Have they resigned?…

I have just seen this pic on the net. Have they resigned?

I am out of circulation for a bit. But… I have given posting rights to a number of undisclosed people and a few nominees / proxies, including a Sudanese judge, so it may be that I will not be able to bear it when I return and see what is going on here. I am reliably informed that none of the people posting here this weekend have accounts with Northern Rock. They have moved their money to another bank.

Who knows who will appear on my blog as an author this weekend… but it won’t be me, so I cannot be held responsible (in any way) for the content, direction or tone of my blawg for the next few days.

I just hope that my blawg security hasn’t been hacked and you end up having to read something about Law.

Have a good weekend.. Bon chance… bon voyage et al….


Oh… and..finally… if you want to read something about wild talk and conspiracy and whether Harriet Harman, Clunking Fist and others are going to have a dawn raid… then Head of Legal is where you should go…. a piu tarde…. whatever that means.


Dermod O’Brien QC has criticised The Bar Council. He complains that the Bar Council has shirked its responsibilities in declining to support litigation (in connection with Pensions for Recorders) in the Employment Tribunal against the Ministry of Justice.

Geoffrey Vos QC writes to all Heads of Chambers to explain why he will not use Bar money to support Mr O’Brien’s litigation. Interesting stuff. Well worth a quick read. The Geoffrey Vos QC response letter

A brief quote from Geoffrey Vos’s response to give you a taste…

“Significantly, he claims (wrongly) that, while the Bar Council, ‘recognises the likely merit of his claim, it refuses to lift a finger to help and its excuses are pathetic’ and suggests that you should withold your voluntary subscription.

I enjoyed reading the Vos response over lunch at The Bollo. I had vegetable lasagne and a glass of Sangiovese (my first wine for a while). £6.95 inclusive of wine. It was delicious.

Mon dieu.. if, of course, there is such an entity…

Whatever next? Police Community Support Officers, the ” Eliot Ness Untouchables” of the modern police service, are at the very forefront of crime fighting again. This time they are called to an incident by some witless shopping centre security guard to stop young children singing carols. According to The Sun, the children were singing too loud.

Objections came from tenants of a shopping Mall in – an O2 mobile phone shop, supported by a Passion for Perfume store and a Timpsons shoe worker complained.

Ridiculous. I am making a stand. I won’t be buying anything provided by O2. I don’t wear perfume, so I can’t make a stand on that one, and I buy my shoes from Church’s and Jones the Bootmaker…they last for years and do not need to be repaired that often. I still have a pair from 1983. They still work quite well and are ‘fit for purpose’.

The General Quagmire… Pakistan and the Rule of Law.

I received this note today from a lawyer in Pakistan. I am delighted to be able to post it here:

The General Quagmire

For all his rhetoric of enlightened moderation and vows to ensure that democracy would see the light of day again in Pakistan, General Musharraf has proved to be no better than the other despicable military dictators who have abused this unfortunate country.

The façade of a volatile situation (courtesy the vicariously fought “War on Terror”) was created to justify the imposition of ‘emergency-plus’ (aka martial law), a concoction of the miserably inept government that, they hoped, would be a quick-fix to the real thorn in the General’s side– the independent judiciary and media.

Come 3rd November 2007, and within hours the face of the judiciary had changed with new, hand-picked, pro-Musharraf judges taking oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO, a Machiavellian concept instituted by the last military dictator, Zia ul Haq). Those judges who refused to take oath under the PCO were placed under house arrest. Lawyers, civil rights activists and ordinary civilians who took to the streets, to protest the imposition of martial law, were also whisked off to prison, but not before being brutally beaten. The country’s most popular private television networks were gagged, and the GEO network was eventually ordered to shut down all operations.

All the while General Musharraf maintained that whatever was being done was in the “best interests” of the country.

Does it also serve these “best interests” to beat and torture lawyers in prison? On Saturday 24th November 2007, a renowned lawyer, Munir A. Malik, was shifted to hospital with total renal failure. Rumours persist that he was either poisoned whilst in prison or punched on his kidneys, eventually leading to his condition.

He, and so many other heroes like him, remain remarkably defiant despite all they are going through.

The few who have been released tell chilling accounts of the mental and physical torture to which lawyers are subjected. Their only ‘crime’ being that they stood up for the rule of law and democracy in Pakistan.

What of the fate of the hundreds of lawyers and civil rights activists still languishing in dungeons around the country? Their fight is our fight! When they raise their heads to face the brutality of the police they sacrifice themselves for every Pakistani, and for the rights and liberties of all citizens of this country.

Alas, despite martial law and the hundreds of jawans (soldiers) nestled in their sandbag cocoons in every nook and cranny of the country, two bombs exploded in Rawalpindi last Saturday, and there has been a rocket attack on Turbat airport on Tuesday 27th November 2007.

Military training must be lacking severely, though no real surprises there as, the only thing the Army has done in the 60 traumatic years of Pakistan’s independence is lose wars, reign over and ruin the country and do the American’s bidding.

The state of things in Pakistan clearly point towards a deranged group of individuals at the helm of affairs, with not a care that the future of the country is at stake, nor for the suffering of millions. The Constitution, alongwith all fundamental human rights, have been suspended until such time as the General has had his fill of power.

Clearly, the long arm of Musharraf’s law is long enough for murder and torture, but it is just too short for justice.


Singing in the rain…

The Ant & Dec double act of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition must be singing about the rain pouring down on the increasingly beleaguered Prime Minister.

The latest news about failure to report donations made to the Labour Party correctly has claimed the scalp of the General-Secretary of the Labour Party.

Listening to Radio 4 this morning, I heard Frances Maude saying that it was surprising that the General-Secretary did not know the rules, given that he was the person who was responsible for compliance with the legislation on donations before he became General-Secretary. Baffling.
Guardian Story 

Judges and lawyers at risk…

The Sun reports this morning:

BRITAIN’S top judges have been put at risk after two CDs with their personal details were sent out in the POST.

The discs, containing 55,000 separate files, also had highly sensitive information about hundreds of barristers and solicitors.

Magistrates were also named along with county councils, government departments — and almost every police authority in the country. Sun Story

There does not seem to be any suggestion that this information is lost.  The focus of the story seems to be on the fact that the information was sent out on unencrypted discs through the post.

