Archive for June 12th, 2011

Dear Reader,

Perhaps it is my Scots background;  years of running around the Perthshire countryside at school… pointlessly… in thin cotton running shorts and a tight singlet designed to reveal muscles and six-pack ; a duty which I now leave to others – but I enjoy the rain, the bleak landscape, storms.  And, as I write, Battersea-on-Thames looks not unlike the quickly cobbled together watercolour sketch above.  Not keen to stand on Battersea Bridge like some latter day James Abbott McNeill Whistler, whose statue is on the Chelsea side of Battersea Bridge near where I used to live on a houseboat, a quick pic pointing to the West up river as ‘a reference’ was the lazy painter’s way of ‘capturing the soul’ of an afternoon at The Staterooms.

And, this said, I now write from the comfort of my desk in the bay window overlooking the Thames.  The ducks, having returned from a rave, carrying mineral water in bottles and quacking quickly earlier in the day, are now reflecting and I have a glass of Italian Shiraz from Puglia to my left.

BAILII is a remarkable resource.  I use it extensively and the free books for students on Insite Law make use of many of their cases. As Nick Holmes wrote on The Free Legal Web: “BAILII is fundamental to free access to UK law. It’s future is in jeopardy. A major funder has decided not to continue funding BAILII, and there is uncertainty about the continuing provision of funding by other major funders.”

Have a look at the BAILII funding page for details. I shall certainly be asking my advertisers on Insite Law if they will be prepared to accept a modest increase on already inexpensive advertising to assist this valuable project.

A BIT OF LAW before the Shiraz kicks in and my mind wanders and wonders….

Lord Justice Stephen Sedley has written an excellent piece on …

The Goodwin and Giggs Show

For more than three hundred years the UK’s constitution has functioned remarkably well on the basis of the historic compromise reached in the course of the 17th century. The 1689 Bill of Rights forbade the impeachment or questioning of parliamentary debates and proceedings ‘in any court or place out of Parlyament’. Parliament in return has made it a rule, enforced until now by the speakers of both Houses, that it will not interfere with the decisions of the courts, whether by anticipating their judgments or by attacking them. If Parliament does not like what the courts do, it changes the law…

Well worth a read…..

I am grateful to The Solicitors Journal for alerting us all to this law intel: “Lord Justice Thomas has been promoted to president of the Queen’s Bench Division. Sir Roger John Laugharne Thomas QC, 63, is currently vice president of the QBD and will replace Sir Anthony May at the start of the new term in October.”

Lord Phillips, when Lord Chief Justice, said of Thomas: “Margaret Thatcher once famously said of William Whitelaw ‘everyone needs a Willie’. David Neuberger suggested to me that every Lord Chief Justice needs a John Thomas.”

Illness made it impossible for me to do our fortnightly Without Prejudice podcast last Thursday.  But, regular participant David Allen Green was on the airwaves in a most enjoyable episode of Law in Action.  Well worth a listen. (Available for 26 days as at the date of writing Super Injunctions 7 June 11)

Barrister and former MP, Jerry Hayes, has an excellent piece in Total Politics (pic credit): “Forget the predictable tabloid outrage about Ken Clarke’s sentencing proposals. The real problem the justice secretary needs to tackle is the effect of the cuts to the justice system, says Jerry Hayes…..”

The trouble is that the MoJ was created in its present form purely as a power base and ego massager of that old Gromyko of Labour politics, Jack Straw. For reasons beyond modern psychiatry, the hopelessly inadequate Jacqui Smith was appointed Home Secretary. Straw took all the best bits, and created a massive department with over 80,000 civil servants. And it just doesn’t work.

An excellent read…


Unlawfully Detained!

Anna Raccoon writes: “Last year I reported extensively on the case of Steven Neary, a 20 year old autistic man. At the time, only Private Eye had taken any interest in Steven’s ‘case’ and a friend of his Father’s asked me if I would promote the case on this blog, given my interest in Court of Protection matters.  The main stream media, despite many approaches, were monumentally uninterested in Steven’s plight……

The High Court today have ruled that they UNLAWFULLY DETAINED Steven and UNLAWFULLY deprived him of his LIBERTY for a full year.”

Anna Raccoon did a remarkable job in drawing attention to this.  The mainstream media are now rushing to claim credit for breaking the story – and Anna notes… are checking her back story!

I will say this – with care and deliberation:  I posted about Anna Raccoon’s story on my blog to try and help publicise it.  I did note, as many law bloggers do, that there are often two sides to every story. [Law Review: Words fail me – a truly shocking story – please read and publicise ]  I was criticised by some law bloggers for doing so – with some guff about  ‘both sides’,  ‘evidence based analysis’ and other ‘advice’ being given to me unasked. I asked some law bloggers if they would be prepared to blog about this to publicise it.  They declined.  Their call.  Their right.
Sometimes, law and other bloggers just have to take a stand – as Anna Raccoon did – and write.  After all… any bloody idiot can write about an event and take a view when the judgment is out.  Lawyers do that all the time. Bravo Anna!

ON a lighter note…..  John Bolch wrote in his Family Lore  blog that I am to be involved in the Olympic Torch relay for 2012….  Yeah, right!

Well.. the rains have stopped… for the moment.  I think a quick glass at the caff.  I shall return…. later.

Best, as always


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