Archive for June 17th, 2011

It has been quite a week, so I thought a casual romp through some of the legal stories of the week, without too much analysis, would be a fine way to spend a rainy Friday night at my desk…

Barrister, Felicity Gerry took Joshua Rozenberg to task for his comment on the Facebook Contempt trial.

The night before the sentence, the issue of the right to trial by jury was hotly debated on twitter after Joshua Rosenberg’s article in The Guardian asked the question “Whom would you prefer to be judged by – a highly trained, publicly accountable circuit judge? Or 12 people like Joanne Fraill?” It was a dangerous and unsubtle attack on the jury system which will fuel those in civil service policy units with their eyes on their pay cheque rather than justice.

I have to say that I was a bit baffled by Rozenberg’s comment and analysis in The Guardian.  While the celebrated graffiti comment on the (urban mythical?) custody suite wall “I am about to be tried by 12 people too stupid to avoid jury service” is amusing;  most of the criminal practitioners I have spoken to are supporters of the jury system, as I am, despite its occasional flaws.  I rather like the idea also that a jury has the right to declare a verdict which lawyers and judges may deem perverse.   I commented briefly on the Facebook trial yesterday and provided a link to an interesting speech on the Jury by Lord Judge   yesterday.  Also – rather insulting to the many jurors who take their responsibilities seriously?

RollonFriday continues to find the good stuff and bring it to the table: Exclusive – West End firm offers law school grads just £6.10 per hour

There was more evidence of the woes in the legal graduate recruitment market this week, with news that a London law firm is offering a job to law school graduates at just £6.10 an hour.

Kyriakides & Braier has exacting standards, mind you. Applicants for the “legal administrative position” should have at least a 2:1 in their degree and a minimum of a commendation in their LPC. Even Slaughter and May doesn’t insist on that when taking on trainees at £38,000 a year. The rewards for such endeavour are just two pence an hour above than the new minimum wage that will come into force later this year, and £2.20 an hour below what the Mayor of London describes as the London Living Wage. The firm would have to pay an extra £3.40 an hour for someone to clean its offices. Bah, humbug.

The UKSC blog, an excellent analysis resource for all matters relating to the United Kingdom Supreme Court – a blog unlikely to be read by Scotland’s First Minister? –  has a fascinating post on Lady Hale’s views on the ECHR: Lady Hale: Beanstalk or living instrument, how tall can the ECHR grow?

Last night Lady Hale gave the 2011 Barnard’s Inn Reading, entitled ‘Beanstalk or living instrument,  how tall can the ECHR grow?’During the lecture she explored the theme of legal evolution and the manner in which Convention rights have been reinterpreted in order to reflect changing social mores. In particular she examined four areas in which the changing interpretation of Convention rights is more problematic:

(a) the interpretation of the ‘autonomous concepts’ in the Convention; (b) the implication of further rights into those expressed; (c) the development of positive obligations; and (d) the narrowing of the margin of appreciation permitted to member states’……

Neil Rose of Legal Futures, always on the money when it comes to looking at legal practice, writes: Sell, sell, sell – what In-Deed tells us about law firm flotation

I don’t know much about the financial markets – that’s one of the many reasons I became a solicitor donkey’s years ago. So I don’t quite get how a company like online conveyancing business In-Deed, which with the best will in the world is currently little more than an idea, can float on AIM, have a market capitalisation of £8.6m and within a couple of days see its share price rise a third, from 42p to 56p. The service only actually launched last month.

To my uneducated eye, it looks like a considerable gamble to invest in an untested business model, however pukka the people behind it may be.

Well worth a read…..

Meanwhile John Hyde, writing in the Law Society Gazette writes:  DLA Piper boss’s warning for legal sector

The head of global legal giant DLA Piper warned this week that a ‘paradigm shift’ is about to hit the sector.

Sir Nigel Knowles (pictured), joint chief executive of the firm, predicted many firms will flounder in the next 10 years after alternative business structures (ABSs) arrive in October.

‘They (ABSs) are going to kill off the commodity firms at the bottom of the food chain. I don’t think they have any inkling of what is going to happen to them – competition will intensify and it will have a knock-on effect,’ he declared….


Well… I did say that it would be a romp..and romping they were at Royal Ascot yesterday…  The Sun… nails it

It’s all kicked toff at Ascot

Three years ago… how time flies…. I wrote about Royal Ascot…. in my slightly surreal West London Man series….  Not much has changed.

West London Man is returning very soon… if you fancy a look at the first 25 episodes of a modern day Rake’s Progress through the English social season… here it is.. with some bizarre podcasts and sound effects…

Back tomorrow…

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