Anne Wareham: Where have all the critics gone? – I would like to see more great gardens.

Where have all the critics gone?
by Anne Wareham

I would like to see more great gardens. I think they would enrich our culture. You can express things through the use of land, water and plants that no other art form provides scope for, especially because time and weather are inevitable and dynamic partners in the process. This combination of natural forces and our work upon them has immense resonance for us, echoing our work in making a living on this planet in partnership with the land.

A great garden requires a site and a person willing and able to transform that site. In order to do that they have to have time, sensitivity, imagination, courage, taste, ruthlessness, a spatial sense and response to pattern, and an ability to learn, especially about their own limitations.

flowersanne1

And it requires a culture which takes gardens more seriously than we do. For that we need better gardens. An end of praising Highgrove and other inadequate efforts by  the famous and fatuous. And for that we need garden critics and garden criticism. No art can thrive without the serious discussion and dialogue which criticism offers: it raises standards, informs, educates and promotes intelligent debate. It is the lifeblood of any high art, and our gardens are suffering for lack of it. I am not referring here to the garden where the kids play football or that which is devoted to a collection of special plants: I am referring to gardens which open to the public for money.

flowers3anne

I think it is possible that the dual sense of the word criticism creates a problem. The dictionary clarifies the ambiguity –

“Criticism: 1.the act or an instance of making an unfavourable or severe judgement, comment etc. 2. The analysis or evaluation of a work of art, literature etc.

flowers2anne

It is, of course, the second use of the word that concerns me here, but the definitions are not mutually exclusive. It is a fact that “an analysis or evaluation” may come couched in quite damning terms – but serious analysis is worth the bruises. I read an article by a novel writer recently, about his visit to a book market, a “salon litteraire,” in France. He found the punters very blunt in their comments about his work, but concluded – “Yes, the French revere their novelists, but they also believe they can tell them off if they are found wanting. Because they believe that what you do is important, they also reserve the right to dress you down.”

flowers5anne

A bit of dressing down is maybe what we need to make our gardens sing again. Our gardens and our appreciation of them could blossom if we would begin to treat them as important, worthy of serious debate and discussion — not simply as occupational therapy for the retired middle classes.

However, there is currently no context for garden criticism. The model of theatre or book criticism would suggest that critics would visit gardens, and then write them up in our broadsheet newspapers and periodicals if they were worthy of that attention. But no-one writes such a column in this country and no writer has such freedom. Gardens are featured in magazines and newspapers – but never in the review section of a paper. If pop music can be reviewed in these sections, why not gardens?

Gardens usually appear in the press alongside “home” or “property”, and in glossy magazines which are dedicated to a glamorous presentation, for the benefit of potential advertisers as much as anybody. In both, the “how to” is muddled up with  the resulting gardens — both reduced to hobby.

Gardens get into these magazines and the press via photographs. Garden photographers trawl the country looking for new ‘material’, which they flatter by getting up ladders, crawling about on the ground,  getting up at the crack of dawn and Photoshopping. They then sell the results to an editor of a magazine or newspaper. The editor then decides whether the photographs fit the magazine: have the right “style”, fill an “autumn slot,” feature the right plants, create the right balance.

The editor is merely buying a set of photographs, not assessing a garden. She will probably never see the garden. If all this is acceptable, a writer will be dispatched to write a piece about the garden. Probably in the middle of winter despite the pictures featuring flowering roses. It is actually not unknown for the writer to write the piece without setting foot in the garden, but even if they do see it, their task is to justify the garden’s already accepted presence in the publication, not raise issues about it. Editors ask for the articles to be “personal, focusing on the owners and their history and how they came to make the garden. With plant associations.” This is altogether not a context in which we can review gardens or discuss them in depth. (I sometimes toy with the delinquent idea of inventing a totally fictitious garden and seeing if I could get it into a magazine or newspaper…..)

To get gardens worth taking seriously and then to understand why they are worth taking seriously we need a context for genuine garden criticism. We need editors with the courage to break the mould and put gardens alongside books, theatre and pop music in the review sections of our newspapers and magazines. We need to be able to separate garden appreciation from hints on slug control. We need to find a way to break out of the “gardener’s ghetto”, where gardens are only seen to be of interest to gardeners. And, perhaps, we need a certain delinquent small boy, prepared to declare that the Emperor in fact has no clothes.

badtemperedgardenerAnne Wareham has written a book which may be of interest to you: The Bad Tempered Gardener

Garden: www.veddw.com
Website: www.thinkingardens.co.uk/

Blog: veddw.com/blog/

Garden writing veddw.com/category/annes-writing/

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It is a pleasure to publish this post.  I enjoy gardens, plants, trees and flowers, as many do – and it brightens the cold evenings and days of winter.

Rive Gauche: Coercive rainmaking works? – and other matters legal

I always enjoy Charles Pugsley Fincher cartoons. Wonderful satire.

But on a more serious note…

John Cooper QC sound file on Leveson’s Criminal Justice proposals with Carl Gardner.

Carl Gardner has produced a few podcasts recently: (1) John Cooper QC on the DPP’s consultation about assisting victims (13 minute audio clip)  (2) John Cooper QC on the word “grooming” and unduly lenient sentences (6 minute audio clip)

John Bolch at Family Lore: News from NFM: New government mediation report tells us little that’s new

And I just have to mention John Flood’s post on Hunter S. Thompson – “For anyone who could consume the amount of drugs he did and yet write as brilliantly as he could must be professional.” Read

workerspartytweetObiter J: A brief look at Michael v Chief Constable of South Wales Police and the IPCC Report

“On Wednesday 28th January, the Supreme Court handed down judgment in Michael and others v Chief Constable of South Wales Police and another [2015] UKSC 2 (Judgments).  The facts of the matter arose over 5 years ago in the early hours of 5th August 2009.  The Court of Appeal decided the case in 2012 – (Judgments).

This post looks at the basic facts, notes the Supreme Court’s judgment and looks at the very critical IPCC report published in 2010.  Some Additional Materials are at the end of the post…..”

Nigel Poole QC: The Medical Innovation Register

Googling Orgies – Thrashing out the Liability of Search Engines

January 30th, 2015 by Christopher Knight

Back in 2008, the late lamented News of the World published an article under the headline “F1 boss has sick Nazi orgy with 5 hookers”. It had obtained footage of an orgy involving Max Mosley and five ladies of dubious virtue, all of whom were undoubtedly (despite the News of the World having blocked out their faces) not Mrs Mosley. The breach of privacy proceedings before Eady J (Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2008] EWHC 687 (QB)) established that the ‘Nazi’ allegation was unfounded and unfair, that the footage was filmed by a camera secreted in “such clothing as [one of the prostitutes] was wearing” (at [5]), and also the more genteel fact that even S&M ‘prison-themed’ orgies stop for a tea break (at [4]), rather like a pleasant afternoon’s cricket, but with a rather different thwack of willow on leather.

UKSC | blog: Case Comment: Telchadder v Wickland Holdings Ltd [2014] UKSC 57

Open Justice: “Confused by sentencing? You be the Judge gives you an opportunity to sit in the judge’s chair, to help demystify sentencing decisions.

Visit You be the Judge and you can choose from four scenarios based on real-life cases, each video lasting about six minutes. You can choose from cases of criminal damage, burglary, threatening behaviour and robbery.

You will hear the facts of the case, weigh up the aggravating and mitigating factors, and consider the offender’s circumstances and the sentencing guidelines. As the judge, you get to choose the sentence and compare it to the actual sentence given. You’ll also get to see what other people chose.

Thousands of people have already used the site, and interestingly their sentences are often more lenient than those given in court.

Try it for yourself – You be the Judge.

I enjoyed having a good look at this website – well worth a bit of time.

Always worth having a look at the Supreme Court website for the latest cases and information.

And this is excellent from David Allen Green on The Jack of Kent blog: “The Ministry of Justice is telling people with learning difficulties that they are guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent

And I just had to have a Tweet du Jour

Back later… or a più tardi as they say in Italy…

 

Law Review: UK broke law in fewer than 1% of European human rights cases in 2014

UK broke law in fewer than 1% of European human rights cases in 2014

“Statistics published as Britain gears up for election that will feature Tory threats to withdraw from the European convention on human rights

The United Kingdom was found to have acted unlawfully in fewer than one per cent of the cases lodged against it last year at the European court of human rights (ECHR), it has been revealed.

Compared with the other 46 countries who are members of the Council of Europe, the UK was the subject of very few judgments – just four cases – that found it had violated its citizens’ rights.

The states with the largest number of judgments involving at least one breach of the European convention on human rights were Russia (122 judgments), Turkey (94), Romania (74), Greece (50) and Hungary (49)…..”

Read the news report

Advertising on the blog: And…if you would like to advertise your blog, law firm, practice or business – please get in touch.  The rates for advertising are tailored to your business and are not expensive.

Please contact me by email if you would like to advertise.

Back later this weekend…

And finally: A man is in court for calling David Cameron a conceited prick on Twitter. Oh dear… – yet more public money wasted?  I am fairly sure that Mr Cameron has been called worse on twitter, in pubs, offices around the land and elsewhere and takes it as part of the job? Frankly, I can’t see him being ‘bovvered’.

 

Rive Gauche: A bit of Boris and other matters…

 

Boris has a way with words.  This observation is short but has the advantage of getting to the point quickly. Read the story

A few more choice Boris  quotes from the net…

“Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3.”

On people visiting their MP:

“The dreadful truth is that when people come to see their MP they have run out of better ideas.”

On why he voted for David Cameron:

“I’m backing David Cameron’s campaign out of pure, cynical self-interest.”

On UKIP:

“I can hardly condemn UKIP as a bunch of boss-eyed, foam-flecked Euro hysterics, when I have been sometimes not far short of boss-eyed, foam-flecked hysteria myself.”

And this one appealed to me, particularly…

On being fired by Michael Howard:

“My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.”

I am not a Tory – but if we really do have to have a Tory prime minister – Boris would, at least, amuse us?

