Antique wooden bench for sale

I am selling this fine antique wooden bench.  The dealer I bought it from many years ago told me that it was late 19th Century and believed to be made in Scotland.  The fleur-de-lis motif may, however, suggest French origin – but Scotland and France have always had a ‘special relationship’!

It is a fairly striking item.

If you are interested in buying – please email me: ; Happy to sell at £750 ono.



Online legal training provider Datalaw is to fund a coveted place on a Legal Practice Course with a new scholarship, giving the recipient the chance to become a fully-fledged solicitor.

Datalaw will pay the tuition fees – a prize worth up to £12,000 – to the winner of its inaugural competition, which it hopes will become an annual event.

It is open to paralegals and trainee solicitors who are training full time or part-time and are available to start their LPC in September 2015. Applications will be accepted from throughout England and Wales.

The race to land the Datalaw Scholarship will begin on August 1, with entries being accepted until the end of October via the company’s website.

Applicants will be asked to answer a series of questions posted on Datalaw’s  website. From the responses, 50 hopefuls will be selected by mid-December to write a blog or submit a five-minute video explaining why they want to become a solicitor.

These will be assessed by a judging panel, and a shortlist of 10 candidates will be chosen for a final interview.

Datalaw will unveil the winner’s identity on YouTube in mid-March.

Charles Peter, the founder and managing director of Datalaw, said: “This is a hugely exciting initiative for Datalaw and, we believe, for the UK legal community.

“After going to university and studying very hard, many graduates are faced with the daunting prospect of trying to raise up to £12,000 to take the Legal Practice Course and become a solicitor. Some employers sponsor their staff for the LPC, but this is rare.

“We are passionate about what we do, and want to show our support for the industry by offering this opportunity for someone to turn their dream into reality.

“The Datalaw Scholarship will be life-changing for the recipient and we expect a bumper response.”

Datalaw was founded by solicitor Charles Peter in 2001 and has its headquarters in Liverpool.

The e-learning business provides legal CPD training over the internet to thousands of solicitors nationwide

It delivers more than 350 CPD courses via webinars and podcasts delivered by a network of vastly-experienced professionals. The courses cover more than a dozen areas of law, including employment, landlord and tenant, private client, conveyancing, family, personal injury, immigration, criminal and children. They are accessible from any device with an internet connection.

Datalaw is fully accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.


For more information, visit

You can also follow developments at Datalaw on Twitter: @datalaw

Rive Gauche: I have dug up an old post

I sometimes wonder what I got up to of an evening in a past era! I have to admit that tweeting and the odd glass of the Vin Rouge often went together back in the day. This from 2009… 



Charon: Today I am talking to Geeklawyer about his tax return and other matters.  Good morning Geeklawyer.  You have been doing your tax return for nearly eight months.  Are you going for a Pullitzer prize?

Geeklawyer (In a German accent): Good Morning Charon.  The life I live means I have to pay particular attention to my tax and other official papers.  My tax return is one of the most creative things I have ever done… a work of true genius .

Charon: You appear to have turned into a German.  Have you been watching too many war films on Dave?  Be that as it may,  tell me what else you have been up to.  Have you been on Twitter recently?

Geeklawyer: Ja!  I have been on Twitter night und day.  I am addicted.  I cannot help myself.  I wake, see the Twitter screen and I just have to go on.   I even Twitter from court.  Judge does not like it, but I told him  that  I am  typing a note of the proceedings for my records.

Charon: I’m sorry, Geeklawyer but I am having real difficulty understanding you…  are you sure turning yourself into a german is a great idea?

Geeklawyer: Ja!  It is a great idea.  I can charge clients even more because I also  have doctorate degree from internet and clients think I  know a lot more law than my competitors.  Also, when they ask me to repeat myself, it takes time and time is money!

Charon: Well   there we are.  Lawyers are feeling the pinch in these credit crunch times.  We all have to cope.  Thank you for coming on.  I wish you luck with  your new riches.

Geeklawyer: Did you say Reich?  No… I must have misheard you.  It may be the mead I have been drinking.

