30th June: News up on Insite Law

News up on Insite Law

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Mike SP
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30th June 2009

Commons clerk raises legal obstacle to Westminster ‘clean-up’ Bill
Times: “The Government’s attempt to replace self-regulation of MPs’ financial affairs by a new independent regulator faces an unexpected challenge. Ministers hope to push the Parliamentary Standards Bill through the Commons in three days this week. But they face the challenge of an outspoken memorandum by Malcolm Jack, Clerk of the Commons. This questions ministerial claims about the Bill’s impact on parliamentary privilege: MPs’ long-disputed right to free speech without the threat of judicial action as enshrined in the Bill of Rights of 1689″.

Yet another example of speed and not enough though.

Inner Temple / Middle Temple Library survey

Inner Temple has issued an online survey as part of their feasibility study into the possible merger of the two Inn libraries. You may express your thoughts on the possible plan to merge the two Inn Libraries: Click here for the Inner Temple Survey

Inner Temple Library news has the details of the latest position

To view the straw poll I conducted on the blog a month or so back -   View / vote on that poll.

College of Law podcasts – Inside Track

The College of Law has asked me to present a series of 10 Podcasts on current legal issues which while aimed at prospective members of the profession will be of interest to qualified lawyers and non-lawyers who are interested in law alike.  I’m delighted to work with The College on this project and quite apart from enjoying working with the College of Law multi-media team , I get to do it in a very snazzy radio studio over at their studio  in Bloomsbury and get to interview some interesting guests.

I’ll publish the guest list as soon as it is firmed up – but there are some fascinating people in our plans and  it will be a most enjoyable series for me to be involved with. We record the series in July and early August and they will go live on the College of Law website in September.  My style is exactly the same as my own podcasts.  The sound quality is, of course, better and they even have a signature tune for the series!

Listen to the first podcast with Des Hudson, Chief Executive of The Law Society talking with me about the opportunities and threats to the profession in relation to outsourcing in India, legal aid, Best Value Tendering and the shape of the profession under the Legal services Act coming in now with alternative business structures.  Des Hudson knows his stuff and this will be of interest to practitioners as well – of that I am confident.

Episode 1: Des Hudson, Chief Executive of The Law Society

Get a job as an MP and have lots of jobs…

Following on from DuckGate and MoatGate the newspapers are now running amok with tales of greedy MPs with multiple jobs; causing embarrassment to some, discomfort to others and general outrage from many.  Part-time MPs don’t give the attention to our affairs that the position merits.  I do understand that MPs may well be able to take on a bit of consultancy to up their income but when fees earned from outside interests are stratospheric people begin, inevitably, to question why an MP should be worth so much. Conflict of Interest?
***
The real issue is not so much the amount they get paid but how many hours they are devoting to their outside interests at the expense of the taxpayer.  If they are part-time, perhaps they should resign and let someone else who wants to work in parliament and represent constituents do it.

Rothschild and Freshfields founders linked to slavery

Rothschild and Freshfields founders linked to slavery
Two of the biggest names in the City of London had previously undisclosed links to slavery in the British colonies, documents seen by the Financial Times have revealed.

Financial Times: Nathan Mayer Rothschild, the banking family’s 19th-century patriarch, and James William Freshfield, founder of Freshfields, the top City law firm, benefited financially from slavery, records from the National Archives show, even though both have often been portrayed as opponents of slavery.

Beware of Greeks causing rifts… and other thoughts…

Beware of Greeks causing rifts

While the ethical standards of today should not be applied to the acquisitions and  ‘grabs’ of yesteryear,  the hardening of the Greek government line in demanding the return of the Elgin Marbles is likely to fall on deaf ears.  The Economist has an interesting take on this – inter museum loans between the museums of the world so that the greatest number of people can see the treasures of the world.  Britain is not alone in grabbing artefacts and treasures in times past.  The museums of Russia, Germany and elsewhere contain artefacts from other countries – the provenance of which is not known. Inter museum lending is unlikely to work if there is a concern  that the Greeks will simply seize the marbles should any ‘loan’ to the new museum in Athens be agreed.