I’m afraid I’ve been at the Photoshop again – any suggestions for another caption to the pic of Gordon Brown?


Matthew Parris thinks Brown is doomed. Interesting article. If an England football manager can be sacked for incompetence, why not a Prime Minister?… seems to be the main theme.

Free speech…

Are the students of the Oxford University Union wrong to invite convicted Holocaust denier David Irving and BNP leader Nick Griffin to speak?

Certainly, there are some who think they are wrong. The Guardian reports that “Trevor Phillips, the chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, yesterday branded the invitation a disgrace, and anti-fascism campaigners who fear members of the far right will also come to the city, claimed the safety of students could be at risk.”

In the same article, the report reveals: “…a senior Tory MP resigned his life membership of the 184-year-old debating society, accusing organisers of “naive publicity seeking”.

Max Hastings, historian and newspaper editor, takes the view that students need to know ‘what sort of dangerous people are out there’ : “It seems good for Oxford students to be exposed to the views of Griffin and his BNP, rather than spend their educational lives in a warm bath of Guardian decency. Members of the Union Society must be a sorry lot indeed if they are likely to catch the plague of intolerance and racism from a single evening’s exposure to Griffin”

For my part, frankly, I would rather see Irving and Griffin face a public audience and be allowed to speak at the Union than that they should win a victory through resignations and the refusal of others, who take a very different view, to stand up to them and put those opposing views.

Max Hastings ends his piece with: “Student debating societies have always been foolish, self-indulgent and irresponsible. We should cherish their right to remain so. Tonight’s Oxford audience has things to learn from listening to Griffin and Irving. We should possess sufficient faith in its intelligence to believe that they will be the right ones.”


The Telegraph reports: The Defence Secretary Des Browne, June Sarpong, the television presenter, Austin Mitchell, the Labour MP, and other speakers have pulled out of engagements at the union as a result of the invitation.


UPDATE: 27 November
The uprising against fascism: Students storm Oxford Union debate (Independent)

Victorian Maiden of Ruthie’s Law has an acerbic take on this.   

Saturday Review: 24 November … Why?

At 4.30 am this morning I looked out of the window to see frost on car windscreens. It was quiet. Christmas is but a month away. It was time to consider my annual E-xmascard. Not having any children or wife to photograph as a festive family group outside my Staterooms (not that I would so if I had such a group) I felt that a picture of me with a Santa hat on was probably the best I could pull off this year. I have little interest in Christmas. I have, after all, read The God Delusion by Professor Dawkins.

Having spent a fair bit of time this week reviewing the extraordinary events of this week (Infra), I can find little to review – so, today, it is, I’m afraid, more of a free form frolic.

Geeklawyer managed to put diesel fuel in his motorbike. As a fellow biker, I am able to sympathise. As a fellow blawger, I regret to say, I found it amusing… a visitation from the supernatural spirits wreaking vengeance on GL?

But before I depart on my fevered frolic… a few blog reports: What About Clients? by J Dan Hull and colleagues, despite the US Thanksgiving weekend, continues to provide incisive coment on serious matters and takes time out for other, less serious, matters. President I’madinnerjacket of Iran has resumed blogging. WAC? picks this up.

Political blogger Guido Fawkes has an excellent caption competition. The comments are worth reading, some of them are not suitable for workplace or family viewing. Newly added to my blogroll LawActually has a very useful warning for those of you addicted to putting craplets and sh*tware freebies onto your PCs.

Reactionary Snob, no fan of the newly dead Ian Smith, former PM of Rhodesia, has an amusing and ironic quote picked up from the radio:

“The Deputy Zimbabwean Information Minister, Bright Matonga, said Smith could not be forgiven for bring untold suffering to millions of Zimbabweans…”

Victorian Maiden, of Ruthie’s Law, believes that their blog is read by those at the very heart of government. Not sure that this is necessarily a good thing. Mind you, being government, they’ll probably forget to bookmark or lose the URL. The author of The Pupillage Chronicles is a bit disillusioned and writes about recent experiences. IMPACT from Freeth Cartwright is still ahead of the curve with the recent posting about Data Protection spot checks being on the way.

And now to other matters…

Respect for the elderly and infirm is certainly on the wane when one sees a zimmer frame locked to a lamp post….

Scotland in chaos after England Croatia match. TRIBUTES are being paid to Scotland this morning after the entire country laughed itself to death: More…

Concerned about the loss of CDs by HMRC… I just had to revive and invoke Churchill with a bit of help from Photoshop.

Apparently, six more discs have gone missing from HM Revenue & Customs. The discs, transported by courier company TNT, contained recorded conversations between a member of staff and a customer making a complaint. BBC story

And finally…. something serious…

Andrew Holroyd, President of The Law Society, writing in Legal Week’s Legal Village section, states that The Law Society has started an online petition calling for the return of the rule of law in Pakistan and intends to visit Downing Street to make Law Society views known. He writes: “Some might ask what this has to do with UK solicitors. Well, I say the rule of law is something we should all stand up for – be it in Lahore or London.” As Holroyd says “From London to Lahore, LawSoc gets international”.


There is an elephant in the room…

I had the misfortune, some years ago, to spend one night and a morning at a ‘conference’. It bored me rigid. Unfortunately, given that I was was one of the visiting ‘unpaid’ speakers, I had no choice but to attend. The setting was an old country house, turned into a flash hotel. Dress code was smart casual. I had no desire to add to the herd of wildebeest all wearing chinos and loafers, and wore an old, but well cut, Crombie sports jacket, a blue shirt and jeans with Chelsea boots. I attended the Chairman’s introduction. Senior Chino wearers sat at a table on a raised dais. For some reason the ‘conference board’ reminded me of a Russian May Day parade in the good old days of Brezhnev. I took a place near the rear to observe the proceedings. Chairman Chinowearer told us that he was very pleased we were at the conference and welcomed us. It was then that he started using some very peculiar phrases, of the type parodied / analysed in The Office and, most recently, in a brilliant article in the Independent today.

We were, he told us, going to be doing some blue sky thinking and be pushing the needle. We would also be running things up the flagpole. Chairman Chino did not manage to use all the phrases identified in the Independent article, but he certainly swallowed the frog, made a big ask, said he would touch base with all of us and god knows how many times he managed to use the phrase paradigm shift.

