Archive for the ‘Weekend Review / Postcards’ Category

Dear Reader

A man who doesn’t approve of Bed & Breakfast owners being banned from banning gays…. a shield muncher with ‘form’  who enthused about the “Kill a burglar” law reforms… is promoted to the rank of Lord Chancellor  and Secretary of State for Justice –  a man who, through no fault of his own, knows no law.   It may not be long before Mr Grayling fails to understand just how complex our legal system is.

I  will be delighted if he doesn’t mess this up – and proves to be one of the greatest Lord Chancellors we have had.  The list of ‘great’ Lord Chancllors is  not a very long list. I suspect that a 140 character tweet would do the job for that list?

Say what you like about Lord Irvine – a ‘real’ Lord Chancellor – when he was taking time out from selecting wallpaper – I can’t recall much of any use that he did.  In fact, to be honest this sunny afternoon, I can’t be bothered to remember anything he did.  And as for Sir Saint Thomas More,

This is one of his views…

“Ask a woman’s advice, and whatever she advises, Do the very reverse and you’re sure to be wise”

So… not much evolution in the last few hundred years, it appears, at the pinnacle of our political  mind?

Mind you… another Chancellor, Adolf Hitler – not a Lord Chancellor, of course – once said

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”

Let us hope that Lord Chancellor Grayling learns tolerance and inclusiveness.  He may well have until 2015 to discover these basic human qualities?  The good news?  It is unlikely that Mr Grayling will be made a Saint – unlike his illustrious predecessor Sir Saint Thomas More.  But, you never know with this government:  They hand out honours with P45s.

Mr Grayling is now at the political pinnacle of our ABS/Legal Services Act  driven  legal system (Thankfully, no longer in charge of appointing judges – but still retains ‘powers’). This Saturday’s excellent episode of The Thick Of It – available, for the time being, on iPlayer – may give you some comfort in these dark days.   Some wonderful lines.  My favourites:

“You used a lot of words today… it was like a Will Self lecture”

“Sorry, darling… got to go… I think the bailiffs are coming to take away my will to live.”

(I am sure that I will have opportunity – perhaps without the ‘Darling’ –  to use the latter line)

If you have the urge to read something vaguely sensible on this most ‘unusual’ of appointments – Joshua Rozenberg does the business in The Grauniad:

Chris Grayling, justice secretary: non-lawyer and ‘on the up’ politician

“Grayling’s main qualifications for justice minister are that he is perceived to be right-wing and once shadowed prisons”

Anyway… enough of the absurd unprovoked ‘ad hom’ attack on Mr Grayling, who, I am confident is a nice chap and plays a decent game of golf when he isn’t out looking for burglars ….. have a good rest of a very sunny weekend.  The winter of all our discontent may well be coming very soon….would next Thursday suit you?

Best, as always



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The end of august, I discovered as I slowly lost the will to live watching BBC Borefastnews this morning, marks the ‘official’ end of summer.  This news was quickly followed by a short piece on the new squatting law which comes into force tomorrow – squatting becomes a criminal offence.  The Police will now be able to assist landlords to evict squatters. Twitter received this news with the usual subtle polarisation of ‘analysis’.  Right wingers were delighted.  Lefties were not.  David Allen Green wheeled out his trademark catchphrase to describe this development in our jurisprudence….

Mr Green opined on twitter: “Bit by bit, the British state is shifting property rights from a civil law to a criminal law basis. Both misconceived and highly illiberal.”

The Law Society Gazette was on the case quickly: Lawyers berate new law criminalising squatters

Chair of the Housing Law Practitioners Association, Giles Peaker, who was one of the organisers of the letter, said the change amounted to a ‘tax subsidy’ for landlords who leave their properties unoccupied.

‘They will no longer have to pay to get people evicted; it will be the police’s job to do it, paid for out of the public purse,’ he said.

Peaker said the move was simply ‘headline-grabbing’, as section 7 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 already protects homeowners and makes it a criminal offence for a squatter to remain in a property once asked to leave by the owner.

