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Archive for December, 2013

The truly honourable who turn down absurd British honours…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declining_a_British_honour

I am not a fan of the British Honours system.  I can see no reason at all to call someone ‘Sir Basil” or “Dame Edna”… let alone the absurdity of ‘Lord / lady’.

Fortunately, I don’t need to – and won’t.

Also time to get rid of titles for all judges – gives the impression that they are not independent?  Some think so – as is their right…still… in Britain.  Why do we need a ‘Lord’ Chief Justice?  Chief Justice has far more impact.

I can’t imagine that judges need a title to do a decent job.  Ipso facto, why bother with the title?

But I do have some sensible advice for those contemplating a career in the law…

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Words are not needed for what follows…

sinister (comparative more sinistersuperlative most sinister)

  1. Inauspicious, ominous, unlucky, illegitimate (as in ‘political barsteward’).
  2. Evil or seemingly evil; indicating lurking danger or harm.
    sinister influences
    the sinister atmosphere of the crypt

I have to say that Mr Osbore does seem a bit sinister in that photograph.  ‘Something of the night’ about him?

I recall Ann Widdecombe’s famous statement about another Tory wannabe… Michael Howard:  “There is something of the night about him”. The remark was considered to be extremely damaging to Howard.

I can only assume that this trait is a requirement for high office in the Tory party… or a talent for Gilbert & Sullivanesque comedy, in the case of our present ‘Lord Chancellor’, Chris Grayling, who I very much hope will raid the dressing up box again soon to reincarnate as an Archbishop.

Before I turn to other sinistral matters – a most interesting piece from Paul Gilbert..

Innovation – of course, it’s what we all do, isn’t it?

It won’t be long and once again our thoughts will turn to what will be new in the next twelve months; what innovation will we see, what new gadgets and ideas will come forward, who will make a break-through with something that will astonish us all?

In legal services we have had a decade or more of predictions about innovation (or Armageddon depending on your personal glass half full/empty barometer). We may be rather unsure about what the future will bring, but we are certain that we must all be innovative, we must all be ready for change and we must all be revolutionaries.

Yet, what has actually changed so far?

The rest of this article is well worth a read…

I find it difficult to leave the topic of Lord Chancellor Grayling – here he is again, divesting himself of his wisdom on the  European Court of Human Rights:

Grayling says European court of human rights has lost legitimacy

Justice secretary finalising plans to curtail Strasbourg court after 2015 to ‘ensure UK court judgments are final’
And here he is again singing a bit of Gilbert & Sullivan – which he does rather well – Iolanthe – Nightmare Song by The Lord Chancellor
That’s quite enough for now…back later when I have taken of supper…

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By popular demand – the return of our very successful Banking course – 2 years CPD

A Personal Christmas Statement to clients from Dr Erasmus Strangelove

I was pleased to see, while casually reviewing CCTV footage of our associates workfloor on Christmas Day, that good legal work was being done.  It was pleasing to note that the security provided by G5S was impeccable. Not one associate escaped during the 12 hour day.

I am able to report that profits accruing to The Partners this year exceeded expectation, despite the best endeavours of the present government which is doing all it can to dissuade people from going to law or, indeed, from going into the law.

The Partners had lunch on Christmas Eve, the cullinary details of which do not need to be revealed on grounds of decorum. We discussed, inter alia, the remarkable appointment of Chris ‘Kill a Burglar’ Grayling as Lord Chancellor.  We marvelled. One of our number marvelled too much and, sadly, had to be given a Heimlich maneuver (sic) to cure unstoppable laughter.  Unfortunately, the procedure failed.  We were, however, able to schedule the funeral immediately as he had no family and he will now rest in pieces rest in peace buried in our new roof garden. As he was not a god botherer there was no need for any religious element to the tasteful funeral we held.  It was a brief ceremony – 2.38 minutes of billable time. He would have been pleased that we were able to charge this as a disbursement to his favourite client as ‘perusal’.

We were able this year, at modest  cost to the client, to wish our clients a Happy Christmas and  a VERY prosperous New Year.  This fee item will show on your personal account as “Christmas Advice”.

If you would like any of your friends in need of legal services to be wished a Happy Christmas by any member of Muttley Dastardly LLP – please log into your personal MDLLP screen.   Christmas messages are very reasonably priced this year.  Your chosen message from us will be billed in the usual way.

I will write again in the New Year, quite possibly on New Year’s day, to see if we are able to assist you with legal issues or, indeed, suggest some.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Senior Partner

“Strength & Profits”

 

 

 

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I will, no doubt, return to commentary and analysis of matters legal at some point in the early new year – should I suddenly be seized of the mood to do so. Fortunately, there are others… elucidators…  who take on the burden of elucidation on matters legal.

