Rive Gauche: Time to Be Churchillan and put two fingers to good use…

2figers

I like the Europeans I have met. I particularly like Italy and Italians,  I visited Italy many times in a Ferrari 328 GTS I had back in the day and even rode a Ducati 916 motorbike.   I have no time at all for Delors, Junker and all the overpaid, ‘underbright’ and, frankly irritating, Eurocrats and PMs.

Andrew Neil points out  just how politically  dishonest and ‘perfidious’ these EUocrats are…

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published. Print subscribers will receive their print issues shortly.

In this issue:

  • Access to justice – Roger Smith reviews the early setbacks in A2J technology and looks at the factors driving the next phase of development
  • Legal jobs – Delia Venables and guests review the approaches to legal recruitment and seeking legal jobs online
  • Websites – Andrew Gray of Conscious Solutions assesses the impact of the GDPR on websites
  • Artificial intelligence – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words walks us through the technologies and current applications of AI in legal
  • Publishers – Recent developments in online publishing from Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis
  • Courts – Susan Acland-Hood, CEO of HMCTS, explains achievements to date in HMCTS’ reform programme

Access the Newsletter online

Barristers: complete your CPD for 2017

Barristers must soon complete their CPD for 2017 and be able to declare that they have done so. Are you in a position to do so?

Review our Guidance on the Bar Standards Board CPD requirements and make sure you have complied. If you have not yet complied, we can help you do so, simply and efficiently, with our CPD 2017 service.

Using our Internet for Lawyers CPD 2017 service you can quickly and easily create a Plan, undertake selected courses and keep the appropriate Records for BSB compliance purposes.

Our courses guide you, via online articles and exercises, through the legal resources and tools available, help you understand the internet and the legal issues it raises and assist you in the practical application of internet services to your legal practice.

A CPD 2017 service subscription is £120+VAT. For groups of 5 or more members, £60+VAT per member.

Sign up online now. And please tell a colleague!

Solicitors continuing competence

We’ve also published Guidance for solicitors on the Continuing Competence requirements.

Thanks to those who signed up to our 2017 service.

Enjoy the Newsletter.

Nick Holmes and Delia Venables

 

Drones For Serving Court Papers? A Process Servers Dream Could Become Reality…

Drones For Serving Court Papers? A Process Servers Dream Could Become Reality…

 


Process serving involves delivering legal papers to their intended recipient. These documents are usually an impending court notice or other papers relating to an upcoming hearing/case. Traditionally, legal documents are served by hand – a process server will physically seek out the recipient and hand them the paperwork. They will then obtain proof of delivery and report back to their law firm or other client to demonstrate that the documents have been received.

In today’s modern world, the role of a process server could change drastically – we have at our disposal a myriad different communication channels that could offer an alternative to the traditional hand-delivered approach. The following is a list of some of the exciting and unusual methods in which legal documents could be served in the future:

1. Remote controlled drones

Drones are already big business – as drone technology improves, we are seeing an increase in their availability and usage. Most people use drones for recreational purposes such as filming video footage or during their travels. In recent years, however, drones are starting to be used in business. Can you imagine controlling a drone that has a special compartment fixed onto it and within this compartment is a set of legal documents? A process server could literally fly the drone and deliver the legal documents without having to move from their place of work!  

2. WhatsApp conversation

Modern instant messaging programs are much more than a chat service. Programs such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Skype allow you to send photos, files and even audio recordings. Instead of delivering a legal notice by hand, imagine simply sending a PDF version of the document via WhatsApp? Or imagine taking a photo of the documents with your phone and sending it as an attachment via Facebook Messenger? There would have to be security measures put in place obviously, but this could be another method of serving that utilises modern technology.           

3. Social Media platforms

Social Media is one of the most used online platforms in today’s modern world. We have a plethora of different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest – many people post daily to their social media feeds, share information and converse with others using social media. Process servers have these platforms at their fingertips, so why not use these prolific platforms that everyone is familiar with? You could send a private Facebook post for example to a recipient’s wall containing a link to the documents that only they could see. There is an increase in the amount of court cases that allow service of process with social media.

Retiring from law

I’ve decided to retire after 40 years of law – I will post on here when I want to.  I am going to study Scots history and walk many miles with my camera, Glengarry hat with feathers in it and my walking stick…which I purchased from the Salvation Army shop in Perth.

I buy many items from their shop.

I have a book “40 walks in Perthshire”  I will do them all in time….some of the walks are long walks – 20 miles.  I  walk 10 miles every day…and, so far, have done that for a year.

I am also going to return to The West Coast and rent a flat in Fairlie or Largs.…one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland.  Lived in Fairlie as a youngster.  Here are some Pics of Fairlie 

My favourite poem – In Xanadu…..did Kubla Khan…a stately pleasure dome decree

Kubla Khan

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
   The shadow of the dome of pleasure
   Floated midway on the waves;
   Where was heard the mingled measure
   From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
   A damsel with a dulcimer
   In a vision once I saw:
   It was an Abyssinian maid
   And on her dulcimer she played,
   Singing of Mount Abora.
   Could I revive within me
   Her symphony and song,
   To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

War

A sign over the Exit door at The Imperial War Museum in London reads “Britain was involved in wars in 98 of the 100 years in the 20th Century”

My father fought at Alamein. Black Watch – 8th Army.   He survived and was decorated. After the war I found his medals when I was 10.  He took them off me and threw them in the dustbin.  He had 11 medals from memory. He refused to wear a Poppy.  His view was that those who died, military and civilian would always be remembered without a paper poppy.

He admired the men and women who had to fight.  He had absolutely no respect for any politicians who took our country into these wars in this and other countries.

I always wear a Red poppy as a mark of respect to those who fought for our freedom and particularly those who were killed in warfare.   I thought of joining the Royal Marines when I was at University.  I am glad that I did not have to fight and we are lucky to have highly trained, professional and intelligent armed forces who volunteer for service.

I hope that they do not have to be used in warfare in the future. I have a feeling that they will, however.

 

 

You deserve a laugh on a cold autumn night….Jerry Hayes!

jerryhayes10THIS IS NOT A GOOD START FOR THE NEW CHIEF WHIP.HE IS MEANT TO BE CALM UNDER FIRE & SOUND IN JUDGMENT, NOT BEHAVE LIKE A PANICKY LITTLE SHIT. THE TREATMENT OF CHARLIE ELPHICKE IS A DISGRACE. SUCH TREACHERY WILL DESTROY WHATEVER MORALE IS LEFT

The hysteria, blind panic and the whiff of McCarthyism that has gripped all political parties in Westminster is unedifying and deeply damaging to all politicians. Two news items this morning that sent shivers down my spine and put anger in my belly was the way the Whips Office have treated Charlie Elphike and Anna Soubrey’s interview in the Times.

Let’s deal with Charlie first. A serious accusation has been made and rightly referred to the police. It is now entirely a matter for them. At some stage the usual, ‘a forty five year old man is assisting us with our enquiries’, statement will appear. The press get a tip off and the horror of photographers camping out side his house begins. The accused at least knows what he has been accused of and can take advice, preferably from a solicitor rather than some dodgy ‘ reputation damage limitation expert’, on how to deal with it. My simple advice would be make a denial and say nothing more. Never give a story legs. But the Tory whips office took it upon themselves to brief the press. They didn’t warn Elphicke. They didn’t even tell him what had happened. He didn’t even know that he had been suspended until he saw it on the news. He has been publicly accused, and until the police interview the complainant and then knock on Elphicke’s door in the early hours, he won’t have a clue what his crime is meant to have been or even who his accuser is. That not rough justice. It’s no justice at all. He has been tainted. He has been tried, convicted and sentenced in the highest court of the land. The most unpredictable and unfair. The court of public opinion.This is not a good start for our new chief whip. He is meant to be calm under fire and sound in judgment. Not to behave like a panicky little shit.

So before the police bang on his door in the full glare of the cameras, Elphicke will be asked by his wife, his kids, his friends, his constituency association and his local newspapers, what the hell this is all about. He won’t be able to answer. And that in the court of public opinion is a clear sign of guilt. But if he hasn’t been told how can he know? Utterly disgraceful and a terrible stain on the whips office.

What are colleagues going to think? The whips are going to expect them to jump through hoops, vote on ludicrous party lines, be encouraged to support a policy one day and denounce it the next and be general lobby fodder for a government who couldn’t arrange a piss up in the Sports and Social. If backbenchers think that they will be shafted by them at the drop of a hand on knee accusation which could destroy their careers and everything they hold dear, why should they bother? This McCarthyite treachery is terrible for what ever morale is left.

Whilst mentioning the Sports and Social, I do wish John Mann would shut up. He’s a decent and well meaning old cove, but the idea of safe places, banning MPs from this bar and suggesting that no employee to be in Parliament after six pm is a naivety to the point of drivelling.

And now for Anna Soubry. I know it’s terribly flattering to be feted and interviewed by two of Fleet Street’s finest, but the reason they are so good is because they always get a story, and poor boobies like her and Loathesome don’t realise How good it is until they see it in cold print.

