“Legal Nihilism: Taking Rights Seriously” seriously – Professor R.D.Charon LLB (Cantab), BCL, Ph.d, FRSA

The Creation

BY Professor R.D. Charon LLB (Cantab), BCL, Ph.d,  FRSA
Emeritus Professor of Jurisprudence, University of The Rive Gauche, London Faculty, London

Author: “Legal Nihilism: Taking Rights Seriously, seriously”, Maninahat Press, 2014

While I marvel at the ability of regulatory committees to achieve anything of value in my book,   I consider the value of The Bar Standards Board to The man on the Clapham Omnibus.

Prologue

1. In the beginning Mammon created the law and The Bar

2. And  The Bar was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of mammon moved upon the face of the waters.

3. And Mammon said, Let there be a Bar Standards Board to regulate all the barristers: and there was  The Bar Standards Board.

4. And Mammon saw the light, that it was good: and Mammon divided the light from the darkness.

5. And Mammon called the light barristers, and the darkness he called those wishing to be barristers. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6. And Mammon said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7. And Mammon made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament with a Bar Course Aptitude test: and it was so.

 

***

Note from Charon QC – Please don’t buy his book.  It will only encourage him to write more of them.  I also wonder if the judge who coined the phrase The Man on The Clapham Omnibus had ever been on a bus.  Perhaps he had a butler who went on these buses? 

How to ‘Ace a Skype Interview’ By Dr Strangle-Ove of Muttley Dastardly LLP

How to ace ze Skype Interviews by Dr Erasmus Strangle-Ove of Muttley Dastardly LLP

Normally I would ask the rather tedious training director, Professor R.D. Charon etc etc etc, to write zis articles for ze Charon blogs – but I am ‘overrefreshed’ after learning that our profits have gone through ze roofers of our Pallazzo in ze City of London.  I appear, though zis overrefreshments to have taken on ze comic opera German style of ze writings.  I will stop this soon, be sure. Mein Gott! Meine Großmutter war vom Blitz getroffen

I read on ze Charon QC blogs about how to Ace Ze Skype interviews…. and ..OK… I can write in ze English again… and it is most useful to know that we can do our interviews on Skype.  This has two benefits: 1. That we don’t actually have to meet the prospective employee and pay travel expenses and 2. No need to call security to ask them to leave the interview when we reject their application.

Quite often when we interview prospective trainees, we like them to wear a brown paper bag over their heads – it is mildly disorienting for them, which is better than water-boarding them, I suppose, but it also has the benefit – as we tell them – that we are only judging them on their intellectual abilities and not on their looks, good or otherwise.

My first question to prospective trainee solicitors:  I always like to begin an interview with the question “How many hours will you be prepared to work daily to ensure that the partners of this firm are well remunerated for taking you on?” If the candidate responds by eagerly telling me that he or she will work 24/7, the interview continues.  If the answer is below 18 hours daily, I have to tell the candidate that the interview is over and “With regret, my firm is not for you and you are not for us. Security will ensure that you leave the building. You may, of course, keep the paper bag”
The only downside I can about conducting interviews over Skype is the fact that the prospective candidate may not have a camera on his or her computer so we can’t be sure that he or she is actually wearing the brown paper bag we thoughtfully provided for them, after receiving £5 from them for the bag  through our Paypal account.

Well, there we are.  I do hope the advice I have given you about interviews with law firms has been of use. If we do not invite you to attend for interview, there are many law firms out there. If you have found this advice useful – do, please, not hesitate to send a ‘Thank you Paypal gift’ to our offshore Paypal account.

Dr E Strangle-Ove
Managing Partner

Muttley Dastardly LLP
Strength & Profits

How to ace a Skype Interview….

A client has asked me to write an article on How To Ace a Skype Interview.  I am happy to do so to help them and students.

How to Ace A Skype Interview

Being interviewed for any position is a fairly daunting prospect for many – particularly if the person doing the interviewing is a good, experienced, interviewer – as many in the legal field are.