Dinner followed. Fortunately two of the more senior attendees enjoyed their wine and left the earnest chinowearers to touch base with each other and we managed to get fairly over refreshed. As I was simply involved as a speaker at one of the next morning’s sessions, and not ‘part of team X’ , I was largely ignored by the delegates. I’m not a boy scout. I don’t like wearing badges, so I had left my badge in the conference pack given to me on arrival. Anonymity can be useful on occasion.

The next morning was dire. After breakfast we were invited to attend a focus group after which we would break out into workshops to do some more blue sky and out of the box thinking. As the Indie article pointed out… it was Alexei Sayle who said “Anyone who uses the word ‘workshop’ who isn’t connected with light engineering is a wanker.”

I took an executive decision to absent myself from the workshops and went off for coffee with another speaker. I did, however, attend the ‘Challenge’. This was truly fascinating. The organisers had an ex-SAS man to give an inspirational on survival. Fascinating talk. He made sense and spoke English. He told us, inter alia*, that it was important to have the will to live, that he had a very strong will to live and survive.. and that he would live until he was 150 to get all the tax he had ever paid, back as a pension. The Chino wearers just nodded. I thought it was actually rather a good joke and had the bad manners to laugh.

I detected an underlying anarchy/ hysteria brewing as the morning progressed. There was, clearly, an elephant in the room. Everyone knew that the conference was not going well – and it wasn’t. It was just too ‘urgent/eager’ and verging on happy clappy. But no-one said anything.

My own rather meagre contribution to the conference was to talk about the internet… or the information superhighway as my ‘session chairperson’ insisted on calling it. I got away with it… without mentioning the word ‘traction’ once.

Anyway… if you haven’t got the faintest idea what I am writing about….and if you want to ‘jump the shark’… read the excellent Independent article… and all will be revealed.


* post-ironic?

You just can’t have a conversation with them…

An interesting article in The Times today about barristers.

“In summary, solicitors should probably have the last word. They are prepared, the survey finds, to put up with what they say is barristers’ eccentricity and lack of people skills because they value their expert knowledge and advocacy.

It’s a profession that seems to draw those kinds of people ,” one said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem; they can be extremely good advocates. You just can’t have a conversation with them.”

Frances Gibb on Barristers: What do we think of them?

That was what a week that was….

“Events, my dear boy, events”.

It was, of course, former PM Harold Macmillan who used this memorable phrase, but Gordon Brown seems to be being driven by events rather than driving events.

What an extraordinary week. 25 million records lost by HM Revenue & Customs, the Northern Wreck statement in the House, England crashing out of EURO 2008 (Brown did not attend this event after campaign by The Sun), yet another foot and mouth disease leak from Pirbright … Law Officers, the Crown Prosecution Service supremo, Lord Goldsmith, the current Attorney-General and Solicitor General coming out against an extension of detention without charge powers and … Admiral Boyce and several former Chiefs of Staff making a concerted attack on Brown’s unsypmathetic attitude to the armed forces in the Lords this afternoon.

The Times reported on this: ” I tell you, these men do not mess around. They not only know the SAS, they are the SAS. It was only modesty, and possibly because they were wearing smart suits, that prevented them from abseiling in”

Puppet Chancellor Darling will, no doubt, be looking forward to the weekend tabloids and broadsheets. The phrase systemic failure is being used more and more in the media. It has become a buzz word. Cameron and Osborne circle like buzzards. The Conservatives are nine points ahead in the polls – their highest poll rating since 1992.

Perhaps the HMRC CDs will turn up pasted to the front of one of the tabloid Sundays as a freebie this weekend? Or maybe it will be this CD?

As I continue to suffer from the delusion that this is a law blog… Victorian Maiden has comment on the Law Officers attitude to detention without charge.. and a wry comment about Lord Goldsmith’s statement that he would have resigned had Blair succeeded in getting a 90 day period through. ‘Vinegar Vera’?…

Former PM James Callghan used the phrase “Crisis? What crisis?”….

The Times is suggesting that Gordon Brown has nipped off to Uganda attend the Commonwealth conference to escape for a few days…

In the meantime…. I cannot drink Rioja until Sunday (Infra)… now… some may say… that is a crisis.


Fellow blogger (and ever vigilant) John Bolch over at Family Lore has a useful link for those of you who have children and may be worried about identity fraud.

Resignation… various meanings.

Of course, we all know the meaning of the word ‘Resign’. There are some quite interesting synonyms: 1. withdraw. 3. abdicate, renounce; quit, leave. 4. give up, surrender, cede, forgo.

One may, of course, be ‘resigned’ to something.

So… this week the Chairman of HM Revenue & Customs resigned – as did a 23 year old scapegoat at HMRC (Although some confusion on the latter).  Steve McLaren, England football coach is a ‘goner’, sacked with (no doubt) a fairly hefty payoff. £2 million is being bandied about. The Sun prefers the word ‘axed’ to ‘sacked’.

I do not follow football, but I did watch bits of the match last night. England crashed out of the EURO 2008 championships – incredible, considering the spend on football in this country.

Perhaps Brown may have to be resigned to not getting an extension of the power to detain without charge from 28-56+ days. Sir Ken McDonald QC, CPS supremo, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee: “The most I can say is that it is a matter of record that we have not asked for an increase. We are satisfied with the position as it stands at the moment.”

Lord Goldsmith, former A-G, came out strongly against an extension and now the two senior Law Officers, Baroness Scotland QC and Vera Baird QC believe that the case has not yet been made to extend the period of detention. Times story

It is also quite possible, after the puppet Supreme Court in Pakistan ruled in Musharraf’s favour, that General Musharraf will soon be plain ‘Mr’ Musharraf when he steps down as head of the armed forces.

I’m afraid that I am resigned to the fact that I am eating antibiotics at the moment and cannot consume Rioja or wine of any description until the course of treatment is complete!


Non alcoholic grape juice is fine… if one wants to be an olympic athlete or play bad football for England… But I don’t happen to have that particular desire. The FA told me that they are looking for a credible new Coach… and, after reading my blawg, they did not feel I was suitable. [Of course they didn’t.. I’m making that up… but I may well apply to get ‘axed’… seems quite lucrative. Sven also walked away with a pretty good package, one understands. ]

Why not apply?… I rather like the idea of a load of blawgers writing to the FA to see if they can help. We do have to do our bit. If any employment lawyers out there could tell me how being axed for not doing one’s job can lead to a 2 million pay off… I will be most grateful. I will even send you emails from Monaco…. once a month.. for one year.