Anna, your heart is in the right place, but as I have been told by senior civil servants that used to work for you, you don’t all ways engage mouth and brain in an orderly fashion. A throwaway remark in a tea shop about a sexual assault by Fallon, a criminal offence, would normally be libellous. But as a lawyer you know that once a man has had his reputation destroyed he will never sue. So you took advantage for a cheap headline that Fallon hasn’t got a clue how to defend because he doesn’t know what the accusation is. Kicking a man when he is down is appalling, reprehensible, unforgivable, beyond shitty, behaviour. And your comments that Green should be suspended on the flimsiest of evidence from the flakiest of sources was incomprehensible, deeply damaging and unnecessary. Your defence of Loathesome? Bordering on the deranged.

Who on earth would want to be an MP? People think that you are corrupt, lying, sex pests. And today is going to be hell. Awaiting for that dreaded five PM call from Simon Walters or Nigel Nelson. But at least they will tell you what you are accused of unlike a treacherous whips office and slack mouthed MPs on the make. Thanks God I am no longer part of this vile pantomime.

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A CLEVER MOVE TO PROMOTE WILLIAMSON. SHE HAS EFFECTIVELY NAMED HER SKIP A GENERATION SUCCESSOR. THERE WILL BE MORE BLOOD BUT IT WILL BE MANAGEABLE

2 Nov 2017 at 11:36

Only time will tell if it was a misjudgment of biblical proportions to allow Michael Fallon to resign. There may be further allegations against him of a similar nature. There may not be. Most of us haven’t got a clue. But for allegations that go well short of sexual abuse, misuse of power, bullying or degrading women, ministers should remain in office. And he was a damn good minister

Sometimes Madame just doesn’t think things through. I would imagine in most matters sexual outside marriage she is a bit of an innocent. When she first heard about Fallon and Green she is meant to have remarked, ‘why don’t they just get on with the job?’ I suspect that in the Prime Minister’s study there is a big red button under a smashable glass lid emblazoned with the legend ‘only press when something needs to be done’. So when a crisis happens the glass is broken, the button is pressed. But magic solution there is none. Just klaxons, sirens, flashing red lights and a robotic voice warning, ‘crisis! Crisis! Something must be done!’ In rush the advisors. ‘Well Gavins how do we handle this?’
‘Easy Prime Minister’, they shout in unison. ‘Something must be done’. And so the Tories do what they are so good at. They panic.

It is a dangerous and contagious disease in politics to chase headlines. They all say they’ll never do it, but by and large they can’t help themselves. They should have read the runes. The Tory press are not too exercised about low level pass making. In the Mail Jane Moir had a crack at Kate Maltby. And even the saintly Michael White poured cold water over it all. But Michael old chum, best you don’t do interviews after lunch. Saying that female political journalists are predictors is a terrible travesty of the truth and has just lost you a hell of a lot of street cred. Such as it was. Which was not a lot.

I suppose the great irony of this whole sorry tale is that old goat Boris, who appears to have a nineteenth century squirearchy attitude to women, walks unscathed through this sewer of suspicion. You’d picture him pimp rolling his was across the chequered flagstones of his bijou baronial hall in full riding gear with whip in hand shouting to his butler, ‘Grayling, get me our finest bottle of breakfast claret and some cold grouse. Just horse whipped the game keeper, shagged his wife and the tweeny maid. Now need to build up strength to bugger the stable boy’.

The appointment of Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary is actually a stroke of genius. It means that Green is dispensable. It means that any ministerial departures will be finessed by him. And there will be few scandalous surprises. He knows all their little ways. It will restore stability. And she knows she can trust him as an ally and a formidable operator. He has been appointed Secretary of State for the Defence of the Government. That is his prime directive. To keep the ship of state afloat and ensure a frictionless transition to a new leader when the time arises. And it could well be him. She has effectively named her successor.
Without blowing my own trumpet too much……well sod it🎶🎶🎶🎶. I was the first commentator to say that he could be the future. And I may be right.

Much about politics is about luck as well as ability. Gavin has been a lucky guy. Chief whip at a time of turmoil. Brokering the DUP deal. And realising that the only way to stop government defeat is a mass abstention. Not a stroke of genius, but just a way for them all to survive for a little longer. So he will have appointed Julian Smith as Chief whip. Another May Trusty. He helped Williamson run her leadership campaign. And then Esther McVey as his deputy is a clever move. A permanent visual reminder to that horrible old Trot McDonnell, who still hasn’t apologised for calling her a bastard who should be lynched.

So Williamson is a close confidante not just of Madame but Gavin Barwell, a popular and slick operator. All that he needs to do now is appoint a charismatic party chairman who can modernise and enthuse the party. It won’t be long.

This is straight from the ‘skip a generation’ play book.

So Williamson has now to prove himself at defence at a difficult time with budget cuts and an insane proposal to cut the £29 per diem active service pay. This is a gift for him if played right. He can wrap himself in Kkaki. Do a deal with the Chancellor and be lauded by the Tory press as a fighter for our brave boys and girls. A good showcase for the next move.

Interesting that his pet Tarantula is called Cronus. The Greek myth might be instructive. There was a prophecy that Cronus was going to be overthrown by his sons, so he sired sons with the Gods. To prevent the prophecy from coming true he devoured them all at birth.

There will be some more blood sacrifices. But we can rest assured that normal service has been restored. This is good news for the party and the end of the road for Boris. Expect a resignation in a fit of pique sooner rather than later.

For the first time in a long while I am beginning to feel a glimmer of optimism.

Jerry Hayes is a good friend of mine.  His blog is always worth reading.  An ex-Tory MP and current practising barrister.

Tips for a Successful Workers’ Compensation Claim

Tips for a Successful Workers’ Compensation Claim
Jan Brenner

 

No workers’ compensation insurance company wants to pay a claim. In fact, they usually look for ways around paying the claim. You deserve better than that. If you have a work-related injury, you deserve your compensation. Follow these tips to increase the chance of a successful payout of your workers’ compensation claim.

 

  1. Don’t hesitate to report your injury

 

If you wait too long to report your injury, you could end up missing your opportunity to file a claim. You usually only have a small window of time to file your claim. Sometimes, that time is as short as 30 days. Hesitating to report your injury makes it less likely that an insurance company will pay your claim.

 

Once you receive an injury at work, report it. Even if there’s only a slight chance that the injury will make you miss work, you should report it. And be sure to report it to your supervisor. Telling a co-worker is not enough. If you alert your supervisor quickly, you are more likely to have a successful claim.

 

  1. Find witnesses

 

After your accident, you might have a lot on your mind. However, it’s important to remember that you should track down witnesses to the accident. It’s not enough to know the faces of the witnesses; you should find out the full names of witnesses. If possible, get their contact information. They can verify that your injury did in fact occur at work, and not somewhere else. Without witnesses, an insurance company may try to argue that the injury was not work-related.

 

  1. See a doctor

 

In an emergency, most people don’t hesitate to go to the hospital. However, many individuals do hesitate to go to a doctor for injuries. If you have an injury at work, you should see a doctor. Whether you go to the emergency room or a doctor’s office, you need a record of your injury. Without a record, the insurance company could try to dispute the seriousness of your injury. They may even try to argue that you didn’t suffer from any injury. Your medical professional can give you the paperwork that you need to prove your injury. With it, the insurance company will have a harder time denying your claim.

 

After you see a doctor, you need to keep up with your treatment. If you need special treatment, you need to follow through with it. This can also help you out during the claim process.

 

  1. Be detailed in all your paperwork

A workers’ compensation claim involves a lot of paperwork. First, you need to fill out an incident report for work. Then, you need to fill out paperwork at the hospital or doctor’s office. If you see a lawyer, there’s also that paperwork. Be sure to fill out all the paperwork properly. As tired as you might be of filling out forms, take the time to do it the right way. Make sure that your story is the same everywhere you write it. Any inconsistencies or mistakes can hurt your claim. You can talk to a lawyer at Mickle & Bass to learn more.For more information visit their website.

Tartan Glengarry hat with feathers

This is one of my eight hats.  It has many feathers – including pheasant feathers.  A fine Hat purchased from the Tartan Shop in Perth.  I get a few laughs and smiles from passers by as I take my Guinness and smoke cigars outside  at the Half a Tanner pub in Perth.  On the right hand side of the picture is a Peugeot metal hub cap I found on the road on my walk  from Scone to Perth at 5.00 am this morning.  It makes a fine wall ‘hanging’.  I took this photo using the camera on my iMac computer….

Beard is growing well and will catch up with moustache which I have had for years.

Breaking: Sir Michael Fallon MP resigns as Defence Secretary

fallonSir Michael Fallon MP has resigned; apparently, because he touched a female journalist’s knee fifteen years ago. (Although do read his resignation letter which indicates other reasons?)    He must have done something far worse than that?

Robert Peston

17 mins · 

Facebook Mentions

· 

“Michael Fallon has resigned as defence secretary because he was aware that his behaviour with women over many years would be regarded as inappropriate if disclosed.

According to one of his friends, he found the stress of waiting for someone to make a complaint debilitating. And therefore – after a conversation with the prime minister this afternoon – he has quit.

He has said he wants to hold himself to the standards expected of the armed forces – for whom he is responsible. But several women Tory MPs say he fell short of the conduct they expect of all men.

In going expeditiously he has both helped and harmed the prime minister.

