Muttley Dastardly LLP: You’re hired!….

Transcript of telephone conversation between Eva Braun, PA to Matt Muttley, and Matt Muttley. Friday 28th March 0630 hours.

Braun: Hi Matt… how ya hanging?

Muttley: Good, Eva… in fact… very good. Excuse me darling, I have to take this call from my PA, Eva…….. Eva… sorry… my Mother decided to come over for breakfast and some advice on offshore trusts.

Braun: Yeah right… so since when do you call your Mother ‘Darling’? Another Estonian lap dancer needing urgent advice on tax planning? Do you want me to record the time?

Muttley: OK…OK… not billable…. so what gives?

Braun: Matt… I was watching ‘The Apprentice’ last night. Fantastic barrister… got fired by the garden gnome, but exactly the right socio-psychopathic profile for us. Have spoken to Dr Strangelove about him and he agrees. We should bring him in with a view immediately.

Muttley: Usual First, top law school, no failures, arrogant, dysfunctional?

Braun: Not sure about the dysfunctional bit, but he can’t talk about football and appears to have a supersized ego and opinion of himself. He can also paint, so could be put to work doing artwork for reception at quiet times. He has his own website – this guy has it all and he is not shy about telling everyone.

Muttley: OK… send me the URL and info and I’ll get a memo out. If you could arrange a taxi for Mother… I’ll let her out by the partner’s lift.. I’ll be out in five.

***

From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner
To: All Partners
cc: Dr Strangelove, Head of Training
Date: 28th March 2008
HIRE THIS GUY

Eva has sent me the cv of a young recently qualified barrister who appeared on BBC reality show ‘The Apprentice’ the other night. This young man appears to have all the qualities we look for in our trainees and staff. We also need to harden up our advocacy unit as well.

As you know, I am a keen supporter of law blogs and Victorian Maiden at Ruthie’s Law has a most useful analysis:

“Nicholarse has the lot. From the time at which he put the boot into his team leader and allowed Raef to take responsibility for it; to his last-ditch insistence that being unable to work out 30% of a total and then add it on to the original price to produce a profit was not his fault but someone else’s, Nick was supreme. Never mind that commercial work would appear beyond our boy – Nick can sneer with the best. And, of course, Nick ensured that the viewer knew he was a barrister. This, apparently, gave him an edge. Other contestants quailed at the thought of facing Nick in the Boardroom. ”

Partners may wish to view Mr De Lacy-Brown’s website – a monument to himself.

De Lacy-Brown writes… “It was Virgil who stated in his Ecologues: ‘Non omnia possumus omnes’ (We can’t all do everything), a statement which many have been happy to oblige. In Nicholas de Lacy-Brown however, there lies a man who is prepared to question such apathy. Undoubtedly a man of many talents, he has lived his short twenty-four years with a vivacity and boldness which few could achieve in a lifetime…”

He has appropriate academic qualifications – usual first, decent university and an ‘”Outstanding on the BVC”. Of rather more importance to us, is not the objective judgment of academics and purveyors of BVC courses, but his own assessment of himself. (See above)

He can paint as well – so could be very useful, at quiet times, doing a bit of decorating around the office and, of course, adding to our extensive library of artwork displayed in reception. He speaks Spanish – do we have any Spanish clients?

As he managed to get himself fired in Episode 1 of The Apprentice – he may well be available. Let me know your thoughts on this. My only concern is that he may be a figment of imagination and may not actually exist. Research on Google does not appear to reveal which set he is a pupil at. Eva is on the case.

The State Visit of the French President

” … Bruni’s pert pillbox hat was perfect. Poor Camilla looked like a pheasant crash-landed on her head
. Demure as a virgin bride, Mrs Sarkozy arrived in Britain with an oh-so-chic hat perched on her gently curling hair. And then there was Camilla, wearing what can only be called roadkill, says AMANDA PLATELL of the Daily Mail. ”

Indeed….

Weekend Review Sunday 23 March: Urbi et Orbi…

Implausibly, but entirely in character for this time of year, I found myself at 6.30 am this morning standing in the back of a truck reviewing Russian troops – a curious thing, it has to be said, to be doing on Easter Sunday. But there you are. What the troops were doing in Chiswick, West London, this morning, I have no idea, but they asked politely if I would mind reviewing them and, as both of the cafes I go to in the early morning were closed, I was more than happy to oblige. Cafe Rouge was also closed at that early hour so a couple of the lads bought some PG Tips tea bags from a local newsagent and brewed up on the pavement using military survival techniques. A most satisfying mug of tea. The commanding officer of this group asked me if I would like some vodka. It was beginning to snow and very cold. I had several shots. Before you could say ‘Pravda’, we were all cossack dancing on the pavement outside Cafe Nero. Yes…. a most unusual way to start Easter Sunday….

And… so to Urbi et Orbi.

