Archive for March 18th, 2011

Commission on a UK Bill of Rights launched

The Ministry of Justice announced today that an independent Commission to investigate the case for a UK Bill of Rights has been launched today by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke.

The Guardian responded to this news with: Move for British bill of rights faces deadlock: “Government commission exploring the case for a British bill of rights is divided between human rights act supporters and critics”

The analysis in The Guardian is interesting – but I do wonder why we actually need this review.  As the Commission is unlikely to report for some time (2012?) we will have to wait to see if anything of real value comes of this.

Adam Wagner in The UK Human Rights blog has this to say….

Who are the Bill of Rights Commission “human rights experts”?

I am hoping to do a quick podcast with Adam Wagner soon to look at this and other topical human rights issues.

Lawyers…Have you joined Shpoonkle?!!!

Will it only be a matter of time before UK lawyers…. hyperventilating with excitement from the opportunities offered by twitter and other social meedja… get into Shpoonkle?

A New York Law School student has founded Shpoonkle, a playfully named website that allows attorneys and law firms to bid on legal requests submitted by clients. The service is free for now, but attorneys may be charged membership fees in the future.

Fortunately… a fellow blogger I respect has a strong view…

“On his New York criminal defense blog Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield said, “Any lawyer who signs up for this service should be immediately disbarred, then tarred and feathered, then publicly humiliated.” Calling the site the “eBay of lawyering,” Greenfield argues the service will lower the integrity of the legal profession.

RollonFriday.com…College of Law admits low recruitment qualifications

In an unguarded moment, the director of business development at the College of Law has admitted that only 60% of the institution’s students have a 2:1. So that means the CoL taking large numbers of students who don’t have the widely recognised minimum requirement for a training contract at the end of the course.

Read the full post….

The law schools are going to have to consider their position on taking on students who have no realistic prospect of being employed in the present market.  They won’t enjoy doing so.  This story is not going to go away.

LSB lacks understanding, judgement and willingness to listen, says Bar Council

An excellent article from Legal Futures

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has shown a lack of understanding and judgement, and an unwillingness to listen to the approved regulators, the Bar Council has claimed.

In a move that will fuel questions about the current role of the LSB, the Bar Council also expressed surprise at plans to increase LSB staff costs at a time of public sector cuts – saying it should take a “Big Society” approach to its work – and also questioned whether the board is overextending its remit….

Read the full article…

I will be doing a podcast with the Chair of The Bar Standards Board, Baroness Deech, in April – and regulation of the legal profession and legal education will be among the topics to be discussed.

The draft libel reform bill is a good thing

David Allen Green, writing in the New Statesman….

The draft libel reform bill, published two days ago, has had a mixed reception. Those in favour of libel reform have broadly welcomed it, though some do not think it goes far enough; and many established libel practitioners have sought to minimise the draft bill’s importance and novelty. Some libel veterans even say it will make no difference: it is almost as if they are discouraging the government from taking the draft bill forward at all.

However, as a practising media defence lawyer, I would say that there is a lot of good in the draft bill, and that if it were to pass into legislation in its present form it would make a marked difference to the nature of libel litigation. That is not to say that the draft bill could not be improved; but it is to say that it is misconceived and illiberal to dismiss the bill completely.

I am sure we will find time to discuss this bill in the Without Prejudice podcast this coming Thursday.

University threatens MP with libel case over Gaddafi criticism

Index on Censorship has a good report….

This is a rather interesting libel action… in the early stages. It is curious that a University, a public body, is suing an MP who was critical about their links with Libya?  The LSE took a lot of criticism last week about their ‘ties’ with Libya.  The Director of the school resigned – honourably.  David Allen Green’s firm Preiskel is acting… as this twitter post indicates.  Ironic in a week when the government is keen to reform the libel laws to stop institutions and people suppressing reasonable and public interest  criticism by using our libel laws?

Preiskel Preiskel & Co LLP 

by DavidAllenGreen
We are instructed to defend Robert Halfon MP against libel threat by Liverpool John Moores University re criticism of Libyan commercial ties

It is not all bad news for lawyers and laws schools… The Daily Mail reports: 

Oxford graduate who sued college for after it ‘failed to prepare her for exams’ loses bid for £100,000 damages

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