Normal service is resumed…. whatever ‘normal’ means…

I return to reasonably sane health after cracking my spine in a daft accident while shaving.  I tripped on a bathmat and fell backwards into the bath.  It ‘took me out’ for nigh on three months – but I do get to walk about with a hi-tech walking stick, so not all doom.

There is much to comment on – so this post may be a long one.

A commenter on my blog calling himself ‘Barrister Bill’ managed to irritate me  (Not an easy thing to do) with an inane comment on a guest blog post.

It would appear that he did / does not understand the meaning of the phrase ‘Guest Post’. I had to advise him that he may be better served by attending a UKIP rally if he wishes to vent his spleen, rather than doing so in the comments section of my blog.  It may be, however, that ‘Barrister Bill’ did not have enough work to keep him occupied – giving him time to do a bit of inane spleen venting on a law blog.

The guest post in question which ‘Barrister Bill’ objected to is in the link which follows – for his rude comment and my reply to same – here is the link:

I have found, in general, that a bit of courtesy goes a long way.  Trolling on twitter or blogs is not a good way to move forward in life?

And so to further matters surreal: 

Alex Aldridge over at Legal Cheek (always worth a read) has been on great form of late with some marvellous stuff… a selection for your delight and delectation if you do not already follow his blog…

Solicitor-at-top-corporate-firm-is-flogging-gdl-and-lpc-notes-to-hard-up-students/

Undercover-audio-oxford-uni-law-student-admits-plan-to-cheat-in-union-election/

VIDEO: USING RACISM TO PROMOTE YOUR LAW FIRM

And now to something less surreal…. arguably….

Why Chris Grayling should bury his appeal against Richard III ruling
Joshua Rozenberg

“Justice secretary has hypocritically accused Plantagenet Alliance of wasting taxpayers’ money in their fight for a consultation over late king’s reinterment site”

I enjoyed my time at Leicester.  I hope that Leicester gets to keep Richard III – finders keepers seems perfectly reasonable to me?

While I was recovering from the spinal injury, I was able to read Tweets.   It may be that I am imagining it – but has Twitter become rather nasty, at times, of late?

But..on the good side, a QC who is doing a lot of good – and he’s on t’telly.

I have been enjoying Gary Bell’s television appearances on BBC, assisting the wronged and putting across the good side of the legal world.

Gary Bell is the real rudest man in Britain – and he’s on your side

James Delingpole writes in The Spectator.  “His family were panicked about The Legalizer. You can see why. But you’ll love him…”
Back soon with another ‘Postcard From The Bunker’..maybe even later tonight, depending on how the mood takes me….

Guest Post: Laying Down the Law: A Brief Look at Some Unorthodox and Outlandish Lawsuits

Laying Down the Law: A Brief Look at Some Unorthodox and Outlandish Lawsuits

Unless you’ve been absent from the earth these last two decades, you’ve probably caught wind of some of the amazing and oftentimes ridiculous lawsuits that have been filed by cranky litigants.

Beyond the now infamous McDonald’s coffee spill lawsuit, there are many other tales of the legal unexpected that have come to light over the years through diligent media reporting.

Imagine suing your university because you couldn’t get employment with your degree, or suing yourself and asking the state to front your payment! Read on to find out about the lawsuits arising from coffee spills to beer ads.

1. Beer Catastrophe 

Plenty of beer ads show men enjoying themselves in stereotypically masculine ways, often on the beach and often surrounded by women.

What most people would readily concede is that these ads aren’t representative of reality, and that most male beer-drinkers do not automatically end up on a beach, flanked by women.

In 1991, Richard Overton sued company Anheuser-Busch, claiming that their ads misleadingly implied drinking beer would lead to a man having fun with multiple women.

His claim rested on the grounds that he had suffered emotional distress, mental injury and financial loss from the deceptive advertisement. Unsurprisingly, his case was dismissed.

2. Namesake Controversy

When Robert Craft changed his name to ‘Jack Ass’ in 1997 as part of an effort to raise awareness about drunk driving, you could be forgiven for questioning his sensibleness and decision-making skills.

But when, three years later, he sued Viacom for putting on the hugely successful MTV show Jackass, it seems that all his sense went flying out the window.

Claiming that he had suffered emotional injuries and defamation as a result of the show and its content, one might wonder if a lot of the defamation and injury Craft suffered occurred prior to the show and was a result of his own name change!

3. Michael Jordan Doppelganger Disaster

If you thought you’d heard it all, you certainly haven’t. In 2006 Allen Heckard sued Michael Jordan on the grounds that he had suffered emotional distress and injury from being physically reminiscent of the basketball star.