I think it only fair, given that I am supposed to be writing a law blog, to shoehorn some law in…

But before I do that – one must be even handed…

Quite an interesting Law story…

Contempt of parliament: bluster or real threat?

Ben Emmerson QC was reminded of his legal obligations when he was called to give evidence before a Commons committee

When Ben Emmerson QC was called to give evidence before the Commons home affairs committee on Monday, the legal adviser to the child abuse inquiry was reminded by the chairman of his legal obligations. “The evidence that you give before this committee today is protected by parliamentary privilege,” said Keith Vaz. “It would be a prima facie contempt of the house for any witness knowingly to give false or misleading evidence to a committee of this house.”

As Vaz had the grace to acknowledge, Emmerson knew this better than most. The QC had, after all, acted as special adviser to the Commons standards and privileges committee on precisely these questions. And, as Vaz knew, Emmerson was bound by legal professional privilege. This privilege exists for the benefit of the client rather than the lawyer and meant that Emmerson could not be required to disclose information given to him by the inquiry panel and any advice he had given in response. The lawyer was also bound by a common law duty of confidence that prevented him from divulging, without the panel’s consent, any confidential information he had obtained in his capacity as counsel.

So it looked as if we were about to watch a trial of strength. Would parliamentary privilege trump Emmerson’s legal obligations? Could Vaz force him to answer on pain of contempt?

It is an interesting story – here is the rest of it

Law Review: A look at some of the UK Law blogs

 

 

 

Conflict of Laws.net: Is the Shevill Doctrine Still Up to Date? Some Further Thoughts on CJEU’s Judgment in Hejduk (C-441/13)

Clare Rodways’s The Conversation blog: RSA Chief Exec Matthew Taylor is challenging you to Change The Way You Think in 2015.

David Allen Green – Jack of Kent blog: The Ministry of Justice and the Saudis: ten more unanswered questions

John Bolch – Family Lore: When liability for child support ends: “A very quick note on NG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions & Anor (Child support : receipt of benefit) (CSM) [2015] UKUT 20 AAC (15 January 2015), which concerned the issue of the correct date on which liability to pay child support ends….”

Carl Gardner – Head of Legal blog: John Cooper QC on the Global Law Summit: “By going there, we are tacitly endorsing what Grayling is doing”

“The Criminal Bar Association’s acceptance of an invitation to speak at the government’s Global Law Summit next month is “pandering” to the Lord Chancellor’s “political opportunism”, John Cooper QC said today in an interview for this website….”

Lallands Peat Worrier: Lights! Camera! Court! – “Should TV companies be entitled to broadcast criminal trials on a regular basis? Ought journalists – or members of the public – to be allowed to sit back in the public gallery, furiously live-tweeting a judge’s sentencing statement, or relaying the arguments being advanced by counsel in the latest round of litigation engulfing Rangers Football Club, to the interested public? ….”

Peter Groves on his Ipso Jure blog: My favourite passing-off case

 “In an area of law where the cases are, almost by definition, often highly amusing, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars v Dodd [1981] FSR 519 is in a class of its own. John Dodd, the proprietor of an automatic transmission repair business, built his own car – actually taking over a rolling chassis which someone else had started and building a body on it – powered by a second-world-war vintage Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. The first iteration used an engine from a Centurion tank, rather less romantic than had it come from a Spitfire, the most celebrated machine in which the Merlin was used: the second car (its predecessor having been destroyed in a fire) had an engine from a bomber (a Mosquito, apparently). It also had a very different body style. Both cars featured a Rolls-Royce radiator grille and Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, at least until the manufacturer (whose company secretary at the time happened also to be called John Dodd) took him to court where Walton J granted an injunction to prevent passing off (referring to the car as a Rolls-Royce) and infringements of the company’s trade marks.
Following the case, Mr Dodd started referring to the car as The Beast. When he promised the judge that he would change the name, Walton J asked where was Beauty. Perhaps in the eye of the beholder?…”

I find it difficult to resist the bizarre…

And..perhaps even more bizarre? The Daily Mail: The spelling mistake that wrecked a family business: Companies House to pay £8.8m damages after engineering firm with 250 workers closed down when government pen-pusher added an extra ‘s’ to document

  • When a company called Taylor & Son went out of business, Companies House recorded that Cardiff-based Taylor & Sons was being liquidated
  • Customers and lenders withdrew business as rumours spread
  • The engineering firm collapsed and sued Companies House over the error
  • Now the State must hand over up to £8.8million after High Court ruling

Read more:

And..from the Magistrates’ Blog: Not Always Exciting, This Job…

 “Today was a stultifyingly boring sitting at one of our outlying courthouses. We dealt with a couple of routine applications (that are of course important to the applicants) and moved on, after a good 20 minutes’ coffee time, to a trial. Well, that was the plan, anyway. The CPS were not sure about how far the case had got and the court office was not too sure either. We hung around, as one does, and went to lunch….”

Giles Peaker – Nearly Legal blog: Just because you are paranoid…

“… doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.

The MoJ and Legal Aid Agency have put out a leaflet on Legal aid and “Help for people at risk of losing their home“. The trouble is that it doesn’t mention, anywhere, at all, not even in little small print, that tenants facing possession proceedings can seek face to face advice from a solicitor. Instead, all requests for help are channelled to the LAA phone line….”

The blog of Obiter J: Lord Neuberger on the (civil) Trial Judge’s role today – “Lord Neuberger – President of the Supreme Court of the UK – has delivered an interesting speech in Manchester – Some thoughts on the post-LASPO civil judge’s role before and during trial

Lord Neuberger emphasised the importance in the common law system of the trial judge and said that, when it comes to case and trial management, as much as possible should be left to the trial judge, whose authority and confidence should be reinforced, no undermined or second guessed, by appellate courts [para 5].

” … the Court of Appeal should be very reluctant in principle to interfere with a trial judge’s procedural ruling, and should only vary or reverse it, when the decision is plainly outside the wide range of reasonable choices which is normally open to a judge in such circumstances….”

And Pink Tape has something for the cold winter days and nights: A woman of many hats

“This week I has mostly been knitting woolly hats. Well, one woolly hat, which looks quite nice but doesn’t entirely fit my actual head. Anyway it was a prototype – an exercise in establishing I have some capacity to knit a hat like object with strange circular knitting needles. And it appears I do….”

 

The Justice Gap: We live in a system which ‘at its heart has collusion’, said the radical human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield QC to a packed auditorium at St. Mary’s College in Belfast last week. ‘Collusion between higher politics, the upper echelons of the police, and the media.’ Mansfield was delivering the first annual Gerry Conlon memorial lecture, entitled ‘Democratic Bankruptcy’, just metres from where Conlon had grown up on the lower Falls Road.
Read…

UK Human Rights blog: What price liberty? Damages, DOLS and a cat named Fluffy

The UK Supreme Court blogA series of recent posts

And finally…. I do miss The White Rabbit’s blogging – always worth reading..

whiterabbit2015

 

Churchill: “I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

Churchill

The Independent noted: “While Jeremy Paxman described him as “a chancer, an egotist and a charlatan“, others have pointed to his flaws as a leader and bigoted views of the world.

The best known  quotes and statements of Sir Winston Churchill are well known.  Here are a few of the ones I particularly enjoy:

“I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

I remember well watching the funeral all those years ago.  I was at a rather unusual school for 8-13 year old boys in Helensburgh, Scotland which appeared to be run by a group of sociopaths.  One of the older male teachers had a predilection for fondling the ears of young boys while handing out a small Cadbury’s chocolate. Another wandered about the dormitories of an evening at bedtime with a clacken – a large wooden spoon with a smiley face drawn on it. (The teacher drew the smiley face.)  Unusual behaviour…to be sure! I preferred my later education…

Mind you it instilled good learning habits later – attended only 3 lectures and a handful of tutorials at university and spent time reading law books and law reports and discussing law with friends. I recall one lecturer at university used to read out ‘his’ lectures on English Legal History from an expensive textbook (Maitland)  – assuming that none of the students would rumble him.  We did. A friend started reading loudly from the same page the lecturer was giving his lecture from.   The lecturer didn’t have many students attending after that – rightly.

Rive Gauche – The General Election cometh….and the Tories goeth?

Louise Mensch Just Told David Cameron And The Queen To ‘F**k Off’ Over Saudi King Abdullah

It is not often I find myself agreeing with Louise Mensch – but she may have a point here? –

“Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch has unleashed an extraordinary tirade onTwitter, instructing both David Cameron and the Queen to “fuck off”.

Mensch became enraged after the British Government declared all UK flags be flown at half mast to mourn the death of King Abdullah on Thursday.

She began by criticising US President Barack Obama for paying tribute to the late royal, whom Mensch said “whipped women for driving & is currently starving his daughters.”….”

Huffington Post story

In relation to the ‘Pic’ above – I don’t really think our country does need Mr Cameron – but I would say that… being a left wing Labour voter for much of my life…. hey ho…we shall see what Mr Miliband does if he manages to win the election.  I have a horrible feeling he will disappoint.  I shall, as it is sunny today, keep an open mind. Also, I have had a fine hair cut from the haircutters in Kingsbury High Street who had the wonderful name “Good Luck Haircut”… pity they changed the name.  They still do a good hair chop – a bargain at £5 + tip.

And, on a more serious note: Mohammed — in pictures

“The Koran has no injunction against depicting Mohammed. In fact there’s a rich tradition of two-dimensional images of the Prophet in Islam…”

Law Review: ‘Incompetent’ Grayling condemned by ex-Tory MP as ‘off his trolley’

A top of the morning to you – as an Irish gravedigger I dug graves with, when I was a law student, used to say each morning as we had a fag before digging a grave.

I have had the pleasure of doing podcasts with ex Tory MP and barrister Jerry Hayes.  I am sure that Jerry will not mind my observation that he is never short of a few choice words on matters law and political – and he has hit the nail on the head today as reported in the i Newspaper

‘Incompetent’ Grayling condemned by ex-Tory MP as ‘off his trolley’

“Chris Grayling is a disgraceful incompetent who should be sacked as Justice Secretary because he is undermining the legal system, a former Tory MP has claimed.