He said the new law is badly drafted and, unlike the 1977 act, does not cover gardens. ‘People squatting in someone’s garden shed will not be covered,’ he said.

So.. if you want a bit of shed action before tomorrow…. you don’t have long to get some before the Rozzers get involved.

And so.. life continues and the ‘Silly Season’ ends.  Rigour, analysis, rectitude, curiosity returns to our lives and to blogging – even mine…but not just yet….

RollonFriday reports: Legal education judged not fit for purpose by review committee
“The Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) has published a pre-report discussion paper claiming that English legal education is “not fit for purpose“. The LETR is a monstrous hydra combining the SRA, Bar Standards Board and ILEX. It’s been running since June 2011 but is rapidly approaching its climax, with the final report due to be delivered in December. This week’s discussion paper fired a warning that its recomendations for legal educators may not make for pretty reading….”

I shall take a look at the LETR pre-report, over the weekend.  The current thinking, available on all good guru blogs near you, is that skills and business awareness is the new ‘paradigmatic paradigm’ and that  knowledge of ‘law’ is not actually necessary to practise law or is, at best, an inconvenience – as my brother Professor RD Charon observed earlier in the summer: Guest post: Professor R.D. Charon on the vicissitudes of a career in Law

The gurus may well be right.  Certainly, I have come across lawyers who appear to know very little law – and that has not hindered their progress through the ranks. Commercial providers are rushing out new practice focused law degrees as you read this Postcard.

Some time ago, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, jazz loving Kenneth Clarke came up with the idea – a possible bit of appeasement and red-meat for the shield munchers on the Tory back benches – that courts would sit at weekends to speed up criminal justice.   I am delighted to be able to report reports in the press that criminal defence lawyers – who are not to be paid any extra for weekend duty – are wrecking these half thought out plans.  Again, RollonFriday has their version of the story.. and you may as well have a laugh with the ROF version than read the worthy stuff in the mainstream press.

And it would be remiss for me not to highlight some good stories from legal ‘tabloid’ Legal Cheek – which I  enjoy reading when they pick up on the bizarre stuff:

3% of my twitter followers are fake.  About 25% appear to be inactive – and the rest are defined as ‘good’ by a twitter analytics service I tried.

It appears that some tweeters have been buying twitter followers (a story well covered by Legal Cheek) and now this remarkable scoop…

EXCLUSIVE: 4 Breams Buildings Deletes Twitter Account After It Emerges That Most Of Its 15,000 Followers Were Fake

Back in March 2009 I interviewed a director of a company offering ‘bespoke essays’ for law students.  I am not impressed by companies offering essay writing services to law students.  I regard it as cheating.  Most academics do. There are two sides to every story.  Sometimes one side is not that attractive. Here is the podcast I did:  Charon Reports: Cheating or taking professional advice?

Legal Cheek reports: Meet The Solicitors With Second Jobs As Writers For Essay Companies That Target Students

The judges have been banned from blogging.  The #twitterjoketrial judgment established a marker for common sense.  I did a podcast with John Cooper QC who led the team before the court in the final appeal: Lawcast 218: John Cooper QC on the #Twitterjoketrial judgment

But… it seems that the days of menacing and daft tweets are not over..by any means.  Legal Cheek reports: ‘If @TheDappy Gets Sent Down Today Then We’re All Gonna Go To Guildford Crown Court & Kill The Judge’

One cannot but marvel….?

But… there is some serious legal news about… and I shall return over the weekend to have a crack at looking at some of it… possibly.

Until then – have a good weekend

Best, as always,



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The Olympics, enjoyed by many, are now cast to the ethereal memory to reveal the malignant presence of dystopian reality.

