Archive for August, 2011

I had hoped that today would mark a return to more serious matters.  It would appear, despite the global economageddon, that much of Britain appears to holiday on.  I have never had so many *Out of Office* email promises to ignore my emails when the recipient finally gets backs to work at some point this week.

So…. it was pleasing to hear, on Twitter,  of the #MouseGate (A mouse sighted near / or in the restaurant)  at Hallyrude… the seat of all things political for  Scots in their ‘Pairlament’  (see Postcard 2 below). Apparently one such ‘beastie’ was sighted.  I have no evidence whatsoever  to support this grave calumny, indiscretion and solecism on the part of the aforementioned mouse – save for a tweet which has long since disappeared into the diaspora of twitter irrelevance.

Meanwhile, it occurred to me that those who wish to find Col Gaddafi may do well to pop down to The Strand in London and see if he is hiding at The London School of Economics.  It must… surely.. be worth looking… on the basis of  past LSE *Form*  with ‘Brother Leader’?


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First a bit of genius… HT to @Johnthelutheran .. this is wonderful stuff from Dudley Moore: Dudley Moore plays Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.33, the “Colonel Bogey”.

A couple of new law blogs:  The Bungablog  on The Bribery Act 2010 by barrister James Vine …..and This Much I Know – Alison Graham-Welles, Barrister.

The Bribery Act 2010 is fairly complex.  This blog post from James Vine will give you an insight into the workings of the Act: Official. Government declares Bribery is NOT an Offence!

HT to @loveandgarbage for alerting me to a leaflet in ‘Scots’ to explain to ‘Scots’ speakers how Pairlament warks.  Real money was spent on this marvellous document.  My father… pronounced… ‘faethar’…. (Mother is pronounced… Mither) was frae Glasgae and amused himself when over refreshed by being a ‘Professional Scot’ and speaking ‘Scots’ … largely by making it up as he went along. His grasp of Scots history varied according to the amoont o whiskae he hod drank.  Here is the ‘Garrin the Scottish Pairlament wark for ye’ pdf.  Good stuff. I like ‘Scots’ – I shall have to brush up on it. Here is a video of The Scottish First Minister talking wistfully about ‘Scots’…

And.. if you thought that was a bit weird…. what about a grown man who dresses up as a Ninja and patrols the streets of Yeovil?  This video is worth a look.

But… not to be outdone when it comes to weird shit…. Presidential hopeful, Michell Bachmann, from The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the States…. has pronounced that….Hurricane Irene was a punishment from God.

I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.

And.. from the same New Statesman article…”Evangelical preacher Pat Robertson, a former Republican presidential candidate, linked Hurricane Katrina to abortion or, in his words, “the wholesale slaughter of unborn children”

But…. we have our own home grown politicians who are more than capable of getting in on a bit of batshit crazy stuff.  Tory MP Nadine Dorries has got in on the action on the abortion debate, attracting the ire of the liberal establishment.  I don’t happen to agree with her views – which is my right and, of course, the right of those who do to follow her – but liberal and never misconceived lawyer David Allen Green did an analysis of the ‘Works of Nadine Dorries MP’ in The News Statesman earlier in the year which is worth reading if you want to see how some of our Tory *Beserkers* are influencing government policy.

In his own words…here is a tweet from @David Allen Green: Here is my November 2010 @NewStatesman expose of Nadine Dorries dishonesty and abuse in using her blog bit.ly/9RWaWF.

I suppose… this being a law blog… that I should get back to a bit of law.  Here we go…

G4S sacks pair who tagged offender’s false leg

BBC: “Private security firm G4S has sacked two members of staff who tagged a man’s false leg allowing him to remove it and break a court-imposed curfew. The pair were fooled by Christopher Lowcock, 29, who wrapped the prosthetic limb in a bandage when G4S set up the system at his Rochdale home. He was then able to remove the limb and break a curfew imposed for offences involving drugs, driving and a weapon.”

Magistrates have responded angrily to prison governors’ accusations they have indulged in a sentencing “feeding frenzy” after the riots in England.

