Postcard from The Staterooms: Tales from Battersea Square edition

Dear Reader,

I live in an apartment on The Thames at Battersea.  Within a 100 yards is Battersea Square – a tree strewn, cobble stoned ‘triangle’ with cafes, a hairdresser, The Battersea Rickshaw (A fine Indian restaurant), Barrio (a bar), a dry cleaning shop and an estate agents.   Being a creature of habit, I have breakfast, invariably falling in the door at 8.00 am (9.00 am on Sundays), at Mazar, a Lebanese cafe bar run by Marlon and his extremely friendly team.  ( I always eat the same breakfast – see my *About* section and smoke Marlboros, drink coffee, read papers and watch the world go by)

I’ve only been living in Battersea since February – but I have met some very amusing people in The Square.  With their blessing, I thought I would write about a few of the people I have met.

First – Alyson Jackson, a designer, who has a shop packed with unusual furniture, lights, rugs, and general ‘curiosities’. Alyson is running a campaign to *Say NO to the new road changes being proposed to Battersea Church Road*.  If you live in the  Battersea Square area – please contact Alyson for further details, if you want further details.  I am always interested in art and anything to do with art.  Alyson was even kind enough to buy one of my absurd F**kART drawings!  I was flattered! I won’t, however, be taking up her habit of jogging past looking athletic and fit.  I do admire those who jog.  I find it easier to get on a bus these days.

I like her shop Mish-Mash – and, if you are looking for unusual furniture, paintings, gift items – why not have a look at her website, or even better – drop in to her shop.  You never know… I may be drinking Lebanese Red in The Square and I would be delighted to meet you should you find yourself down here!   I do not, however, have *opening hours* – so I may or may not be in The Square!

And so… to cricket… and The Lashings World XI.

I enjoy cricket.  I watch it – Test and One Day Internationals. I no longer play it and even when I did, I did so badly as befits a hack player.   I am looking forward to The Ashes.  Long time resident of Battersea Square – he appears to run his business empire from a table outside  at Mazar with his iphone and iPad and a mad dog called Buddy who barks at postmen – is David Folb, who owns Lashings World XI and a nightclub bearing the same name in Kent.

I am talking with David about the possibility of lawyers playing against some of the great legends of cricket – many of whom meet with David regularly at his table outside  at Mazar; including Henry Blofeld, the great cricket commentator, who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday. I’ll say no more at present on this….but the Lashings World XI website will give you a hint at what I am planning in this direction.  It may or may not come off – but if you are a lawyer and are interested in cricket and interested in talking to me about *A Plan*….  please contact me by email and I will call you back.   Have a look around the Lashings website if you are *into cricket*

 

And… you just have to love that logo – which I first saw on the side of a black Range Rover which parked up in The Square when I first arrived.  Wonderful!

 

More on this when I know more - but I am keen to see lawyers take on some serious cricketers.  Who wouldn’t want to bowl out Richie Richardson or knock a legend for SIX?

You may like to scroll down and read up on some law? This being a law blog n that! Or click on link…

Law Review: Troop abuses – Counter terror – Torture – Civil liberties review

So… my life is not just unremitting legal analysis and tilting at windmills….

@SARYAPPLES UPDATE

@Saryapples said she would abseil and she has…. here is the original post… if you wish to support the charity she did it for.

BRAVO!

Have a good week

Best, as ever

Charon

Law Review: Troop abuses – Counter terror – Torture – Civil liberties review

UK troops face 90 new claims of abuse in Iraq

The Observer: A special unit of military investigators and former detectives is to look into complaints of ill-treatment

A specialist team appointed by the government to investigate claims of abuse by British troops in Iraq has received 90 complaints involving 128 Iraqi civilians. The files, relating to allegations between March 2003 and July 2009, have been sent to Geoff White, a former head of Staffordshire CID, who heads the Iraq historic allegations team.