The prime minister has left  Downing Street to go on a holiday (not annual leave: Politicians need holidays too, says David Cameron), leaving UK PLC in the capable hands of Theresa May and our foreign secretary, hitherto, arguably, the most sensible member of the axis of incompetence governing our country.  Mr Hague  decided yesterday to force the Assange issue by digging up a law from 1987 few knew about, let alone recalled, to suggest that Ecuador may be stripped of their diplomatic status and the rozzers could ‘storm’ the Embassy.

Ecuador has duly participated in Mr Hague’s cunning plan to shift moralo-global responsibility for the mess to Ecuador – Ecuador granted Assange asylum –  and there is much speculation on how Assange is to get into a diplomatic car without setting foot on British soil and avoid the attention of the Police who wait with their handcuffs to haul him off for breach of his bail conditions.  The BBC has the story.  Solicitor David Allen Green (aka Jack of Kent blogger and legal correspondent of the New Statesman)  valiantly tried to stem the march of the trolls and tin foil hat wearers by tweeting about the complexities of the law – to no avail – and my mate Carl Gardner appeared on BBC Radio 4 to inform Mr Naughtie and listeners, including me, about the law this morning.  Carl Gardner has written a sensible analysis of the problem faced by the UK Government: Julian Assange: can the UK withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorian embassy?

I don’t think I added to the jurisprudence on this issue with my sardonic tweet of late last night:  “Breaking: Ecuador Embassy buy teleporter from makers of Star Trek to transport Assange to Ecuador.”

David Allen Green has considered the twitter issue with: On being hated by tweeters.

And… a late ‘analysis from @Loveandgarbage – a must follow (at your own risk) on twitter – @loveandgarbageDuchy of Grand Fenwick turns down Asylum Application from Ecuadorian Ambassador

Apropos of Mr Assange escaping to Ecuador – a country not noted for free speech – without being arrested by police when he steps onto British soil to make a dash for the diplomatic car – I had the pleasure of teaching Mr Umaru Dikko years ago.

Wikipedia notes: “On July 5, 1984, he played the central role in the Dikko Affair; he was found drugged in a crate labeled Diplomatic Baggage at Stansted Airport, an apparent victim of a government (Israeli) sanctioned, but aborted kidnapping.[2] The crate’s destination was Lagos.”

Dikko came to see me in my office to talk about doing a law degree. I believe in the principle ‘innocent until proved guilty’.  As he had not been convicted of any criminal offence at the time,  I was quite happy for him to enrol on the University of London  LLB programme. I did warn him that should he be convicted at a future time – of corruption or any other criminal offence – this would impact on his suitability for call to the Bar. During one of my contract lectures, I happened to talk about a case involving a consignment of goods to Nigeria.  Several Nigerians at the back of the lecture hall – burst out laughing and  started shouting “Dikko, Dikko, Dikko”.  To his credit, and to my amusement, Mr Dikko, immaculately dressed in expensive suiting, stood up, turned to face the Nigerian students and did a bow.  Class!

The ‘silly season’ is upon us; traditionally a time for the surreal and daft to appear in our newspapers in the absence of more serious news. So, in that spirit… and I head this section with an image of the Olympics which I particularly liked…althought there were so many marvellous photographs.

Random wanderings about London
The long vacation for lawyers begins at the end of July.  I decided to take a short break away from law,  which I enjoyed.  I spent a few amusing days getting on buses without having a clue where the bus ended up.  I like a bit of ‘random’ in my life these days.  London is, truly, a marvellous place to wander around,  even for a law blogger who has lived in London for 30+ years. I won’t trouble you with the boring details of where I ended up – but I can reveal that I purchased a very bright green Casio wrist watch (£20) and a very loud pair of electric blue suede desert desert style boots on my travels.  I shouldn’t be allowed out on my own sometimes. It is perhaps a good thing that  I  don’t escape that often?  I did my bit for Britain during the Olympic fortnight, on my mystery travels, by talking to tourists about our great City – Big Society in action? The tourists were most grateful for the information I imparted…possibly. I wasn’t even tempted to say that Nelson’s Column was, in fact, in Chancery Lane and that the guy in Trafalgar Square was an imposter statue. No…sireee…

