.

Best, as always


PS.. if you are worried about European Extradition Warrants and the events today in relation to Assange’s arrest and the judge refusing bail.. this excellent post from Carl Gardner may be reassuring.  I am doing a podcast on this issue with Carl Gardner on Friday afternoon.

Extradition proceedings against Julian Assange

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