BBC: Prison Governors Association president Eoin McLennan Murray said sentences had appealed to a populist mentality. But Magistrates Association chairman John Thornhill said sentencing had followed guidelines and he was “angry and concerned” by the comments.

Indeed yes…. There are going to be a fair few appeals..and a few ‘quiet words’ and ‘taps on the shoulder’ to those magistrates (in the main, professional, legally qualified, district judges?) who have overdone the sentencing egg?  We shall see.

And finally… and not surprisingly… a wonderful mocking piece from The New York Times on PM Camcorderdirect’s knee-jerking response in the wake of the riots to close down twitter and other social media…. a ludicrous idea which the government appears to have backed away from as I noted in my Postcard the other day.

A couple of quotes to whet your appetite.  The article is worth a read in full.

“…Iran, criticized by the West for restricting the Internet and curbing free speech, seemed to savor the moment and offered in the immediate aftermath of the riots to “send a human rights delegation to Britain to study human rights violations in the country,”

Some of the nations that have been criticized by the West for their own draconian crackdowns on inconvenient freedoms of speech have watched Britain’s recent struggles with barely disguised glee. In China, The Global Times, a government-controlled newspaper, praised Mr. Cameron’s comments, writing that “the open discussion of containment of the Internet in Britain has given rise to a new opportunity for the whole world.”

Good effort.  With a single leap, our hapless prime minister has put Britain into a “League of Rather Unsavoury Nations” when it comes to human rights and is building on the repressive ‘crackdown’ on civil liberties meted out by the last Labour government.

Well.. there we are.  Back to real life tomorrow and back to vaguely sensible commentary on the laws and ways of our sceptred isle.

Best, as always


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Dear Reader,

It being the bank holiday weekend, a festival to mark the end of the British summer and a transition from torpor back to realities of work, I thought I would have a wander about the online law magazines , a few law blogs and the press to find out what is happening.  I don’t, of course, need to cover or comment on Libya.

Did you know, in office slang, that Adhocracy – is a department with little to no process or organisational ability? Perhaps you are unfortunate enough to work in an office with Agenda Benders – a co-worker who is easily side-tracked in meetings.? Perhaps you are prone to a bit of Cybernating – snoozing at your computer? Or… perhaps you suffer from Flashturbation – self-congratulatory and excessive use of animation in Powerpoint?

I came across a most amusing website where office slang terms have been collated. Well worth a look. – if you are to avoid attending a Goat Rodeo… an embarrassing meeting.

Oooops:  The Lawyer has been called out by RollonFriday: Excitement as The Lawyer magazine offers law firm “Kite Mark” (for £495)

RollonFriday reports…” The legal profession fell over itself in its hurry to get its chequebook out this week, after being offered the chance to purchase a “Kite Mark” from The Lawyer magazine. For a bargain £495 plus VAT. PR departments of law firms across the country received an email from the Lawyer magazine about its “eagerly awaited UK200 supplement”. And, it revealed, each firm which makes the list (and that’s 200 of ’em – the clue’s in the name) would be offered the chance to purchase a finely crafted Kite Mark which will, apparently, be “regarded as the industry stamp of approval”. So if they all sign up that’s, err, £99,000 for a little graphic.?

RollonFriday are now offering their own award (Pictured)

The BBC reports: Thousands ‘ripped off’ by unregulated will-writers: “Thousands of people are being ripped off by companies providing unregulated services such as will writing, claims the first Legal Ombudsman. In his first report, Chief Ombudsman for England and Wales Adam Sampson said the most complaints he saw concerned conveyancing, family law and wills. He called for action to be taken to ensure consumers were not left vulnerable by unregulated services.”

Meanwhile, over at The Law Society:  Chief Executive Des Hudson stoked the flames…“The gap in regulation which allows unregulated cowboys to operate in areas like will writing does not just cause unfair competition to solicitors, who provide a regulated, professional service.”

Interestingly, The Law Society Gazette is getting in on the action with this report about a wills fraudster: Will-writing fraudster jailed

I had the pleasure of lunching last Sunday with the White Rabbit.  He told me that he was hopping orf to t’cricket on the Monday.  Here is his report.