A useful starting point is to ensure that the Skype connection is working efficiently. I have done many podcasts on Skype and if the connection is slow or worse, intermittent, problems can arise. It may seem an obvious point – but it is an important one.

If it is a Skype video interview – dress appropriately and professionally.

Do your research on the firm, take soundings from others on the firm and use Google to see how the firm is rated by others.  Above all, read their website and any written information the firm, particularly their prospectus, provides for you, carefully.  This is particularly important.

Be precise in your answers to questions posed by the interviewer. In other words, answer the question posed, not the answer you want to give.  More often than not, you will have an opportunity to put your other good points at the end of the interview.  Speak clearly and not too quickly.  Bear in mind that the interviewer may well be taking notes.

By all means, have some notes in front of you – but if you are fully prepared you will only have to check occasionally. Do not look down too often and read your ‘answers’ from any pre-prepared script you may have made.

If the interviewer has a conversational style – and many do – engage on that basis but remember, it is an interview and you are being judged on your ability to present yourself and the qualities the firm is seeking and will value if they take you on.

Be confident, measured and calm.  You may well be at a very early stage in your legal career but the skilled interviewer is looking for confident, intelligent and articulate future members of the firm who are able to work within their firm’s ethos. Many are nervous in interviews.  The interviewer will know this and put you at your ease.

Don’t answer the question you think the interviewer asked. Answer the question asked.  It shows care and precision. If you do not understand the question or misheard it – say so.  The interviewer will not mind and be happy to repeat it.

Be yourself – above all, be yourself.  The firm wants to employ people who will fit in.

If you are given an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview – and many good interviewers offer this – don’t ask questions which are answered in the firm’s prospectus.  And, please, don’t be over effusive and drift off point.

Above all, be yourself and be completely honest in your answers.

A skilled interviewer – and he or she may be an experienced lawyer as well as the recruitment director of the firm – will want you to present yourself well and enjoy the interview – even if they do not take you on.

Good luck – although, as I said to my students when wishing them ‘all the best in their examinations’ on my last lecture to them – it isn’t about luck, so much as good preparation and confidence. But ‘good luck’ anyway.

 

It is a hot day… so time for The Panama Hat and make calls with LOBSTERFONE 10.2

It is clear to me – that it is hot and the sun may have got to me as I look for Law outside while I am smoking my woodbines.  However, as always, I am fully prepared for all eventualities… I have my Panama Hat

I particularly enjoy talking to some good clients with my Lobsterphone 10.2 – it makes the call more interesting and surreal for me.  The client, of course, has no idea that I am talking to them on my phone strapped to a lobster until they have a look at my blog.

I am 62, and while I am not senile – I do find that taking a more relaxed approach to law, blogging and life generally…improves the mind and mood.

Peanuts are for eating.  I don’t work for rich clients for ‘peanuts’. Just had a ‘difficult’ exchange of emails with a ‘new client’ who wanted me to do some specific writing for them for £20.  I am always happy to help people I know and fellow tweeters – but I do object to being ‘instructed’ to write a specialist post on MY blog by a client who only wanted to pay £20.  I had to tell her, politely, that I eat  peanuts and enjoy doing so – but ‘do not work for peanuts’.  She seemed surprised.  I shall put her surprise down to ‘yoof’ rather than rudeness.   Fellow tweeters – I am always happy to assist with cheap deals because we both get amusement from doing so.  I have met some most amusing people on twitter.  Some of them are ‘over refreshed’ late at night on twitter and can, as a result, be most amusing.  My days of being ‘over refreshed’ on twitter are long gone.  I don’t drink these days.

 

Charon Telecommunications ‘PLC’ offers….LOBSTERPHONE 10.2

It may be that I have taken too many summer cold pills… but I reckon I have an Apple iPhone beater here for you with LOBSTERPHONE 10.2… – all you need is a plastic lobster, which I happen to be selling, and a cheap mobile…job done.