Charon: Well it is goodbye from me and it is goodbye from my mate Rommel.  Goodbye.  Auf Wiedersehen.


Guest Post: The Legal 500 Release their Rankings for Personal Injury in Scotland

The Legal 500 Release their Rankings for Personal Injury in Scotland

The Legal 500 recently published their findings on personal injury firms in Scotland and listed out the top firms in the country.  Lawford Kidd in Edinburgh were listed in the top 3, which recognised them as being in top firms in the personal injury field.

This accolade is a great supplement to their existing assessments which have been awarded recently including;

  • Top 10 for the 2014 Chambers Directory in Scotland
  • David Sandison (Senior Partner) recognised by the Legal Business Report
  • APIL accreditation
  • Member accreditation by the Motor Accidents Solicitors Society

To find out more about how Lawford Kidd work and their approach to personal injury please visit their website: Lawford Kidd Scotland.

Scottish law provides a means of legal redress for people seeking compensation for an accident, and Lawford Kidd are expertly placed to help claimants pursue a personal injury claim in Scotland.

Under Scots law there are a number of tips for succeeding with a personal injury claim.  These include aspects such as making the claim within three years of the injury occurring.  This time limitation is described in the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973. However, if the personal injury claim concerns a child, then the three year limitation will only start once the child reaches eighteen years old.

In addition to that a personal injury claim in Scotland must also be addressed in the correct court.  So for example, if the claim is under five thousand pounds, then it must be brought to the Sheriff Court.  If the claim is worth more than that, then the personal injury solicitor can make some choices as to which court to proceed with the claim in – this can include the Court of Session.  Scottish Parliament is currently considering proposals to change the minimum financial threshold required to bring a personal injury claim in the Court of Session as part of the Court (Reform) Scotland Bill.

Lawford Kidd, personal injury solicitors in Scotland, can offer a free consultation over the telephone and work on a no win no fee agreement, where the client receives 100% of the compensation.

Guest Post: Sea tide change…

Sea tide change…

With the ‘no’ vote still reverberating across the UK, the Scottish Referendum is not the only recent event which threw legal changes into the spotlight. Recently, the legal press has been saturated with comment on the changes taking place in the profession and this week was no exception.  In the other week’s Law Society Gazette two features focussed on changes which are having and will have a huge effect on the legal sector.

Firstly, solicitor-advocates. Discussion concerning solicitor-advocates is not new and yet it continues as the numbers rise. The Law Society Gazette notes that solicitors first acquired rights of audience in the higher courts in 1994, but it was not until after Lord Carter of Cole’s review of publicly funded legal services in 2006 that they began to consider the advantages of keeping advocacy in-house, instead of outsourcing the job to barristers. According to a recent report on criminal advocacy by Sir Bill Jeffrey, there has been a “marked shift” in the distribution of advocacy work in the Crown court away from the bar, with “many more solicitor-advocates than there were in the years following the liberalisation of the rights of audience.” Owing in part to cost pressures and the cuts to legal-aid, most solicitor advocates are practising criminal advocacy. Some believe their advance may ultimately end the divide between solicitors and barristers.

The second feature in the Gazette is on the CPD changes. The SRA has committed to “continuing competence” ensuring that solicitors provide first-rate client service. This replaces the three decades old compulsory 16 hours’ minimum training per year. In spring 2015 the SRA is publishing a “competence statement” and supporting toolkit to define what a good solicitor looks like in practice. Full implementation of the new approach will come into effect from 1 November 2016. The objective is that training will be dynamic, relevant and targeted with pinpoint accuracy at the needs of practitioners and their firms.

Being media savvy is a crucial part of lawyers’ armour and understanding how the media operates means that managing that media interest in a litigation becomes a much less troublesome prospect. It is this kind of training that the modern day lawyer needs to promote themselves in the best light and we are likely to see more and more training for lawyers that focuses on core management skills and communication skills such as networking and presentation. As a PR agency that is dedicated to the legal sector, Byfield regularly trains lawyers to be at their best in front of the media. Our litigation PR training has just been CPD accredited and guides lawyers to understand the media dimension that is inevitable in any high profile dispute these days.

