Archive for October 19th, 2011

“It would help if government ministers did not cheer when they agreed with a judicial decision or boo when they disagreed with it. That I think is damaging.”

Lord Judge, Lord Chief Justice
The Guardian 19th October 2012

It has always struck me as rather odd when  politicians, frequently Home Secretaries, say they are ‘disappointed’ with a judgment.   More of this later.

In the meantime… Dr Erasmus Strangelove, senior partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP, has written to me asking if he may express a few thoughts on this second part of my review of UK law blogs.  It would be most inelegant to refuse his request, particularly as the handwritten note was accompanied by a rather pleasing case of Rioja.  Unlike Mr Djanogly  (See Part 1 Eyes Only below), I make full disclosure on this blog….when I remember to.


1.  Following the tragic death of Matt Muttley  in July when he demonstrated to some high net worth clients how tough the glass was in his fifth floor office by crashing through it to his death, I take great pleasure in being able to address the law bloggers of the British Isles.

2.  The legal profession is going through a period of great change.  The high streets are soon to be overrun by  lawyers wearing McDonalds style branded uniforms seeking legal work.  People will marvel at how easy it is to sue their fellow man when they can nip into the Co-op, pick up their tins of beans at one end of the shop and find a lawyer by the checkout holding an iPad and asking “Would you like to try one of our wills?  Perhaps, a quick divorce would suit you, Sir? Fancy a bit of whiplash action… No Fee, No Win?”

3.  We at Muttley Dastardly LLP will continue to offer our bespoke service, blending the elegance expected of City lawyers with an opacity in relation to fees which many marvel at. There may well be many opportunities under the Legal Services Act that will appeal to many; especially those commentators, pundits, mavens and gurus who get off on ‘commoditisation of legal services’, ‘engaging on social media’ but secretly hoping that twitter followers will suffer some unfortunate tragedy requiring their services and the few who spend their nights dreaming of ‘procurecos and ABS opportunities’. We shall not be joining them

4. I am pleased to announce that I spent two months learning Mandarin so that I will be able to lead Muttley Dastardly LLP into partnership with our new best friends in China.  Frankly, the Yanks have become a bit of a liability with their whackjob Tea Party nonsense and Europe is rapidly turning into a basket case.  As we say in our Corporate division – ‘Beware of Greeks bearing IOUs’. All our new trainees are required to be fluent in Mandarin, or even better, actually be Mandarins. Our presence in China will give our friends in the Middle Kingdom an opportunity to blend their own cunning with ours to the advantage of both parties.

I propose a toast to our new opportunities in Cathay and to the health of our prosperous new clients out there… in Mandarin…  yĭn drink + shèng victory, success.. and for our other new best friends in Hong Kong… we haven’t forgotten you… in Cantonese 饮 胜
Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Senior Partner, Muttley Dastardly
London – Beijing

Strength & Profits


I fear that it would be inelegant to include any law bloggers with Dr Erasmus Strangelove’s contribution lest they feel slighted – so I shall publish it as a stand alone contribution to the world of law blogging

Back on the morrow with Part 3 of EYES Only – What the law blogs are up to this week…

(See Part 1 Eyes Only below)

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I thought I would start with something for all the Apple fanbois out there. 

I am grateful to John Bolch at Family Lore for bringing this excellent nonsense to my attention.    Siri – where can I find a blow job

As this is supposed to be a review of law blogs in the UK and Ireland, it is probably a good idea for me to shoehorn some prefatory law into the blog post, if only to set the context.

Many of us have been entertained in recent weeks by the Tory shield munchers (or beserkers as I now refer to them) who rule over us.  Theresa  May’s #Catflapgate earned the derision of Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke who described her example of the Human Rights Act in operation – and she was not making it up – as ‘laughable and childlike’.  We have just seen GOD – or Gus O’Donnell as he is sometimes known, having to remind government ministers that there are rules about conflict of interest which have to be followed and the departure of Liam Fox.   A damoclean sword hangs over Chris Huhne as he awaits the result of an inquiry into his alleged  ‘speeding offence’ antics.