The English language is endlessly fascinating to me.  I don’t share the facility possessed by linguists  with languages (Although I speak acceptably bad French.  OK – really bad French – c’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas le français  and ‘tourist italian’). . My real brother – not Professor RD Charon – speaks quite a few languages including Hindi.  In fact, he teaches young British Asians to speak and write Hindi)

A number of unusual words have amused me in recent months – a selection:

philosophunculist: One who pretends to know more than they do to impress others

tibialoconcupiscent: Having a lascivious interest in watching a woman put on stockings (I don’t, in fact, have this hobby – but one never knows when a new hobby will come along.  I was much taken with the idea of becoming a sword swallower last night after seeing an item about sword swallowing on BBC London News.  The thought has, thankfully, passed.)

And the other day I was fascinated by the idea of having a concilliabuleA secret meeting of people who are hatching a plot

But my favourite for this week – given twitter’s proclivity for stampeding madly about, wilfully, mendaciously and with a full on ‘mens rea’ –  at times  –  ignorant of law, facts or sanity  was: exsibilation – The collective hisses of a disapproving audience

And, finally… on the subject of words… Hat tip to good friend,  Professor Gary Slapper (Always worth following on twitter @garyslapper)

I tweeted – Word du Jour: Afflatus (n) inspiration; an impelling mental force acting from within

Many complain about the modern habit of turning nouns into words.  ‘Medalling’ was popular during the Olympics.  And…before I get accused of explaterating – To talk continuosly without stop…

Best, as always

PS… I am coming to the conclusion that academic lawyers may know more law than the practitioners.  Whether this is useful – I hope to consider this phenomenon and wind up some of my practitioner friends  when I get back to serious blogging.  In the meantime, you might enjoy this speech from Lord Neuberger MR – who is soon to be President of The United Kingdom Supreme Court: JUDGES AND PROFESSORS – SHIPS PASSING IN THE NIGHT

Wonderful stuff with much talk about citing academic lawyers – but only if they are dead!

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Dear Reader,

I’m not allowed – none of us are – to use the Olympic Rings lest we  demean the value to the corporates who have paid to peddle and promote their not always  healthy products Olympics to our country. There is a delicious irony with  Coke and McDonalds sponsoring ‘the greatest spectacle on earth’.

Fortunately, The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 et al cannot, I hope, stop me from tastefully laying out my breakfast of fried eggs and baked beans in the shape of the Olympic rings.  A rasher of bacon, artfully laid out below the ‘rings’,  can serve to symbolise The River Thames innit!  – geddit?!!

I am not that interested in athletics or, for that matter, any of the sports in the Olympic games (but hope that those who are into the great art of couch potatoing enjoy the games – my caveat to offer protection:  I would not want Boris The Buffoon popping out of my fridge to berate me for slagging orf t’games).

In a vain effort to get into the spirit of the games, I spent a happy half hour making my own Olympic Torch with newspaper and coloured wrapping paper.  Unfortunately, the end result looked like a GIANT SPLIFF and I came to the view that if I yomped to the caff for my black coffee and newspapers this morning,  carrying my giant spliff – this would likely attract the attention of overzealous bun eating PCSOs or ‘Community’ wardens charged by LOCOG with the important task of protecting the corporate sponsors and their tawdry rights and, in some cases, their tawdry products..

Fortunately, the British do not take kindly to ‘Jobsworths’ or officious behaviour.  There have been a number of excellent stories in the press about over excited ‘community wardens’ and their high handed enforcement.

I particularly enjoyed Stuart Lee’s piece in the Observer this morning – an excellent read and well worth your time: How I was busted by the O—— Advertisement Enforcement Office“It was only an innocent double entendre about rings of fire. But even multi-award-winning comics can fall foul of Olympic censors”

The G4S / private sector security  fiasco rolls on and The Mail on Sunday reports: Minister’s daughter exposes Olympic safety scandal: Stewards made to fake NVQ qualifications and ‘trained’ in one hour at nightclub

Good to see that Adam Wagner of the UK Human Rights blog has apologised for the post on the outlawing of Dawkins in Mississippi.

