Archive for April 23rd, 2011

Dear Reader,

Being an atheist, I tend to find myself at a bit of a loose end on these extended Easter weekends… and…as I well know.. the devil makes work for idle hands.  I did, however, have an amusing Good Friday morning.  I decided that I would get into the spirit of things by having a breakfast of Rioja and hot cross buns.  I only do this on high days and holy days…and it certainly made my Good Friday morning more amusing than it might otherwise have been.  After all… I had not, previously, thought it would be a good idea at my age (or, indeed, at any younger age) to learn to be a tap dancer.

Google threw up some wonderful stuff.  After watching an ‘introductory film on the basic steps’, I rather lost patience. I am a bloke.  I don’t read instruction books.  Google then threw up some excellent videos of Gene Kelly tap dancing on roller skates, and, of course… the classic ‘Drinkin’ In the Rain’.  It was but moments before I graduated, assisted by another large glass, to “Puttin On the Ritz’. 

And now… I am a tap dancer.  Not a lap dancer… as a  friend of mine on twitter first read my tweets on the matter.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement on Thursday last on privacy law – described by David Allen Green in our Without Prejudice podcast as ‘legally illiterate’ (rightly) – continues to arouse ridicule, hyperventilation by those who support him,  and sane critical legal analysis by people who do actually know what they are talking about.

This informed piece by INFORRM – is a good one to read…. Case Law: OPQ v BJM – a privacy injunction “contra mundum”

And, as always, The UK Human Rights blog has a considered and accurate view.  Adam Wagner politely puts the boot in and reminds the prime minister that the ‘unelected judges’ (Do we really want ‘elected’ judges in this country – gawd help us?) are not actually running amok making new laws on a whim.  They are, in fact, applying the Human Rights Act according to the law and will of Parliament. But why let a mere detail get in the way of grand standing at election time when the ravening horde at the tabloids need feeding with a bit of raw meat?

Gagging on privacy

For my part, I don’t have any interest in knowing the name of the footballer or the actor involved in the latest superinjunctions. Lawyers have suggested that Eady J and others ‘may be over reaching themselves’.  Certainly ‘contra mundum’ – against all the world – is more of a legal fiction than a practical reality.  Whether judges like it or not, there is no practical way of enforcing breach if publication is in a foreign country – even if the writ of the English trial judge ran throughout the world.  It doesn’t.  It is, they say, fairly straightforward to discover identities of *The Superinjunctioneers* by using the net.

David Allen Green, Carl Gardner and our guest, former Lib-Dem MP Dr Evan Harris, considered the vexed issue of privacy law and the balancing of interests in our latest Without Prejudice podcast.  You may care to listen?

While The Bar may well have an oversubscription problem for the time being… the law schools are hyperventilating with this revelation by Alex Aldridge…

From oversubscribed to undermanned: are we facing a shortage of lawyers?

The Guardian: Since the Law Society’s 2009 warning that the profession was oversubscribed student numbers have fallen, possibly too far.

I shall do some serious thinking on this.  I am planning a podcast with Professor Richard Moorhead of Cardiff Law School.  Nigel Savage, CEO of The College of Law, has expressed enthusiasm for a podcast.. but I think it may be time to ask Des Hudson, Chief Executive at The Law Society,  if he would like to do his third podcast with me to get a balanced view.  I’m on the case.

Meanwhile… in VocationalWorldLand…  – a magic place reached via a bank manager’s office –  this… from RollonFriday.com

Exclusive: College of Law cancels JD course as no-one turns up

“The College of Law’s much-vaunted Juris Doctor (that’s the US legal qualification) course is not going to be running this year, allegedly due to low student take-up.  Sources have told RollOnFriday that the course – meant to be running for the first time in June this year – has been dropped and that students who had signed up were told that this was due to “low enrolment“.


Ex-offenders handed tents to live in

This story was drawn to my attention the other evening by  fellow tweeter @davemsund

Inside Housing reports: “Homeless ex-offenders in Nottinghamshire are being issued with tents by the region’s probation service.

The service confirmed it gave tents to five people last year when hostel accommodation could not be found.

Peter Anthony, accommodation, benefits and advice officer with Nottinghamshire Probation Service, said it would prefer stable accommodation for ex-offenders. But he added: ‘When there simply is no other option we will, if it is appropriate, provide a tent and sleeping bag.

‘If you send someone away from the office into the night and they have literally got nowhere to go, the chances are that they will commit offences.’ Mr Anthony added that bed spaces in the region were reducing due to the closure of a number of hostels. ‘This year we expect it [the use of tents] to increase exponentially,’ he added.


I am no expert in sentencing, probation, rehabilitation of offenders et al but…surely.. we can, as a vaguely civilised nation.. do a bit better than this?   This is a disgrace.  Funding is a problem… but do we really want to see ex-prisoners pitching tents in parks and then try to get jobs in the hope they can maintain themselves – somehow – to avoid re-offending.  I mention this latter because I am (obviously)  under the mistaken belief that The Ministry of Justice wants to reduce costs, reduce re-offending and bring ex-prisoners into the Big Society as useful tax paying members of the community.

I haven’t really got the enthusiasm to even vote on #No2Av / #Yes2AV (but I shall vote NO…. I like FPTP) – but bringing buffoons like Nick Griffin into the debate is just daft.

Well…. that’s about it for my postcard.  I may write another one tomorrow…… I wish you all a good Easter… and.. if you are on twitter... do please remember…. look on the bright side of life…

Best, as always,


I’ll leave you with this… which I knocked up some time back…..

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