Unpalatable though it may be for some, at a time when men and women are serving in Afghanistan and losing their lives so that we may enjoy security and our freedoms, the investigation into abuse and possible breaches of the Geneva Convention et al  by our troops is essential if we are to operate by the values and mores which we have signed up to and the laws our country operates by.  It may well be that some claims are ill founded or may even be fraudulent – but the investigation must be open and transparent so we can be sure that armed conflict is conducted according to international law.

To those who say that the Human Rights Act is inhibiting our country – please permit me to paraphrase the thoughts of Lord Bingham, a former senior law lord, who asked in response to this issue – which human rights would you like not to have?

MI6 chief: we have nothing to do with torture

Guardian: Sir John Sawers talks of dilemma between protecting Britain and using intelligence drawn from tortured terrorist suspects

“If we know or believe action by us will lead to torture taking place, we’re required by UK and international law to avoid that action, and we do, even though that allows that terrorist activity to go ahead.”

Sir John Sawer, ‘C’, MI6

There are some who say that evidence gained through torture is, in any event, suspect.  I cannot comment on that, but given that these comments are made by men and women who have experience in counter-terror and government, they indicate the dilemma.  Sir John Sawers did admit that it would be wrong not to investigate or use information obtained from other sources where torture may have been deployed.  His concern that the judges are putting secret information at risk in their quest to ensure our country’s compliance with human rights and international law is, however, more questionable.  I cannot imagine that the senior judiciary would wish to see secret operations compromised. Citing the Binyam Mohammed case – where evidence of torture was disclosed -  is  not a fair criticism of the judiciary.  This was information, if I recall correctly, which had already been disclosed in the United States?

The fierce battle behind the scenes for the coalition’s soul

Observer: A raging argument over counterterror laws is putting their commitment to human rights to a crucial test

Andrew Rawnsley, writing in The Observer today, raises a number of important issues.  The article is worth reading in full if you have not had time to do so.

Rawnsley writes: “In the headlines, the thwarting of a transatlantic terror plot. Playing out behind the scenes in Whitehall, a story that the government doesn’t want you to read. An intense internal battle is being waged over how to respond to terrorism without compromising fundamental principles of justice and civil liberties. It is dividing the intelligence services, splitting the cabinet and has left David Cameron and Nick Clegg in a state of alarmed semi-paralysis. It is a big test of the unity of their partnership, their leadership mettle and their willingness to honour the promises they made in opposition.”

The Tories and Lib-Dems in coalition are committed, in theory at least, to repealing some of the more oppressive laws and roll back the undoubted erosion of civil liberties which happened under 13 years of Labour government.  Control orders is one issue.  Detention without trial is another issue.  Jonathan Evans, the Head of MI5,  wants to keep the present 28 day period and control orders.  Interestingly, his predecessor, Dame Eliza Manngham-Buller, was sceptical of control orders and ‘downright hostile to extended detention without charge’

Lord McDonald QC, a former DPP, was asked to review the laws on these and other issues. The review has gone to ministers with the recommendation that control orders should be retained. It proposes that detention without charge should be reduced to 14 days, but with an option for suspects to be put on a further 14 days of “very restricted bail”, which would introduce the control order concept into another part of the law.

Rawnsley notes “The review’s conclusions were supposed to have been made public at the end of September. Then publication was kicked back to the end of October. That is because weeks of fierce internal argument have resulted in deadlock. Lord Macdonald has not changed his views. He recently warned the home secretary that he will write a dissenting report.”

Theresa May, home secretary,  with ‘no history of engaging in the delicate judgments the role demands’ has sided with MI5.

She knows it will be hugely embarrassing for the government if it publishes their recommendations only for Lord Macdonald then to denounce them. Ms May went to Number 10 a fortnight ago for a difficult meeting with David Cameron and Nick Clegg. When she revealed that they had hit this impasse, both men were horrified. David Cameron told the meeting: “We are heading for a fucking car crash.”

