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Archive for August 25th, 2011

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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