Those same women MPs admire her “decisive action”.

But she dare not do more tomorrow then replace him rather than start the more ambitious reshuffle her party wants and expects – because she does not yet know which others of her ministers and MPs will be fatally tainted by allegations of abusive or harassing behaviour.”

Julia Hartley-Brewer on BBC Radio 4 News at 10 saying absurd for Fallon to resign if the only reason was touching her knee 15 years ago.  A sensible lady who is more than able to look after herself.

A post by Jerry Hayes, ex Tory MP and practising barrister

jerryhayes10Jerry Hayes is a good friend of mine and I always find his blog writing very amusing….He won’t mind me pasting an entire blog post into my blog – but do bookmark his blog and read at your leisure when you need a laugh.

MY JOURNEY. WHEN I WAS RAVISHED PROPOSITIONED AND GROPED AT WESTMINSTER

“I really do think that we should all take a deep breath and put the sexual harassment stories at Westminster into some sort of sane perspective. Westminster is no different from anywhere else when it comes to the beery breathed office groper. There are no less ageing lothsarios with badly dyed hair, tight suits, creepy smiles, cringing chat up lines and wandering hands. There are no less men of a certain age who will put a hopeful arm around a pretty boy. And no less predatory females who can sniff out a willing young cock at fifty paces. In my time, we all knew who they were and sniggered at their exploits which usually ended in failure. Many of them would have been horrified if anyone would have said yes to their cheesy demands. Over the years I have been, propositioned, touched up and ravished in the corridors of power. It is neither a boast nor a moan and I don’t need treatment nor go on a journey. But at least I was in a position where if things got a little too frisky I could make my excuses and leave or deliver a swift kick in the bollocks. Nowadays not all youngsters are in that sort of position. They can be overawed, scared and not quite sure how to handle things. These are the ones we must protect.

I remember a very prominent Loyalist MP was so desperate for a shag and knowing that I liked a stiff gin and tonic ensured that a flunky was always on hand with chilled glass when I visited Stormont. Well, the only stiff I ever had in my hand was the gin. And I remember fighting off a mauling from an ageing South American diplomat at a Foreign Office lunch that I was hosting. It first started with a stockinged foot probing my groin under the table and an assumption that I would return to her hotel room for some reciprocal Parliamentary rumpy pumpy in the interests of the friendship of our great nations. The list is endless and this was pretty harmless stuff which I dined out on for years. But these were the days of a culture of endless late night sittings, drunken brawls and very, very bad behaviour. In many ways the women were safer then than they are now. Because they were so bloody tough. Put a hand on Edwina Currie, Dame Elaine Kellett Bowman, Dame Jill knight and a host of battle hardened women who had fought their way to the top would lead to…..well, nothing actually. Nobody would dare.

But let’s get things into perspective. There is absolutely nothing wrong with flirting. We all do it and if done tastefully, reciprocated and clearly innocent, it is harmless fun. The trick is not to make anybody feel uncomfortable. There is an invisible line which should never be crossed. Most people know where it is. The moment it is ignored you cease to be a genial flirt and turn into a predator. Forbidden territory. And that is when action has to be taken.

It goes without saying that no man or woman should take advantage of their position and prey on the young, vulnerable and ambitious. In the courts the dilemma for the jury is often confronted with is two young people under the influence of drink, but not drunk enough to make consent impossible. There are no witnesses and no supporting medical evidence (there rarely is) to say whether the sexual act was consensual or not. The difficulty for those of us who prosecute and defend these sorts cases is that the accuser rightly has the right to be believed, but so does the defendant. So how can a jury be sure of guilt?

Let’s try and translate this to Westminster. But let me make it clear that I am not talking about sexual assault. Unless the alleged predatory behaviour is in a public place with witnesses, or there is a history between the two, who do the authorities believe?

The casting couch, the power shag, the office groper have never left us and sadly probably never will. What we have to do is ensure that men and women who are put in potentially dangerous and uncomfortable positions can have the confidence to come forward. And be listened too.

The press are going to have a feeding frenzy over the Sodom and Gomorrah that Westminster will be wrongly depicted as. Oh, but the stories I could tell you about journalists! The editor who sexually assaulted the wife of a prominent MP in the ladies loo. The guy who shagged a secretary in the grounds of the MOD and was caught on CCTV. The endless gropings with interns and the long lists of editors and their mistresses are the low hanging fruit. So although I have signed the Fleet Street Omarta, MPs under threat may not be so fussy and rush to Guido Fawkes. Guys, if there is going to be a war on MP sleaze it will be a blood bath for everybody.

The danger is that the Thought Police who have given us safe places and jazz handing are on patrol. Let’s be honest, Michael Gove’s comments on the Today programme were neither offensive nor would deter people from complaining about sexual misconduct. Why on earth did he have to apologise? Similarly, Clive Lewis’s remark in jest to a man “on your knees bitch” is hardly degrading to women. Jared O’Mara’s conduct is rather sinister though. I suspect that he has some serious and very unpleasant demons to deal with. He will have to go on another journey. The last train out of Westminster.

But I too have been on a journey. On a train back from Westminster to my home. I wanted to be left in peace to read my Evening Standard when two young girls a little the worse for wear for drink wanted my autograph as a Z list celebrity. I obliged. I whipped out my pen which they exchanged for lipstick. “Nah Jerry we want it on our tits”. And as the fool that I am, I signed them. The writing is a little wobbly though.”

Why every business needs two internet connections – or they risk losing money.

Why every business needs two internet connections – or they risk losing money.

By Nolan Braterman, Frontier Voice and Data

 

Almost 80% of businesses experienced a broadband outage last year, costing the UK economy £7 billion.

But what does £7 billion look like? Here are a couple of examples:

  • £1 billion = 26,000 nurses’ annual salaries. £7 billion will pay the salaries of 60% of all the nurses in the NHS.
  • It’s £1 for every person on the planet!

 

How does broadband loss impact a business?

As a business, it’s worth asking yourself, ‘how much money would my business lose if I lost all connectivity?’ Connection to the internet has quickly become an essential part of any business. Whether you’re a retail shop or café and only need the internet for card payments, or if your staff rely on the basic use of emails and web browsing, or if internet connectivity supports your telephone system. There are also the more advanced uses such as cloud-based applications and disaster recovery solutions that keep larger organsations ticking.

 

According to a recent survey, only 25% of those who were hit by internet outages last year were able to mitigate their down-time by adopting tasks which did not require internet usage. However, not all businesses are so lucky; especially companies with widely dispersed departments in a variety of locations, with staff who need to stay connected.  

 

Of course, there are various ways to get by when the internet fails. There’s the Starbucks down the road (other coffee shops are available) or tethering off your mobile data if you are lucky enough to have unlimited 4G, but these are short-term solutions that just won’t cut the mustard during major outages. This is where a second internet connection comes in, with the overall idea being that if your main service provider cuts out for whatever reason, your secondary connection is ready and waiting to take over.

 

Internet access may have been branded a basic human right by the United Nations last year, although with the UK’s broadband speeds and infrastructure coming in very low on the global league table, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

What might loss of broadband cost you?

Should your primary broadband service become disrupted, the cost to your business can be considerable. Everyday operations will come to a halt at 38% of businesses, 13% immediately start losing money following an outage and 46% will suffer a financial hit after four hours. However, considering that the average waiting time for service to resume is six hours, it’s surprising that only 13% of businesses switch to a backup solution. (Source: http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/03/isp-claims-uk-lost-7bn-2016-due-business-broadband-outages.html)

 

Whilst larger companies statistically lose the most money and productive hours, the effects of connectivity failure apply to all sized business; big, small and micro. As a general rule of thumb, the average downtime hours per business multiplied by the cost per productive hour lost, will give you the estimated loss to your business.

 

The average annual loss per business is as follows:

  • Solo (1 person) – £41
  • Micro (2-9 people) – £527
  • Small 10-49 people) – £3 ,950
  • Medium (50 – 249) – £15,670
  • Large (250+ people) – £497,433

 

How can this be avoided?

There can be a large number of reasons why an outage occurred; broadband providers themselves are not invincible, therefore malicious attacks or damage to the infrastructure is possible.

 

Aside from these situations that you cannot control, there are some simple actions that can be taken within your business to prevent outages:

 

  1. Check that all your routers have been configured properly
  2. Check that you are using internet connectivity that is suitable for your business purposes (this tends to be a common pitfall for many businesses, many of which opt for residential connections as they are cheaper).
  3. As your company grows its vital that regular checks and audits are carried out to ensure all IT and telecommunication systems are able to deal with the volumes and are protected against outages and cyber-attacks. You can internally review the scalability and resiliency of your systems by checking your bandwidth is still suitable for the size of your business. If your business has grown beyond your bandwidth speed and size, then it’s time to upgrade – before it falls over!
  4. It is also recommended to regularly review the market to see if there’s anything available that your business could benefit from. In a rapidly evolving industry there are always new features that can make working life easier and more protected.

 

Unfortunately, sometimes a connectivity issue will arise despite your (and your provider’s) best efforts. This is where the back-up connection comes into its own. Rather than wasting time moving to a temporary office space or rinsing your mobile data dry, a better option would be to implement a backup internet connection. What may seem like another unnecessary expense could save you a lot of unnecessary stress and money in the long run.