And a little bit of analysis from Babybarista to assist you with your client care: Keep the client in his place

And this little bit of No Sh*t Sherlockery from Sir Alan Beith MP, late of the Institute of the Bleedin’ Obvious…

Peter Glover writes in The Law Society Gazette: More litigants in person will threaten the county courts with additional delays

“The House of Commons’ justice committee, chaired by Sir Alan Beith MP, predicts an increasing number of litigants in person by reason of the government’s curtailment of legal aid. We are told courts must make ‘adjustments’ to cope with this influx ‘in what are often emotionally charged cases’.

Wisely, the parliamentarians offer no suggestions as to the nature of the adjustments. It is possible some of them are sufficiently well informed to recognise that, in the context of the county court, this is just wishful thinking. To a far greater extent – and for far longer – than any other judges, district judges in the county courts have been ‘adjusting’ the management and conduct of cases to accommodate litigants in person.

Nobody has more experience in dealing with them than we do and, if we are nearing the limits of our capacity and inventiveness, there is no hope that the county court can survive the withdrawal of publicly funded legal assistance without significant increases in delay for other court users. If you agree that justice delayed is often justice denied, the county court and its users face a bleak future….”

A good article and worth a read.  Peter Glover has been a district judge at Dartford County Court since 1995.

There are big problems ahead for access to justice with the present government’s policy on legal aid and closure of courts.  It was, however, good to See Deputy Prime Minister Clegg warning about weakening our Human Rights – a view not shared by some of the Beserkers  in the Tory party. Cynics say that Clegg can say these things safely, knowing that it will not be a coalition-buster if PM Camcorderdirect continues with his rants about the Human Rights Act and comes up with / makes a hash of his much vaunted British Bill of Rights.

Obiter J continues to analyse and reflect with this excellent post: (1) The August Disorder – more sentencing …. (2) A seriously disturbing family case

“Sentencing remarks by His Honour Judge Milmo QC for the case of R v Ahmed Pelle at the Crown Court Nottingham are now available.  Pelle pleaded guilty to incitement of violent disorder.  Amongst other things he put on Facebook the remark – “Kill one black youth; we’ll kill a million Fedz: riot until we own the cities.”  Judge Milmo’s remarks are a concise model of a sentencing announcement which meets the various legal requirements – please see earlier Law and Lawyers post “Recent Disorder: Bail and Sentencing.”  Allowing for his guilty plea, Pelle was sentenced to 2 years and 9 months imprisonment….”

And this from The Guardian is worth reading…

Naming young offenders should remain a rarity

The Guardian: Revealing identity of 16-year-old who admitted inciting rioting will achieve nothing but a short-lived burst of media exaltation

If you haven’t listened to my podcast on the riots and the law applied to riot cases with John Cooper QCthe podcast is here.  John does a very thorough job of analysing the law and his comments are well worth listening to.

I think that is enough for this edition… I may do another Postcard on Sunday.  I shall leave you with this good news…

Government backs away from plan to close social media sites during riots

The Independent: “Threats to close down Twitter and other social media during civil disturbances, raised in the heat of this month’s riots, have been abandoned. The subject was not even discussed during an hour-long meeting between senior ministers, the police, and representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry yesterday.

The Government has executed a rapid climbdown after being alerted to the pitfalls of a policy put forward “in the heat of the moment”. Whitehall sources privately admitted they were not now seeking any new powers to censor the internet….”

Have a good bank holiday weekend.  I shall be at my post…

best, as always


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The final bank holiday of the year until Christmas is upon us.  Next week I shall return to detailed commentary on the law, but for now a few items from ‘left field’.

First up… the news that Rocket Lawyer is coming to town to take advantage of the brave new world of law under the Legal Services Act.

