A wander ‘abite’ the legal and political web with a glass of decent claret

I have dreams… we all do…and some as surreal as this rather fine print which I found on the net: ‘The Barrister’s Dream’ by Henry Holiday.

With little enthusiasm for television or much else tonight after a frustrating day dealing with the admin of life and people not doing what they promised to do, I poured a glass of a decent claret and wandered about on the web…. which is always a pleasure….

I have tired of the armchair Egyptologists on Twitter……. Muttley Dastardly LLP seem to have the right idea: Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 14): Operation Pharaoh – Positioning for the new Egypt – but I did enjoy Canadian lawyer Antonin Probetic’s analysis: A Few “Burning Questions” About The Egyptian Revolt

Before you go off to have a look at some of my ‘finds’ in the great electronic archeological matrix, I thought I would let you know that I was thinking about the four stages of life according to Hinduism late last night.  The Fourth  Stage – the ascetic stage – requires an older person to live a life apart, reclusive and ascetic.  This appeals to me – but I would need wifi…and a purveyor of wine, cigarettes and decent food within a reasonable distance of a few miles or so. I didn’t fancy the holy bit either,  being an atheist.  The hut would not worry me.    I lived under canvas for some time in my ‘yoof’ in Africa.  I don’t suppose  I would be allowed to shoot my food or use explosives to arrange fish supplies though.  I may have to continue in Battersea Square a while yet…. but, reclusively, save for a morning visit to Mazar for breakfast, as I do.

The internet can be a dangerous place…especially when it comes to recording the detail and minutiae of our daily lives. When it comes to a legal requirement to store information for years, modern technology can be a very dangerous thing…

//

News International finds ‘lost’ emails that could provide evidence in phone-hacking case

A “lost” hoard of emails sent by senior executives in Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire at the height of the phone-hacking scandal has been found, The Independent has learnt…..

It would be funny… if it wasn’t so funny…. and, it may not  have been just the ‘Axis of Evil Murdoch Empire’ at it….Loveandgarbage has a very interesting letter to The Observer which is worth a read: Correspondence to Readers’ Editor of The Observer regarding Operation Motorman

I had the pleasure last year of interviewing Tom Kilroy, GC at a leading software house, for a series of podcasts.  He has appeared on twitter and has a new blog…and he has rather an interesting blog post: If your GC reports to the CFO, your company doesn’t understand what Legal does

Listen to the podcast Life as an in-house lawyer and how to get ahead with Tom Kilroy -  one I particularly enjoyed doing

And… while I am on the topic of General Counsel or in-house lawyers The Bizzle has this most enjoyable post: What lawyers can learn from call centres

What today’s charter of workers’ rights looks like

The Guardian: Vince Cable should be ashamed of his ‘employer’s charter’, which incites bosses to take advantage of workers’ vulnerability

An Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and a woman were called to the Bar…

“That, more or less, is that starting point of BBC 4′s documentary, The Highest Court in the Land: Justice Makers, available on the iPlayer until the 7th of February. The piece is structured around interviews with, domestic footage following and court shorts showing  four Justices of the United Kingdom Supreme Court at work. It’s certainly worth seeing…. ” an excellent review from Lallands Peat Worrier

Law Review: Responsible reporting – Open justice and the need for restraint – MPs want to ban naming of suspects

The UKSC blog addresses the issue of responsible reporting which I commented on the other day.  It is a cause for concern.

The UKSC Blog: Coverage of Yemshaw judgment raises questions of responsible legal reporting

MPs want to ban the naming of suspects to avoid media feeding frenzies

The Guardian: Bad press behaviour leads inevitably to politicians pushing for laws to curb press freedom. The flouting of the law of contempt (in the Joanna Yeates murder case, for example) has had an inevitable result.

As the attorney-general stood back from the last feeding frenzy of the tabloid and other sharks in the Yeates case – but now supports this action by MPs,  I suppose the best that can be said is,  better late than never.  Freedom of speech comes at a price where issues of a fair trial are concerned.  I would rather have the fair trial.  Comment (and newspaper and media profits will just have to wait until the jury or magistrates apply due process.

An interesting clarification of open justice and the need for restraint from the Court of Appeal in JIH – and – NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LIMITED [2011] EWCA Civ 42

The Master of The Rolls

Open justice and the need for restraint

19. The cardinal importance of open justice is demonstrated by what is stated in Article 6 of the Convention. But it has long been a feature of the common law. It was famously articulated in the speeches in Scott v Scott [1913] AC 417 – see particularly at [1913] AC 417, 438, 463 and 477, per Lord Haldane LC, Lord Atkinson, and Lord Shaw of Dunfermline respectively. The point was perhaps most pithily made by Lord Atkinson when he said “in public trial is to be found, on the whole, the best security for the pure, impartial, and efficient administration of justice, the best means for winning for it public confidence and respect.” For a more recent affirmation of the principle, see R(Binyam Mohamed) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2010] EWCA Civ 65, paras 38-42, per Lord Judge CJ.

20. However, as with almost all fundamental principles, the open justice rule is not absolute: as is clear from Article 6, there will be individual cases, even types of cases, where it has to be qualified. In a case involving the grant of an injunction to restrain the publication of allegedly private information, it is, as I have indicated, rightly common ground that, where the court concludes that it is right to grant an injunction (whether on an interim or final basis) restraining the publication of private information, the court may then have to consider how far it is necessary to impose restrictions on the reporting of the proceedings in order not to deprive the injunction of its effect.

21. In a case such as this, where the protection sought by the claimant is an anonymity order or other restraint on publication of details of a case which are normally in the public domain, certain principles were identified by the Judge, and which, together with principles contained in valuable written observations to which I have referred, I would summarise as follows:

(1) The general rule is that the names of the parties to an action are included in orders and judgments of the court.

(2) There is no general exception for cases where private matters are in issue.

(3) An order for anonymity or any other order restraining the publication of the normally reportable details of a case is a derogation from the principle of open justice and an interference with the Article 10 rights of the public at large.

(4) Accordingly, where the court is asked to make any such order, it should only do so after closely scrutinising the application, and considering whether a degree of restraint on publication is necessary, and, if it is, whether there is any less restrictive or more acceptable alternative than that which is sought.

(5) Where the court is asked to restrain the publication of the names of the parties and/or the subject matter of the claim, on the ground that such restraint is necessary under Article 8, the question is whether there is sufficient general, public interest in publishing a report of the proceedings which identifies a party and/or the normally reportable details to justify any resulting curtailment of his right and his family’s right to respect for their private and family life.