World reaction to the sudden death of Michael Jackson has ranged from insane manic grief to contemptuous cynicism.  We must not forget, of course, the nutters and conspiracy theorists who are hinting (a) that he was killed by ‘dark forces’ (b) that he is not in fact dead but is flipping burgers with Elvis in some remote US town or, possibly in Whacko’s case, Area 51 (c) that he has been abducted by aliens, or in the alternative is in fact an alien and is simply returning home. The contemptuous cannot quite understand why the world is ‘mourning’  and it was only a matter of time after David Cameron paid ‘tribute’ that Gordon Brown would pop us to  say “The People’s Paedo’s death started in America.  It is a global problem…. zzzzzz”.  The Fat Bigot wonders why holding a microphone should cause such intense pain as to, yet again,  merit daily administration of pain killing medication.

Moving on… but I end with the idea I have seen on Twitter…. that if he was left in a cupboard for a while and then  returned to re-make Thriller, but this time as a Zombie… I’d watch that.

Legal Week Student

The Student section of Legal Week is developing into a useful resource for students with some practical, independent and useful content.  I’ve been doing the odd piece for Legal Week Village  – no money changes hands, unfortunately! – for some time and  now, with their Student Section, I am more than happy to contribute with relevant podcasts.  The good news is that Legal Week Student is now picking  up on other blogs -  although Alex Aldridge, who produces the student section, asks why it is that barristers and students tend to blog more than solicitors and ‘City go-getters’. Well.. that is not entirely true as there are many solicitor and academic bloggers out there as my Netvibes page of UK Law bloggers reveals.

I suppose, in a law blog, I should really try and shoehorn a bit of law in. So let’s kick off with a quick round up from a few blogs:  The Fat Bigot considers the matter of Lawyers and Lies.

In my last offering I relayed an anecdote from the dim and distant past, a snippet of my life as a barrister of moderate ability. It prompted a comment from one of the innumerable Messrs Mous. In a nutshell he alleged that lawyers lie for money. This is not just a matter of semantics, it is a matter of substance, so I want to explain why he is wrong.

It is an old chestnut for lawyers and trainees, but Fat Bigot does address concerns raised by those not trained in the law and its ways.


Twitter…..is the party over?

Binary Law asks: Has what looked like a great service, populated by eager early adopters with like motivations turned into a service polluted by egotists, marketeers and spam artists? Larry Bodine, questioning the value of Twitter as a marketing tool for lawyers, thinks so:

I’ve learned that it is a shouting post for relentless self-promoters, a dumping ground for press releases and advertising, a competition to amass followers, and a target for computer-automated Tweets.

To be frank, I am not remotely interested in what anyone thinks of Twitter.  For me, it is a social online chatroom.  I’ve met some amusing and interesting people, it keeps me out of bars (although I am often pissed late at night when I go go on to Twitter, it has to be said) and  I enjoy using it.  Even BabyBarista sees the advantages of Twitter! I shall not be highlighting any more articles – even if written by mates – about Twitter.  If you don’t want to read the shit from marketers… block ‘em.  I did like the fact that Habitat got hauled over the Twitter coals by Twitter users for effectively tweeting their catalogue:  This article discusses the issue!

The parody…

MICHAEL JACKSON DEAD.  Come and see our range of household goods at www.habitat.co.uk amused me

Pupillage… handle with Care…

Simon Myerson AQC has a thoughtful article and warning… “The rules for all Chambers – whether in OLPAS or not – are clear. No offers can be made before 930am on 30th July and every offer must stay open for 14 days. Chambers not complying with those rules are cheating.

Pink Tape writes “Sigh….So many things I wanted to blog about this weekend and so little time…”

Bar of Bust sees some advantages to being a barrister: Food glorious food…

Despite previous reservations voiced by some over the quality of food at Middle Temple, the dinner laid on for this years scholars was indeed glorious. Foie Gras, Sea Bass, a strawberry something for dessert, and a superb cheese board were accompanied by a rather splendid selection of wines and rounded off by coffee and a rather decent port.

Law Actually has an amusing post about dumbed down self help law books: “…It should come as no surprise, then, that there is a genuine ‘Law School for Dummies’ – pitched at US law school. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before a UK edition of an equivalent title rears its head?”