To infinity and beyond: Google Law prepares for blast off

Louise Restell writes: “Several years ago, when I was campaigning to bring about the Legal Services Act, some bright spark at Which? suggested to me it wasn’t Tesco law that would bring about a revolution in legal services, but Google Law.  I wouldn’t say I dismissed his prediction out of hand, but at the time it was quite a big leap to see how you could buy legal services in Tesco, never mind from Google.  Well, last week this colleague’s prediction turned out to be right as the Google-backed Rocket Lawyer announced its intention to launch in the UK in 2012.  It’s a measure of how far we’ve come that the news caused merely a ripple, rather than the tsunami we would have surely had in the past.”

And if that doesn’t worry you, what about this?: A US law circus is coming to town…

Exclusive: “Biggest legal brand in US” eyes UK market entry in 2012

Legal Futures reveals: “Pioneering US legal services business LegalZoom is planning to launch in the UK next year, Legal Futures can reveal.

Co-founder Eddie Hartman, who is also president of attorney services, told Legal Futures that the company is “deep into the planning stages” of its UK entry, with the hope of bringing them to fruition in the next six to 12 months.

However, he emphasised that LegalZoom was taking its time to understand the UK’s legal culture. “We have to pay close attention to what the UK customer wants – we are still working out what that is,” he said.

I have no idea how these two initiatives will impact on the legal services market yet.  I am, however, doing a podcast with Professor Gary Slapper on Monday.  Gary Slapper has written a detailed text on the English Legal System, so we should be able to ‘shed some light’ on this in the podcast.   We should be thankful that Mr Hartman of Legal Zoom is going to be doing some ‘deep planning and thinking’ – a fairly useful thing to do when launching a new product?

Meanwhile Mr John Hemming MP is facing calls to resign over his antics using parliamentary privilege to break super-injunctions This article from the influential Inforrm blog makes it very clear that Mr Hemming’s conduct was unacceptable.

“This case seems a particularly clear example of the dangers of a politician – who knows only part of a story – second guessing a judge who has heard all the evidence.   An injunction which was designed to protect the interest of a child was repeatedly breached by the losing party in litigation, encouraged and assisted by a number of websites and by Mr Hemming’s abuse of parliamentary privilege.”

Adam Wagner and the UK Human Rights blog has this news: President of Family Division’s press release on paedophile allegations case

With thanks to the Judicial Press Office, below is the full press release from the President of the Family Division in a case involving a “super injunction”, John Hemming MP, false allegations of pedophilia and some poor press reporting.

I will blog about this once the full rulings are released, but in the meantime see Lucy Reed: Bared Teeth – Grrrrr! | Pink Tape; Inforrm; News: Hemming MP’s “super injunction victim” named as sex abuse fabricator « Inforrm’s Blog, and the Fighting Monsters blog: Hemming and Haigh – The Journey of an Injunction.

David Allen Green continues to investigate #hackgate: The Story of Hackgate, Part 1 – A blog post well worth your time.

And then, of course, we have our political masters not learning the lessons of history from King Canute.  King Canute, you will recall, to prove to his “followers” that he was not omnipotent,  demonstrated that he could not hold back the waves.  Following the riots, Prime Minister Camcorderdirect, currently enjoying his fifth holiday of the year in Cornwall, and Home Secretary Theresa May, appear to be under the delusion that they can hold back the waves of social media.

Facebook and Twitter to oppose calls for social media blocks during riots

The Guardian reports: “Facebook and Twitter are preparing to face down government ministers over calls to ban people from social networks or shut their websites down in times of civil unrest The major social networks are expected to offer no concessions when they meet the home secretary, Theresa May, at a Home Office summit on Thursday lunchtime….”

As I write, I do not know the outcome of the meeting with May. But I can tell you that the BBC is reporting that Deputy Prime Minister Clegg was pelted with blue paint.  I’m not a fan of pie throwing or paint chucking as a means of protest.  Mr Clegg had the right attitude in shrugging it off… “These things happen. It’s not a big deal.”

The GCSE results were out today and trending on twitter… A’s, B’s C’s.  The incorrect use of the apostrophe is endemic in this country – prompting me to observe (lightly)  this morning..