Claiming that people all around the areas he frequented accosted him, and that his basketball playing style was constantly compared to Jordan’s, Heckard demanded that Jordan pay him $416 million dollars in damages for the stress of being compared to the star.

In a bizarre dimension to the story, Heckard apparently wore Nike Air shoes, the same as the kind worn by Jordan, yet thought it was unfair that people were comparing the two.

With little prospects in the complaint and the monumental amount claimed in damages, Heckard was eventually convinced to drop the suit.

4. Finger Trouble at Wendy’s

In an unpleasant lawsuit that later turned into a fraud investigation, Anna Ayala sued fast food giant Wendy’s on the grounds that she bit into a one and a half inch finger while consuming a meal.Later tests revealed that while the object was indeed a finger, it didn’t show any trace of the litigant’s saliva and, although it appeared in a cooked meal, did not appear to have been heated in any way.

Ultimately it turned out that Ayala had planted the finger in her food, and had gotten it from a co-worker who sold it to her husband after losing it in a work accident.

So what started out as a seemingly legitimate claim turned into a criminal investigation, with Ayala sentenced to nine years prison and her husband to 12 years for his role in the scam.

5. Judge Rages at Laundromat

In what could be called a case of ‘should’ve known better’, a judge relentlessly pursued tens of millions of dollars in damages against a dry-cleaners in Washington DC for misplacing his pants.

The judge claimed that since the pants were missing, the store failed to fulfill its contractual undertaking to provide ‘same day service’ and its guarantee of ‘customer satisfaction’, meaning that it was liable for breach of contract.

Ultimately the case was thrown out of court, but not before the judge lost his job for acting in a manner not befitting his role, and the laundry storeowners had to close two of their three shops to cover their legal costs.

6. Suing Yourself

In 1995 a prison inmate in Virginia sued himself for having consumed alcohol and therefore abrogated his own religious obligations. Since he was penniless, the inmate requested that the state go as his guarantor and pay him five million dollars on behalf of himself for ‘violation’ of his religious beliefs’.

Of course as you could guess the case was thrown out, but the judge in court seemed impressed with his unorthodox approach to the concept of suing in general, and gave him written kudos for this.

7. Stella Liebeck

Last but not least, we have Stella Liebeck and the case of the spilled boiling coffee.

In 1992 Liebeck was driving in her car when she spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself, causing third degree burns to her body that requires skin grafts to fix. Successful in her claim, Liebeck is often considered the pioneer of ludicrous lawsuits, since she ultimately received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the court.

However, the ludicrousness of her claim is subject to some debate, as McDonald’s was clearly offering potentially dangerous items to people in selling boiling coffee.

Fair or otherwise, it’s hard to say, but Stella Leibeck certainly seems to be the most justified litigant of all those we’ve just seen!

This post was done in partnership with Firths Compensation Lawyers.

Guest Post: Pensions savers warned over inheritance disputes

PENSION SAVERS WARNED OVER INHERITANCE DISPUTES
Chorus Law

When was the last time you updated your pension documents? Have your circumstances changed since? Millions of people are being advised to regularly update the documents that contain their wishes regarding their pension.

The warning comes as it’s found that there has been a recent rise in families challenging decisions made by pension scheme trustees following a member’s death. Trustees of the scheme make the decisions, but if the savers’ intentions are not clear, it is easy to begin a dispute over who should receive assets.

This primarily involves those belonging to company pension schemes where benefits are linked to salaries. Workers in these schemes are advised to fill in an ‘expression of wish’ form to indicate who would receive the benefits if they die. This form is often filled in when people join the scheme and is often not updated if their circumstances change.

The Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT) said that families are increasingly starting disputes over payments. Although trustees must take members’ wishes into account, they have no obligation to carry them out.

Barry Parr, the co-chairman of the AMNT, said: “Trustees do take into account a member’s wishes, but they have a duty to consider other potential beneficiaries, especially if the paperwork seems out-dated. Common complexities arise when pension savers remarry and fail to update their wishes – especially where children are involved in one or both of the relationships.

“It is important that members keep their wishes updated and have a current will to reduce the likelihood that decisions will be open to challenge.”

If you specifically don’t want a spouse to receive death benefits, it is advised to reinforce this clearly in a legal Will and stipulate your reasons why.

Chorus Law suggests that you consider having a Will in place in addition to your expression of wish form. For more information on Chorus Law’s services, visit www.choruslaw.co.uk.

Guest Post: Is Mediation Worth Trying to Tackle a Difficult Divorce?

