Another day at the coal face: Dr Wolfgang Becker, Rechtsanwalt, solicitor and a partner in Muttley Dastardly LLP

Dr Wolfgang Becker,  Rechtsanwalt, solicitor and a partner in Muttley Dastardly LLP, was originally admitted to The Partnership to leverage the value of marriage failure among the seriously rich business and celebrity sectors. In but two months he  has billed ‘comfortably into seven figures’.  For reasons of taste, discretion and taxation, The Partners of Muttley Dastardly LPP never reveal financial information to the Press.

Today, I met with Dr Wolffgang Becker in his well appointed office on the fifth floor. I was surprised by the design of the office which  comprises of two staircases leading down to a central hall.  Two high backed Chippendale chairs were placed opposite each other by the wall facing a vase of flowers.  There was no sign of any office paraphernalia, no computers, nothing to give the impression that I was in a leading family lawyer’s office.

Dr Becker appeared from the left hand staircase, dressed in a black linen Nehru suit and a pair of  tassled black suede loafers.  He wore yellow socks.  Clipped and precise, he shook my hand, asked for my Amex card and then remembered that I was not a client, but was visiting for the purpose of an interview to gain an insight into the mind of a man who was at the very forefront of the world of family law in the new era of the Legal Services Act.

“Old habits die hard” he said laconically as he invited me to take the chair opposite.  “Would you like some champagne or coffee?  Tea perhaps?  We have many types of tea here.  It is not a drink I care for myself, but many of our clients are English and they often find  solace in taking tea while they brief me on their ideas for divorce and, more importantly for them and ourselves, the financial arrangements.”

I accepted his offer of a glass of champagne. Within ten seconds a butler arrived with two glasses of champagne. He seemed to appear from nowhere, but in fact entered through the door at the end of the central hall beyond the flowers.

“I’m impressed” I said. “You didn’t appear to give any instructions.”

Dr Becker smiled and waved his hand dismissively. “Everything is recorded here.  My staff are listening in.  It is so much easier to have a precise record on digital file, wouldn’t you agree?

“Your record with high value clients is impressive Dr Becker”  I said, rising to the occasion by not referring to any of the notes I had made earlier. “But tell me, why is Muttley Dastardly LLP entering the mass divorce market at a time when family lawyers are feeling the pinch, when legal aid is being cut, when family law barristers say they can no longer afford to take on cases?”

“You have answered your own question Herr Professor Doctor Charon.” Dr Becker replied, clearly mistaking me for my rather tedious brother, Professor RD Charon PHD, FRSA “It is precisely because the general practitioner in this country is abandoning this sector that we feel we can …. shall we say….. hoover it all up and by using the internet, call centres in India and cheap but highly effective lawyers in India,  who are becoming more and more expert in English Law….maximise the profit.”

“Do you have a brand name for this new divorce service?” I asked, draining my glass.  Within seconds the butler appeared with a second glass of champagne on a silver tray.  I took it without demurring and thanked the butler for his attentiveness.

“Ja!  Of course. Megaladon is the vehicle we use for all our mass market law operations, personal injury, negligence, conveyancing….  I wanted to call it Megaladon with your wife or husband?, but Matt Muttley, our CEO, thought the humour was just too black even for us.  He was probably right.”

I managed to suppress the hysteria rising from the very core of my being, drained the second glass in one and asked “And how do you make your money?”

“We accept a range of credit cards Herr Professor.  Do you have any other questions?”
Before I could reply, the butler appeared with a bill for £52 + 12.5% service.  He handed me the portable credit card machine and smiled.  There is no need to leave a gratuity, Sir.  Service is included.”

Dr Becker smiled “Good champagne, Ja….? I’m sure you will be able to get it back on expenses.   There are no free lunches in life, Herr Professor Dr Charon,  and certainly there aren’t at Muttley Dastardly LLP. As there is not an opportunity to bill for your time with me today, we have to cover the costs.  £52 for three and a half minutes is well below what I would ordinarily charge, of course – but it has been a pleasure to meet you.  Give my regards to your brother Charon QC… Tell him that I was so fascinated with his new iCharonphone.  Most useful.  It will be most useful for our work here and, quite possibly for personal use also.  It has been a pleasure to meet you.”

With that, Dr Becker was gone.  He seemed to glide, rather than walk.  I smiled as he went up the staircase on the right and thought to myself… “How marvellously  Germanic… one staircase for down, one for up.”  The £52 I paid for the champagne was worth every penny.  I should be able to recover this ‘disbursement’  from Matt Muttley when we meet as Ascot later this week.  I, too, have one of those portable credit card reading devices. I shall be taking it with me to Ascot.  One must, after all, be prepared.

A visit some time ago to the historic dockyard at Chatham

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the historic dockyard in 2009 with John Bolch (Family Lore) back in the day – fascinating. I took my camera with me…wisely.

And so I woke this morning, the eve of the last Bank holiday until Christmas, and said… “Today I feel naval.  I shall go to the historic dockyard at Chatham and see a submarine.” And I made it so… as Captain Picard of another type of ship used to say… endlessly on Star Trek. At eight bells…armed with my Samsung Jet phone and a camera that works first time, I made sail for Chatham.

“Chatham Dockyard, located on the River Medway and of which two-thirds is in Gillingham and one third in Chatham, Kent,  came into existence at the time when, following the Reformation, relations with the Catholic countries of Europe had worsened, leading to a requirement for additional defences. For 414 years Chatham Dockyard provided over 500 ships for the Royal Navy.” Wikipedia

Among many other vessels built in this Dockyard and which still exist are HMSVictory, launched in 1765 – now preserved at Portsmouth Naval Base

William Camden (1551-1623) described Chatham dockyard as

stored for the finest fleet the sun ever beheld, and ready at a minute’s warning, built lately by our most gracious sovereign Elizabeth at great expense for the security of her subjects and the terror of her enemies, with a fort on the shore for its defence

I am pictured above on the open bridge of HMS Cavalier, in a rather epic rainstorm which gave added atmosphere and a very mild taste of what the Captain and his officers would have experienced in storm lashed seas of the Arctic convoys.  (There was no canopy in WW II.)

I went with John Bolch of Family Lore, who lives near the docks… and who’s excellent book “Do your own Divorce” is published today. In fact, we started our trip with a tour around the spy submarine HMS Ocelot.  I resisted thetemptation to buy a small scale model ofHMS Victory, a pirate flag, a White Ensign and endless other gift items in the Museum shop.

A submarine is no place for members of the Fatbastard Club.  It is extremely cramped down below and those of a claustrophobic disposition would not enjoy it.  I particularly enjoyed lugging my 56 year old  old git frame through the tiny circular openings in the bulkeads to get from one section to the other. I did it in the naval manner; grabbing a rail, swinging legs through the circular hole, slide through and grap a rail above the hole on the other side – t’was fun! It was not quite Das Boot in terms of slickness but Hans, my mate –  the Kapitan of a U-Boat that still sails the high seas – would have been proud of me. ( He used to visit me occasionally when I lived on a boat in Chelsea last summer.) It was fascinating to see a British submarine from our fairly recent past. Everything was crammed in. The crew of 70 slept in very small cots, only washed hands face and cleaned teeth (water in short supply on a three month voyage) and were reputed to have the best food in the Royal Navy. The Captain’s cabin is very small.  Naturally, I enjoyed looking through the attack periscope which gave a chillingly clear picture of a ship moored nearby.  The young lad from France enjoyed looking through the periscope as well.  His mother looked a bit tense and asked if it was OK.  I did not want to mention Sir Winston Churchill ordering the sinking of the French  fleet during WWII,  assured her that it would be fine,  that I’d be having a go after him and may even make  the sound of a torpedo being fired.  She looked at me, smiled, shook her head as if to say “Mon dieu… Les Anglais” This seemed to settle her.

I found the trip fascinating.  The tour guide was excellent and I am pleased that money has been found to preserve these important warships from our past and that they are so accessible to all.  The entry fee of £14 for a trip around the dock lasts for a year… and in three hours you will only scratch the surface of what this wonderful dockyard has to offer.

It was time to move to HMS Cavalier – the last surviving destroyer from WWII.  HMS Belfast, a battleship, is very much bigger and is based on theThames in London. This was a very different kettle of fish.  It seemed so spacious after the submarine.  The Captain’s cabin was luxurious, as was his day cabin and the wardroom even had a fireplace.  It is painted in ‘Arctic Blue’ a blue-green-grey mix – no doubt to confuse the Turpitz or Scharnhorst or U-Boat commanders on the Arctic convoys.

I felt like Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea as I stood on the bridge.  A storm had risen quickly, as it can in these parts, and rain and wind lashed the open bridge as I gazed out over the two 4.5 inch guns to the bow and imagined myself scanning the seas for U-boats.  I felt quite at home.  Regular readers will know that I  live near water and spend much of my time, at my post, preserving peace for our country by scanning for U-Boats.  It is testament to my efforts that there have been no U-boat attacks in London since I started doing this!

I felt like a tourist – on his hols.  As I stood on the bridge of HMS Cavalier… I noticed the voice pipe through which the Captain would communicate with those below and thought to myself… that worked…. my Samsung Jet took me endless hours of faffing about to get it to work (or, more accurately… to understand how it works) , more hours trying to get it to download pics to my PC (the software did not work) and eventually I fooled it into thinking it was using Bluetooth by hitting it with a hammer. Sorted.

I’m orf to splice the mainbrace, eat a square meal, drink a bit of rum and I may even do a hornpipe or buy a pirate flag on ebay later.  As Churchill once observed… the Royal Navy… rum, sodomy and the lash…. I am a bit busy to try the last two options. Have a good Bank holiday.

Sorry… didn’t manage to shoehorn any law in this week… perhaps something for the weekend? .. as barbers used to say after cutting one’s hair.

Best, as ever

Charon

***

I thought it might help to give you a picture of Hans…The U-Boat Kapitan..

I have, of course, been at my post by the sea side (or at least the estuary) but there has been no sign of Hans,  my mate the U-boat Kapitan.  I do miss our late night chats.  When I was on Das House Boot in Chelsea by Battersea Bridge last summer, Hans would surface at about 9.30 pm, moor the U-boat by the jetty and we would have Schnapps and he would ask if I needed any nylons.  Inevitably, the answer was always the same.  I told him that I did not need any nylons for personal use, as I am not a bank robber,  and none of the women I knew wore them.  He would shrug, then twitch slightly, down his Schnapps and the U-boat would dive and he would be gone… I know not where… for another week.

***

I really must do some writing about law…etc etc… soon…

I am not anonymous – I am pseudonymous, although if I wrote under my own name and called the blog after myself I would then be eponymous.  So as not to be synonymous, for who would want that?, I may start calling myself Hieronymous and just be done with it…

 

Guest Post: Health and Safety is a burden? Not if you are a worker in Qatar…

Health and Safety is a burden?  Not if you are a worker in Qatar…
By Andrew Murdy

Let me get a couple of things out there.  I’m not a lawyer (although I know a few) and I’m not really a writer (although I can string a sentence together.

I’m a health and safety consultant who loves football and meeting people and likes to laugh and smile.  An unusual mixture some would say – and who am I to disagree?  Well, disagreeing is one of the things I do best, although I like to think I argue in a banterous way.  Not always, of course – sometimes I get angry and swear – but I do like a good argument.

The post-election period has been interesting.  I’m not a Tory, never have been and almost certainly never will be, so seeing a blue government didn’t fill me with any joy.  But that’s democracy so we move on.  I listen to the radio as background noise for large parts of my day.  Being a health and safety consultant always needs some light relief after all.  And that’s where my problem started.  There was a business man on the radio talking about ‘red tape’ and ‘cutting the burden on business’, both of which are admirable intentions.

Then he did it.

He mentioned that the Government had made ‘some’ improvements in health and safety but still ‘had more to do’.

So I swore.

Because health and safety legislation isn’t a burden.  The legislation tends to be well consulted, well considered and backed up with appropriate, accessible and comprehensive guidance.  The availability of Approved Codes of Practice made things pretty straightforward for many – do what the book asks for and that will satisfy the regulator.  The HSE do a pretty admirable job unless you are a business that doesn’t try or care, and that surely is the place for the law to step in and see justice done?

The burden, in the UK, comes from businesses scaremongering directors and managers into spending vast sums of money that aren’t necessary on risk-averse management systems, or from overzealous health and safety staff encouraged or allowed to make work burdensome for the sake of ‘compliance’.  These burdens are, essentially, in the gift of the business owner or director to resolve: in the first case sign a contract with the right provider for the service you need; and in the second employ competent people who understand your business and the best way to make it successful.

Health and safety isn’t a burden.  People getting killed is.  Legislation isn’t a burden – implementation is.

And if you want to see what happens when health and safety isn’t effectively managed, have a look at this article from the Washington Post… http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/27/a-body-count-in-qatar-illustrates-the-consequences-of-fifa-corruption/?tid=sm_tw

And then tell me that effective health and safety legislation, regulation and implementation is a burden…

Rive Gauche: We must remember that Lord Chancellor / Justice Secretary Gove has ‘Form’…

Holman J rules Gove’s BSF decision was ‘unlawful’

February 2011

The Lawyer reports…. “Mr Justice Holman has ordered the Government to review its plans to scrap the Building Schools for Future programme. The decision, handed down this morning, gives victory to six local authorities that brought the judicial review proceedings. In his judgment Holman J held that the  decision taken by the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove MP to halt investment in refurbishing every school in the country was taken without consultation.

This of itself is extraordinary enough… but the good news is the truly fantastic number of lawyers kept busy and employed by this litigation…..the report in The Lawyer reveals the extent of the army of lawyers involved.  Libertarians, sundry ranters and others who want to have a pop at the legal profession and government in one hit,  are invited to take medical advice before reading this…..  SIX QCs involved (and many other lawyers)…. report is here.

***

If you feel that you just can’t get enough of Lord Chancellor Govehere he is on Wikipedia

***

And another look at the past…those ‘good old days’…

David Cameron welcomes Egypt’s ‘precious moment’ after Hosni Mubarak’s exit

Metro reports…where else?: David Cameron has welcomed President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to step down and told Egypt that the UK is ready to help its transition to democracy.  (Pic photoshopped by me…. Cameron would never flick a V sign at the people of Britain)

And on this momentous day for Egypt… Lord Sugar tweets away…. you..really…could not make it up…

I haven’t even got the will to use Lord Sugar’s catchphrase in a post mubarka-ironic way….