Adam tweeted:

Outlawing Dawkins hoax wp.me/pJiO3-3PH 9 hours ago

All, apologies for the Richard Dawkins outlawed post – clearly a hoax. I have been offline today otherwise would have responded sooner.

I read the Rosalind English post  analysing the Mississippi anti-Dworkin legislation  on the UK Human Rights blog with mounting amusement.  I simply assumed that Rosalind  was being ‘straight faced’ and continuing with the hoax at first – but then remembered that the UK Human Rights blog is a serious blog and doesn’t do parody.  Laughing in Purgatory – the website which covered the original story, may have been a clue?  Anyway… good on ’em for having the grace to admit they were hoaxed. It was a very believable piece from Laughing in Purgatory and beautifully constructed.

Laughing in Purgatory reported: Mississippi Passes Anti-Richard Dawkins Legislation – a most amusing and very believable report.

RollonFriday has a great film of Dutch advocaats (?)

RollonFriday reports: “Just what are law firm marketing types smoking in the Netherlands? Just a week after RollOnFriday brought an astonishing recruitment video from top Amsterdam lawyers Deterink to a wider audience, another Dutch firm’s viral marketing video has been revealed.

Picture the scene: a bland courtroom in the Netherlands. Enter a host of grim-faced men and women in flowing black robes and white neckerchiefs. Why, it’s the lawyers of Wessel Tideman and Sassen. They line up, as if to pitch to a potential client. Will this be the usual litany of tedious statistics, deals done and so on? Absolutely not…”

Watch the film

Back later with a sensible Without Prejudice podcast  on ‘Contempt of Court’ with David Allen Green.

Have a good one.. the sun has arrived.  Phew wot a scorcha klaxons are available on sale – with no olympic ring marketing – from all good Poundlands

best, as always


Postscript:  I am not prone to texting or otherwise troubling god – but this excellent article about the Bishop of Durham is a superb read.  (My thanks to barrister  James Vine of The Bung Blog – for alerting me to it.)

The Saturday interview: Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham
Bishop Welby of Durham – former oil executive, Libor scandal inquiry member and possible next archbishop of Canterbury – discusses corporate sin and the common good

AND..finally… I’m with Andrew Rawnsley on ‘The Olynkinks’…

This five-ring circus is only for those in love with white elephants

“I wish the best for our competitors, but it is a delusion that the Olympics will make us fitter, wealthier or happier”

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If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me, because I’d like to hear it again.
Groucho Marx

Dear Reader,

The Guardian reports on the latest ‘thinking’ from our political masters over at the Ministry of Cheap Justice: ” “Flash incarceration” of offenders who breach court orders, widespread naming online of those convicted, more witnesses giving evidence via videolink and Sunday court sittings are among measures outlined in government plans to speed up justice.”

The crux of the article is that criminal justice minister Nick Herbert MP believes that the present criminal justice system is slow and “opaque, with lengthy, complex procedures which make little sense to the public”… More important to Herbert..” “At over £20bn a year, it is one of the most expensive criminal justice systems in the world.”

Politicians, especially those of a Beserker persuasion partial to a bit of shield munching on the back benches, were delighted with the swift justice which followed the riots of last summer. Orgasmic at the prospect of judges dishing out exemplary sentences in ‘exceptional circumstances’ – the government is planning to ensure that terrorists and other sundry criminals, let into the country by untrained Border Agency officers, or waved through the barriers at The Olympic park by ‘highly untrained’ G4S security people, are dealt with quickly and, hopefully, ‘severely’.