The lobster can also be placed in your shower – but best that you remove any phone you may have attached with a rubber band as your phone may not be waterproof? 

If you would like this unusual item for a Tenner +pp do please email me or DM on Twitter. 

And… you can have a free advert on my blog for a year if you buy the Lobster…. OK…I’ll get my coat….

A Charon Sale II – ‘Art’ , a ‘Butler Tray’ and a Plastic Lobster

As I prepare my trip North to The West Coast of Scotland to ‘retire’ (not that I ever will actually retire)  – I am selling a few items – paintings and unusual items of furniture.

 

Charon Painting with spray gun and hands
Let There Be Greed
£15 + pp

 

***

 

Breakfast in Bed Butler Tray
£30 + pp.

A most useful item for those who like to serve themselves breakfast in bed or, indeed, amuse themselves in other ways in bed where a butler tray would be a useful item for that amusement. The Lobster is available as a companion – doesn’t say much, which is useful for those who like to contemplate in silence without being interrupted by a lobster – for £10

Of course – the Butler Tray could be most useful for the workaholic or laptop fiend – you can now work in bed as well!

If you buy any of the items you may have a FREE advert on the blog for a year.  I can assist with artwork for the ad

Guest Post: 45% of law firms have suffered a security incident in the last 12 months and even more worrying, 5% experience them on a weekly basis

By Ellie Hurst
Advent IM

According to PwC (and I am not going to argue with them) 45% of law firms have suffered a security incident in the last 12 months and even more worrying, 5% experience them on a weekly basis1. I found this quite staggering but them remembered a presentation I had seen from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that said outside of the public sector, the legal sector is the one that keeps it busiest.  I went and had a look at some of their data just to make sure this was the case as it felt a little harsh but unfortunately the picture wasn’t pretty.  In the combined last four quarters vs previous year, breach in this sector has grown at 32% double the rate of total breach and streets ahead of the Private Sector at 7%. At one point (Q3) breach from the legal sector accounted for more than a quarter of Private Sector breach. The ICO has issued clear warnings to the legal sector (15 Aug 2014) and reminded them it can serve monetary penalties of up to £500k. This is enough to keep a Chief Information Security Officer awake at night, so what is going on and more importantly what can be done?

Looking behind the headlines, it really isn’t shocking that law firms of all sizes might find themselves targets for cyber criminals or good old fashioned spying. Very often there are highly sensitive and frequently valuable information pickings to be had; be that Intellectual Property, details of mergers or sensitive financial data.  It has been noted by a variety of security experts that attackers are moving away from direct attacks on old favourites like Technology firms and looking either for other ways in to them, such as their supply chain, or are looking further afield for new vulnerabilities and sectors to exploit. Add to that a fast-changing security landscape and a dazzling array of software and tech vendors queuing up to offer their product and it’s easy to see how a kind of inertia could creep in as a result of this ‘perfect storm’ for security vulnerability.

Even taking all of that into consideration though, the fact that 18% of respondents to PwC said they experienced loss of sensitive data on a monthly basis, is frankly terrifying and if the ICO (and the EU Data Protection Commission) gets its way and mandatory breach notification is adopted in the UK, this could spell disaster, especially for some smaller firms, if hit with the maximum current penalty of £500k for a serious breach. Not to mention the erosion of trust in the profession of course, upon which there is no price.

The good news however is that some of the issues, certainly some of the most common ones can be addressed without massive capital outlay. For instance, the PwC report reveals that infections by malware or malicious software formed a large part of some of the security incidents that respondents referred to. We know that the vast majority of these are self-installed by unwitting staff members but this is hardly surprising as a conservative estimate by researchers he Ponemon Institute suggests that 1 in four UK employees has no idea what phishing is. (For anyone scratching their head here, phishing is the primary malware delivery vehicle and posing either as an email or a legitimate webpage, delivers a toxic payload when clicked. You are one of the one in four and there aren’t any congratulations for that, sorry). One of the other biggest incident categories highlighted in the report was other behaviour staff and respondents admitted to weekly and monthly incidents of this occurring (5% and 10% respectively). The overwhelming proportion (65%) said ‘a few times’ which frankly covers a multitude of sins. So back to the reason why this is good news…it sounds like part of the issue is culture and staff training. So some of the biggest threats to security could potentially be overcome by a security-thinking paradigm shift that needn’t require vast sums of money or the need for gun turrets on the server room.