Is Mediation Worth Trying to Tackle a Difficult Divorce?

 Even the most amicable of splits can start to become difficult when it comes to apportioning assets and, if you have children, agreeing on access and contact. Mediation has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way of avoiding acrimonious legal proceedings. But what exactly is it and how does it work?

 The role of a mediator is to help you and your partner identify your issues of conflict and help you identify how best you can resolve them. There may be many areas of conflict where agreement needs to be reached, or disagreement could be on specific issues such as the future living arrangements for your children.

 The mediator’s role in the process is impartial. They are not able to take sides with one party against the other. Their overall purpose is to provide a framework that enables you to identify the key issues and come to a mutually acceptable solution. QualitySolicitors have really good family solicitors who can provide a mediation service and, if being in the same room is too difficult, can even offer separate sessions.

 Who is mediation suitable for?

It is now a requirement that anyone (with some exceptions) wishing to go to a family court should attend a meeting with a qualified mediator to establish whether there are any alternatives to going to court. This is because court should be used as the last resort. Agreements that come about because of court decisions do not generally work as well as those that have been made jointly and where both parties are satisfied with the decision. It is also beneficial for any children involved to see their parents cooperating with each other.

Mediation information and assessment meeting

 At this first meeting the mediator will explain to you how mediation works and whether there are other types of dispute resolution other than court that may be helpful to you. They will explain the costs of mediations vs. the cost of litigation, assess whether mediation is appropriate for your case and, if so, whether you will qualify for Legal Aid. They will then contact your partner and have the same discussion with them.

If mediation is appropriate and you decide to go ahead with it, future meetings will take place where you will work on communication, agree the arrangements for children and deal with financial disagreements. Once you have are both happy with the proposals, the mediator will draw up an agreement that you should take legal advice on and, once signed, it will become legally binding.

It is important to remember that mediation is voluntary and there can be circumstances where it is not appropriate, for example, in situations where there has been serious domestic violence or inequality of power within a relationship. In most other circumstances however, the Court does expect you to find out about mediation before applying to them and, if you don’t, they can put your case on hold until you do so.

Professor R.D. Charon covers for his brother who fell backwards into a bath

My brother, Charon QC, incapacitated by falling backwards into a bath while shaving at the sink some months back – sustaining spinal injuries in a manner almost worthy of a Darwin Award – has asked me to write a blog post.

I don’t like to disappoint my brother, but I am otherwise engaged –  watching the dancing in Blackpool on Strictly Come Dancing in the hope of securing a position as a judge.  I am unlikely to secure a position as a judge in the law.  We do not feel the need to trouble academics with the burdens of judicial office in the England & Wales jurisdiction.

As it is highly unlikely that my brother actually read my last post on his blog – he may do so this time – I thought I would dig up my previous post…

And here it is…. a vignette from the history of our sceptred and, at times, bizarre island nation… 

Taking an evidence sourced approach  to blogging –  the new ‘fashion’:

This is  what happened only last night when I nearly died laughing.

Unfortunately, the issue is not as simple as I assert with that proposition.

I had not considered the possibility of ambulance chasers in my vicinity at the time of laughing at tweets.  Unfortunately, this Wikipedia entry, unedited by the new Tory Party co-Chairman Grant Shapps MP, is not that helpful in defining ‘tweet’.

I was laughing privately and not in a manner likely to worry the Director of Public Prosecutions (Even on a bad day at the office). No menacing laughter justifying a prosecution near Doncaster under s. 127 per theTwitter Joke Trial. Not even the hint of affray, riot, treason, or even  failing to kettle myself when asked to do so, in a group of two, by a police officer.   (See the CPS guidelines for public order offences – whether you intend to amuse yourself by committing same or not, as may be the case).

I was laughing alone.  I did not feel the need to seek asylum at the Ecuador Embassy in London.

Events got a bit out of hand…. the following extracts from official documents provided to The Home Office and other relevant bodies serve as a narrative.

STATEMENT:  FROM THE DECEASED – Professor R D Charon

1. I died. I am not, in fact, dead – as will be clear even to judges seeking an appearance in The Daily Mail  (Here and here)  –  cf: despite the death certificate issued by Dr X who has not yet been struck off. (Infra)

2. However – in support of my claim for PPI, whiplash injury, loss of consortium with myself and all other losses, as yet unquantifiable,  but which will almost certainly become clear by the time we get to court, I claim that I suffered nervous shock (without even a hint of novus actus interveniens in between)  after reading the death certificate (infra) which Dr X handed to me after clinically processing  my Centurion AMEX card on his portable electronic wealth modifying device (WMD).