 

Depending on the size of your business, there are a handful of solutions available to help your business battle a broken broadband connection:

 

  1. A step up from using your mobile phone data is a 4G router or MiFi device; these will connect to the 4G network in the event of an internet outage, meaning you can continue carrying out small tasks that require internet connection such as taking PDQ payments and sending emails. The cost of a device like this is around the £130 mark.
  2. For businesses where a large chunk of the workload is carried out using internet connection, a second ADSL line would be a more reliable option. However, before taking this step it’s important to choose a different supplier to the one you currently receive your main broadband connection from. A second line should bring in the broadband connection from a different source, therefore if your main service provider encounters a major issue, your secondary connection will kick in.

 

To put things into perspective, in 2016, the cost of an outage to a business was on average £1,287. The general starting price for a second connection starts from £12.95pcm for a micro business. Weighing up the odds of an outage occurring (on average there are four outages per organisation per year) and the amount you’d lose each time, it’s evident how invaluable a secondary internet connection is.

 

Both new prospects and existing customers are key drivers in sustaining and growing your business. If neither can get through to you will they call your competitors? By adding a second low-cost connection you can be confident that your business will carry on as normal in the event of an outage. The figures really do speak for themselves.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nolan Braterman is from Frontier Voice and Data providing businesses with working, flexible, bespoke and price competitive communications solutions for more than thirty years. FVD is an independent supplier and carries a comprehensive, business grade suite of products to suit any type or size of company.  See: http://fvdata.co.uk/

Twitter.com/fvdata

Facebook.com/fvdata

Linkedin.com/company/fvdata

Youtube.com/channel/UC9SAQW8iitmZxA8Ri5AeXIA

 

Sources:

UN brands internet a basic human right – http://www.businessinsider.com/un-says-internet-access-is-a-human-right-2016-7?IR=T

Tips for a Successful Workers’ Compensation Claim

Tips for a Successful Workers’ Compensation Claim
Jan Bremner

No workers’ compensation insurance company wants to pay a claim. In fact, they usually look for ways around paying the claim. You deserve better than that. If you have a work-related injury, you deserve your compensation. Follow these tips to increase the chance of a successful payout of your workers’ compensation claim.

 

  1. Don’t hesitate to report your injury

 

If you wait too long to report your injury, you could end up missing your opportunity to file a claim. You usually only have a small window of time to file your claim. Sometimes, that time is as short as 30 days. Hesitating to report your injury makes it less likely that an insurance company will pay your claim.

Once you receive an injury at work, report it. Even if there’s only a slight chance that the injury will make you miss work, you should report it. And be sure to report it to your supervisor. Telling a co-worker is not enough. If you alert your supervisor quickly, you are more likely to have a successful claim.

 

  1. Find witnesses

After your accident, you might have a lot on your mind. However, it’s important to remember that you should track down witnesses to the accident. It’s not enough to know the faces of the witnesses; you should find out the full names of witnesses. If possible, get their contact information. They can verify that your injury did in fact occur at work, and not somewhere else. Without witnesses, an insurance company may try to argue that the injury was not work-related.

 

  1. See a doctor

In an emergency, most people don’t hesitate to go to the hospital. However, many individuals do hesitate to go to a doctor for injuries. If you have an injury at work, you should see a doctor. Whether you go to the emergency room or a doctor’s office, you need a record of your injury. Without a record, the insurance company could try to dispute the seriousness of your injury. They may even try to argue that you didn’t suffer from any injury. Your medical professional can give you the paperwork that you need to prove your injury. With it, the insurance company will have a harder time denying your claim.

After you see a doctor, you need to keep up with your treatment. If you need special treatment, you need to follow through with it. This can also help you out during the claim process.

 

  1. Be detailed in all your paperwork

A workers’ compensation claim involves a lot of paperwork. First, you need to fill out an incident report for work. Then, you need to fill out paperwork at the hospital or doctor’s office. If you see a lawyer, there’s also that paperwork. Be sure to fill out all the paperwork properly. As tired as you might be of filling out forms, take the time to do it the right way. Make sure that your story is the same everywhere you write it. Any inconsistencies or mistakes can hurt your claim. You can talk to a lawyer at Mickle & Bass to learn more.For more information visit their website.

WHAT IS A PARALEGAL AND SHOULD YOU USE ONE?

WHAT IS A PARALEGAL AND SHOULD YOU USE ONE?

By Amanda Hamilton, NALP

Got a legal issue – call a solicitor, yes? Not necessarily. It may be that a paralegal is what you need. So, what is a paralegal? What’s the difference between a paralegal and a solicitor, and when might it make sense to use one?

A Paralegal is legally trained and educated to perform legal tasks and offer legal assistance but is not a qualified solicitor. However, a Paralegal can do virtually everything that a solicitor can do except activities that are referred to as: ‘Reserved Activities’ (which we’ll cover later).

There is no statutory regulation for paralegals in the same was as there is for solicitors, so it’s important to ask for evidence of the paralegal’s qualifications and experience, and check they are a member of a professional body such as the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP).

So when might you use the services of a paralegal?

 

  1. If someone takes you to court claiming that you allegedly owe them money and you need to defend yourself
  2. If you need to take someone to court and need assistance with regard to the process
  3. If you have been arrested for a minor criminal offence and need representation. Many paralegals are what is known as ‘Police Station Accredited’ and that means that they can be called out to assist you at a police station
  4. If you need assistance in a Matrimonial matter
  5. If you wish to take action against your employer through a Tribunal
  6. To assist you in writing a Will or to obtain a Lasting Power of Attorney in respect of a relative
  7. To assist you in a housing matter
  8. To assist you with any welfare matter

 

The above is not a definitive list of circumstances as there is a broad spectrum of legal areas in which Paralegals operate, however it covers some of the most common situations.

As all of the above can also be handled by a solicitor – why would you choose to use a paralegal?

 

  1. Cost: Utilising the services of solicitors can be expensive. Solicitors charge on average over £200 per hour and some, more senior ones, will charge nearer to £300 per hour. On average Paralegals charge between £20 – £50 per hour for their services.

 

  1. There is no legal aid anymore: Before April 2013 you could get legal funding to bring a case to court or defend an action against you. This has now been eradicated for all but a few cases. Paralegals are filling the gap left by the eradication of Legal Aid.

 

  1. There are occasions where a paralegal may assist you up to a point, and then you may need the services of a solicitor. For example, if the case is serious and cannot be resolved, and will eventually end up in court. However, for the most part, a paralegal can assist you in dealing with the case yourself.

 

As you can see there are good reasons to consider using a paralegal rather than a solicitor, but, as mentioned before, a paralegal can’t help in every situation. There are some activities that Paralegals cannot undertake. These are known as ‘Reserved Activities’:

 

  1. Solicitors have an automatic right to represent you in most courts. However, Paralegals can assist and advise you if you do need to represent yourself (as a litigant in person (LIP)) and in some cases, subject to the discretion of the Judge, they can get permission to speak on your behalf.
  2. Conduct litigation: Paralegals cannot conduct your case and are unable to file documents at court and make applications on your behalf. However, Paralegals can assist you to do this yourself as a LIP.
  3. Conveyancing: For example, buying and selling property on your behalf. Paralegals cannot undergo such a transaction on your behalf although they can give advice about the process. Only persons who are Licensed by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers are authorised to act on your behalf in a sale and purchase of property.
  4. When someone dies:  if they have left a Will leaving gifts to various beneficiaries such as family and friends, an official document known as a Grant of Probate needs to be attained in order to distribute the gifts in the Will. A Paralegal cannot sign such documents on your behalf but you can do so yourself, and the paralegal can assist you through the process.

 

What other low-cost and free options are available to you if you need legal help? You can make use of a number of free services like Citizens Advice, Law Centres and Pro-Bono Units:

 

  1. Citizens Advice is a charity run organisation with franchises all over the country. The Bureaux are headed up mostly by volunteers (many of whom are paralegals) with a minority of paid workers. The Bureaux are overworked and understaffed.
  2. Law Centres These are largely operated by volunteers (mostly paralegals) usually supervised by a solicitor. They are not as widely located as Citizens Advice.  
  3. Law clinics are now becoming popular with Universities in order to give their undergraduate law students an opportunity to work with clients and practice their skills. However, Law Clinics are not found everywhere and are usually only locally located near Universities.
  4. Pro-Bono Units: both solicitors and barristers have their own units offering free advice to consumers. However, these units are increasingly over utilized and as a result, there is pressure placed upon the respective professions to increase the amount of time dedicated to ‘pro-bono’ work.

 

If you do need the help of a paralegal where do you look? There are two registers:

 

  1. The LPR (Licensed Paralegal Register) organised through NALP (National Association of Licensed Paralegals). You can find a paralegal by location, name or area of law.
  2. The PPR (Professional Paralegal Register). Similar to the above in that you can find someone by location, area of law or name.