***

Thankfully…I can shoehorn in a bit of law from Adam Wagner: What Is The Human Rights Act And Why Does It Matter?

A bit of Rive Gauche and other matters from the past…

 

I remember being only too happy to oblige when I did the pic above back on 2010.  I would imagine that it is only a matter of time before some Tory MP will say something daft to keep the ‘Big Society’ amused?

And I do remember doing this pic…

 

And do you remember this?

Delighted to see that the Spacehijackers, who painted their armoured car in Police colours to attend the G20 protests last year, are not going to face charges. The CPS appears to have used the common sense test… “

A theatre group charged with impersonating police officers at the G20 protests are planning to sue the Metropolitan Police after the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all charges.

Eleven protesters, billing themselves as the Space Hijackers and portraying themselves as the “laughing cavaliers of capitalism”, were arrested after they jumped out of an armoured vehicle at the Bishopsgate offices of the Royal Bank of Scotland during the demonstrations in London’s Square Mile on 1 April last year. They were charged with impersonating police but the case was dropped after four hearings after the CPS said it had received new information and no longer believed there was a realistic chance of a conviction.”

And then there was this…

And those were the days…?


And..lest we forget…?

And I just had to include this blast from the past…

Howard Flight rapped by PM over ‘breeding’ gaffe

BBC: David Cameron has called on a new Conservative peer to apologise for saying welfare changes will encourage “breeding” among benefit claimants.Labour called Howard Flight’s comments “shameful” and said they showed the Tories were out of touch with people. Mr Cameron said he did not agree with Mr Flight’s words, adding: “I am sure he will want to apologise for them”. Mr Flight, a former Conservative deputy chairman, was named last week as one of more than 20 new Tory peers.

He told the London Evening Standard: “We’re going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it’s jolly expensive.

“But for those on benefits, there is every incentive. Well, that’s not very sensible.”

So…another Tory makes a nasty remark.  They appear to have form…. and now this buffoon gets to sit the in The House of Lords…. astonishing.

May even be able to shoehorn some law in soon…

 

Guest Post: The importance of prioritising the consumer

The importance of prioritising the consumer
By 
www.veyo.co.uk

The nature of all industries have changed drastically over the last decade or so as consumer power has increased in line with the online revolution. The legal sector has not been immune to this change, as angry clients often feel inclined to share their frustration with the world online and particularly through social media. Many aspects of the legal sector have adapted and work to utilise new online tools to assist their clients. However, the conveyancing industry has been lagging behind the revolution in terms of providing modern tools to aid their clients with many firmly holding on to the their legal traditions. This negative approach has meant that conveyancers have fallen behind their estate agent cousins who have embraced online advances to enhance their agencies and improve client satisfaction.

For a long time, the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla along with other online property portals, have provided home-buyers and sellers with a much greater consumer experience. These portals have kept up with the online revolution, and have greatly improved the lives of both the consumers and estate agents they serve. However, as we all know the process of buying a new property does not end with an accepted offer. There is the large conveyancing process that must be gone through properly and accurately, but unfortunately this stage has not kept up to date with the move online like its sibling estate agents. For despite the great contrast in what they do, conveyancers and estate agents are intrinsically linked, and the former is at the stage where it should take a leaf out of the latter’s book.

With the first national survey of its kind published at the beginning of 2015 it has become abundantly clear that change is needed in the industry, and a key part of that change must be an improvement in transparency, communication, and overall consumer understanding. Just under a third of people in the survey reported feeling out of touch during the conveyancing process and first time buyers in particular ranked better communication second, behind only a faster process, when it comes to improvements to the service. Perhaps more concerning for conveyancers is that they are not one of the first sources of information for home-movers, who would much prefer talking to estate agents. Especially considering almost 1/3 of home-movers subsequently felt out of touch with the conveyancing process.

There are clearly a lot of challenges that face the conveyancing industry, loss of repeat business for example is an evident challenge with almost half of people saying they are unlikely or unsure whether they would re-use the same conveyancer, but there can be a solution and it does not have to require radical change.

Through the use of online property portals, estate agents are able to provide clear and concise information regarding all of their properties which consumers can digest at a time and place of their choosing. Conveyancers have the same opportunity. By providing an environment by which consumers are presented with clear information regarding the conveyancing process; allowing them to understand what is going on at any given time, and without the challenges of following up with different parties consumer satisfaction will improve. The added bonus to this being that conveyancer’s roles will be improved by a reduction in the need to discuss matters with concerned, or confused home-buyers looking for answer. Embracing this change, and placing consumers at the forefront of operations will also help tackle some of the concerning stats regarding brand loyalty and consumer happiness that have been made evident through the conveyancing report.

The online revolution is carrying on at an ever increasing pace, and soon it will not be a choice of whether to adapt, it will become a necessity. 

Guest Post: Why getting a divorce doesn’t necessarily mean going to court

Why getting a divorce doesn’t necessarily mean going to court

Divorce tends to be seen as a combative process that often involves hostile exchanges in court. However, the reality is generally very different to this. If you’re in the process of separating from your spouse and you don’t want to have to make your case in the courtroom, it’s important to be aware that there is another approach.

The alternative route

As it states on thelawhouse.com, most divorces are concluded without either partner having to attend court. As long as both you and your ex-partner agree to the divorce and are prepared to negotiate, you will have the option of coming to an understanding with each other over issues like your home, money and children through the process of mediation instead. Even if you do decide to contest your case formally, the judge will want to know that you have at least found out about and preferably attempted mediation first.

The process is coordinated by a trained mediator who will not take sides but will instead listen to you both and try to help you come to an arrangement that you can both agree on. You can attend the meetings with your mediator either with your ex or separately, depending on your preferences. At the end of the talks, the mediator will write up the proposed arrangement and check that both you and your former partner understand all the implications.

You might want to get legal advice from a solicitor at this stage, especially if you want the agreement to be legally binding.

The benefits of mediation

There are a whole range of reasons why it may make sense for you to adopt this collaborative approach rather than battling your ex in the courts. For example, it can help to give you both a greater say in what happens and it removes much of the tension and conflict often associated with divorce. It can also be much quicker and cheaper than court action. This route is also less traumatic for any children who are involved.

Separating from your spouse will never be easy and there are bound to be aspects of the process that you find difficult to cope with. However, by choosing to go down the much less confrontational path of mediation rather than arguing your case in the courts, you can eliminate much of the stress and expense from your divorce. If you’re not sure which option is best for you, you might benefit from seeking advice from legal experts.

‘Important artwork for sale’ – A major find?

Barristerman with Lucozade, expired debit card and cheque from client in ‘payment for services rendered’ which was not ‘met’…
Charon 2015

Perhaps not the pinnacle of artistic achievement – or even definable within a ‘school of art’ –  but some would describe this as an attempt by Charon to keep himself amused on a quiet day and quite possibly, also, as nonsense.

I am selling this ‘work’ for £15 – or £16 if you would like me to throw in a Union Jack flag on a plastic flagstick which I brought some time back to wave at a Royal ‘event’. The cheque was from a ‘client’ which was not met by them…but these things happen… (I’ll pay the postage or give it to you in person if you live near a tube station in London)

 

 

Former MP and Barrister Jerry Hayes is always worth reading…

Jerry Hayes is always worth reading on his blog. I enjoyed this piece: THE CPS ARE SO UNDER RESOURCED, UNDERSTAFFED & OVER WORKED THAT THE SYSTEM IS ON THE BRINK OF TOTAL COLLAPSE

A short extract…” I was just scrolling though the Mail online to get my daily fix of my chum the splendid Quentin Letts, when I noticed my bewigged face staring back at me. It was when I went on strike last year. Never adverse to see my picture in the newspapers I thought it would be a good idea to read the piece written by Max Hastings. I really wish I hadn’t as it is a depressing rant about how the police, the judiciary, the church and lawyers are all dinosaurs and holding this great nation back.

I had always thought that Max was rather a good journalist. But clearly standards are abandoned when it comes to cash payment for column. I can imagine one of Dacre’s flunkeys ringing the old boy up and offering a couple of grand for a thousand words slagging off the usual suspects. Since Leveson, Dacre has had an obsession with the greed and wickedness of my tribe so I wasn’t expecting to be thrown a bouquet. But (now this sounds rather naive), it would be nice if Max had done a little research rather than reaching for the nearest MOJ press release….”

Do please read the rest.  I am confident that you will enjoy it – whether you are a lawyer or not. I’ve done a few podcasts with Jerry.  It must be time, soon, for another podcast with him.

Try as I did to find some…not much law about tonight…

While I continue to amuse myself painting, walking about Kingsbury and reading bits of law that appeal to me – there are some very good lawyers who blog regularly – so here is a selection of  recent posts…

David Allen Green on his Jack of Kent blog:  The hurdles for Human Rights Act repeal now seem higher than before – “The new Conservative government’s plan to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and enact a replacement, apparently within one hundred days of the general election, was never going to be easy.

Nonetheless the government still intends to make some announcement in this Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech.

This brief update post sets out some of the more recent developments……”

Carl Gardner on his Head of Legal blog: :RightsInfo is a new website devoted to information about and advocacy for human rights. It’s the brainchild of Adam Wagner, the barrister and founder the the UK Human Rights Blog; and has a considerable team behind it.

It tells us what human rights do for us, and tackles the 14 worst human rights myths. Over the next few weeks it’s revealing 50 human rights cases everyone should know about, in the form of human stories anyone can relate to. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s what to do on your first visit.

Read the full post

John Bolch on his Family Lore blog: Supreme Court decision on habitual residence in Scottish case

Nearly Legal Housing Law and Legal Comment: Housing and immigration. Bombshells and bombast
” In a speech timed to hide the release of the latest figures on net migration, the Prime Minister made an assortment of announcements on forthcoming policies.

The part that concern us here, went as follows:

There are other ways we can identify those who shouldn’t be here, for example through housing. For the first time we’ve had landlords checking whether their tenants are here legally. The Liberal Democrats only wanted us to run a pilot on that one. But now we’ve got a majority, we will roll it out nationwide, and we’ll change the rules so landlords can evict illegal immigrants more quickly.

We’ll also crack down on the unscrupulous landlords who cram houses full of illegal migrants, by introducing a new mandatory licensing regime. And, a bit like ending jobs when visas expire, we’ll consult on cancelling tenancies automatically at the same point.

The unsurprising part is the commitment to roll out the ‘right to rent’ nationally from theWest Midlands pilot (even though no evaluation of the pilot has yet taken place). We originally called this legislation ‘odious and badly thought out‘. Now it is to be a national, odious and badly thought out scheme.

The rest, however, contains some bombshells and some incredibly stupid ideas…..”

Must not overdo the law….back later…after a spot of painting..

But I thought we should have a bit of Gove Action

I had the pleasure, some years ago, of drinking with King Arthur….

Druid leader King Arthur loses legal fight over Stonehenge remains

The Guardian reports: High court refuses judicial review of decision to remove 5,000-year-old ‘royal’ remains from Stonehenge for analysis

I had the pleasure, some years ago, of drinking with King Arthur.  There aren’t too  many lawyers or law bloggers who can claim that.  I also read his excellent book.  He has led an extraordinary life as a peaceful activist – and I very much enjoyed our various evenings together.  He drank cider.  I drank Rioja.

And I found this on a very old blog post. Amused me at the time…still does.

G4S sacks pair who tagged offender’s false leg

BBC: “Private security firm G4S has sacked two members of staff who tagged a man’s false leg allowing him to remove it and break a court-imposed curfew. The pair were fooled by Christopher Lowcock, 29, who wrapped the prosthetic limb in a bandage when G4S set up the system at his Rochdale home. He was then able to remove the limb and break a curfew imposed for offences involving drugs, driving and a weapon.”

Muttley Dastardly LLP: This game’s in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling …

Muttley Dastardly LLP: This game’s in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling …

Matt Muttley, managing partner of Muttley Dastardly, has returned from from a two week business trip to America.  In the partner’s boardroom at their City offices are ten partners and 25 senior associates.  The partners are seated at the boardroom table on a raised dais. Muttley sits in the only chair with arm rests, an affectation he designed into the furniture after being shown The Cabinet Room when Tony Blair was prime minister. This chair is in the centre of the  black polished ebony boardroom table.  The associates stand by the wall facing the partners. Muttley’s PA, Eva Braun stands behind Muttley dressed in a black skirt suit, white silk camisole and five inch heels, her expression impassive.

“Listen up. This game’s in the refrigerator! The door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling … I’m pleased to report that the partners have had a good year. In fact we have managed the quite remarkable feat of increasing our profit per partner by 28.5% despite a downturn in revenue of 18.2%.  This is, in part, due to the great cull of last Summer and in part to increasing your billable hours requirement.  Two of you have failed to meet those targets and your desks are being cleared by security now. Levison and Edmondson, I’d be grateful if you would make your way to reception… the game is over for you.”

Muttley paused while the two shocked associates left the boardroom. No-one spoke.

“We’ve had a change of government and the new clowns have already lost one guy who couldn’t read the rules, or chose not to, or chose to give the rules a different spin to others. This is what happens when people don’t check with lawyers about rules. The new clowns are going to slash budgets, slash spending and in all likelihood there will be strikes ahead.  We’re beefing the Employment division.  There will be some fairly spectacular business failures as well… football clubs and airlines are worth a look and don’t be surprised if BP litigation comes our way.  I’ve been Stateside and I can tell you… it is going to be a turkey shoot.  Big Law are alternately wetting and crapping themselves. One CEO…. their ‘word’ for managing partner, I spoke to was calling for oxygen at one point so excited was he at the prospect of work when he took a call from The White House while I was there.”

Muttley sipped some Perrier from a glass to his right, put his hands together and continued.