Plans to have ‘single magistrates’ hanging about in village halls to dispense ‘flash incarceration’ worry me.  In fact, as it is Sunday, and a sunny day, I shall say that people like Nick Herbert, hanging about at The Ministry of Justice, worry me…. and on that note… I shall move on to other less serious legal and other matters…

The Law Society Gazette reports: Bar-solicitor divisions ‘music to government’s ears’

Jim Sturman QC warned: ‘By playing the two sides of the profession off against each other… each time the bar scores a point off solicitors, or solicitors off the bar, we cut our own throats as well as each others.’ Divisions between the bar and solicitors are ‘music to the ears of central government’, he said.

Legal Cheek notes that: A DISGRACED former solicitor and his ex-girlfriend caught with large amounts of amphetamines while planning to launch an escort agency will be sentenced next month.

Private Eye, still at the forefront of good journalism, reports: DON’T MENSHN THE ICO…“POOR Louise Mensch. After calling on social networks to identify internet bullies after she was stalked online, the chick lit author turned Tory MP was a touch embarrassed when it was revealed that security flaws on her own newly launched social network meant that it was identifying… everybody”

Worth reading – it would appear that Louise Mensch MP, a lawmaker, is not that clued up about the law applicable to websites and her new social meedja flop.

A quick selection of nonsense from the Tabloids…

The Sun: English football on the brink of civil war after Terry race trial

The Mail on Sunday: No 11 prepares ‘for life after Osborne’: Hague is tipped for job as UK is given 50% chance of losing gold-plated AAA rating

The Mail on Sunday: Judge who let Taliban soldier remain in Britain now allows refugee who raped girl, 12, stay in UK

And I do like this Sunday Mirror headline writer’s take on The Olympics…

It’s pathletic: Police and army seethe as G4S admits Olympic Games shambles

That’s probably enough nonsense for today… back next week with with more podcasts and Law Review Weekly et al.

Enjoy the sun….and the fact, according to the Met Office, St Swithin has never been right since weather records have been kept…

Best, as always


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Dear Reader,

It seems appropriate this weekend to begin with Groucho Marx’s aphorism…“Before I speak, I have something important to say”….

For many years now, I have been warning of the oversupply of law students – caveat emptor…let the buyer of the ‘products’ from purveyors of legal education – for that is what they are – beware.  I am not a fan of restrictive practices and barriers to a future career, but the reality is, certainly at the Bar, that the chance of getting a tenancy now is  believed to be roughly 1 in 10. Tough odds.

RollonFriday.com is on the money with a story  headed… Shock as Bar Council chair notices lots of BPTC grads don’t get jobs

There was much learned worrying this week when a big cheese at the Bar noticed the huge number of students paying expensive law schools fees with precious little chance of getting a job.

Michael Todd QC, chairman of the Bar Council, claimed on Wednesday that over-recruitment of students wasn’t doing the profession, the students or social mobility any favours. Todd said it was a “great concern” that law schools were pumping out a hefty oversupply of grads with “no realistic prospect of pupillage“. And he worried about those chucking £16,000 at a qualification which, for those who fail to obtain pupillage, adds little to employability. He also acknowledged that social mobility is being restricted (no matter what the OFT might say) as it is the more affluent students who are better able to risk the cash.

Cue the powerful PR machinery of the major purveyors of the BPTC and LPC.  RollonFriday noted – “The College of Law was quick to jump to the defence. Susan Hutchinson, a member of the CoL’s management board, shot back that Todd’s statement was “scaremongering”. No doubt Montagu Private Equity is relying on plenty of bums on seats to see a return on their £200 million investment.”

Curiously, and going very much against the US oriented corporatespeak of his  ‘masters’ (I would have thought) – a US company Apollo and a venture capital company –  Peter Crisp, CEO of BPP Law School, is reported as saying that he would not advise any student in the present economic climate to go to the Criminal Bar.

