Archive for January 31st, 2011

I have dreams… we all do…and some as surreal as this rather fine print which I found on the net: ‘The Barrister’s Dream’ by Henry Holiday.

With little enthusiasm for television or much else tonight after a frustrating day dealing with the admin of life and people not doing what they promised to do, I poured a glass of a decent claret and wandered about on the web…. which is always a pleasure….

I have tired of the armchair Egyptologists on Twitter……. Muttley Dastardly LLP seem to have the right idea: Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 14): Operation Pharaoh – Positioning for the new Egypt – but I did enjoy Canadian lawyer Antonin Probetic’s analysis: A Few “Burning Questions” About The Egyptian Revolt

Before you go off to have a look at some of my ‘finds’ in the great electronic archeological matrix, I thought I would let you know that I was thinking about the four stages of life according to Hinduism late last night.  The Fourth  Stage – the ascetic stage – requires an older person to live a life apart, reclusive and ascetic.  This appeals to me – but I would need wifi…and a purveyor of wine, cigarettes and decent food within a reasonable distance of a few miles or so. I didn’t fancy the holy bit either,  being an atheist.  The hut would not worry me.    I lived under canvas for some time in my ‘yoof’ in Africa.  I don’t suppose  I would be allowed to shoot my food or use explosives to arrange fish supplies though.  I may have to continue in Battersea Square a while yet…. but, reclusively, save for a morning visit to Mazar for breakfast, as I do.

The internet can be a dangerous place…especially when it comes to recording the detail and minutiae of our daily lives. When it comes to a legal requirement to store information for years, modern technology can be a very dangerous thing…


News International finds ‘lost’ emails that could provide evidence in phone-hacking case

A “lost” hoard of emails sent by senior executives in Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire at the height of the phone-hacking scandal has been found, The Independent has learnt…..

It would be funny… if it wasn’t so funny…. and, it may not  have been just the ‘Axis of Evil Murdoch Empire’ at it….Loveandgarbage has a very interesting letter to The Observer which is worth a read: Correspondence to Readers’ Editor of The Observer regarding Operation Motorman

I had the pleasure last year of interviewing Tom Kilroy, GC at a leading software house, for a series of podcasts.  He has appeared on twitter and has a new blog…and he has rather an interesting blog post: If your GC reports to the CFO, your company doesn’t understand what Legal does

Listen to the podcast Life as an in-house lawyer and how to get ahead with Tom Kilroy –  one I particularly enjoyed doing

And… while I am on the topic of General Counsel or in-house lawyers The Bizzle has this most enjoyable post: What lawyers can learn from call centres

What today’s charter of workers’ rights looks like

The Guardian: Vince Cable should be ashamed of his ’employer’s charter’, which incites bosses to take advantage of workers’ vulnerability

An Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and a woman were called to the Bar…

“That, more or less, is that starting point of BBC 4’s documentary, The Highest Court in the Land: Justice Makers, available on the iPlayer until the 7th of February. The piece is structured around interviews with, domestic footage following and court shorts showing  four Justices of the United Kingdom Supreme Court at work. It’s certainly worth seeing…. ” an excellent review from Lallands Peat Worrier

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The UKSC blog addresses the issue of responsible reporting which I commented on the other day.  It is a cause for concern.

The UKSC Blog: Coverage of Yemshaw judgment raises questions of responsible legal reporting

MPs want to ban the naming of suspects to avoid media feeding frenzies

The Guardian: Bad press behaviour leads inevitably to politicians pushing for laws to curb press freedom. The flouting of the law of contempt (in the Joanna Yeates murder case, for example) has had an inevitable result.

As the attorney-general stood back from the last feeding frenzy of the tabloid and other sharks in the Yeates case – but now supports this action by MPs,  I suppose the best that can be said is,  better late than never.  Freedom of speech comes at a price where issues of a fair trial are concerned.  I would rather have the fair trial.  Comment (and newspaper and media profits will just have to wait until the jury or magistrates apply due process.

An interesting clarification of open justice and the need for restraint from the Court of Appeal in JIH – and – NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LIMITED [2011] EWCA Civ 42

The Master of The Rolls

Open justice and the need for restraint

19. The cardinal importance of open justice is demonstrated by what is stated in Article 6 of the Convention. But it has long been a feature of the common law. It was famously articulated in the speeches in Scott v Scott [1913] AC 417 – see particularly at [1913] AC 417, 438, 463 and 477, per Lord Haldane LC, Lord Atkinson, and Lord Shaw of Dunfermline respectively. The point was perhaps most pithily made by Lord Atkinson when he said “in public trial is to be found, on the whole, the best security for the pure, impartial, and efficient administration of justice, the best means for winning for it public confidence and respect.” For a more recent affirmation of the principle, see R(Binyam Mohamed) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2010] EWCA Civ 65, paras 38-42, per Lord Judge CJ.