3.  The doctor attended at my rooms in Bloomsbury, accompanied by a solicitor.  They happened to be passing – driving a Toyota Priapic hybrid car en route to a car crash nearby, when they heard my laughter and broke in on the off chance that I may need assistance.

EXHIBIT A
MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

Attended at a flat in Bloomsbury. The law professor was sitting in a chair at a desk. I was able to deduce that he was a law professor by his mode of dress.  He was wearing full academic regalia, including mortar board and red doctoral gown. The professor’s iMac computer indicated that his name was “@ProfRDCharon”.  This was apparent even without an on site autopsy. I was able to form this view by looking at his twitter history (infra)  – The professor’s  browser  revealed that he was, and certainly had been when alive, on twitter. Professor Charon was a ‘goner’.  Dead.   Died Laughing.  Definitely dead.  A solicitor who attended with me also took the view that the professor was dead after consulting an accident claims website to gain a ‘value priced’ billable view.

Signed
Dr X

[A] .  I observed Professor Charon at 9.58 pm.  He had been laughing. He was in his chair at his desk.  He wasn’t moving that much after I had to break in. He had not responded to a ‘Direct Message’ on twitter for four minutes before, save to type “hahaha….”
I concluded he was dead.
People can die of laughter. He died laughing.

[B]  In support of this I am able to certify  that the cause of death was laughing

As an after thought to the extraordinary evening I had last night when a doctor and a solicitor broke into my rooms in Bloomsbury, unasked, to  declare  me dead –  I was able to resume my life and took the opportunity to ‘google death by laughing’

I read this on a website“In the third century BC, Greek philosopher Chrysippus died of out-of-control laughter after he gave his donkey some wine, and then observed it pigging out on figs… Pietro Aretino (below), writer, raconteur, and the founder of “literary pornography,” is said to have died in 1556 of suffocation from laughing too much…

Read more on death by laughter on Wikiepedia…why not? – death by laughter is a bit over rated and didn’t work for me…..

AND… from the website, aforeto mentioned:

“More recently… On March 24th of 1975, Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer in Norfolk, England, kicked his bucket while howling with laughter over the “Kung Fu Capers” episode of his favorite TV show, “The Goodies.” The episode featured a kilt-clad Scotsman attacking a vicious-looking blood pudding with his bagpipes, and roundly trouncing it. After laughing uncontrollably for twenty-five minutes, Mitchell finally succumbed to heart failure on his sofa. His bereaved widow reportedly sent a letter to the producers of “The Goodies” in which she thanked them for making Mitchell’s final moments so enjoyable!”

While I am, of course, sympathetic to the last unfortunate demise – it is pleasing to see that The Goodies amused someone. I am still recovering from the trauma in childhood of watching same on television.

A most puzzling evening.  I continue, however, to live and I am grateful to my brother Charon QC for this opportunity to inform on this pleasing event in his blog.

BY Professor R.D. Charon LLB (Cantab), BCL, Ph.d,  FRSA
 – Emeritus Professor of Jurisprudence, University of The Rive Gauche, London Faculty, London
Author: “Legal Nihilism: Taking Rights Seriously, seriously”, Maninahat Press, 2009

Guest Post: How should employers prevent industrial injuries in work spaces?

Health and safety legislation in industrial workplaces

BY Roberts Jackson

Industrial injuries

According to statistics gathered by the Health and Safety Executive (detailed in their report), the number of major injuries sustained by construction employees has fallen by almost a third in comparison to five years ago. That said, with an alarming 1913 major injuries reported in 2012 – 39 of which were fatal – there are evidently still many risks present in construction and industry workplaces.

Employers are legally responsible for the health and safety of their employees. Given the dangers and hazards present in construction and industrial working environments, thorough risk assessments are absolutely fundamental to the minimisation of injuries, and should be a paramount priority of any construction employer.

Falls, slips and trips cause the majority of industrial injuries

Falls, slips and trips accounted for 56% of the major industrial injuries suffered by construction employees during 2012. There are a number of ways in which these sorts of injuries could be diminished, starting of course with personal protective equipment, but also by ensuring working areas are kept as tidy and uncluttered as possible, providing more cautionary signs (which are specific to the various hazards), and improving lighting conditions.

