Archive for February 16th, 2011

It is not often, having taught Contract for 30 years, that I get the pleasure or opportunity of writing about Contract or noting an excellent blog post on Contract Law.
Hector L MacQueen, Eric Clive and Laura Macgregor, writing in European Private Law News have written an incisive critique …

The UK Ministry of Justice has published a disappointing response to the European Commission’s Green paper on European Contract Law. It is disappointing because it misdiagnoses the problem and favours options which would do nothing for British businesses or consumers.

The seven page, undated, paper has the title “UK Government response to a green paper from the European commission on policy options for progress towards a European contract law for consumers and business”. It can be found at

The blog post is a good read for anyone involved in Contract Law

Legal Week’s blogroll – the five most-read and five tips to be the most read

Please excuse the fact that I am mentioned in this Legal Week piece – but I note it because I am pleased that the mainstream legal press continues to pick up on the work of bloggers (and Legal Week are asking for more bloggers to put posts up for their Village Week section).  We aren’t in competition with each other as bloggers and nor are we in competition with The Guardian, The Times, The Lawyer, Legal Week or The Law Society Gazette. So…. if you would like to read Ben Wheway’s article in Legal Weekhere it is. Ben has a few useful tips – 5 tips in fact! – which may help all bloggers attract attention to their posts.

Prisoner vote refusal against European court ruling ‘would be like dictatorship’

In a statement almost certain to inflame those who have had enough of Europe generally and the European Court of Human Rights in particular – Jean-Paul Costa says Britain will be resorting to the tactics of the Greek colonels in 1967 if it does not comply with ECHR ruling

But… there can be little doubt that the forces of British sovereignty in all things to do with Britain are banging the drums…

The president of the Strasbourg court spoke out as Downing Street sources said that David Cameron‘s hopes of limiting the powers of the ECHR will be postponed until after the general election in 2015.

The prime minister told MPs that a commission to examine the creation of a British Bill of Rights – promised in the coalition agreement – will be launched soon.

No 10 sources said the commission would be limited because there are “red lines” which cannot be crossed under the Tories’ coalition agreement with the pro-European Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dem red lines are not amending Britain’s human rights act and not pulling out of the ECHR.

Cameron will reach out to Tory eurosceptics by establishing a separate body that will draw up proposals on how to limit the powers of the court that will be included in the Conservative manifesto for the 2015 general election. “These issues are difficult in the coalition,” one Tory government source said. “It is not realistic to introduce these changes before 2015. It is quite a complicated area so we will draw up our own proposals that will be bulletproof.”

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To: All Associates

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


Obiter, writing in  in The Law Society Gazette, refers to a speech by the Master of The Rolls, Lord Neuberger, where he considers, inter alia, the topic of why lawyers are so unpopular.

Lord Neuberger stated:

‘I don’t intend to try to discuss the correctness of that analysis or to answer that question… [but] whatever they have been getting wrong, lawyers have apparently been getting it wrong for quite some time.

‘Around the second century AD, Apulieus, having referred to lawyers as “cattle of the courtroom”, then expressed the view that they were no more than “vultures in togas”. While Ammianus Marcellinus, two centuries later, took the view that lawyers were “a greedy and debased lot, who conspired with judges to rob the people of justice”.’

1. Associates with Muttley Dastardly LLP, as you know from your own induction, are put through a series of ‘desensitisation exercises’ of my devising based on my ‘consultancy’ work for our more secretive cousins across the pond some years ago, to handle negative imaging and stereotyping. The result of this programming is that we feel no slight, angst, guilt or tension when faced with the chatter of the chatterati of Hampstead dinner parties or, in more recent times, the liberal twitterati.  We do not rise to the bait. We are trained to be impassive in the face of criticism of our profession and to respond with the principle based response  that it is not the lawyers who are bad, it is the clients. We, the lawyers, are merely the architects of the client’s desire.

2.  Recently, this firm, as with many others in The City, participated indirectly in trashing the entire global economy with our skillful drafting of new instruments of securitisation for our most favoured investment banking clients. In fact,  so skillful were we at this firm, and law firms in The City generally (it has to be said), in drafting instruments for ‘Toxic Debt’ et al,  that the bankers have taken the hit in the public mind and we have escaped free of legal liability, public opprobium and moral obloquy. We were merely ‘obeying orders’.

3.  In our highly successful new Drive-thru Divorce Lawyer division, a service delivered under our MegaladonLLPdontcompare.com online brand  – it is not we, the lawyers, who are the villains. It is those who choose to get married where one or both of the parties fail to sort out their affairs in a civilised manner. I seem to recall a case where the Court of Appeal expressed consternation that there was no money left for further appeals work or, indeed, left for the parties themselves, because such money as the parties had enjoyed in their marriage had been consumed by the legal process.

4. I need not labour the point.  The principle holds true for many spheres of human behaviour, fortunately. We know that it is the clients who are ‘cattle of the courtroom’.  We are, however, too discreet, professional and polite, to let on;  save in the exceptional circumstance where a client should ‘wilfully, negligently, recklessly or with malice aforethought’ (Clause 1782(a)(ii) of our Standard Terms & Conditions), fail to settle their bill promptly and in timely fashion.  This latter ‘difficulty’ is rare at Muttley Dastardly LLP, of course.  Our policy of taking at least 150% of estimated costs on account gives us the flexibility to ensure we are compensated for the work that we do and award ourselves a little bonus without all the fuss that bankers are getting in the national press at the present time.

I trust that you will take comfort from my memorandum should you find recidivism and liberal tendencies creeping back into your psyche after reading the always excellent Obiter in The Law Society Gazette on this matter.

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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