Let’s take a look at the markets.  I’ve been doing some key reading, a guy called Paul B. Farrell of MarketWatch.  Let me summarise, using his rather colourful language.   Are we heading for the bear or is the bull going to run? I quote...“…you decide: As you stare from high up in the nose-bleed bleachers watching the game, staring at a Dow that not long ago was above 11,000 and heading for 12,000. Now the Dow’s sitting on the bench, ready for the showers, weak after a couple air balls around 10,000. No more timeouts. “This game’s in the refrigerator……

Main Street lost 20% last decade … yet like sheep keep going back. Yes, if you’re channeling Chick, here’s your “mixed metaphor” cue card: “This game’s in the refrigerator … Wall Street won (proof, Goldman’s $100-million-profit trading days and Blankfein’s $68 million bonus) … Main Street’s headed for another losing streak … Congress’ lights are out … the refrigerator door’s closing on financial reforms … the lobbyists are laying some rotten eggs, poisoning capitalism … the Tea Party-of-No-No ideologies are hardening … the bull’s Jell-O is jiggling to a flat line … and this market’s going into hibernation, with the bears … run, don’t walk, to the exits, folks.”But will Main Street exit? Will we ever learn? No……

Economist Gary Shilling said price-to-earnings ratios are at a “nosebleed 22.5 level.” The Dow was around 11,000. Money manager Jeremy Grantham recently said the market’s overvalued 40%. That could mean a collapse to 6,600. Last week in Reuters’ “Markets Could Be Derailed Again,” George Soros echoed a “game over” warning with a “stark warning … that the financial world is on the wrong track and that we may be hurtling towards an even bigger boom and bust than in the credit crisis.”

Now Dow Theory’s Richard Russell is warning the public of an imminent crash: “Sell … get liquid … by the end of this year they won’t recognize the country.”

So… are you feeling confident that Danny Alexander, a man who has absolutely no experience apart from sending PR bull out about somewhere in Scotland For fuck’s sake and negotiating a coalition with a group of grasping, desperate, politicians who would short-sell their mothers if they hadn’t already done it while in opposition?!  Cable is simmering like a tin of beans on the back burner with about as much effect.  We know nothing about Osborne.  The good news is that they are going to cut legal aid budgets to buggery, slash spending on the courts, and encourage Tesco and the Coop to package and commoditise legal services.  It’ll be a car crash… we’re probably looking at the equivalent of Emmerdale Farm or Pot Noodle… an emollient but hardly exciting.

Muttley paused to look at the sleek iPad beside him.  He looked up and spoke in lowered tones, forcing the associates to lean forward slightly, expectant.

“What does this mean for us..and when I say us, I mean of course the partners of this firm? We gear up on insolvency and taxation – the clowns are going to ‘simplify’ the system.  When governments say that there is always work for lawyers.   We talk to a few senior barristers and get them into our version of a Procureco. Where there’s money there’s barristers as my father used to say.

We’re going to look at buying a few small regional firms, or rather, turn them into an alternate business structure and go for the very lucrative personal injury market.  We’ll use our Megaladon Direct brand for that.   The good news is the idea of banning referral fees has been kicked into touch.  This will give us an edge. This will also irritate the hell out of The Law Society and The Bar Council who have both been pressing for abolition.  This could keep both these august bodies frothing for months. Again, good for us because their eyes will not be on point on other reforms to ‘suggest’ to government.  Our black psyops unit is putting out articles on blogs and in the legal media about  the future of the legal profession…. lawyers love this stuff and it is always good to get our competitors a little worked up and frothing.  I’m pleased to report that our Twitter presence will soon sow dissent in the profession so we may reap the rewards of keeping lawyers busy responding to our nonsense.  It is amazing how lawyers like to engage on twitter when they should be at the coal face digging coal for their partners. We won’t need to trouble any of you with this.  Eva Braun has found five or six people to put the word out and stir things up a bit.

Finally… let’s put the squeeze on the law schools. We are hiring 125 trainees next year.  50 will make the cut, 20 may even survive the first year PQE.  We are paying far too much for our LPC training.  The law schools are getting greedy.  This is fine for law firms, but most inelegant in the public consciousness when it comes to legal education.  We’ll place some psyops about the fact that we’re looking to partner with a law school for our LPC training.  The water should froth a bit at that and then we’ll send in a team to have a look at the facilities, the staff, do a bit of teeth sucking and promise a three year deal on our terms.  As you know, we are specialists in shark repellent, exactitude and ‘zone of uncertainty’ clauses which will deter any law school from suing if we want out.  I would hope for at least a 40% discount against their published rate per head on the LPC.  This saving will, of course, go towards the partner bonuses.

You know what you have to do.  Same time next week. Oh… and remember…. “Sell … get liquid … by the end of this year the clowns won’t recognize the country. That is all.

Matt Muttley
Managing Partner

 

Muttley Dastardly LLP is a niche practice….

Muttley Dastardly LLP is a niche practice, founded by two absurdly successful junior partners in a leading City firm who tired of waiting to be elevated to full equity. In the three years since they broke onto to the City landscape in their new offices in Canary Wharf, they have completed a number of very successful lateral hires. By assiduously reading The Lawyer and Legal Week they were able to work out who was doing the big deals with who and then, very subtly, approach the in-house team and poach some very high quality work away; minor work at first which led to much more sophisticated and profitable work later. It helped that Matt ‘Top Gun’ Dastardly had served in the New York office of the firm he had been in. A diet of bagels, 16 hour days and living under the mantra “Bill, bill, bill…” he has developed a focus envied by many corporate finance lawyers in the City.

Muttley Dastardly LLP took a high risk strategy by allowing their trainees to write a blog.

Here is one of the first entries…

It is written by ‘Helena’…

My heart pounded as I arrived in the reception of Muttley Dastardly LLP. There were eight of us, six women and two men. I thought it was exciting that there were so many women among the new intake. We were taken to a beautiful room on the fifth floor – the senior partners’ dining room – exquisitely furnished. It is so important to make a good impression with clients. We were given coffee and pastries and business cards, Mont Blanc pens, inscribed with the name of the firm, a beautiful black leather briefase which was also inscribed with the name of the firm, and a book of vouchers for a nearby hotel.

Shortly before 10.00, we were collected by Matt Muttley’s PA who looked more like a super model than a PA and was dressed beautifully in La Croix and very high heeled shoes. My suit looked dowdy by comparison. A short walk down the corridor, we were taken into a conference room with a raised dais at one end. All very hi-tech. We were asked to sit down.

The PA walked to the dais, flicked a switch and a panel in the wall opened to reveal a wide screen HD TV. She pressed another button and the television came to life. It was startling at first. The music was by Queen. ‘We will Rock you’, I think it was. There were images of fast cars, thoroughbred horses, yachts, private aircraft, oil rich arabs, expensive London apartments and villas in Monaco – all very corporate and inspiring. And then we saw Matt Muttley for the first time – his face dominated the entire screen. He didn’t say much – but I will always remember his words.

“You are fortunate indeed”, he said with a smile “to have been selected by my firm. Your first two years here will be hard and demanding. You will work long hours, you will work hard, you won’t have much time for a social life – we provide a canteen for trainees so that you don’t have the inconvenience of having to find somewhere to eat in your lunch break. We don’t have ‘lunch hours’ here – well some of us do – which is why we call them lunch breaks. I welcome all of you. Only three of you will survive to be taken on as associates. That is the way of our world. We have provided you with vouchers to a new japanese style hotel with sleeping capsules, which is nearby, in the same building, in fact, to save you the inconvenience of having to go home if you have to work late – which may well be fairly often . They have laundry facilities.”

Matt Muttley smiled and continued…. ” You will learn how to be an effective lawyer. You will learn to be a focused lawyer and above all, you will learn to be a lawyer who bills. Right from the beginning you will be making a positive contribution to the firm’s wealth which, one day, you will share in. We work in competitive times. Bill hard, bill quickly and pay late. That is our culture, that is our mantra. Be happy in your work. It is still not too late to back-out. My PA has a briefcase with your signed agreement in it. If you wish to leave now – please give her a cheque as you do so to repay us for your LPC tuition fees and expenses. I wish you well. Your first course will start in 10 minutes, in this room. It is a demanding programme which will take approximately 18 minutes to complete, after which you will start making your contribution. It is called “PAGINATION 101, a cliche, maybe, but pagination is very much a part of our work here and it is this work that you will start your own progression to wealth with. Thank you.”

No-one wanted to leave. It was so exciting. Law School was a walk in the park compared to this. I’ve been here two weeks now and I don’t miss by boyfriend at all.

Rive Gauche: Nothing like a few unusual words from our language….

Words
The English language is endlessly fascinating to me.  I don’t share the facility possessed by linguists  with languages (Although I speak acceptably bad French.  OK – really bad French – c’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas le français  and ‘tourist italian’). . My real brother – not Professor RD Charon – speaks quite a few languages including Hindi.  In fact, he teaches young British Asians to speak and write Hindi)

A number of unusual words have amused me in recent months – a selection:

philosophunculist: One who pretends to know more than they do to impress others

tibialoconcupiscent: Having a lascivious interest in watching a woman put on stockings (I don’t, in fact, have this hobby – but one never knows when a new hobby will come along.  I was much taken with the idea of becoming a sword swallower recently after seeing an item about sword swallowing on BBC London News.  The thought has, thankfully, passed.)

And the other day I was fascinated by the idea of having a concilliabule – A secret meeting of people who are hatching a plot

But my favourite for this week – given twitter’s proclivity for stampeding madly about, wilfully, mendaciously and with a full on ‘mens rea’ –  at times  –  ignorant of law, facts or sanity  was: exsibilation – The collective hisses of a disapproving audience

And, finally… on the subject of words… Hat tip to good friend,  Professor Gary Slapper (Always worth following on twitter @garyslapper)

I tweeted – Word du Jour: Afflatus (n) inspiration; an impelling mental force acting from within

Many complain about the modern habit of turning nouns into words.  ‘Medalling’ was popular during the Olympics.  And…before I get accused of explaterating – To talk continuously without pause…

 

How To Build A Balanced Crowdfunding Portfolio: Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, May 28th 2015

Royal Automobile Club,  Pall Mall, May 28th 2015

Discovering the Power of the Crowd banner advert

Another Crowd is pleased to announce its first interactive crowdfunding seminar – Discovering The Power Of The Crowd – at The Royal Automobile Club in London, on 28th May 2015, in conjunction with CityAM, Crowdnetic and Money&Co.

Limited places remain – Charon QC Blog readers save £40 – click here to book online

Overview

Crowdfunding is transforming the prospects of small businesses in the UK. It is an industry that’s quickly – and successfully – growing up.

Alongside the chance to get involved in some exciting projects, crowdfunding offers investors the opportunity to have a truly adult relationship with risk.

With this in mind, Discovering the Power of the Crowd brings together a high level programme of industry leaders, who will take delegates through fast-growing alternative investment markets, and the attendant legal, regulatory and commercial requirements needed to sustain success.

Delegates will leave fully understanding how to make the most of the opportunities crowdfunding offers them.

Why Attend

Better understand the different crowdfunding investment options– from seeding and mezzanine equity investment to high-end equity funding, and moving on to debt capital for more mature small and medium-sized businesses.

Interact with top level case studies, including the fastest growing crowdfunding platforms, to discover the power of the crowd: in finance and beyond, from the UK and around the world

Fully appreciate the legal and regulatory framework for the industry

Learn from industry leaders at the front line of this burgeoning industry – get your questions answered

See the day’s programme below or click here to book online – limited places remain

 

Programme

10.00 – Opening remarks

Martin Baker (Director of Communications, Money&Co.)
Harriet Green ( Deputy Business Features Editor, City A.M.)

10:05 – Understand alternative finance and crowdfunding

  • Overview of the crowdfunding landscape
  • How modern finance is transforming itself
  • Why alternative finance is becoming the mainstream

Justin Urquhart Stewart (Seven Investment Management) – Well-known financial pundit and entrepreneur.

10.45 – How Seedrs began, and where is it going? (Case Study)

  • The opportunities for raising funds via crowdfunding.
  • Understand Seedrs success and how they’ve developed.
  • How Seedrs started small and grew to where they are now.
  • Moving from raising capital for startups…
  • …to now also helping later stage companies seeking second and third round financing.
  • Realising the founders’ vision to help small companies obtain seed capital.

Jeff Lynn (Co-Founder and CEO, Seedrs.com ) – American pioneer of equity latest stage equity crowdfunding.  Seedrs is an online platform for discovering and investing in great startups.

11.30 – How crowdfunding can bring the benefit of high finance to investors

  • How platforms assess whether a company could produce a return to investors
  • How platforms pick sophisticated companies for sophisticated investors
  • Calibre of company – selecting a company suitable for investment
  • What you should look out for

James Codling (Co-founder, VentureFounders) – Highly experienced in private equity, investment banking and startup experience.

12:15 New models, fast growth (Case Study)

  • As a new entrant into the market, how have Syndicate Room created a model which has engendered rapid growth
  • Part hands-on angel investor – part crowdfunding facilitator, Syndicate Room offers a combination of management expertise, investor knowledge and liquidity.

Goncalo de Vasconcelos (Co-founder and CEO, Syndicate Room, one of the fastest growing platforms in the UK.)
Chris Sier, (MD of KAS Bank (invited)), investor and crowdfunding sceptic.

13.00  – Lunch

Hosted by Brian Basham, (Executive Chairman, Archover)

14.00 – The crowd as publisher – media disintermediation

  • An insight into digital disruption in the world of publishing
  • The power of the crowd beyond the financial
  • Replacing the publishing body with the crowd

Martin Baker and Paul English (Wet Zebra Media)

14.15  – Crowdfunding’s new horizons

  • Why the future of crowdfunding is debt over equity
  • Why SMEs drive the economy and provide great yields

Nicola Horlick (Chief Executive, Money&Co)

14.30 – Benchmarking UK growth against Europe and the United States

  • The shift to UK and Europe from the United States
  • Emerging trends  in the UK and Europe
  • Which firms are coming to market?
  • Differences between countries
  • Moving mainstream – How alternative finance is changing the financial services world.

Bryan Zhang (Policy and Operations Director, Centre for Alternative Finance, Cambridge Judge Business School) – leading academic, ground-breaking research into European market.

14.45 – The regulatory implications – what you need to know

Navigate the path through the regulatory minefield for borrowers, lenders and investors alike.

