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Archive for March, 2012

Welcome to Without Prejudice. Joining regulars Carl Gardner and David Allen Green: The writer and journalist Nick Cohen and former prospective Tory candidate for Parliament and policymaker Joanne Cash.

Tonight’s topic is Free Speech and how privacy and libel law may impact on this cherished right.

Listen to the podcast

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Nick Cohen’s excellent book You can’t read this book formed the basis for our discussion and I have no hesitation in encouraging you to read it.  It is available on Amazon – a fascinating discussion for lawyers and others interested in free speech.

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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.

In association with The Lawyer

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After my ‘pilot’ Law Review (Part 1 | Part II ) two weeks or so ago (which seemed to be of interest to readers) I will be publishing a weekly review each week going forward in roughly the same format – publishing Thursday & Fridays.

I will also be stepping up the number of my own lawcasts covering the legal landscape and #WithoutPrejudice podcasts are now weekly during the legal terms.

And… West London Man has returned…

Claim Compensation

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Trust me, I am a Lawyer
By David Mayor at  Forbes Solicitors

I cannot be the only one getting pretty sick of hearing about compensation culture, increasing motor insurance premiums caused by greedy Solicitors in “grubby offices”, and the fact that society as we know it is sagging to its collective knees under the weight of personal injury claims.

I cannot help thinking that it is about time we got a grip.  In and amongst the arguing, back-stabbing, and high-horseness, everybody seems to have forgotten what a Solicitor actually does.

The Cambridge dictionary describes a Solicitor as “a type of lawyer in Britain and Australia who is trained to prepare cases and give advice on legal subjects and can represent people in lower courts”.  A lawyer is “someone whose job is to give advice to people about the law and speak for them in court”.

The fundamental principal of both definitions is that the law has to have already been made in order for advice to have been given.  Sure, there are occasions when a case will unexpectedly end up in the Supreme Court and change a thread of common law forever, but on an everyday basis we as Solicitors take instructions from client, tell them what the law is, and advise on their options.  It has always been like that and it always will be.

I should take exception to the plethora of articles blaming me, as a personal injury lawyer, for causing accidents, increasing claims, and making everybody’s insurance premiums rise, but I do not.  The simple reason for that is that all of the accusations are borne out of ignorance, both of the law and of what a lawyer does.

Let me tell you what I do.  I talk to a client and he tells me he was in an accident in which somebdoy drove in to the back of his car.  It was the other driver’s fault, he was busy on his phone ranting about his insurance premium.  Client says he went to hospital, was diagnosed with “whiplash”, and that it may take several weeks or months to heal.  He asks what he can do.  I reply that the law of negligence allows him to seek damages for his losses.  He would like to go ahead.  I tell him that the Government removed Legal Aid for personal injury work, so he can either pay me for the work I do or he can take advantage of the Government’s alternative to Legal Aid, the Conditional Fee Agreement.  He asks what that is, and I tell him.  He likes the sound of that, and as a conscientious Solicitor who wants to do the best for my client I agree it is a good option.  The case falls within the remit of the MoJ portal scheme and I start the case.  Liability is accepted, we get a medical report without any medical records (because the Government says I am not allowed to unless the expert really needs them) and I send it to the other side.  I make the first offer, because the Government says I have to, and the other side counter, until we have an agreement.  Client gets his damages, untouched, and I get paid a set fee  based upon what the Government has told me I am supposed to get paid (after, I might add, a great deal of consultation with the ABI, APIL, Law Society, and various other interested bodies).

At what point did I make the client run a case?  I did not even know him before he first telephoned me and I certainly did not see the accident occur.  I do not know whether it did actually happen.  I do not know whether he was injured, nor whether he did go to hospital, because I wasn’t there.  I don’t know how long he will be injured for, because I am not a doctor and I do not know how soft tissues respond to strain.  I have been in two accidents myself and I did not suffer any injuries, so I did not claim, but I am open to the possibility that somebody could be injured in that way.  Who am I to dispute what an expert says?  I haven’t lied, cheated, forced a claim, exaggerated injuries, made them up completely, and if my client has I don’t even know about it.

Here is my plea to the Government, and to the people of Britain.  I don’t ask you to like me.  I understand that you hope to never set eyes on me, because I know that if you do something has gone wrong.  But I do ask you to take the time to understand what a lawyer does.  Once you have accepted that I do not make the law, I just administer it, you can focus your attention on the real villains who do actually create the law.  What you do with that information is up to you….

David Mayor  is a Personal Injury Solicitor at Forbes Solicitors.


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When last we saw George, he had been detained by American authorities at La Guardia Airport, initially for a rather poor diamond-smuggling effort. Subsequently he was implicated in the various crimes committed by disgraced financier Bernard Madoff…..

Listen to the audio version (14mins 43s)

Download the script

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

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Episodes 1-25 may be found here


(West London Man 26 was written and produced by US lawyer and blogger  Colin Samuels and Charon QC.  Colin Samuels took the parts of Hank ‘Perry’ Mason and Madoff.  Charon took the part of The Narrator and George.)

I am not at liberty to explain if George survived his encounter with Bernard Madoff at The Reichenbach Falls… you will have to listen right to the end of the audio version to find out…

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My thanks to Cellmark for encouraging  George’s return….

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Episode 26 is being recorded this Sunday…and George will return…after a period of time following his escape at La Guardia airport, USA….

 

(You may find the audio versions are a bit surreal…. )

West London Man (25) : The La Guardia Archipelago
Text Version
| Audio Version

West London Man (24) : Diamonds are not forever
Text Version | Audio Version

West London Man (23) : Half baked Alaska?
Text Version | Audio Version

West London Man (22) : It is crunch time
Text Version | Audio Version 

West London Man (21) : Upwardly beautiful and officialdom
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West London Man (20) : A trip to Sainsbury’s
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| Audio Version

West London Man (19) : A short holiday in Padstow, Cornwall
Text Version | Audio Version 

West London Man (18) : Der Peitsche
Text Version | Audio Version

West London Man (17) : Jolly Snorting Weather….
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West London Man (16): “I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.
Text Version | Audio Version

West London Man (15): 15 – love to George…
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West London Man (14): Royal Ascot – First Day
Text Version | Audio Version

West London Man (13): Friday 13th…
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West London Man (12): Panic buying
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West London Man (11): Biscuits
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West London Man (10): Caroline talks to a friend….
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West London Man (9): Short suits and other matters…
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West London Man (8): Legal advice…
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| Audio Version

West London Man (7): Pre-dinner….
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West London Man (6): At home…
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West London Man (5): To Lords for a spot of cricket…
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West London Man (4): A bit of gazundering…
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West London Man (3): Talks Stagflation….
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West London Man (2): A trip to Lords is coming up…
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West London Man (1): With the first hot weekend of summer…
Text Version | Audio Version

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My thanks to Cellmark for encouraging  George’s return….

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Did the News of the World seek to undermine a murder investigation? This astonishing issue is but one of the topics being discussed tonight.  We’ll also be looking at the latest developments in Leveson, the issue of Civil disobedience and the Rule of law,  the Sedley v Sumption debate and finally,  whether the rank of Queen’s Counsel should be abolished.
On the panel tonight – Gary Slapper, Director of New York University in London,  former government lawyer Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal Blog and David Allen Green, who practises as a solicitor and writes for The New Statesman, The Lawyer and his own Jack of Kent blog.

Listen to the podcast |Subscribe through iTunes.

Useful reading:

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In association with The Lawyer

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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