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Archive for the ‘Charon’s Advent Calendar’ Category

I have enjoyed doing Charon’s Advent calendar – a  suggestion from a friend.  I appear to have cocked up the days… so this may or may not be Day 25..not that it matters.  I wish all readers a Happy Christmas, An Excellent Isaac Newton Day and a Good New Year.  I shall be at my post, blogging, tweeting and, ineluctably, with two days of sybaritic pleasure ahead, I shall be taking of the wine of the gods.  Thanks for coming to the blog this year – it does make blogging a bit more fun when people read and…. thank you also to the many who comment.  One of the problems with twitter is that there are, now,  fewer blog comments as debate and  comment now tends to happen more on twitter.  Unfortunately, not everyone who reads the blog is on twitter…so some excellent observations and comments from readers who post on twitter are missed by some  blog readers… but we can’t have everything.

I plan to do many more podcasts and up the Law Review content in 2011.  On January 3rd I shall be hosting Blawg Review (My sixth) and it will be UK centric…..

Have a good one… back on the morrow… inevitably.  If you have time and the inclination…. I wrote a Christmas Carol story last night (below).  I am never knowingly under refreshed when I blog at night.

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I appear to have got up to Day 24 a day early… but strange things happen on this blog, so I’ll have to have another Day 24 tomorrow or be really radical and have a Day 25…

Never let is be said that Charon is not relentless – even on the eve of the eve of Christmas – in bringing to you legal news…..

When filling judges’ benches, we need to solicit more solicitors

Neil Rose in The Guardian: Much can be done to encourage solicitors to apply for posts in the judiciary, a sector historically dominated by barristers.

Neil Rose reports that “1,071 solicitors applied for the 193 deputy district judgeships available in its most recent selection exercise – the biggest the JAC has ever run – and just 9% (94) made it through to appointment. By comparison, 284 barristers applied for this junior judicial role and 28% (80) were successful.”

What I did enjoy was this from Neil’s article…. “The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, recognised this last week when he admitted that he had failed to encourage City lawyers to apply.”

James Dean in The Law Society Gazette noted “Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge told the Lords Constitution Committee yesterday that, if he could persuade City lawyers and their firms that a judicial career is a plausible option, ‘we would have a more diverse judiciary’.”

Lord Judge will, of course, be aware that City lawyers at the top tend to earn truly fantastic sums of money – often going  into seven figures, they say,  at the very top end of the top end. Judges don’t do too badly but it is probably about one tenth the remuneration of the City lawyers at the very top.  The relative modesty of judicial salaries may, of course, be an entirely irrelevant consideration for City lawyers and it may be that they are truly dedicated to their high end corporate clients and feel a sense of public duty to serve beyond the call of duty…. who am I to even think anything else?

Well….there we are… I shall be back on the morrow with Day 25 of my Advent calendar…

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As Christmas draws ever closer so too does the end of  my Christmas Advent calendar. Today I have a few interesting law snippets of general interest – and, an Assange free day.

I shall start with an irritant… the ‘Class’ system which I despise – a plague in our country which still appears to wreak havoc in terms of benefit being given to the undeserving from the middle classes at the expense of a young man or woman from a less privileged background.  It still goes on and today an interesting article in The Law Society Gazette warns that we should not ‘judge a book by its cover’…

Firms reject candidates on the basis of their accents, research suggests

James Dean, in The Law Society Gazette, writes:

Top London law firms are hiring graduates with ‘smart’ accents and public school backgrounds because they think they are better for their image than working-class candidates, new research has suggested.

Suitable white working-class applicants are being passed over for jobs in favour of middle-class graduates of all ethnicities from elite universities, according to a study of 130 staff at five prominent London firms by City University’s Centre for Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School.

The five firms all had diversity policies, and had successfully recruited ethnic minority candidates, but rejected able working-class students because their appearance or accent was not thought ‘smart’ enough, the research found.

Dr Louise Ashley, leading the study, said that the firms want to preserve their ‘upmarket brand’.

She said: ‘Focusing on ethnicity enables law firms to boast excellence, or at the very least improve diversity outcomes, despite the fact that they have continued to recruit using precisely the same types of class privilege that have always been in operation.’