Karen Butler – King Wood & Malleson

15.15 – Panel discussion: Get your questions answered

  • As an investor, how do you build a portfolio of equity and debt assets?
  • How do you assess risk? Are platforms doing enough to assess risk and share information with investors? What to do when the defaults come?
  • What are the likely exit routes for equity investors?
  • Will institutions squeeze the crowd out of crowdfunding?
  • How to respond to the inflated valuations accusation?

Chaired by Julia Groves (UKCFA & Trillion Fund): Adam Braggs (Crowdnetic), Karen Butler (KWM), James Codling (VentureFounders), Gordon Rae (Another Crowd) and other leading figures

16.20 – Closing remarks

Martin Muncaster, Head of Commercial Development, City A.M.

16.30 – Drinks and networking

(This programme is subject to change)

Limited places remain – Charon QC Blog save £40 – click here to book online

 

I’ve known Gordon Rae through twitter for some time – this event will be a most interesting one to attend.

Professor RD Charon – “A pass degree in Law is a certificate of incompetence”

While my younger brother grapples with the technical aspects of what he is pleased to call ‘Law blogging’  and works out how to give me posting rights under my own ‘moniker’ I shall post with my avatar.

I began my academic career at a good university, but one, unfortunately placed geographically, far too distant from where I wished to be, so I did not spend much time there. I did make occasional journeys to the university town, with the intention of visiting the law school, but often found myself waylaid by the attractions of a fine pub situated about half a mile from the Law School and was not always able to make it to the school. I do, however, remember the Dean giving all the new students an address. The Dean was a solemn man, newly elevated to professorial rank, a man whose knowledge of criminal and other law stupefied the judges when he was at the Bar, to a point where it was felt that his talents might be better used in academe – which, indeed, they were.

He looked straight at us all. His eyes flickered and darted from side to side. He spoke quickly as he told us that of the 100 in the theatre only two would get a First, twelve, possibly, fifteen, would get an Upper Second, the herd would get Lower Seconds (and find solace practising law in modest firms), a few would get Thirds (and find little pleasure in a life in the law) and, sadly, – looking menacingly around the theatre: “Five to six of you will get pass degrees – a certificate of incompetence.”

I’m afraid, possibly though mild intoxication, that I found this absurdly funny and burst out laughing.

“Mr Charon” the Dean asked “Perhaps you find that amusing? Why so?”

I cannot, of course, remember the exact words which I used to reply (It always amazes me how people who write biographies can remember almost every word they spoke in their lives) but I will give the gist (and in future posts, should I need to resort to dialogue, I will ask you to imagine that I can remember every single word.)

“Well it is rather amusing, Professor ‘X’. How can anyone spend three years of their lives studying something and end up with a certificate of incompetence? Better to cut the losses after the first year and run.” The Dean merely smiled and passed on to other matters. I could, however, see a few anxious looks on the faces of my fellow students. There were eight women on the course. This was most disappointing. Things have changed – a theme to which I shall return when I next post.

R D Charon

So… what are some members of the legal profession up to….?

‘Named and shamed’ barrister to fight misconduct findings
The Law Society Gazette reports: The public access barrister publicly named by the Legal Ombudsman because of a high volume of complaints said today he will appeal the bar disciplinary board’s findings against him.

Tariq Rehman, joint head of Kings Court Chambers, Birmingham, which specialises in immigration law, was found guilty by the Bar Tribunals & Adjudication Service of 11 misconduct offences.

A five-person panel said he had ‘failed to administer his chambers efficiently’ and to have acted in a way that was ‘discreditable to a barrister’ in relation to his public access work.

Rehman was found to have engaged in ‘conduct discreditable to a barrister’ after he agreed to the use of scripts by employees or agents at Global Immigration Consultants in phone conversations with prospective clients, quoting a fee which included an extra £100 sum to pay to the consultants.

He was also found to have ‘failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure that his chambers were administered competently and efficiently’, after he allowed staff to accept public access cases on his behalf by sending out a client care letter ‘in circumstances in which Kings Court Chambers operated a system which did not allocate cases to any member of chambers before the client care letter was sent’.

Four of the other offences he was found guilty of related to the handling of complaints, when members of staff on four separate occasions did not acknowledge the complaint, name the person who would be dealing with the complaint, provide a copy of the chambers’ complaint procedure or a date when the complainant would next hear from the chambers…..

Barrister given four years for ‘despicable’ assault

The Law Society Gazette reports:  “A respected’ criminal barrister who went on the run after sexually assaulting a teenage girl was today jailed for four years.

Desmond Rosario, formerly at St John’s Chambers, Manchester, was reported to police on 1 November 2013 for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl at an address in Sheffield….”

And if you want to start misbehaving before you start to practice law and misbehave then?

The Law Society Gazette reports: Trainee barred for faking legal qualifications

“A trainee solicitor who faked his legal qualifications has been barred from the solicitors’ profession.

Sanjeeva Camillus, who worked for London firm William Sturges, was found in March 2013 to have fabricated certificates relating to a qualifying law degree and the LPC….”

Rive Gauche: Charon always enjoys talking to cold calling salesmen….

charonphone20mayCaller: Can I speak to Charon please?

Charon: Speaking.

Caller: You are Charon of The Staterooms, Battersea?

Charon: Yes…and you are?

Caller: We are doing conservatories in your area and wondered if you would be interested in hearing about the opportunity we can give you.

Charon: Yes, but you do realise that I am a lawyer and I charge everyone for my time?  I’ve just started the time clock running.  Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?

Caller: Sorry?  I’m not with you.

Charon: It is perfectly straightforward.  I am a lawyer.  I charge for my time.  Nothing in this world I live in is free.  You called me up to ask if you could speak to me – ergo, you want to buy some of my time.  Time is money.  I take money. In fact, I have a most useful device from Barclays which allows me to take money from your account and put it straight into my account. Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?

Caller: I’m not sure I understand…you want to charge me money to listen to what I have to tell you?

Charon: Bingo!

Caller: Bingo?

Charon: Bingo!…yes, you have understood the position perfectly. Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?

Caller: This is ridiculous…..

Charon: What is ridiculous?

Caller: That you want to charge me for calling you.

Charon: I don’t see what is ridiculous about it.  I have to make a living, as you do.  I didn’t call you.  You called me to ask if I would listen to you tell me about conservatories.  I said that I was happy to do this, warned you that I am a lawyer and charge for my time, and then asked you for your card details so that you can pay my fees for listening to you.

Caller: This is mad.

Charon: Mad?  Fortunately this call is not being broadcast for you have just slandered me by calling me mad and as I’ve just finished writing a chapter on the law of defamation for my new Tort book, I’m fairly well up on libel.

Caller: I haven’t libelled you.

Charon: Technically, because there is no publication to a third party in this instance, you have not libelled, but calling me ‘mad’ when I am not, could found an action in defamation, had I been broadcasting this conversation; one which even in these anti-libel days we live in I may well have won.

Caller: This is now getting more ridiculous…. I am terminating the call.

Charon: Did I tell you that I am on the third floor of a block of flats?  I assumed, given your thorough market research, you were aware of this.  In the circumstances, I was fascinated to hear how you were going to build a conservatory for me.  I haven’t seen many conservatories hanging off the side of mansion block buildings.   I was genuinely keen to learn….

Caller: CLICK

Based, very closely, on a real event! The actual call was about ten minutes and the caller got more and more frustrated.  I don’t really like cold callers. 

Rive Gauche: Par Avion from The Staterooms

I don’t know how many of you receive unsolicited calls.  I get a few – the most amusing, shortly before Christmas last, I tweeted…

And I came across this tweet which I posted on the blog before Christmas last.  I think it is worth putting up again?

And a look back into some tweeting before Christmas last…

And then, this morning, the political blogger Guido Fawkes has started a petition to bring back the death penalty in the United Kingdom Apart from the irony of a blogger using the name  Guido Fawkes as a nom de plume to suggest such a petition, many have observed that this will do his blog stats no end of good, given the desire of many to bring back the death penalty.  I suspect that PM Camcorderdirect, relaxing in his Tuscan lair, having spent some time de-toxifying the Tory party, will be groaning as various (and sundry) Tory MPs have come out in favour.  The Sun has taken up the story.  Is Guido re-toxifying the Tory party for his own ends to bait them, to trap Tory and other MPs into declaring their position for subsequent vilification in media and social media?

I am against the death penalty on three grounds: (a) It is a barbaric penalty, suitable only for countries living under medieval concepts of justice (b) judges and juries are not infallible and (c) it goes against the foundations of  modern humanitarian and moral precepts of justice.  Quite apart from the fact that Britain would have difficulties remaining a member of the European Union if we bring back the death penalty (Members are required to sign up to the European Convention. Protocol 6  – restriction of death penalty. Requires parties to restrict the application of the death penalty to times of war or “imminent threat of war” –  Edit: and Protocol 13 – Complete abolition of death penalty in Council of Europe states) one just needs to remember the reason why the death penalty was abolished in Britain in  1965 – the case of Timothy Evans being but one important reason.

They say that 70% of the population in Britain would welcome a return of the death penalty – the argument of the ‘executioneers’ is that Parliament must impose the will of the majority.  To that, I have to repeat a statement I have used before – “5 million flies eat shit, but it does not follow that shit is good for us to eat” .

I suspect (I have no empirical evidence) that few High Court judges would seek return of the death penalty and, I suspect, that few barristers, defence barristers in particular, would welcome the return.

To use a ‘populist’ argument – as a fair few twitter users did this morning… ”You don’t trust MPs on taxation, expenses, governance…so why do you want to hand power to them to hang people?” Res Ipsa Loquitur?

Well… there we are.  We shall see what happens with this latest ‘wheeze’ on the part of the right wing to bring our ‘green and pleasant land’ into their vision of control.   If the death penalty does come back… I suspect that Norway with  their mature, humane and inspiring  way of handling serious issues would be a good place to live in?

I did like this sensible tweet from a labour MP… he has a point!

And this is the level of debate that those who want to hang people rely on?  Absurd…. (Me, elitist?  I think not!)

Mr Gaunt is, apparently, a columnist…

I look forward to more ‘gems of reason’ from ‘Gaunty’…. I may have a long wait?

A human rights nazi?  Now that is a concept that may give Mr Gaunt something to chew on?

My fellow blogger, friend and podcaster – David Allen Green – takes up the theme, sensibly,  in a very well reasoned blog post…… I quote his ending…“The devil may well have the best tunes; but the liberals will usually turn out to have the better arguments.”  Well worth reading.

UPDATE Sunday 31 July 2011

Unfortunately… with public opinion… law gets in the way. Guido suggested that Article 2 permitted executions.  As @ObiterJ pointed out in the comments…. Protocol 13 ECHR makes a rather important legal point which public opinion should consider

Yes.. this is right…

PLEASE READ THIS…  excellent… beautifully written with some wonderful imagery… 

Hanging’s Too Good For ‘Em

Jerry Hayes is not a fan of the new e-Petitions. Not at all.

And nothing like a bit of Dennis Skinner

 

No doubt controversy worth writing about will continue and be fought on the playing fields of Twitter?

And I just had to have this..again…

Law Review: The largest law firm in Northern Ireland has withdrawn from all major criminal cases in a protest against new rules reducing the level of legal aid payments

BBC News reports: “The largest law firm in Northern Ireland has withdrawn from all major criminal cases in a protest against new rules reducing the level of legal aid payments.

The BBC can also reveal that solicitors and barristers are to take Justice Minister David Ford to court in an attempt to have the new rules declared illegal.

It is a development that could have a profound impact on the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.

In court in Belfast on Tuesday, a man facing sexual assault charges was remanded in custody.

But at that point his solicitor told the judge he would not be applying for legal aid to represent his client, or to appoint a senior and junior barrister.

Instead, solicitor Joe McVeigh said he would no longer be involved in the case as part of protest against new legal aid rules and reduced fees introduced earlier this month…..”
Law Review posts sponsored by Bar Marketing and East Park Communications

Rive Gauche: Lord Shagger – a view from the past

shagger24oct11Charon

I know you are busy planning your absurd Van Rouge tour – but… please… take a minute or two out of your busy schedule to watch this marvellous satire film from Australia about fellow peer Lord Monckton, a UKIP chap (apparently head of research – whatever that means in UKIP terms) …..most amusing.

Aussie film clip where Lord Monckton is mistaken for Sacha Baron Cohen !  CLASS!  A must watch.. if you have the time

And, it would appear that  The House of Lords is none too keen on him saying he is a member of the House of Lords…. he is not, they say.  Mind you… nor am I.  I got my peerage for services… well… too modest to say…

Best

Shagger

***

I posted this some years ago – but I thought I should and would ‘revive it’.

Rive Gauche: Chef Charon’s Beef Buggerorf recipe…

I could not cook many years ago…but now I can – simply by watching programmes on cookery, reading cook books, trying things out and by having had the good fortune to eat some very good meals in different parts of the world. I am not a foodie.  I just enjoy cooking and eating the results. I also like cooking for friends.  It has to be said that I have had to go out to dinner after cooking – simply because what I tried was, shall we say, not too good.

There is a fantastic range of information on the net and on television for those of us who enjoy cooking.

Tonight… a recipe for Boeuf Buggerorf done in a slow cooker or ‘crockpot’

1. Buy a slow cooker (£20 – or use a hob and cook gently for about 2 hours and then transfer to a hot oven 180C to thicken the gravy for about 15 minutes.)

Using the slow cooker on a high setting for 5-6 hours:

2. Chop topside, sirloin,  rump or even cheaper cuts of beef into chunks. Coat with flour (I prefer cornflour) and season with salt and  pepper.  Brown in frying pan using groundnut or sunflower oil until the meat has a good colour on the outside

3.  Chop carrots, onion, mushroom, onion/challots and small potatoes (keep the skin on) garlic  – some mixed herbs and anything else you fancy by way of veg.

4. Add about 1/4 pint of beef stock available from supermarkets.  Put in a small amount of fat from the beef to render down and provide depth to the gravy.