In a vitriolic personal attack, the barrister Jerry Hayes denounced the minister as “off his trolley” and as a “s*** which will have to be flushed” from office after the election.

Mr Hayes’s onslaught came as Mr Grayling’s controversial reforms to judicial review are now set to become law. The Justice Secretary argues the moves are essential to stop campaigners from resorting to judicial reviews to stymie building projects and disrupt the work of government.

But Mr Hayes, who has resumed a career as a criminal law barrister after losing his Commons seat, delivered a scathing verdict on the minister’s handling of the issue….”
The full article from i

An excellent article and an excellent piece of work and observation from Jerry Hayes.  I shall invite Jerry to do another podcast with me.

A fine start to a pleasing weekend ahead – have a good one.

Guest Post: I’ve been told that I need a hip replacement, and it’s got me worried.

From Thompsons Solicitors and solicitor-advocates

I’ve been told that I need a hip replacement, and it’s got me worried. Not only do I feel decidedly queasy about having the surgery performed – scalpels, knives, incisions, extrications … all that fiddling about – I also feel very ambivalent about the post-surgical period, when I can expect to be bedbound for a time, use a walking frame and be utterly reliant on friends and family for basic help such as washing myself, feeding the cat, shopping and more. The thought of this is enough to keep me hobbling up and down the stairs, in pain, for some months yet.

But as if all of the above were not enough to make me feel hesitant, I then meet up with my brother-in-law for the first time in nearly five years (my wife and her sister have finally managed a reconciliation after a long period of fallout – it was something to do with a childhood argument over sausages – seriously) and discover just how badly things can go – what he told me is nearly enough to get me hiding under the table.

Ok, so here’s his story – inasmuch as I remember and understand it anyway: last time I saw Barry he was going into his local hospital for a double hip replacement. He was only 51, but an active sporting life – lots of five-a-side and a fair bit of squash – had taken its toll on his hips. Docs told him that if he underwent the operation he could expect many more ‘active’ years ahead of him.

But what Barry – and, presumably, the doctors – didn’t bargain on was the ‘mix ‘n’ match’ approach the surgeons would take to his hip replacement – yes, you heard right, ‘mix ‘n’ match. And, yes, it sounds terrifying. So terrifying, in fact, that Barry has recently had so much pain that he has been forced to quit work.

It’s not like the authorities didn’t know about the problem with mix ‘n’ match, says Barry. Apparently the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency knew about the problems for some time yet let hospitals carry on regardless.

Like all the most sinister and terrifying things it seems that for a while everything was fine. Barry returned to work three months after the operation and it was not until two or three years later that he began to have strange pains in his legs and hips.

Doctors at first fobbed him off but later blood tests and MRI scans cast full light on the problem: the mix ‘n’ match nature of the hip sockets in the replacements meant that there was deterioration, causing metal toxins to leak into Barry’s body, raising his selenium levels and giving him muscle and joint pain.

“That sounds awful, Barry,” I told him. “Why don’t you claim compensation?”

Barry explained that he’d tried but had so far been unsuccessful. I tried finding a reputable personal injury solicitor firm for him (the ones he instructed sound truly terrible): I’ve done my research and think I’ve stumbled on Scotland’s best (let me know if you know of any better) and it seems that they know a thing or two about the problems associated with metal-on-metal implants.

Whatever the case, Barry’s ordeal has certainly made me circumspect about having my operation done. I don’t want to have to make a hip replacement claim.

This guest post was supplied by http://www.thompsons-scotland.co.uk

Podcasts on Scots Law

I am doing a series of podcasts on Scots Law.  Although I am a Scot – I read English Law.  Fortunately, I know a fair few lawyers and Scots judges from my past (I was ‘educated’ in Scotland 8-18 years of age).

I am delighted that I have my first podcastee from Scotland – Michelle Hynes who tweets regularly.

I may have to change the flag on ‘my glasses’ in the blog header bar to a Saltire!

Rive Gauche: Ian Duncan Smith – happy for people to visit foodbanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching the Daily Politics programme on Europe at 6.00 am this morning, I marvelled at the ‘contribution’ made by Margot Parker – a kipper in Europe. There are times, listening to Kippers on politics programmes, when I wonder what we have done as a nation to deserve UKIP.

Or, indeed, to ‘deserve’ politicians who say this…

Clipped from Twitter

I have voted Labour at every election – sometimes, it has to be said with some regret – but with some of the present ‘collection’ of rather unpleasing Tory politicians..I am only sorry that we are not allowed to ‘vote early and often’.

Rive Gauche: Never in the field of political conflict was so much owed by so many to so few

It is, arguably, a tribute to our democracy and tolerance that we can accommodate The Kippers and enjoy their absurd antics. Nigel Farage has carved himself a niche in our political firmament and will, no doubt, as the election approaches, lead his cohorts forward in their duty to amuse many….or to modify Churchill…”Never in the field of political conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

Back later…ineluctably…

 

Law Review 15th January 2015

Clare Rodway in The Conversation blog: RSA Chief Exec Matthew Taylor is challenging you to Change The Way You Think in 2015.  He is passionate about our need for a New Year Resolution to improve social integration and his fervour for how we might live differently flies off him in sparks.
Read the blog post

Conflict of Laws.net: Characterising The Liability of Directors of an Insolvent English Limited having its Real Seat in Germany: German Federal Court of Justice Requests a Preliminary Ruling from the CJEU…
Read

David Allen Green – Jack of Kent blog: Je suis Charlie: Orwell on the fear that extremists have of being laughed at

John Bolch – Family Lore blog: Internet Newsletter for Lawyers January/February 2015

John Flood: Relevance of Professionalism in a Post-Legal Services Act World

Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.
Hunter S. Thompson

The Magistrates’ blog: No Praise For Appraisal – “The Law Gazette carries this piece about the quality of magistrates’ training.

It’s a complex subject, because furnished as we are with  a qualified barrister or solicitor as legal adviser, we only need to know the basic principles of law and procedure. Appraisals take place every three years (my next one is in February) and are carried out by an approved fellow magistrate. Unfortunately, the legal adviser was removed from the process some years ago, to save money.Appraisals must be frank and honest, not always an easy task when the subject is someone you have known for a decade….”
Nearly Legal blog: Squeezed Out of LondonA friend of ours has asked us to help promote a potential documentary. What follows is a slightly edited version of the original email:

Kash is a Hackney based production company that specialises in all forms of digital and short form content. We’ve been established for five years now and are eager to make interesting, relevant films that tell personal and honest stories.

I’m currently doing the preliminary research into a documentary idea about the affordability of housing in London and, in particular, cases where people have been offered financial assistance to leave their borough, moving to other London boroughs or even out of London entirely.

They’re looking to produce a short documentary for the Open City Docs festival, the theme of which is “Living in London.”

If anyone reading this is interested in speaking to Kash about this or has clients who might be interested, can they please contact Jamie McCormack at jamie@kash.london or on 020 7923 3309.

Obiter L blog: Counter terrorism and Security Bill – Joint Committee on Human Rights – The Joint Committee on Human Rights has issued its report on the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill and has called for better safeguards in a number of areas.  The Committee’s Conclusions and Recommendations are HERE.

Pink Tape is calm: I AM calm!

“I have learnt that it is usually a good idea to sleep on it after reading a Christopher Booker article, and not to write in anger. I have slept on this one for a whole week (force majeure) so I am positively serene as I write. Honest.”This time it is a piece beginning with the rather understated headline :The most sinister court in Britain strikes yet again

The shadowy Court of Protection’s treatment of a 72-year-old grandmother is a national scandal, says Christopher Booker

I am often amazed at what I find on my blog looking back at old blog posts for images which amused me at the time.  This one did.

And..if you are thinking about a career at the Bar – a good blog to visit for advice is Pupillage and How To Get It written by Simon Myerson QC

The Justice Gap: Is the UK really any better than US at holding police to account?

And worth another airing on the blog: From the Justice GapShami Chakrabarti: ‘Britain dumps its citizens like toxic waste’

From Panopticon maintained by 11 KBW Information Law practice group: How to apply the DPA

“Section 40 of FOIA is where the Freedom of Information Act (mantra: disclose, please) intersects with the Data Protection Act 1998 (mantra: be careful how you process/disclose, please).

When it comes to requests for the disclosure of personal data under FOIA, the DPA condition most commonly relied upon to justify showing the world the personal data of a living individual is condition 6(1) from Schedule 2:

The processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed, except where the processing is unwarranted in any particular case by reason of prejudice to the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data subject.

That condition has multiple elements….”

And finally…for this Law Review: A worrying new anti-terror law is sneaking through Parliament – Angela Patrick

My thanks to East Park Communications, publishers of Local Law Society magazines for sponsoring the Law review posts.

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: New Personal Injury Claims Website for Stockport Launched

New Personal Injury Claims Website for Stockport Launched

A new personal injury website is being launched to serve Stockport and the surrounding areas offering legal advice and representation to those involved in an accident.  You can click to visit it now for further information.

Their personal injury solicitors specialise in personal injury claims on behalf of those who have suffered an accident or injury and have launched a new website to attract customers in the Stockport area.

Personal Injury Solicitors Stockport understand how devastating a personal injury can be to someone’s life. Whilst no one wants to be involved in an accident, sadly they are a part of everyday life in the UK. The new site will provide a team of expert lawyers that specialise in all types of injury claims to help a victim of an injury seek the compensation they deserve. 

Whether you have suffered from wage loss, medical negligence or a minor injury due to an accident that was not your fault, their team of dedicated solicitors are here to offer you support and advice and help you get the maximum compensation on a no win, no fee basis.

Local Service

The Stockport website is the latest addition in a series of regional personal injury websites that are dedicated to local areas of the country.  Personal Injury Solicitors Stockport joins a growing list of local markets that the company are expanding out into, with plans to move into other cities over the coming months.