Busiest day of the year for priests. The Pope called for an end to problems in Tibet, Iraq and the Holy Land in his “urbi et orbi” blessing to the world – broadcast live in 57 countries. Although, as far as I could tell, no call to end the current credit-crunch problems raging throughout the world. So… steering clear of money changers in The Temple this year. (BBC)

***

The Archbishop of Canterbury, after doing a bit of foot washing on Maundy Thursday (the first Archbishop of Canterbury to do so in 400 years), took a slightly different stance from the Pope. The archbishop said: “Individuals live in anxious and acquisitive ways, seizing what they can to provide a security that is bound to dissolve, because they are going to die. Societies or nations do the same. Whether it is the individual grabbing the things of this world in just the repetitive, frustrating sameness that we have seen to be already in fact the mark of an inner deadness…”

The archbishop, the BBC reports, went on to say “We shan’t really die. We as individuals can’t contemplate an end to our acquiring, and we as a culture can’t imagine that this civilisation, like all others, will collapse and that what we take for granted about our comforts and luxuries simply can’t be sustained indefinitely. …… To all this, the church says, sombrely, don’t be deceived: night must fall.”

I did not listen to the entire address, but I was a bit baffled about the ‘we shan’t really die’ bit. I’m not sure he should tell this to the government. Certainly not on message as far as the Department for Work and Pensions is concerned and could cause yet another collapse of the financial markets if rogue traders from hedge funds get hold of this bit of insider information before the market opens on Tuesday.

Bishops have been setting up shoe shine stalls in the week before Easter to bring home the message of serving the community – a far cry from the old days when they taxed the community, acquired land and property in ways, and on a scale, still the subject of wonder and ‘respeck’ at West London supper parties, did a bit of dodgy relic selling and ruled through fear of eternal damnation and burning in the fires of hell.

And… tomorrow… is Easter Monday. I shall do my best to write something sensible and vaguely plausible then. I’m off to improve my mind with a glass of Rioja. I’m also going to use some GCHQ code breaking techniques to see if I can decipher the archbishop’s Easter message.

That “night must fall” bit in the speech must… surely? … hold the clue? Count the letters – there are 13 letters in that phrase!

My cousin, Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo, will be apostolic with rage after reading this post. So be it.

***

I may be back later… as they say at this time of year.

This Easter Bunny needs an ASBO…

This Easter Bunny needs an ASBO

The video, linked below, demonstrates criminality in practice. Instead of wasting time trying to hunt for all those Easter eggs you hid last night, save calories by counting all the acts of assault and violence committed by this Easter Bunny in the course of a short video. Some of the Bunny’s actions may only result in liability in Tort, most involve the commission of a criminal offence.

View the video

***

Urbi et Orbi: my annual Easter Message will follow later today…. I get to review an Easter Parade standing in the back of a truck.

Easter… doom, gloom, pestilence, global warming and frogs…

I have not had any time to blog this week. But… on the night of Good Friday… a glass of Rioja to my right and a Rizla cigarette rolling machine, Drum tobacco, green Rizla papers to my left, I can return, at last, to the wonderfully unimportant and religion free matter of blogging.

The picture to the left, appropriate this day, is, of course, Dali’s famous painting of the crucifixion. I know the painting well. In fact, in my youth, there was some talk of my going to art school but I was advised by my housemaster that ‘there is no money in art’. Tell that to Damien Hurst, Britart et al.. not to mention some of the great forgers... who do know how to paint…

I started painting when I was at school. I continued painting and doing cartoons in my twenties, through to my early forties, and did my last watercolour (of The Duomo in Florence) in 1994 – which I gave to a good friend. I was 15 in 1968… so too young to be unable to remember the sixties.

I cannot remember much of the early seventies… but that is because I started doing ‘recreational Guinness drinking’ when I was at university to assist my understanding of Treitel on The Law of Contract. I am not suggesting, for one moment, that I was completely roaring when I read Treitel’s excellent book. The Guinness just gave me a ‘Zen’ like feeling when I wrestled with Under the Influence and other complex matters like the vitiating effect of alcohol on contracts.

I was influenced by many things in my youth – Zappa, Captain Beefheart, The Stones, The Doors. Popart, Oz magazine… Sartre blah blah blah……and, of course Claes Oldenburg. Dadaists and Dali were also very much to my taste. I ran a fairly good trade, at the detention centre in Scotland to which I was committed at the age of 13, in ‘commissioned paintings’. I used fast drying acrylic paints, a palette knife (sometimes a brush) and was… as I saw it at the time… an experimental artist. Materials cost me about 10 shillings in old money and I sold at £2-5 – enough to buy LPs (32/6d) and ‘contraband’. My nickname was ‘Risotto’. My paintings were ready in twenty minutes.

Dali’s painting is one of my favourites – which is, perhaps, surprising for a man who has not been baptised and is a fully paid up atheist. I did a rather bad copy of Dali’s painting… not to scale, about ten years ago. It was the last oil painting I did. I have not thought about painting for years, apart from doing the odd doodle. Today, I remembered the Dali painting.

Well… be that as it may… but what has been happening in the world this week?

We have Mills v McCartney:

Mr Justice Bennett, in a 58 page judgment, the only Family Law judgment I have read in thirty years, makes his views quite clear. It is hardly surprising, given the frank nature of Bennett J’s views, that Heather Mills wanted to supress publication – an appeal lost the day after Bennett J told everyone not to publish his judgment until the signal was given. The full judgment is here.

A small taste of Bennet J’s views on Heather Mills:But I regret to have to say I cannot say the same about the wife’s evidence. Having watched and listened to her give evidence, … I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall she was a less than impressive witness.”