Industrial illness caused by exposure to asbestos

Occupational exposure to asbestos is one of the leading cause of industrial illness. When materials containing asbestos are disturbed, asbestos particles become airborne. That is where the danger lies: the inhalation of asbestos particles can cause serious long-term damage to the lungs and eventually cancer in some cases. According to HSE statistics, over 4700 people died in 2011 from various diseases and conditions caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory condition which affects lung tissue and is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. In 2011 there were 178 deaths to which asbestosis was recorded as the underlying cause, whilst 2012 saw almost a thousand newly assessed cases of asbestosis.

Measures employers must take to prevent asbestos exposure

By law, it is the duty of those responsible for the management of non-domestic properties to establish whether or not there are materials containing asbestos on the premises. If there are, the amount of asbestos, its location(s) and its condition must be ascertained. Work on or removal of asbestos materials must be carried out by licenced asbestos contractors.

Materials containing asbestos were commonly used in construction and industry until the discovery of its toxicity, and it was finally banned entirely in 1999. This means, however, that asbestos is still common in the general environment, and must therefore continue to be considered a serious health hazard for those who work in construction and industrial environments.

Guest Post: How should employers prevent industrial injuries in work spaces?

Health and safety legislation in industrial workplaces
BY Roberts Jackson

 

 

Industrial injuries

According to statistics gathered by the Health and Safety Executive (detailed in their report), the number of major injuries sustained by construction employees has fallen by almost a third in comparison to five years ago. That said, with an alarming 1913 major injuries reported in 2012 – 39 of which were fatal – there are evidently still many risks present in construction and industry workplaces.

Employers are legally responsible for the health and safety of their employees. Given the dangers and hazards present in construction and industrial working environments, thorough risk assessments are absolutely fundamental to the minimisation of injuries, and should be a paramount priority of any construction employer.

Falls, slips and trips cause the majority of industrial injuries

Falls, slips and trips accounted for 56% of the major industrial injuries suffered by construction employees during 2012. There are a number of ways in which these sorts of injuries could be diminished, starting of course with personal protective equipment, but also by ensuring working areas are kept as tidy and uncluttered as possible, providing more cautionary signs (which are specific to the various hazards), and improving lighting conditions.

Industrial illness caused by exposure to asbestos

Occupational exposure to asbestos is one of the leading cause of industrial illness. When materials containing asbestos are disturbed, asbestos particles become airborne. That is where the danger lies: the inhalation of asbestos particles can cause serious long-term damage to the lungs and eventually cancer in some cases. According to HSE statistics, over 4700 people died in 2011 from various diseases and conditions caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory condition which affects lung tissue and is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. In 2011 there were 178 deaths to which asbestosis was recorded as the underlying cause, whilst 2012 saw almost a thousand newly assessed cases of asbestosis.

Measures employers must take to prevent asbestos exposure

By law, it is the duty of those responsible for the management of non-domestic properties to establish whether or not there are materials containing asbestos on the premises. If there are, the amount of asbestos, its location(s) and its condition must be ascertained. Work on or removal of asbestos materials must be carried out by licenced asbestos contractors.

Materials containing asbestos were commonly used in construction and industry until the discovery of its toxicity, and it was finally banned entirely in 1999. This means, however, that asbestos is still common in the general environment, and must therefore continue to be considered a serious health hazard for those who work in construction and industrial environments.

Happy to help law schools and law firms – but I don’t take instructions from advertisers

I have always been happy to assist law firms and law schools by providing advert links on my online magazine  or guest posts etc on my blog – but I will not take any instructions from any advertiser.

The College of Law – now the University of Law –  was foolish in requiring me to get my tour dates “to be agreed and confirmed by the University of Law”.  I am resuming my tour soon now  that my spinal injuries are healing well. Thankfully, there are plenty of good law schools for me to visit.  I won’t be visiting The College / University of Law.

I do not need the approval of any advertiser/law school, law firm or service provider to do anything.  I have never been asked by ANY OTHER  advertiser to submit to their approval.  I won’t and I don’t.

The College / University of Law  cannot, now, advertise on any of my websites.  I am, unlike them in a recent sale, not for sale.

 

Back to blogging ….

I have not been able to blog for some time – due to a spinal injury sustained when I fell backwards into the bath.  A surreal accident to be sure, but one which was rather unpleasant.

I am, however, looking forward now – to returning to blogging et al…

 

Guest Post: Human Rights over 50 years: Progress, Stagnation or Regression?