 

Paralegals can perform many of the tasks where you’d naturally think of using a solicitor – but they are considerably cheaper. And you can still bring in a solicitor later if you need to. So next time you need some legal advice, as long as it doesn’t come under on the ‘Reserved Activities’ – call a registered paralegal for help in the first instance.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Hamilton is Chief Executive of NALP, a non-profit Membership Body as well as being the only Paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England & Wales). Through its training arm, NALP Training, accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional. 

See: http://www.nationalparalegals.co.uk and http://www.nalptraining.co.uk/nalp_training

 

Twitter: @NALP_UK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NationalAssocationsofLicensedParalegals/

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-hamilton-llb-hons-840a6a16/

 

A NEW PLANT CARE APP IS ATTRACTING A YOUNGER AUDIENCE

A NEW PLANT CARE APP IS ATTRACTING A YOUNGER AUDIENCE

Chantal Cooke

 

Whether it’s selfies, Siri or smartphones, we associate 25-35-year-olds with all things technology – however, one thing this demographic are rarely associated with is plants.

This is changing, thanks to the SmartPlant app that allows users to upload their plant colle

ction and receive horticultural care advice.

SmartPlant currently offers users a free ‘lite’ version of the app, as well as a full-feature premium service. The latter allows users to speak to plant experts in their local area, and receive monthly advice relevant to their plants.

The app avoids complicated horticultural jargon that tends to put people off plant care. So, whatever your age or plant knowledge, the app will help you to keep your plants alive.

The central focus of SmartPlant’s design is simplicity; easy to understand with a clean, clear design. This makes SmartPlant relevant and simple for the younger generation to get plant care avice, as well as straightforward for an older, less tech-savvy generation.

SmartPlant’s latest innovation, barcode-scanning technology, allows users to receive a free premium membership with each plant they buy and receive monthly care advice.

Once a customer has scanned a plant, the app links to the specific garden centre and products relevant to their monthly advice, helping shops to retain customers, actively engage them, and boost sales.

This provides a useful service to customers and retailers alike.

SmartPlant’s data also gives garden centres an idea of who their customers are.

Offering in-store plant experts is costly, however SmartPlant is removing this barrier for retailers.

The barcode scanning technology makes it easy for customers to add their existing plant collection into their digital garden, and receive a care calendar and botanic advice.

Once logged in, users will have a smart list of what plants they have and what additional products they need, for example plant fertilizer, or specialist pots or compost for re-potting – making SmartPlant an asset to both customers and garden centres.

SmartPlant is now equity crowdfunding in order to grow its technology and make it compatible with voice-activated services such as Amazon Alexa.

When SmartPlant was originally launched it was simply a plant ID app, much like the music-identification app, Shazam. Now with its new barcode-scanning technology, the subscription service is more like Spotify and Apple Music, where you can have an expansive library of your plant collection in digital form.

With expert guidance, the less experienced gardener will have all the information they need, and in-turn, the confidence to raise and care-for plants that may be more demanding than they are used to.

And with a booming UK gardening industry worth £5 billion, even after excluding the landscaping and amenity sectors, SmartPlant is tapping into a huge market.

 

ABOUT SMARTPLANT

George Williams is the CEO of SmartPlant – an app that helps plant lovers to care for their plants in the easiest way possible. It provides a unique care calendar for each of your plants, and a chat service with a team of more 100 plant experts around the world, allowing you to keep your plants happy, healthy and beautiful.

 

SmartPlant Online

Web: https://www.smartplantapp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SmartPlantUK/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SmartPlantUK

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smartplantapp/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/SmartPlantApp/

The launch of BuddyWith – a new community bringing parents together for support and expert advice

The launch of BuddyWith – a new community bringing parents together for support and expert advice  

Chantal Cooke

BuddyWith.org.uk is a new online and offline community for parents.

BuddyWith specialises in bringing people together with similar families, whether that is twins, special needs, new parents, single mums or dads, or parents who would simply like some downtime and to meet other people.

The site offers expert advice and support and allows parents to share their experiences and connect with other people in a similar situation, both locally and nationally.

BuddyWith was founded by Yuliana Topazly. After the birth of her daughter, Yuliana was diagnosed with post-natal depression. She felt isolated and guilty, but didn’t want anti-depressants – she wanted a connection; to engage intellectually and emotionally with other women.

Yuliana discovered that when she needed help, she couldn’t find it, and when she did finally find it, the help was very limited.

She also learnt that the trials of motherhood are a universal story; one that is repeated over and over again.

This inspired her to launch BuddyWith.

“88 per cent of working parents suffer stress-related health problems and 43% struggle with depression; 1 in 10 women develop mental health illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby – and something needs to be done. That’s why I developed BuddyWith.” Says Yuliana.

BuddyWith is supported by Yuliana’s award-winning South London-based social enterprise, My OutSpace Business Centre which specialises in supporting women, especially migrant women with children, into employment and self-employment.

Yuliana believes she has identified, as a result of her own experiences, a gap in health and social services: facilitated peer to peer support network, clear signposting and mentoring women, particularly migrants, who are struggling to raise children and families and access world of work. Which is where BuddyWith comes in.

BuddyWith links women with similar stories together. And, it is immediate. Unlike Yuliana’s personal experience and the experiences of countless other women, you won’t get lost within a mountain of well-intentioned pamphlets and doctor referrals. You simply log on and reach out.

 

The BuddyWith community is a rich resource of information. Mothers are a wealth of information – and every mother is invited to take part and share her experiences, her worries, her triumphs, and her expertise.

 

“The struggle of being a new mum is a universal story and it isn’t one that should be fought alone.” Says Yuliana.

 

Membership of BuddyWith.org.uk is free. For more information see: http://www.buddywith.org.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BuddyWithMum/

Twitter: @BuddyWithMum  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yuliana-seymour-topazly-27a3454/

No Win No Fee agreements and the new developments in this area of the law

No Win No Fee agreements and the new developments in this area of the law

 

No Win No Fee agreements are sometimes known as No Win No Foal agreements or Contingency agreements is said to spread out from its traditional area of the law which would be Personal injury and Medical Negligence claims for compensation. Although over the last decade No Win No Fee agreements have been found in employment law and now No Win No Fee Agreements are now being introduced into litigation as well.

No win no fee in a general sense can be further explained by calling  at https://www.irelandpersonalinjuryadvice.com/no-win-no-fee-solicitors-dublin/ concerning its application to personal injury claims cases.

Number 1 Alba Claims Ltd was recently started in Edinburgh in Scotland to look at the whole area of Litigation and No Win No Fee agreements. Their Managing Director Alistair Dean said recently ““It’s often the case that claims are not pursued either because businesses are not in a financial position to fund the claim or consider that their finances can get a better return elsewhere.

“We want Alba Claims to help level the playing field and reduce the uncertainties of dispute resolution while removing the requirement to pay legal fees on an ongoing basis.”This is a huge change and challenge for the Litigation area of the law. Businesses that get into a commercial dispute now have a cost-free option in order to get satisfaction from the courts.

Many businesses have passed over litigation due to the financial burden of the cost of hiring solicitors and barristers in order to take the offending business to court or to arbitration. For many businesses going down the litigation, route was just not an option due to the cost. Many large and cash-rich companies have earned themselves “Bully” reputations as they will evaluate whether the other business has the financial resources to take them to court if they break their contract.

When there is a No Win No Fee agreement with a litigation solicitor the business has no fees to pay the litigation solicitor in the event of the litigation being lost. This means no cash up front and then regular payments for fees on account to the solicitor during the period of the litigation. Of course, if the business wins the litigation there will be fees to pay the litigation solicitor. These fees to your lawyer, in some jurisdictions, may be heavy as they may be based on a percentage of the award of damages to the business. In other jurisdictions, the percentage system of the damages awarded is not allowed by law.

In countries and areas where No Win No Fee agreements have been introduced in litigation, there has been some marked improvement in the ethics of honoring of contracts.

However, not everything is perfect in No Win No Fee agreements in litigation. Firstly, a solicitor who offers a business such an agreement is going to be really sure that the litigated case is a good one. They are not going to commit the resources of their law firm to a case where the chances are that they will lose the case and earn their firm no fees as a result. Secondly, a No Win No Fee agreement does not protect a business from the legal fees and costs of the other side if by chance the case is lost. These fees and costs may well be substantial and businesses should ask their solicitor to arrange an insurance policy to cover them from any possible liability.

Retiring

I have finally made the decision to retire.  I will post on law, but going forward my posts will be about art, photography, politics and history.

I’ve enjoyed law during my career, but it no longer has the appeal other fields of study and research do.This is not a criticism of Law or legal study. I just want to broaden my interests and reading. (I have been reading law books, law reports, articles for 40 years. I used to have 273 law books)

I hope you will continue to visit.

I am opening a new blog for posts on art, photography and literature – topics, these days, which interest me more than law.

 

 

Checkpoints to consider when making commercial agreements

Checkpoints to consider when making commercial agreements

 

We work and connect with people, but very often business formalities require a binding agreement between individuals and parties, to ensure that each side is safe and protected. No matter what your equation is with another person, it is always to safeguard  your firm, by ensuring commercial agreements are in place. Steinepreis Paganin (http://www.steinpag.com.au) is an independent law firm offering clients specialised and comprehensive advice on a range of equity capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial, energy and resources and financial services matters. They seek to understand a clients’ objectives and deliver service in an innovative, professional and constructive manner. Since service, quality and value for money are paramount, the highly qualified staff are focused on understanding the needs of a clients and working with them to achieve their corporate and commercial objectives.