5. Add a full bottle of decent burgundy.  The burgundy will cost about £6-10 (May be more expensive in 2015) depending on your budget.  It is worth using good wine. Frankly any heavy bodied wine will give good flavour

6. Cook for 5-6 hours with the slow cooker on high or 9-10 hours with the slow cooker on low.

Garlic and chive mash

It will take about 20 minutes or so to cook some small potatoes with or without skins (I like skins on for this dish)

1. Cook potatoes until you can put a fork into the heart of the cut potatoes. Drain water, mash, add garlic puree or chopped garlic, chopped chives and butter.  Mash until you have the mash the way you like it.

Quantities are irrelevant with slow cooking.  Some people are greedy.  Work out how much you like, add for friends. Make enough for some the next day – because it does taste better the next day and you can heat it up fairly quickly on a stove. Best to make a new batch of mash, though.

Rioja, Burgundy, Barolo, Cotes du Rhone… in fact.. most reds go well with this.

***

I plan to return to vaguely sensible cooking soon…there are only so many egg & cress sandwiches a law blogger can eat – even a blawger who can’t find any law to write about….

Rive Gauche: Guten Abend meine Damen und Herren – A blogpost from the past…

.. und… even…  Juristen… . aber die Zeit  ist Geld … so I will keep this brief.

It is with regret that I cannot join the distinguished panel of pundits, mavens, prognosticators und blawgers at ze #UKLAWBLOGS Convention at The Law Society on 19th May 2011.  I am Dr Erasmus Strangelove (no relation), as some of you know, Director of Psyops, Strategy and Education at niche boutique firmMuttley Dastardly LLP in The City.  Our motto is ‘Strength & Profits’.  Each day I have to make complex and even minor calculations as to how I allocate the 20 hours of billable time – available daily  to the modern day professional lawyer –  to the future of The Partners…. of which I am one.  More often than not this consists of monitoring a bank of television screens in my Psyops room in the basement,  where we are able to monitor (and direct) the productivity of our various departments or…as we call them at Muttley Dastardly LLP… ‘revenue generation units’.  We like a neo-post-modern joke at our firm… or, at least, The Partners do.

I came to ze conclusion that while blawging und flawging is a most worthy and profitable activity for other lawyers to engage in… the more so if these same people can be encouraged to waste industrial amounts of time ontwitter und Linked-In – the profit comes from taking advantage of the lack of productivity from our competitors and not in engaging in these activities ourselves. This explains why I am allocating time to a specially televised broadcast, delivered to you by courier using a USB device to connect with a PC at an internet cafe ‘somewhere in Abbottabad”, rather than expend Zeit  ist Geld by attending in persona.

It distressed me to hear this morning  that ‘persons unknown’ sought to obtain an injunction from Mr Justice Spank-Farquhar ,  a superinjunctioncontra mundum and against twitter and Facebook,  to restrain publication of my address to you urbi et orbi.  Fortunately, our recently knighted managing partner, Sir Matt Muttley, was able to use his considerable expertise to brief counsel to turn over this injunction on  the sole ground that all matters, save those which The Partners of Muttley Dastardly LLP do not wish to be made public, are in the public interest.

Spank-Farquhar J said “I have known Sir Matt Muttley for many years.  We were in The Bullingdon together and what happened at that club in London we trashed all those years ago, stays at that club we trashed in London all those years ago. When Sir Matt Muttley tells me now, through counsel, that he believes something should be madepublic, I can only reach one conclusion: It is in his interest, and therefore in the interest of the public and the ‘public interest’,  for it to be made public. I therefore order contra mundum spiritus et fillii et Spiritus Sancti exorciso te Romanum that this notice be published everywhere – with a bit of added SupraMandamus just to chill the breast of the tardy.  Make it so Mr  Sulu and let these words boldly go.”

I am much encouraged that a renegade blawger in Kent has addressed the real issue of law blogging.  I refer to Mr John Bolch of Family Lore and his brief, but nevertheless precise and excellent, treatise on the subject:

Has blawging become ‘establishment’?

Lord Bolchdidit goes to the very foundation of the rot which may pervade, pervert and pollute blogging – and which we may sleep walk into – if we are not very careful.  I quote:

“When I began writing this blog, there weren’t that many other legal blogs around. Law blogging was still a relatively new phenomenon, not taken seriously by the legal establishment. OK, there were certainly some serious legal blogs about (IPKat comes to mind), but there was definitely a higher proportion of more personal law blogs, with their own unique styles, such as Charon QC and the much-missed Geeklawyer.

Gradually, however, the establishment began to realise the potential of blogging to promote businesses and further careers. More and more blawgs began to appear, from the tedious “here’s a topical legal story – if you have the same problem, we can help” type, to the rather more subtle providers of detailed legal analysis, thereby demonstrating serious expertise.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that law blogs should be restricted to one type. One of the beauties of blogging is that there are (virtually) no rules as to what format a blog should take. The problem, however, is that the establishment thinks it knows best and inevitably tries to take over the medium. Before we know where we are, we have blawging mavens making their pronouncements to the minions from on high, telling us all the right and the wrong ways to do things.

Worse than that, the establishment likes order. Blawgs have to be listed and rated. Now, I have nothing against personal opinions, but if the rating is by committee or vote, then you can count me out. You can also count me out of any annual award ceremony for the best blawgs by category, even if the winners are announced in reverse order.

I do recommend that you read the rest of it.

I concur.  If I have any advice at all for law bloggers… it is this.. you have a duty to stir.  My colleague and consultant to Muttley Dastardly LLP, Charon QC,  will be attending #UKLAWBLOGS if he is sober – and he may well appear roaring on arrival in any event.  I suspect he will be putting his “Doctrine of The Duty To Stir’ (Self Aggrandisers Monthly April 2011)  before you for your delectation and delight.  He may listen to reason – and he does a most passable imitation of appearing to do  so and be affable at the same time – but he certainly does not feel it necessary to abide by reason.

That is all.  May the law have mercy upon your soul and keep you safe from flawgers and establishment blawgers. Read their marketing schtik instead.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

Snob Monkey Ltd – www.snobmonkey.com

Snob Monkey Ltd – www.snobmonkey.com

As a Social Media company, we perform all aspects of your social media with a customized strategy for your business. Providing you with solutions across all platforms to keep your company at the top of the market with the intention that you will never have to worry about your social presence.

We take over your social media and run it for you so you can concentrate on Only by making you successful, can we make ourselves successfu.l We have been working with small, medium and large businesses providing them a personal service, taking the time to understand their business and offering them tailor made solutions.Giving them the confidence to make the right decision and work with Snob Monkey, helping them to climb to the top of the social tree and deliver sales revenue through our high quality services. Everything we do for our clients is geared towards our key principles:

BRAND AWARENESS

 With every company flocking to social media, it is not easy to get the Brand awareness you deserve. Our expertise puts your brand above the rest giving it the exposure it deserves.

BRAND REPUTATION

 Brand reputation is very important and not easy to maintain, especially online. We pride ourselves in making sure your brand is recognized in the highest regard.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

 Whatever you invest with us should be returned many times over through revenue generated online, or through the efficiency of the services we provide. You have an idea and we can make it happen.

We believe Social Media is all about socializing and fun at the same time. We create a nice mix where it is professional yet fun at the same time, Making your organization

Which social network is best for your business?

FACEBOOK

What it is: The world’s largest social network, Facebook allows users to share content and conversations, create events and deploy targeted ads.

Best business uses: Generating and fostering relationships with potential clients; advertising.

Who should use it: Everyone

How to maximize your reach: When posting to your Facebook page, include value to the user, said Joe DiNardo of Blue Fountain Media in New York City. Add a few brief business insights when linking to industry news or ask users for feedback when posting pictures.

Sharing real-world tales of how your company overcame challenges can connect with users on a personal level, which makes it more likely they’ll become clients.

How not to use it: Don’t advertise directly on your page — that turns fans off. And while Facebook is a great place to address customer complaints, don’t get involved in lengthy back- and-forths. “Try to bring a complainer into your world by being more personal about it, but only respond once,” which helps firms improve their online reputation. “If the discussion turns negative, then it’s open to the rest of the room and can affect the whole party.”

TWITTER

What it is: A site that lets users post messages — “tweets” — of 140 characters or less.

Best business uses: Promoting events, news and specials; building your customer base by fostering conversations where you can show your expertise.

Who should use it: Owners with a few hours per week to read, send and search messages.

How to maximize your reach: Use the hashtag symbol (#) or the advanced search option to find questions that relate to your business and provide answers. Doing so helps increase engagement with your audience and “plant[s] a seed for a relationship that can turn into a customer,” he said. If readers trust your expertise, they’re more likely to visit your website.

And while Twitter is a great place to announce special deals and offers, phrase promotional Tweets conversationally: Your followers don’t want to get slammed with ads.

How not to use it: Don’t blindly retweet or set up automatic tweets. Carefully read articles before you retweet to be sure you’re comfortable with the ideas your company will be conveying. Also, beware of the time sink factor: It’s easy to lose hours going back and forth

LINKEDIN

What it is: The world’s largest resume pool; a place to read career-oriented blogs and news

Best business uses: Hiring; networking to reach potential clients.

Who should use it: Everyone, especially B2B companies looking for new customers.

How to maximize your reach: Establish relationships with high-quality potential hires before you’re actually hiring. Join a few LinkedIn groups that relate to your company or market. Once you’ve established yourself in a group, work to answer questions and foster conversations, which will boost your reputation as an expert and help others get to know your

How not to use it: Don’t spend too much time pitching your products or services.

YOUTUBE

What it is: Google’s video-sharing site, which has more than 1 billion unique visitors each

Best business use: Building credibility by showcasing your knowledge and skills.

Who should use it: Everyone. Financial advisers, lawyers, and marketing professionals can record themselves offering valuable tips; advertising firms can display their creativity.

How to maximize your reach: Make a list of the 10 most frequently asked questions in your industry and film yourself answering them. Think of the same kind of queries that people sit down to Google. And because YouTube videos show up in Google search results, make sure to optimize the videos with as many keywords as possible.

How not to use it: Don’t post long videos — keep them under a minute and a half. Focus on one question or issue per video to keep your message on track. And don’t leave anything blank: Add your company URL and links to all your other social media accounts to your YouTube Channel.

PINTEREST

What it is: A place to create and share links centered around visual themes.

Best business use: Promoting your brand to a female-skewed audience.

Who should use it: Retailers, manufacturers and travel sites whose brands lend themselves to

How to maximize your reach:

Use good SEO practices when titling your boards and filling out pins and descriptions. Social media sites are search engines — people go to the search boxes and type things in. It’s important to name your boards with phrases people will search for.”

Also recommends regularly checking Google Trends: If people are searching for something related to your business or industry, create a board or pins around the topic.

How not to use it: Keep personal pins highlighting your favorite books, fashion, and travel photos separate from those linking to your company’s URL, although it’s OK for both business and personal boards to reside in the same profile. Never use copyrighted pictures to

INSTAGRAM

What it is: Photo app that allows you to apply artsy effects to your shots.

Best business use: Promoting your brand via stylized images to a largely twenty-something

Who should use it: Hotels, restaurants, consumer products companies and other firms with lots of photos of properties and goods.

How to maximize your reach: The revenue generated by an Instagram follower is 10 times greater than that generated by a Twitter follower, according to data analytics firm SumAll, so you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck if you take take the time to post interesting shots of your

Take pictures of what makes your business unique, whether it’s an office perk (like the organic fruit we receive from The Fruit Guys), a conference you’re attending, or pictures of your team and/or products and customers. Instagram doesn’t let you link pictures to your website, so connect your account to Facebook or Twitter so the photos are cross-posted there. Eli Rose’s Jostes recommends using the hashtag to search for photos of your products and share those on your other social media

How not to use it: Don’t let your account go dormant. Update it with new pictures at least every other week.

How Lawyers Can Benefit from Social Media Marketing

Despite a few high profile tweeting lawyers, lawyers had largely ignored social media until early 2012 when the Law Society issued social media guidance for lawyers. By June, Legal Futures was reporting that Twitter was becoming the key referral source for lawyers, with a 663% increase in people asking for recommendations on the social network.

How Lawyers Can Benefit from Social Media Marketing

Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs provide a fast and effective way to keep in touch with clients and prospects, keep an eye of competitors, and keep up-to-date with industry trends.

Many smart lawyers are now using social media to gain exposure for their law firms and gain advantage over their competitors. If you want to do the same, it’s imperative that you start with a great looking website that has a consistent message and a branded image that can extend across your social media profiles too. Once you have configured your social media profiles, the number one strategy for delivering highly targeting traffic to your site is to create great content.

The home base for all that content should be your law firm’s blog, which should be hosted on your own domain.

The Social Media Marketing Plan for Law Firms

1. Find out What People are Saying about Your Law Firm

2. Find out Where People Discuss Topics You Care About

3. Choose Your Platforms, Plan Your Approach

4. Set Some Goals

5. Plan Your Content, Set a Policy

6. Have a Routine

7. Get Everyone in Your Law Firm Involved

8. Build Social Media into Your Real World Events

9. Create a Blog

10. Find Leads, Build Relationships

All of this can be quite bit of work, this is why Snob Monkey is here. Let us handle your social media for you and take all of this headache off you, so you can concentrate on your main business.

www.snobmonkey.com

Rive Gauche: More UKipper action to marvel at…

The Ukip MEP who branded Nigel Farage ‘snarling’ and ‘thin-skinned’ has quit his senior job – and claims he didn’t mean it.

Patrick O’Flynn was Farage’s campaign manager but caused a violent rift when helaunched an attack last week in a newspaper article.

He said the party was in danger of becoming a “personality cult” and Farage had a “couple of wrong ‘uns” in his ‘poisonous’ inner circle.

Ukip’s only MP Douglas Carswell also rebelled after Farage bypassed a leadership election to return to his job just three days after quitting.

But Carswell and O’Flynn have both now made extreme U-turns as the party leader regains control.

Read the article? 

The Kippers really do know how to keep ‘giving’.  I marvel….

Rive Gauche: Charon reflects on the politics of Africa as seen through the eyes of an erudite elephant.

In his guise as a modern artiste, Charon,  in his latest nonsense, reflects on the political creation of modern Africa as seen through the eyes of an erudite elephant.