(6) On any such application, no special treatment should be accorded to public figures or celebrities: in principle, they are entitled to the same protection as others, no more and no less.

(7) An order for anonymity or for reporting restrictions should not be made simply because the parties consent: parties cannot waive the rights of the public.

(8) An anonymity order or any other order restraining publication made by a Judge at an interlocutory stage of an injunction application does not last for the duration of the proceedings but must be reviewed at the return date.

(9) Whether or not an anonymity order or an order restraining publication of normally reportable details is made, then, at least where a judgment is or would normally be given, a publicly available judgment should normally be given, and a copy of the consequential court order should also be publicly available, although some editing of the judgment or order may be necessary.

(10) Notice of any hearing should be given to the defendant unless there is a good reason not to do so, in which case the court should be told of the absence of notice and the reason for it, and should be satisfied that the reason is a good one.

Muttley Dastardly LLP (Episode 14): Operation Pharaoh – Positioning for the new Egypt

TOP SECRET / PARTNERS ONLY

BRIEFING PAPER

From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Partner, Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops


RE: OPERATION PHARAOH – POSITIONING LEGAL SERVICES IN THE NEW EGYPT

1.  In the wake of events unfolding in Egypt in the last week, from intelligence received from the many, varied and newly minted Egyptologists now broadcasting their views, opinions and thoughts about developments in Egypt on Twitter, I have employed a specialist in information dissimulation and he will be deployed ‘undercover on our behalf’ (Pictured right)  to offer advice to US and UK law firms in London  on the opportunities available to lawyers in what may well turn out to be a new Egypt.  The reasoning behind this deployment is straightforward: The less well informed other law firms are about Egypt, the more likely our own offerings to the Government of Egypt, however constituted, will, be.   We have been fortunate in being able to take advice from an ex-television station reporter  on the traits, knowledge and, most importantly, the dress effected by expert media Egyptologists,  to ensure that managing partners of London firms will feel ‘comfortable’ with their decision to take advice from our operative on matters relating to Egypt. At the moment, we are calling our operative Jamie Ramses; the ‘Jamie’ element providing the right class note and, ‘Ramses’ providing that subtle  Egypt credibility touch.

2.  At this stage, our Psyops unit has not been able to determine (a) whether President Hosni Mubarak will be turning up in Knightsbridge to open a department store with the $25 Billion he is reputed,  by the United Kingdom  free Press,  to have salted away or (b) will continue to govern.  Curiously, not even the United States State Department or, indeed, our own Foreign & Commonwealth Office, were able to give any guidance on this – although The Foreign Office spokesperson at their outsourced call centre in India, who had a very curious nasal Yorkshire accent, did tell us that the prime minister said it was not in anyone’s interest that people are being killed in Egypt ( which they discovered via @Piersmorgan on twitter – a verified personage) and that we should not travel to Egypt unless it was absolutely necessary for us to do so to interfere in the sovereign affairs of an emerging democracy.

3.  Partners may find some comfort, in terms of our dealings with US law firm competitors here in London, that our cousins across the seas do not have a particularly strong grasp of geography according to a Fox News map from 2009 – so we shall do all we can to encourage our competitors to go to Egypt, as depicted on this map, so they can enjoy a warm welcome from the Iraqis. While I appreciate that Partners will be well aware of Egypt’s geographical location, I do like to leaven my Briefing Papers with a bit of light relief,  and the Fox News map is pictured below.  It may be a hoax net post, of course, but I hope that some of our competitors will accept the provenance.

4.  Events continue to unfold.  I don’t think we will see, however, a repeat of the British Government response to The Suez Crisis in 1956.  That would be too much to hope for.  I shall keep you informed

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

***

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Just Go Direct

Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
for free expert compensation advice.

Laziness, ignorance of the law, manipulation for political purpose or intellectual deficiency? – Modern law reporting …

I wonder sometimes whether it is laziness, ignorance of the law, manipulation of information for a political purpose or intellectual deficiency, or perhaps a combination of the four, which leads to poor reporting of law in the media.

The King’s Speech is said to be a remarkable film.  That it contains several historical inaccuracies – perhaps not to the point that the only accurate piece of information being that George VI was King, matters not in a drama…or does it?  Christopher Hitchens argues, in times where knowledge of history for many is at best sketchy, that films of this calibre may well distort popular perception of history. I’m happy (up to a point)  to let drama be drama and accept that most seeing the film will understand that it is drama.

The same distortion of perception of law and legal events is arguably true of the power of media in the reporting of law and legal events.

Unfortunately for the media, in the matter of law, if we are to have a credible rule of law of any meaning, it is important that law and legal events, judgments and the like, are reported accurately and fairly. One could add to this the old fashioned concept of responsible reporting.  The disgraceful coverage of the Yeates murder case and the smearing of the reputation of the landlord – who, presumably, will be cleared and released from police bail soon, given that the police have found another suspect to arrest? – is illustrative of a creeping modern trend.

It is bad enough when journalists, many without any formal legal training, misreport on the law – but when weight is added by so called pundits and experts to an erroneous report, the offence to accurate and fair reporting is compounded. When those experts are lawyers – it is, frankly, unacceptable.

Nearly Legal has a fascinating post on this very issue – and I encourage and urge you to read it in full.

On the naughty step – a bag of wind

Nearly Legal has deployed ‘The Naughty Step’ for conduct following on from The Daily Mail’s report on the Supreme Court decision in Yemshaw v LB Hounslow. I agree with Nearly Legal’s dry summation that few would regard the Daily Mail as a newspaper of record…and certainly not for legal matters. The Daily Mail carried the story under the headline:  “Shout at your spouse and risk losing your home: It’s just the same as domestic violence, warns woman judge“.

Nearly Legal puts it very neatly….

“….you may be surprised to learn that it is not the Mail on the naughty step (or perhaps the Mail should be considered to always have been on the step). The Mail is of course a cynical, amoral panderer to a certain petit bourgeois weltanshauung, but it is frankly a bit gauche to be surprised by the depths to which Paul Dacre’s organ will stoop.

No, for the person to be put on the step, we must look to the surprising fact that in its article on Yemshaw the Mail managed to find a supportive quote from a ‘Family Law Expert’, who said:

The judiciary are taking the Humpty Dumpty view, and it risks undermining confidence in the legal system

Nearly Legal notes: [Update: The excellent  UK Human Rights blog has picked up on this post and drawn it together with its own criticisms of reporting of human rights cases - a thoughtful and interesting post. They include a link to the Press Complaints Commission form. What a good idea, and here it is.]