 

When setting out agreements it is a good idea to review the agreement instead of just a glance over a contract and don’t just sign it without really knowing what it obligates you or the other party to do. Here are a few basic guidelines you can check when reviewing a contract:

 

  • Use the complete name of the business and correctly identify the parties. Understand the rights and responsibilities of both sides. These are normally distributed all over the contract, so make sure you understand these well.

 

  • Leave no blanks so there is no scope of it being filled by someone later. If there are any deletions or changes, then make sure these are initialed.

 

  • Look out for automatic renewals. Be clear about dates. Don’t default on any of the dates mentioned in a contract. What is the notice period required for a non- renewal? If notice is not followed, is there a penalty clause in the agreement? Does a renewal incur a price increase? If yes then how much?

 

  • Check if there is a separate clause on defaulting. What acts are considered as defaulting. They must be mentioned in the agreement. Also determine the worst case that can happen if you default. What are the remedial provisions? Can you limit your liability? what about the remedial action from your side incase the other party defaults? What type of remedies do you need in place, if this happens.

 

  • These take just a bit of your time but if you take the time to review the contract thoroughly, you can negotiate on many things, which in the longer run, works for you.

 

A 20 mile walk on the morrow…if it does not rain too hard

Planning a 20 mile walk for the morrow….provided it does not rain too hard.  I have a Barbour rain hat and two cameras and a fine walking stick and a book on Perthshire walks. I enjoy walking10-20 miles a day  and meet up with other old gits in Perth who smoke and laugh…there are some fine older gentlemen in Perth who enjoy smoking and having a laugh and a fine pub The Half a Tanner – where the Guinness is poured expertly as I fall in the door at opening time at 11.00.  I take my Guinness with a small Cafe Creme cigar wearing a Tartan Glengarry hat with many unusual  feathers in it.- and other clothes, of course, including trousers and heavy duty professional walking boots.

Have a good weekend…

Bridge over troubled legal water? Legal issues of the Brexit transition period

Professor Steve Peers
Website / Blog 

Compared to famous Florentines, Theresa May’s recent speech on the UK’s Brexit plans inevitably owed more to Machiavelli than Leonardo da Vinci. Nevertheless, it gave a rough indication of the basic legal architecture that the UK government would like to govern its relationship with the EU for a transition period after Brexit Day. I have previously summarised and commented upon the main points of the Florence speech, but there is more to say on this legal framework – and also on the rules which would apply to EU27 citizens in the UK during the transition period.

Legal framework

First of all, is a transition period after Brexit Day even legally possible? If so, what provision of EU law would apply?

Article 50 TEU, which sets out the basic rules on Member States’ withdrawal from EU membership, is silent on the issue of any transitional period after the withdrawal date. However, it might be noted that Article 49 TEU, governing accession, is equally silent on transitional periods after joining the EU; nevertheless such periods are an established feature of the accession process.

In its negotiating guidelines on Brexit, the European Council (EU27 States’ leaders) stated that:

To the extent necessary and legally possible, the negotiations may also seek to determine transitional arrangements which are in the interest of the Union and, as appropriate, to provide for bridges towards the foreseeable framework for the future relationship in the light of the progress made. Any such transitional arrangements must be clearly defined, limited in time, and subject to effective enforcement mechanisms. Should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures to apply.

These principles are set out again in the negotiation directives handed down to the European Commission by the Council (EU27 States’ ministers) at paragraph 19. Those negotiation directives go into no further detail on the transition period issue for now; instead, there will be further negotiation directives in future, once the EU27 side has decided that there has been ‘sufficient progress’ on its priority issues (EU27 and UK citizens’ rights, financial issues, Northern Ireland) during the Brexit talks.

For the UK’s part, the Florence speech states that on Brexit Day, the UK will cease to participate in the EU political institutions. The period must be ‘strictly time limited’, suggesting ‘around two years’;  but the two sides ‘could also agree to bring forward’ aspects, such as a new dispute settlement system. The latter point implies that the ECJ will apply until that point.

Substantively, during the transitional period, ‘access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms’; the UK will ‘continue to take part in existing security measures’; and the ‘framework’ will be ‘the existing structure of EU rules and regulations’.  There would be no change to other Member States’ payments and contributions during the current funding cycle (ending in 2020), implying that EU laws on funding and spending continue without amendment until then.

EU citizens can still come to live and work during this period, but they will be registered; but as I noted in the previous blog post, such registration is allowed under the EU citizens’ Directive. (More on that below). Finally, the speech referred to one substantive difference in law: the UK would hold its own trade negotiations, and would ‘no longer directly benefit’ from the EU’s trade negotiations.

Moreover, the speech made comments on another aspect of the withdrawal agreement – maintaining EU27 citizens’ rights – that may be relevant by analogy to transition issues. The Prime Minister said that the UK would ‘incorporate our agreement [on citizens’ rights] fully into UK law and make sure the UK courts can refer directly to it’; and that UK courts must be ‘able to take into account’ relevant ECJ case law.

Comparing the UK to the EU27 position on the transitional period, there are lots of similarities. Both sides are willing to contemplate such a period (the EU27’s ‘legally possible’ caveat is considered below). Both sides want it to be for a limited time. The Florence speech states that the transitional rules would be linked with the future permanent UK/EU relationship (‘a bridge from where we are now to where we want to be’), matching the EU27 position. (Note there’s no need to define the future relationship in detail in the withdrawal deal: Article 50 refers only to defining a ‘framework’ for that relationship, and the EU negotiation position refers only to bridges towards the foreseeable future framework).

The greatest difficulties may come with the issues of post-Brexit EU legislation, and the legal effect of EU law. At present the European Communities Act provides for the adoption of new EU law into the UK’s legal order. It gives that law direct effect and supremacy, and gives effect to ECJ rulings in domestic law. However, the proposed EU Withdrawal Bill would remove all these provisions, instead retaining pre-Brexit EU rules and ECJ judgments in force pending potential amendment by government or Parliament. Pre-Brexit ECJ judgments would retain their force subject to such amendments or overruling by the UK Supreme Court, and UK courts would have an option to take post-Brexit ECJ case law into account. The Bill would also remove the principle of damages liability for breach of EU law, and would not keep the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as part of retained EU law in the UK (on the latter point, see discussion here).

Technically, anything which the UK agrees to in the Withdrawal Agreement can be incorporated into UK law easily enough, since clause 9 of the Withdrawal Bill would give the UK government unlimited power to amend any UK laws to give effect to that Agreement. (Note, however, that the Bill could be amended in Parliament as regards any of these points before it becomes an Act of Parliament). So the issue is not the capability of the UK government to give effect to the Withdrawal Agreement, but its willingness to negotiate on these issues.

After her speech, the Prime Minister deliberately avoided answering a question about whether the UK would apply post-Brexit EU law during the transition period, saying it was a matter for negotiation. In fact, there is some flexibility on this, since the EU27 negotiation position does not take any view on that point. (Remember that the EU27 negotiation position on transitional issues will be enlarged later). In the meantime, UK cabinet members have tried to rule this prospect out. (Note that the speech refers to keeping ‘existing’ and ‘current’ EU law in force).

There is less flexibility as regards the legal effect of EU law, where – to recall – the EU27 position is that ‘existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures’ should apply. The combined reference to ‘judiciary’ and ‘enforcement’ structures suggest that the ECJ’s current jurisdiction, and the current legal effect of EU law in the UK, should apply. While the Prime Minister obliquely referred to the ECJ, she hoped that its role could be terminated early as regards the UK; and the UK government’s position on the legal status of EU27 citizens (no ECJ role; option to take account of ECJ rulings; incorporation of Withdrawal Agreement into UK law but no special status), if extended to the transitional rules in the Withdrawal Agreement, would fall short of the EU27 position. Equally, while it is not expressly mentioned in the current negotiation position, the EU27 might, when amending that position, argue that the EU Charter should still apply to the UK during the transitional period. (Note that the Charter does not apply to all actions of Member States, but only applies to Member States when they implement EU law).

Three further points. First, what happens to the position of non-EU countries as regards the UK? They are parties to some treaties with the EU alone, and to some treaties with the EU together with its Member States. The legal issues arising in this respect during the transitional period will have to be addressed.

Secondly, what happens after the end of the transitional period? In particular, what if it is deemed desirable on both sides to continue the arrangement, in whole or part? In that case, the special decision-making rule applying to Article 50 (see next point) will have expired, and so the normal decision-making rules of EU law will apply. Depending on the content of what is carried forward then, this may require some unanimous voting and even ratification by all Member States, although it should be recalled that the EU side can decide to apply treaties provisionally pending national ratification.