John Bolch | Geeklawyer, as ever, at the van of analysis and commentary

I have no interest at all in commenting on this matter, save to note that….

Fiona Shackleton got water poured all over her hair. RollonFriday has a poll asking readers to vote on whether the ‘Camilla Parker Bowles’ hairstyle version of Shackleton is better than the ‘Wetlook’ version. Fortunately, neither Bennett J or Shackleton are interested in taking Mill’s bizarre act of pouring a jug of water over Fiona Shackleton any further.

Spring is obviously in the hair – RollonFriday also has a rather bizarre story about a man amusing himself on an aircraft. “Dozier was on her way to visit family and friends in L.A., MyFOXHouston reports. The suit claims Dozier was sitting in an empty row when the plane took off, and then fell asleep. When she woke up, she says she found a substance in her hair and a man masturbating in the seat next to her.”

It must be global warming. This is just bizarre behaviour.

But… bizarre, in another way, the story in the press that greedy ‘rogue bastards’ in the City, using a well known Trash and Cash technique, managed to wipe off 17 per cent of the share value of HBOS by circulating rumours that HBOS was in trouble. These malicious rumours were denied and the share value, at least when I last read a newspaper on the matter, has recovered. Investment bankers who used to do a bit of pre-shag chat by saying to women ‘We are the best of the best’ are not quite so confident these days in credit-crunch land. Bear Stearns managed to lose most of their value in a two week trading period and were bought for $240 million by JP Morgan Chase …. subject to the usual litigation etc etc etc.

We also had President Bush telling us that the world was a better place because of the Iraq war. Writing on Consilio.tv, I had to observe: “It isn’t a better place for the dead US, UK and Coalition forces. It isn’t a better place for the countless thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed and, as a friend of mine observed, it isn’t a better place for Dr David Kelly who took his own life in tragic circumstances after the dossier on Iraq was sexed up”

Not to be outdone… Our great leader, Gordon Brown, surely one of the most dull prime ministers we have had… ever…?, has been trying to tell us that he will save us from global warming, migrant movement, terrorism, financial meltdown, credit-crunches, rising gas bills, and…. because he is a ‘son of The Manse’… from floods (Did that in the summer of last year), locusts (May 2008 – upcoming?) and a very useful plague of frogs just before the political party conference season begins in September?

When I say… dull, in relation to Gordon Brown, it is only fair to use a political comparison: So… think Blair, Wilson, Lloyd George, Churchill, Thatcher, Disraeli….whatever you think of them in political terms… they were interesting. Brown is almost as dull as Sir (Lord) Alec Douglas- Home and Stanley Baldwin. Brown is an intelligent man .. but… just does not seem to have any charisma… and I’m just not interested in people saying that in private, he is a one man ‘Morecambe & Wise’, a barrel of laughs, Jack Dee et al…. he just does not seem to have a gift for ‘communication’. Cameron rips into him every week at Prime Minister’s Questions… and WebCameron, exposed today as a cycling criminal (breaking all manner of road traffic laws on his bicycle), is not yet a ‘commons beast’ in terms of oratory. Finally…. on this point … what is Cyclops doing with his thumbs in the picture to the right?

And… I have just been on to Guido Fawkes’ website where he tells us that the You Tube video of Gordon Brown ‘allegedly’ picking his nose and eating his bogies is an extremely popular video. You must make your own assessment on whether our Prime Minister picked his nose in The House of Comons and then ate his bogey. For my part – I am planning to vote Boris for Mayor (despite nearly 30 years of voting Labour) simply because I live in London and feel it is time for change…. (I have heard that phrase somewhere before?)… and because I rather like the idea of Boris running London…. it may actually be quite musing… and, be honest… Ken is not that amusing. Boris may even get onto mad Japanese TV… and Top Gear.

I quite like the way the French President is shaping up… completely barking. I think we should offer him a British pasport… not just to irritate Al-Fayed, but as a token of our ‘closeness’ to France and to say, that at last, France, has an amusing leader… worthy to follow in the footsteps of Napoleon. I understand that The President of France has been briefed by French government officials not to tell people to ‘piss off’ when he goes walkabout on his ‘upcoming’ State Visit to Britain. It will be interesting to see how he gets on with ‘Mad Max’, the Duke of Edinburgh. I have a feeling they may get on… we shall see. [What is Sarkozy doing with his thumb? At least Churchill knew how to flick a good ‘V sign’… as, indeed, did the English archers at Agincourt]

And… on that note.. I must now go to reflect on this wonderful pagan festival of ours … The Spring Equinox’…. and wonder if I shall wake, on the morrow, to a winter wonderland of snow… lying crisp and even… over Chiswick…

***

Anyway… what do I know? It has been another good Good Friday. I used to worry, when I was a child, that Christ died at 3.00 each Good Friday… but was re-assured by a teacher, who had a very slim grasp of religious principle, that he came to life again the Monday after…. and, as I am now a devout follower of a number of very congenial roman gods, and have no interest, unlike most of my fellow Britons, in going to HomeBase or some other DIY store this weekend…. I may well spend a bit more time at The Bollo. It is, after all, going to snow… and I would not wish to cause the emergency services any stress by, irrationally, deciding to drive onto a snowbound motorway in a bikini without my thermos flask full of chicken soup and then phoning Sky television to let them know I was snowbound.