Please do read the rest. Hopefully ‘legal experts’ will keep to their own sphere of expertise, assuming they have any in the first place, before….pronouncing.  I think it best that legal experts themselves do not take a Humpty Dumpty view…lest they undermine faith in the legal system.

In the meantime, of course….. I shall continue to parody through Muttley Dastardly LLP …when I think it appropriate to do so… but that is parody... not legal expertise.

Postcard From The Staterooms: Judicial edition!

Regular readers will know that I try to write once a week from The Staterooms… a more relaxed review of the week than the more clinical Law Reviews I trot out during the working week.

While Twitter was ablaze with newly minted  Egyptian experts last night… and even this morning at 5.30 am when I got up, I spent an amusing half hour reading The Sun online… more of which later… but so profound was the effect on me of reading about Jordan and her cross-dressing cagefighter ex-husband and sundry other showbiz celebs, I decided to make myself some asparagus steamed with molten butter and garlic salt poured over them to add to the pleasure.  I then decided it would be an amusing idea to pour some Gordon’s gin into my mango juice.  I don’t tend to drink at breakfast, but I do remember the late great Sir John Mortimer QC telling my law students some years ago that a glass of champagne at 6.30 am daily…  did remarkable things for the mood.  The gin and mango juice did the business..and after faffing around on twitter for a while I enjoyed a long walk down the Thames tow path, and went back to World’s End for a coffee… passing the boat I used to live on at the moorings at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea by Battersea Bridge – hence the nautical flavour of the postcard header  above.

The boats are pictured here at low tide.  When the tide came in, there was much rocking and wine bottles on the table had to be picked up and secured when the suction from the hull in the mud broke free suddenly from the force of the incoming tide.

I thought that part of my postcard this week should have a judicial theme….

First up..an interesting post from John Bolch at Family Lore on the work of Mr Justice Charles, the Family Division’s most appealed judge, apparently.

I quote from John’s excellent blog post – the full post is well worth reading:

Joshua Rosenberg has pointed out the Court of Appeal’s criticisms of Mr Justice Charles, who is apparently “the most appealed-against judge in the High Court Family Division and the one whose judgments are overturned the most”. Lord Justice Wilson said that he had spent days trying to understand the 484-paragraph judgment delivered by Mr Justice Charles, and quoted barrister Ashley Murray who had said in Family Law:

“There are certain challenges each of us should attempt in our lifetime and for most these involve a particular jump, a mountain climb, etc. Akin to these in the legal world would be reading from first to last a judgment of Mr Justice Charles.”
To which Lord Justice Wilson commented: “Mr Murray’s introductory sentences were witty and brave. In respect at any rate of the judgment in the present case, they were also, I am sorry to say, apposite.” Excellent stuff.

And then a wonderful story from The Sun…

A JUDGE let rip at “soft” Britain yesterday after he was unable to jail a burglar caught red-handed.

Seething Judge Julian Lambert hit the roof over sentencing guidelines he claimed left him hamstrung.

He said of a probation report that reflected guidance that the raider should go free: “I’ve never seen anything so wet in all my life – 80 hours community work for burgling someone’s house.”

The judge told Daniel Rogers, 25: “I very much regret sentencing guidelines which say I should not send you straight to prison. We live in soft times now.”

…. He then TRIPLED the amount of community work to 240 hours, slapped a six-month CURFEW on the crook and imposed an 18-month SUPERVISION order.

Rogers was caught trying to raid a Bristol house by the man who lived there.

Judge Lambert told him at Bristol Crown Court, where he admitted burglary: “You’ve got the lot. It may be easier for you to do the time.”

But… it is not just The Sun with the judicial stories. The Times got in on the action with no less a personage than Lord David Pannick QC having a pop at the judge who recently disgraced herself when up before the magistrates herself….

How temper tantrums and loss of judgment can dog a legal career

Lord Pannick QC writes…behind The Times paywall... but I have succumbed and subscribed…I missed The Times columnists and it isn’t that expensive even though I also buy the paper edition.

Last month a circuit judge, Beatrice Bolton, swore and stormed out of Carlisle Magistrates’ Court after being convicted of failing to control her alsatian.

It had attacked a neighbour’s sunbathing son, biting him on the leg. The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, who are now considering Bolton’s future on the Bench, should make sure that her new year’s resolution — “I will never sit in a court of law again” — is fulfilled.

Bolton, who sits at Newcastle Crown Court, walked out of the magistrates’ court when the verdict was announced, shouting: “I’m going. It’s a f***ing travesty”.

Moving away from the judges… I did enjoy this article from Joshua Rozenburg in The Guardian…..

DPP’s power to block war crimes arrests is in the public interest

Critics who allege that arrest decisions would be liable to political interference are deliberately misunderstanding the case

While it may appeal to Richard Dawkins and others to arrest Popes when they visit here… or Israeli government officials.. or, indeed anyone who can come within the definition of a war criminal….some would say, the odd president of the United States, former British prime ministers returning from important business counting their lecturing fees etc etc etc.. it does seem to me, at 6.35 pm on a lazy Saturday evening, a glass of Rioja to my left, that the ability to prosecute such matters should be placed in the hands of the DPP rather than left to sundry libertarians etc etc  to issue proceedings before a magistrate to obtain an arrest warrant… Rozenburg noting…“a warrant may be obtained by a private prosecutor on little more than a bare allegation that a named individual is guilty of an offence under English law.”.

The Guardian covers the story: “The director of public prosecutions has disclosed how he proposes to use unique new powers enabling him to block the arrest of visiting foreigners accused of war crimes abroad….. “

And… while Egypt blazes…according to The Sun…they did have time, today, to scream…

NEARLY 2,000 jailed thugs and perverts will get the vote under the latest Government plans, it has emerged.

I really do think that it is time for the government to implement the ECHR judgments and move on.  The alternative is that we come out of the European Convention or seek amendments. It would be rather ironic, given that British lawyers after WWII were instrumental in drafting the European Convention,  for us to say now that we don’t actually want to abide by it.

On that note… have a good weekend and a good week to come.

Best, as always

Charon

Rive Gauche: Legal Ombudsman – ‘Unaccountable and unelected judges’ – Cancel passports – Rollonfriday takes pop at CofL

It sometimes takes me by surprise how quickly Fridays come round – so time for another look from left field from Rive Gauche.