And they want us to have identity cards?…

I watched the statement by the Chancellor…. 25 million records lost by HMRC… just imagine what they could do with biometrics and ID cards…. A cheap and easy jibe, I accept… and hardly original. But it does make one think.

Extraordinarily, The Chairman of HMRC fell on his sword and resigned.  This is fairly unusual in this day and age.  He didn’t even have a Knighthood… well he won’t be getting one now, one assumes.

(“Two password protected discs containing a full copy of HMRC’s entire data in relation to the payment of child benefit was sent to the National Audit Office, by HMRC’s internal post system operated by the courier TNT. The package was not recorded or registered. It appears the data has failed to reach the addressee in the NAO.”)  BBC Story

Rock On, Chancellor… sorry… perhaps ‘rock’ isn’t one of his favourite words at the moment.  So… not bad… two statements to the House in as many days.  Hat trick?  Have to say… he looked a bit subdued on TV this afternoon.

I must stop reading tabloids…

Waking early, and after dealing with a few matters, I visited The Sun Online. I didn’t expect to find any useful news, but I did discover that The Sun had run a campaign to ban Gordon Brown from going to Wembley to watch the England v Croatia EURO 2008 football match because they think he is jinxed. Apparently Brown was watching when Scotland lost their match against Italy. Brown watched England lose the rugby World Cup Final.

Downing Street announced that Gordon Brown will not be at Wembley. I quote from The Sun story:

“Mr Brown’s official spokesman said: “Some have argued he’s not been the best of omens so far.” The PM was also keen not to take tickets from genuine fans.”


I also discovered that Mucca, as The Sun calls Heather McCartney-Mills, is urging us to stop drinking cow’s milk and instead use RAT’s milk on our cornflakes and with our tea and coffee.

I can take no more…

The Putsch against our freedoms…

Henry Porter, writing in this Sunday’s Observer, stated “A few journalists and MPs are prepared to fight the government’s sinister anti-libertarianism. More people should join them”.

Our rights and civil liberties are being eroded away, bit by bit. We live in a country with CCTV cameras pretty well everywhere in towns and cities, we are observed as we drive along motorways and other main roads, our prisons are full to bursting point and the criminal law statute book expands at an astonishing rate with each session of parliament.

Porter wrote: “How have we allowed this rolling putsch against our freedom? Where are the principled voices from left and right, the outrage of playwrights and novelists, the sit-ins, the marches, the swelling public anger? We have become a nation that tolerates a diabetic patient collapsed in a coma being tasered by police, the jailing of a silly young woman for writing her jihadist fantasies in verse and an illegal killing by police that was prosecuted under health and safety laws.”

Simon Jenkins, writing in The Sunday Times, had this to say at the start of an interesting article: “Britain is not a police state but a nation with police state tendencies. In any democracy the dictates of freedom wrestle with those of security. Britons are a liberal people who want to be safe. Do they also want to live in a condition of perpetual paranoia?” 

Something to think about on a cold grey wet Monday November morning…

Saturday Review 17 November 07…

In a week where we have had a High Court judge telling a Saudi Sheik (Below), he could choose “to depart on his flying carpet” to escape paying costs, but that he should be in court so that “every grain of sand is sifted” and that his evidence was gelatinous…like Turkish Delight, it is difficult to know how to follow that.

But I can with the news that US Judge James Shull has been sackedI quote from a website report: “A judge who made a woman pull down her pants in court and decided a child-visitation dispute with a coin toss was removed from the bench yesterday.”

“A courtroom bailiff testified at the commission hearing that, outside the courtroom after the hearing, he asked Shull if he had seen “what that lady had on?”

“Yeah,” Shull allegedly replied, “a black, lacy thong. . . . It looked good, didn’t it?” Shull denies that this exchange took place. The Virginia Supreme Court was none too pleased with Shull’s way of deciding cases: “A judge’s act of tossing a coin in a courtroom to decide a legal issue pending before the court suggests that courts do not decide cases on their merits but instead subject litigants to games of chance in serious matters without regard to the evidence or applicable law.”

Judges, lawyers and coppers on the jury?
The recent House of Lords decision in R v. Abdroikof, Williamson & Another [2007] UKHL 37 raises again the wisdom of allowing judges, lawyers, CPS prosecutors and serving police officers to sit on the jury. Shereener Browne, one of the Bar Council blawgers, has an interesting (and wry) look at this issue on her Bar Council blog.

Full steam ahead… hang on… about turn….

Admiral Lord West, formerly First Sea Lord and now Security Minister, performed a remarkable about turn last week. His first signal the other morning was “I still need to be fully convinced that we absolutely need more than 28 days.” Summoned to face Cyclops, our man in 10 Downing St with a passion for locking people up without charge, Lord West later stated that he was ‘but a simple sailor’ and that he was now “personally convinced” of the need for longer detention periods. I started thinking about Admiral Byng when I read about this.

Head of Legal has an interesting post on the proposed British Bill of Rights and disagrees with David Pannick QC. Legal Lass seems to be slipping into bad habits on her BVC.

However… very few UK blowgers blogging at the moment – although I have referred to well known blawgers throughout the past week on posts. Are some UK law blawgers running out of steam?

It would appear that not all is good in Downing St. Gordon Brown is returning to his control freak ways. Martin Kettle, writing in The Guardian, talks about the smell of fear, a ‘we’ve had our innings’ mentality, Brown directing Milliband to tone down a speech on Europe and then briefing against him. Interesting stuff.

The Legal Services Act 2007 is now published and available online.

And finally.. from The Sunday Mirror…
A judge sent a defendant to the cells for two hours after he answered a mobile phone call while in the dock. Paul Fitton, 26, was facing a charge of being drunk and disorderly when his phone went. Instead of switching it off, he calmly took the call, saying: “Hello there, I’m in court.”

Fitton, from Blackpool, shouted obscenities as he was taken down for interrupting the court but later apologised. District Judge Peter Ward told him: “People who answer their phones in court will go to the cells.”