Update: Mary Wombat (@little_mavis)

I thought the same about the apostrophe & was discussing this with someone on Twitter today. Then I found this http://oxforddictionaries.com/page/punctuationapostrophe Right at the bottom. Apparently for single letters & numbers it is acceptable to use an apostrophe to indicate a plural

I was taught at school by a stickler for the apostrophe.  It would appear that I have erred!  I have always used the convention of simply adding an ‘s’ to indicate the plural. One learns every day!

A fascinating issue on university fees has escalated into law…

Does Scotland’s university fees system breach human rights laws?

The Guardian: If claims of discrimination against non-Scottish UK students are proved, Westminster may be forced to interfere in domestic matters devolved to Scotland

I am not a fan of the increase in fees to £9000 next year.  Iwasn’t a fan of the Labour government’s plan to charge fees at all.  My generation were fortunate.  We did not pay fees.  The government says we have run out of money.  Universities must stand on their on feet.  The future of our country in terms of workforce and wealth creators must now pay for their own education – borrowing the money but paying it back over a lifetime. I don’t know the answer to this problem, but I suspect, if we pulled back from entering unwise wars which we can’t actually win, we may have more money to invest in the future of our country and the high quality of education which we do provide at university level.  This, of course, may be far too naive and simplistic a view and is unlikely to find favour with our political masters.  I would like to see this case won.  I don’t see why an English or Welsh student who wishes to attend a university in Scotland should pay a higher fee than a Scots student or other student domiciled in Scotland pays – another view unlikely to find favour with  political masters. – in this case Scotland’s.

I’ll leave you to enjoy your bank holiday weekend with this from Professor Gary Slapper…

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Lawcast 193:  Sundeep Bhatia, Law Society Council member on diversity in the profession

Today I am talking to solicitor Sundeep Bhatia, a Law Society Council member and is a former Chair of the Society of Asian Lawyers. Sundeep is the proprietor of Beaumonde Law Practice in Middlesex and specialises in employment law.

Listen to the podcast


And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors and

Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

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Druid leader King Arthur loses legal fight over Stonehenge remains

The Guardian reports: High court refuses judicial review of decision to remove 5,000-year-old ‘royal’ remains from Stonehenge for analysis

I had the pleasure, some years ago, of drinking with King Arthur.  There aren’t too  many lawyers or law bloggers who can claim that.  I also read his excellent book.  He has led an extraordinary life as a peaceful activist – and I very much enjoyed our various evenings together.  He drank cider.  I drank, as always, Rioja.

A trip back to 1974 – harmless banter or offensive prejudice?

Legal Bizzle writes in Legal Week – about a meeting with two senior lawyers and his discomfort at their mild racism and midget jokes. It is a good piece and worth a read.

Women in the Law…equality?

I had the pleasure of doing a podcast with Felicity Gerry last week on Women in The Law

Felicity Gerry tweeted me yesterday:

@Charonqc my concern that women crim barristers have 2 fight 4 big work borne out by equality assessment on CPS website. 72.2% of fees to men!..and in a follow up tweet referring me to a CPS document on the Advocate Panels application scheme:  Click on equality impact assessment. F.
You may also be interested in a podcast I did with Nichola Higgins, Chair of The Young Barristers Committee on the issue of the Advocate Panels Scheme. I am doing a second podcast with Nichola Higgins on this and other issue facing young barristers in early September. It would seem that some are more equal than others… still.
College of Law becomes first private sector body in UK to have degree awarding powers renewed…
In 2006 The College of Law became the first private-sector education institution in England and Wales to be granted degree awarding powers. It has now become the first private provider to have those powers renewed following a successful audit visit by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

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Back later in the day.. when I recover from the natural  nitrous oxide provided by our ‘political masters’…

Libya: Saif al-Islam and Mohammed Gaddafi, the dictator’s sons, escape capture

Telegraph: Saif al-Islam, Colonel Gaddafi’s heir apparent, emerged defiant at his father’s Tripoli compound hours after reports of his arrest by rebel forces.

As the old saying goes.. you could not make it up.  And… what was a prosecutor at the ICC doing CONFIRMING reports of Saif al-Islam’s arrest?