 

Ombudsman refers complaint to CCRC over fear that poor work led to wrongful conviction

This, from Legal Futures, did interest me… “The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has passed a complaint to the Criminal Cases Review Commission after a solicitor and a barrister’s errors potentially led to a man’s conviction for theft, in one of 365 cases that the service has informally resolved so far, it has emerged.” Well worth a read.

RollonFriday continues to remind its readers about the high salary being taken by College of Law supremo, Nigel Savage, while covering a story on The College of Law’s new two year law degree programme:

“A spokeswoman for the CoL told RollOnFriday that the eye-watering cost hadn’t yet been finalised, but would be “up to £9,000 per year“. She justified this on the basis that students would get 11 hours a week of “face to face teaching” (and definitely not the need to pay its Chief Exec the thick end of half a million quid a year).  More….

On the subject of the two year law degree, which I have offered a view on in an earlier post [Law Review: College of Law to offer two year law degree] -  Alex Aldridge writes : Students weigh up the two-year law degree

British terror suspects banned from returning to UK

In the wake of re-branding Control Orders to TPIMs – which even Rumpelstiltskin couldn’t arrange for anyone to spin into golden PR for Clegg, the government has come up with another wheeze.  When undesirables leave the country (hopefully MI5 will let the government know) the government will cancel their passports and refuse to let them back in.

The Guardian reports: Lawyers condemn increased use of deprivation of citizenship orders, as eight people are served notices while out of the country

With apologies to the silks pictured above.  They were not on a Tunisian style democracy protest march.  I suspect they were on their way to breakfast.  But… it was such a good picture I really could not stop myself!

The UKSC Blog has a fascinating post on…

Do ‘unaccountable and unelected’ judges have too much power?

Legal Week picked it up… and well worth a read…even on a Friday afternoon.

Michael Howard, the former leader of the Conservative Party, this week claimed that “more and more decisions are being made by unaccountable judges”. Essentially making the ‘green light’ argument that judicial intereference with politicians’ decisions should be limited in scope, Lord Howard said: “Judges are unaccountable and unelected and ought to be very reluctant indeed to set aside decisions of this kind”. He was speaking as a group of local authorities were launching a High Court challenge against the Government’s controversial decision to axe Labour’s multibillion-pound Building Schools for the Future secondary school rebuilding scheme.

 

Hat Tip to RollonFriday for publicising this: One-off gig to raise money for the Queensland Flood Relief Benefit – LexisNexis have organised a gig this Sunday, 30 January, to raise funds for all those who’ve been affected by the severe flooding in Australia. Details…

Vince Cable, after a tour de farce on Strictly Come Dancing has taken up stand up comedy. His joke about bankers and skid marks on the road is unlikely to attract any employers apart from reality TV producers who want to go one better than George Galloway dressed in red spandex  saying “Do you want me to be the cat?” on Big Brother – but, surprisingly, he is still a Secretary of State and making some quite important decisions:.  Here he is setting out proposals to reform employment tribunals – a rather illiberal reform from the point of view of the employee but ….SUPER… for employers.

AND finally…… Free Kintish webinar for barristers only 31.1.11

Cassons for Counsel extend to you an invitation from Will Kintish to attend a webinar from the comfort of your own office on Monday 31 January 2011 at 6pm. The session is entitled ‘The Secrets of Great Networkers’ and will last for 45 minutes. Please note that this webinar is completely free of charge!

Details

Cameron calls for ‘reform’ in Egypt

We live in strange times…. and this report from Yahoo.…. makes me wonder ……

Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday that “reform” was needed in Egypt as protests against President Hosni Mubarak’s rule escalated.”What we need is reform in Egypt,” Cameron, who has been at the Davos summit of political and business leaders in Switzerland, told CNN television.

“I mean we support reform and progress in the greater strengthening of their democracy and civil rights and the rule of law. Clearly there are grievances that people have and they need to be met and matched.

Excellent… perhaps we could have some of that in Battersea Square?

I have this image of David Cameron phoning protestors in Egypt to talk about ‘Big Society’ and the Egyptian protests ceasing immediately……  but it is now Friday night…and the Burgundy is rather good…..

Muttley Dastardly LLP (13): MD are hiring and Dr Strangelove is in the chair – The Trainee Contract Interview

Muttley Dastardly LLP interview once each year for eight trainees.  One will make the cut. Retention rates published in the legal press are of no concern to the firm’s enigmatic Director of Education, Training, Strategy and Psyops – Dr Erasmus Strangelove LLB, JD, BCL, MBA,  Ph.D, Barrister

Dr Strangelove took his seat in The Partner’s boardroom,  positioning himself not at the centre of the twenty-five feet long black polished marble table, but at the head of the table on the left hand side of the room. Five of the more senior partners had gathered in the boardroom to witness the interview. They stood, as is the practice at Muttley Dastardly LLP should Partners wish to observe, behind Dr Strangelove; their features reduced to  silhouette by the dim and carefully constructed lighting. It was still dark outside, the dawn just breaking over The City of London.

Eva Braun, the managing partner’s PA, elegant in a black tailored suit and black high heeled shoes,  walked into the darkened boardroom followed by the first interviewee of the morning, a young man with glasses who peered, slightly nervously, down the length of the  twenty-five foot long black marble table at Dr Strangelove.

“Please take a seat Mr Cholmondely-Rotherhythe… I had the opportunity of watching and hearing you….on our high definition security cameras…  introduce yourself in reception to Ms Braun when you arrived, so I trust that I am pronouncing your name correctly….in the English manner…. Chumley?”

Cholmondely-Rotherhythe sat down in the high backed Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair at the opposite end of the table.

“Yes…Rather!”  Cholmondely-Rotherhythe replied, with the enthusiasm of youth unburdened by the cares of modern legal practice.

“You have made a good start Mr Cholmondely-Rotherhythe by not making any inappropriate sexual advances to Ms Braun on arrival, you were on time and you were sober.  You would be surprised what some who apply here do at interview.”   Strangelove said, drily, tapping on his iPad to bring up Cholmondely-Rotherhythe’s Facebook page.

Cholmondely-Rotherhythe said nothing, but was clearly flustered by the question…or was it a statement?

Strangelove looked up and smiled “On the 24th December 2010, at 03.15 hours GMT, you uploaded a number of photographs of yourself onto your Facebook page.  Is it a hobby of yours to dress as Dr Frankenfurter from The Rocky Horror Show or was this just a social event where you wished to express your inner rebel?”

Cholmondely-Rotherhythe shifted in the chair, his mouth dry.  He hesitated for a moment “Ah!  That was a Christmas Eve party…the theme was Rocky Horror.  It was my only evening off from studying law all year.”