A spokesman for Personal Injury Solicitors Stockport said: “We are delighted to be announcing the launch of a new site for those living in and around the Stockport area.

“We are committed to providing the best and most comprehensive service for all our clients by offering a no win, no fee service.

“This Personal Injury Solicitors Stockport comes following the success of many of our other local personal injury sites that we run and manage throughout the UK and we are looking forward to serving the Stockport area.

“By being local we can immediately look into a case and be accessible to our clients.”

He added: “Our team will gather witness statements, talk to third parties, review evidence, contact any relevant insurance companies, pursue claims for loss of earnings, and make sure you have the best legal advice and representation possible.”

“The website will feature all the information our clients will need to find out if they are entitled to making a personal injury claim and we look forward to offering our services and advice to those in need of legal representation.”

No Win, No Fee

More than three million UK residents are injured in accidents annually with many victims entitled to compensation due to an accident that was not their fault. The new website will deal with a number of claims from road accidents in the Stockport area, slips, trips and falls, accidents in the workplace, clinical negligence and much more on a no win, no fee basis.

No win no fee cases means that that even if the case is not won, you will still not have to pay anything. Payment will only be taken if you are successful in receiving compensation.

For more information about Personal Injury Solicitors Stockport visit our website, or call us via the telephone number displayed on the website to discuss a compensation claim. Lines are open 24 hours, seven days a week. 

Guest Post: The scary realities of preparing a will

The scary realities of preparing a will

The most frightening aspect of preparing a will is that you have to come to terms with your future death. If you look at a will as a tool for making life easier for your family and friends, after your death, then it won’t be such a difficult task, and you may even enjoy writing down your wishes and bequests. It may provide you with some comfort, too.

Starting the will writing process

You can create a totally legal will yourself, but if you want to ensure that your will is legally compliant and that your wishes will be interpreted after your death, then it’s always best to get legal advice.

If you need to get versions of the will replicated in a foreign language – for relatives who live overseas, perhaps – then you need translation services. VP Public Notary can organise a translator and also certify the finalised documents.

Inheritance tax can be scary

According to the government website, if your estate comes to the value of more than £325,000 then your executors will have to pay inheritance tax. This is levied at 40%. It’s a good idea to discuss this matter with your lawyer, as there are ways in which you can legally ensure that those who inherit your estate won’t face a large tax bill.

According to the influential financial website This is Money, making a will is the first step in this process as ‘70% of adults fail to do so.’ The website also suggests that many don’t make a will as they are ‘uncomfortable talking about issues surrounding our death.’ A will allows you to carry out some forward planning; you can put some of your assets into a trust, thus ensuring that ‘they no longer form part of the estate.’ You can also ensure that the funds you leave your loved ones won’t be taxed out of existence.

Intestacy should always be avoided

Under the laws of intestacy, if you die without making a will, then your estate will be put in trust and dispersed according to law. The appointed statutory trustee has to distribute the estate under the Administration of Estates Act 1925. An article in The Daily Mail shows the problems that your beneficiaries may face, if you don’t leave a will. For co-habitees, this is imperative, as this status still isn’t recognised under law, and your estate will go to your family rather than your partner.

It can be galling to realise that the law doesn’t recognise a relationship that you may have had for the last 20 years, and writing a will is the only way of leaving your assets to your loved one after your death. Civil partnerships are recognised, though a will is always advisable.

You can do whatever you like in your will

Once you’ve overcome your fears about writing a will, and coped with your fear of your own mortality, you may start to enjoy yourself. You don’t have to leave your estate to your family; you can always leave it to a charity, your cat or anyone you like. Your family may well contest your will, but at least you’ve had the opportunity to express your wishes and ensure that they are carried out. There’s really nothing scary about making a will, it’s more frightening if you don’t make one.

Law Review (UK) 12th January 2015

Nick Holmes asks on his Binary Law blog: Do lawyers need to be digitally competent? ”

I ask this because I have been looking into the future for CPD in the two professions. Both are moving away from measuring CPD hours towards systems based on self-certified continuing competence.

The SRA is more advanced and has issued a Draft Competence Statement for consultation with a view to implementing the new regime (on a voluntary basis initially) in April 2015…..”

David Allen Green, writing on his Jack of kent blog: Je suis Charlie: Orwell on the fear that extremists have of being laughed at

 

While I missed out, yet again, on the annual new year parade of honours, I do ask myself (in the absence of anyone else to ask)  how valuable the House of Lords is to modern Britain. Is it an anachronism, a receptacle for ex-politicians and others to pass some time in comfortable warm surroundings and collect a bit of cash on the way to other amusements? I’d be most interested to read of any research into how useful the Lords is these days. Do we get value for money?   If you happen to know of any research – please do comment below.  I shall have a look on the net.

Abusus non tollit usum… Abuse of a right does not invalidate use

The Romans knew a thing or two about law and useful aphorisms – and while I am on matters Latin here is another fairly self evident truth: Deficit omne quod nasciture …Everything that is born passes away.  It can only be a matter of time for all of us unless the event is hastened by illness, tragic accident or stupidity.

The Guardian: Anti-terror bill a threat to academic freedom, MPs tell Theresa May
“Universities should be exempt from a new counter-terror duty that could seriously restrict academic freedom of speech, MPs and peers have told the home secretary, Theresa May…..”

Universities should be exempt from duty, home secretary told by MPs and peers on parliament’s joint human rights committee

Conflict of Laws.net: Regulation (EU) nº 606/2013 Applicable (from 11 January 2015) “Regulation (EU) nº 606/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 12 June 2013, on mutual recognition of protective measures in civil matters, is applicable from yesterday on protection measures ordered on or after that date, irrespective of when proceedings have been instituted…..”

John Bolch is a prolific blogger and his Family Lore blog is excellent for Family lawyers – he has published his 300th edition of his weekly newsletter: 300th Edition of the Family Lore Focus Newsletter

Lallands Peat Worrier: The unlearned lessons of Thomas Aikenhead – “A stooshie is brewing across the Irish sea, given added impetus by this week’s gruesome events in Paris, and the debate about offending religious sensibilities which it has provoked. In 2009, the terminally ghastly Fianna Fail government introduced the Defamation Act. Section 36 of the legislation enacted a new statutory offence of “publishing or uttering blasphemous matter”, which criminalises producing material “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.”

…The offence is a crime of intention. You can’t commit it recklessly or negligently. To be convicted, the prosecution must demonstrate that the accused “intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”
The Magistrates blog: No Praise For Appraisal – The Law Gazette carries this piece about the quality of magistrates’ training.

 

 

And finally… I have dug out this pic which I did some years ago.  Not much changes on twitter

 

A Postcard early in the new year: A Review of the law blogs

As there isn’t a great deal of law around at the moment I thought I would have a look at the writing of fellow law bloggers, see what they have been up to recently, and cover it below.

Before I do that, I thought you might like this picture of using a mobile while driving sent to me by a good friend who is Spanish but who has lived in London all of his life.

From Carl Gardner at Head of LegalDominic Grieve: I am not a lone voice crying in the wilderness

“The Conservative debate on human rights is “very far from over”, Dominic Grieve told an audience of lawyers last night, as he strongly criticised his party’s recent policy paper – saying he was not sure a key aspect of it “was really intended as a serious proposal”. There are “plenty” of Conservative supporters of human rights, he claimed, and he said they will win the internal debate – but “must not stay silent”.”

The article is a good read and raises some interesting points.

Writing in mid-December last, John Flood considers: Relevance of Professionalism in a Post-Legal Services Act World

John Flood begins his blog post: “I’ve always admired “Duke” (or Hunter S Thompson as he’s known in the mundane world). For anyone who could consume the amount of drugs he did and yet write as brilliantly as he could must be professional.”

The Justice of The Peace  (Magistrate’s) blog: JUSTICE, FOOTBALLER, REHABILITATION. WHO AND WHAT ARE VICTIMS?

“And the Lord said let there be light and there was light; and his lordship said let there be law and there was law. And the law begat offenders and the offenders begat defendants and the defendants begat judges and the judges begat trials and the trials begat witnesses and the witnesses begat complainants and the complainants begat victims and the victims begat czars and the czars……….”

An interesting blog post.

The Nearly Legal blog considers: Getting around Tuitt

“Anti-social behaviour cases are one of the staple cases for the young barrister. If acting for landlords (whether local authority or housing association), they’re a great way to develop trial experience in a relatively low-risk environment. I say “low risk” because, for the most part, landlords have got quite good at these cases and courts have become quite cynical, such that you usually get an order of some sort.

For tenants, if your experience is anything like mine, you start off fighting the good fight and happily running the defence your client wants to run (often some highly elaborate version of bare denial) and (generally) you go down in flames. Your client isn’t believed….”

Francis Fitzgibbon QC over at Nothing Like The Sun is always a good read: They Would not Listen, They Did not Know How

“Here we go again. Another legal aid consultation by the Ministry of Justice, in response to the quashing by Burnett J of the flawed decisions based on the last one: not that you’d know from the announcement that the MOJ has suffered the humiliation of having its decision described as so unfair as to be unlawful. It says nothing about the judicial review. There is no trace of contrition, regret, much less of apology for mucking the profession about, wasting time and energy, and for creating a shambles….”

The blog of Obiter J: Counter-terrorism law

“Just a reminder that the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill is racing along its fast-track through Parliament.  The Bill (as introduced) is considered in this earlier post.  Please also see this post by Angela Patrick on the UK Human Rights Blog.

The Bill has now cleared the House of Commons and the second reading in the House of Lords is on 13th January.  A Joint Committee on Human Rights report about the Bill is due to be released on 12th January.  A JUSTICE briefing on the Bill is available, here.”

The blog of Obiter J: Charlie Hebdo – Freedom of Expression

“When a court in the United Kingdom is faced with a case involving freedom of expression, the Human Rights Act 1998 section 12 may apply.

…”George Washington encapsulated the importance to democracy of freedom of speech by saying – “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

We must retain the importance of freedom of expression and ask that legislators be very careful before enacting restrictions on it.  Similarly, the vital need for freedom of expression – even if it sometimes offends – must carry great weight in any law enforcement.”