Will the Coalition be brave enough to roll back the oppressive laws?  It is a difficult call. Interestingly, the 28 day period has only been activated three times and Rawnsley observes…“In one case, the charges were dropped; in a second, the accused was acquitted on the direction of the judge; in the third, the accused was acquitted by the jury. It is another draconian provision which corrodes Britain’s reputation for justice while offering no palpable advantage in the struggle against terrorism. Even some of the architects of this legislation are repenting. Tony McNulty, security minister in the last government, now says that control orders and 28-day detention should be scrapped.”

***

UPDATE….

Theresa May rebukes Lord Macdonald over control orders intervention

Observer / Guardian: Row comes as Chris Huhne says keeping orders for terror suspects would undermine key British values

The home secretary, Theresa May, today rebuked the man she appointed as the external supervisor of the review of counter-terrorism laws amid reports that David Cameron fears it is heading for a “car crash”.May made it clear that the role of Lord Macdonald, a former director of public prosecutions and now a Liberal Democrat peer, in overseeing the internal Home Office review was restricted to ensuring that it was being done properly, saying decisions on the outcome were for ministers alone.

Possibly not the most sensible statement Theresa May could have made?  We shall see what is in her mind when she makes her opinion known later in the week.

Breaking News: Harriet Harman wins hearts and minds of Scots for election – SINGLE HANDED!!

Harriet Harman rebuked for calling minister ‘a ginger rodent’

Harriet Harman has been rebuked for calling a senior member of the government “a ginger rodent”.

Telegraph

With elections in Scotland coming up fairly soon… it is good to see Harriet Harman QC at her best…. supporting the bullying of *Gingers* and, at the same time, ridiculing Scotland  (Some Scots have Red hair – and the classic pastiche *Jock* hat & wig is modelled above – I am dark brown with a bit of grey at temples!)  by calling Scots Lib-Dem MP Danny Alexander  a *Ginger Rodent*… What is more baffling… she made this speech, I am advised, in SCOTLAND! Oh Dear!

I wonder how the Scots Labour MPs will react to this – let alone Big Eck.  Not her finest hour…. ridiculous!

Leave the humour to the political cartoonist, Luv… political comedian you may be, Harriet… professional comedian … you ain’t!

There is, of course, a degree or irony ….or even extreme ironing… about the possibility that Harriet Harman QC MP *possibly* is not really acting in the spirit of  the very legislation she pushed through Parliament… anyone offended by her *joke* in the workplace?

Equalities Act

In the interest of political balance – given my post on Chancellor Osbore below…. I should really draw your attention to this from The Mail today.  Obviously… I had to modify the screen grab.   I just can’t help myself sometimes.

Breaking: Clocks go back…Osbore says we must suffer a period in the Dark Ages!

Tomorrow night… a dark eve, as the clocks go back and we enter a new *Dark Ages*,  will bring a period of darkness to our sceptred isle…. possibly…. unless, of course, we have The Great Fire of London on 5th November because there are no fire engines to put the usual 200 fires we have in London on Bonfire Night…. OUT!

If you fancy reading a good  analysis of the planned Fire Brigade strike on Guy Fawkes night by Jack of Kent (Lawyer, David Allen Green) … then… have a look… it is incendiary… if you forgive the metaphor.

Breaking: Cameron brings the Neville Chamberlain spirit back to life!

 

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Winston Churchill

 

 

Martin Schulz, the German leader of Europe’s Social Democrat MEPs, the parliament’s second biggest bloc, said Mr Cameron’s promise was “nonsense” and the Prime Minister was “setting himself up for a fall”.

He said: “The negotiations have barely begun – it is not for Mr Cameron to announce their conclusion.”

He added: “The figures he is talking about bear little relation to reality. He is setting himself up for a fall.”

A diplomat from one of EU countries that signed Mr Cameron’s letter predicted that the final deal would be larger than promised. “It will be very difficult to keep at 2.9 per cent with what the parliament is saying,” said the diplomat.