That brings us to the most fundamental legal issue: can the EU27 side include a transitional deal within the scope of Article 50 in the first place? The words ‘[t]o the extent…legally possible’ hint at some doubt on this point, presumably because of an argument that Article 50 cannot extend to the regulation of legal relationships that are created after Brexit Day, but only to the regulation and/or termination of those created before that date. However, while little is certain now about how the ECJ might interpret Article 50, in my view that interpretation is too narrow, given that Article 50 refers to taking account of the framework for future relations with the withdrawing state, and Article 8 TEU refers to maintaining strong relationships with neighbouring non-EU countries. If this is correct, it follows that as long as the transitional deal is limited in time and linked to the future framework for relations – as both the EU27 and UK side intend – there should not be a legal problem. (On the other hand, there is nothing in Article 50 to require that anything in the withdrawal agreement must be subject to ECJ jurisdiction, besides the usual rule that only the ECJ can rule definitively on how to interpret EU law for EU Member States).

The importance of this is that the Article 50 agreement needs only a qualified majority vote to be approved by the EU27, without national ratification by Member States (as confirmed in the negotiation directives). But the EU27 and UK should prepare a ‘Plan B’ in the event that some Eurosceptic devoted to a ‘WTO-only’ and/or ‘no deal’ relationship between the UK and EU brings a legal challenge. If such a challenge were successful, the ECJ might anyway maintain the problematic parts of the treaty in force temporarily due to legal certainty; and the UK and EU should aim to agree the impugned parts of the Withdrawal Agreement on the correct legal basis as soon as possible, applying that new treaty provisionally.

Extension of the Article 50 period

Some have suggested extending the negotiation period for the Brexit talks instead – as Article 50 expressly allows for – arguing that a transition phase is no different from extending the negotiation period anyway.  It’s true that legally the extension of the negotiation period would be simple: it requires only a unanimous vote of the EU27 Member States (with no national ratification) required, plus the UK government, with no role for the European Parliament. As a matter of domestic UK law, arguably an Act of Parliament would be required to this end (note that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act, which gave the government power to invoke Article 50 pursuant to the Miller judgment, does not mention the issue of extension).

But an extension to the negotiation period would be politically difficult. It’s not known whether the EU27 would give their unanimous consent, particularly given the awkward consequence that the UK would then end up participating in the 2019 European Parliament elections. And within the UK, announcing an intention to delay Brexit would likely mean that Theresa May would immediately be the centrepiece of a modern version of Da Vinci’s Last Supper – followed swiftly by the political resurrection of Nigel Farage.

Furthermore, it’s false to say that there is really no difference between a negotiation extension and a transition period. First of all, during a negotiation extension the UK would still participate in the EU’s political institutions. Secondly, it’s certain that there would be no change in the legal effect of EU law in the UK or the substance of EU laws in the UK, and that new EU laws and new ECJ judgments would continue to apply, in the event of a negotiation extension – whereas those issues may, as discussed above and below, be addressed differently during a transition period.

Thirdly, in the event of a change of mind in the UK on Brexit, remaining within the EU on the basis of a negotiation extension may be different from rejoining the EU after having left. This depends (a) on the resolution of some legal issues concerning Article 50 (Can the withdrawal notice be rescinded? If so, must the EU consent? If so, can the EU attach conditions? Or can the Article 50 period simply be extended indefinitely, with no further negotiation taking place?) and (b) on the extent to which the UK could rejoin on the same terms (Would the EU have already removed the UK’s opt-outs from the Treaties? Would the UK rebate on the EU budget have been rescinded yet?).

EU27 citizens

As noted already, the UK government’s intention to require EU citizens to register if they come to the UK during the transitional period is consistent with the EU citizens’ Directive, which allows registration for stays longer than three months. Indeed, the Commission has reported that almost all EU states register citizens from other EU Member States. But a failure to register can only be punished by proportionate penalties, not expulsion or detention (see the ECJ ruling in Watson and Bellman, concerning a prior version of this law). According to the ECJ ruling in Huber, Member States may include information on EU citizens in a database, but this can only be used for the purpose of administering EU free movement law; if they put information on EU citizens in a criminal database, they must be treated equally with nationals of that Member State.

The Directive goes on to say that Member States cannot insist that registration certificates must be the sole method of checking entitlement to reside or any other right, since other forms of proving identity are possible; and that Member States can only penalise EU citizens for not carrying their registration certificates if they penalise their own citizens the same way for not carrying ID cards (see also the ECJ judgment in Oulane). It follows that as long as the UK doesn’t have an ID card system, it could not penalise EU citizens for not carrying registration certificates.

So while registration of EU citizens is permissible, the limits set out in the legislation and case law put the more general questions about ‘transition law’ raised in this blog post in a particular context. It would not be credible for the EU27 to insist that the UK not register EU citizens at all, particularly given that most of them do the same thing themselves. But will the important limits on registration apply? It’s an important question given the tendency of the UK Home Office to create a ‘hostile environment’ for EU and non-EU citizens alike, and the risk that absent the application of EU case law and legislation to this issue, there could be fines, detention, expulsion or other refusals of rights for EU citizens who didn’t register, lost their registration certificate or forgot to carry it. (All the same issues arise if the UK extends – as it could – the registration obligation to EU citizens who were present before Brexit Day).

If the EU27 and UK agree that the existing EU law still applies and the pre-Brexit ECJ case law remains binding, in principle the issue is resolved, at least during the transitional period. But what if the UK breaches this agreement, or if there is some question about how the UK applies the requirement, or if there is some new relevant ECJ case law? Then the important questions will be whether the existing EU law remedies (direct effect, supremacy, damages) are still available; whether UK courts can still ask the ECJ questions; and whether the UK courts are obliged to follow post-Brexit ECJ case law.

This issue, important as it would be for many EU citizens resident in the UK, is only a microcosm of the legal issues raised by the transition period – and which the UK and EU27 will hopefully have time to consider properly.

Barnard & Peers: chapter 27

Photo credit: Thousand Wonders

Buying a fast Motorbike

hindablackbirdI’ve decided to go back to biking and buy myself a second hand Honda Blackbird.  I have had 21 motorbikes in my life – mostly Honda Fireblades 900cc and Honda Blackbirds 1100cc.  Top speed is 198mph.  I also bought a Ducati 916 which was fun. Got stopped in Spain by Guardia Civil bike cop at 6.00 am on a motorway near Mojacca – empty road – doing 194 mph.  I was on a Honda Blackbird. Speed limit was 80 mph..  The cop fired a red flare into the air and the red smoke was very visible as was his light wand to wave me in!  He just laughed.  We smoked cigars and sat on each others bikes and chatted.  He did suggest that I only drove at 30 mph above speed limit near the big towns and cities on my way back as Motorway car cops were not so amusing or relaxed.  It was good advice.

I am going to get back on a bike – I am on a ‘Mission’. The bike pictured above was one of my Blackbirds.  A good second hand Blackbird is not expensive.  Few bikers want such a fast bike these days in Britain and prefer the slightly smaller 900 cc bikes like Fireblades etc.

The best money I spent was not on a bike but on an Advanced Riding course with a Metropolitan Police bike copper who was also a bike instructor.  a 2 day course 6 hours riding each day – in the cold pouring rain.  The instructor was brilliant.  We could talk to each other through microphones fitted in our helmets.  I was cornering at speeds of 70 mph by the end of the course – in the rain.  Before the course I would have taken those corners at 40 mph!

And the latest news on President Trump

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers September/October 2017

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published.

In this issue

  • Data protection – Eduardo Ustaran of Hogan Lovells helps you focus your efforts in preparing for the GDPR
  • Security – Robert Casalis de Pury of UniRom Systems explains what https is and why you should implement it
  • Justice system – Paul Magrath considers the efficacy of the ongoing developments in HMCTS’ Reform program
  • Websites – Delia Venables and guests consider why solicitors might want to provide free legal content online
  • Resources – Lisa Davies of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies describes the many resources IALS hosts
  • Security – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains what encryption is, the pros and cons and related legislation
  • Publishers – Several online publishers describe recent developments in their services for lawyers

Access the Newsletter online

How’s your CPD competence planning going?

Very soon you are going to have to account for how you have assessed and met your learning and development needs to remain competent to practice in 2017. How’s it going?

Using our Internet for Lawyers CPD 2017 competence service you can quickly and easily create a Plan and keep the appropriate Records for SRA and BSB compliance purposes.

Our courses courses guide you, via online articles and exercises, through the legal resources and tools available, help you understand the internet and the legal issues it raises and assist you in the practical application of internet services to your legal practice.

A CPD 2017 service subscription is £120+VAT. Groups of 5 or more £60+VAT per member.

Sign up online now. And please tell a friend!

 

Guest Post : Merchant Taylors’ School: A Different Kind of Sixth Form

Merchant Taylors’ School: A Different Kind of Sixth Form

Jon Rippier | Director of Communications & Teacher of Modern Languages

Across the country, time spent in the Sixth Form is increasingly seen as a waiting room for university. When I joined Merchant Taylors’ in 2016 I was delighted to find that it is a school where this is very far from the case. Yes, we ensure that boys are well prepared for the process of university application (we send large numbers to Oxbridge and Imperial each year, as well as to Russell Group universities and to the US) –  but we also create an environment where boys can fully flourish. This might be in small classes (often just 8-10 boys) which facilitate more receptive learning, or in sports teams which achieve boarding-school levels of achievement (our U17 cricket team are the new national champions) or in a memorable concert or play. Beyond that we also encourage boys to give back through charities like Phab, where Merchant Taylors’ boys and St Helen’s girls work together to look after severely disabled children for a week, or in outreach to local primary schools.