Pink Tape – a blog from The Family Bar: Resolution Guide to Good Practice for Family Lawyers on Working With Litigants in Person ?

“Resolution recently published a guide for its members to working with LiPs, an increasingly common phenomenon. You can read the guide hereDavid Burrows beat me to posting a review of it, and he was rather underwhelmed with the “homely guide”.”

The Justice Gap: ‘The Court of Appeal remains at the heart of the problem of wrongful convictions’ – “The Criminal Cases Review Commission lacks independence and simply serves to reinforce ‘the traditional intransigence’ of the Court of Appeal, according to evidence submitted to the House of Commons’ Justice committee which calls on MPs to scrutinise the role of the courts….”

The Justice Gap Interview with Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty: 

“INTERVIEW: Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, talks about the launch of her new book ‘On Liberty’ as well as discussing today’s threats to our freedoms and how the biggest threat to our democracy comes from ‘complacency and comes from within’.

Speaking to www.thejusticegap.com, Chakrabarti described how terrorism ‘can only provoke us’ into ‘disproportionate, inappropriate, counter-productive actions’ that don’t make us any safer but certainly make us less free.”

Panopticon, 11 KBW:  Campaigning journalism is still journalism: Global Witness and s.32 DPA

“In an important development in the on-going saga of Steinmetz and others v Global Witness, the ICO has decided that the campaigning NGO is able to rely on the ‘journalism’ exemption under s.32 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

The decision has major implications for journalists working both within and outside the mainstream media, not least because it makes clear that those engaged in campaigning journalism can potentially pray in aid the s. 32 exemption. Importantly, it also confirms that the Article 10 right to freedom of expression remains a significant right within the data protection field, notwithstanding recent developments, including Leveson and Google Spain, which have tended to place privacy rights centre-stage (Panopticons passim, maybe even ad nauseam)….”

UK Human Rights Blog: A worrying new anti-terror law is sneaking through Parliament – Angela Patrick

Angela Patrick, on the 9th January, writes: “As the world’s press and public stand vigil in support of Charlie Hebdo and the families of the victims of Wednesday’s attack, we wake this morning to reports that our security services are under pressure and seeking new powers. The spectre of the Communications Data Bill is again evoked. These reports mirror renewed commitments yesterday to new counter-terrorism measures for the EU and in France…”

UK Supreme Court Blog: Case Preview: Jetivia SA & Anor v Bilta (UK) Ltd (in liquidation) & Ors – In October, the Court heard applications by a Swiss company Jetivia and its director appealing against decisions to reject its application to strike out claims made against it for conspiracy, dishonest assistance and fraudulent trading.

And finally…it would be most inappropriate to miss out:  Legal Cheek – always worth reading:

a più tardi….

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day….

'I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day'

GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light’s delay.
   With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.
I am gall, I am heartburn. God’s most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
   Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

 

Being of a mildly republican disposition, I tend to marvel at the antics of some of the ‘Royals’.

 Being of a mildly republican disposition, I tend to marvel at the antics of some of the ‘Royals’.
The Duke of York can usually be relied upon to provide some amusement.

The Guardian notes: Prince Andrew does a fabulous job: as a gift to republicans that keeps on giving

“Poor Andrew doesn’t mean to hang out with morally dubious people such as Jeffrey Epstein. He just wants to party”
Well…there we are…
Back later, no doubt.

Rive Gauche: Today…I am all about selling a Bear..and a few blog posts..

I will get back to some sensible blogging soon… just waiting for a few of my fellow bloggers to get writing and a few decent cases to comment on.  The bear is dead…. curiously, one person who expressed interest thought that I was selling a living bear… but there we are…it is still early in the new year.

I did enjoy Tom Gilbert’s sardonic humour!

The Bear has gone to a good home…

Datalaw Fast Track Accreditation : Police Station or duty qualified

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We don’t know how soon the Duty Solicitor contracts will be resolved but we do know that if you need to be qualified then you need to act quickly. With Datalaw’s Fast Track facility you can now become accredited more quickly than anywhere else in the country.

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Inksters have been shortlisted for the Most Innovative Use of Social Media Award

Inksters have been shortlisted for the Most Innovative Use of Social Media Award at the 2015 Managing Partner Forum Awards for Management Excellence, in association with Harvard Business Review and The Financial Times. This is the only competition worldwide that highlights management’s contribution to strategy, leadership, the client experience, operational excellence and responsible business.

Inksters are the only Scottish law firm in a shortlist that includes some major English and International law firms. The full shortlist is:

•         Allen & Overy
•         Bird & Bird
•         Clarion
•         Foot Anstey
•         Hogan Lovells
•         Inksters

This nomination recognises Inksters innovative use of Twitter over the past year. This has included Inksters Christmas Hats with recipients of the paper crowns tweeting pictures of themselves wearing them. During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Inksters sponsored This is Your Trial and with the hashtag #trialinksters the audience tweeted the funniest lines/moments from the improvised comedy show. Inksters have also used the hashtag #inksterplex to promote their new Glasgow HQ. All of this Twitter activity resulted in a Report published this week by Online Ventures Group ranking Inksters as having the law firm Twitter Account with the most mentions in the UK.

Inksters’ founder, Brian Inkster, said:

“Many law firms have yet to embrace social media in the way that we have at Inksters. It is gratifying, and I am delighted, that our social media efforts have been recognised by Managing Partners Forum.”

The winner of the Most Innovative Use of Social Media Award will be announced at the black tie gala dinner and Awards ceremony, taking place at the London Marriott, Grosvenor Square, on the evening of Wednesday 11 March 2015. This year’s Awards will be presided over by comedian and writer Marcus Brigstocke, of Radio 4’s The Now Show and The Brig Society, plus TV appearances in Have I Got News for You, The Jump and Never Seen Star Wars.

 

***

I have been the recipient of Inkster Christmas Hats for some time – a marvellous use of a Christmas Card.  One can wear it! Good luck to Brian and his team.

And…here I am wearing an Inksters Christmas Hat.  The Bear didn’t get one – simply, I suspect, because Brian did not know that I have a bear!

And so… to work and blogging again…. thankfully!

Law Review (1) 6 January 2015

I wrote this paragraph some years ago. I think it still holds up in the current era:

“I do relish Labour choosing a new leader, getting rid of tired, dead wood, and trying to build a party to reflect a ‘future fair for all’ and which has a long hard look at geopolitics to see whether we really need to play policeman with America in the future, whether we need to continue, long term, in getting involved in long protracted and expensive military engagements overseas when policy might be better focused and directed on our own defence and relations with Europe and the Commonwealth.”

It is still early in the new year and, inevitably, not many law blogs about. A few of those with new content  are set out below:

Conflict of Laws blog: Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2014: Twenty-Eighth Annual Survey

Carl Gardner on the Head of Legal blog writing on 4th December 2014: Dominic Grieve: I am not a lone voice crying in the wilderness

“The Conservative debate on human rights is “very far from over”, Dominic Grieve told an audience of lawyers last night, as he strongly criticised his party’s recent policy paper – saying he was not sure a key aspect of it “was really intended as a serious proposal”. There are “plenty” of Conservative supporters of human rights, he claimed, and he said they will win the internal debate – but “must not stay silent”.

He was giving a lecture organised by the the Judicial Institute and the Constitution Unit at UCL under the title Why it matters that Conservatives should support the ECHR. Here’s the full draft text to which he spoke.”

And some ‘light’ relief?

Giles Peaker on the Nearly Legal blog:  Too late for Art 8? : “When should an article 8 defence be raised? And are there different kinds of social landlords, such that the analysis of Article 8 defences in Pinnock and Powell might not be applicable to all? These were questions in Lawal & Anor v Circle 33 Housing Trust [2014] EWCA Civ 1514…..”

Obiter J on the Law and Lawyers blog, after wishing readers a Happy New Year, notes: When should an article 8 defence be raised? And are there different kinds of social landlords, such that the analysis of Article 8 defences in Pinnock and Powell might not be applicable to all? These were questions in Lawal & Anor v Circle 33 Housing Trust [2014] EWCA Civ 1514.

Obiter J writes: As 2014 petered out I could not help but think that the year saw the continuation of the relentless attack by the elected government on access to justice for the average citizen. The severe cuts to legal aid brought about by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 Part 1 came fully into force from 1st April 2013 but the cuts really began to be felt in 2014 with many courts having to deal with numerous litigants-in-person who, quite understandably, have little or no knowledge of law or the processes of the court.  “The State” is, of course, always adequately represented.

The government also sought – and continues to seek – restrictions on judicial review which is a last resort but absolutely vital method of ensuring that government and other public bodies operate in a lawful manner.  On these topics please see The Justice Gap 1st January – Democracy, Legal Aid and the Election.   As for the future, the nation’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights is also under threat at least from the Conservative Party.  Here is my view of the Conservative proposals with links to many other views.

 

Simon Myerson QC has some important advice for prospective barristers: http://pupillageandhowtogetit.wordpress.com/

David Hart QC writing on The UK Human Rights Blog: Why the Court is in Strasbourg – and other things “Like lots of things to do with the ECHR, the idea seems to have been British. As Simpson put it in his magnificent history of the Convention, Human Rights and the End of Empire (OUP, 2001), Our Man (Jebb), in early 1949, appears to have suggested the site of the Council of Europe should be Strasbourg not for its architectural or gastronomic qualities, much less for its geese, but because of its symbolic significance for Franco-German reconciliation…”

The UK Supreme Court blog: Supreme Court justices debate decline in dissenting judgments

I thought I would end this piece with a bit of McDoom:  Obama snubs McDoom….

 

Guest Post: UK Agricultural Workers at Serious Risk of Injury

UK Agricultural Workers at Serious Risk of Injury

According to new data from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), workers in the agriculture and farming industry across Scotland, England and Wales, do so in the one of most dangerous workplaces in the UK.