RollonFriday has an amusing news item: An email from the senior partner of a London law firm to the Law Society ranting about the promotion of homosexuality was leaked this week.

The partner emailed the Society after it issued a press release calling on lawyers to celebrate Gay Pride. He said that he had read the release “with horror”, and launched into an impressive rant about how disgraceful it was that so many organisations “seem to have been hijacked by the gays“.

He also claimed the Society has no mandate to promote diversity. “What on earth is going to happen next? Is someone at the Law Society going to tell all solicitors that they must promote to all their male heterosexual staff that they should trying becoming [sic] gay or bisexual or transvestites” he shrieked, hurling his handbag to the floor in disgust.

Courtesy of RollonFriday – you may read the entire rant here! Ludicrous.

Well… enough of Law for the moment… What is going on over  at The News of The World?  I can’t offer any judges and their rent boys this weekend as last…

Under the headline EXPLOSIVE JACKO FILES, the News of The Screws screams “Where’s Michael hidden his cash”? Apparently a nanny received a call from grieving relatives within hours… . Seemed perfectly sensible to me.  Whacko wasn’t going to need it… but there you are.

NOTW reveals that Katie Price Jordan is in crisis and Peter whatever his name is.. is a broken man… god help us…the things people get up to eh?  And Jade’s grieving hubby is being ‘comforted’ by a ‘stunning’ brunette. Even more astonishingly NOTW reveals  under the headline ‘My big enders aren’t real says sexy Kara”.  “Soap star confesses she stuffs her bra with chicken fillets.  With chicken fillets? I think need an injection…. just remember that NOTW is one of the most widely read newspapers in the World, along with sister publication The Sun and those readers have a vote in the next general election… and may god, accordingly, have mercy on our souls. Democracy is all… a fine principle… in theory.

I end with this observation by ‘Sexy Kara’… ”

The chicken fillets do like to escape. One flew out and hit the camera

27th June: Postcard from Armed Forces Day

I write from Chatham in Kent, home to the former Royal Naval Dockyard where HMS Victory was built and many other famous warships.  There is a lot of history on the Medway with Chatham, Rochester and Upnor providing much of interest.

Today, Chatham is hosting Armed Forces Day – a celebration to honour those who serve our country in war.   I overlook one of the old dockyard basins as I write and this was the view I saw as I smoked my cigarettes and did my Smokedo exercises this very morning…

HMS Argyll, a Type 23 ‘Duke’ Class Frigate is moored about 300 yards from my balcony.  I got up early, walked round to take a closer look and had a chat with a couple of officers and one of the armed guards who was manning the gangway.  Visitors are allowed on board.  As with most people, while we may not agree with our government’s decision to go to war in Iraq and, possibly, Afghanistan (The two issues are separate),  I support our armed forces and it was a pleasure to see one of our warships up close and wave as the ship came in yesterday evening.

There are various marches planned, but I shall be out on the balcony later this afternoon watching the Red Arrows display and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly past.  Two Eurofighters sped past yesterday and an Apache helicopter hovered nearby.  I shall, of course, raise a glass – it will be a pleasure to do so. I shall also raise a glass to the men and women who are currently fighting a war in Afghanistan.

A short postcard this week… but, be sure, I shall be writing about many things this weekend.

Continuing with the armed forces theme… I really could not resist this. My thanks to fellow Twitter user @helencurry

Best, as ever

Charon

A series of podcasts on Civil Liberties – and the right to a fair trial

A series of podcasts on Civil Liberties – and the right to a fair trial

Roger Smith, Director of Justice, writing in this week’s edition of The Law Society Gazette has a thoughtful piece called Acts of Folly and states: “New Labour’s anti-terrorism legislation has proved ill considered and unnecessary.”

He adds..“We should remove the ban on the use of intercept evidence. It is the reason why, in at least some cases, the government cannot get a criminal conviction.”

I have completed a series of three podcasts on the right to a fair trial from three different perspectives….

Lawcast 145: Diane Abbott MP on the use of secret evidence

Today I am talking to Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington about her latest campaign to prevent the use of “secret” evidence in UK courts.