I hope you enjoy the Easter Weekend. My Weekend Review may be more sensible. It depends on whether I get snowed in at The Bollo….

The Lords are speaking to the people of Britain

Thanks to Geeklawyer – I am now aware that the House of Lords has a blog. I commend this blog to you – it is here and is on my blogroll.

My first post, not of great literary merit, awaits moderation. I doubt whether my ‘comment… awaiting moderation’… will be approved. Geeklawyer has managed to be approved. A curiously well behaved post by GL… if I may say so.

I shall give you a taste of the proposition: “Lords of the Blog is an experimental project to encourage direct dialogue between web users across the world and Members of the House of Lords. Commissioned by the House of Lords, the pilot project is conducted by the Hansard Society who are working directly with Members of the Lords to bring their blogs to the wider online audience.”

Baroness Murphy starts the blog of with a degree of enthusiasm….

“I’m excited this blog site is finally going live tomorrow and hope very much ‘you lot out there’ will want to talk to us and tell us what’s on your mind. The peers taking part have been more or less talking to each other while getting the hang of it. Some of us, unlike former MPs like Lord Soley who are old hands, have never blogged before so we don’t know yet what really interests the wider blogging public. The idea is to talk about our work in the Lords and how our other responsibilities and experiences are brought into the work of the House. Having just spent a rather glorious few days in Tarragona in Spain as an accompanying wife while my husband was lecturing in quantum chemistry at the University, I wasn’t in parliament for Budget Day and have been trying to catch up ever since”

***

Baroness Murphy on Wikipedia

Geeklawyer’s first post on this blog passed moderation… I give you a taste… in fact…. ignoring his copyright… I am posting the post in full:

“Welcome to the Blogosphere. History has provided a mixed assessment of political blogs but there is one key pre-requisite to success: integrity and personality. It’s as well I am a lawyer and not a mathematician.

But the unique thing about blogging is that it is you writing about yourself and not for an audience. It is not about writing what you think others might wish to hear. There are other ways to do that on the web. Like any of the better blogs I would like to hear the minutiae of the Lords, the nitty gritty things, the gossip & the random thoughts. These are all the things of a good blog and an audience develops once there is a discernible personality corporate or individual.”
***
I was pleased to see no mention of pole dancing or other matters of interest to GL on his first comment on this new blog. I have never been on a blog where all the authors are peers. I am a renaissance man – open to all ideas and thoughts…. and I hope that I shall find time, late on a Friday evening, to pop over to their blog. In the wake of the news only this weekend that some Lords are hosting corporate events at The House of Lords…. I very much hope that this new blog will be ‘inclusive’.
***
I am not entirely sure, however, that their Lord / Ladyships will be that interested in what goes on in my mind on a Friday or Saturday night when I decide to start blogging. But… hey…. one must stand up to the crease… and play up… play up… play the game. One can only do one’s best to help their Lord / Ladyships with the onerous task of governing our, hopefully, still anarchic and ultimately ungovernable isle.
***
I am more than happy to be one of ‘You lot out there’…. an excellent start…. diversity is all in modern Britain.

Weekend Review 15-16 March

In my other guise – I am covering the ALT Conference at Oxford University – so, I have been unable to blog this weekend. I am doing this remotely – in the form of podcasts with speakers and we are providing a television crew to film a couple of key note speeches on the morrow. This is helpful to me – I like Oxford, know it well, but my modest little studio is in West London and easier to do it from here.

***

I may, therefore and thereby, after a quick trip to The Bollo for the staff of life, be able to make a brief appearance on here later.

***

STOP Press

“If you can keep your blog when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”

Oyez … Oyez… Then let it be known through the world, on the eve of Holy Week (or, for readers of The God Delusion…. Bank holiday weekend week) that Geeklawyer’s main blog has been restored… and the Squat is no more……. Oyez.

A message from Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo, The Vatican

It is a busy week for me. The Pope, he is very vigilant to make sure we are all on message, so I cannot be too long here… but I say this to you all…. remember to buy your vino rosso before da Chancellor put the price up at midnight tonight. I have bought many bottles today for my flock from your very good Oddbins in London…. and from a good friend in the land where Rioja is made for my cousin “Charon QC”…

You will be surprised how much wine we get through in Holy Week… 14.5% for me… 12% for flock people, unless they have Vatican Premium Card entry to Church.

So… a blessing… I use this one all the time… but it is still good for quick blessings… when no money change hands….

In nomine Patris et fillii et Spiritus Sancti

Editorial Note: This is an equal opportunity blog. We are equally sceptical / tolerant / bemused / accepting of all religions…. so long as you don’t wish us to join. Forgive the plural. I have not become ‘Royal’ – but I have a split personality these days and I like to cover all bases when I can.

Balls up?….

Guido Fawkes has a most amusing post on David Cameron’s put down of Ed Ball’s heckling at the Budget Day session in the Commons… the film is worth a look if you have not seen it….

Cameron made the point that we have the highest tax burden in our history – at which point Ed Balls chips in with the helpful comment “So What”… allowing Cameron, who is raising his game in terms or oratory, to have a go… all good stuff… in fact… very amusing. Worth a look if you want to be an advocate or a debater.