And a European Commission official stressed that Mr Cameron’s guarantee “doesn’t change anything” because legally binding “conciliation” talks continue until Nov 11.

 

Read?

Guest Post: A post from @lesleyalmost

I am a fan of twitter and I like people who try and raise money for charitable causes. We can’t support everything by donating but I am delighted to support this idea!  And @lesleyalmost is fun on twitter.

A *Guest* post from @lesleyalmost

I feel both privilege and pressure to be doing a guest post for Charon QC. I read his blog faithfully and occasionally add a daft comment as is my wont. I then try not to feel inadequate when I see other comments showing fine legal debate on points of law. Charon has an outlook on life that is similar to mine I think. I know I like to listen to the opinions of others, it is always interesting to understand how people form their viewpoints, what has influenced them. I am open to hearing what people say even when I may not agree. Charon does all this with kindness and humour and, I am glad to say, good manners. Manners do make the man…….

So, to the purpose of this guest post. I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want everyone to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on my blog, http://wheniwas8.wordpress.com/

Why do I do this? I do it because I love children. I have three grown-ups of my own and am proud that they are considerate and compassionate individuals. They are my inspiration for the blog. They are not perfect by any means; they are probably the untidiest bunch I have ever seen but I love them. I know my children are lucky to have a comfortable home, easily-fooled parents and access to education. So many children have difficult lives and this is wrong.

I decided last year that I should do my bit; if I have opinions then I should act on them. I had an idea a few years back., just the one……. It started as an idea for a ‘celeb’ type book; celebs would tell me what they wanted to be when they were 8, a book would be compiled and all author profits would go to children’s charities. This was rather a palaver to organise and there are tales of many meetings. I won’t go on, it makes me yawn to think of it but suffice to say this idea, although still there, is on the back-burner After some lateral thinking I came up with the idea of a blog and started mine in April 2010.

I like blogs. I have found many interesting and amusing ones from my roamings on Twitter. I have been educated, amused and sometimes horrified at some of the reporting, musings and rantings that I have stumbled upon. People are warm, laugh-out-loud hilarious and aren’t afraid to show it! My blog is normally light-hearted, sometimes serious. Like everyone else I write from a very personal viewpoint. I have written about my children, the dog, my ‘rules for life’, blood diamonds and my love of Manchester United. I have asked my fellow tweeters for themes to blog on as I like a challenge. One of these ended up being a children’s story about Star Wars, Unicorn and Platypus. I have enjoyed writing every one and hope that this will pique your interest enough to venture over to the blog and take a look?

I understand that my blog needs readers to survive and hopefully prosper. For this to happen I need to post to generate interest and readers for the blog. A blog is a vacuum that depends on visitors to survive; I am conscious that I must put in the effort to achieve my aim. It is probably a good thing that I can type as much as I talk People are very kind and have so far written to me about their donations of over £3000!

The other crucial part to my blog is what everyone tells me about their childhood ambitions. This is the bit that has probably entertained me the most and I am more convinced than ever that we normal peeps are much more exciting than the ‘celebs’ of this world.  I have a few favourite tales of childhood ambition but the one that me made smile the most is from a friend of mine, Joy. Joy wanted to work in the greengrocer shop so that she could do the ‘twirly’ thing with the brown paper bags!!!

So, my plea to you today?

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity.
  • Visit http://wheniwas8.wordpress.com/ and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

My thanks to Charon, you lovely man

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

PS – Is it only me who starts humming My Sharona by the Knack when they think of CharonQC? Oops!

CHILD BENEFIT LATEST!: Fair’s fair in Coalition tax fuck-ups!

Child Benefit Cut ‘Unenforceable,’ Treasury in a Flap

It seems there is a bit of a ‘flap’ on…..  tax law is difficult…. and so, it would appear, is government!  The devil is in the detail…. but have no fear… Beaker will ride to the rescue and make a “Renouncement” ?

