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Archive for November 24th, 2011

Friday seems to be upon us once again.. so time for Rive Gauche

I thought I would kick orf with a wonderful piece from The Guardian…

European judge slams UK ‘xenophobia’

The Guardian: Sir Nicolas Bratza criticises hostility of senior government figures towards European Convention on Human Rights

Europe’s most powerful judge has publicly complained about “senior members” of the UK government fostering hostility towards the European Convention on Human Rights.

Citing the “vitriolic” and “xenophobic fury” directed against judges on the European Court of Human Rights, Sir Nicolas Bratza has acknowledged that relations between Strasbourg and the supreme court in London are under “strain”.

Sir Nicolas, the UK’s own nominee on the court and currently its president, made his comments at a conference earlier this year but they have only recently been published in a law journal. The paper has been referred to approvingly several times this month by supreme court judges.

Read more…

Quality stuff…. and well worth a read.  Lord Phillips and Lord Judge gave evidence recently to a Joint Committee and this speech by Bratza is, I presume, the speech they referred to.  The film of Phillips and Judge giving evidence is also worth looking at.

Before the Gin & mango juice I am taking to exorcise a rather tedious cold I have takes hold – a few more serious pieces:  This from barrister Francis Hoare is an interesting read…

‘Defend the Children of the Poor and Punish the Wrongdoer’: Why the Government’s Legal Aid Reforms are a Recipe for Injustice

Huffington Post

And speculation continues on the sale of the College of Law.

Education Investor reveals: “Pearson is slugging it out for the College of Law deal with at least two private equity firms, EducationInvestor understands. The private college is considering bids from Palamon Capital Partners and Providence Equity Partners, as well as the giant education firm….

…The college is expected to fetch at least £175 million, but some put the likely value of any sale as high as £250 million.”

I’ve commented on this before on the blog.  Pearson was an obvious ‘contender’.  BPP – now with added University cachet – was purchased for a bit more than that by US firm Apollo some time back.  The two big beasts will be able to ‘slug it out’ as private companies if the sale of The College of Law goes through in the brave new dawn envisaged by David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts MP, Minister for Universities.

RollonFriday.com will, no doubt, be on the case soon – with a picture of CEO Nigel Savage mocked up to look like a looter, no doubt. In the meantime, they content themselves with a story about crap food at The College of Law’s Guildford branch. RoF is / are keen to expose crap food in law schools all over the country – so if you are a victim of crap food… enter the RoF competition

The Law of Unintended Consequences 101

Predictably, in the wake of the recent success for The Law Society in closing down the Solicitors from Hell website… this… as reported in The Lawyer:

Host of Solicitors from Hell-style sites appear following court action

But madness does not begin nor end there. Solicitor David Allen Green weighs in on ‘The Freemen’ quackery with a rather good piece in The Lawyer

The Freemen, law blogging, and the public understanding of law

Carl Gardner picks up an interesting twist to the Freemen story… Why would BNP activists be at a “freemen on the land” stunt?

Carl Gardner writes…“I don’t accuse “freemen” generally, and certainly not “commonly known as dom”, of supporting the BNP. No doubt many of them were unaware that BNP activists were present in Birkenhead. But it’s important for anyone who comes into contact with “freemen’s” pseudolegal ideas – especially anyone who thinks of themselves as a radical who meets them, say at a protest – to be aware of the right-wing nature, attraction and potential of “freemanism”. It seems the BNP are aware of it.”

Many lawyers like a drink.  Many lawyers may drink too much.  I have, on occasion, bashed the Rioja a bit at the weekend – fun though it is, it does take a toll on the head and the brain.

Law’s problem with alcohol is slowly being addressed – but is still hush-hush | Alex Aldridge

I read with interest this brutally honest and well written account of alcoholism –  Law Society Gazette: Anthony Bogan, a former Law Society Council member who stood for President in 1996, endured the terrifying realisation that he was an alcoholic, but found that there was light at the end of the tunnel

AND FINALLY… a few blogs and articles  which caught my eye…

Auntie Em from Legal Cheek writes: I want to jack in law to become an artist

Adam Wagner of the UK Human Rights blog comments: Rights on the rocks: Some Bill of Rights Commission responses

One way or another, by the end of this Parliament, rights protections in the UK will look very different. If you could pull yourself away from the spectacle of actor Hugh Grant giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking, the main event in yesterday’s live legal transmission bonanza was the second debate on the Legal Aid and Sentencing of Offenders Bill in the House of Lords.

Although the bill is likely to pass, it is likely to do so in slightly revised form – knowledgable tweeters were predicting that the domestic violence and clinical negligence provisions were most likely to be affected.

Read more…

Lords give legal aid bill ‘a good bashing’

Jon Robins in The Guardian:  examines the highlights of the Lords debate on the legal aid bill being considered alongside welfare reform and health

And babybarista has this.. Those pesky solicitors – OldSmoothie complains that they should never have let solicitors anywhere near court

Old Square barrister saves a life on his way to court

The Lawyer reports: Old Square Chambers barrister Charlie Woodhouse has been hailed a hero by fellow members of the bar after an unlikely turn of events at the Central London County Court saw him go over and above the call of duty.

On Tuesday afternoon Woodhouse, who specialises in personal injury and clinical negligence, was making his way up a staircase en route to a courtroom when he witnessed a man tie a nylon rope around his neck and jump from the first-floor balcony.

According to sources, Woodhouse caught the man by the shoulders of his suit jacket and supported his full body weight for several minutes. He then managed to haul the man over the banister before police arrived.

Read more…

And end with a couple of tweets… enjoy Friday….

UPDATE: Unfortunately.. I woke up at 3.00 on Friday morning … far too early…and had to suffer the misery of early morning BBC telly News…. at 5.00… before the excellent Today prog on Radio 4

AND… really.. finally…

I shall.. naturally.. ensure that my ‘novel Snell on Equity Christmas Tree’ has  a fairy with very clean hands on top.

There are a couple of podcasts below which may be of interest….

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Lawcast 200:  James Vine on Bribery and social media

Today I am talking to barrister James Vine about Bribery and then his thoughts on social media.  James is also a farmer, enthusiastic tweeter  and author of The Bung Blog

Listen to the podcast

(Sorry, but there were a few helicopters going by as we recorded  – the pleasures of living in Battersea-on-Thames.)

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

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Lawcast 199: Ashley Hayman on taxation and tax planning for Barristers

Today I am talking to Ashley Hayman, senior partner of Cassons for Counsel Chartered Accountants, about certain peculiarities that relate solely to barristers and which are not always picked up by non bar specialist accountants.

1. Compliance matters – there are certain peculiarities that relate solely to barristers and which are not always picked up by non bar specialist accountants.  Barristers need to know to watch out for it!
a.     For their first 7 years, barristers are taxed on the cash basis as opposed to the earnings basis (ie what they are paid as opposed to what they bill).
b.     They are then subject to a catch up charge for any unpaid tax once they reach 7 years.  This can be spread over 10 years – the spreading charge.

2.  Watch out also for changes to the late penalty regime.  We know of barristers who pay estimated amounts for the tax bill but who have not submitted a tax return.  So far there has been no penalty as tax has been paid.  The regime changes for April 2012 when both tax return and tax payment have to be submitted on time otherwise penalties will be incurred.

3.  Tax efficient planning
a.     Pensions
b.     VCTs  (Venture Capital Trusts)
c.     EIS (Enterprise Investment Schemes)
d.     ISAs
e.     Choice of year end date
f.      Tax efficiencies via Chambers (eg TPAs  – see Ashley Hayman’s article in Counsel)

 

Listen to the podcast

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

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