As Guido Fawkes’ says… look at the expression on Ed Balls’ face…

The comments on Guido’s post are almost as amusing. The first one amused me at 3.13 am this morning on my great march through the night: “(Anonymous) Disgusting, disrespectful, shifty Gordon Brown. Talking to his chums, grinning and gurning throughout Cameron’s reply. Get some manners you disgrace to the nation!”

Watch the film on Guido Fawkes’ blog?

Citizenship Review…. a new order for order?….

Apropos of absolutely nothing… save to introduce my latest post… I had the pleasure a few years ago (in another guise) of meeting Lord Goldsmith at The House of Lords when he was Attorney-General and being shown around a fantastically over decorated series of rooms with thrones and bizarre Victorian wallpaper. I think it may even have been blue wallpaper. The interior design and architecture of the Houses of Parliament is not to my taste – but, there again, I am not an architect or designer. I know that many leading Victorians had a fondness for what are now Class A drugs…. perhaps these ‘potions’ may have played a part? Who knows? A personal view… I am a citizen of our country and entitled, still, at least for the present, to express a personal opinion. I may be going against the grain of Land of Hope and Glory here…. but…. to me… over the top it is. I do, however, like Big Ben at New Year… but that is because, like many, I am over refreshed on that one night of the year.

I will not be making any oaths of allegiance – as mooted by the present government, to the ire of Scots, Welsh and the Northern Irish – to The Queen or country. Curiously, the English, if the absence of press reports is any indicator, don’t seem to have even bothered to read the announcement on this oath of allegiance business. But that is why I rather like the English…. it just isn’t an issue of any interest or concern to most people – except the spivniks in the present government who wish to shape our destiny for ever.

Anyway… back to the post….I enjoyed the meeting – it was about legal education generally. [Peter Goldsmith QC, when Chairman of The Bar, took a great deal of interest in legal education] He was an excellent and affable host for that meeting and made those attending most welcome.

Lord Goldsmith has not been idle since leaving office as A-G. He has produced a report on British Citizenship. I have been up since 1.00 am… and I have skimmed through most of it. Here it is. Read and be informed. Find out who we are and what belonging to Great Britain PLC means… in the eyes of the present administration.

For my part… I prefer to think of a Britain shaped by Shakespeare and other writers and commentators from a more spirtual, artistic, historical, philosophical or humanitarian bent, than the present government. We must, by definition, live in a Britain hammered out by politicians, many of whom happen to be lawyers, but I prefer to think, overregulation aside, that we live in a Britain of a more sophisticated hue in our minds when we are not busy complying with the thousands of laws we have and when we are trying not to be caught on the ever present and intruding CCTV.

I will leave the pleasures of digesting Lord Goldsmith’s Citizenship Review to you without comment. Adulteration of wine, spirits and ideas by the intervention of others is not always useful 🙂

PS… there is even a section on Treason on page 40 of this 134 page peroration on a theme. The review must have been quite expensive to conduct. A lot of people contributed to it. One wonders what the government is actually going to do with it. New laws, of course, but will all our lawmakers actually read this report assiduously? Will anyone apart from journos, political and legal correspondents, academic commentators and those who contibuted to the report, read it?

This is why I am urging you to do so. I am a Citizen… England… and the rest of our sceptred isle expects… but I suspect that the review will not feature heavily in the Scots, Welsh or Northern Irish Press. I haven’t seen a lot of commentary on it in the English press come to that.

Tell your friends… form a Facebook Group?

O what black hours…we have spent this night…

I fell asleep shortly after 9.00 last night only to wake four hours later. After summoning every ounce of courage I possessed at 1.26 am (taking a break from reading Lord Goldsmith’s Citizenship report (above) … I visited the BBC Sport Cricket section to find doom and gloom. I just could not resist this…. on the BBC match report page.

“On the subject of dissertations, I have 6000 words due in less than a week on the human right’s implications of mortgage law. And now England are three down after lunch. Could life possibly get any worse?”
Yash Zaveri, Euston via 81111

***

Well… there we are. I am off to hunt down news items for my daily legal news podcast.

I don’t usually start work at 1.00 am…. there are advantages… no telephone calls to interrupt a train of thought. No emails to answer….. yes…. many advantages to starting work early.

Britain… a land of hope and glory?

Robert Verkaik, Legal Editor of The Independent, reported yesterday that “A gay teenager who claims he faces the death penalty in Iran after his boyfriend was executed there two years ago has spoken of his anger and disappointment at losing his legal battle against deportation.”

Today, Verkaik reports that “More than 60 peers have signed a letter to the Home Secretary urging the Government to halt the deportation of a gay Iranian teenager who faces execution if he is returned to his homeland.”

The Independent article stated:

“Among those pressing the Government to help Mr Kazemi are Lord Woolf, the former lord chief justice; Betty Boothroyd, the former speaker of the House of Commons; and Shirley Williams, Julia Neuberger, Paddy Ashdown, David Steel, Lord Lester QC and the Bishop of Liverpool, as well as a number of senior Labour peers. In the letter, the peers say: “We members of the House of Lords are deeply concerned at the possible execution of Mehdi Kazemi if he is refused asylum in the UK and is deported to Iran. His former partner has been executed there. We urge Her Majesty’s Government to show compassion and allow Mr Kazemi to have a safe haven in the UK.”