The Wall Street Journal reports… “The government is struggling to find a way of making George Osborne’s plans to remove child benefit from those paying 40% tax work.

A Treasury source says the policy is “unenforceable” and likely to be ditched before its scheduled introduction in 2013. Another source at the heart of government says the expectation is that it will eventually not happen. Elsewhere I hear that it is “panic stations in the Treasury.”

At root is a problem that should have been apparent to those designing the policy, if detailed advice had been sought from civil servants before it was announced at Conservative party conference.

Child benefit is generally paid to the mother. She is under no legal obligation to tell the father that she receives it. The Treasury confirms this. It is her benefit. The father’s tax status is irrelevant. If a mother claims it there is nothing forcing her to flag up to the taxman that her husband earns above the level that Osborne stipulates should mean no child benefit.

Indeed, the child benefit was designed with the express purpose of keeping the cash away from men.

Judge Judge judges…. True story!

Kenneth Clarke and Lord Judge: a plain-speaking verdict on life after cuts

Joshua Rozenberg in The Guardian: Lord chancellor and lord chief justice share a talent for bluntness, but who is the most realistic about how the deficit will affect the legal system?

I’ve had a busy week – but this article by Rozenberg is worth a read.  I did catch the TV footage of Lord Judge appearing before he Commons justice committee.  He was excellent. Truth speaks to power! Mind you… easier if one happens to be Lord Chief Justice, I suspect…..

Lawcast 169: Prisoner votes – An analysis of Hirst and Frodl with Carl Gardner

Coalition in the dock over prisoner voting
Last week Joshua Rozenberg, writing in The Guardian, stated.. “The government can equivocate no longer, it is legally obliged to remove the blanket ban on voting behind bars…”
Will the Coalition government have a more refined taste for human rights than the last Labour government which declined to comply with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (or dragged a lot of feet to cover all bases)?  Joshua Rozenberg observes:  “To some extent, its hands are tied. Five years have passed since the European court of human rights decided that the general, automatic and indiscriminate restriction on voting by convicted prisoners was a breach of the human rights convention”

“The Prison Reform Trust submitted that the disenfranchisement of sentenced prisoners was a relic from the nineteenth century which dated back to the Forfeiture Act 1870, the origins of which were rooted in a notion of civic death. It argued that social exclusion was a major cause of crime and reoffending, and that the ban on voting militated against ideas of rehabilitation and civic responsibility by further excluding those already on the margins of society and further isolating them from the communities to which they would return on release. It neither deterred crime nor acted as an appropriate punishment.”

Today I am talking to ex-government lawyer Carl Gardner about the ‘Votes for Prisoners’ issue and two key cases on the matter United Kingdom v Hirst and the Frodl decision

Listen to the podcast

I covered this issue in a guest post by John Hirst – which generated a lively discussion.

If you wish to comment on this podcast – please do so – but NOT here. Please do so in the comments section for the original post. This will enable all the comments on the issue to be kept in one place.  (Please TRY to post on the main prisoner vote (link above)  post, as I can’t transfer them without doing so manually!))

***

Caselaw considered

CASE OF HIRST v. THE UNITED KINGDOM (No. 2)

FRODL

Law Review: Torture and War – shall we sweep it under the carpet?

We wear red poppies to honour those who gave their lives and who serve in our forces so that we can enjoy a degree of freedom – and, rightly so.  Men and women serving in the forces today are risking their lives to protect our national interests, political and economic.  Most, play by the rules of war and the Geneva Convention to which we are signatories.  Some, however, do not.  Are we to sweep this under the carpet?  Are we to pretend it did not happen?  Are we to rage against Wikileaks as some US commentators are doing?  Do we want to see Wikileaks proscribed by the Americans so they can take the site down and regard Assange as a ‘hostile’ and use ‘non-judicial’ methods to ‘take him down’ – and for that read ‘assassination’?

