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Archive for the ‘Charon QC UK Van Rouge Law Tour’ Category

The legal profession is under siege  from the legal aid reforms being proposed by the Lord Chancellor and access to justice – often for the most vulnerable in society – will be compromised.  I discussed this in relation to criminal law with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, in my last podcast.  

Some say that there is only a one in eight chance of a Bar student getting through to practice with a tenancy at present.  It doesn’t seem to be a good time to contemplate a career at the Bar. Senior members of the Bar have expressed concern at the numbers of aspiring barristers being churned out by the law schools and  that the Bar will become less diverse with only the middle class candidates, backed with family money presumably, able to contemplate a career at the Bar.

So what is it about the Bar that attracted a 42 year old ex-army tank commander – a non-commissioned officer with no A levels – to go to university after leaving the army, securing a First class degree in English Literature and Contemporary History from York St John University and a Very Competent in what was then the Bar Vocational Course,  and  apply for a pupillage at the Bar?

Well… I am about to find out. As part of my 12-18 month tour of the United Kingdom to see how law is practised in different parts of the country and what people think about our legal system,  today I am talking to Craig Lowe.

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Iain Gould, Solicitor and Partner at David Phillips & Partners
TourLawcast 15

The Police and the Crown Prosecution Service  play a pivotal part in the criminal justice system – but, what happens when the Police break the rules or are negligent?

Solicitor Iain Gould has built up specialist expertise in the field of actions against the police and shares his thoughts and experience in this podcast

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Tour Report #16:  On Human Rights law with Kirsty Brimelow QC and Francis FitzGibbon QC

Littman, David G. (January 19, 2003). “Human Rights and Human Wrongs”. National Review (New York). “The principal aim of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was to create a framework for a universal code based on mutual consent. The early years of the United Nations were overshadowed by the division between the democratic and communist conceptions of human rights, although neither side called into question the concept of universality. The debate centered on which “rights” — political, economic, and social — were to be included among the Universal Instruments.”

Human rights law is at the very foundation of our Rule of Law.  Today, I am talking to two of the leading crime and human rights lawyers – Kirsty Brimelow QC, the new Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee and Francis FitzGibbon QC, both of Doughty Street Chambers.

1.   What are human rights and the importance of human rights – The Rule of Law – Lord Bingham’s famous question about which human rights would you like to lose.

2.  Overview of the European Convention and ECtHR work

3.  The HRA and coalition government plans for a ‘British Bill of Rights’

4.  Human Rights hard cases – Qatada et al / prisoner votes et al
5.  Press and public attitudes to the Human Rights Act

6.  The role of The Bar in promoting human rights – British foreign policy predicated to some extent on countries complying with human rights

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http://www.insitelawmagazine.com/images/levesonreport

Without Prejudice lawcast: The Leveson Report with Carl Gardner, Jez Hindmarsh and David Allen Green

The BBC reports:

Would:

  • Create a process to “validate” the independence and effectiveness of the new self-regulation body
  • Validate a new process of independent arbitration for complainants – which would benefit both the public and publishers by providing speedy resolutions
  • Place a duty on government to protect the freedom of press

Would not:

  • Establish a body to regulate the press directly
  • Give any Parliament or government rights to interfere with what newspapers publish

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Our thanks to Gray’s Inn for hosting the recording.

***

Useful resources

On Leveson, David David Allen Green
Carl Gardner on Leveson
The Guardian essential guide
and INFORRM’s
The MST:
HackedOff:
The FSN:

The Leveson Report

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Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter,  is being widely used now and it is not without dangers. The recent Lord McAlpine libel litigation, cyber-stalking, tweets which break the contempt of court laws –  all have a ‘chilling’ effect on ‘free speech’.  Employers are increasingly turning to Twitter and Facebook to check out future employees and to monitor the behaviour of current employees.

Today, I am talking with Sean Jones QC of 11 KBW, a leading employment and public law set. We look at the employment law implications for use of social media in some depth and discuss the important case of Smith v Trafford Housing Trust [2012] EWHC 3221 (Ch)

We then move on to discuss practice at the Bar, the immediate to medium term prospects for barristers and Sean Jones QC provides some advice for prospective barristers.

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Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services

“The past few years have seen incredible innovation and growth in the way legal services can be delivered–yet most law firms around the world continue to practice law the way it’s been practiced for centuries, namely, as a labor-intensive endeavor carried out by high-priced lawyers billing by the hour.”

I’m talking with Toronto lawyer Mitchell Kowalski the author of Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services. Avoiding Extinction makes the case for how the law firm of the future will succeed, with a laser-like focus on delivering high-quality legal services better, faster, and cheaper. This entertaining and instructive book is a must-read for anyone seeking a creative vision into what a new, truly different law firm could look like.

The podcast:

Your book – why did you choose the fictional law firm Bowen Fong and Chandri PC – the medium of a novel – for your book?

A utopian construct or capable of practical reality?

The billable hour v  value billing debate

Comparison with UK – UK firms Lawyers on Demand and Riverview Law?

Five key propositions for delivering legal services you regard as the most innovative and important

* Billing
* Knowledge Management
* The People at the top set the tune for the middle
* Legal process outsourcing – the more money you save, the more money you earn
* Project management – if you can’t map out all the processes you are doing  you cannot value and price it.

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Report #11: An interview with Toby Craig, Head of Communications, The Bar Council

The Bar Council represents the interests of all barristers in England & Wales – the regulatory function being carried out by the independent Bar Standards Board.

Facing significant change in the way legal services are delivered in the wake of the Legal Services Act , increasing competition from solicitor-advocates and a government now cutting back on the provision of legal aid, proposing to restrict judicial review and pushing through legislation on secret trials – the role of the Bar Council in the legal profession is a very important one.

Last Sunday I did a podcast with John Cooper QC on the controversial issue of referral fees. Toby Craig, head of communications for The Bar Council contacted me soon after I published this podcast to ask if I would be prepared to do a podcast with him to enable The Bar Council to put their view.

The discussion with Toby Craig covered a number of controversial issues which members of the Bar have expressed concern to me about.

In this podcast we look at:

1. The Role of The Bar Council

2. The relationship of The Bar Council with government

3. The potential conflict of interest in relation to the Attorney-general who is the head of the Bar

4. Michael Turner QC’s robust criticisms published in The Daily Mirror: Injustice for all: Leading QC on why legal aid cuts and change in regulation is bad news for Britain

5. How democratic is the Bar Council and the controversy during the  recent  Criminal Bar Association elections

6. Criticism of The Bar Council raised in a report commissioned in 2011

7. Referral fees – the Bar stance is that referral fees are a breach of the Code of Practice and will also give rise to civil and criminal liability – issues raised by Nicholas Lavender QC in June 2012. I ask Toby Craig what steps the Bar Council is taking to survey Chambers that may have paid or are currently engaged in paying referral fees to bring in work.

8. Social media and diversity at the Bar

The podcast raises important issues of representation and professional ethics and I welcome comment and discussion from members of the Bar and others with an interest.

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