“The white ‘Mondrian’ lines represent the linear boundaries between many countries in Africa.  The colours reflect the colours used in many african  flags today and the black handprint (Charon’s own) a metaphor for landgrab from both whites and blacks. The Elephant, as a species, will probably live on Earth forever. The spots suggest conflicts and trouble spots – but also hint that the fumes from the vandalpaint spray cans favoured by the ‘artist’ may have been getting the better of Charon.”
Loft Laggers Monthly Art Review

Erudite Elephant II – The Politics of Modern Africa
Charon(2009)
Oil and spray paint on Canvas 

I nipped down to the high street.  I could not see anyone committing any criminal offences, designing and then committing new torts, considering breaches of contract or, indeed, setting up restrictive covenants or drafting employment contracts.  From this, I conclude that there is, in fact, no law about at all, let alone for me to write about.  The other law bloggers do, I know, seem to be luckier in hunting down law to blog about.  Good luck to them and all that…..One must not rain on another law blogger’s parade.  Bad form.

This means I may use my time wisely to do some painting – a few watercolours, perhaps?

It is probably best that I have retired from teaching law – would be a bit awkward to say to the students gathered that there was no law about for me to lecture on?

 

Would you like to buy a F*cKPig… painting?

I am selling one of my favourite paintings. I painted it some years ago.  It may not be to everyone’s taste – I accept that – but it certainly got some attention in the old days when friends visited.

I am selling it for £35  – SOLD

The Fuckpig

Paint on Canvas 2009
Charon

The title of the Pig painting came from a word that an old friend of mine, Viscount Dilhorne, who did some lecturing in tax matters for me  when I ran law schools back in the day used from time to time. Viscount Dilhorne was a very keen opera singer with a deep voice and when he used the word very occasionally – it got noticed! I though that the word “F*ckpig* was a most appropriate term for some people one comes across in life…fortunately, few merit such a description.

I remember having a dinner with John Dilhorne at a restaurant in the Strand when he suddenly, without warning, broke into song – it was Italian Opera.  His rich deep voice commanded the silence of the entire restaurant as he sang – and he enjoyed the applause afterwards. It was a most enjoyable evening. So, in John Dilhorne’s honour I did the painting above and called it “The F*ckPig”.

 

Charonasso continues his ‘homage’ to F**kART with this latest  peice from his ‘Blue and Orange  pissed period’ – a self portrait with red wine glass.  As usual the artist has used automobile spray can paint to lay down a neo-ironic foundation and then, and this is clear from the brushwork, as the Rioja takes hold, paint is used with fervour, boldness and a lack of skill which brings to this work a degree of almost bucolic naivety.  The artist does know how to draw and is aware that eyes don’t in life appear as they are represented.  Scholars now believe that Charonasso was trying to signal to  other Masons that he wasn’t just ‘a’ Mason, but that he was two Masons in the one body. The painting is signed – Self portrait but was a bit ‘over-refreshed’  (2009)

I really must see if there some LAW about… I shall have a coffee and a menthol fag and see if I can find some..

 

Guest Post: The Islamic Sharia Council: An Introduction

The Islamic Sharia Council: An Introduction

The Islamic Sharia Council was established in 1982 as a response to the needs of the growing British Muslim community particularly relating to personal religious matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. Since then, the Council has dealt with thousands of cases mostly relating to divorce where the majority of clients have been women who are in desperate situations and who seek a religious solution to their personal problems.

The Islamic Sharia Council does not operate as an arbitration services provider but offers services through mediation. The Islamic Sharia Council appoints an Islamic scholar who acts as a mediator between two parties. The consent of the two parties is required and if one party does not wish to engage in mediation (a joint meeting) or there is a legal impediment which prevents the two parties to be in contact with each other, then they are not required to engage in the mediation. The Council strictly adheres to its domestic abuse policy based on provisions in the Family Law Act 1996.

  • This can cover, but is not limited to:
  • Physical Abuse
  • Psychological Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse

The Policy also encompasses controlling and coercive behaviour and recognises abusive acts such as FGM and honour-based violence as crimes.

The Council is made up of members from all of the major schools of Islamic thought (mad’hab) and is widely accepted as an authoritative body with regards to Islamic law and is affiliated with a number of other Islamic organisations around the UK including:

  1. London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, London.
  2. Muslim World League
  3. Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, UK
  4. UK Islamic Mission
  5. D’awatul Islam, UK
  6. Jamia Mosque & Islamic Center, Birmingham
  7. Islamic Center, Glasgow
  8. Islamic Center, Didsbury, Manchester
  9. Jamia Masjid Hanafiya, Bradford
  10. Muslim Welfare House, London

In addition, the Council runs a number of other services ranging from counselling to providing Fatwa’s (religious opinions) relating to anything from Islamic inheritance guidelines to insurance. The Council also assists journalists and academics who have an interest in either Islamic law or the Islamic Sharia Council itself.

If anyone requires the services of the Islamic Sharia Council, they may visit our website, call or email us. Alternatively, they can also ‘like’ our Facebook page and ask any questions through Facebook. 

A fine property for sale…

Tim Buckley, the owner of the property, writes: “We can’t understand why no one wants to buy our house, and couldn’t face Kirsty and Phil coming round; endless talk of kerb appeal and shiny teeth. So the UK Law Blog presents a more convenient alternative.

If you want to wake up to a view of one of the three peaks from your bedroom, don’t mind stopping for roe deer on the way down to the village, and can put up with being able to walk in some of the most beautiful areas of God’s own county – this is the house for you. Its near some of the best caving in the country – but we have never understood why someone would want to go underground amongst such scenery.

If you’re interested, find us on ScarEndBarn.com. Converted in 1984, open plan, lots of wood, neutral décor, an Aga and a ridiculously expensive kitchen. Waiting for a buyer who doesn’t mind a 3.5 hour commute to London, but 45 mins to the Lake District, and wants to live in the Yorkshire Dales National Park”

A top of the morning to you

Back later in the day…may even strike lucky and find some Law to write about…but breakfast at the local cafe beckons and a good breakfast is always a good way of starting the day, I find…

 

(The gravedigger was not addressing me when he said ‘Top of the morning’…he was addressing those long dead in the grave!  Nice chap…most amusing man – he did tell me that he did not feel grave digging was an appropriate job for a young university chap…a’a bit of a dead end job’ he told me and roared with laughter He had a wonderful broad irish accent which lent colour to much of what he talked about during the day.  It was a very hot summer so we would have lunch in the grave together to get out of the sun!)

Mr Gove, the new Justice Secretary, would appear to have made a bad start…

 

I would imagine that most lawyers are pleased that Mr Grayling is no longer Justice Secretary.  

Mr Gove, the new Justice Secretary, would appear to have made a bad start…

Channel 4 reports: Justice Secretary Michael Gove could face opposition from Conservative MP David Davis to government plans to scrap the human rights act. And the SNP’s Alex Salmond has described the plan as “insane”.

The word ‘insane’ is a strong one to use…but probably appropriate on this matter?

A fine sunny day outside.  It can only be a matter of time before Mr Gove comes up with some more nonsense that I can report on.

Perhaps the Prime Minister could consider appointing a lawyer to do the work of Justice Secretary?  The House of Commons must be crawling with lawyers?

Rive Gauche: When I am 62….

 

‘Erudite Elephant 1′ (2009)
Oil on Canvas
Charon

The Elephant is at the start of a Nietzschean journey, which may turn out better than he thinks.  He first meets the Monkey – an avid reader of The Sun. The Monkey asks the Elephant what his thought for the day is. The Elephant has two:  “The cautious seldom err’ and “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop’. (Confucius). The Elephant, being a pedant and a grammar nazi, corrects the Monkey’s English… and so the journey begins.

 

I am 62 today…and pleased to be so…. Have a good Sunday…back later in the day…no doubt. 

 

Rive Gauche: Red Dancing…

Red Dancing
Oil on Canvas
Charon
2009

In the Collection of Amy

“Charon rarely draws or paints figures – largely because they are a bit more difficult than sticking fake jewellery on badly drawn sharks…but he has made an exception with this dancer based on a fashion designer style. Charon was having lunch, as he does most Sundays, at a local pub the weekend before Christmas. The team at the pub are great – they ensure that Charon can have roast chicken each Sunday even when it is not on the official ‘menu’.  One of the waitresses, Amy, who is doing Chemistry at university (Charon did Geophysics and Geochemistry for one short year many years ago) asked him what he was doing for Christmas.  ‘Drinking and painting’ was Charon’s reply.  When it became clear that Charon was not planning some orgy of DIY decorating and wallpapering over the festive season, Amy asked if Charon could do a painting for her.  While Charon was enthusiastic  about the possibility of painting a roast chicken he did feel that Amy might not be so enthusiastic about such a subject…. a  RED dancer seemed an appropriate theme”

Loftlagger Magazine May 2009

OK… I really must find some Law….but first – a menthol fag outside while I enjoy the last embers of the day of May 16th.

Rive Gauche: The Prime Minister – impressed by my lawn mowing?

I have just mowed a friend’s lawn with a fine machine.  The last time I cut grass – I make absolutely no admissions to smoking the stuff when working in Africa back in the day – was at University in 1976 when I was reading law.  I worked as a gravedigger to pay for costs.  When not actually digging graves and looking grave with our shovels while the dead person was put in the hole –  we few, we happy few,  were ‘deployed’ to cut grass.  I do like the smell of freshly mown grass – sets me up nicely to smoke a Menthol fag.

And talking about a man, an Etonian, who may know a thing or two about fags from his days at Eton…The Prime Minister of The United Kingdom…unfortunately for a Labour supporter… I do enjoy faffing about with paints and a bit of ‘art’…

 

Forgot for a moment that my law blog is supposed to have some LAW in it…


Fortunately, there was some law about on some of the law blogs.  A selection for your delectation and delight below…

Carl Gardner, can always be relied upon to provide some good analysis on matters legal. Here is Carl’s new book on Fixed term Parliaments.

What a Fix-Up! is my new e-book about the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011: what it says, its place in the constitution, the different ways it can be read, and how politicians might use and abuse it in the 2015 Parliament.

What a Fix-Up! gives a quick guide to the constitution (with a clear explanation of who’s appointed PM in a hung Parliament). After settting out the old system and telling how the rules were changed, What a Fix-Up! provides an in-depth analysis of the Act’s provisions, explaining the different ways it can be interpreted and the political implications of each of them, before looking at how the Act might be used and contested by politicians in three hypothetical Parliaments.

What a Fix-Up! is not only the essential guide to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, but a sharp critique and a passionate argument for repeal.

You can buy What a Fix-Up! for Kindle here.

 

David Allen Green:  The Seven Hurdles for Repeal of the Human Rights Act

An extract from the introduction: “The new Conservative government wants to repeal the Human Right Act 1998 (the “Act”) and replace with a “British Bill of Rights”.

The intention appears to be to do this in “one hundred days”.

This post sets out as seven distinct “hurdles” the various legal and political difficulties which the new Conservative government will have to address in doing this.  Each “hurdle” has the appropriate links to relevant materials and news reports.

In essence, the “hurdles” are: (1) addressing the issue of Scottish Devolution; (2) addressing the issue of repeal impacting on the Good Friday Agreement; (3) dealing with Conservative supporters of the Act and the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR); (4) getting repeal and a replacement “British Bill of Rights” through the House of Lords; (5) working out which rights are to be protected; (6) working out how those rights will be enforced and the legal form of the “British Bill of Rights”; and (7) explaining why any of this exercise is necessary in the first place….”

Read the full post

Although I am not a family lawyer or, indeed, a family man…John Bolch of Family Lore is both: If family hearings are boxing matches, I’m Angelo Dundee* (John appears to be wearing boxing gloves – this must be a first for him?)

Professor John Flood on his RATs blog asks: Are We Seeing the Real Multidisciplinary Practices Emerge?

“EY Law has hired partners from Baker & McKenzie and Weil Gotshal & Manges to join its financial services practice. They combine with lawyers from Freshfields, BLP and Addleshaw’s.

It makes sense, and since the SRA is easing its rules on forming ABS and therefore becoming an MDP, that the big accounting firms are resurrecting earlier ideas about becoming multidisciplinary practices. Despite Enron and the debacle of Arthur Andersen’s implosion in the early 2000s, the Big 4 accounting firms realise legal services are too important to be left to the lawyers alone.

EY Law’s website shows their imperial ambitions with the sole exclusion of North America (but for how long?)…..”

Giles Peaker on his Nearly Legal blog: Vulnerability – a fresh start

Hotak (Appellant) v London Borough of Southwark (Respondent)
Kanu (Appellant) v London Borough of Southwark (Respondent)
Johnson (Appellant) v Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (Respondent)

Crisis & Shelter, EHRC, SS for CLG interveners
[2015] UKSC 30

The thing about the Supreme Court is that all those years of accrued, encrusted High Court and Court of Appeal case law just don’t matter. If the Supreme Court thinks otherwise, they are so much chaff. And so, to some extent, it proved to be in these joined appeals, where the issue was the meaning of vulnerability in s.189(1)(c) Housing Act 1996.

There were three key issues raised on the appeals…..

And finally, for now, Obiter J: Human Rights ~ Weekend reading !!!

“The week since the General Election (previous post) has seen a massive amount of comment about the government’s intentions to “scrap” the Human Rights Act 1998.  None of the detailed plans have yet emerged from within government and so we really only have the Conservative Party manifesto (see this post) to inform us as well as their announcement last October (discussed at length here).

Most of the comment during the week has favoured retention of the present system of human rights protection for all the peoples of the United Kingdom.  It has mostly been reasoned and responsible comment from many respected legal commentators….

See also Obiter J on: Human Rights ~ Battle lines are forming

“The new Conservative government is committed to repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 and also to the introduction of a British Bill of Rights.  I looked at this last Sunday (here) and noted:”Scrapping” the HRA is a Conservative manifesto commitment – see previous post.  A further commitment is a British Bill of Rights (BBR).  At the time of writing we have not seen the Bill that will repeal the HRA and we have not seen even a draft of the proposed Bill of Rights (BBR).  All of these ought to be the subject of extensive examination and consultation.  They must not be rushed through in the first 100 days as the new government hits the ground running!  If the BBR is to apply across the whole of the UK then clearly it will have to be acceptable to the people of all parts of the UK (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland).  Whether it will be so acceptable remains to be seen … “It will probably be after the Queen’s Speech”

 

 

Rive Gauche: Lobster Phone 6.0

I enjoy technology and art – and I am delighted with my new iLobsterphone 6.0.  Costs next to nothing to run and is most useful.  Not terribly good at making or receiving calls – but I learned long ago that one cannot have everything in life.