HUMAN RIGHTS OVER 50 YEARS: PROGRESS, STAGNATION OR REGRESSION?
Vannin Capital

Human Rights! A political hot potato if ever there was one. A favourite target of the Right if you analyse British politics today. Only last month appeared the headline “Human Rights and an Affront to Justice” in Mail Online, to be followed by an article denouncing compensation payments to criminals, sanctioned by that much pilloried institution, the European Court of Human Rights. Shift the focus to world politics though, and Human Rights will be fully embraced. Foreign Secretary William Hague at this year’s Conservative party conference championed this view when he said: “Human Rights defenders languishing in the prisons of repressive regimes are not forgotten because of British NGOs”. Think other parts of the world – Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Rwanda, North  Korea, to name but a few – and the defence of Human Rights goes hand-in-hand with the defence of democracy and decency. That war and terrorism are still prevalent in so many pockets of the world perhaps speaks for itself: that there has indeed been little progress in the achievement of Human Rights on a global scale.

Of course, Human Rights’ issues and concerns go back long before 50 years. The writings of the major religions of the world explored them. Aren’t we all familiar with the basic human rights embodied in the Ten Commandments? Respect for the dignity of one’s fellow human beings and a code of ethics to promote harmonious co-existence is at the root of Human Rights. When these are breached war, conflict and terror take over. No wonder it was the years immediately after the horrors of World War 2 and the Holocaust which saw the greatest attempt to date, to establish a global organisation devoted to defining and upholding fundamental and inalienable Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN National Assembly in 1948, must stand as the yard stick by which to measure the achievement of Human Rights in today’s modern world.

 

Without doubt, the 1948 document, with its thirty articulated rights was an inspirational and idealistic dream. That all have not been achieved in every country of the world is not surprising. That they still set the standards for decency in the democratic world is a measure of the progress that has been achieved. Institutions which represent such progress include the United Nations itself. From the original 51 member states of 1948 there are now 192. United Nations’ institutions such as the International Court of Justice and its Security Council do much to uphold the basic rights of 1948, and to maintain peace in the world. The United Nations’ 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child surely marks progression; its attempts to alleviate tension where there is war and suffering also exemplify on-going, albeit slow, progress. Its effort to act as a watchdog and advisory in the Syrian conflict is but another example. Work is still on-going in areas such as strengthening Labour Laws to achieve economic and social rights. For the optimist, the existence and efforts of the United Nations are the evidence that progress has been achieved in the field of Human Rights. Another institution which works hard for progress in the field of Human Rights is Amnesty International. Further evidence that progress has been made, at least in the Western democracies, is the existence of courts and laws which support the ideals. The European Union has its court at Strasbourg to oversee and uphold Human Rights; in the UK the Human Rights Act of 1998 codified these into UK law. (Of course, as touched upon in the introduction, there will be political nuances when judging the need for and success of such measures.)

At the heart of the debate on Human Rights is the tension between internationalism and nationalism. What right do international organisations have to intervene in the affairs of a nation state?

The pessimistic view that there is much that has stagnated, and indeed regressed, in the achievement of Human Rights is supported by an examination of scenarios where Human Rights continue to be violated today. Economically there is still much inequality and there is still starvation. Access to fundamentals such as clean water and medicine is still not available for everyone. Women are still struggling for equality – think only of Malala and how she was shot by the Taleban in Pakistan. Child labour, female genital mutilation, tribal genocide …..  the list could go on, evidencing the case that there has indeed been regression in the achievement of Human Rights. The World Bank has provided some statistics to support this failure: more than 64 million have been living in extreme poverty since 2007; 1 in 8 children in sub-Saharan Africa die before the age of 5; 1 billion people go to work hungry every day.

50 years on the fundamental and inalienable Human Rights remain the same. How to achieve them remains the political, economic, social and humanitarian challenge. What can you suggest?

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2013/11/blawg-review-325-11

(Photocredit Banksy)

Perhaps a rather unusual title for a blog post – but this is Blawg Review after all, and I am more than happy to fit in with the style for the Blawg Reviews celebrating Ed’s life.  Ed (Ed – short for Editor), sadly, died last week. 11 bloggers are writing final Blawg Reviews.  I am, I gather, the last blogger to post and I will link to Colin Samuels, the first blogger to post and he will link to the next in the chain.  Complicated?  Of course – why make it easy!

I enjoyed writing for Blawg Review – and very much appreciated the invitation from what is essentially a US blawg site. I maintain good contact with many Blawg Review writers to this day – as friends and fellow bloggers.