Four stories from the Press today provide much food for thought….

Humiliate, strip, threaten: UK military interrogation manuals discovered

Guardian Exclusive: Methods devised in secret in recent years may breach international law

Iraq war logs: These crimes were not secret, they were tolerated

Guardian: Why did we not investigate allegations of murder and torture in Iraq at the time, when it was well known what was going on?

Fox News editorial: WikiLeaks employees should be declared ‘enemy combatants’

Leading the attack on whistleblower web site WikiLeaks, Fox News editorialist and former Bush-era US State Department official Christian Whiton said on Monday that the US should classify the proprietors of WikiLeaks as “enemy combatants,” opening up the possibility of “non-judicial actions” against them.

Read more…

Iraq war logs: Apache attack’s child victims speak out

Guardian: Cockpit video of gunship attack that killed 19 and gravely injured two children was first major leak of Iraq war material

I watched most of this video.  It was quite a shock – the brutality of war made stark. Again, I cannot help but put the point – if there are rules for war, we should observe them, even though others may not.  I also pose the question – If it is war, why are there rules? Is the maxim ‘All is fair in love and war’ right?

In the film you will hear soldiers on the helicopter which machine gunned 19 people say of a child injured ‘It is their fault for bringing children into a war zone.’  It transpired that the driver of van ‘taken out’ by the gunship was merely trying to help.  The occupants were not combatants.  They were doing what many would do – seeing if they could provide assistance. I could see no evidence of the occupants of the van carrying weapons.  All I saw was a wounded man being rescued.  The machine gunner on the gunship must have seen what we can see on the film.  They ‘took the van out’  Two young children were badly injured.

We would not have seen this film, of course, but for Wikileaks.

Rules of War…rule of law?

Postcard From The Staterooms: CSR edition

Dear Reader,

It just becomes more surreal.  Not that I am complaining – a most amusing week.  Politicians explained the Comprehensive Spending Review – Beaker was filmed doing an interview (Above) with members of the public/activists… whatever…exercising their right to express their views, and twitter broke down, predictably, on tribal lines to debate the merits/demerits of the Coalition Government’s plan to *Wreck Britain/Save Britain* (You choose).  Cameron announced that a second aircraft carrier would be built after all – largely because it was too expensive to cancel – but there would be no planes to put on it because it now appears that General Dannatt and others think that aircraft carriers are too vulnerable and we don’t actually need them.   Then HMS Astute, a new hunter killer submarine, went aground during tests in the the waters off the Isle of Skye.  The good news is,  as we are not fighting the Russians in the plains of Germany, we have to plan what to do with 20,000 troops and 350+ tanks etc in Germany.  I would imagine that the Germans will be happy to see us leave?  A Russian submarine, however, was sighted 70 miles off the coast of Britain – but we couldn’t see it, because our Nimrods are being scrapped…and there is talk of the perfidious French helping to guard our shores – prompting inevitable comment about Trafalgar, Waterloo, Vichy France and general and sundry ‘surrender monkeying’.

And so… to other matters…

We don’t bribe people in Britain… well…. sometimes we may have done… when it comes to consolidating arrangements with foreign regimes in the the Middle East who buy a lot of arms from us.  And.. there is a new Bribery Act which is keeping City Co-Co lawyers busy and angst ridden in terms of what advice they can give to their corporate clients.  We want to host the World Cup soon…. possibly to ensure that we actually qualify for the first round. It appears that FIFA officials have been taking bribes.. who would have thought such a thing possible?  This week we have seen *Shrek Wreck*….. a saga of a rather thick footballer with a predilection for shagging grannies and tarts, apparently,…. posturing with the aid of his agent and, this very morning… pictured in the tabloid press grinning away with his new title of the World’s most expensive footballer on £250,000 a week. This is good news for The Treasury.  As Mr Rooney is widely believed to have enough difficulties with English – according to the popular press commenters – it is unlikely that he will be found doing a bit of tax-exiling in Monaco or other exotic parts where *foreign* is spoken. It does seem rather obscene that a footballer can earn so much, yet do so little for the England Team…I suspect that some of his fans, who may well be suffering real hardship soon.. may find the earnings a bit excessive? Hey.. what do I know..? I know nothing about football..and don’t actually care what he does or earns.