Mehdi Kazemi sought asylum in Holland. The Dutch courts are sending him back to Britain within 72 hours. The Iranian Police have a warrant for his arrest (who has lived in Britain for 31 years, according to The Independent). The Iranians hang homosexuals. Mehdi Kazemi’s boyfriend was executed.

Kazemi sought sanctuary in Britain. Whatever the technicalities of this case are, surely we can live up to the rousing anthem “Land of Hope and Glory” by giving this young man hope and give ourselves, as a nation, a bit of glory for showing compassion?

The Home Office, according to The Independent, has promised to review the case.

Yet another law free post… smoking…redux

Mea culpa… but yet another law free post, I’m afraid. I have finally decided that I am not particularly good at rolling my own cigarettes. After days of faffing about with roll ups… some that seem to be on fire as I smoke them, others pathetically thin and crumpled with the filter falling out… a friend gave me a Rizla cigarette rolling machine.

Excellent.. perfectly rolled cigarettes… and even a doctor told me that they were healthier as he borrowed my machine to roll a perfect cigarette for himself. We did, of course, go outside…. I do prefer rolling tobacco to ordinary cigarettes now … even if I look a bit weird fooling about with Rizla papers, shag, filters, a machine and then tapping the tobacco at one end, filter at the other, with a matchstick before going out, as I did at 7.00 this evening, into heavy winds to smoke a cigarette with four others outside The Bollo.

I will use my ‘best endeavours’ to return to some legal content to my posts soon…

On that note… Buona notte…

***

If you feel the need for some law tonight, after reading this, please feel free to peruse my blogroll. There are a few law blogs in the roll where law is actually discussed. Not many, I grant you, in the UK blogosphere… but… that is part of the pleasure… exploration. Go where no man has been before etc etc … be a master of the universe… Be Columbus… and don’t worry about the doughnut shaped particles in space discussed in Stephen Hawkings’ most enjoyable television programme last night. They are benign. I have several of them in my study as I write tonight…

There is a downside to smoking roll ups. A friend said tonight … “Next you will be smoking spliffs.” I did not feel the need, unlike half the Cabinet, to confess to the sins of my youth… nor make admissions.. nor did I go to Eton.

Weekend Review 8 – 9 March

Henry Porter on the erosion of civil liberties in Britain. A well constructed and impassioned piece…

My thanks to Geeklawyer for reminding me of an excellent piece by Henry Porter in the Observer today – a thought provoking article: “Why I told Parliament: you’ve failed us on liberty.”

A Tale of Tourettes

RollonFriday can usually be relied upon to find something to amuse as, indeed, can the US legal system. So a hat tip to RollonFriday for alerting me to the story about Judge Robreno and the client who swore 73 times in court. A taste for you…

Wider (the client) erupted, saying: ‘I’m taking a break. Fuck him. You open up the document. You want me to look at something, you get the document out. Earn your fucking money, asshole. Isn’t the law wonderful?’ In another passage, Bodzin said: “We’re going to adjourn this deposition if this happens again because you are offending every single person.” According to Robreno’s opinion, Wider responded: ‘Don’t speak for anybody in here except yourself fuck face.”

Robreno said the transcript showed that Wider “used the word ‘fuck’ and variants thereof no less than 73 times.” By contrast, Robreno noted, the word “contract” was used only 14 times.

AbovetheLaw reports: Law Students with Guns: Bad Idea, or Worst Idea Ever?

Dan Filler at The Faculty Lounge gives his response:

“I fancy myself a Second Amendment moderate – I believe in a well-regulated right to bear arms – but I’m not at all excited about having armed students in class. For one thing, it changes the dynamic of a classroom when any odd turn during Property immediately creates the risk of armed conflict”

Somewhat ironic is a story from across the pond: “The Manitoba Bar Association has pulled out of the upcoming Taman Inquiry because of a lack of money to hire a lawyer, association president Mike Law said today.” Winnipeg Free Press

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John Bolch, author of Family Lore, has done a very detailed review of the leading Family Law blogs – a useful overview.

If you are a family lawyer and would like the poster (right) for your reception area – you may buy it here…

Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog, has written a very detailed and interesting anaysis on Seroxat: The legal questions that must be asked.

Justin Patten, author of Human Law Mediation, has done an excellent podcast with Cole Silver on Mediation. Story

IMPACT, the blog from law firm Freeth Cartwright, has a very useful article : Memory trick shows that encryption isn’t the answer to data security

Nick Holmes of Binary Law has a useful note to a link on “Legal profession on the brink”

Ruthie, of Ruthie’s Law, busy with a four week trial, has posted about Court Dress. Happy with her wig, she now wants a barrister’s gown… but only to…. “avoid scenes in the robing room resembling starving sharks circling fresh meat.” Story

White Rabbit continues to mix the surreal with serious and has a collection of fascinating ephemera – appeals to me! Also… he has collated some interesting ASBOS.

Very busy week last week with three podcasts (Below or click here) : Chairman of The Bar, Timothy Dutton QC | Nigel Savage, CEO, College of Law on the rising cost of education | Mark Rawlinson, recruitment and training partner at Freshfields on The Interview process at Freshfields and what they are looking for… and last, and very definitely least… my first attempt at a “Charon After Dark” podcast.