Of course, in what is a fiercely competitive job market, we also endeavour to guide boys in their early career planning. We do this by giving every boy an individual career plan, through our Careers Department. They can also tap into our network of alumni and parents to gain vital work experience and advice; for example, this year we placed boys in work at range of different places, from consulting firm Deloitte, to Oncopole, a world-leading cancer research facility in Toulouse. Our Scholars gain the additional benefit of specialist mentors, Oxbridge-style tutorials and a workshop with a leading academic – last year’s cohort benefiting from a session with Lord Mervyn King and a talk on monetary policy. Parents are rightly concerned that their sons are ready for the real world but intense study complemented by little else is no such preparation. We look to help boys realise their varied talents and build their characters as well as learn the importance of academic rigour. To illustrate the point, our newly refurbished Sixth Form centre has a large area for social interaction, as well as space for collaborative study and the latest IT facilities. The ideas for Young Enterprise companies, plans for House drama and allocation of Prefect responsibilities are all forged  in this productive space. We are convinced that the Sixth Form should be the best two years of their school careers. The 250 recent leavers who returned for drinks in the Head Master’s garden at the start of term hopefully shows we are striking the right balance.

I have retired from Law blogging

freedomI am 64 and I have just had enough of Law in my life.  It has been interesting – but far less interesting than history, art, photography, politics and all books I read which interest and educate me far more than law ever did.

 

I regret now, looking back, ever reading Law.  That was a foolish decision – although I did enjoy quite a bit of my time teaching law – rather more than founding law schools and having the tedious hassle of actually running them.  64 current practising QCs taught at my law schools in their early days in practice.  They were excellent men and women and proved their excellence in later life in practice.  I enjoyed working with them.

I will cover the occasional law story, particularly Human Rights and matters judicial and professional  – but the blog is going to be much more varied….and eclectic, a better word for what I plan for the blog.  I will also cover what my fellow Law Bloggers are writing about.

I hope you will continue to visit from time to time.

Bon Voyage, Folks  CRY FREEEEDOM \o/

 

(I suspect that I will get bored of retiring from law blogging by Saturday evening and un-retire!)

Saturday night update:  Can’t possibly retire from Law blogging!

 

Time for a Bit of Jerry Hayes – ex Tory MP and barrister

jerryhayes5IF YOU KNEW SUSHI LIKE SHE KNEW SUSHI

Jerry Hayes, Barrister

 

“If the Number 10 operation resembles Fawlty Towers on a bad day the upcoming party conference will be a bit like Titus Andronicus without the jokes.

There are four stages in the downfall of a Prime Minister. Arrogance, incompetence, ridicule and pity. Madame has the gift of being able to portray all four simultaneously. It is quite an art and must have taken years of practice. Her trip to Japan has been a masterclass of how not to behave in front of the Japanese. She was surprised that she was served sushi rather than steak. After all you don’t go to Japan to eat their bloody foreign food do you? And then she told the press that she doesn’t go too much on Karaoke either and has NEVER performed. That’s almost as bad as telling Mr. Abe that she has never dated a Japanese man because she was of the belief that they had small penises. But traveller beware. Penises are a particularly no go topic of conversation in Japan. A friend once went into a gay bar in Tokyo, sat next to a thong of pretty boys and raised his glass in salute in anticipation of a night of unbridled debauchery. “Chin, chin,” he leered. Well, the reaction was not one that he expected. The crowd went mad and beat the crap out of him. You see, chin chin means small cock in Japanese. I do hope someone has warned Madame. On the other hand it will be fun if they haven’t. It reminds me of Thatcher’s disastrous trip to Turkey where her speech writers had put in a couple of lines from Bryon where he said how much he loved the Turks. The poor scribbler hadn’t read the rest of the poem which went onto explain why Byron loved the Turks, which was basically that the boys were a great shag. This didn’t go down at all well and Thatcher’s bid to build the new Bosporus bridge went to Japan.

Anyhow, Madame braved her sushi and ate an urchin. No doubt this was a subtle signal to the carpet biting wing of the Conservative party that she was launching a new, radical, child poverty initiative. Eating an urchin cleverly solves two problems. It culls those awful chavs that those delightful people in Activate seem to despise and will provide a vital source of food after we have left the EU and the starving roam the streets. Splendid. A stroke of genius….

Read the rest here

Mike Briercliffe at briercliffe.com – a useful resource

Mike Briercliffe writes..“One of the key aspects of my work is “Content in Context” curation – this site is a “one stop” showcase for much of the content streams and digests that I preside upon.

I hope you find it interesting and pay regular visits to catch up with what I’m seeing that I think is relevant and read-worthy.

As you will see, I sometimes carry “sponsored” links. My policy is simple: if I like it AND it’s relevant – I’ll maybe tell you about it.

I won’t carry links to anything I don’t consider worthy. Sometimes I get paid for these links.

If you’d like your company to be featured here – drop me a line and we’ll make an arrangement. Painless.”

Link to Briercliffe.com 

Dr Death told me 5 years ago that I had 3 days to live… he was wrong….thankfully

I am still blogging…and I have absolutely no trust in medical doctors (Nor Doctors of Law)  now.,..none at all.

 

I will die, in time, like we all do  (I am 64) – but I do hope that there is no Doctor at my bedside or at the pub where I am taking a picture and  pint of Guinness. in Perth.  (Four Tanners opposite a church where people pray to a god that does exist…Fine by me.)

The greatest game on earth? Cricket…here are some cakes!

I enjoy cricket… I try to watch or listen to every first class test cricket match.  I played cricket reasonably well as a youngster.  I was a wicket keeper – I enjoyed stumping and shouting “Agggghhhhht” at the umpires.

I also bowled rather badly.  I remember practising my bowling in Crete on a holiday many years ago by bowling pebbles from the beach into the sea.  I may have had too much of the local hooligan juice – Retsina.

 

As for batting… Mixed fortunes – I did score 110 in one innings in Africa.  I was 21.

 

Cricket is a fantastic game – subtle, tactical and far more dangerous to players than Rugby and American football.   The commentators on test Match Special – are world class.  I miss Jonners and the cakes.  And as for his immortal commentary England v West Indies:  “The Batman’s Holding, the bowler’s Willie”…one can only laugh.

Law is tedious. Far better things to study and do in life

I read Geology at University before law after working in Zambia as a geologist after school.  I really regret both studying law at university and running two law schools.  I look upon it now as a wasted life.  History would have been far more interesting to study. So would English literature and Art.

For those contemplating law as a career:   Don’t read law at University.  You won’t learn much of value to you in later life.  Law teaching in universities can be patchy and certainly, in many instances I suspect,  would not survive a rigorous inspection by serious education inspectors. Study something else at university and do a Diploma in law and then qualify as a solicitor / barrister in the usual way by doing their fair but  unchallenging examinations.

Nothing wrong with a career in law – be you a fair minded individual who cares about society and practices in those fields or one who simply wants to make loads of dosh.

 

I wish all those who do law and work in law well.  I am not going to be covering as much law – apart from Human Rights and instances of Injustice in the English Legal System – on my blog from now on.  There is no shortage of injustice in English law to write about.   Google throws up many instances of it. I don’t blame the lawyers or the judges.  They merely have to follow Government produced ‘Laws’. That is their job.

Rive Gauche: The Shipping and Drinking Forecast

panamahatphone16I often go to sleep listening to the Shipping Forecast and wake to it at 5.20.  I keep my Radio on BBC Radio 4  on all night.

I amused myself one evening by doing my own version of the Shipping Forecast – The Drinking Forecast.

I often phone friends on my iLobsterphone 7.0

Have a good weekend…

 

Here is “The Drinking Forecast” in the style of The Shipping Forecast, if you would like to listen to it….

 

Postcard from the Scone Staterooms in Scone, Perthshire

After 52 days of rain without a break – the sun has been released from Guantanamo Bay by the absurd President Trump  of “America needs to heel’  (sic) fame.  and appears once again over the pleasant lands of Perth & Kinross where I live in a village called ‘Scone’ – pronounced ‘Scoon’. A wonderful place with a duckpond and a swan and five cygnets.  The male swan, sadly, was killed by a thug with a catapult.

I have several cameras and a book from a good friend “40 Town and Country Walks in Perthshire”.  I plan, over time, to complete all 40 walks in the book with my deerstalker hat, walking stick, camera, cigars and hip flask.  I tend to try and walk 10 miles every day and 25 on Sundays.  It is excellent exercise and I stop to natter with kindred souls en route – many of who smoke.  Two also carry hip flasks with the water of the Gods (Whisky) in it.

 

Unusually, the sun is shining.  52 days of rain in last 53 days.  So good to see the sun as we head towards Autumn and Winter. Winter is my favourite season. I also enjoy rain – bracing

 

It is good to be back home in Scotland, particularly Perthshire which I know
glenalmondcoll2
well from my schooldays at Trinity College Glenalmond (Now Glenalmond College) , a well known school in Scotland – now co-educational.  In my day the only women we saw were in the newspapers, the Geology teacher and the kitchen staff and a wonderful lady who ran the ‘Tuck Shop’.