Blawging away…

It is 3.08 am. What does a blawger do at this time in the morning? A quick trip to the blawgers to see what they have been up to this week.

First up is a story from Family Lore about flying carpets and turkish delight in the Family Division. Mr Justice Singer has been ordered to stand down in a case for making what Lord Justice Ward called “thoroughly bad jokes”. The case, El Farargy v El Farargy and Others, concerns financial proceedings on divorce and involves a Saudi sheik, Khalid Ben Abdullah Rashid Al Fawaz. The sheik didn’t enjoy the jokes about flying carpets. Mr Justice Singer seemed to take the view that the sheik could depart on his flying carpet to escape paying costs and that his evidence was “a bit gelatinous … a bit like Turkish Delight”. Lord Justice Ward described the case as “a singularly unsatisfactory, unfortunate and embarrassing matter”.

Inevitably…perhaps, ineluctably?…. Geeklawyer wades in on this, like an information superhighway Rottweiler, with the acute observation: “Oh for fuck’s sake Court of Appeal – get a life”.

Pink Tape, the blog of a mainly family lawyer, has a different view on this case. Pink Tape is flabbergasted. A bizarre case. Pink Tape’s view is worth reading.

What about clients?, in the form of Holden Oliver, has gone surreally over the top in describing “Charon” as ‘an urbane and refreshing Londoner’ . Over refreshed occasion (and I make no admission(s)) may have been more accurate. WAC? went on to say … “Some lawyers are international lawyers. Charon is that, and much more: he’s a lawyer and an international kind of guy.” Yessss…. as Paxo may have drawled. (Note for overseas visitors or those who never watch BBC’s Newsnight. Jeremy ‘Paxo’ Paxman drawls nasally when he asks questions. A most effective technique.)

But… we have Geekawyer and Victorian Maiden, perhaps showing a streak of ‘Iron Maiden?, arguing about the Castree conviction. You have to visit the ‘comments’ section on GL’s post to drink from the well of knowledge on this one. Geeklawyer draws our attention to the recent conviction of Castree in the Lesley Molseed murder. Stefan Kiszko was wrongly convicted of this killing. Kiszko spent 16 years in prison only to die within 2 years of release of his conviction being quashed. You really need to view the comments section for this one.

And now, of course, we have the ‘unsafe conviction’ in the Dando killing. The Court of Appeal has ordered a re-trial.

Victorian Maiden has developed a taste for the word ‘egregious’. I always enjoy coming across unusual words. Although, as it happens, I knew the meaning of the word, I don’t tend to use it it down at The Bollo that often. Maybe I should? A quick search on Google kept me busy for a while:

egregious formal adj outrageous; shockingly bad. egregiously adverb. egregiousness noun.
ETYMOLOGY: 16c: from Latin egregius standing out from the herd, from e out of + grex, gregis herd.

But… then… Google had a reference: “How is it that the English meaning of ‘Egregious’ is the opposite of that in Italian?” I followed the link up and discovered from William Tell: “Why is it that egregious means very foolish or blatant, whereas the formal salutation egregio in Italian is clearly intended as a compliment, as in ‘Egregio Signore’?”

Next time I am at The Bollo and come across one of the denizens there (who is mildly eccentric and amusing) I shall ask him if he feels ‘egregious’ today. I feel confident that he will say that he does. The Bollo, is undergoing a ‘makeover’… and a very good one at that. We have new wooden floors, flowers, new furniture, a grand piano and a very talented Jazz singer to entertain us as we eat our Sunday roast. Kelly Dickson does have a great voice… and a bit of live Jazz on a Sunday as we approach Winter is good for the soul.

I appear to have been diverted from my original purpose – to see what blawgers have been up to. But it is now approaching 4.00 am and…. time waits for no blawger. It is time to get on with the work of life…

But before I do…. Terror Police shot man in Coma with tazers.

“A man who had gone into a diabetic coma on a bus in Leeds was shot twice with a Taser gun by police who feared he may have been a security threat.”

Mr Gaubert said he was told the police believed he looked “Egyptian”.

Makes one think?

Bellum omium contra omnes – Everyman’s struggle against everyman…. as Hobbes liked to say. I like a bit of Latin in the early hours…

Europhile top shelf…and Downing Street matters…

Like many, I read EU Law because I have to keep up. It is not bedtime reading for me and, as with others in the UK , I like the ‘idea’ of Europe, because I enjoy going there, but do not spend a great deal of time wondering about what they are up to in Brussels – a curious City in a nation that does not seem to have any government at the moment.

I did like the cover for the Europolitics Treaty of Lisbon PDF – an explanation of the treaty in 40 fun packed pages. Clearly, the translation is straight from the original French: “Here is what changes”... so if you want to know about what has changed in EU Law… here is the place to find out… anonymously. No-one will know that you did not know before.

I may email the Prime Minister to let him have a copy.

The Prime Minister likes getting emails from the electorate. Downing Street does warn that the PM himself may not actually have time to read your email – but Downing Street staff will read it and, quite possibly… GCHQ, MI5, MI6, HMRC and other ‘supervisors’ and local authorities. I am thinking about what I should send an email about. Email Gordon Brown?

I wonder if Downing Street gets a lot of spam… Viagra, Cialis, Nigerian 419 scammers… lottery wins in the Netherlands? The Downing Street website is fascinating… have spent twenty minutes wandering about. Went on a tour. Felt a bit like a burglar looking at the pics…

Good grief… Downing Street even has a ‘young people’s’ version. I discovered (See pic to the left) that a man called ‘Mr Chicken’was the last person to use Downing Street as a private home. I enjoyed the ‘up to the minute’ iconography of the mobile phone to appeal to the young.

Nothing like a bit of Education, Education, Education. I just had to have a look around… so I did a bit of surfing. I went to the ‘hot topics’ in the ‘young people’s section and was informed: “Wednesday 27 June 2007 was a big day at Number 10 Downing Street. Why? Because the country got a new Prime Minister!”

Excellent…. There is no limit to Gordon’s desire to tell the people of Britain that Blair has disappeared… a goner. Diary of Gordon Brown aged 13 1/4 ?


A masterpiece in The Times Today. Sum up Britain in five words: The Times kicked off with:

Dipso fatso bingo asbo Tesco

As The Times article stated: “It must have seemed such a simple wheeze to Gordon Brown: a motto to capture what makes Britain great. The idea ticks so many boxes on the Prime Minister’s to-do list that it proved irresistible to him.”