Looking at Scotland in isolation, over the last ten years, approximately 80 persons, whether men, women or children, have died as a result of accidents on Scottish farms with a significantly larger number of individuals having been seriously injured whilst undertaking farming activities.
Commenting on the HSE’s worrying findings, NFU Mutual’s Regional Manager for  Northern Ireland & Scotland, Martin Malone said: “We are all too aware of the dreadful impact that deaths and serious injuries have on farming families and are determined to do everything we can to help prevent accidents in the future.”

Mr Malone continued: “Whilst other industries – including construction – have seen accidents fall sharply in recent years, the number of people killed and injured on our farms has remained high and farming is now the most dangerous occupation in GB”.

Encouragingly, NFU Mutual’s Regional Manager for  Northern Ireland & Scotland, believes that creation of the Scotland Farm Safety Partnership  will provide “a focus for organisations involved in agriculture to work together” as well lead to a combined use of “skills and experience to produce a less dangerous working environment”.

Adding to Mr Malone’s comments, Allan Bowie, who is the Vice President of NFU Scotland stated: “Tragic incidents in the past few days across the UK and Ireland remind everyone that farms can be dangerous places so it is important that everyone on a farm takes the necessary steps so that they can stay safe while farming.

Like Mr Malone, Mr Bowies is positive about the establishment of The Farm Safety Partnership, suggesting it will “change behaviours and attitudes by promoting the steps that can be done to reduce the risks of common farm jobs.”

Mr Bowie also believes that by employing “simple steps as part of everyday working practices” the number of accidents and deaths on the UK’s farms can be reduced.

HSE Head of Agriculture, Rick Brunt, also voiced his concerns by stating: “The high rate of deaths in the farming sector underlines the industry’s poor record of managing risks. Every year too many people are needlessly killed and injured on farms in the UK.”

Despite Britain having one of the best health and safety systems in the world, HSE’s Chair Judith Hackitt, has called for focus in light of the organization’s findings:

“These latest figures remind us what health and safety is really about. We should remind ourselves what these numbers actually mean – the number of times in the last year someone went out to work and either did not return home to their loved ones or came home with life changing injuries.

We all need to commit to focusing on what really matters – ensuring more people return home from work every day and enjoy long and healthy working lives.”
As well as agriculture, other higher risk sectors include construction, manufacturing and waste and recycling.
Contact Us for Accident Claims at Work Advice

For specialist personal injury legal advice across Scotland, including advice on agriculture accident and injury claims, contact the Accident Claimline or by calling 0808 273 6011.

Guest Post: The Rise of Personal Injury Claims in the United Kingdom

The Rise of Personal Injury Claims in the United Kingdom
Hugh Rollinson

In my line of work, I am often asked if there is a culture of compensation in the UK.  It’s certainly true that over the last decade there has been a large rise in accident claims.

Many members of the public will have been cold-called, or sent an SMS message asking them if they have had an accident that requires legal representation for compensation – the nature of the personal injury claims business is that there is quite a substantial amount of money to be made for personal injury lawyers and accident claims solicitors, and that has actually led to quite a large rise in the number of personal injury claims being made each year in the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately my data is not completely current, but still shows an upward trend over a five year period as you can see from the personal injury claims that were notified since the year 2000.
2000/2001 – 735,931
2001/2002 – 688,315
2002/2003 – 706,697
2003/2004 – 770,243
2004/2005 – 755,875

Accident Claims Rise Whilst Road Accidents Fall
Now was is quite interesting is that accident claims themselves are rising, despite an actual fall in the amount of accidents being reported. Strange huh? The BBC News website reported on this back in 2012.  

Essentially what was discovered was that despite an 11% fall in actual road and traffic accidents in 2011, the amount of people making accident claims actually went up to 18% (numbers from the Actuarial Profession).

Estimates put this rise at costing the personal injury insurance sector upwards of an extra four hundred million pounds (GBP) in that year – with of course the knock-on effect being that car insurance premiums rise for every day motorists, even those who will never make a claim in their lives.  Many of these numbers will be inflated by the use of online car crash claim calculators which give users an estimate on how much their personal injury claim might be worth.

Why Does This Happen?
So why are accidents falling, but accident claims rising?  Well, firstly with the rise of petrol prices and the cost of motoring continually on the increase, many drivers are driving less and less.
However, the proliferation of advertising from accident claims companies has raised awareness about no win no fee compensation to such a high degree that people who would not have made a claim in the past, are now actively encouraged to do so due to the promises of a fantastic pay day from the insurance companies.

Will it Change?
In the last couple of years, there has been new legislation passed by the Ministry of Justice.  There are looking to reform the system as best they can, and I personally believe this is great news for the industry as it will help to regulate the companies operating in the personal injury claims space.

For example they proposed a 25% cap on any damages that a solicitor or lawyer can take from a compensation pay-out – this also includes a cap on those operating under the no win no fee structure as many of them currently do.

Clamping Down on Referral Fees

They also had a close look at referral fees.  This resulted in an actual ban on referral fees on personal injury cases and came into effect on the 1st of April 2013.  This has already drastically changed the way in which personal injury solicitors and lawyers are working.  They can no longer work in a Wild West environment where claim management companies were able to get law firms to pay for details of potential claimants.

That’s not to say that this kind of structure still doesn’t happen with personal injury claims – some of the more canny operators have simply changed the way in which they work.  However, is does seem to be leading to less in your face client acquisition and aggressive marketing of accident claims compensation and the culture that surrounds it.

For more information on these reforms in particular you should visit the website of the Ministry for Justice – here’s the exact link to that article: www.justice.gov.uk/civil-justice-reforms/personal-injury-claims.

The Future of the Accident Claims Business
My view is this: over the next couple of years we will start to see even stricter legislation being passed down in the UK.  It will probably mark an end to un-solicited emails, text messages, and phone calls from claims management companies who are trying to encourage claimants to proceed with claims that years ago wouldn’t have made it past first base.
I still think that there is some way to go on this though.

My advice to members of the public would be this; if you are approached by a company asking you if you have been involved in an accident and wish to claim compensation then think carefully about what their real motives are.

You are essentially just part of a process where they want to make as much money from you as possible, with the knock-on effect of pushing up insurance premiums for the man on the street and clogging up the legal system with frivolous injury claims and no win no fee cases.

Time and money that could otherwise be so much better spent on real issues, real legal cases, and claims that could make a real difference to a person’s life – in other words someone who really has been injured, lost the ability to support their family, lost their career, and suffered a critical or life-changing illness.  These are the type of people who should be making personal injury claims.

Until we all take a degree of personal responsibility for our own selfish actions and greed for money, then the personal injury world will never really change.  As long as there are fish in the water, then the sharks will continue to circle for their piece of the action.

Author Information: Hugh Rollinson manages the call centre operations for the Accident Claims Web Company.  They offer accident claims advice on a variety of different personal injury claims.  Contact them on www.accidentclaimsweb.co.uk for legal advice today – lines open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Guest Post: The Basics of Personal Injury and When to Use a Solicitor

The Basics of Personal Injury and When to Use a Solicitor
Accidents happen, unfortunately, sometimes they might happen to you.  When you are in an accident, or if you are injured by something or someone, that in itself is stressful enough.  Worrying about how to get your bills paid while you recover from something that is not your fault just adds to that.  Do you have legal options for your injuries?

Welcome to the world of personal injury claims.  When you are hurt and it is not your fault, you do have options, and that is in the form of a personal injury claim.  If you are hurt due to the negligence of others, you have a valid personal injury claim and can employ the services of a solicitor to assist you in the legal process.

What is Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any injury that you receive due to the negligence of another.  Death due to the negligence of another also falls under personal injury claims, so you can file a personal injury claim on behalf of another, if their death was due to the negligence of somebody else.  A personal injury can be something physical such and an injury, an illness or a disease or it can be something psychological.

Psychological injury or illness can be due to stress, harassment, discrimination, abuse or injury by another, or due to being the victim of a crime.  These are just a few examples, if you think you have been psychologically damaged by another, you very likely have a claim and should seek counsel from an expert personal injury solicitor.

Physical injuries could happen in any matter of ways: tripping over a cracked sidewalk, to being hurt during a crime that another committed, to being injured by a faulty product, or sickened by bad food, being injured at work or any other injury that was caused by something or somebody else.

Personal injury claims can fall under a few different categories including:
Road traffic accidents
Criminal injury
Trip/Slip/Fall accidents
Work accidents
Public liability

In fact, any injury type to your body where a third party was negligent.  Here’s an accident claims company that specialises in all forms of body injury claims including shoulder injury compensation, arm injuries, head, brain, spinal cord, leg, and neck.

What to Do When You Are Injured
First of all, if you have been hurt by another person, such as if you have been in a road accident of if you are the victim of a crime and have been hurt, you should notify the police (click here to find your local police station).  Police reports are very helpful for personal injury claims.  If you have been in an auto accident, you need to also inform your insurance company, even though you are not at fault, you still need to notify them right away.

You need to document the injury fully.  Take notes if you need to, what led up to it, what happened, who was involved, etc.  The more information you can document, the better your personal injury claim will be.  You need evidence that proves that you were not at fault; if there are any witnesses to the incident that injured you make sure that you get their name, address and contact information.  Take photos of the situation as well, you cannot document an injury too much.

You should see a doctor about your injury, even if it is minor.  You will need your medical records to document and prove that you were injured and if you never went to the doctor, then you will have no medical proof of the injury.

If you are injured at work, or sick due to your job, then you need to notify your employer so that they can document the incident or injury in their accident book.  If your employer does not have an accident book, you need to write out a written notice that fully explains the incident details and what your injuries and give the original to your employer and keep a copy for yourself.

And finally, in order to give you the best chance possible of winning compensation you should employ the services of a personal injury solicitor.
Personal Injury Claims Compensation

There are two types of compensation for personal injury claims; special damaged and general damages.  General damages are what are paid to compensate you for your injury and do not include costs that you have already incurred.  Loss of future earnings and pain and suffering are two types of general damage compensation types.  Your compensation amount is determined by the court.