“Excellent… that you cast yourself as a principal in that wonderful show demonstrates leadership, confidence, style, elan and……. a disregard for the mores and conventions of conservatism.  I note you went to Winchester, took a First at Oxford…you would not be here had you not….and endured the Legal Practice Course, coming first in your year at your provider of choice..and all without trying to persuade a City firm to sponsor you.  This, we take as a positive at Muttley Dastardly.  Now…tell me…. what is your view on the Court of Appeal, yesterday, removing Peter Smith J from the Mills & Reeve negligence case?  Peter Smith J fears nought…or should I say dreadsnought…. but this is not the first time he has got himself into difficulty?”

Cholmondely-Rotherhythe smiled.  He had read about the case that very morning when he got up at 3.00 am to do some final preparation on the legal news of the day.   “Fascinating case and, indeed, I believe his last tussle with a law firm was in relation to Addleshaws.  I was reading The Lawyer earlier and as far as I recall with my eidetic memory..”Peter Smith J made an unfortunate remark about abuse of process and, The Lawyer reported: “Lord Justice Lloyd made it clear that any comments made about the firm’s alleged abuse of power were “altogether unjustified” and that the firm’s “application cannot fairly be regarded as having been launched only in order to delay the resumption of the trial…..When the trial resumes, Lloyd LJ stated, it should do so under a different judge and directions should be also provided by a chancery judge other than Peter Smith J.”

Two of The Partners standing behind Dr Strangelove broke into applause and one observed “Bravo….. not to you for recalling a report in The Lawyer, young man…we expect that… but bravo to the Court of Appeal.”

Strangelove looked up at the young man twenty-five feet away. “Know any law?  At least you have been taught by people who have Ph.ds and academic experience in their subject…the modern tendency is to fill undergraduate minds with practice and business contextualisation…whatever that is,  from people who may not have actually done any business themselves or, indeed, have practised at the cutting edge of modern legal practice in a top City firm.”

“Yes, I know a fair bit of law.” Cholmondely-Rotherhythe replied confidently.

“Good.” Strangelove said with a smile “You will have an opportunity to demonstrate this to two of our Partners shortly.  They will be most interested to hear of your observations on the new Bribery Act…. a statute of some importance in The City and, certainly, to some of our more adventurous clients.  My final questions are these…. do you understand the culture of our firm? Do you understand the meaning behind our motto…Strength & Profits… in other words, do you feel you have what we will happily take from you for ten years with a view to your joining the Partners one day and enjoying those profits which form the latter part of our motto?  We insist that all our trainees join us knowing what is ahead of them….as  my Tort colleagues…. in those dim distant days when I taught law… would say… are you Volens?”

***

With thanks to Inksters Solicitors, Cellmark, OnlineWill.co.uk, BPP University College, David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Wildy & Sons, Camps Solicitors accident claims

Just Go Direct

Suffered an accident at work? Contact us
for free expert compensation advice.

Making a will is simple with diy will packs.
Make a legally valid will from the comfort of your own home.

Law Review: #Metgate – ‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello….what we have we got here then…… a SIM pin?

#Metgate (or the phone ‘hacking’) scandal continues with Gordon Brown complaining, as some tweeter suggested the other day,  that his phone may NOT have been hacked.  The Telegraph reports today that ‘someone’ may still be at it…….Tessa Jowell alerts police to fresh attempt to hack her mobile phone voicemail last week

David Allen Green, on his Jack of Kent blog, picked this up last September: Why Metgate Matters - MetGate: the law relating to interception of telephone calls and voicemail - MetGate: why an inquiry is not a party matter

It seems rather surprising that the Metropolitan Police, having declared that the matter had been dealt with some time back, are now speeding into action with the latest revelations, handing the investigation over to a different division within the force.  Surely, another Police force should investigate this?  I observed, as did many, back in September last that this wasn’t going to go away.  Coulson may have resigned and it may well be that he and the prime minister (in terms of his judgment in appointing Coulson)   have nothing to fear… time will tell.

And The Guardian today…

News of the World faces new allegation of phone hacking within last year

Kelly Hoppen, Sienna Miller’s stepmother, is suing the NoW for ‘accessing or attempting to access her voicemail’

And this tweet from: John_Cooper_QC

Congrats to civil lawyers in phone hacking case doing the job of the police. How often are lawyers sniped at? Time to be proud of what we do

Rogering in Chambers and the naming and shaming of lawyers……

While there is no provision, as yet, for continuing personal development (CPD) points to cover the activity  pictured left, it is good to see the legal profession attracting this type of publicity in The Secret Diary of a Call Girl…soon to be on our screens.  The Sun, inevitably, carried the story with the caption…”Billie Piper takes down her briefs”.

On the other hand, on a more serious note, Neil Rose, writing in The Guardian, suggests…

Why lawyers who fall foul of the legal watchdog should be named

The Guardian: Despite arguments for anonymity, telling the public which lawyers have been found to be at fault will help the profession

I have a feeling that The Legal Ombudsman may be biting off a lot of chewable litigation if he does decide to name and shame lawyers.  The Law Society, not surprisingly, is against the idea of lawyers being named when customers complain.  Mind you…. it could provide a fair bit of work for other lawyers do act for the lawyers being complained about?

Neil Rose states that 15-20,000 complaints are likely to flood through The Legal Ombudsman’s door this year. I suspect the naming and shaming issue – despite the value of transparency – may give Legal Ombudsman, Adam Sampson…pause for considerable thought?

Charon goes to a restaurant run by East European border guards?

I wrote this ‘restaurant review’ pastiche three years ago and remembered it while I  was tweeting about bloggers being sued for doing dodgy reviews with @BillfromBendigo in the wake of Duncan Bannatyne’s complaints about one of his hotels getting a poor review ( which I wrote about yesterday).

I thought I’d dig it out again…. I remember the restaurant which inspired it…. to this day! As it happens, I did three real restaurant reviews for LawandMore some years back.  Enjoyed doing them.

 

A Bar & Dining Room
Somewhere in London
Meal for two with wine: £90
Nil points

 


“Have you booked?” asked the black silk shirted Maitre D’ guarding the entrance. The abruptness of the greeting took me by surprise.

“I have not booked. Do you have a table?” Blackshirt’s eyes narrowed as he flicked open the diary. The page had one entry. Blackshirt looked up, eyes darting. “How many of you are there?” It may seem to the casual observer that I suffer from dissociative identity disorder, but I was alone. I heard Sir Alec Guinness in the recess of my mind: “Charon” he said, “Use the Force….”