If you can do better than the one above – see above…. email Gordon Brown and let him know.

Saturday Review on Sunday 11 November…

The News of The World reports that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair now has to explain away a £6 million fraud on the part of Met officers racking up private spending on their police issue AMEX cards. Some ‘three thousand cards’ are to be scrutinised for evidence of misuse. Two cops have already been apprehended. Apparently, Blair was warned about this problem but did nothing about it and has now informed the Home Secretary that he has another ‘resignation call’ problem on his hands. Ken Livingstone, interviewed on the BBC Andrew Marr programme this morning, continues to have confidence in Sir Iain Blair’s police methods and pointed out to ungrateful press hacks that crime was actually coming down in London.

Prince Harry and Chelsy have split. Chelsy has had enough of his antics – and Harry going boozing with Jonny Wilkinson after the rugby World Cup, instead of attending her birthday party, was the last straw. The NOTW describes how Harry got over the split at London club Amika (with a ‘mystery brunette’: “The prince ran up a £2,500 bill in two hours, drinking passionfruit vodka shots and long drinks of vodka and Red Bull. His tucked-away table had an ice-bucket with a £400 bottle of champagne in it. Harry was heard to say he wanted to get “as drunk as possible” and ended the night dancing on the club’s sofas.”

Is Harry still in the army, or is this subtle black psyops to disguise the fact that he is, in fact, in Afghanistan with his regiment and a lookalike is running around London, going to rugby matches, getting pissed and dancing on club sofas?

I have to say… the picture on the right, for those Major Hewtitt paternity theorists out there… bears an uncanny resemblance to Prince Charles when he was younger.

Anyway… enough of the tabloids for the moment and on to what the blawgers are up to…

Binary Law says Holmes is ‘way bigger than Charon’ … excellent ephemera… Meanwhile Geeklawyer continues to cover matters of serious import, revealing a hitherto hidden social conscience. Simon Myerson QC, author of the useful ‘Pupillage and how to get it’ blog, states that he hyperventilated after doing a podcast with me.

Edinburgh Advocate Reactionary Snob is not at all impressed by The Home Secretary and her need to detain people for 56 days without charge. I like this understatement… “Fuck off and fuck you, Jacqueline Smith, this is horseshit and you know it.” I agree with the horseshit part. No examples given of when 56 days would be needed. Not exactly confidence building when the government cannot even give an example of why they would need such an extension of power. Not particularly impressive, either, that one of the chief spooks came out of deep cover to ‘opine’ about extension of powers on the evening of Parliament re-opening for business . Family Lore is not going to speculate on whether Mishcon de Reya sacked Heather Mills or whether she sacked them.

Head of Legal has been attending a protest in London about President Musharraf’s suspension of democracy. Pakistan’s lawyers are standing up to the plate. I am a fan of The Magistrate’s Blog. This week, Bystander JP makes a good point about the vindictive campaign being run by The Sun to get Pete Doherty jailed for ‘his own good’. (Look for the story entitled ‘Vindictive’. I can’t seem to link directly to it. Bystander is always worth reading if you are interested in the administration of day to day justice. Good comments section as well. Paranoid Pupil has a babbling heart and manages to buy some half decent (£10 a bottle) Chateau Cissac for chambers members to guzzle at the weekly drinking session. The pupils have to collect the cash and buy the wine. Dear oh dear…. Why has this set not got a Butler? I went to see a friend of mine, one of the silks, at a leading set some time ago. They had an excellent Butler. I was a bit baffled by this, it has to be said.

Inner Temple Library’s ‘Current Awareness’ service, discussed below, continues to be a useful source of legal information.

I have had a poppy on my blog header (as has Consilio) for two weeks. It is an act of remembrance for those who are no longer able to remember anything… because they are dead.. and they are dead because they fought for Britain. Whatever your beliefs, your politics… I believe we should honour those who died so we may live the lives we lead in modern Britain. Victorian Maiden, of Ruthie’s Law, makes the point better than I am able to.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


Information, information, and information…

I have a very good friend who has a rather curious message on his mobile when it goes to answerphone. After the usual rubric about not being being available (somewhat redundant) he requests the caller to ‘please leave your information’. I rather liked that. Unusual.

American writer Stephen Wright has an excellent take on information: “I got up one morning and couldn’t find my socks, so I called Information. She said, “Hello, Information.” I said, “I can’t find my socks.” She said, “They’re behind the couch.” And they were!

Like many blawgers I spend a fair bit of time hunting down information. In my case, I have to admit, the information I find is unlikely to add to the sum of legal knowledge – but I have come across an EXCELLENT resource on the legal information front. I have had it stashed away on my blogroll for some time – but now I would like to urge readers and fellow blawgers to visit it and consider adding it to your blogroll or bookmarks.

The source of information? : Inner Temple’s very useful “Current Awareness” blog.

While it is unlikely I will be appearing on this useful information blog that often… my podcast with Simon Myerson QC of yesterday is there. This blog is excellent – professional librarians sifting information from many sources and making it available.

One does try to bring a bit of law in….

Podcast 33: Simon Myerson QC on Pupillage and how to get it…

Pupillage and how to get it…

Today I am talking to Simon Myerson QC, a member of Park Court Chambers in Leeds and author of the very useful blog “Pupillage and How to get it”. Simon is well qualified to give advice, which he does generously on his blog, having practised at the Bar for over twenty years and served as Head of Pupillage in his Chambers until 2003. Although he states on his blog that his experience is provincial rather than metropolitan, the advice given on his blog, structured in a logical and progressive way in the contents, will be of value to all who are contemplating a career at the Bar.

Podcast 33: Simon Myerson on Pupillage and how to get it

Glenalmond Cricket Pavilion sold on Ebay?…

The Times Business diary carries this story. As a former inmate, I just could not resist:

Glenalmond, the Scottish school whose old boys include Lord Turner of Ecchinswell and Lord Falconer of Thoroton, was in the news this summer for a funny spoof video of students “chav hunting” with shotguns, which was misinterpreted by some humourless commentators. They are clearly an enterprising bunch. An e-mail is amusing old boys in the City, claiming “someone sold the Cricket Pavilion on eBay”. The school says: “We weren’t aware of it at this end.” Inquiries are being made of eBay. ”


My thanks to a friend, a serious City lawyer, for the tip off!