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It has been an enjoyable weekend.  I decided to take a few days away from blogging after the podcasts on Thursday last.  I have been doing non-law writing for a couple of weeks – a novel noir….which may or may not be completed.

A few quick screen grabs and pics to sum up this week…. from my perspective..


Louise Mensch…a Tory MP….  amused many of us tonight on Twitter with her  rather absurd snivelling (some said brown-nosing)  tweets proclaiming that the Liberation of Libya was a triumph for Cameron.  Apart from the fact that Cameron was too busy eating sun dried tomatoes in Tuscany… and is now in Cornwall (possibly modelling next year’s Boden HOT SELLERS…..) to liberate anything but a bottle of Chateau Petrus… the French must be given credit for initiating and leading the NATO efforts…. or have we been misinformed..and it was Cameron who drove the entire Libya revolt?

I did, however, enjoy PM Camcorderdirect’s speech earlier in the week…when he reputedly said… “It is time for our country to take stock”.  Indeed…. HD TVs…. trainers….. mobile phones?  That sort of stock?

And then… one of the best Private Eye covers I have seen in over 40 years of reading !…. excellent…

And… a blog post would just not be complete without some parodic observation on our hapless Prime Minister David Camcorderdirect…. who, it has to be said, seems to be away on holiday when the big stories break… Riots last week.. Libya this week…

This… from the front cover of The Daily Mirror for Monday 22nd August.. sums it up rather well?

And… finally.. I had a most enjoyable lunch with The White Rabbit whose blog is always worth reading…. especially for his ‘Knob of the Week” feature..

Have a good week…

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Lawcast 192: John Cooper QC on the sentencing of rioters and looters

Today I am talking to John Cooper QC,  a practising barrister at 25 Bedford Row,  about the controversy which now rages in the press in relation to the sentences being handed down to rioters and looters.  The issue of proportion, parity and comparison with sentences given for so called ‘white collar crime’ by MPs, peers and bankers is examined in detail.

Listen to the podcast


And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

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Lawcast 191:  Felicity Gerry on women in the law, practice at the Bar and a view on sentencing

Today I am talking to Felicity Gerry, a practising barrister at 36 Bedford Row, about women in the law, practice at the Bar and, given Felicity’s expertise, we will take a look at the role of the Sentencing Council and her thoughts on the sentences being meted out to the rioters and looters by the courts.

Listen to the podcast


An article by Felicity Gerry in Halsbury’s Law Exchange: I predict a riot – about sentencing


I am doing a detailed podcast on the riot and looting sentences with John Cooper QC this afternoon.  This will be available on the blog from 4.30 pm

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.



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“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.”
Immanuel Kant

Kant had a point – and in this last week to ten days with the riots, I think reason, considered reason, is of great value.  While I faffed about on twitter this morning, irritating  a few fellow tweeters with my references to the ‘criminal’ activity of The Bullingdon Club (which the Prime Minister belonged to in his youth) and noting the arson which Nick Clegg engaged in during his youth – the recent rioting and looting is a serious issue and deserves serious reason being applied to the causes and the solution.

I am not a sociologist.  Many have written on the subject.  Many have tweeted.  David Allen Green wrote in his Jack of Kent blog about the riots – quoting the historian Conrad Russell: The riots and lawlessness.  I hosted a Without Prejudice podcast on the subject last week with regular panelists Carl Gardner, David Allen Green and guests Dr Evan Harris, solicitor David Wales and human rights barrister Adam Wagner.

There are dangers in a perfectly understandable ‘swing to the right’ from commentators, politicians and public sentiment.  There are dangers in quick and expedient justice, rushed justice, ‘exemplary’ (or should that be ‘to make an example of’ ?) justice.   Matthew Taylor considers the sentence in a case involving a bottle of water worth £3.50:  Nicholas Robinson; Burglary; 6 months: An appropriate sentence?   Matthew Taylor notes: “The English riots, by Adam Wagner at UK Human Rights Blog, gathers a number of resources on different aspects legal of rioting, including advice for reporters and on policing powers. One of items Adam links to is a post by ObiterJ, Who will pay? We all will ! The Riot (Damages) Act 1886″

Today, in The Guardian, a number of interesting law oriented  articles: Riots: magistrates advised to ‘disregard normal sentencing’ | UK riots: Judges warned by Law Society not to hand down ‘rushed justice’.

