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Archive for May, 2011

I was distracted yesterday so was not able to do my usual postcard.    First up is an important announcement from the excellent  Inner Temple Current Awareness news service…

A recent change of web host has provided us with the opportunity to redesign and re-launch our Current Awareness blog. A temporary redirect is in place so the old URL will still lead you to the blog, but our new address is as follows: www.innertemplelibrary.com Please update your bookmarks and links where appropriate.

It is always a pleasure to read Adam Wagner in The UK Human Rights blog… particularly as he is developing a taste for tabloid ‘stylee’ headlines for his blog posts!

Unelected, underqualified and frankly bonkers

Wagner writes…“A near-hysterical reaction has greeted some recent European court rulings. If you believed the coverage, you would think that unelected, underqualified and frankly bonkers judges are dictating our laws and making our Prime Minister physically ill. With this week potentially heralding another hang-the-judges media storm over Max Mosley’s Strasbourg privacy case, it is a relief to read three sensible and balanced pieces on European courts this week, all of which highlights the courts’ shortcomings, but also the risks of a UK withdrawal.

I join David Allen Green (in my case a cynical rather than ‘skeptical’ eye) in marvelling at the mainstream media hysteria on the possibility that judges and parliamentarians may bring sense to the whole privacy issue.  Expect more ‘stories’ about unelected judges when the Mosley judgment is handed down from Europe. This could be most inconvenient for their parallel universe view of ‘rights’ – the right to increase revenue through salacious revelations about people behaving badly. Unfortunately for their cause – it would appear that the revelations about superinjunctions, widely available on the net, seem to be about matters of shagging and other private misbehaviour – rather than more important ‘public interest’ issues.

Twitter has been ablaze with talk of ‘Thousands of people’ possibly committing contempt of court by publishing details of apparent superinjunctions.  Jemima Khan denied that she took out a superinjunction – and stated that the fact newspapers published her name (but not others) without fear of being sued, proved her point. She doesn’t have a superinjunction.

Joshua Rozenberg asks if a person unaware of the existence of a superinjunction commits an offence if he / she comes into possession of information, the subject of a superinjunction, and publishes.  Kafka’s Trial may well prove to be a useful reference work in that connection? The Guardian reports: “Hugh Tomlinson QC weighed in on Guardian Law via the Inforrm blog with the first of two pieces on how a privacy law might work….”

Unfortunately… I have to go and do something vaguely sensible now… but I’ll be back later.  In the meantime… if you missed it and would like to listen to our latest Without Prejudice podcast: Bin Laden assassination – Ian Tomlinson – City Law practice and BRIBERY ….. please scroll down or click here.

Best, as always

Charon

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Cleggitita, tell me what’s wrong?
You’re enchained by your apostasy
In your eyes there is no hope for tomorrow
How I hate to see you like this
There is no way you can deny it
I can see that you’re oh so sad, so quiet

Cleggitita, tell me the truth
Dave is a shoulder you can cry on
Your best friend, he’s the one you must rely on
You were always sure of yourself
Now I see you’ve broken a feather
I hope you can patch it up together

Cleggitita, you and I know
How the votes come and they go
And the scams they’re leaving
You’ll be job hunting once again and the pain will end
You will have no time for deceiving

If you wish to sing along… and… I encourage this…. if you like dancing on political graves….. here is the Abba original…

Meanwhile… the spiv from Slough Grammar says… Take a Chance on Me… also covered by Abba

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Listen to the podcast

Useful links:

Does school mean smart? – the profession should decide which side of the fence it sits on with social mobility

CPS: The death of Ian Tomlinson – decision on prosecution

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

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I commented on The Heresiarch blog…. as always, a very interesting and thoughtful blog…..

When is an execution not an execution?

My comment is repeated here…

Given interdiction and killing on foreign sovereign territory, the territory of an ally, and the apparent nature of the ‘shoot to kill’ instruction – although this was later tempered by the White House –  and the fact of apparent resistance, it was an assassination, at worst –  or necessary self defence at the improbable best.

We do not know – but I suspect that US and UK special forces have engaged in assassination in Afghanistan. I seem to recall Margaret Thatcher’s surprise to find that one Iranian terrorist escaped death at the hands of the SAS (Iran Embassy siege). Perhaps if the TV cameras had not been so present, there would have been no survivors?

In the court of public opinion – these actions are often justified. One only needs to read the endless (and many rather unpleasing) tweets on twitter to realise that most delight in the death of Bin Laden

If we are to have a rule of law and not law by rule then it is not justified. Due process calls for (lawful) extraction, fair trial and punishment. In many countries, as everyone knows, the death penalty is not applied.

I was asked by a tweeter  if The US had any choice but to kill given resistance by OBL….

Then… I asked what seemed to be a vaguely reasonable question….

Justice is done?  Interesting idea…. certainly… in the Court of Public Opinion.. and I do understand a need for the court of public opinion to get the ‘pound of flesh’.. but is it the right way? I’m asking… not telling…

I am not that keen on primitive medieval systems of ‘retributive’ law… where the biggest bullet wins.  I really do prefer the *concept* that world affairs are dealt with by law. War doesn’t work.  Even Churchill got that one right…. with “Jaw Jaw… not war..war”.  That is all I will say on the matter.

I am, obviously, out of touch with modern legal thinking…. Pity… I shall find something more beneficial to the human condition to do if we are to applaud *The Law of Rule*

What… in the cold light of day.. do you really think about this?