Ludicrous laws from lawmakers…

On the day when The Queen tells us what her government is going to do next (Although Gordon Brown rather ruined it this year by telling us when he became PM) the BBC has coverage of the ‘most ludicrous laws’.

A little-known law which prohibits people dying while in the Houses of Parliament has been voted the UK’s most ludicrous piece of legislation.

There is a whole raft of ludicrous laws in the story: See the BBC.

Hat Tip to Martin George at Clifford Chance sponsored Conflict of Laws.net for alerting me to this vital piece of breaking news. Curious that he thought of me…. but there we are!

To redress the impression of being interested only in Rioja and the bizarre – I am pleased to be able to say that I ‘ll be doing something a bit more useful by doing a podcast with Simon Myerson QC of Pupillage and how to get it on, not surprisingly, pupillage and how to get it.

I was going to do an in-depth analysis of The Queen’s Speech – but now I see that the sun has gone down and as I have been working since 2.00 am this morning – it is Rioja time.

Podcast 32: Peter Rouse on why you need IMAGE…

Stressed?.. tired?.. depressed?… then you need IMAGE.

Today I am talking to Peter Rouse, Solicitor, following up from an earlier podcast on how to deal with stress, workload and exploring ways to better self management.

Peter’s website covers the IMAGE concept in some detail if you wish to follow up on matters raised in this podcast.

Podcast 32: Peter Rouse on why you need IMAGE


STOP PRESS! 6 November: FREE Copies of Peter Rouse’s book “Every Relationship Matters” worth £10.The first 10 people who email Peter direct and provide name and address will be sent the book!

Drink, drugs and rock and roll…

Trawling through the various online versions of newspapers at 4.00 this morning, replete with knowledge from the sensible newspapers about developments in the law, Jack Straw shelving plans to let judges return to practising law and the credit crunch affecting the world banking system, I just had to go to The Sun and The Mirror websites.

First up in The Sun was an item about Drunken Texts. Yes… many of us have sent intemperate emails when over refreshed and, indeed, I may (but make no formal admission) have written the odd blog post while enjoying a glass of Rioja. One example of a drunken text cited by The Sun: “If I could re-arrange the alphabet, I’d put u and I together” had a hint of romance about it but was just a variant of the ‘do you want a shag later’ texts flying around the country on Friday nights.

Then I discovered that “FALLEN soccer star Paul Gascoigne was grounded by airport staff for being too sozzled to fly.” before moving on to a call by The Sun to lock Pete Doherty up for going back on heroin. The Sun wants magistrates to step up to the plate and jail him for his own good… or the good of the newspaper circulation figures.

And then it was on to read about “Macca’s smacker with a married cracker”. It was enough. I could take no more. I pushed a white flag out of my study window and surrendered to Police Community Support officers who were loitering in the vicinity checking tax discs and hedge growth.

Off for an espresso or three and a few Silk Cuts. The Cafe I frequent opens as 6.30 am… mercifully.

I did like the pic (above) warning other newspapers off – it was, after all, a “Sun World Exclusive”. At least I managed to shoehorn a bit of law in…

One way ticket…

Jack Straw has ditched controversial reforms that would have allowed judges, including former Lord Chancellors, to return to work as lawyers after a stint on the bench. (The Times)

These plans, hatched by former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, have been scuppered by the senior judiciary. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, is reported as saying ” the plans would expose judges to accusations of bias and damage the public view of them as independent and impartial.”

Of course, these plans, had they gone forward, would have allowed Lord Falconer and other judges to return to the more lucrative, yet less stable, world of the Bar or practice in a law firm. The Times does point out that Lord Falconer had always insisted that these reforms would not apply to him because he had appointed judges and could not go back to appearing in front of them.

So… a one way ticket to stability, a pension and a Knighthood (High Court) or remain in practice seems to be the order of the day… and so order is restored.


Pic by Norman Baird, Consilio 

Frozen thinking?….

A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot – because players couldn’t understand it. To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing. The concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Ah well… Camelot may have been too clever by half.

Straight talk…HRH to HRH…

Scene: Buckingham Palace.  The Duke of Edinburgh is talking to King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia

“Sorry… Abdullah…. Mugabe won’t be joining us for lunch… can’t get him into the country these days. Silly bastard runs a dreadful ship…. appalling record on human rights, runs his country like a tin-pot dictator… locks up opposition leaders… and Brown is kicking up a fuss about attending some conference because he is going..”

“I am meeting Mr Brown soon, I think?”

“Yes… no problem there… no awkward questions.”

“Good… good… So… we go shooting rare birds later?”

“No… a bit of a cock up on the bird shooting front, I’m afraid… some silly bastards shot two rare protected birds the other day on our Sandringham estate… can’t get near the place for bird twitchers and busydodies… sorry…”

” Mr Milliband… he has been deported?”

“No… not quite old chap… had to go and adopt another child at short notice.”

“Good… good… So… what entertainment is there for lunch…?”

“Well… I could tell you who the Royal being blackmailed is.”

“Good… good.. you have my present… yes?”


This conversation did not, of course, take place. It is imaginary.
Hat Tip to Reactionary Snob for the inspiration.

Mr Brown refuses to attend Africa conference if Mugabe goes

Mr Brown meets King Abdullah

Saudi Arms deal

David Milliband and his disappearing act: Matthew Norman, The Independent.
“If so, Mr Miliband sets himself a challenging precedent. Every time one of the world’s unlovelier tyrants pops along, he will have to arrange another adoption.”

Evening all…

When I last visited Chiswick Police Station, to report a motorcycle theft, I noticed a picture of Dixon of Dock Green on the reception wall.  It may still be there.  I do not know.  I do not hang out in police stations – but it amused me that an icon of policing from a bygone era was on the police station wall.

Britain’s most senior traffic policeman, Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, could be banned from driving after allegedly being caught doing 90mph on a 60mph road. He has, reportedly, resigned as head of roads policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo). Mail story

Ironically, Mr Hughes was nicked by North Wales police, where the chief constable is Richard Brunstrom.  Mr Brunstrom is notorious for his strict views on speeding, yet he wishes to legalise drugs and end ‘these immoral’ law. (Independent).  Curious world we live in.