Suzanne Moore’s article, intelligent and thoughtful, provides some food for thought: UK riots: don’t shut these kids out now.

This cartoon, which I found on twitter, sums up the view of many trying to make sense of non-sense through dark humour…

Barrister Lucy Reed, writing on her Pink Tape blog, tries to make sense from non-sense with this thoughtful piece: There’s been a riot in my living room

And this interesting viewpoint from the Civil Service is well worth a read: A challenge for the civil service – and large institutions alike.

This important issue isn’t going to to be solved by politicians scoring political points – but it may be solved with considered reason.  Most people have a pretty shrewd idea why the riots happened.  Surely, we don’t need yet another public inquiry to kick the issue into the long grass, to use a cliche of our times?

And we certainly don’t need a knee-jerk reaction to give government an opportunity to erode further our civil liberties because politicians of all flavours have not addressed long standing social issues and a minority of people rioted – some with malicious intent;  others, young people, who may have got drawn into it through excitement, boredom, and similar excesses of youth to those experienced by young students who trash(ed) restaurants as members of The Bullingdon Club and a young Mr Clegg,  who set fire to a collection of cacti collected by a German professor because he got drunk.

Back tomorrow with a podcast and some other law coverage

Best, as always


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AND then.. our revered leader comes up with yet another stunt….

Independent article: Exclusive: PM’s plan to import US adviser angers police chiefs

But my favourite commentary on the astonishing behaviour of our Prime Minister is this EXCELLENT…. *Open Letter to David Cameron’s Parents* about the riots…  please do read… well worth your time…

And…finally… I do hope this latest strain of the kneejerkitis StreptoDailyMailocockus virus  doesn’t go viral… but with people like Nadine Dorries and other assorted Coalition MPs ruining running our lives…. I suspect we could be in for a pandemic… 

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#WithoutPrejudice 11: Riots and  The Law – Human Rights Act update – #Hackedoff campaign update

Analysis of the law relating to the riots, a review of a number of important human rights cases and the further developments on the #Hackedoff  campaign. David Allen Green and Carl Gardner is at the table as always and we are joined by former Lib-Dem MP Dr Evan Harris, David Wales, a lawyer in private practice – a criminal law specialist and blogger  –   and Adam Wagner, a practising barrister at 1 Crown Office Row and editor of the UK Human Rights blog.

Listen to the podcast


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’ve always enjoyed words and I do like a bit of Shakespeare… this from The Scottish play… appears to be inappropriately appropriate.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow”—along with the other phrases culled from this lode of Bardisms—conveys the mechanical beat of time as it carries this poor player-king from scene to scene. “The last syllable of recorded time”—what Macbeth earlier called “the crack of doom” [see p. 25]—casts time as a sequence of words, as in a script; history becomes a dramatic record. If life is like a bad play, it is thus an illusion, a mere shadow cast by a “brief candle.” The candle is perhaps the soul, and the prospects for Macbeth’s are grim.”


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#WithoutPrejudice tomorrow night…..

Tomorrow night on our fortnightly Without Prejudice podcast:  Analysis of the law relating to the riots, a review of a number of important human rights cases and the further developments on the #Hackedoff  campaign. David Allen Green and Carl Gardner will be at the table as always and we are joined by former Lib-Dem MP Dr Evan Harris, David Wales, a lawyer in private practice  and Adam Wagner, a practising barrister at 1 Crown Office Row and editor of the UK Human Rights blog.

It will be an extended edition of 1 hr 15 minutes and, hopefully, we will be able to provide some background to the law being used to deal with looters and stimulate discussion. With five lawyers and an ex politician it should be a lively edition.

In the meantime.. I’m afraid that I just could not resist this pic which I saw on twitter.  I apologise for not being able to attribute the excellent artistry of the creator of the image .  I will do so if they get in touch.  But I can give you the link on Twitter which I saw.