I shall now nip out again for a menthol fag and see if there is any law about….again…. but I suspect I shall find myself better occupied by doing another painting.  The LAW can wait and others are out there blogging to keep us all wiser and better informed. It may be that the sun is ‘getting’ to me?

Rive Gauche: Daliesque and other matters…

The original “Dalieque’ painting isn’t on a wall…I found a web ‘gizmo’ which was rather good for using to display paintings and now can’t find it on the web! I did the original ‘painting’ some years ago…

Geometry was a bit of a mystery to the young Charon – but over time, and through necessity, he came to understand the principles. Now geometry fascinates Charon more in the shape than the practical application and for the possibilities of optical illusion. If one looks at the two circles in the middle of the painting; soon one sees a cylinder, for the brain fills in the lines to connect the circles…and then the cylinders appear to change direction. I put this to Charon. He told me: “See what you like, mate…. When I look into the circle at the bottom left, I am looking down into a wine bottle and it has wine in it… this is good. When I look at the circle on the right, I am looking down into the bottle and there is no wine in it and I can even see the bar code. This is not good. When I look at the circle top right… it is the morning after and things, sometimes, are a bit bright. I have no idea who did the circles and geometry in the middle… it is possible that I may have been burgled during the night.”

 

I shall do a trip to the High Street for more supplies and see if I can find some Law to write about later…

Rive Gauche: A series of paintings of butterflies….and Moses with tweets

I may as well start by saying that I’ll get my coat before your eyes drop to the horrors of art revealed below. I can paint, after a fashion, but in the past I would amuse myself by painting and drinking Rioja.  Res ipsa loquitur?

And he came down the mountain with Tweets of Stone
Charon 
2010
Oil on Board – some of it shovelled on with a knife

Please scroll down from some more nonsense art…

 

Rive Gauche: Let there be greed…a few paintings…

 

Snow White Snorting Coke
Oil and Chalk on Canvas (2009)

Charondigliani

 

 

Let There Be Greed (2009)
Oil on Canvas
Charon

001:001 In the beginning God created bankers and the earth.

001:002 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was
upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon
the face of Canary Wharf.

001:003 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

001:004 And the Bankers saw the greed, that it was good: and they divided the
good from the overdrawn.

In the beginning: A history of British Banking

 

And another…

 

The Fuckpig
Oil on Canvas 2009
Charon

I really must see if there some LAW about… I shall have a coffee and a menthol fag and see if I can find some..

The title of the Pig painting came from a word that an old friend of mine, Viscount Dilhorne, who did some lecturing in tax matters for me  when I ran law schools back in the day. Viscount Dilhorne was a very keen opera singer with a deep voice and when he used the word very occasionally – it got noticed! I though that the word “F*ckpig* was a most appropriate term for some people one comes across in life…fortunately, few merit such a description.

And I found another one…

 

I am pleased to report that after an exhaustive search for some LAW to write about…I found none…this means I can amuse myself for the next few days by painting. I may even be able to do a sensible painting…

Rive Gauche: Waaaay too much time on my hands tonight…a “Nonsense Generator” on t’web

I do not have enough to occupy myself wisely – which is a relief tonight as it means that I can justify using some of the time left to me on earth unwisely.

I have been most successful in this venture – finding a nonsense generator on t’web.

This extract from Wikipedia is most interesting…

“The Sokal affair, also called the Sokal hoax,[1] was a publishing hoax perpetrated by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University and University College London. In 1996, Sokal submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The submission was an experiment to test the journal’s intellectual rigor and, specifically, to investigate whether “a leading North American journal of cultural studies – whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross – [would] publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions”.[2]

The article, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity“, was published in the Social Text spring/summer 1996 “Science Wars” issue. It proposed that quantum gravity is a social and linguistic construct. At that time, the journal did not practice academic peer review and it did not submit the article for outside expert review by a physicist.[3][4] On the day of its publication in May 1996, Sokal revealed in Lingua Franca that the article was a hoax, identifying it as “a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense … structured around the silliest quotations [by postmodernist academics] he could find about mathematics and physics.”[2]

The hoax sparked a debate about the scholarly merit of humanistic commentary about the physical sciences; the influence of postmodern philosophy on social disciplines in general; academic ethics, including whether Sokal was wrong to deceive the editors and readers of Social Text; and whether Social Text had exercised appropriate intellectual rigor….”

 

Hat Tip to @theedwardian81  on Twitter for the link to the above hoax.

 

Rive Gauche: Not much law about…so a couple of old paintings I painted…

The picture above shows Fuckerflies – the first painting in the series and Erudite Elephants II

In his guise as a modern artiste, Charondrian,  in his latest nonsense, reflects on the political creation of modern Africa as seen through the eyes of an erudite elephant.

“The white ‘Mondrian’ lines represent the linear boundaries between many countries in Africa.  The colours reflect the colours used in many african  flags today and the black handprint (Charondrians’s own) a metaphor for landgrab from both whites and blacks. The Elephant, as a species, will probably live on Earth forever. The spots suggest conflicts and trouble spots – but also hint that the fumes from the vandalpaint spray cans favoured by the ‘artist’ may have been getting the better of Charondrian.”
Loft Laggers Monthly Art Review

Erudite Elephant II – The Politics of Modern Africa
Charondrian

***

Our Prime Minister a few years ago…

I shall have a menthol cigarette outside and see if I can spot some law to write about later. I’m feeling lucky…so I may well find some….

A painting I did some time ago.

A painting I did some years ago. I shall nip out and see if there is any law about to write about later.  I am confident that I shall find some.

 

I found this nonsense which I did some years back.  

I am conscious that I am supposed to be writing about Law.  I shall see if I can find some to write about when I nip down to the high street later for supplies.

Sir Keir Starmer in The Guardian: The arguments against the Human Rights Act are coming. They will be false

Keir Starmer in The Guardian: The arguments against the Human Rights Act are coming. They will be false

“In the aftermath of the second world war, nations came together to say “never again”. They established the United Nations and agreed a simple set of universal standards of decency for mankind to cling to: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These standards were intended to protect the individual from the state, to uphold the rights of minorities and to provide support for the vulnerable.

The idea was simple; these standards would first be enshrined in regional treaties such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and then be given legal effect in every country. In the UK this was achieved when Labour enacted the Human Rights Act (HRA) in 1998.

 

The incoming Tory government now intends to strip our people of these universal rights by repealing the HRA. Michael Gove has been appointed as the new justice secretary to lead the assault. In a week when we celebrate VE Day, the irony should not be lost. British politicians, many of them Tory, participated in the drafting of the ECHR in Whitehall because they believed that they were drafting an instrument to reflect the values that we in this country took for granted and which, they thought, vindicated our military triumph….”

Read the rest of the article

 

 

Rive Gauche: The Social Media Maven pronounces (2010) – A Twitter maven

The Social Media Maven pronounces (2010)
Oil on Canvas
Charon

And it came to pass, when the Maven came down from the mount with the two tables of twitter rules  in Maven’s hand, when he came down from the mount, that Maven wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when@stephenfry and all the children of twitter saw the Maven, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

 

Good news… no plans to bring back hanging in public or private….

Memphis Barker in The Independent writes: “Michael Gove doesn’t really want to bring back hanging – unlike his predecessor, he’s not a monster

I have selected a few paragraphs from the excellent article…

“On the subject of the Human Rights Act, Gove should use his chameleonic qualities again. He has been brought in to scrap it, to provide some red meat to those same backbenchers who loathe the least whiff of Europe. So long as he manages to fudge things a bit, to keep Britain signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights (EHCR), while getting rid of the few glaring restrictions, a British Bill of Rights could satisfy those who want strong human rights law as well as appease the Tory extreme. Tricky, but let’s wait and see.”

AND…

“Of course, Gove has a penchant for taking on “blobs”, as he refers to professional opinions that diverge from his, and may block his ears to the irate barristers. It did not work well for him the first time, and even though there are fewer lawyers than teachers ready to protest, and public sentiment shies away from anyone in a gown and wig, their case is arguably clearer.

Justice is becoming a good for the wealthy. The poor – in prisons and in court – find the system increasingly set against them. A liberal should be appalled. How much of a “liberal on criminal justice” Gove remains, we are about to find out.”

***

AND.. a rather interesting article : Human Rights Act: Why the Conservatives are wrong

Dominic Grieve writes: “The publication last week of the Conservative Party’s proposals for changing Britain’s human rights laws, euphemistically entitled “Protecting Human Rights in the UK”, has attracted support from those sections of the press and Party fixated on the view that we are constrained by our adherence to the European Court of Human Rights, and our incorporation of it into our own law.

As a Conservative, proud of our country’s record on human rights, I believe this view is misplaced. These proposals threaten to create domestic constitutional difficulties and to undermine our international reputation and influence for entirely illusory benefits……”

 

Changes to British Nationality regime

Changes to British Nationality regime

Davidson Morris, Solicitors

There have been a number of recent changes to the British nationality regime.

The children of British fathers

From the 6th April 2015 onwards, a child born prior to 1st July 2006 to an unmarried father who was a British citizen at the time of the child’s birth will be able to apply for British citizenship. This change is provided for by section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014 and ends the gender discrimination of the British Nationality Act 1981.

The law prior to 6 April

Prior to the 1st July 2006, a child whose natural father was not married to his natural mother at the time of his birth could not obtain British citizenship through his father. Following the enactment of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, the British Nationality Act 1981 was amended so that from 1st July 2006 onwards such a child born in the UK on or after that date is a British citizen if his father was a British citizen at that time.

A child born out of wedlock before 1st July 2006 could have made a discretionary British citizenship application to register as a British citizen. However, until now this application could only be made before the child turned 18.

The change

Section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014 will be amended to include new sections 4E to 4J into the British Nationality Act 1981 so that persons over 18 born before 1 July 2006 to unmarried British fathers will now be able to register as British citizens.

The new sections of the BNA 1981 will create a registration route for:

  • Those who would have become British citizens automatically under the 1981 Act provisions had their parents been married.
  • Those who would currently have an entitlement to registration under the 1981 Act provisions but for the fact that their parents are not married.

As of 6 April 2015, anyone registering or going through the naturalisation process as a British Citizen will need to provide his or her “biometrics” fingerprints and facial images as part of their naturalisation application.

For persons applying in the UK, this can be done at the UK post office. This also applies to a person travelling to the UK for the purposes of registration or naturalisation.

Persons applying from overseas to become British Citizens will be required to provide their biometrics at a biometric enrolment centre, such as a Visa Application Centre.

Once an individual becomes a British Citizen his biometric information will be deleted. However, his or her photographs will be retained until he obtains his or her first British passport.

DavidsonMorris is a modern legal services provider specialising in immigration law. We support a range of private and commercial clients with expertise in the financial services, petrochemical and education sectors, advising major multi-nationals, FTSE 100 and Global 2000 companies, to help them meet their global mobility needs. We also support private entrepreneurs with Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas.

Rive Gauche: The cocktail party and other posts from my past…

Wednesday 27th September: Cocktail Party

Continuing the reports by trainees on life at ‘MD’… James writes… (His offering was not actually published on the firm’s website, but he did keep his write up on his PC for his own record of life at MD.

The trainees were gathered together in the main conference room shortly after 5.30 by Matt Muttley’s PA, Eva Brown. We were to be briefed on etiquette and behaviour at firm cocktail parties. Eva Brown picked up a house telephone and spoke briefly. A moment later, two waiters came in with a large tray, on which were plates of canapes and two with glasses full of water.

With a cheerful smile, Eva asked us if any of us had experience of working in cafes or restaurants. No-one put up their hand. “Pity” she said sharply. It was a bit puzzling at first when one of the waiters stepped forward and told us “You holda the plate like this, you walk slowly so as not to spilla the drink and you hold the tray forward. It is not difficult. I think you must all practice this?”

And practice we did, for about twenty minutes. Eva explained that while the catering staff would handle the serving of guests, it was important to keep an eye on any clients who were looking around for a drink and, if no waiter was available to respond, to step in and keep the client happy. Her final words of briefing were “If the client wishes to get hammered, as many of them do, that is his or her prerogative and it is only good manners to ensure they are kept supplied. Drink by all means, but don’t overdo it. Engage with the clients when you speak to them. Ask them about themselves – most people like nothing better than talking about themselves, as you will discover when you finally meet the senior partners.” With a smile, she wished us ‘Good Luck’.

And so, I attended my first firm client party. As it happens, none of us had to hand around food or drinks. The staff were amazing. We didn’t get to meet the senior partners – they were in a roped off area of the main dining room, closeted in conversation with American bankers – “The Triple ‘A’s” – so called for their ‘ability, acumen and anonymity’. They were also extremely important clients of the firm.

It was very different from the parties I had attended on my LPC course. I suppose the partners and clients were real, as opposed to law lecturers pretending to be clients and law firm partners. But it was not just that. This was ‘for real’. These clients mattered to the firm. It was quite difficult at first, but as I felt the warm glow of champagne coursing through my veins I felt at home. This was a world I could cope with. I had read about ‘working the room’; I grabbed another glass from a passing waiter and then another and sauntered over to an elderly gentleman in a black jacket and pinstripe trousers, who was standing alone, surveying the room keenly. It was a bit embarrassing in retrospect.

“Good event you have organised here for our clients. Extremely efficient.”

“Good event I have organised?…what are you talking about?.” replied Jeeves, as I had named him in my mind.

“This cocktail party…excellent bubbly, fantastic grub… yes, very well organised. Well done.”

Jeeves’s face seem to redden suddenly.
“I’m a High Court Judge…. I don’t organise cocktail parties. I’m giving the keynote speech at the dinner.”

The LPC hadn’t prepared me for this. My pulse raced like it did at those dodgy parties in Notting Hill. I felt almost sick. There was nothing in the course manual about coping with embarrassing situations. I was, mercifully, ushered away by one of the junior partners who whispered in my ear. “Brilliant start to your career with us. I’d advise you to go and drink a lot water.”