And just when I thought that the next stunt  our revered Prime Minister Camcorderdirect would pull out of the hat  would be raising Chris ‘Kill a Burglar’ Grayling from the political dead to amuse those of us in the stalls  …along comes Mr Djanogly, Minister of Justice responsible for failing to understand the rules:

Justice minister stripped of powers

The Guardian reports: Ken Clarke to take charge after Djanogly failed to declare family interest in claims management companies

Taxi for Mr Djanogly?: Not content with this… it now appears that Mr Djanogly has lost his memory.  The Guardian reported yesterday:  “Minister failed to register brother-in-law’s firm under his jurisdiction.  Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly criticised for not declaring relative’s company which supplied staff to industry he regulates…

So with this legal context in mind… I present a Hogarthian romp through the law blogs… 


The UK Human Rights blog notes:  Court of Appeal upholds 7 of 10 riot sentencing appeals, including Facebook cases – Obiter J

Obiter J, who has his own blog Law and Lawyers, states : “The Lord Chief Justice (LCJ) said that the courts had an overwhelming obligation to protect the public and sentencing could not ignore the context in which the offending occurred. Context can both mitigate and aggravate offending. The offenders dealt with in these appeals knew what they were doing – they were not children or mentally ill….”

Est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres?
Admiral Byng
was taken out and shot many years ago.  The Facebook Two had their sentences of four years upheld.

Matthew Taylor also considers the riots appeals: Riot sentencing – Appeal Judgement

Bystander JP of The Magistrates’s Blog writes about  sense of relief on the riot cases appeal: Decision From The Top

Carl Gardner over at Head of Legal is always a good read.  Without Prejudice special on my Arctic Break.  I had the pleasure of doing a podcast with him last week to hear about his trip to “Nowhere Island”.  Fascinating.  The podcast is worth a listen.

The UK Supreme Court blog is a good resource for all. A recent post asks –  Roger Masterman and Jo Murkens: What Kind of a Court is the UK Supreme Court?

It cannot be conceived as the ‘ultimate guardian of the constitution’, but it clearly discharges a range of constitutional functions which are in many ways approximate to those carried out by top courts elsewhere.

I’m  not a family lawyer – but Natasha Phillips is and her Researching Reform blog often ‘Questions it’ and provides insight into the rights and wrongs of our family justice system.

Conflict of Laws is a complex subject – a specialist subject.  There is, fortunately, a very comprehensive blog on the subject called, unsurprisingly, Conflict of Laws.net.  This week: United States Supreme Court to Again Consider the Alien Tort Statute

And… if you fancy an insight from Ireland – there is Cearta.ie – the irish for rights. This week, I enjoyed reading Philosophical questions about fascism and free speech

And from Scotland… Lallands Peat Worrier states: “Immanuel Kant should be banned…” Lallands Peat Worrier often hits the nail on the head and I am a regular reader –  often late at night with a glass of the vino rosso to hand and a woodbine in my mouth.

Perhaps not human rights law… in fact… not a lot of law… but The White Rabbit is a very good read…..  This week: spooky huh? will give you a good flavour of the insights from the White Rabbit – and his invention Hiram J Whackjob may give you nightmares.

A spot of Family Law…human rights….

Lucy Reed at Pink Tape considers a problem which can only get worse: Courts Hit By Disillusioned Litigants?
John Bolch, whose Family Lore blog is more often than not practical and serious, does find time to hunt down the more surreal posts.  Not being a family lawyer, the surreal posts are the ones I read.  I enjoyed this: The website for Divorced Women who got EVEN!
The more serious analysis from John Bolch : A few more thoughts on litigants in person “As litigants in person seems to be the subject of the moment, I thought I would return briefly to S v AG, the case I reported yesterday, to point out a couple of things mentioned by Mr Justice Mostyn, typical of cases where parties are not professionally represented.”


Tom Kilroy, a GC – General Counsel or, as they used to be known – in-house lawyer,  writes: It’s criminal on the 07:43 from Woking.  Tom Kilroy writes “To operate effectively as a lawyer, you need to be unimpeachable when it comes to keeping secrets.”

It is not a good idea, therefore, for lawyers to work on confidential matters on a train where others can see.  You never know.  You could be sitting next to me – and I can read  papers even if they are  upside down.

Tom states: If you think that a secret is something you tell one person at a time, you’re in the wrong job. If you’ve got work life problems, resolve them. If you’re on the train working on my file on your laptop, you’re a criminal and you’re fired.