What can we learn from these two examples of changes taking place? One is the lesson of adaption. To survive and thrive with increased competition firms need to take note and adapt to the new atmosphere. To fit in with a new atmosphere of training is to have a competitive advantage. The season is changing and change is still very much afoot in the legal sector.

Clementine Travis, Account Executive at Byfield Consultancy

Rive Gauche: Sir Hugo Kok de Up MP on Justice

I thought I would dredge up this old post from the beginning of the year.  While I continue to be surprised by Mr Grayling – he is still in post.  Mind you…there is a General Election next year and Mr Grayling will, hopefully (possibly?), be consigned to history and only observable on Wikipedia.  I wonder if he will keep the robes to lounge about in of an evening in opposition? One must be generous and hope so.


It may give The Twitterati some transient pleasure to mock one of the finest gentlemen to have ever graced the House of Commons benches by referring to him as a ‘Crime Scene in Progress’  – I talk of no other than Lord Chancellor Grayling, a man of vision who made his long walk to freedom  from obscurity to hold one of the highest offices of state in the land: Lord Chancellor –  the first non-lawyer to serve as Lord Chancellor since the Earl of Shaftesbury in 1672-3.  It did not end well for The Earl of Shaftesbury, it has to be said – although charges of High Treason were dropped and Shaftesbury fled to Amsterdam,  fell ill, and soon died.  But, be that as it may.

And as for those of you with a predilection for trawling through Wikipedia for amusing nonsense on Chris Grayling and other fellow Conservative MPs to find this sort of thing…..shame on you!

Between 2001 and 2009,[8] Grayling claimed expenses for his flat in Pimlico, close to the Houses of Parliament, despite having a constituency home no further than 17 miles away[9] and owning two buy to let properties in Wimbledon.[10] Grayling says he uses the flat when “working very late” because he needs to “work very erratic and late hours most days when the House of Commons is sitting.”[11]

During the Parliamentary expenses scandalThe Daily Telegraph reported that Grayling refitted and redecorated the flat in 2005 costing over £5,000.[9] Grayling said that both the water and electrical systems failed “leaving the place needing a major overhaul”.[10]

Grayling’s expenses issue was seen as embarrassing for the Conservative Party as he had previously criticised Labour ministers for being implicated in sleaze scandals.[12]

There is more to heaven and earth Horatio than was dreamt of in Wikipedia…. and on that note, I bid you good day. Although I am partial to the Australian greeting…”Gooday mate, how’s it hanging?” when unable to avoid socialists in the house.

The morality of suing a medical professional for Clinical Negligence

The morality of suing a medical professional for Clinical Negligence

By Nilam Patel a city firm fee earner

I often get asked ‘how can you sue doctors for a living?’ ‘Do you not feel guilty?’ ‘Doctors are overworked and sometimes they make mistakes like every human being’. This is my reply.

The perception many people have of Clinical Negligence lawyers can be misguided. It is not possible to take legal action against every clinician who makes an error in the process of treating and advising patients. There are strict legal criteria to be satisfied before a claim can be brought, with three requirements:-

1. Breach of Duty of Care

The first test is whether a reasonable body of practitioners would act in the manner that the accused doctor did. If so, then the actions of the doctor cannot be found to be negligent and he cannot be sued. It follows then that the stringent test is this, if the doctor is unable to find a reasonable body of practitioners who would act in the way that he did, under the same circumstances, then it seems quite obvious that the doctor acted negligently.

As lawyers, we are not in a position to judge the actions of a medical professional and so it is necessary to instruct an expert qualified in the relevant speciality. These experts cover the full range of medical treatment, including breast surgeons, paediatricians, obstetricians and cardiologists. If this expert is able to advise that no reasonable body of clinicians, in a particular medical area, would have acted, as was, then we may have passed the first hurdle.

A widely publicised example of this is the case of young Maisha Najeeb where the treating doctor negligently injected a syringe containing glue into her brain instead of a syringe containing harmless dye, leaving Maisha severely brain damaged. Here, the doctor acted wrongly by negligently using the wrong syringe.