As I am a British law blogger and living in what so many are pleased to call Europe, I felt it only fair to draw attention to the stance taken by some on this side of the pond, in this edition of Blawg Review  to celebrate Ed’s work, by digging up an old ‘Charon after a glass’ pic to celebrate our differences…

Long has been the association between The United States of America and Great Britain. British prime ministers revel in the words ‘Special Relationship’.  Through the incompetence of a reigning monarch – I think it was George III who was having a go at misruling at the time – we managed to lose a much prized ‘possession’ and that nation  has gone on to greater things and influence world affairs.  We now, or some of us do, sit in our bunkers scorning association with Europe and threatening referenda to engineer a withdrawal.  Vive Britain… or what is left of it after the devolution mania which has hit our green and pleasant lands.   For my own part – I am pro-European and do not wish to leave ‘Europe’. Nor do I wish to see the United Kingdom separate into a group of four mismanaged countries.  Let’s stick with the wonderfully (?) mismanaged one we have is my view, for what that is worth. Mea culpa…

Read a biography about King George III. Discover how he lost the American colonies during his reign?

I am a Scot, part of the Scots diaspora – there are more Scots living outside Scotland than live in it – and we will have to sit on the sidelines (we of the diaspora are not allowed a vote)  and watch as Mr Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, steers his country to independence…. or not, as I suspect may be the case. Does it really matter if Scotland goes independent and Wales has a bash at independence, leaving England to watch – not as former colonies thrive as in days past, but as parts of previous ‘dominion’ – The United Kingdom – bugger orf and have a go at mismanaging their own affairs without English advice and experience on  and of mismanaging affairs?  Time will tell.  Future generations will have to bear the burden of failure or the success of this ‘plan’ if Mr Salmond get his way and leads the way in an  arc of economic prosperity from Iceland to Edinburgh. .

I am now 60 and marvel  (and enjoy the fact) that I have managed  to survive.  Although, I am pleased to admit,  that falling backwards into a bath while shaving three months ago, cracking my spine and breaking five ribs,  was just not a good enough effort to depart the mortal coil early and get a mention in the Darwin Awards.

Looking on the bright side – I do get to faff abart with a walking stick, a prop I may well keep for dramatic effect as I go about my business in future –  though there will be no need for a stick to walk with soon.

The good news is that I am still here – good news for me at least.  The bad news is that Ed of Blawg Review died last week and a number of us now join in writing Blawg Reviews to celebrate his work as the founder of Blawg Review and the wonderfully shadowy figure in the background who provided so much pleasure to the writers – and hopefully, readers – by hosting Blawg Review.

 I never met  Ed.  I received some marvellous emails from him – many  very amusing, some advisory on issues of the week.  I enjoyed my email exchanges with him and thank him, ex post facto, for the pleasure he gave me as a writer by allowing me to participate in what is essentially (and, pleasantly) a US centric Carnival of Law bloggers; introducing me to many US lawyers who blog with style and who are not afraid to shine a bright light where bright lights should be shone.  I value the friendship of those I talk to, meet and write to and with.  I value the pleasure of having read the writing of those on Blawg Review I have not met.

It is difficult to decide on the topics I should cover in this valedictory Blawg Review to celebrate the life of Ed…

I think a a bit of random suits my mood this weekend.  I am fairly sure that Ed would have approved of a bit of ‘random’.

First, my thoughts on twitter which many law bloggers (and lawyers) use, observed a few years ago – but which I still stick to….

It is difficult, in a valedictory Blawg Review –  to decide on what to write about – or whose blogs I should draw attention to.  As I hope you will read all of the Blawg Reviews to mark Ed’s death – I shall provide links to all of them at the foot when all the posts are published.

In the meantime – a rather good cartoon depicting the Lord Chancellor… my US friends and Blawg Review readers may recognise this as a pastiche of the statue which rises above our Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey in London.

And a Charon After Dark pic of The Lord Chancellor should he wish to consider being an Archbishop next.  After all, if a legal qualification is not required to be Lord Chancellor and head up The Ministry of Justice in Britain – why should a lack of qualification in religion hold Archbishop Grayling back.  The man is, clearly, a “Legend” – which is rather better than “Bellend” which I heard used of him in polite legal company recently. Who said satire is dead?  The man is living proof that one politician can keep satire alive.

For the benefit of American readers and law students in England and Wales  who may not have followed, assiduously, the machinations of The Lord Chancellor on Legal Aid – here is a podcast I did with Michael Turner QC, then Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association.

That is probably enough of Mr Grayling for the time being – but I may return to the theme later.  In the meantime, you may wish to consider the Lord Chancellor’s thoughts as reported in The Telegraph:  Grayling’s manifesto to rescue justice from Europe

Press regulation is pre-occupying many in this country.  Carl Gardner, writing at his Head of Legal blog shares a few thoughts on: Press regulation Royal Charter, final draft: my detailed comments on the new provisions

The cynic in me – lurking a few feet below the surface of my thoughts – is not hopeful that the Press will be regulated, nor needs to be? – and the legislation and machinery may well not succeed.  We shall see in due course… or perhaps it will be sine die?