Expenses: police urged to reopen prosecution into Baroness Uddin

Telegraph: Police have been urged to reopen a prosecution into the expenses cheat peer who was this week suspended from the House of Lords after illegitimately claiming £125,000 in parliamentary allowances.

I was listening to Radio 4 recently where sundry Lords were explaining – rather earnestly – that The House of Lords had to restore credibility with the cap-doffing, forelock tugging, public.  The House of Lords, in my opinion, is an outmoded ‘form’  for the 21st Century and with one peer currently being prosecuted for fraud: Lord Taylor – and three peers being suspended this week, including the truly astonishing Baroness Uddin (quite apart from star jailbird performers from a bygone era,  Lords Archer and Conrad Black) the percentage of dodgy peers to ‘good peers’ seems to be growing.  Time to get rid of the whole shooting match, including the rather absurd titles, and replace it with a second Chamber where *grandeur*   is not part of the realpolitik of government.  I have no problem with the good peers putting themselves up for election.  There is, without question, a great deal of talent in the Lords.

And..finally… I invited John Hirst, aka Jailhouselawyer, to do a guest post on prisoner votes.  It has generated a lot of heat and a fair bit of light.  Tomorrow, I am doing a podcast with Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog, on this issue.  The Law is the Law – politics and sentiment, a quite separate issue.

Finally… been a long day…. the only cleb I follow on twitter…. at least he engages and I am enjoying his book!

and if you fancy an amusing article with a serious point … here is one from @suzannemoore197

 

Have a good one

Best, as always

Charon

Rive Gauche: HMS Astute runs agrind and Abseiling tweeterers!

Submarine runs aground off Scotland

Guardian: No reports of injuries or environmental damage as HMS Astute runs aground off Isle of Skye

It is Friday and I felt like doing a quick  *Rive Gauche* post.  It is unfortunate indeed that a submarine named *Astute* has gone aground.

It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I draw your attention to a fellow tweeterer @Saryapples – who is going to abseil off a very high hotel!  If you would like to donate a modest sum (Even a £1 helps) you may do so here!

 

This is what Sarah says!:

So Rebecca & I have decided to jump off the 12th floor of a hotel in Newcastle!  Abseilling from the roof of the Vermont Hotel….. and we’ll be dressed in a suitably Halloweeny fashion… costumes to be confirmed!

I know that we all receive a lot of these requests… but even £1 would be SO gratefully received. The Stroke Assocoation does amazing work, for a condition that will sadly touch us all at some point -every year an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke.I can guarantee that the photos we’ll post after the event will be worth your sponsership alone! :)

Thank you for taking the time to visit our JustGiving page !!

You may donate here if you wish to

Random musing while drinking Rioja – Cameron employs *Patriots* to advise him on business!

I was amused by the recent edition of Private Eye (15 October) which began…

DAVID “We’re all in this together” Cameron has chosen a patriotic bunch to sit on his “business council”

The Eye article then stated that Martin Sorrell of advertising group WPP has moved his company offshore to avoid tax. Paul Walsh of drinks company Diageo has threatened to do the same. … and, of course, Sir Philip Green…giver of advice to governments on cuts and waste, has arrangements with his wife in Monaco.
All this is, of course, within the rules…. but it is ironic when the mantra of the day is “We’re all in it together”…. when, so obviously, we are not quite ALL in it together.  There are, of course, many millionaires in the current Cabinet..and it would appear a fair few millionaires or potential millionaires (when their books come out) in the Shadow Cabinet.