Earlier in the year Diane tabled an early day motion (EDM) declaring “that this House believes the use of secret evidence in UK courts is fundamentally wrong”, and calling on the government “to begin an immediate independent review into the use of evidence that is not ever heard by the defendant or their lawyer but which is used to justify indefinite detention, severe bail conditions or control orders”.

Listen to the podcast

Read Carl Gardner on

Lords judgment: Home Secretary v AF

Lawcast 141: The House of Lords judgment on control orders

Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of the Head of Legal blog about the House of Lords judgment in Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) v AF (Appellant) (FC) and another (Appellant) and one other action

Lord Pannick, QC represented the lead appellant, AF “Since the Home Secretary can no longer impose control orders without telling the controlees the substance of the case they have to meet, the right decision — legally and politically — would be to abandon the discredited control order regime and concentrate on prosecuting in the criminal courts those against whom there is evidence of wrongdoing.”

We also cover Diane Abbot MP’s campaign about secret evidence

Listen to the podcast

Lawcast 143: On the importance of Jury trials

Four men accused of being part of a gang that stole £1.75 million in a raid at Heathrow face the first criminal trial without a jury in England and Wales for 400 years after an historic Court of Appeal decision on Thursday

The Times reported “ The ruling means that the new trial, which would normally be tried by a jury, will be the first of its kind in England and Wales under legislation that took effect in 2003 to prevent jury nobbling. The only other judge-only trials for serious cases, known as Diplock trials, have been in Northern Ireland.”

Today I am talking to Tim Kevan, a barrister, author of the babybarista blog and forthcoming BabyBarista book and co-founder of the legal training company CPD Webinars”.

Listen to the podcast

Abercrombie & Fitch have pissed me off and many others too!

I am not impressed by Abercrombie & Fitch’s treatment of law student Riam Dean as my post this morning probably makes clear.  It goes wider than that.  Abercrombie & Fitch, a US company I understand, is tapping into the sort of brainless ‘yuppie Hooray henry shit’ which should have disappeared years ago but, sadly, still seems to prevail.

I may have to buy some black combats and black boots and take a visit to their shop…. just to see for myself what people who work there actually look like and to see what their clients are like.  I have no intention of blowing the bloody doors off, of course… I’m far too old for that sort of thing these days… Pity I shaved my tache off… I could have hung around outside looking really weird.

I could not, therefore, resist a quick drawing…

Lawcast 145: Diane Abbott MP on the use of secret evidence

Lawcast 145: Diane Abbott MP on the use of secret evidence

Today I am talking to Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington about her latest campaign to prevent the use of “secret” evidence in UK courts.

Earlier in the year Diane tabled an early day motion (EDM) declaring “that this House believes the use of secret evidence in UK courts is fundamentally wrong”, and calling on the government “to begin an immediate independent review into the use of evidence that is not ever heard by the defendant or their lawyer but which is used to justify indefinite detention, severe bail conditions or control orders”.

Listen to the podcast

Podcast version for iTunes

Abercrombie and who?: Woman with prosthetic arm forced to work ‘out of sight’ in storeroom

Woman with prosthetic arm forced to work ‘out of sight’ in storeroom
Independent: Law student felt humiliated by clothing retailer, tribunal told

The Independent reports today that a law student with a prosthetic arm was forced to work in the storeroom of the clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch because she did not fit with the company’s strict “looks policy”, a tribunal heard yesterday.

I know the retailer Abercrombie & Fitch but, frankly, after reading this, it is unlikely that I would wish to use their products. Their website shows a fit buff young man – of appeal to the laydees and gays, no doubt, and their pitch is clearly towards the so called ‘beautiful hoorays’. They have a ‘flagship’ store in Burlington Gardens.

What I find particularly distasteful about this is that Abercrombie & Fitch gave Riam Dean a job, presumably aware of her prosthetic arm (she was born without a forearm) and then shunted her into a stockroom because the cardigan she was required to wear to hide her prosthetic arm did not fit the Abercrombie” look.