It would be remiss of me not to mention Human Rights…. we still have legislation covering this, thankfully,  despite the best endeavours of the rabid wing of the Tory party who are not partial to The Human Rights Act.  The UK Human Rights blog is the place to go for good and incisive coverage and commentary on the development of our law on this important subject.  Adam Wagner and his colleagues in Chambers have produced a labour of love – a very good and informative read.

And on a lighter note….

And where would we be without Roll on Friday?  I still read it.  I remember posting on it as Brigadier Grappa, whiling away endless hours – and, indeed, getting fairly over refreshed with other Rofers in the early part of the new millenium at various RoFpiss-ups.  They were good days – and I met some very amusing people.

So…from  Roll on Friday – a small selection of offerings for your delectation and delight…

Top lawyer bans partners from his own funeral : One of America’s most famous lawyers has taken his revenge on his former partners from beyond the grave.

Slaughter and May and Linklaters lovebirds face court for insider dealing: An ex-Slaughter and May associate and her ex-Linklaters associate boyfriend have lost their bid to have charges of insider trading dismissed.

Bonkers Law Firm Website of the Week: Chairman Edition: – well worth a look – surreal!

“The stars of this week’s Bonkers Law Firm Website refuse to disguise their lust for chairs.

On the face of it the lawyers at IP firm Rospatt Osten Pross are fairly unremarkable. Sure, their website includes an oddly poetic sales pitch describing how clients “experience wit as the fountain of our ideas, soul as the shelter of our knowledge, energy as the mainspring to expedite the matter” but otherwise it all looks fresh and modern. However something is simmering just beneath the civilized surface of Rospatt Osten Pross: chair love. Massive chair love, as the lawyers use their website profiles to demonstrate how to chat up a chair.”

Well… there we are.  RollonFriday – always worth a look.

Blawg Review was an inspired construction, driven by Ed and his ‘Sherpas’ – who helped with links, introductions and co-ordination.  While almost entirely US centric – others from Canada, Britain and elsewhere were invited to write.  I think I wrote five Blawg Reviews in all and each one was a real pleasure to write.   Blawg Review looked critically at law and practice and provided, always, food for thought.  I feel privileged to have been invited to write.  I read some wonderful law blogs, chatted by skype and email with some interesting and amusing lawyers and maintain, to this day, contact with a good number of the lawyers who wrote for Blawg Review

So… thanks Ed.  You did us proud and it was a pleasure and a privilege to have written for Blawg Review, to have ‘met’ you  and many good bloggers through Blawg Review.  RIP

A shorter post than usual from me  for matters Blawg Review – on the basis of a cracked spine and there is no need for a long post.  There are so many good Blawg Reviews on their website for you to read, should you wish to.  I hope that you will read the blogs of the other 10 bloggers who are participating in this tribute to Ed.

It gave me a great deal of pleasure to write for Blawg Review and gives me pleasure, to this day, to have the connection with so many fine law bloggers.

And to follow the chain to the other bloggers writing for this final edition of Blawg Review – I pass you on to a good friend, Colin Samuels who won five Blawg Reviews of the Year and acted as a sherpa.

Please do go to Colin Samuels Blawg Review – and follow the links to all the bloggers participating in this final edition.  As Colin is in California – his Blawg Review may not be visible when I publish mine because of the time zone differences – but it will be visible if you read this at a sane hour on Monday and not midnight UK time tonight.

I suspect I will put up a link to all the bloggers participating in this final Blawg Review  in the morning on this post – as I am getting a touch confused with publication timing and all the different time zones!   I will not be applying for a job as the “Speaking Clock”

The Lord Chancellor taketh away and taketh away again for good measure….

“One of Britain’s leading civil rights barristers’ chambers, which led inquiries into the deaths of Stephen Lawrence and Princess Diana and the Hillsborough disaster, is closing due to Government cuts to legal aid.

Tooks Chambers, whose leading barrister Michael Mansfield QC was in court yesterday representing the family of police shooting victim Mark Duggan, said its dissolution was “a direct result of government policies on legal aid”. Its lawyers also said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s policies were “cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law”….

The Independent

So, Lord Chancellor…everything going to Plan A or Plan B… or Plan C…?  Do you actually have a plan?

Perhaps you might fancy a change and be Archbishop of Canterbury?  “Real demons to cast out” action there…

Sorry…. but I just could not resist digging this old “Charon After A Glass” pic up again….