Ashley said that one partner told her: ‘There was one guy who came to interviews who was a real Essex barrow boy, and he had a very good CV, he was a clever chap, but we just felt that there’s no way we could employ him. I just thought: putting him in front of a client – you just couldn’t do it. I do know though that if you’re really pursuing a diversity policy you shouldn’t see him as rough round the edges, I should just see him as different.’

The rest of the article is worth a read

Was the Telegraph sting illegal?

The Telegraph journalists who posed as constituents to entrap MPs may have committed a criminal offence

While I think Vince Cable (and other MPs recorded) may have some difficulty with civil breach of confidence actions and using copyright law, David Howarth, a former shadow solicitor general and Lib Dem MP for Cambridge between 2005 and 2010, has made a useful point under criminal law…

Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to dishonestly make a false representation with the intention of putting someone at risk of pecuniary loss or with the intention of making a pecuniary gain for another.Unlike in the civil law, what counts is the defendants’ intention to cause harm, rather than the actual result. Did the journalists and their editors intend through dishonest false statements to put ministers at risk of losing their jobs? Did they intend to make money for their paper? If either is true, a criminal offence has taken place. There is no free-standing public interest defence. Perhaps the journalists involved should now be preparing their answers to those questions.

Journalists often misreport on legal matters.  As a reminder of this, you may like to read this post from the UK Human Rights blog:

Failure to deport Philip Lawrence killer was not about human rights

And, since I am interested in human rights, here is a useful round up of recent judgments as the courts wind up the calendar year….

Bite-size human rights case law

And, as I am on a roll with misreporting, this analysis of the Cable / BSB Sky issue by Carl Gardner is worth a read to get it right: Taking Vince Cable off the BSkyB case

Bye… until tomorrow….

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Christmas Day is but a few days away… but as I have never been good at deferred gratification and can see aboslutely no reason to wait, or, indeed, in having several Christmas days…. I have started.  I wish you a good Christmas and New Year….

Lord Judge’s interventions in politics have not overstepped the line

If the lord chief justice is a thorn in the government’s side, it is one of parliament’s making

I particularly enjoyed this thought provoking piece from Joshua Rozenberg… I quote a few paragraphs to entice you into reading the rest of it…

Ministers could be forgiven for thinking that Lord Judge, the lord chief justice of England and Wales, had gone too far last week, overstepping the invisible line that separates the judicial from the injudicious.

There he was, introducing his annual report on criminal appeals and complaining about the “continuing burden of comprehending and applying impenetrable legislation, primarily but not exclusively in relation to sentencing”.

And there he was again, giving evidence to the Lords constitution committee about the “extraordinary” effect of the government’s public bodies bill, which gives ministers so-called Henry VIII powers to modify, merge or abolish a huge range of quangos. His concern that an “astonishing” number of acts now allowed ministers to repeal primary legislation will come as no surprise to the lord chancellor: Judge said as much to Ken Clarke at the judges’ dinner in the summer.

But what really worries Judge is the threat posed by the public bodies bill to the independence of the judiciary.

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I began the day, reduced to watching the banality that is BBC Breakfast.  Most of the programme was about SNOW…with pictures of people,  like plague victims, lying on the airport concourse, wearing what appeared to be bacofoil…. prompting me to tweet that if “You want to get the full HEATHROW experience….at home… sit on your floor… get the bacofoil out and wait for a BBC film crew to turn up.”

Then along came Mr Hammond, the TORY Transport Minister, who decided he didn’t need to read an experts’ report on SNOW commissioned by the previous government,  but would consult his own expert so ‘lessons could be learned…yada yada blah.’   Iain Dale (who appears to have blogged more since his retirement from blogging than he did in the weeks preceding his Moses Moment on twitter when he announced his ‘departure from Blogging Gate 20’) …. mused on twitter…that Mr Hammond had the makings of a future Prime Minister.    I do…so… love pantomime and comic opera at this time of year.

I could not help myself with the tweet above…. The Tory-led Coalition has blamed Labour for  everything else since grasping power with the running dog Kim Il Clegg…. and his sidekick Vince CableTV … that I thought it only fair that the previous Labour government should be blamed for the fiasco that is Heathrow today…

That is all. I shall return tomorrow with Day 21….. ineluctably.

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When I start ze restaurant Maison Charon, I specify that ze entrance must have ze big glass doors, pas de valeur architecturale… zut alors!… non!…. mais… so my maître d‘ can see ze punters coming in more ways than one.