As I scurried from the room, I heard the junior partner say, suavely “Sorry about that Judge. One of the newboys I’m afraid. Nerves. Happens to us all. Now… how many people have you been able to put away for The Home secretary this week?”

I heard the Judge roar with laughter.

James is still with the firm – but has to attend a ‘Social deportment’ course and is on the warned list for random drug and alcohol testing.

***

Why english is ‘difficult’ to learn

The bandage was wound around the wound.

The farm was used to produce produce.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

They were too close to the door to close it.

After a number of injections my jaw got number.

Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

***

Three sheets to the wind and other matters…

“Well…I spliced the main brace last night and ended up three sheets to the wind. I can tell you that Mrs C was taken aback. Thought I was for the high jump. Mind you, it was cold enough outside to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. I was at a loose end, you see, and our work is, after all, money for old rope. Hadn’t had a square meal for hours which is probably why I was over refreshed.. Normally, of course I accept all drinks invitations at the drop of a hat and I am sure Mrs C took my excuse on the phone earlier with a pinch of salt. But hook or by crook, I was determined to join you at this wonderful bar for a spot of grog. Needed a hair of the dog anyway, but at the risk of flogging a dead horse and not wishing to be a fly in the ointment, I made my way over the water to get here. After all, mate, I don’t have feet of clay and these days one has to stand up and be counted, throw one’s hat into the ring…you understand, I am sure. Anyway..I would not be worth my salt if I had chickened out. Anyway..as you can see, I grasped the nettle, knowing that we would not have to pay through the nose here and it is not as if I had drunk a Mickey Finn…By the way…why are those Germans looking at me so strangely…. speaking the Queen’s English, which they understand, I am sure….so what is the problem? I am a good European. I back the EU..why are they staring at me that way?

Anyway..where was I ? Ah yes…It is a moot point as to whether I was left in the lurch when Johnny pegged out after having too many irons in the fire, which put the dampers on my plans to hold the fort and bag a table …..

Of course…we all understand the above phrases..but how many of us know where they come from? An excellent book “Red Herrings and White Elephants” by Albert Jack will make all clear.

***

An old Contract Law joke..

The professor of a contract law class asked one of his better students, “If you were to give someone an orange, how would you go about it?”

The student replied, “Here’s an orange.”
The professor was outraged. “No! No! Think like a lawyer!”

The student then replied, “Okay. I’d tell him `I hereby give and convey to you all and singular, my estate and interests, rights, claim, title, claim and advantages of and in, said orange, together with all its rind, juice, pulp, and seeds, and all rights and advantages with full power to bite, cut, freeze and otherwise eat, the same, or give the same away with and without the pulp, juice, rind and seeds, anything herein before or hereinafter or in any deed, or deeds, instruments of whatever nature or kind whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding…’”

***

And finally…I leave you with this useful public service announcement..rom the Caring Law Firm – Muttley Dastardly LLP…

 

And from my very early teaching days…a rather unusual memory…

 

Rive Gauche: Has the Prime Minister been at the Nitrous Oxide laughing gas again – with the appointment of Gove as Justice secretary?

I marvelled – as many did – at the appalling work done by Chris Grayling as Justice Secretary and ‘Lord chancellor’.  Now we have Michael Gove – unlikely to be a popular or even effective Justice Secretary.

Nitrous Oxide laughing gas all round?

The BBC Reports: Michael Gove moves to justice in post-election reshuffle

Looks as if Mr Gove has been at the laughing gas himself in this picture from the web. I am sure that he has not been…but nothing surprises me as I get older but not necessarily wiser.

Have a good Sunday.

Rive Gauche: A few Penny Blacks and an evening of painting

And so I find myself on a pleasant Saturday evening contemplating three activities (1) Do a painting (2) Write a serious blog post about ‘Law’ or (3) nip outside and have a smoke and plan my evening of painting.

I think that (3) deals with the issue of how I will occupy myself for an hour or so. I can listen to BBC news on iPlayer as I paint.

Looking forward to Labour’s selection of a new leader.

Rive Gauche: Grant Shapps-Green MP to be new Lord Chancellor?

After a rather unusual election campaign and, unfortunately, not the result many, including me, had hoped for – perhaps the Prime Minister could reward ‘dissenters’ by making Grant Shapps-Green Lord Chancellor and Mr Grayling could be offered a turn on Strictly Come Dancing? I’d pay good money to see that.

Mr Grayling – on threatening to ignore the Human Rights Act….”I think the people of this country believe that first of all there should not be a legal blank cheque to take human rights into areas were they have never applied before.”

Or was that quote from The Prime Minister? UK’s Cameron threatens to ignore European Court of Human Rights rulings

Anyway…more next week….looking forward to what stunt Mr Grant Shapps-Greenery will pull next… have a good weekend.

***

And much falling on swords from party leaders resigning on mass….or should one be acerbic and say ‘en massacre’ ?

 

Rive Gauche: Google Search tips Cameron win with UKIP 2nd…Labour 3rd…more to marvel at…

 

Well…this headline from the Daily Mail caught my eye….

Google Search tips Cameron to win election – and Nigel Farage’s Ukip will beat Labour and the Liberal Democrats

  • Google News Labs team worked with University of Sheffield lecturer Dr Alasdair Rae to create the election maps
  • They looked at Google search data over the past 12 months to track which party leaders were searched for the most
  • Google’s Knowledge graph technology was then used to aggregated this across 5,000 towns and cities in the UK 
  • Researchers then converted this into the number of seats the parties could win in the General Election – with Conservatives on 237, UKIP on 221 and Labour in third place with 125
  • And here is some more to marvel at…

 

Rive Gauche: Daily UKIPpery… A study in nonsense?

As Britain prepares to welcome UKIP MPs… which may or may not be the case shortly..I thought it only right to look at latest UKIPpery to hit the dead tree press..

A quick selection…

The Independent reports: An attempt by Ukip to get voters in an enthusiastic mood ahead of the general election proved highly effective, but probably not in the way the party hoped.

The #WhyImVotingUkip hashtag was quickly hi-jacked on Twitter on 6 May and was transformed into an incessant stream of jokes.

People on Twitter delved into Ukip’s history to bring up some of the oldies.

I’m sure that Mr Farage and his crew will come up with more nonsense in the closing hours of voting today?

 

 

 

Rive Gauche: UKIPper nonsense du Jour….I marvel…

It was only a matter of time before UKIP covered themselves in glory again….with this nonsense..

Sky News reports: Robert Blay, the UKIP candidate for North East Hampshire, has been suspended with immediate effect, the party has confirmed.

It comes after the Daily Mirror published a video of Mr Blay threatening to shoot his Conservative rival for the seat, Ranil Jayawardena.

Sky’s Robert Nisbet said the footage, which was secretly recorded by a reporter from the newspaper at a party event in Kent on Saturday, was a “serious headache” for the party.

UKIP said in a statement Mr Blay’s views were “abhorrent” and he was suspended “as soon as they were brought to our attention”.

In it, Mr Blay said: “I think he could be our first Asian MP. If he is I will personally put a bullet between his eyes.”

When asked how he felt at the prospect of Mr Jayawardena getting elected in what is considered a safe Tory seat, Mr Blay said: “It makes me quite sick.

“But I’ve always said in my constituency you could put a monkey out there with a blue rosette on and it would win.”

UKIP said his views “have absolutely no place in British politics or public life” and apologised to Mr Jayawardena for any distress caused.

***

 In the interests of political balance…I tender this…

 

BUT…UKIP just gets worse with this very unpleasant matter

The Mirror: Ukip candidate says woman writer ‘needs a shag’ and ‘would love a big black thing up her a***’

Fortunately, Yasmin Alibai-Brown is a fine writer and more than able to deal with the matter

***

Rive Gauche: Prime Minister Cameron is on a mission from God….

 

I do hope that Mr Cameron has more time after next week to spend with himself and his autobiography…

One is almost tempted to sing The Red Flag…

“The people’s flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts’ blood dyed its ev’ry fold.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here…..

“The Myth of the Wasted Vote” or “Why I’m voting for Arthur Price in Central Devon”

A quick post for a friend of mine who is at The Bar – https://twitter.com/JamesPSVine

Here is an extract and the link to the full post is at the end – do have a look!

Arthur Price lives in Central Devon. He has done for a very long time. It is a rock solid Tory seat, and as Arthur readily accepts, is going to stay that way come May the 7th.

BUT,

That hasn’t stopped him from standing as an independent candidate. This blog, something of a departure from my usual fare, explains why I am going to vote for Arthur, and why we should all take a step back from industrial politics and think.

Here is a link to Arthur’s website Its worth looking at for the video of his first hustings performance (the Tory banned them after this one) and his campaign song. (Lyrics by D. Cameron Esq)…

Read the rest of James Vine’s article

Rive Gauche: Tweet du Jour

I do enjoy twitter.  The exchange of tweets below with a young lady lawyer who is most amusing on twitter explains why… on two of my short lived careers (next blog post explains) 

I really must look at some LAW… but…I suspect that the desire to do a vaguely sensible painting may make this quite impossible..

Laters…

Rive Gauche: My career as a restaurant critic some years ago was ‘short lived’

My Career as a restaurant critic some years ago was ‘short lived’.  The review below may explain why…

A Bar & Dining Room
Somewhere in London
Meal for two with wine: £90
Nil points

 

“Have you booked?” asked the black silk shirted Maitre D’ guarding the entrance. The abruptness of the greeting took me by surprise.

“I have not booked. Do you have a table?” Blackshirt’s eyes narrowed as he flicked open the diary. The page had one entry. Blackshirt looked up, eyes darting. “How many of you are there?” It may seem to the casual observer that I suffer from dissociative identity disorder, but I was alone. I heard Sir Alec Guinness in the recess of my mind: “Charon” he said, “Use the Force….”

“I am one.”

The Maitre D’ surveyed the dining room. It was that sort of place… Not a restaurant, but a Bar and Dining Room. It was 12.30. Only two tables were occupied. “Do you smoke?” Blackshirt snapped.

“For England.” I replied.

I was escorted to a table in the corner of the room – a table for two. An East European border guard, dressed as a waitress, appeared with a menu. I selected a bottle of Claret and asked for two espressos and a glass of tap water, no ice. “You want espresso?” the waitress asked, unsmiling. “Now?”

“Yes please.” I watched her walk towards the bar. Well it was more of a march… more Red Square than Sandhurst. I was not invited to taste the wine when it arrived.

The menu was fairly typical of many gastros – a mix of “Confu**tion cooking” with a bit of thai/vietnamese nonsense thrown in. I enjoy reading Anthony Bourdain… but his books, do on occasion, get into the wrong hands… and so it was, today. Couscous and polenta featured heavily. One day I am sure that I will find a gastro pub with a dish called “Irish tagine”.

A couple were seated at a table nearby – both late twenties, both City professionals. I know this because they managed to tell me, indirectly, by relating events to each other of their successes during the week. They talked at each other; he admiring himself repeatedly in the mirrors lining the walls on our side of the restaurant. They obviously knew each other well – at least one assumes so, because, later, declining the offer of pudding, they started eating each other.

I have no idea why nutters on trains, tubes, buses and restaurants gravitate towards me – but it happend again today. The East European border guard escorted another customer to the adjacent table – a man in his early sixties, blazered, highly polished Oxford shoes, grey trousers, Turnbull & Asser shirt, silk tie and a traditional ‘British’ haircut. One could almost smell the George Trumper cologne.

“Good day to you.”

“And to you.” I replied.

“Writer?” the man asked, pointing at my laptop. I learned long ago not to answer that question.

“Just doing a bit of surfing.”

“Surfing Eh?…. yes… I used to surf when I was a junior partner with X&Y in Hong Kong…. on trips to Australia…. tied up a few M&A deals, I can tell you… out there…. those were the days…”

God in heaven. I know I drank a bottle of cider in Church once when I was at Prep school… but I had no idea, then, that I would continue to be punished for that sin nearly 40 odd years later on Easter Sunday 2007… in the form of a retired City lawyer, from the days of Tai Pan, sitting at the next table.

“Really…? good stuff.. ” I replied, affably, but with what I hoped was the correct tone to indicate that I wished ‘to be alone’. It was too late to pretend I was Bulgarian and could not speak English.

So there I was… a couple of young professionals, but a few tables away, talking at each other and Mr Drone, to my right.

“Been to Church?”

I was looking intently at my laptop screen. The words appeared to come from above. I looked at the ceiling. I looked at my bottle of Claret. I had only had one glass.

“The Vicar had a few of us back for a glass of sherry after the service”

“Really…?”

“Yes… quite a few actually. Have to splice the mainbrace after sitting through all that without being able to charge fees at the end of it! ” a statement which provoked so much laughter from the speaker that I was concerned I may have to do a Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

“Oh Yes… Vicar did us a good sermon today…”

Mr Drone told me at length that he would have been in New York to advise on a merger but the US firm had ‘cocked up’ on timing… adding that he liked to take on important cases on a consultancy basis from time to time…

“Ah….”

I drained my glass, re-filled and lit a cigarette.

“Smoker Eh?…yes… used to smoke until the Doc said to me ‘My dear chap, unless you pack in the gaspers now you won’t be able to get it up when you are 65′.” Another burst of self satisfied laughter, gave me the opportunity to wave at the waitress and explain to the gentleman seated at the next table that I needed to concentrate on my work. He made a curious signal, tapping his finger against his nose and said “Got it…Roger… mustn’t stop a chap from his work “

“You are ready with your orders?”

I smiled at the waitress, trying not to look as if I had something to declare, and ordered a main course. I justified my lack of a first course, when questioned, by explaining that I may have a pudding. She seemed satisfied with my explanation and marched off.

It takes a rare talent to cook roast lamb badly, but only inhalation of super strength cannabis would suggest beetroot risotto and chilli jam is a sensible, or even suitable, accompaniment to lamb. The waitress looked at my plate, barely touched. The lemon meringue pie had the merit of being bought in. The wine was more than drinkable and, after negotiating my release without the aid of the Foreign Office, I returned to familiar surroundings.