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UPDATE… I was asked a question on twitter…. with a touch of irony…. I suspect.  My response is ironic (ish)

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Another UPDATE… I have just seen this Indie report at 00:51  3rd May 2011


I am more than happy to agree with what a well known silk says on this issue…. Geoffrey Robertson QC in The Independent… – a good read…

Geoffrey Robertson: Why it’s absurd to claim that justice has been done

[ Unfortunately… yet again.. we have a British prime minister… rushing in to comment that the world is a better place….. without really engaging the *British Government Brain* on this issue.  I find that rather tragic.  I was not impressed with the prime minister’s statement this morning – presumably from Chequers – even if he was wearing a suit with a purple tie.  Shocking….truly. BBC: “Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the death as “a great success” but said it was not the end of terror threats”.]


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Well… what a long holiday everyone seems to have had over the last ten days or so.  I have, of course, been at my post and tonight… I share a few of the the blog posts, news items and other ‘phenomena’ which have interested and  amused me.  Working on the principle, whether republican or royalist, that you are sated with news of the wedding…

Donald Trump, after forcing President Obama to reveal his birth certificate last week – finally proving that Obama is, indeed, an American citizen (and therefore eligible to be President) – had his come uppance in a wonderful riposte by President Obama.  You have probably seen this wonderful clip… but if you haven’t – please take a few minutes to watch.  It is extremely amusing.

This video is also amusing… Donald Trump responds on US TV….

Trump sense of humour failure

There has been a huge amount of coverage on superinjunctions recently in the press and in the law and political blogs.  Some of the analysis is not particularly good and I have referred to good coverage in posts last week. This excellent post from the  Pink Tape blog is a very good read.  The author of Pink Tape is an experienced family law barrister. The is post, rightly, earns an Oscar from another leading family law blogger, John Bolch of Family Lore.

So – Superinjunct me!

It may be a bit heavy for a Sunday Bank holiday weekend, but this article from The Lawyer fascinated me:  Irwin Mitchell: we’ll float and take on the mid-tier.

“Irwin Mitchell first to declare ABS intentions; aims for £50m war chest for recruitment. Irwin Mitchell plans to use the £50m war chest it expects to amass on converting to an alternative business structure (ABS) to go head-to-head with mid-tier corporate firms. Managing partner John Pickering said the firm would target growth through mergers and acquisitions once the Legal Services Act (LSA) is implemented in October.

Pickering explained: “It’s about deconstruction of the law, like [consultants] Stephen Mayson or Richard Susskind have explained in the past, trying to reduce it to an operational process.”

I shall watch this with interest.  Commoditisation is the coming thing.  Whether that is a good thing, or floating on the stock market is a good thing, remains to be seen.  The comments to this article are worth reading.

Yes… I know I said that I would avoid Royal Wedding coverage… but I just cannot resist drawing your attention to this nonsense from The Mail on Sunday…

‘Those are not heir-bearing hips are they?’ Camilla feud with Lady Annabel after Jemima’s wedding Tweets

And this is wonderfully British….

The RNLI is a truly remarkable organisation – a rescue service manned by volunteers and funded through donations.  I suspect they had better things to do… but I just love the idea of three drunks on a boat greeting the RNLI with shouts of ‘Bonjour’.

Three men in a Boat!  Drunk revellers in rubber dinghy rescued after floating for 11 hours in the English Channel.

* Men greet (RNLI) with shouts of ‘Bonjour!’

* They had a bottle of wine and one paddle between them

* Suffering from hypothermia with only beach clothes to help them

A quick look at some law blogs…

Obiter J considers… Arrests in London on 29th April – Breach of the Peace etc.

Obiter J notes:  “A number of people planned a “street theatre” with the idea of showing a mock execution.  The arrest of three of these people raises some interesting legal questions.”

While it may have been in ‘questionable’ taste on the day of a Royal Wedding to stage a ‘mock execution’ – and I don’t actually think it was in bad taste – I cannot see any clear justification for arrest here. As Obiter J notes…“The precise basis of the arrests is not entirely clear though “conspiracy to commit a breach of the peace and public nuisance”  has been mentioned…. Some film of the arrests taking place may be seen at the Third estate blog – “It’s time we put breach of the queen’s peace into the legal dustbin.

I can understand Police needs and policy to ensure the Royal Wedding went off without a hitch….. but was a group, led by a professor of anthropology likely to be a serious threat to public order and control?  Freedom of speech?  We must be alive to mission creep and the use of ‘I don’t like your face’ policing and the use of vague charges?

UK Human Rights Blog: Privacy: the way ahead? Part 1 – Hugh Tomlinson QC
“The Prime Minister has said that he is “uneasy” about the development of a privacy law by judges based on the European Convention when this should be a matter for parliament.  In our contribution to the continuing debate on this issue we are re-posting this two-part discussion on the history and future of privacy law from Inforrm’s Blog.

Time for a bit from The White Rabbit: Keef, Dann, scum and Keira….

“Okay, lets start with a review. The rabbit has just read the less than imaginatively titled Life by Keith Richards – or more accurately by Keith Richards with James Fox, a journalist acquaintance of his. Which is okay. Unsurprisingly it reads like spoken reminiscences, surprisingly for those of a cynical bent, Keef not only remembers but also makes a good raconteur. He actually succeeds in making the reader like him – a kind of guarded, qualified liking but a liking nonethelesss.”


I missed this excellent story from RollonFriday.com… worthy of Dr Strangelove of Muttley Dastardly LLP

Exclusive: RPC lawyers publicly shamed if they don’t bill enough

Lawyers at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain can tell how effectively their colleagues are billing from the colour of their computer screens.

An insider complains that the firm has inserted a “nifty programme” on associates’ computers which changes the colour of the screens depending on how profitable they are. Red means they’re losing the firm money, yellow means they’re doing OK but must try harder, and green means that the key to the partnership washroom is within grasp. And given that the firm has open plan offices, everyone can check out everyone else’s performance.

Well… another week goes by

Best, as always.

Charon


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