Saturday Review: 3rd November….

Laughing all the way to the bank?
Possibly not, if Gordon Bore gets his way. Lord Falconer of Thoroton, past Minister for the Millenium Dome and former Lord Chancellor, is not at all happy with the pension arrangements being offered by Bore. Having left practice at the Bar (reputedly on earnings of £500,00 p.a.) Falconer took a massive reduction in salary to be Lord Chancellor. (£104,386 salary for Cabinet members in the House of Lords, despite being entitled to £232,900) The pension offered is £52,193. Lord Falconer believes it should be double that. The Telegraph has the full story.

One of the problems faced by Lord Falconer is that he cannot go back to the Bar. He appointed many of the judges and cannot now appear in front of them. I hope he does sue the government.

It is well before lunch and I have not drunk any Rioja yet…. so I haven’t got to the stage of thinking that I might start a “Save Charlie’s Pension” campaign… Bon chance, Charlie… shall be the cry from the hills of Perthshire. [Charlie Falconer and Charon were held at the same detention centre in Scotland – at the same time, bar one year. One of life’s strange coincidences. He was not, of course, Lord Chancellor then. That came later.]

Gordon Ramsay, in The Times today, started off yet another tedious article on recipes with the words: “There’s nothing more annoying than watching your own fireworks display as you struggle to get food ready.” F**k off, was my first reaction. My second reaction was slightly more focused. Is there really nothing more annoying than that?.. I asked myself. As it happens, there was an article of “100 most annoying things” in The Mirror today and I could not see Ramsay’s one on the list. It doesn’t make me a bad person, but I actually find Gordon Ramsay particularly annoying, especially when he pretends to be an ‘action man’ and catch his own fish on yet another cookery programme – yet another bit of television trickery, apparently.

Bloody Relations says there ought to be a word for: “A particularly unprofessional pleasure you get at winning a case against a singularly obnoxious and difficult opponent who comes in for heavy criticism for the judge for the precise same things that you have found so obnoxious in the seemingly endless months you have been dealing with them before the case gets to a final hearing .”

ConflictofLaws.net, created and produced by Martin George, is now sponsored by Clifford Chance LLP… deservedly so. Family Lore has a rather horrific story about marital revenge. Head of Legal picks up on the House of Lords ‘control orders’ decision with a wry comment.

Legal Lass grumbles about her BVC tutors… and adds… “Also, it does not instill any confidence in tutors to have them read everything they are supposed to tell us from a pre-planned tutorial sheet; especially things like “from this lesson you have learnt the following…”. It is especially bad if the tutor doesn’t look up once as they are reading and speaks either in a bored or slightly hysterical tone..”

This is ludicrous. Formula teaching gone mad. Maybe this law school wants to produce formula lawyers? … now that will be really useful to the profession. If a tutor at a UK law school is doing this, we really ought to know. Any guesses about which law school Legal Lass is attending? I have a pretty shrewd idea from anecdotal information I receive by email – and I receive a fair bit. Pupilblogger has a tenancy (Congratulations) and seems to have become an ex-blogger. Darwin seems to have been right. Survival of the fittest? The band of UK Blawgers is becoming smaller by the week… I trawled every blog on my blogroll. Quite a few have not blogged for months! C’est la vie…. Geeklawyer continues to enlighten… awf with his head.

Good to see that our Lawmakers are obeying the law. Home Office Minister, Liam Byrne, was fined £100 yesterday for using a mobile phone while driving. The irony? Mr Byrne has campaigned in Parliament for tougher sentences for dangerous driving. Excellent example Mr Byrne. Go to the top of the class and hand out the pencils. (Times and Sun have the story)

Chief London Plod, Sir Ian Blair, has the ‘complete confidence’ of The Home Secretary following the jury decision that the Metropolitan Police were guilty in the Menezes shooting. Two weeks before he goes? I cannot now recall if the Home Secretary had ‘complete confidence’ in the immigration figures released last week or ‘no confidence’, or perhaps somewhere between the two?

The Sun has a snippet about a Catholic school headmaster being arrested ‘for trying to sell himself for sex dressed as a woman. Cops found Dr Paul Schum, 50, wearing a black leather bondage outfit with fishnet stockings and a pair of fake breasts walking in a red light area.’ Dear god…. I mean, 50? Well past it, mate, for that sort of thing.

Lawyers simply too dull to be on TV shock!…

RollonFriday has another beauty. This week, a story about Legal TV ditching programmes about and with real lawyers because they are too dull.

According to RollonFriday, Legal TV issued a press release (RollonFriday produces it) acknowledging that the real life world of lawyers was not interesting enough for TV. I quote from the RoF story…

“Legal TV were disappointed to find that “the lawyers were not able to rise to the occasion and save London… some of them were listless and not bothered that London was drowning”.

Senior Producer Grant Young added that they “did not seem to appreciate the urgency of the situation“.

Legal TV are re-thinking their strategy in relation to real lawyers. The press release indicates that other real life shows like “The Practice” are also being axed.

I can well see why, having watched this clip of Lawyers saving London from a Flood.

I just had to have a look around the Legal TV website for more press releases and to view their schedules. I came across this gem in a press release about “Lawyers saving the World” :

“Law professor Ann Althouse recently observed that lawyers are the only people about whom it’s considered socially acceptable to joke, “People like you should all be dead.” Most of us in polite society wouldn’t feel comfortable saying that to a gay man, or a black person. But telling a lawyer to his face the old joke about 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean being “a good start” is perfectly okay”

Legal TV were certainly enthusiastic about the concept at the beginning. Here is Producer Dean Heeley from Legal TV: This show will be a revelation for all in the UK, lawyers often get a bad press but we will show their positive side and why society cannot function without them, and who knows maybe they will really save the world!�

Well… there we are…
Fancy a visit to Legal TV?


Sutti frutti?…
Again, a hat-tip to RollonFriday for this one. I visited Studio Legale Sutti. An extraordinary experience. Fascist style lightning flashes and stirring music greet the visitor. Then on to the home page.

This declaration, as RoF pointed out, was on their home page!

Studio Legale Sutti Completes its Expansion in the Balkans and Becomes the First International Firm of Croatia

Excellent stuff… Mussolini would have been pleased! Bizarre.