I don’t have any problem with businessmen and women making money – they are the lifeblood of our country – and the small businesses do also add up to employ a substantial number of people.  I just wish they would call a spade a spade.  I believe that a fair few entrepreneurs like Alan Sugar and Duncan Bannatyne (who I have been a bit caustic about recently on another matter which has, thankfully, blown over) prefer to stay here!  Full marks to them.

I hope the private sector can mop up the public sector redundancies.  There will be a fair number of talented people – so there are genuine opportunities to attract good talent?

Law Review: Saudi prince not above our law

Justice, even for princes

Guardian: Britain’s conviction of a Saudi prince for the murder of his servant has inspired Saudi Arabians longing for impartial justice

Excellent article – written by a Saudi.

Prince Saud’s conviction gives all of us some hope that one day our people will enjoy a modern court system that sees no difference between a prince and a pauper. I am hoping that Britain might export its brand of justice to our country to help modernise our medieval judiciary. That is undeniably a better and more useful export to our people than any sales of fighter planes.

Law Review: Pre-Nups in Family Law cases

Not being a family lawyer, and having absolutely no plans to ever marry again now that I am deliriously single  (My ex and I are good friends), I rarely take any interest in family law cases – leaving that to my friends over At Pink Tape, Family Lore and The Divorce Manual (Now Researching Reform)

The extensive  judgment of The Supreme Court to my eyes, therefore, can be summed up in this way:  “Fudge: Pre-nups are OK if we think they are OK but it is for Parliament to settle the matter.”

Read judgment

German heiress wins legal battle over pre-nuptial agreement

Katrin Radmacher, a German heiress, has won a Supreme Court case over her divorce which gives new status to pre-nuptial agreements.

The Telegraph reports: By a majority of eight to one, the justices dismissed the ex-husband’s appeal, saying that following their ruling “it will be natural to infer that parties entering into agreements will intend that effect be given to them”.

The justices said they agreed with the Court of Appeal that in the right case a pre-nup agreement can have decisive or compelling weight.

Lord Phillips, president of the Supreme Court, said the courts would still have the discretion to waive any pre-nup or post-nup agreement, especially when it was unfair to any children of the marriage.

I cannot, for the life of me see, in the 21st century, what business it is of the State or the judges to decide upon matters of divorce between consenting adults.  I have no problem at all in the State intervening to ensure that children are looked after – because if the parents can’t do it humanely and sensibly it is only right that the state shoud step in.

For my part – marriage is a relationship and just as with any relationship, if the parties wish to have a degree of formality, can be subject to the law of contract.  This is what a pre-nuptial agreement is.  And for those who are concerned that this may be unfair because a wife or husband is pressured into it – the Law of Contract does provide relief by way of Duress and undue influence.  Arrangements between consenting adults in the modern day should, if they wish it to be so, be regulated by the law of contract and not the idiosyncrasies of the values of a bygone era.

It will be interesting to see how many carpetbaggers, WAGS and Heat magazine readers will be marrying should pre-nuptial agreements gain more judicial favour.   Marrying for money may not be quite such a sensible deal in future if the pre-nup is drafted properly?!

Law Review: Alex Aldridge – political point scoring is no way to reform financial regulation

Dear chancellor, political point scoring is no way to reform financial regulation

Alex Aldridge in the Guardian: George Osborne’s merger plans for the Financial Services Authority and Bank of England are no safeguard against future economic crises

“Shuffling the deckchairs” is the phrase that invariably crops up when you talk to City lawyers about the imminent overhaul of the UK’s framework of financial regulation.

George Osborne‘s view is that separating the Financial Services Authority from the Bank of England was central to the 2008 global economic meltdown. Few agree. Certainly, the chancellor’s plan to effectively merge the FSA and the Bank, and then stick what’s left over into a mixture of existing and new bodies, is no safeguard against future economic crises.