In other cases the doctor will fail to do something (an act of omission).

For instance, in Jennifer’s case, which can be read here, several smear test results were reported incorrectly by a pathologist. These results showed abnormalities which should have been investigated further. The failure to investigate led to a failure to diagnose cervical cancer. Sadly Jennifer died on 21 January 2013.  The cause of her death was metastatic cervical cancer.  If she had received appropriate treatment earlier, the cancer would probably never have developed and Jennifer would be alive and well today.

There are many examples of doctors failing to perform an action which a reasonable body of practitioners would have performed:-

  • Not ordering the correct type of scan or blood test which would have revealed an illness.
  • Not administering the correct antibiotics to treat infections.
  • Failing to diagnose underlying conditions which could be treated.

Sadly, we conduct a number of birth injury cases where there have been failures by the obstetrician or midwife before, during and after labour. For example, in some cases there are clear signs of fetal distress which should have been picked up if the CTG trace had been correctly interpreted. Failures to do so result in the baby being starved of oxygen and suffering neurological damage at birth. Many of these babies suffer from cerebral palsy and epilepsy for the rest of their lives. They require multidisciplinary rehabilitation and their life expectancy is often significantly reduced.


2. Causation

The second limb required to establish a claim is the assessment of whether the negligent act caused or materially contributed to the injury suffered by the Claimant. If the doctor acted negligently, but this did not cause any injury to the Claimant then the Claimant has no claim. So, in Jennifer’s case, if earlier diagnosis of the cancer would have led to the same treatment options as were available when the diagnosis was eventually made, then the negligence did not cause any damage to the Claimant. However, Jennifer could have had a hysterectomy which would have led to a complete cure. Her death was avoidable. Other patients may have had the opportunity to have a risk reducing surgery i.e. a mastectomy or oophorectomy.

Also, if the injury would have occurred anyway regardless of the negligence then again there is no case. So for example, if a surgeon negligently cuts off a Claimant’s toe but his leg was to be amputated anyway, the Claimant has not suffered from any additional damage as he would have lost the toe anyway.

3. Compensation – Valuing the Claim

Once both breach of duty and causation have been established, the next point to consider is the value of the claim. The media often reports multimillion pound compensation awards. Defendants would not be making these payments unless we could justify the sums claimed.

The way the value of the claim is assessed is by understanding, firstly, what injury would not have occurred but for the negligence. Secondly, what expenses would not have been incurred but for the negligence. These limbs are categorised as General Damages and Special Damages, respectively.

(i). General Damages

An award of General Damages aims to compensate the Claimant’s ‘Pain Suffering and Loss of Amenity’ (PSLA). Nowadays awards are standardised across the board by Judicial College Guidelines. Although, no case is the same and we use our experience to obtain the highest awards. However, often these sums are very low in comparison to the injury suffered.

(ii). Special Damages

Prior to receiving the compensation, the Claimant may have incurred expenses caused by the negligence.

(iii) Future Loss

When valuing a claim we involve experts from many disciplines such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, accommodation experts, case managers, support workers, and psychologists to name a few. We quantify the claim with the assistance of experts so we can consider the future needs of the injured Claimant from their perspective.

In many cases, a Claimant will no longer be able to work and so a claim will be made for loss of earnings.  So, for example, but for the negligence and the injury, the Claimant would have been employed until the age of retirement and now suffers from loss of earnings as they are unable to work.

In cases of physical injury the Claimant may require adapted accommodation which allows for room to manoeuvre with a wheelchair or to set up a hoist. Their current home may require adaptations to make everything accessible on the ground floor. The purpose is to put the Claimant in the position he or she would have been in but for the negligence, but in reality, this amounts to only getting the care and support that the person needs, as often they are unable to have the life they would have had if they had not been injured.