Charon After Dark: A new idea…. not, perhaps, a good one….

I have now decided to interview myself each weekend. Whether I will be able to sustain this (or need to) will depend on global warming. Here is my first Charon After Dark : We don’t need no educashun – London Underground – A Visit to the Geeklawyer temporary blog “The Squat”

Listen to Charon After Dark 1 (9 mins)

Charon After Dark is NOT OFFICE SAFE – because of The London Underground Song – so…. in your own time unless you want to hone your Employment Law skills.

I will be writing my usual Weekend Review tomorrow… I am ‘Counting down” the hours until I do.

Podcast 52: Mark Rawlinson, partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Today I am talking to Mark Rawlinson, a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London. Mark Rawlinson has been a partner for 17 years and specialises in mergers and acquisitions, particularly competitive or contested situations. Recently, Mark wrote an article in Legal Week’s Legal Village blog section under the heading “Putting the ‘Angel stamp’ back into Freshfields’ trainee recruitment”. Shortly before Christmas Mark was asked to become lead Training and Recruitment partner. He expects to spend something like 500 hours on Training and Recruitment during 2008.

The Freshfields Interview panel – How it works – The interview process – What Freshfields is looking for – Universities Freshfields recruits from – Training opportunities at Freshfields – Advice for people who may wish to apply to Freshfields

Mark Rawlinson’s article on Legal Week

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Podcast 52: Mark Rawlinson, Freshfields on their recruitment process.

The biggest smash and grab since The Great Train Robbery?…

Podcast 51: Nigel Savage, CEO, The College of Law on the cost of legal education.

Today I am talking to Nigel Savage, Chief Executive of The College of Law about the rising costs of legal education on the LPC and BVC. In Legal Week this week there is a story about BPP Law School hiking its fees for the LPC by a ‘whopping’ 10% despite already being the most expensive postgraduate law school in London.

I have invited Peter Crisp, Chief Executive of BPP Law Schoool to do a podcast. As yet he has not been able to return my call. Nigel Savage has characteristically robust views about legal education and comments on the rise of 5% applied by The College of Law, contrasting it with the 10% rise by BPP.

Legal Week story

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Listen to Podcast 51: Nigel Savage on legal education costs

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I invited Peter Crisp, Chief Executive, BPP law School to do a podcast.  On this occasion he declined the invitation.

Giving up smoking?….

One way of giving up smoking is to sit outside The Bollo trying to hand roll a cigarette when it is windy.

I had a hand rolled cigarette the other night – it was most enjoyable. I am thinking of rolling my own now. I may have to get one of those Rizla hand rolling machines – for the perfect roll – but, I am told by other hand rollers, that this is not the thing.

It is some years since I last rolled my own – but I quite like the idea…. of fiddling about with filters, Rizla paper and tobacco….. I have a feeling that I will not persist… but I will try this out for a while. They tell me that smoking hand rolled cigarettes is far healthier. No chemicals…. just pure smoke going into the lungs… One also  gets a bit more exercise chasing the filter and paper that has been blown down the road by the wind….

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H M Government Health Warning

I do not need anti-smoking lobbyists or the slaves/accolytes/converts of H M Chief Medical Officer or Dawn Primarolo MP to write comments….

This is a pro-smoking and 24 hour drinking blog – and with fashionable intolerance, I shall simply redact, excise, extraordinarily rendite/remove, erase, delete etc etc… any comments of an anti-smoking nature.

🙂

I do not normally exercise draconian powers of censorship… but one must take a stand in the sand and draw lines etc etc… must not one?

Perhaps… ’24 hour drinking blog’ should read… ‘pro-24 hour drinking’ blog?

Podcast 50: Timothy Dutton QC, Chairman of The Bar

Today I am talking to Timothy Dutton QC, Chairman of The Bar. Timothy Dutton QC was born in 1957 and was called to the Bar in 1979. He took silk in 1998. He practices in General Commercial, Public, Regulatory and Administrative Law, Professional Negligence and Disciplinary including sports.

In his inaugural speech, Timothy Dutton said:

“My job is to promote the Bar and our system not just at home but internationally. All of us are operating in an international market with English law as an attractive option in commercial disputes. In criminal law there is an increasingly international aspect to the work, and in family also. I intend to promote the values and skills of the Bar as advocates, arbitrators and mediators abroad.”

Bar Council Chairman’s Blog

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We discuss the impact of The Legal Services Act 2007 on The Bar – Direct Access – VHCC contracts – The Lord Neuberger Report – Timothy Dutton’s vision for his year as Chariman of The Bar.
Listen to podcast 50: Timothy Dutton QC

Collapse of the domestic conveyancing market?…

John Bolch of Family Lore, draws attention to the ‘utter collapse’ of the housing market with a thoughtful post. I’m not a practitioner and was not aware of the difficulties being faced by smaller firms of solicitors.

John Bolch’s post is worth reading… I quote: “The utter collapse of the housing market has meant that the ‘bread and butter’ regular domestic conveyancing income that such practices rely on has almost dried up, with the result that many firms are having to lay off staff.”

Perhaps The Law Society should be highlighting this in press releases to press and other media?