The Indie notes: “But she says she was later removed from her sales position and made to work in the storeroom, out of the view of customers, because the cardigan did not adhere to the “looks policy” – a written dress code which stipulates rules on aesthetics such as hairstyle, length of fingernails and forbids facial hair. Inconspicuous tattoos are acceptable only if “they represent the Abercrombie” look.”

Riam Dean says: “Abercrombie were asking the impossible. Like the colour of my skin, I was born with a character trait I am unable to change, thus to be singled out for a minor aesthetic flaw made me question my worth as a human being.”

A look at the world of Abercrombie & Fitch

As I’m not gay and I’m certainly not beautiful enough (or at all) to use the products of this miserable excuse for an outfit

I thought I would do my duty and poke about for the benefit of those who choose to read (and hopefully rant on)  my blog . Pictured right is the type of beauty Abercombie and Zilch are appealing to…. but a visit to their ‘Gallery’ (Don’t online porn sites refer to ‘Galleries’ ? – I wouldn’t know, of course).. throws up some Hooray Henry type lifestyle shit.

I just couldn’t help myself M’Lud… and I continued to look through the ‘gallery’.
At this point I needed oxygen – not through arousal you understand – but through an attack of hysterical laughter.  This stuff is just too, too pretentious – overdone and almost beyond parody.  They have a ‘Cheeky Cousin to Abercrombie & Fitch’.  I had lost the will to live by this point… but… if you want to look as if you have just got up after wetting your bed, because you haven’t grown up and do not know how to treat people with respect… then you too can buy a shirt and look like this. (What is that man doing in the pic on the right? Is he going to tweak his nipples?)

I don’t suppose they sell rubber sheets for beds… not even in their ‘Prep School’ section.

OK… enough vulgar abuse for the day…

By the way… The Independent states: “Akash Nawbatt, representing Abercrombie & Fitch, argued that Miss Dean had “exaggerated” the effect her experience with the company had on her and claimed her problems at the store stemmed from long-standing anxiety issues. The hearing continues.”

Frankly, I am appalled. Riam Dean is a law student. Let us hope our profession employs her for her ability and does not humiliate her. I wish her luck.

And finally… the news, reports etc is up on Insite Law.



A rant… Time to defenestrate!!!

I was was one  of many  first purchasers of the Apple Mac 128k in 1984 (I think it was 1984).  I have used Macs all my professional life. They are excellent.   I bought a Sony Vaio PC three months ago because I felt I needed a PC laptop – simply because the world works on PC.  (OK.. I also wanted to play shoot em up games in quiet moments). I am a fan of Sony.  I have had Sony televisions, Sony television cameras and Sony digital cameras.  Unfortunately, the Sony Vaio is a PC and it uses WINDOWS Vista.

Mac users multi-task. Creative people use Macs.  When I try to open Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Audacity, Firefox, Word and ‘Winfail’ on the Sony Vaio PC all at the same time – it doesn’t like it.  The Mac would drink a bottle of wine, smoke a cigar, phone the prime minister, solve the fucking global credit crunch AND allow the user to use all these programmes at the same time, if need be.  BUT… not Windows.  it slows up. It does weird things.  I get WinFAIL error messages and it refuses to send emails. Add Norton 360 into the recipe (Macs don”t need anti-virus software) and multi-tasking on a PC became a Friday 13th nightmare and I just know that a virtual Jack Nicholson is inside this bloody computer… waiting with an axe to chop up the registry files and crash the entire fiasco.

So… when my PC reads this… if it doesn’t behave… I am going to buy a shotgun and shoot it… and then I’ll go out and buy a computer that does the business…. and go back to Macs!

Note to commenters with PCs: Yes I know you are all beside yourselves with how good PCs are… but you don’t know you have a problem… because you haven’t used Macs and if you start giving me advice….  I may just send the virtual Jack Nicholson with his axe, who is lurking in my Sony Vaio,  over to your computer!

The doctor is coming soon with my Rioja injection.  I’ll be OK soon.

Burqa not welcome in France….

News, law reports update on Insite Law

Nicolas Sarkozy: burqa not welcome in France
Telegraph: President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that the Islamic burqa is ‘not welcome’ in France
.

In a speech at the Palace of Versailles, Mr Sarkozy said that the head-to-toe Islamic garment for women was not a symbol of religion but a sign of subservience for women. “The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience,” he told members of both parliamentary houses gathered for his speech. He added: “It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.”