In addition to this, the Claimant will require the input of various clinicians and therapists throughout different stages of their life; neurologists, speech and language therapists, and dieticians are a few examples. The Claimant may require a full time career and support worker if it is not safe to leave them alone. What many people fail to understand is that brain injured Claimants are more vulnerable, even whilst in their own home. They may forget to turn the gas off or may allow a stranger in their home or they may not know how to react in an emergency situation. For these reasons, many of our brain injured Claimants need someone with them at all times. The cost of paying for these carers every day for the rest of the Claimant’s life is usually a huge sum of the compensation.

Whilst considering all these costs, it must be remembered that had the clinician acted properly this would have not been required by the Claimant. The negligent act of the doctor has placed the Claimant and their family in a position which they would not have otherwise been in.

For more information or further examples of medical negligence, visit Fieldfisher Solicitors case studies pages, there you will find multiple examples of medical negligence and the results of clinical errors that could have been avoided.

Nilam Patel, Fee Earner


Rive Gauche: Chris Grayling MP – a comic opera Lord Chancellor Impersonator ?

I could offer to flog the Lord Chancellor Impersonator my Panama hat and fine comic opera mask (Below).  And talking of comic opera….I am certain that Mr Grayling LC would make a fine character in a comic opera…perhaps one with burglars in it – for a bit of dramatic ‘kill a burglar’ action?

Remember this..?

A question for Chris Grayling. As a 5ft4in woman, what legal ……/a-question-for-chrisgrayling-as-a-5ft4in-wo…

” 9 Oct 2012 – Chris “Mad Dog” Grayling’s plans for law change with regard to self-defence against burglars do sound jolly exciting. Confusing and … City Centre nativity scene every year. All quite brilliant thieves, seems a bit harsh to kill them.”
As good as my word…here is the said hat and comic opera mask….modelled by a Charon QC impersonator… me.
I had a flu jab.  Now got a wonderful cold.  ‘Normal’ service resumed soon….quite possibly.

Tweet du Jour…

I really must get back to some ‘sensible’ blogging.  I shall find my Panama Hat which aids thinking while writing and do so…

I note that a future prime minister and the present ‘incumbent’ are in this photograph.

  1. 1.
    the holder of an office or post.
    “the present incumbent will soon be retiring”
    synonyms: holderbeareroccupant; More

    One can only hope so…re the above definition. 

Rive Gauche: A bit of “Shagger”

Came across this Lord Shagger nonsense while ‘perusing’ my Charon files.  I think I may have to do a few more Lord Shagger posts now that the legal year is under way.  I may even be able to do/shoehorn in some vaguely sensible posts and podcasts.

Have a good weekend

P.S.   Is it only lawyers who ‘peruse’? I may have to do some perusing later.


Rive Gauche: My desk…

As I did not happen to have a photograph of my desk, I thought I would use some of the time that is left to me to take one.

Yes, those are empty Lucozade Mango bottles flying up the wall.  They are empty.   My old Samurai sword doesn’t see much action these days. (I used to do Kendo and Karate stuff in my youth.)  I cut a pineapple in half years ago at a party.  I asked a friend to throw it up in the air. I may have been mildly ‘over refreshed’ at the time. My then wife was not amused.  It was a bit messy! Not a lot of call for me to use it now.   I have quite a few plants which I take outside occasionally to give them a different outlook.  I have had the large wooden Toucan for many years – and the chair, I am advised, was at The Battle of Trafalgar. (I have a habit of believing the cobblers of antique dealers – but, independent advice says that the dealer was probably right.  I do like the word ‘probably’ ! )

Well…there we are. A pic of where I spend much of my day writing, fitting in a ‘spot’ of work, blogging, podcasting and watching t’telly on iPlayer.)


The Naked Lawyer

There are many ways to practise law and here is a lady who not only knows her law but knows how to enjoy her work.  I will be doing a podcast soon with Chrissie and I am looking forward to it.

And this will give you an idea of the style…and there is style!

The Naked Lawyer eBook

RIP to XXX: How to Market, Brand and Sell YOU !
It’s a life manual, sales blueprint & workshop all wrapped up
into a fun, informative, inspiring, motivational & sexy little package.
Simply NOT for the laggard, faint hearted, slacker or prudish!


Do go and have a look at her website.  You will enjoy the visit.