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We have all seen the footage.  Those who live in London are fully aware of the extent of the rioting and I do not need to comment on or add to the extensive coverage in blogs and the media.  David Allen Green, on his Jack of Kent blog, has covered  the issues and Laurie Penny on her blog, also.

What I will say… This widely circulated  picture of  Clapham Junction this morning – not far from where I live in Battersea – from @Lawcol888 is excellent.….. *Applauds*

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I have little to add this weekend… but I shall return on the morrow….


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Lawcast 190: On the death penalty with Professor Gary Slapper

Political blogger Guido Fawkes wants to bring back the rope for murder – child and cop killers in particular – and has set up a petition.  This petition was immediately countered by another petition to retain the ban.  last time I looked the retain the ban on the death penalty was doing rather better than Mr Fawkes’ hang ‘em high petition.

I am against the death penalty – and have made this more than clear on my blog.  Today I am talking to professor Gary Slapper of The Open University about the issue….

Listen to the podcast

Apologies for some interference on Skype.  Heavy rain while recording and signal affected.


And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

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Law Review: Guest Post- ‘Be careful what you say. The authorities are listening.’
BY Iain Gould

We have all been shocked recently by the revelations about phone hacking and the gross invasion of personal data.

What people may not be aware of is that conversations with public bodies may not regarded as private, so that an off- the- cuff remark made in the heat of the moment can have devastating consequences.

I currently act on behalf of Ms M, a university graduate, who called Trading Standards to complain about her insurers. My client had recently lost her mother after a long illness and was overcome with the stress of it all. During the call she said, “ I feel so fed up with all this; it’s so hard. My mum has just died and sometimes I think it would be easier to just end it all myself and give up the struggle.” She pulled herself together and the conversation with the Trading Standards officer ended amicably.

Thinking no more of it, Ms M got herself ready to go shopping and, as she was about to leave home, heard a female voice call out her name from the hall. Surprised, Ms M went to the hallway to find 3 police officers standing on her new beige carpets with their boots on. When she asked what the police were doing in her home, they told her that Trading Standards had called them saying that Ms M had threatened to kill herself.

Ms M was shocked that her off- the- cuff remark had been taken so seriously and told the police that she had no such intention, that it was said at an unguarded moment, and at a time of great stress. She politely asked the officers to leave.

Ignoring her, the police officers started asking questions, rifling through her personal possessions and searching her home generally without explanation or cause.

Ms M refused to assist them with this unwarranted invasion of her privacy and was told, “we can do this the easy way or the hard way. You either comply with us and answer questions or we’re taking you in”.

Ms M refused to be intimidated by such threats and was then told that she was under arrest for breach of the peace.

Ms M, a slight figured, middle-aged, disabled woman, was forcibly handcuffed and escorted from her home by the officers in full view of her neighbours, at least 10 of whom had come outside to see what was happening.

She was taken to the local police station and detained for 9 hours during which time the police arranged for her to be examined by a nurse and then a doctor before releasing Ms M without charge in the early hours of the morning.

Ms M was so embarrassed and humiliated that she did not leave home for over a week, after which time she spoke to her closest neighbour to explain what had happened. Her neighbour said that the police were going to break down Ms M’s front door until she offered them Ms M’s spare key. This was why they were able to gain unannounced access to her home.

Ms M approached me to pursue a claim for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and assault; for which the police have already admitted liability.

I am also investigating the merits of pursuing a claim against Trading Standards for breach of the Data Protection Act.

During her arrest, Ms M complained that she was living in a police state. Given the actions of Trading Standards and the police that day, I find it hard to disagree.

Iain Gould is a solicitor specialising in actions against the police.

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Lawcast 189: Paul Gilbert, LBC Wise Counsel on general counsel and the changing face of the legal profession

Today I am talking to Paul Gilbert Chief Executive of LBC Wise Counsel.  Paul Gilbert states on the front of the website… “”I want LBC Wise Counsel to be your inspired choice for advice, guidance and training. Everything we do is about adding something special to the way you work.”

Listen to the podcast


And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

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