Special damages include compensation for all of the actual financial losses that you incurred because of the accident or incident.  This includes your medical bills, cost of repairing your property, travel costs to receive medical help, etc.

Getting Legal Help
Do not delay in obtaining a personal injury solicitor because you do not have an indefinite amount of time to file your claim.  There are time limits on when you can file; for example, for a personal injury claim for negligence, the claim needs to be filed within three years of the incident.
It is advised that you contact a solicitor shortly after being injured instead of delaying.  You will need to provide copies of all of your documentation to the solicitor, including copies of all pictures.   They will be able to explain to you what their costs are, what your likely compensation is and any other relevant details for your claim.

Your solicitor will send the defendant a claim letter, which details out the injury and the incident details.  The defendant has a set amount of time in which to reply to this letter, three months or less in most cases.

Guest Post: Occupational Cancers Amongst Biggest Industrial Injury Issues in the UK Workplace

Occupational Cancers Amongst Biggest Industrial Injury Issues in the UK Workplace

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) believes the concerning sharp increase in the number of deaths from occupational cancers – such as mesothelioma – shows that work-related diseases have become one of the ‘biggest issues’ in the UK workplace, for both employers and employees alike.

In a recent publication, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) explained that in 2012, a total of 2,535 people died from mesothelioma, with the vast majority contracting the fatal lung cancer by being exposed to asbestos during previous employment. In 2011, there were 2,311 deaths resulting from mesothelioma meaning over a twelve-month period, the number of deaths increased by 224.

Looking at the 2012 data in HSE publication, carpenters and those working the building industry when asbestos was commonly used, are considered to be most at risk from the occupational cancer. Therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising that of the 2,535 people who died from mesothelioma, 2126 were male, meaning 409 were female.

Astonishingly, the British Journal of Cancer suggests that 6% of UK carpenters, who were born between 1940-1949, will die as a result of the asbestos exposure-related diseases.

Commenting on the HSE mesothelioma data, Jane White, IOSH Research and Information Services Manager, stated: “It is not right that people are contracting and dying from mesothelioma and other diseases while at work. We are very concerned about the high number of people dying from mesothelioma and that people are still being exposed today. More should be done to tackle this and all other cancers caused by workplace exposures.”

Ms White added: “While much of this is down to failures in preventing asbestos exposure in the past, we want to see better education for businesses small and large to ensure such avoidable exposures do not happen again.”

While IOSH are calling for action to be taken to combat the problem of cancers caused in the UK workplace, the group suggest that the number of deaths peaked, thus predicting a fall to below 2,000 by 2030.

With approximately two million people suffering from an illness, caused or worsened by their existing or previous employment, and injury/ill-health resulting in approximately 28.2 million working days being lost to sickness, which in turn cost the UK economy in the region of £14.2 billion, it is clear IOSH have a right to be concerned.

It is not only workplace diseases and deaths, which should be of concern – the number of work-related accidents and industrial injury is also alarming particularly in the manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and waste and recycling industries.

Contact Us – Occupational Cancer Compensation Claims in the UK
For specialist personal injury claims advice in the UK, including advice making a compensation claim for industrial injury, occupational lung diseases such as mesothelioma, contact the Accident Claimline by or calling us on 0808 273 6011.

Guest Post: New Bristol Personal Injury Website Launched

New Bristol Personal Injury Website Launched

A new personal injury solicitor’s website for Bristol has recently been launched by the Accident Claimline.  Whilst the personal injury market in Bristol and the UK might seem to already be saturated by many different legal firms, the claims management company has high hopes for what they can achieve in 2015.  The Accident Claimline had this to say:

“We are aiming to really try and differentiate ourselves from other Bristol personal injury solicitors and lawyers by our friendly service, and commitment to helping our clients get the compensation that they truly deserve.  In my experience, one of the worst things for many people dealing with solicitors is that they are intimidated by the legal process.  We aim to change that and our team are all great at talking in plain English, and explaining the entire compensation claim process from start through to finish”.

Website to Fully Launch Later in Year
The website is now fully operational, and you can see it on www.personalinjurybristol.co.uk.  The website contains contact details on how people in Bristol can get in touch with a solicitor, an FAQ for commonly asked questions about the personal injury claims process, as well as videos of all the firm’s solicitors introducing themselves to the public.
Interactive Content and Social Media

Video and interactive content is an aspect by which the Accident Claimline hope their Personal Injury Solicitors in Bristol website will set itself apart from many other injury claim firms in the Bristol and Avon area.  Traditionally legal firms have been slow to adopt Internet marketing practices such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus – but not so with the Accident Claimline’s Bristol website.  Over the coming months they will release many different videos giving an overview on how their accident claims and personal injury solicitors work with clients.
Bristol Personal Injury Solicitors

The website will specialise in the following disciplines:
Injury Claims
Accident Claims
No Win No Fee Compensation Claims
Personal Injury Law
All of these items can be viewed extensively on their website, or are currently on the way to be published and launched in the next couple of weeks.

Conclusion
The next 12 months certainly look to be exciting for the Accident Claimline and their Bristol personal injury website.  If you want to know more about them please visit their website or connect with them via any of the usual social media channels.  They work exclusively on a no win no fee agreement with all clients – read more about that here.  Prospective clients can also get in touch using social media.

Guest Post: Man Prosecuted for a Fraudulent Personal Injury Claim When Caught Playing Rugby

Man Prosecuted for a Fraudulent Personal Injury Claim When Caught Playing Rugby

This news article comes courtesy of the Accident Claimline who are specialists in rugby injury claims, football injury claims, and any accident claim relating to a sports injury.  Visit their website for more information if you have a genuine sports or rugby injury due to the negligence of a third party.

There are many stories in the press about people being caught out when claiming for disability allowance or for personal injury claims.  Here’s a recent one in the new about a man who had an ongoing injury claim despite being seen playing rugby.

A UK rugby player has been recently jailed for eight months after he was caught playing, despite the fact he had made a personal injury claim for nearly one million pounds.

During the case at The Old Bailey it was heard that David Ribchester, 31, was filmed in secret playing at his local rugby club. Despite the fact he had a huge personal injury claim in process, he was “seen to grab the ball with both hands and go into a hard tackle” – and all despite the fact that he had claimed that was not able to perform even the most simple of tasks such as tying the laces on his rugby boots.

Mr Ribchester was said to have greatly exaggerated an injury had had received at work to his hands after a construction site accident eight years previously in February of 2006.  He eventually pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and upon sentencing the judge said that greed was what had brought him to this juncture in life.  Judge Nicholas Cooke stated “David Ribchester, it is greed that has brought you to this and unfortunately there is a lot of greed out there.”

“Genuinely injured people putting forward wholly honest claims are viewed sceptically because of the publicity in relation to this sort of matter.  Anyone who is tempted to behave in a dishonest way to the extent that you did by attempting to exploit a system which exists to compensate the genuinely injured will end up going to prison.”

At the Old Bailey, testimony from medical experts was heard which stated that Mr Ribchester had told physicians that he was unable to care for himself properly and needed assistance in tasks such as getting out of the bath, being unable to open bottles, do housework, or drive his car.
The accused had also tricked psychiatrists to thinking that he had psychological damage and as a results was diagnosed with moderate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after displaying signs of a particularly bad depressive disorder.

Additional testimony even heard how he had said he didn’t feel he could behave like a good proper father as was not able to carry his young daughter.

The reason the case came to court was due to the insurance company becoming suspicious as his injuries and symptoms appeared to be getting progressively worse over time.  Because of their suspicion they referred his case to their own fraud team who conducted secret surveillance over a period of two months until enough evidences was captured on camera.

You can read more about this case on the Scotsman website.

Guest Post: Instructions on Filing Personal Injury Claims in Case of Accident

Instructions on Filing Personal Injury Claims in Case of Accident
If you have been injured due to an accident due to another person’s negligence or because of a product that you have used, then you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim so that you can obtain a finance settlement to cover your injury costs.  Please note that the advice laid out below is from the perspective of a UK injury claim.

Any settlement should also include the future harm that your injury may cause. You might have thought about insurance companies that offer settlements, and filing a personal injury claim will ensure that you will be able to obtain financial compensation based on the degree of your injuries.  If you don’t know how to file a personal injury claim, here are few easy steps that you will help you with it.
Article Credit: The Personal Injury Solicitors London website which is where much of this information has been adapted from – visit their website for more information.

How to File a Personal Injury Claim
1. First of all, determine if you have the right the file a personal injury claim. Generally, you will have the right to file a claim if you have been injured due to another person’s actions or negligence. This is still applicable even if that person’s insurance company will offer you to pay for the medical bills and will offer you additional cash settlement. However, accepting this might forfeit your right to file for a claim.
2. The next thing that you should do is to gather any kind of evidence that will prove that you have been injured. This can include 1 or more of the following:
Photos of your injury;
Photos of the accident scene;
Documents that will prove that you have lost income due to the injury;
Medical documents; and
Police report

3. You should now contact or call a personal injury solicitor immediately or right after the occurrence of the injury. Depending on the state, the persons involved and the type of injury, it is usually correct that you can file charges within only a year after the injury has happened.
However, there are some cases in which a shorter timeline is given for a file to still be accepted. For an instance, if a person wants to file charges against an employee of the government, that person should do it within 60 days.
The time period will usually start when the injury has occurred however, if the time and date is not clear, the time period will start when the injury has been discovered.

4. You will now review the case along with your personal injury solicitor. By this time, you should share all the supporting documents that you have to prove that the injury is true. You should always remember to be completely honest with your solicitor at all times so that he or she can support you.

5. You may consider choosing a settlement first and this will usually happen prior to filing a personal injury claim (you can read this Injury Claims London page for more information).  When doing a settlement, both parties will meet so that they can settle the dispute without the need of taking it to the court. It is recommended to have a personal injury solicitor to talk about the settlement because they will help in negotiating the best financial deal for you.

6. If the settlement won’t work for both parties, then the injured person can proceed in filing charges especially if the case is strong enough. That injured person’s solicitor will be there to assist all the way until the case has finished.

