The end of august, I discovered as I slowly lost the will to live watching BBC Borefastnews this morning, marks the ‘official’ end of summer. This news was quickly followed by a short piece on the new squatting law which comes into force tomorrow – squatting becomes a criminal offence. The Police will now be able to assist landlords to evict squatters. Twitter received this news with the usual subtle polarisation of ‘analysis’. Right wingers were delighted. Lefties were not. David Allen Green wheeled out his trademark catchphrase to describe this development in our jurisprudence….
Mr Green opined on twitter: “Bit by bit, the British state is shifting property rights from a civil law to a criminal law basis. Both misconceived and highly illiberal.”
The Law Society Gazette was on the case quickly: Lawyers berate new law criminalising squatters
Chair of the Housing Law Practitioners Association, Giles Peaker, who was one of the organisers of the letter, said the change amounted to a ‘tax subsidy’ for landlords who leave their properties unoccupied.
‘They will no longer have to pay to get people evicted; it will be the police’s job to do it, paid for out of the public purse,’ he said.
Peaker said the move was simply ‘headline-grabbing’, as section 7 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 already protects homeowners and makes it a criminal offence for a squatter to remain in a property once asked to leave by the owner.
He said the new law is badly drafted and, unlike the 1977 act, does not cover gardens. ‘People squatting in someone’s garden shed will not be covered,’ he said.
So.. if you want a bit of shed action before tomorrow…. you don’t have long to get some before the Rozzers get involved.
And so.. life continues and the ‘Silly Season’ ends. Rigour, analysis, rectitude, curiosity returns to our lives and to blogging – even mine…but not just yet….
RollonFriday reports: Legal education judged not fit for purpose by review committee
“The Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) has published a pre-report discussion paper claiming that English legal education is “not fit for purpose“. The LETR is a monstrous hydra combining the SRA, Bar Standards Board and ILEX. It’s been running since June 2011 but is rapidly approaching its climax, with the final report due to be delivered in December. This week’s discussion paper fired a warning that its recomendations for legal educators may not make for pretty reading….”
I shall take a look at the LETR pre-report, over the weekend. The current thinking, available on all good guru blogs near you, is that skills and business awareness is the new ‘paradigmatic paradigm’ and that knowledge of ‘law’ is not actually necessary to practise law or is, at best, an inconvenience – as my brother Professor RD Charon observed earlier in the summer: Guest post: Professor R.D. Charon on the vicissitudes of a career in Law
The gurus may well be right. Certainly, I have come across lawyers who appear to know very little law – and that has not hindered their progress through the ranks. Commercial providers are rushing out new practice focused law degrees as you read this Postcard.
Some time ago, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, jazz loving Kenneth Clarke came up with the idea – a possible bit of appeasement and red-meat for the shield munchers on the Tory back benches – that courts would sit at weekends to speed up criminal justice. I am delighted to be able to report reports in the press that criminal defence lawyers – who are not to be paid any extra for weekend duty – are wrecking these half thought out plans. Again, RollonFriday has their version of the story.. and you may as well have a laugh with the ROF version than read the worthy stuff in the mainstream press.
And it would be remiss for me not to highlight some good stories from legal ‘tabloid’ Legal Cheek – which I enjoy reading when they pick up on the bizarre stuff:
3% of my twitter followers are fake. About 25% appear to be inactive – and the rest are defined as ‘good’ by a twitter analytics service I tried.
It appears that some tweeters have been buying twitter followers (a story well covered by Legal Cheek) and now this remarkable scoop…
Back in March 2009 I interviewed a director of a company offering ‘bespoke essays’ for law students. I am not impressed by companies offering essay writing services to law students. I regard it as cheating. Most academics do. There are two sides to every story. Sometimes one side is not that attractive. Here is the podcast I did: Charon Reports: Cheating or taking professional advice?
The judges have been banned from blogging. The #twitterjoketrial judgment established a marker for common sense. I did a podcast with John Cooper QC who led the team before the court in the final appeal: Lawcast 218: John Cooper QC on the #Twitterjoketrial judgment
But… it seems that the days of menacing and daft tweets are not over..by any means. Legal Cheek reports: ‘If @TheDappy Gets Sent Down Today Then We’re All Gonna Go To Guildford Crown Court & Kill The Judge’
One cannot but marvel….?
But… there is some serious legal news about… and I shall return over the weekend to have a crack at looking at some of it… possibly.
Until then – have a good weekend
Best, as always,
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