“I am one.”

The Maitre D’ surveyed the dining room. It was that sort of place… Not a restaurant, but a Bar and Dining Room. It was 12.30. Only two tables were occupied. “Do you smoke?” Blackshirt snapped.

“For England.” I replied.

I was escorted to a table in the corner of the room – a table for two. An East European border guard, dressed as a waitress, appeared with a menu. I selected a bottle of Claret and asked for two espressos and a glass of tap water, no ice. “You want espresso?” the waitress asked, unsmiling. “Now?”

“Yes please.” I watched her walk towards the bar. Well it was more of a march… more Red Square than Sandhurst. I was not invited to taste the wine when it arrived.

The menu was fairly typical of many gastros – a mix of “Confu**tion cooking” with a bit of thai/vietnamese nonsense thrown in. I enjoy reading Anthony Bourdain… but his books, do on occasion, get into the wrong hands… and so it was, today. Couscous and polenta featured heavily. One day I am sure that I will find a gastro pub with a dish called “Irish tagine”.

A couple were seated at a table nearby – both late twenties, both City professionals. I know this because they managed to tell me, indirectly, by relating events to each other of their successes during the week. They talked at each other; he admiring himself repeatedly in the mirrors lining the walls on our side of the restaurant. They obviously knew each other well – at least one assumes so, because, later, declining the offer of pudding, they started eating each other.

I have no idea why nutters on trains, tubes, buses and restaurants gravitate towards me – but it happend again today. The East European border guard escorted another customer to the adjacent table – a man in his early sixties, blazered, highly polished Oxford shoes, grey trousers, Turnbull & Asser shirt, silk tie and a traditional ‘British’ haircut. One could almost smell the George Trumper cologne.

“Good day to you.”

“And to you.” I replied.

“Writer?” the man asked, pointing at my laptop. I learned long ago not to answer that question.

“Just doing a bit of surfing.”

“Surfing Eh?…. yes… I used to surf when I was a junior partner with X&Y in Hong Kong…. on trips to Australia…. tied up a few M&A deals, I can tell you… out there…. those were the days…”

God in heaven. I know I drank a bottle of cider in Church once when I was at Prep school… but I had no idea, then, that I would continue to be punished for that sin nearly 40 odd years later on Easter Sunday 2007… in the form of a retired City lawyer, from the days of Tai Pan, sitting at the next table.

“Really…? good stuff.. ” I replied, affably, but with what I hoped was the correct tone to indicate that I wished ‘to be alone’. It was too late to pretend I was Bulgarian and could not speak English.

So there I was… a couple of young professionals, but a few tables away, talking at each other and Mr Drone, to my right.

“Been to Church?”

I was looking intently at my laptop screen. The words appeared to come from above. I looked at the ceiling. I looked at my bottle of Claret. I had only had one glass.

“The Vicar had a few of us back for a glass of sherry after the service”

“Really…?”

“Yes… quite a few actually. Have to splice the mainbrace after sitting through all that without being able to charge fees at the end of it! ” a statement which provoked so much laughter from the speaker that I was concerned I may have to do a Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

“Oh Yes… Vicar did us a good sermon today…”

Mr Drone told me at length that he would have been in New York to advise on a merger but the US firm had ‘cocked up’ on timing… adding that he liked to take on important cases on a consultancy basis from time to time…

“Ah….”

I drained my glass, re-filled and lit a cigarette.

“Smoker Eh?…yes… used to smoke until the Doc said to me ‘My dear chap, unless you pack in the gaspers now you won’t be able to get it up when you are 65′.” Another burst of self satisfied laughter, gave me the opportunity to wave at the waitress and explain to the gentleman seated at the next table that I needed to concentrate on my work. He made a curious signal, tapping his finger against his nose and said “Got it…Roger… mustn’t stop a chap from his work “

“You are ready with your orders?”

I smiled at the waitress, trying not to look as if I had something to declare, and ordered a main course. I justified my lack of a first course, when questioned, by explaining that I may have a pudding. She seemed satisfied with my explanation and marched off.

It takes a rare talent to cook roast lamb badly, but only inhalation of super strength cannabis would suggest beetroot risotto and chilli jam is a sensible, or even suitable, accompaniment to lamb. The waitress looked at my plate, barely touched. The lemon meringue pie had the merit of being bought in. The wine was more than drinkable and, after negotiating my release without the aid of the Foreign Office, I returned to familiar surroundings.

Home Secretary announces new TPIM control orders!

In a re-branding of the Control Order regime (They are, according to reports on Twitter, to be called TPIMs  – Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures) – it was amusing to note that much of the response on Twitter seemed to be about Theresa May’s jacket.  (I quite like it, as it happens – a bit of colour and art!)

I am not sure whether this sartorial elegance was envisaged by British MP and lawyer Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe  when he drafted what is now called  The European Convention on Human Rights.

Meanwhile…over to to Lord MacDonald QC, a former DPP:

Lord Macdonald: UK ‘over-reacted after 9/11 attacks’

Lord Macdonald told the BBC: “I think we saw some powers, some laws, enacted which did go too far.”

***

And here they are… the new powers…from a tweet:

UKHumanRightsB UK Human Rights Blog
Review of counter-terrorism and security powers – Home Office – http://icio.us/aLOWAr
AND BREAKING NEWS ON TWITTER TONIGHT…

The Law as seen by Charon from a very large glass of Rioja this Burn’s night…..

With a bit of time on my hands tonight, and in the mood to wander about the net looking at law blogs and the legal press, I thought I would bring you a few interesting stories I found….

Warming the bench for solicitors – from the Law Society Gazette: Frances Kirkham, a senior circuit judge and JAC commissioner writes about a joint plan to support more solicitors who wish to join the judiciary.  She notes – “What is disappointing is that the analysis also shows there has been little difference in the percentage of solicitors applying for most roles over the past 10 years.” Read….

I can understand that City lawyers may not be attracted by a judicial post (and would they really be that good in the broad nature of Circuit judge cases, given the highly specialist nature of their work?) but it must be in our interests to draw judges from a wider pool than we have done in the past?

And I did enjoy reading about lawyers sinning…. Legal professionals reveal ‘sins’ in survey.  Unfortunately, it was not salacious….. “One in four lawyers and legal professionals does online shopping at work, while one in eight confesses to doing something at an office party that they later regretted, a recent survey of 500 members of the profession has revealed. Research by twosteps online job board also found that 50% of legal professionals said they would be ‘helpless’ without their iPhone or Blackberry.”