While I find the burqa distasteful if it is ‘required’ to be worn, the difficulty with this statement by the president of France is that it undermines the freedom of those who choose to wear it. By choice, of course, I mean free choice.

The French are concerned that the wearing of any religious symbols undermines the secular tradition. The irony with that position is that it places secularism in the same position as religions which feel threatened or undermined by non-believers. Perhaps no religions should be recognised by the state – or supported by the state? – for therein would lie equality before the law and removal of ‘discrimination’. For my own part if people choose to believe in something, they should be free to do so provided it does not cause harm to or impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. That, however, is another problem with religions – they just can’t help themselves. They have to convert, they have to interfere, they have to control. This is why I am an atheist.

Snobbery and bed-wetting continues in Parliament.

We learn today that only three Tories voted for Bercow in the Speaker election. Nadine ‘off her’ Dorries was almost spitting with rage at the announcement.  Few Tories clapped in the Chamber. Bercow, although a Tory, was not ‘one of them’.   All in all, frankly, a pretty poor show. Dorries, apparently, described the election as a V sign to the British public by Labour.

Paul Waugh, writing in the Standard has this tale – which hardly reflects well on the so called ‘New Tories’.

I quote:  “….One mutters that Bercow wasn’t even a grammar school boy. But another example of snobbery that takes the biscuit is this:

A Shadow Cabinet minister was asked about the new Speaker’s robes and their resemblance to an Oxbridge student dressed for High Table. “I think you’ll find that he didn’t attend that kind of university….unlike me,” came the withering reply.”

Alan Duncan is reported as saying on Sky: “I think it’s undoubtedly true to say that John is a motivated and complex character. I think that a lot of people, of course, are annoyed that he worked out how to get elected and got there.”

It would appear that the Tory party still has a number of snobs and bed-wetters in it.  Surprised?

Kickbacks? Good grief!….

It would appear that people have been lurking around on dark drizzly days in The Temple…. offering barristers work in return for kickbacks.

The Bar Council announced today on their website:

Kickbacks” The Bar Council has received reports that Chambers are being approached by a well established company who introduce clients to solicitors in return for a referral fee (15% of profit costs). The company is now looking to enter in to a similar arrangement with barristers doing public access work. Barristers are reminded of the provisions of paragraph 307(e) of the Code of Conduct which prohibits a barrister from making any payment( other than a payment for advertising or publicity permitted by the Code or remuneration to staff) to any person for the purpose of procuring instructions. However, it is permissible for the lay client to pay a fee to a company in order to be introduced to a public access barrister, provided that no money changes hands between the public access barrister and the company for the referral.”

Well… there we are… another possible lost opportunity to compete for the Bar? Or… am I just being tendentious?

Time to ditch the mumbo jumbo?

Tory MP John Bercow will get down to work chairing Commons proceedings after being elected Speaker of the House.

BBC: Mr Bercow got 322 votes to fellow Tory Sir George Young’s 271 in the third and final round of secret voting. Gordon Brown and opposition leaders welcomed the appointment of Mr Bercow, who stood on a platform of reform and pledged to heal public “anger”. However, he is unpopular among some in his party who feel the ex-right winger has become too close to New Labour.

Over breakfast this morning - a very fine cup of tea and a cigarette or two, enhanced with some Smokedo exercise routines – I watched the BBC coverage of the Approbation of The Speaker.  It was a mildly surreal experience and I’m afraid I started to experience a mild state of hysterical laughter as Black Rod brought Speaker Bercow before the Bar of the House of Lords.  There was Jack ‘The Lad Chancellor’ Straw, sitting in full regalia with a tricorn hat on his head – a Royal Commission of lords, dressed to the nines in their ermine kit and black pirate hats, beside him.  As Bercow bowed, the Lords waved their hats at him.  In fact they did this three times as Speaker to be Bercow moved ever closer to the Bar.

I know I shouldn’t laugh at such important matters of state but hysteria gave way to hyperventilation as another very serious looking man in the full barristerial regalia of the 18th Century stood up and read out a whole pile of mumbo jumbo from the days of yore when Britain did, indeed, rule the world.