Legal Cheek ran with the story: BPP Law School CEO Says Avoid Criminal Bar; Bar Council Chief Voices ‘Great Concern’ At Number Of Barrister Wannabes – Yet Still Students Keep Flocking To The BPTC

I was drinking a cuppa when I read this story and an image of Peter Crisp, who I know and like,  thumbing a lift on the Road to Damascus came into my mind.

Legal Cheek gets it broadly right… and I quote from their report:  “As head of a professional body like the Bar Council, Todd has a lot of people to keep sweet and has to couch his language in diplomatic terms so as not to offend. Reading between the lines, what he is really saying is “WHY THE FUCK HAS NOBODY BOTHERED LIMITING ENTRY TO THE BPTC?!”

I haven’t got much sympathy for The Bar Council or Bar Standards Board on this issue.  Perhaps not enough forward thinking was done – if they find now that they cannot unravel the ‘monster’ they have created?   They have the power to accredit law schools to run the BPTC, to fix maximum numbers for each accredited course and, frankly, what the lord giveth, the lord can or should be able to taketh away.  Or can they? Their response to that, of course, would be that competition law may not permit them to restrict numbers, that law schools have invested heavily in infrastructure… reasonable expectation of certainty  etc etc etc.  To that latter, I put a blunt point:  The vocational law schools are commercial organisations (even the public sector ones) and should factor in downturn and potential regulatory restriction into their financial projections going forward. Was there no ‘sunset’ clause on reduction in numbers accredited if market conditions required it in the original accreditation agreement?   The very high fees charged for the BPTC are, arguably, higher than necessary to turn a reasonable profit?

Having spent much of my professional life doing budgets for professional courses, I still have a fair idea of what the real margins are, where and how law schools ‘bury the bodies’ from the prying eyes of regulators –  god forbid that law schools should think of doing, let alone do, such a thing? –  where law schools make their ‘bunce’ and how the managing boards think and plan.  It is, of course, much easier for a regulator to get a crony in to advise them badly than actually take advice from the many who are knowledgeable in this sector to tell it ‘as it is’. You get what you pay for, chaps.

While some public sector universities are prepared to run courses at a loss to provide a ‘full service’ – generally speaking, those who own law schools don’t really approve of business plans which contain loss making activities – save where it is in their interests to run a loss maker to crush commercial competition – as may well be behind the thinking of the commercial providers to offer very ‘competitively priced’ law degrees, which compete against high quality law degrees from major public sector universities?  Please note the use of a question mark at the end of that last sentence.  BPP and Kaplan are owned by US companies and The College of Law has sold to  venture capital.

Michael Todd QC is right, however, in his statement that diversity will be affected – ironic, given the great efforts made by the profession to increase diversity – when he says that only those who come from a wealthy middle class background will be able to take the risk and afford the high fees charged by the providers of the BPTC with students facing a 1 in 10 chance of getting a tenancy.

So.. that is a cheery start to my ‘Airmail from the Staterooms’… on to twitter…

I received an unsolicited tweet from twitter to let me know that I had been on twitter for 4 years.  I have also managed to rack up over 100,000 tweets – proving nothing, save for the fact that I have, arguably, wasted industrial amounts of time.

In the same week, twitter announced terms and conditions for use of their logo – without having the hassle of going through their lawyers.  It is perfectly reasonable for twitter to protect their brand and direct  how their logo and intellectual property is used.  I fear I may be in breach of these T&Cs with my parodic use of a twitter ‘icon’ to mock the lawyers on twitter who put great energy into broadcasting their brilliance to other lawyers and a largely uninterested general public. I am hopeful that twitter is ‘big enough’ to allow latitude to users who use the logo benignly in terms of their attitude to twitter. (Note to law firms – good law firms and lawyers engage and get involved in discussion.  They provide good information and analysis for free – and deserve their higher profile and side benefit of public awareness, if any, as a result of their time on twitter.  They do not Broadcast.)

I am a fan of twitter.  I have met and talked with many interesting lawyers and non-lawyers who have an enthusiastic and intelligent interest in our law.  The trolls are tedious – but easily blocked from the timeline. Exonerators like Louise Unmenschionable MP who push their agenda can be amusing – and are only doing their job to get the job they really want .