Helpless without their iPhones or Blackberry?….. Indeed.

MI5 and MI6 secrecy move ‘threatens press freedoms’

A rather more serious topic from Guardian Media: “Lawyers representing media outlets argue against government efforts to bring ‘special advocate procedures’ to civil trials. Proposals by MI5 and MI6 to extend courtroom secrecy to civil trials would unfairly restrict the right of the media to act as the “eyes and ears” of the public, the supreme court heard today.”

And… on the subject of….Obiter J has a fascinating post…..

Secrecy in Civil Cases … (Mis)use of Libel actions … Law Commission report

And above is Bentham in all his glory stuffed in a glass case at UCL ….complete with head at his feet.

And… over to the UKSC Blog – an excellent  resource for analysis of Supreme Court decisions

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The former leader of the Conservative Party has claimed today that “more and more decisions are being made by unaccountable judges”. Essentially making the ‘green light’ argument that judicial intereference with politicians’ decisions should be limited in scope, Lord Howard said: “Judges are unaccountable and unelected and ought to be very reluctant indeed to set aside decisions of this kind”.

I’m afraid I always conjure up this wonderful cartoon by Steve Bell when I read about Michael Howard.

Tachetastic….?

After nearly 30 years of suit and brogue wearing while I carried out life in a previous incarnation…. I took to growing taches a couple of years ago.  I get bored soon enough and shave them off… but at Christmas last, given that it was snowing… snow on an apocalyptic scale, snow that Chancellor Osbore would reveal today on BBC Radio 4 and sundry other media outlets…was the wrong kind of snow for the 0.5% contracting British economy…. I grew a tache.  This picture (in fact taken by @Geeklawyer eighteen months or so back – which I fiddled with in Photoshop to get that film noir look ) – shows the tache roughly as it is today.   I think I shall keep it for a while…. I am speaking on a few panel discussion group evenings…and a blawger needs a tache to do that…. trust me.

I didn’t have time to blog yesterday. Work got in the way… although it was enjoyable work. Done a bit more today…below… so… on to the morrow.

Sláinte – for Burn’s night…..

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.

Some hae meat and cannae eat. Some would eat that want it. But we hae meat and we can eat. Sae let the Lord be thankit

Lord Taylor of Warwick guilty

The BBC reports: Ex-Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been found guilty of making £11,277 in false parliamentary expenses claims. The 58-year-old peer claimed travel costs between his Oxford home and Westminster, as well as subsistence for staying in London. He claimed he had made the false claims “in lieu of a salary”, and had been acting on the advice of colleagues. But a jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty by an 11-1 majority verdict. He has been released on bail pending sentencing at a date to be confirmed.

 

I did find this quote from the BBC report astonishing: “Lord Taylor said it had been a common practice among peers to claim for fake journeys and enter expenses claims with a false address as a main residence, and he believed it was acceptable to do this provided there was a “family connection” with the property.”

David Allen Green writes in The New Statesman:

I’m not a criminal lawyer – will Taylor be jailed?  I suspect so, given the circumstances and the guidelines. How long?  Any criminal lawyers prepared to offer a view?

Law Review: Duncan Bannatyne goes to war against Tripadvisor?

No one could accuse Duncan Bannatyne on Burn’s Night (or, indeed, any other night) of being a ‘wee sleekit cowrin tim’rous beastie’… in his business dealings, although some may take the view that he can be a beastie on Twitter: here and here.

Bannatyne, or Duncan Genocide as Harry & Paul parody him on Dragon’s Den,  has another fight on his hands and on this issue I have some sympathy for him.

Duncan Bannatyne considers legal action against TripAdvisor

The Firm reports: “Dragon’s Den panellist and fitness and leisure entrepreneur, Duncan Bannatyne has launched an outspoken attack on the website TripAdvisor, which he described as ‘despicable and cowardly’.  Bannatyne said he was considering spearheading a campaign against the website, as well as suing it, after it compared one of his own hotels to Fawlty Towers.”

Briefly: Tripadviser (40 million hits a month) allows people to publish reviews of hotels etc on their website.  Itb is clearly influential.  Bannatyne took exception to a review which compared one of his hotels to Fawlty Towers and is reported as stating…” TripAdvisor, he said, should commit to removing fraudulent or defamatory reviews, rather than simply giving management a right of reply.”

As the UKSC Blog notes in their review of The Supreme Court in 2010: Joseph v Spiller [2010] UKSC 53.  Another first: this time the Supreme Court’s first defamation case. The Court considered and expanded the scope of the “fair comment in the public interest” defence – now re-named by Lord Phillips as the “honest comment” defence.

The Drum contacted Campbell Deane, partner in law firm Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co (no relation) to get a legal perspective on the situation – worth a read.

Bannatyne may well have a more difficult task in defamation. There are dangers, however, with successful businesses and disgruntled customers.  We do have a tall poppy syndrome in this country – it is a national sport to build people up only to cut them down and few successful organisations will have a 100% satisfaction rate.  A bad review can be damaging – and while  a review may be ‘honest’ under the law of defamation,  it may well be written with other motives – a refund for example. While I prefer to pay people to go to the gym for me these days so that I can keep fatuous New Year resolutions, I am told by friends that Bannatyne’s gyms are good so I can sympathise with Bannatyne and his irritation here.  Bannatyne does a lot of good work for Charity, is resident in Britain and he hasn’t built up solid businesses by providing a bad service.  I might find him abrasive on Twitter but he has been good value in the past on Dragon’s Den – if a bit too direct for some of the contenders. Publicity can be unfair sometimes.

There are, however, dangers in taking successful websites onThe Streisand effect; comment on twitter et al, some accurate, some perhaps not so, can have a far more damaging effect.  At least Tripadvisor appears to give a right of reply unlike the Solicitorsfromhell website which, if I recall, offered to remove reviews for money!

Sometimes, discretion be the better part of valour….or, indeed… the old aphorism…never apologise, never explain may be valuable on occasion.

Law Review: College of Law to offer two year law degree

College of Law to offer two-year undergraduate law degree

Interestingly, both BPP Law School and The College of Law are now going head to head with leading Russell Group universities by providing law degrees.  The College of Law LLB degree will run initially in the College’s London, Birmingham and Chester offices from September 2012.  The Lawyer reports that the fees will be £18,000 – right at the upper point of fees which may be charged by traditional universities in the new post-Brownian era.

CoL chief Nigel Savage told The Lawyer: “I’ve said consistently that the undergraduate law degree is no longer fit for purpose and should be more in line with medical degrees by combining the right amount of law with the right amount of context.”