 “Fox hunting is the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible.” –Oscar Wilde

***

The last six months of 2013 was wiped out for me in terms of touring and sustained writing due to an unpleasant spinal injury – sustained while shaving when I tripped on a bathmat and fell backwards into the bath.  The doctor cheerfully told me that I was lucky.  It could have been far worse.  The dark side of my mind could not resist asking him if ‘worse’ meant ‘a bit of mortal coil shuffling’. The doctor was a fine man of medicine, but I don’t think he was used to ‘gallows humour’ from patients, so I left him to do the doctor bit.

It would seem that Barbasol recommend shaving while wearing ice skates.  I shall give it a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

And so to other matters… resisting the urge to comment on the development of our laws with some ease.

David Allen Green, taking time off from the Financial Times to write for Legal Cheek – considers the interpretation of the Something Must be Done Act 2014

“Let’s start with Section 1:

“The Crown shall have the power to do anything, and nothing a Minister of the Crown does will be ultra vires.”

That should shut up the High Court for a while with their judicial review decisions.

But adding a second section to the Act will make sure that Ministers will act in the interests of all of us. So for the avoidance of doubt, Section 2 provides:

“The power given by Section 1 of this Act shall include the banning of things by any Minister of the Crown.”

 The remaining provisions of the Act are considered in depth here

I am reassured by this statement from the Boys in Blue… ?

On the topic of  ‘elucidation’ it seems appropriate to dig up that old chestnut from F.E. Smith (Later Lord Birkenhead).

“Judge: I’ve listened to you for an hour and I’m none wiser.
Smith: None the wiser, perhaps, my lord but certainly better informed.”

And a couple more for you… why not?

“It would be possible to say without exaggeration that the miners’ leaders were the stupidest men in England if we had not frequent occasion to meet the owners.”

And a particular favourite… I suspect there may be a few judges who could be rewarded with such wonderful eloquence today…

“Judge: What do you suppose I am on the bench for?
Smith: It is not for me, Your Honour, to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence.”

And on that note, I take your leave to refresh myself…back later…perhaps.

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Not a lot of law about to comment on and, if there is, it can wait until the new year.

Sitting at my desk looking at the back of a packet of Marlboro.  The picture on the back is a festive one of a dead body lying on a slab in a morgue –  a tasteful, atmospheric headshot. Still…on the bright side…smokers pay a lot in tax and some die younger, reducing the costs burden to our increasingly dystopian state?  A felicific calculus Bentham would be proud of. Our present Lord Chancellor may not be aware of the great legal writers of jurisprudence.  I am almost tempted to send him a copy of ‘Law Made Simple’ – although I would not wish to encourage him;  he might try to push such heresy through and where would we be then?

Mr Bentham’s remains in a case at The University of London

On a more festive note…. I see that The College of Law, now a university after a ‘Whovian’ transmogrification into a University  –  has managed to lose the contract to teach GDL and LPC students for Allen & Overy (See below also). Working on the reasonable principle that the University of Law would be unlikely to comment on this matter – I went to a reliable source – RollonFriday – to see if there was any ‘gen’ on why the University of Law lost the Allen & Overy contract.

Mr or Ms Anonymous User commented pithily: “Single-subject “university” that has been cutting and cutting on a knee-jerk basis now finds itself unable to compete. There’s no story here save for the years of business inadequacy not of it course but of its management.”

Another Mr or Ms Anonymous was able to shed further light on this matter with precision and astute observation…“Yeah: just the result of the previous management hacking through the staff, no business acumen any of them, therefore not surprising they cannot teach it.”

Well..there we are. Perhaps the University of Law needs assistance from my brother, Professor R.D. Charon?  I know he is free and I know he will be able to trot out the usual education ‘evidence based’ guff.  He also takes Amex.

Professor R.D. Charon was not available for comment – but his PR agent was able to respond to my email ” I am fairly confident that the vulture capitalists who now own the University of Law will do Britain proud.  Please settle the fee for this comment in the usual way by return cash.”

The University of Law has recorded a net profit of over £14m in its latest financial results, just a year after being purchased by private equity house Montagu Private Equity for £177m. Source: Legal Business

Curiously, apropos the loss by The University of Law (UoL)  of the Allen & Overy students to BPP which I noted above – “The UoL turned to longstanding adviser Allen & Overy (A&O) for legal advice during the sale, led by global corporate chair Richard Cranfield.”