For UK residents there are also some very solid guidelines available on the Law Society website.
Please note: Personal Injury Solicitors of London are now serving Camden, Hounslow, and Harrow.

Guest Post: Always Seek the Advice of a Solicitor in the Event of a Head Injury

Always Seek the Advice of a Solicitor in the Event of a Head Injury

Serious car accidents can lead to head injuries, and this debilitating type of incident can have huge ramifications for both the claimant, and their family.  Victims can suffer a wide range of issues, and in worst case scenarios even potential brain damage. Quality of life can be affected, with time off work and loss of wages sometimes being very far down the scale of problems a victim might face.

Having said that, financial security needs to be considered, but head injury claims can actually be one of the more difficult benefits to apply for from your insurance policy, even when the accident was not your fault. Insurance companies never like to make it easy for anyone, as they tend to clutch their wallets tight, rather than paying out on a claim quickly.

When you have a brain injury, you need an advocate who’ll stand up for what you are owed, and ensure that you have a good settlement that’ll send you on the road to recovery.  That’s where the Accident Claims Web can help – and there’s more information on our policies and procedures for head injury compensation claims on our website.
An Overview of Head Injury Claims
During a bad car accident, your head or brain may have been damaged as a result of blunt force trauma. This injury may heal in a few weeks, or it may leave you physically impaired for the rest of your life. A lawyer or personal injury solicitor will obtain medical reports on your behalf, so they can get started on deciding on the best course of action for your case.

Certain head injury claims cases are straightforward if compensation is only required for the healing period. If you are unlucky enough to be faced with a permanent brain injury, you may find yourself dealing with multiple handicaps.

The brain is the control centre of the body, and you may have speech impediments, and cognitive function impairments. You may no longer be able to work at your chosen career choice, as well as requiring special medical equipment and medications for the rest of your life.

This again is where the Accidentclaimsweb.co.uk can be your ally.  We will personally review your case for a head injury claim and then connect with an expert head injury claims solicitor near to you.

It really is best to seek a legal opinion, to see how legal aid can help you get the best head injury compensation. It wasn’t your fault that you were in a car accident, yet the insurance company will treat you as the guilty party. Let one of our solicitors deal with the insurance company, so they can get you the best compensation.

Before you sign into any agreement with an insurance company, then make sure that you consult qualified legal consul first – even if that’s not one of the Accident Claims Web solicitors.

You may find several months or years down the road that your head injury has impacted you more than you previously thought it could. Headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, and more can all be the result of an earlier head injury. As you get older, the body finds it harder to cope with injuries. You may find that your headaches worsen over the years, all because of your past accident.

A brain injury solicitor or lawyer will be able to calculate exactly what you should be owed in your head injury claims process, and go to bat for you in court. Or even better, they can negotiate the best settlement for you, without it ever having to go to court. They’ll calculate any potential expenses. Likely there are ones that you haven’t even realized yet. Legal counsel is experienced with these types of claims and they know exactly what you’re going through, and exactly the type of compensation that you need for your case.

With the help of the Accident Claims Web you can take the time to recover from a head injury and get on the road to recovery whilst our solicitor partners will work to get the best possible outcome on a head injury claims and compensation case.  You or your family member can focus on healing, and getting back to leading a normal life once again.

Law Review January 2015 (1) – Human Rights focus

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UK Human Rights Blog – 2014 in review: An authoritative resource on human rights with detailed commentary by experienced practitioners.

Law blogging in the UK has developed in content and interest in recent years.  Today, a selection from the law blogs which will give those new to following law blogs a taste and for those who already follow law blogs – a round up of recent posts.

Clare Rodway, author of The Conversation blog writes:Amnesty International Director Kate Allen is, for once, getting what she wants for Christmas. For 20 years she and her colleagues have been determinedly campaigning and lobbying for a Global Arms Trade Treaty, which became a reality this April when the UN General Assembly voted to adopt it. By September it had been ratified by over 50 countries, the magic number needed to trigger the 90-day countdown to entry into force. It becomes enshrined in international law today, on Christmas Eve.

Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal Blog, considers the position of the Tories on Human Rights: The Conservative debate on human rights is “very far from over”, Dominic Grieve told an audience of lawyers last night, as he strongly criticised his party’s recent policy paper – saying he was not sure a key aspect of it “was really intended as a serious proposal”. There are “plenty” of Conservative supporters of human rights, he claimed, and he said they will win the internal debate – but “must not stay silent”.

The piece is an extensive and thorough analysis and provides a view and an insight into Tory thinking on the human rights debate: Dominic Grieve: I am not a lone voice crying in the wilderness

Francis Fitzgibbon QC can always be relied on to write with precision and interest on human rights and other issues:

They Would not Listen, They Did not Know How

With the MOJ, the clue is not in the name. If justice involves listening, weighing things up with an open mind, and even changing your mind, you won’t see it in their dealings with the profession. They might want to think about what Megarry J said in John v Rees [1970] 1 Ch 345:

As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were not; of unanswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; of inexplicable conduct which was fully explained; of fixed and unalterable determinations that, by discussion, suffered a change.

Instead, the Mandarins may have been studying Bleak House. Old Tom Jarndyce was talking about chancery litigation, but today it would be death by consultations:

‘For,’ says he, ‘it’s being ground to bits in a slow mill; it’s being roasted at a slow fire; it’s being stung to death by single bees; it’s being drowned by drops; it’s going mad by grains’.

 

Writing back in October of last year, David Allen Green wrote: Why have the Conservatives not published their “Bill of Rights” proposals?

Last week the Conservative party sent to the press a press release and a proposals paper on their envisaged “Bill of Rights” which is to replace the Human Rights Act 1998.

I published the press release here.  The legal blogger Carl Gardner published the policy paper here (and it was also published on a few news sites).

But the curious thing is that the Conservatives did not publish the press release or policy paper.  It seems that they sent their proposals, which would affect the fundamental rights of all citizens, to their contacts in the press.  Left to the Conservatives, the proposals were not to be published so that that public could read them unless a media outlet chose to publish the proposals.

What the Conservatives should have done, of course, is publish the proposals on their website, for consultation or comment.  After all, these are important proposals about a serious matter.

But, no.  The details of the proposals were for the Press only.  If the Press published the proposals paper then that was up to them.

And five days later, the Conservatives have still not published their proposals.

The only mention on their site is this pathetic page (“share the facts“!).  They also sent this (ironic) tweet (“Get the facts you need on our plans…“) linking to that utterly non-informative page.

One can understand why the Conservatives would now not want to publish their legally illiterate, widely derided proposals; but they did not not know what the response would be at the time the proposals were announced and shared with the Press.

What this omission indicates is something different from simple embarrassment.

What this shows is that the Conservatives only see this as a media exercise, so as to generate politically advantageous coverage.

The Conservatives do not really want to know what you think about abolishing the Human Right Act and they do not want you to have access to their plans, independent of any media outlet; the Conservatives instead care more about what the Press thinks and what the Press will tell you to think.

In essence, it tells you everything about the Conservatives’ contempt for citizens that their “Bill of Rights” proposals were intended only for the Press, and not for citizens to be able to see for themselves.

 

UPDATE

Just after I published this post, this happened – the Tories inserted a link on their website and dishonestly made out it had been there all along.

 

David Hart QC, writing on the UK Human Rights blog considers: Why the Court is in Strasbourg – and other things – “Like lots of things to do with the ECHR, the idea seems to have been British. As Simpson put it in his magnificent history of the Convention, Human Rights and the End of Empire (OUP, 2001), Our Man (Jebb), in early 1949, appears to have suggested the site of the Council of Europe should be Strasbourg not for its architectural or gastronomic qualities, much less for its geese, but because of its symbolic significance for Franco-German reconciliation.”

Rosalind English of 1 Crown Office Row: It is heartless not to assist people to die: Debbie Purdy

Obiter J writing on the Law and Lawyers blog: “As 2014 petered out I could not help but think that the year saw the continuation of the relentless attack by the elected government on access to justice for the average citizen. The severe cuts to legal aid brought about by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 Part 1 came fully into force from 1st April 2013 but the cuts really began to be felt in 2014 with many courts having to deal with numerous litigants-in-person who, quite understandably, have little or no knowledge of law or the processes of the court.  “The State” is, of course, always adequately represented.

The government also sought – and continues to seek – restrictions on judicial review which is a last resort but absolutely vital method of ensuring that government and other public bodies operate in a lawful manner.  On these topics please see The Justice Gap 1st January – Democracy, Legal Aid and the Election.   As for the future, the nation’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights is also under threat at least from the Conservative Party.  Here is my view of the Conservative proposals with links to many other views.”

Alasdair Henderson writing in the UK Human Rights blog: Conscientious objection to abortion: Catholic midwives lose in Supreme Court

Supreme Court justices debate decline in dissenting judgments

Better teamwork, smaller panels and less controversial cases have all been put forward by a seminar attended by Supreme Court justices and other senior judges as reasons for a decline in dissenting judgments at the court.

The seminar, held in October to mark five years since the Supreme Court opened, was held under Chatham House rules, so individuals who spoke were not identified.

According to a note of the event posted on the court’s website this week, the first issue for discussion was the dissent rate, which had “gone down substantially in the last couple of years”. Continue reading »

Lawyers’ bid to protect client talks from spies

LAWYERS have called for state protection of client confidentiality after it emerged the security services have been routinely spying on their exchanges.

A joint statement issued today by members of the bar in Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland, demanded that new legislation be brought forward to protect privileged exchanges from eavesdropping.

It follows the release of official documents last month which showed intelligence agencies have been allowing staff to access confidential communications between lawyers and their clients.

The admission came in papers held by MI5, MI6 and listening agency GCHQ which were made public during a hearing of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which examines complaints against the intelligence services.

In what they called an “unprecedented” show of unity, advocates, barristers and solicitors from across the UK issued a joint statement calling for the use of surveillance to be protected by “robust and transparent” legislation.

The Scotsman

Muttley Dastardly LLP: 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?”