I have my reservations about the current craze for describing law degrees as ‘not fit for purpose’ and await the results of the review by the legal profession regulators to see how their vision of legal education pans out.

Both BPP and The College of Law run sophisticated offerings for the LPC and BPTC, with equally hefty fees, so it will be interesting to see how they compete with traditional universities who have far more experience in running undergraduate and postgraduate law degrees and a very different research based ethic. Both law schools have the financial muscle to invest in high quality education and both are well aware of the need to be client focused.  They don’t always achieve this, judging by some of the comments on the various student forums on the net, but no institution can please all the people all of the time.  Nevertheless, it would be folly to discount or ignore criticism from fee paying customers – and these customers are paying a lot of money for their legal education.  The traditional universities will also start to feel the bright light of student fee payer power when their fees rise.

BPP and The College of Law have enjoyed primacy at  the vocational stage of legal education.  They will have to start at the bottom of the reputation ladder when it comes to competing with the top UK universities offering law degree programmes.   For my part?  I would say that it is not unreasonable to suggest that the deans of traditional Russell Group universities will have to keep an eye on their backs and up their game to stay ahead.

I am doing a series of podcasts on legal education – which is ongoing.  You may be interested in hearing the views of those I have interviewed thus far?

Lawcast 175: Professor Gary Slapper, Open University, on the reform of legal education

Lawcast 172: On the reform of legal education with Scott Slorach, College of Law

Lawcast 171:  Nigel Savage, CEO of The College of Law

Lawcast 170: Professor Richard Moorehead, Cardiff Law School, University of Cardiff

Par Avion from The Staterooms: Twitteratigate and other absurd *Twuffoonery*

I really could not give a damn about twitter rankings and all the self aggrandising puffery which goes with social meedja. Brian Inkster has a very thorough piece on the twitter nonsense which I have commented on myself only recently.  Brian Inkster’s very thorough review of this nonsense and twuffoonery is worth a read.


And… while I am it…..

Have a good week…

Best, as always

Charon

Lord Shagger calls on Lords to be responsible from his Monaco tax haven

Bizarre… but this is what The Sunday Mirror is reporting tonight…. these politicians….they lead unusual lives….. Coulson gone….Johnson gone….. Police investigation into what close protection means…. TB at Chilcot….. what next?

Lord Strathclyde’s affair with single mum

Read?

One can always rely on twitter to bring a sense of objectivity and proportion….



 

# Phonegateschmonegate #Metgate etc etc etc – Coulson a goner!

An interesting news day with Blair at Chilcot and Andy Coulson a goner. The ravening horde are now asking… Why Oh Why did David Cameron appoint him in the first place? ..question of judgement….blah…blah…..

David Allen Green….. (aka JackofKent) may have a SCOOP!

What did Dominic Mohan say in 2002?

Dominic Mohan is now editor of the Sun, and in 2002 he was editing its showbusiness column.

In the Guardian on 1 May 2002, there appeared an intriguing paragraph in a report about “showbusiness journalism’s most glamorous event, the Princess Margaret Awards – aka the Shaftas“….

You’ll have to go to The Staggers to read the rest….. !

Law Review: Coulson resignation – Regulatory Ambush – Client Care (but not how we know it) – Have lawyers escaped culpability for credit-crunch et al…?

It’s client care, but not as we know it – do law firms need professional account managers?

Tim Bratton is general counsel of the Financial Times and blogs at thelegalbratblawg. Click here to follow Tim on Twitter

An interesting article by Tim published by Legal Week:  Read

Warning over ‘regulatory ambush’

The regulators and the regulator of regulators are busy… but The Law Society is expressing concern….

The Law Society Gazette reports:

Lawyers could face a ‘regulatory ambush’ if a radical overhaul of the solicitors’ rulebook goes ahead without a ‘change in culture’ at the profession’s regulator, the Law Society has warned.

In a response to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Architecture of Change consultation, which closed last week, Chancery Lane said it has ‘substantial concerns’ about the proposals and the regulator’s capacity to introduce them on such a short timescale.

The SRA is planning to introduce so-called ‘outcomes-focused regulation’ to coincide with the next phase of Legal Services Act 2007 reforms this October. The new regime will be based on broad principles rather than the current detailed rulebook, and is intended to give firms greater freedom in how they comply with their regulatory obligations, with the onus on self-reporting.

While the diamond geezer who runs Barclays Bank told a Commons Select Committee that it was time for banks to stop apologising (and then, promptly, had to apologise for his Bank misselling products and take a hit with a large fine) I have often wondered how lawyers managed to escape censure in the great recession toxic banking products scandal which wrecked the global economy.  John Flood has an interesting blog post on this very topic:

How Have the Lawyers Escaped Culpability?

Obiter J writes…. “It has been an interesting few days in London.  Protesters in Parliament Square have been given letters stating that legal action will be taken against them if they continue to obstruct pavements – see  BBC 17th January.  Of course, Ministers are on record as saying that these protesters have to be cleared away so that they do not spoil the Royal wedding procession (Telegraph 25th November 2010).  Meanwhile, it seems that peers of the realm have been camping within the House of Lords – see BBC 18th January.  Peers allied to the Labour Party have opposed the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill which seeks to reduce the number of Parliamentary Constituencies from 650 to 600 and to change to the “Alternative Vote” (AV) system. …

Read: Campers in Parliament Square and in Parliament … Sentencing of Edward Woollard … Prisoners voting

And… in Breaking Labour Party news……. Alan Johnson resigns and the press speculate about his Police protection officer having an affair with Johnson’s wife. Close protection taking on an altogether different meaning if true…

Coulson’s resignation must not be seen as the end of the hacking scandal

The Guardian Greenslade blog states: “So, the drip-drip-drip of revelations has finally led Andy Coulson to resign as the prime minister’s director of communications. It is regarded as such big news that it has displaced the planned TV coverage of the Chilton inquiry on both Sky News and the BBC News.”

In David Cameron‘s statement, he said it was due to “pressures” on Coulson……
It is Friday… so it is RollonFriday.com time for the more bizarre news from our profession… this time from the United States…
Pants-dropping lawyer charged with public indecency
An Ohio lawyer who decided to drop his trousers (US: pants) and pants (US: grundles) in a counselling session for teenagers has found himself facing two misdemeanour counts of public indecency……  (The lawyer claimed it was part of an educational programme)
As RoF comments….”Quite what the educational benefits might be of seeing the junk in Walkley’s trunk remains unclear.”