You may like to read this incisive article from Professor Richard Moorhead in Legal Business.  A good read: Guest Post: Legal education review – why everyone is happy and no one is smiling

Given that it is still the festive season – this snippet from The Magistrates’ Blog amused me – on the ways of those who buy wine for investment. ‘Bottoms up’… seems, inappropriate, however.  I did enjoy a comment on this blogpost by Anonymous – who is, clearly, a very busy person, popping up on blogs all over the place – “I’ve never understood why we have concurrent sentences for consecutive crimes.”

Bitcher & Prickman cartoons are always worth a look – from US lawyer Charles Fincher Esq

2015 is coming soon and the current government will have to see what can be done with the electorate.  I am not a spin doctor, but given the increasing rise of the Kippers, David Cameron may like to reach out to some of them and the Storm Trooper Wing of his own party?

This may inspire the Tory Grandees?:  Springtime for Hitler for their version of The Producers ?

And…a curious story about Ian Duncan-Smith being less than open in recent years.  The BBC covered it in 2002: Newsnight reveals inaccuracies in Iain Duncan Smith’s CV

Back soon… and something rather more law based and sensible when the lawyers get back to work.

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I was in a cafe in Kennington over lunch talking with my real brother (as opposed to Professor R.D. Charon) and saw the poster above on the wall.  I rather liked it. I have had the pleasure of meeting people who do daft things after a good shot of coffee. Mind you the stuff they put up their noses after taking a sip of coffee  probably didn’t help the clarity of their thinking…. but they were certainly ‘animated’….veritable Duracell bunnies they were.

And now, to kick off proceedings…. The death of the blog : Long live the law blog

Silence is not always golden

I came across an interesting article on The In-House Lawyer from MacFarlanes LLP – Silence is not always golden:

In PGF II SA v OMFS Company 1 Ltd [2013], the Court of Appeal considered, for the first time, whether a failure by a party to respond to an invitation to mediate should be treated as an unreasonable refusal to mediate – previous cases having focused on situations where there had been an express refusal to do so.

The Court of Appeal held that silence in the face of an offer to mediate is of itself unreasonable – even if circumstances exist which would justify an express refusal to mediate.

I may have overdone the ‘Law’ content (above) for the festive season… so… onwards with little in the way of ‘The law’ getting in the way…

Beaubodor is a very talented artist and humourist who has a good record of ‘hitting the nail on the head’.  I always enjoy his pictures.  Visit the Beaubodor website 

One website where I can be certain of avoiding ‘the Law’ – but still about ‘Law’  – is Legal Cheek, a website I particularly enjoy. 

Here – the 10 most-read Legal Cheek Stories of 2013 : From Ward LJ “This case involves a number of – and here I must not fall into Dr Spooner’s error – warring bankers.”

Never in the field of human conflict has so little been done by so few for so many….?

It would appear that the Prime Minister may well have been mildly ‘over-refreshed’. Did he come up with the ‘bright idea’ of appointing Chris Grayling as Lord Chancellor after his evening out?

John Bolch over at Family Lore has an amusing Review of the Year…

***

I am a fan of Clare Rodway’s The Conversation bloghere she interviews Jo Warby

Jo Worby is one of those rare people in business who is more interested in talking about other people’s success. She is also rare in being a female managing partner. She has developed ambitious plans for her law firm, Maidstone-based Brachers, since taking on the role and a lot of them are focussed on engaging the people in her business…..

I am also a fan of Charles Pugsley Fincher and his art…

Carl Gardner is a ‘precision law blogger’ and a good friend and accomplice in our Without Prejudice podcasts – which will return soon. This recent blog post is well worth a read:  Alan Turing: a strain’d quality of irrational and arbitrary mercy

I must not overdo the ‘legal thinking’ or ‘thinking legal’ … back on the morrow with more.

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Dear Reader,

Christmas passed pleasantly in the company of good friends –  but then I had the misfortune to stumble across an article in The New Statesman about the prime minister’s attempt to control the internet:  Cameron’s internet filter goes far beyond porn – and that was always the plan. 

Surprised?

But…on the bright side…RollonFriday is doing in depth research into law firms and the attitudes of those who work at law firms.

This extract will give you a taste…

Allen & Overy has got very posh with a “jazzy new in-house shop” which sells everything from “delectable pick’n’mix and cakes to champagne“. And Tiffany jewellery. And flour, “for all those who have the time to bake their own bread.” However there’s disagreement as to the quality of colleague. One trainee says there are “very few arseholes” in the firm, but a senior associate disagrees: “speedy lifts, wall-to-wall tossers“.

Thankfully, there are many fine lawyers out there – many working for very modest remuneration compared to the commercial velociraptors in ‘The City’ – chacun à son goût.

a più tardi….

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