I found this extract from Hansard in 1839 – the mumbo jumbo used for the approbation of The Speaker.  It is almost identical to the words used by Bercow and Straw last night.

Mr. Shaw Lefevre said—My Lords, I have to acquaint your Lordships, that, in obedience to her Majesty’s commands, and in exercise of their undoubted right, her Majesty’s most faithful Commons have proceeded to the election of a Speaker, and that their choice had fallen upon me. Deeply impressed with a sense of my own unworthiness, I now present myself at your bar, and submit myself to her Majesty’s royal approbation.

The Lord Chancellor —Mr. Shaw Lefevre, we have it in command from her Majesty, to declare her Majesty’s entire confidence in your talents, diligence, and efficiency, to fulfil the important duties of the high office of Speaker of the House of Commons, to which you have been chosen by that House. In obedience to the communication which has been just read, by virtue of the authority therein contained, we do now declare her Majesty’s royal approbation and allowance of you,  Sir, as Speaker of the House of Commons.

Straw added a bit in about it not being convenient for The Queen to pitch up and do the business herself.

Reform is on the way?

Speaker Bercow is being urged by many to reform the procedures and processes of Parliament. Unfortunately, the BBC have removed the video of The Approbation of Speaker Bercow – otherwise you would have been able to watch it.  The language and garb of times gone by still prevails – and is slightly surreal to listen to – it may be the last time we will get a chance to see this quaint old ceremony. Reform may be on the way?

Before the BBC removed the Lords video – I got  to see Jack Straw waving his hat about as well – and that was a good thing.

New Commons Speaker John Bercow says he will revive parliament
Guardian: Former rightwinger John Bercow defeats Tory rival in secret ballot and promises reform

Maybe it is time to get rid of the old kit, the pirate hats and red robes?  The judiciary is modernising its garb (although some don’t like the new kit).  The Bar has decided to hang on to their formal dress and wigs; bizarre though they look when they cross modern day Fleet Street in regalia on their way back from Court.  A friend of mine told me of his irritation when a couple of american tourists asked him to stop for a picture.  I’m afraid that I was almost beside myself with laughter at his pompousity when  he told me  and rather huffily he told me that I was a f*****g socialist… so what did I know!

Maybe he’s right.  All the mumbo jumbo, regalia, pageantry is pretty harmless but it doesn’t really seem to suit modern 21st Century Britain and Europe to my jaded eye.

Maybe, as fellow blogger and surrealist, John Bolch of Family Lore suggested, we could have an annual Mumbo Jumbo day and everyone gets to dress up in the clothes of times gone by like Ye Olde Worlde Shakespeare or Dickens nonsense.  Perhaps we could even go and look at it on a bus trip!

Ah well… orf to see a man about a pirate hat and an ermine cloak. Insite Law News, law reports, updates from the blogs is up… if you would care to peruse.

UPDATE: If you want to see what the ravening horde think of Bercow, with some very sharp and cutting analysis by Guido – have a look


Blawg Review #217: A remarkable read…

I’m not a Father… I don’t have children – but this Blawg Review is beautifully written, thoughtful and covers some remarkable issues and life stories.  You don’t need to be a lawyer to enjoy this – but there is, also, a bit of law from the blawgers… of course.

This is a very enjoyable Blawg Review – with good music, good graphics – there is even a picture of Scott Greenfield from Simple Justice in a rather good car… and Colin Samuels, a good friend and fellow writer/blogger, with his young daughter..

I won’t say any more… go and read it… I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Caption Competition Winner…

I am pleased to announce – while I would like everyone to win – that I drank of the wines of the Gods last night and after locking myself away and smoking enough to raise puffs of white smoke through the chimney… there is a winner of my Caption Competition last week ……..

……… and it is John Flood – for valour and his many entries…  I shall be getting in touch with Wildy’s very soon to arrange for the a book to be sent to you, John.

You’ll have to go and look at the many entries… but there were some very good ones including a reference to Caroline Flint

I shall do another one soon… and the prize will be a free #Smokedo lesson with a 30aday Dan Master… Moi!