Weekend Review Part I: 1 – 2 March

HRH The Prince of Wales wearing a leek on St David’s Day. (BBC picture)
One presumes, not without reason to do so, that the leek is organic? HRH is wearing a Household Cavalry tie, as far as I can see – understandably, given that he was picking up Prince Harry who is an officer in the Blues and Royals.

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With Geeklawyer away skiing (or not skiing) in Austria, Prince Harry returned to Britain after his deployment to the front line in Afghanistan post Drudge, and the news today , on St David’s Day, that Conservative leader David Cameron has told the Welsh party conference that he wants a “mass movement for change”… I am at a bit of a loss to find anything to excite the palate of readers of this blawg… it is impossible, I fear, to compete with the news in the papers, television and other media…

However… I shall try… and first up is the continuing ‘goings on’ going on at BPP Law School as reported by RollonFriday in relation to BPP Law School’s examination rules. The Recruitment partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP was in favour of the BPP Law School stance last week but, tonight, I am unable to contact him on his Apple iPhone for comment.

RoF has suggested that their latest report may be an end to the reporting – but, they do seem to have had quite a few emails from students at BPP Law School about the LPC examination rules policy. The RoF selected email I particularly enjoyed was this one: ” Re: BPP Madness – Of course if they try and withhold exam results at BPP (or anywhere else), a simple data protection request will sort you out with them. Hours of fun! We annoyed my University with this no end when I was a sabbatical officer…” (Source: RollonFriday)

And… so.. to other matters…

The Kremlin is planning to falsify the results of this Sunday’s presidential election in Russia by compelling millions of public sector workers to vote and by fraudulently boosting the official turnout after polls close, the Guardian has learned. Head of Legal picks this story up…. Head of Legal has decided to change his strap line from ‘Attorney General of the Web” to “Law Punditry’s Alan Hansen”. Excellent.

Leading US blawg What About Clients? run by the ever energetic J Dan Hull and his colleagues, Holden Oliver and Thomas Welshonce, was kind enough to give the important oxygen of US blogging publicity to several UK blawgs under the headline “The Erudite, The Good, The Sultry and The Insane”. I shall strive to be The Sultry in future. … but.. possibly not now… after doing a Google search on ‘Sultry’ with “safe search is off”.

We now go over to Edinburgh Advocate, Reactionary Snob, for breaking news on why some in Ireland and Scotland think it important to have a “National C**t Day”. RS notes that Irish blogger Twenty Major … still smoking in Dublin bars…writes: “I believe we need a National C**t Day where we, the people of Ireland, simply give in and celebrate the fact we’re a country absolutely chock-full of the biggest c**ts on earth.” The comments are also worth reading (Parental Guidance required) … democracy in action… whatever that means these days.

As I write this on Saturday 1st March.. it is 21.25 hours… I have been accused by The Fugitive, aka Geeklawyer, as “being as bad as Geeklawyer”. I have an excellent Tort book open on my desk – I had no idea that defamation could be so fascinating – a fine read. [Geeklawyer is ‘somewhere in Austria’ skiing, apparently]

It is some years since I slid down a mountain. I do not see the need to ski. I understand this need in others – because I am of a liberal ‘laissez-faire’ disposition… but, it has to be admitted, I would have enjoyed sliding down a snowclad mountain playing a piano. I have encouraged Geeklawyer to consider joining the British Dangerous Sports Society and do this … but he may well like to consider the sport of Extreme Ironing next time he decides to take a break from his important work.

I do not, as a rule, normally concern myself with what men find entertaining in terms of their membrum virilis – but I could not resist this link to Law Actually’s coverage of what Italian men are no longer allowed to do. Unfortunately… the direct link to the story reported a ‘server error’ at the time of writing, so you will have to visit the Law Actually site to discover what Italian men are no longer allowed to do and scroll… if necessary.

I find myself spending more time reading and watching politics coverage. Guido Fawkes this week reports that “Labour’s favourite copper has written to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to inquire about whether or not Conway is going to be referred to the Met.”

The other night I had a drink ‘somewhere in West London’ with a friend of mine , Chris McLaughlin, who is the Editor of Tribune. Chris is still going to do a podcast with me… so I am sure he will not mind my making reference to this ‘drink’. I think he asked, knowing of my Labour voting pattern over many years, who I favoured for Mayor of London. Well…. Ken did say that he wouldn’t stand for a third term… and even Putin accepts that he can’t be President of Russia for a third term… so will become Prime Minister instead for a while and then have another crack at being President after a ‘decent’ and ‘internationally credible’ break… and Boris?…. well… the question is… will Boris be a more amusing Mayor? … and, if elected, will he take the ‘Conservative whip’ and instructions from Cameron?. The answer to the second question is, I suspect, as easy to answer as the first question.

I plan to write Weekend Review Part II tomorrow… with a podcast… but I may well add to Part I later…

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UPDATE 23.36 Saturday 1st March

Persecution of middle class wine drinkers…. Labour government ‘crackdown’…. shock…

I cannot write more tonight. I have just read a report in The Telegraph Online that our government is planning to put extra tax (20p a bottle) on wine…. I therefore have to go to a 24 Hour Tesco and do some panic buying. I have called a local rickshaw company to ensure that my carbon footprint is not damaged by this late night excursion.

I am sure you will understand… needs must.