You English have ze saying… less is more… I take zis to my heart….so in Maison Charon…. we are, how you say…. minimaliste…. minimal decoration, minimal service and ze minimal portions pour la haute gastronomie.  You English have been watching too much of ze Masterchef avec Chef Michel Roux, so I am more than happy to, how you say, fart about with your food and construct ze tours absurde on ze plate and smear ze sauce avec merit artistique. Zis allows me to give you less and charge more…. you see?… I am anglophile!

It is also important… pour ze clientele who frequente Maison Charon zat I ensure there is bollocks complète on ze menu, so I hire l’expert en marketing to write ze bollocks complète to describe ze dishes I prepare.  Zis is one exception to ze ‘less is more’ rule.. here… more description means we can serve less…..

I give un exemple of how less is a lot more.  Zere is a chef in Denmark… Chef Rene Redzepi of Noma…. amusingly ze best restaurant in ze world… mon dieu!…… and he collects ze seaweed, berries, grasses and other delectations du nature, serves zem up on a plate and… Voila!….. ze hyperventilation of ze clientele est superbe!.

I do zis at Maison Charon..only se ozzer day. I send a sous chef to Wandsworth Roundabout and Hyde Park  avec a book on  foraging and say I want grass, berries, anything edible…..   I get anuzzer sous chef to go to B&Q to buy some Welsh slate roof tiles et Voila!…. ze Cuisine naturelle a La Suède. I wanted to put ze description a La Pseuede… mais…. maître d‘ he says to me…. “Chef Charon… you have eighteen Michelin stars to your name…. even though you give them to yourself… this is a step too far….. to mock ze punter is Le Sport… to ridicule ze punter is not good business.”  So… with free ingredients from Wandsworth Roundabout, a few absurd smears of sauces, berries arranged at each corner of ze welsh slate from B& Q and much pantomime from maître d‘… we serve three tiles of grass, and edible leaves and berries and charge £38.50 per portion…. who needs an amuse-bouche when one can do zat?!

Ze best part?…. when I come from le cuisine...to le salon de la gastronomie….avec mon chapeau de chef on my head to take ze adulation of ze punters…. and tell zem how much they have enjoyed l’experience du Maison Charon.….. and tell zem we take ze  AMEX.   Aussi… I try very hard not to drop my fake  accent français

I wish you all a Joyeux Noël

Chef Charon


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I write from The Staterooms in #ICEAGE Battersea Square….

A glacier is moving slowly down Vicarage Crescent towards The Square and I have not seen snow like this since the early 1960s when I was a kid. The snow is white, cold and it has a satisfying feel to it when rolled into a ball which can then be lobbed, in meaningless protest, at passing Ferraris and Bentleys reduced, humiliatingly, to doing a very cautious 5 mph.  I do love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning.  I neither confirm nor deny that I lobbed aforementioned snowball nor, indeed, do I admit to even having such a projectile about my person at any time.

I took the view that as I was unable to travel anywhere – save to Mazar, my local caff of choice, and unable, therefore, to do ANY Christmas shopping, I would send a picture of a wrapped Christmas present nicked from Google images to potential recipients by email.   I spent a few moments on Twitter marvelling at the #UKuncut protest tweets in my twitter timeline.  Apparently these brave foot soldiers of the modern era were able to generate a great deal of public support for their CUTS cause by farking up the busiest shopping day before Christmas.

I understand that the main focus of these #UKuncut protesters was the fact that large companies have been able to structure their tax affairs within the laws of England & Wales in such a manner as to minimise their tax liability. As I took a draught of the drink of the gods,  I wondered if the #UKuncut protesters would try to break in to H M Revenue & Customs to declare their support for taxation by filing their tax returns early.  I have seen nothing on the News to suggest that such a protest occurred.

This tweet, being a smoker, did amuse….

Non smokers… how can you live with yourselves… avoiding all that tax and living to absurd ages and putting pressure on dwindling Government pension resources?

Tomorrow is another day… and there may be more SNOW… and the Battersea Square glacier may have moved across the bridge to Chelsea.  I am only sorry that The Thames has not frozen.  It would have been fun to amuse the Archbishop of Canterbury by tap dancing on the river opposite Lambeth Palace.. but there we are… perhaps after Christmas?

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