20. However, as with almost all fundamental principles, the open justice rule is not absolute: as is clear from Article 6, there will be individual cases, even types of cases, where it has to be qualified. In a case involving the grant of an injunction to restrain the publication of allegedly private information, it is, as I have indicated, rightly common ground that, where the court concludes that it is right to grant an injunction (whether on an interim or final basis) restraining the publication of private information, the court may then have to consider how far it is necessary to impose restrictions on the reporting of the proceedings in order not to deprive the injunction of its effect.

21. In a case such as this, where the protection sought by the claimant is an anonymity order or other restraint on publication of details of a case which are normally in the public domain, certain principles were identified by the Judge, and which, together with principles contained in valuable written observations to which I have referred, I would summarise as follows:

(1) The general rule is that the names of the parties to an action are included in orders and judgments of the court.

(2) There is no general exception for cases where private matters are in issue.

(3) An order for anonymity or any other order restraining the publication of the normally reportable details of a case is a derogation from the principle of open justice and an interference with the Article 10 rights of the public at large.

(4) Accordingly, where the court is asked to make any such order, it should only do so after closely scrutinising the application, and considering whether a degree of restraint on publication is necessary, and, if it is, whether there is any less restrictive or more acceptable alternative than that which is sought.

(5) Where the court is asked to restrain the publication of the names of the parties and/or the subject matter of the claim, on the ground that such restraint is necessary under Article 8, the question is whether there is sufficient general, public interest in publishing a report of the proceedings which identifies a party and/or the normally reportable details to justify any resulting curtailment of his right and his family’s right to respect for their private and family life.

(6) On any such application, no special treatment should be accorded to public figures or celebrities: in principle, they are entitled to the same protection as others, no more and no less.

(7) An order for anonymity or for reporting restrictions should not be made simply because the parties consent: parties cannot waive the rights of the public.

(8) An anonymity order or any other order restraining publication made by a Judge at an interlocutory stage of an injunction application does not last for the duration of the proceedings but must be reviewed at the return date.

(9) Whether or not an anonymity order or an order restraining publication of normally reportable details is made, then, at least where a judgment is or would normally be given, a publicly available judgment should normally be given, and a copy of the consequential court order should also be publicly available, although some editing of the judgment or order may be necessary.

(10) Notice of any hearing should be given to the defendant unless there is a good reason not to do so, in which case the court should be told of the absence of notice and the reason for it, and should be satisfied that the reason is a good one.

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From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Partner, Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops


1.  In the wake of events unfolding in Egypt in the last week, from intelligence received from the many, varied and newly minted Egyptologists now broadcasting their views, opinions and thoughts about developments in Egypt on Twitter, I have employed a specialist in information dissimulation and he will be deployed ‘undercover on our behalf’ (Pictured right)  to offer advice to US and UK law firms in London  on the opportunities available to lawyers in what may well turn out to be a new Egypt.  The reasoning behind this deployment is straightforward: The less well informed other law firms are about Egypt, the more likely our own offerings to the Government of Egypt, however constituted, will, be.   We have been fortunate in being able to take advice from an ex-television station reporter  on the traits, knowledge and, most importantly, the dress effected by expert media Egyptologists,  to ensure that managing partners of London firms will feel ‘comfortable’ with their decision to take advice from our operative on matters relating to Egypt. At the moment, we are calling our operative Jamie Ramses; the ‘Jamie’ element providing the right class note and, ‘Ramses’ providing that subtle  Egypt credibility touch.

2.  At this stage, our Psyops unit has not been able to determine (a) whether President Hosni Mubarak will be turning up in Knightsbridge to open a department store with the $25 Billion he is reputed,  by the United Kingdom  free Press,  to have salted away or (b) will continue to govern.  Curiously, not even the United States State Department or, indeed, our own Foreign & Commonwealth Office, were able to give any guidance on this – although The Foreign Office spokesperson at their outsourced call centre in India, who had a very curious nasal Yorkshire accent, did tell us that the prime minister said it was not in anyone’s interest that people are being killed in Egypt ( which they discovered via @Piersmorgan on twitter – a verified personage) and that we should not travel to Egypt unless it was absolutely necessary for us to do so to interfere in the sovereign affairs of an emerging democracy.

3.  Partners may find some comfort, in terms of our dealings with US law firm competitors here in London, that our cousins across the seas do not have a particularly strong grasp of geography according to a Fox News map from 2009 – so we shall do all we can to encourage our competitors to go to Egypt, as depicted on this map, so they can enjoy a warm welcome from the Iraqis. While I appreciate that Partners will be well aware of Egypt’s geographical location, I do like to leaven my Briefing Papers with a bit of light relief,  and the Fox News map is pictured below.  It may be a hoax net post, of course, but I hope that some of our competitors will accept the provenance.

4.  Events continue to unfold.  I don’t think we will see, however, a repeat of the British Government response to The Suez Crisis in 1956.  That would be too much to hope for.  I shall keep you informed

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits


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

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