Many of those I tweet with have stopped tweeting, which is a pity. Unfortunately an increasing number of lawyers and non lawyers are using twitter to celebrate their own self importance, their brilliance and promote their careers.  This category of user seems to suffer from Selfaggrandisementitis – a terminal condition which allows enhancement of vainglorious self esteem – usually well beyond their actual ability – but these, too, are easily removed from one’s timeline  at the click of the ‘Block’ button.

I shall continue to enjoy tweeting with those I like – including the apparently semi-insane ranters who can be very amusing and provide a needed laugh during the working day.

Well there we are… time for a walk in the wind… a hot black ‘Americano’ coffee at t’caff and watch the world go by.  Back later… or tomorrow

Best, as always


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Dear Reader

I shot the ITV button orf my telly years ago.. my taste for the truly inane having been driven out of my soul by the absurdities of Britain’s Got Talent and sundry other dross.  It would appear, however, that BBC 1 – through their truly inane commentary on the 1000 Boats Pageant – is in a race to the bottom with ITV for honours.  I enjoyed the 1000 Boat Pageant – but I watched that ‘live’ from The Stateroom windows with my brother, his wife and two daughters – and had to turn the BBC commentary off.  (I ‘reside’ at Battersea-on-Thames about 10 yards from the river. – Infra)

I gave the crooners a miss.  I didn’t care for their music when they first inflicted it on us – and I fear that music does not age well like wine or cheese.  A quick peek at Sir Tom Jones when I clicked on BBC in error last night confirmed my view on this.  Like a cobra watching a mongoose, I could not resist watching some of the coverage of the Thanksgiving Service this morning – but the craven obsequious tributes and general snivellings – which I understand Her Majesty does not care for – were too much and I had to escape for a walk and a coffee at a caff in World’s End.

For all the advances in education by successive governments of all political hues – it would appear that the BBC thinks we are all cretins and morons judging by the vapid, vacuous, cut aways to ‘celebrities’ ‘having fun’ in Battersea Park and on London bridges. As I write at 13.50 this afternoon… a celebrity autocutie is interviewing a man called Will.I.am – who, I am told, is a crooner.  He is overwhelmed with ’emotion’ by the Jubilee and is ‘excited’.  Mon dieu!

At least the clip of Suggs from Madness on the news – singing “Our Hice…. in the middle of one’s street..”. was amusing.

Here are some pics from the Pageant wot I took on my mobile from the window….

I would describe myself as Republican-lite:  I do admire what The Queen and The Duke have done these past 60 years – and I am horrified to find myself being  persuaded by Carl Gardner’s piece on his Head of Legal blog: The case for constitutional monarchy… almost!

I can, however, do without the craven, the snivelling and digging up of ageing celebrities and inane younger celebrities…and on that note… I spent much of this morning on twitter marvelling about Louise Unmenschionable MP’s ability to spin and exonerate Hunt and Warsi.  She is not a stupid woman – but she appears to be aspiring to such a state of grace with her absurd posturing on the prime minister’s judgement on Jezza Hunt MP who should be referred immediately to our new British Superhero…MINISTERIALCODE MAN.

The ducks have got right.. they often text me…. as, indeed, they did this morning.  I always tweet their texts..

“A duck has texted me..”We’re pretty sure we have just seen Louise Unmenschionable MP walking across the river.. on the bleedin’ water!”

Ah well.. back to ‘normality’ whatever that is… Collapse of the Eurozone… global financial meltdown and, no doubt, excessive and cosily banal coverage of The Olympics… which I shall be avoiding until they allow competitors to take drugs.  As I have said before… I’d pay good money to see an athlete High Jump seventy feet into the air.

Have a good… what is left of The Diamond Jubilee… and may gawd have mercy upon our souls… or whatever is left of yours if you work in the City!

Best, as always


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