“The House of Commons starts its proceedings with a prayer. The chaplain looks at the assembled members with their varied intelligence and then prays for the country.”
WEEKLY LAW REVIEW PART II
With ‘militant secularism’ in the news (whatever ‘militant secularism’ means), unelected Bishops being difficult in the Lords, rebellion from some Christians to the idea of women bishops (ironic, given that The Queen is head of The Church of England and Defender of The Faith) and judges declaring prayers at Council meetings unlawful – an atheist may wonder, possibly even marvel, that religion plays, still, so important a role in the governance of our country; be it explicit, ritualistic, atavistic or subtle.
Add to this the many other gods supported by the peoples of our country and the complications, conflicts and prejudices inherent in balancing the many faith agendas and interests; we have a cauldron of chaos ahead, arguably, if we do not separate religions from State, from governance and The Rule of Law?
I simply pose the question, while still thinking about the answer… and on that note…. to Part II of my weekly law review this week. [Part I is here and below]
Obiter J considers: Prayers at Council meetings …
RollonFriday.com and Legal Cheek picked up on the ‘spit roasting’ attitudes of a Shearman trainee whose email went viral.
A trainee at Shearman & Sterling is cringing under his desk after an email he sent from his work address ended up in the Sun, the Mirror, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph. Ouch.
The trainee’s email described his plans for a forthcoming rugby tour. Which included chanting about how rich he is and photographing “spit-roasts”. He sent the email to a friend at another law firm and, predictably, it then winged its way around the City. It reached RollOnFriday by Wednesday, and by Thursday morning the story was all over the national newspapers.
Legal Cheek considered the matter in their weekly podcast – and Alex Aldridge, irritated no doubt by me calling him out for his shoddy treatment of law student Ashley Connick [Accuracy is not an aspiration for journalists and law bloggers. It is a requirement when reporting or commenting on serious issues.], took the opportunity to practice his proto-germanic linguistic skills to describe me.
I am untroubled by Aldridge’s view of me. I am a firm believer in free speech and…. after all, a contributor to The Grauniad (Aldridge no longer describes himself as a Guardian ‘columnist’ on his twitter bio after The Guardian asked him not to) has to establish a reputation for ‘cred’ somehow.
And… so to…
Lawyer and journalist David Allen Green, on his Jack of Kent blog, picks up on the current mood with an interesting post: Thoughts on the present discontents.
Every so often the balance of power within a polity changes.
In the United Kingdom the ultimate power supposedly lies with the Crown-in-Parliament.
But in history, the strongest power has shifted: at times it has been the established church, or the landed gentry, or the trade unions.
More recently it has been the popular media.
A good read and very topical.
The UK Human Rights blog from 1 Crown Office Row has, rightly, established a ‘must read status’ for all interested in human rights. A post which caught my eye – Sound of tumbleweed greets secret civil trials proposals – by Adam Wagner, considers the Justice and Security Green Paper consultation which proposes introducing “Closed Material procedures” – secret trials – into civil courts. Another good read.
And let’s go for a hat trick of good reads (not that the blog posts which I refer to below are not good reads… they are… but Carl Gardner, on his Head of Legal blog, writes: Supreme Court judgment: Sugar v BBC
“The Supreme Court has today given judgment in this case, about the extent to which the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to information the BBC holds for journalistic purposes….
A bit of light relief…The White Rabbit gets into the St Valentine mood….
AND… so does John Bolch at Family Lore……with a card from Venal & Grabbit, Solicitors
Meanwhile…. Francis FitzGibbon QC considers Professor Dawkins’s Jury Delusion
Having seen off God, Professor Dawkins turns his attention to another object of veneration, the jury, in the The New Statesman. He thinks that the requirement, as he sees it, of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ for guilty verdicts, is at odds with what juries actually do when deliberating. The high standard of proof should leave no room for discussion, or for the forceful intervention of unusually persuasive jury members. Cases should speak for themselves…..
Professor John Flood says in a post – The Way of the World…. “I want to take several disconnected events to show that the legal services world is really undergoing volcanic eruptions.”
The changing legal landscape is fascinating. “ABS and disruptives” are on the agenda for the Without Prejudice podcast tonight. Cat Griffiths, Editor of The Lawyer, will be shedding some light on this.
Matt Wardman, writing on the always readable Anna Raccoon blog – Capitalism is Fixing It. Slowly.– says ”
“We’re in the middle of a small orgy of kneejerk (or jerk-kneeing, if you prefer) bashing of bankers with self-inflated banker-bonkers, and not a few people trying to keep the ball rolling because it is convenient for their politics. But it seems to me that some of the basic indicators on the Economy are beginning to return from extreme values to something a little closer to ‘normal’. I’m not saying it’s all fixed, but the Gordonion Knot starting to loosen itself?”
Continuing with the economy theme… City Unslicker has an interesting post: UK Inflation – A stopped clock is right twice a day
“Now for years, the Bank of England has been telling us that we are in a deflationary period where we need low interest rates and ultra easy monetary policy. This has been the case since at least 2008 – so getting on for four full years now….”
AND.. if you want to be an Alpha Lawyer.. eventually.. Legal Aware has some advice: The training contract interview itself
Or.. perhaps an Alpha barrister? The Pupillage blog also has advice: The Roll of the Pupillage Dice
Or.. perhaps you fancy making an FOI request via twitter to The Supreme Court? The UK Supreme Court blog has this review: FOI requests via Twitter – a Supreme problem
PODCAST WITH A PRACTITIONER
I am starting my ‘Podcast With A Practitioner’ series as part of the weekly review next week to see what lawyers at the coal face think of the legal landscape. As Prime Minister Camcorderdirect has got into ‘binge drinking’ for his latest ‘Big Society’ intervention in our lives… I thought it was appropriate to dredge up my “DRINKING FORECAST” from 2010…. complete with Sailing By and North Utsire…
Listen to the podcast if you wish to
The maxim res ipsa loquitur comes to mind here – so in this section I simply draw attention to a few interesting articles from the mainstream legal press I enjoyed reading – without comment.
The Guardian: How secret renditions shed light on MI6’s licence to kill and torture
The Guardian: Lord Justice Moses and the 161 criteria
The Guardian: Why is Abu Qatada not on trial?
The Guardian: Where are the judges fit for the internet age?
The Guardian: Human rights abuses could be covered up under new justice bill proposals
Legal Week: All aboard – war stories from the select band of GCs to have taken exec roles
Legal Week: Law firms and investors – a match made in heaven or a hasty marriage?
The Lawyer: Brand new bromantics – Two big beasts, a whole bunch of questions. When The Lawyer broke the story of Tony Angel joining DLA Piper last year, one question everyone asked was how he would get on with Nigel Knowles.
The Law Society Gazette: Survey: in-house woe for magic circle
The Law Society Gazette: Lawyers and Leveson – how are they doing?
The Times (£): The case for and against judging advocates
The Times (£): Why there is no whiplash epidemic
The Telegraph: Autistic woman banned from having sex in latest Court of Protection case
The Independent: Pub landlords face jail in new Sky crackdown on TV football
Taxation and Finance articles and news provided by Cassons for Counsel
The weekly review will develop and in weeks to come will include news on the latest law books, comment on important cases and a section on the human condition. But… I have to see a man about a dog and prepare for the Without Prejudice podcast tonight – so that’s it for this week.
MP faces charges over Nazi stag night