He’s right!

And how hip is this? : Barristers instructed online through groundbreaking motoring offence website

Neil Rose’s blog Legal Futures is a ‘go to’  blog for the latest on developments in our legal system – or, more specifically, for news and analysis of developments in legal practice and the opportunities under the Legal Services Act.

No review of law blogs involving legal practice could be comprehensive without referring to the world of Babybarista who, this week, writes of Truths and half-truths

or… for that matter…. Anonymous Assistant: The Attractiveness Scale

Or Venal & Grabbit: Refer-A-Friend

Now.. back to the serious stuff from Clerkingwell.co.uk : The Legal Services Act – what now for Chambers ?

@legalbizzle on his blog writes:The Angry Pencil: a pathology of customer complaints

“There are people who can’t let a bandwagon go unjumped on. I imagine them sitting in front of the TV, laptop and printer at the ready, waiting for the merest hint of a legal loophole or compensation-worthy scandal to be broadcast.”


I am unburdened by the responsibilities of a big salary or, for that matter, BIG Law… but Tim Bratton, GC of the FT, considers:  Big Law Salaries – can we have a pep talk?

Professor Richard Moorhead from Cardiff University covers a wide range of matters on his blog Lawyer Watch.  In this section : Millionaire Lawyers: Are they worth it? is worth a look!


#twitteratigate dominated a small section of my twitter timeline recently. Brian Inkster at The Time Blawg had the edge : The Lawyer excludes Scotland and top Twegals from UK Legal Twitter list! #Twitteratigate2. 15-Love to Brian Inkster methinks.

But.. back to the nitty gritty world of real law.

The keys rattled and the big blue door swung open as @crimsolicitor was let into the custody block for what was the fifth time that day.   The smell always caught him as he came round the corner.  Every custody block has its own special blend of a very familiar smell; unwashed people, smelly shoes, microwave curries and the cheap air freshener they use to hide all the smells.

Crimsolicitor writes: The Abandonment and Abduction of Hansel & Gretel – Part 2

AND… if you wish to be kept up to date with daily legal news – The Inner Temple Current Awareness blog is the place to go – very comprehensive.

Professor John Flood at RATs gave this salutory warning in: Lawyers on Tap or Lawyers’ Water Torture

It is a truth seldom told to students, but the legal profession is facing its most profound changes. As the recent UCL debate on legal education showed, legal academics are frightened by the future. So much so, they refuse to acknowledge it. Life will continue the same.

It won’t.

Although October 6 was meant to be Legal Big Bang it turned out to be Unheard Whimper. This is frequently allied to the steady drip. All so subtle, it is virtually unnoticed.

Read more…

The BPP Legal Awareness blog picked up on the same conference: #UCLLawDebate: Do lawyers need to be scholars? Panel discussion on 11 October 2011

On the subject of education..

Pupillage advice is at hand from Justin Time at the Pupillage blog: A question of pupillage – a cautionary tale  and from Simon Myerson QC at Pupillage and How To Get It – an essential read for prospective barristers.

Professor Richard Moorehead on Lawyer Watch often has comment and analysis on legal education.

I find that one can never have too much education.. and when it comes to bribery – Barrister James Vine’s TheBungBlog is a fine resource! : THE BRIBERY ACT. RICHARD ALDERMAN GOES WEST


Ms TS provides an insight into the world of the trainee solicitor: A bit of a rant: how not to be a good trainee

“Now, the new trainees have only been in the office for 6 weeks. so I wasn’t expecting miracles. I handed over the easier bits that needed doing – a bit of client research, article ideas – the type of marketing that trainees usually get involved with. Unfortunately I didn’t get the quality level I was expecting….”

WardblawgG considers the vexed question: Ranking Law Firms on Twitter by Klout: When will it end?

I’ll pop back tomorrow and have a look at some more blogs.  I’m not the only one having a look at UK law blogs.  Vic Moffat did a very comprehensive review at the end of September: UK Blawg Roundup #8 – Change! and David Allen Green plans to do a review of blogs each Friday in The Lawyer

The good news is that law blogging in the UK seems to be alive and kicking….

Back on the morrow with more.

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