Start with your staff then, they could be your biggest threat or your most valuable tool in the frontline defence against security incidents. This would also be good advice for clients too as in our experience, people are often forgotten in the rush to technology but sadly, you can’t firewall them. You can consider a certification or compliance to something like ISO27001 and build an Information Security Management System that will cover all information assets, regardless of their format. Or there is the Cyber Essentials scheme

You can always ask us for help. We are completely product neutral and have extensive experience of working with the legal sector on a variety of security certifications, training and projects. We handle ISO27001 and Cyber Essentials in a flexible, mentoring way that means you gain greater independence and gain knowledge of how to handle re-certification when required.

1PwC Law Firms Survey 2014 Further reading: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/ico-probes-173-law-firms-over-data-protection-breaches/5048260.fullarticle http://www.advent-im.co.uk/user/files/Advent_news_PDFs/Tomorrows_FM_Insider_Threat_Aug_2012.pdf

Barristers; getting IT right

Barristers; getting IT right
Matt Torrens, SproutIT

Matt-TorrensBiography.pdf

In short, they’re not.  Most Barristers, and their Chambers, fall woefully short of any reasonable level of IT and data security, let alone the levels that a casual observer would presume they meet, given the type of client data they deal with on a daily basis.

From an outsider’s viewpoint, many consider the UK Legal market in the same stature as financial and healthcare verticals.  It follows that all three will share a similarly high regard to data security then, doesn’t it?  No, quite the opposite actually.  Healthcare and Financial markets are more heavily regulated and policed and are now several years ahead of Legal, who have dragged their heels and paid scant attention to this critical issue.

Let’s pause, for a moment, to reflect on the topic of conversation here – this isn’t a geeky desire to impose unduly prescriptive rules but a duty to protect precious and sensitive client data.  Consider case types such as Child Abuse, Female Genital Mutilation, Terrorism, Human Rights and Organised crime – yup, I’d like to think someone was taking really good care of that data.

Let’s look, briefly, at two regulatory bodies:

Bar Council

The General Council of the Bar, known as the Bar Council, is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales.  Surely, any sensible IT requirements would be driven and regulated by them?  To help you make up your mind, let’s review two:

  • How to dispose of your hard drive securely

o    …removing the hard drive from the computer and hitting it repeatedly with a heavy hammer

  • Passwords

o    facial recognition software is an acceptable alternative

That is serious, published advice to Barristers from one of their main regulatory bodies from their ‘Guidelines on Information Security’ (which also helpfully contains several dead links to external websites).

ICO 

The Information Commissioner’s Office covers various pieces of legislation including the Data Protection Act, handles complaints and concerns regarding information rights issues and has the power to serve monetary penalties of up to £500,000.  Much of the advice and guidance on the website is useful and practicable.

However, take a quick look through their published monetary penalties, decision notices and undertakings and you will quickly see that the Legal marketplace is virtually absent.  Local and central government offices along with NHS trusts form the majority of their published enforcements.  Is there an apparent selectivity or bias as to what kinds of entities the ICO pursues?

How do Chambers work?

  • 80% of barristers are self-employed and belong to a Chambers where they share central resources such as their building, the Clerks/staff, utilities and computer systems
  • Barristers have been individually purchasing and managing their PC’s, smartphones etc, long before anyone coined ‘BYOD’
  • Members of Chambers are Data Controllers within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998 and have statutory duties in respect of any Personal Data and Sensitive Personal Data that they hold. Pursuant to the seventh data protection principle, members of Chambers must ensure that they protect data to which the Act applies using an appropriate level of security given the nature of the data and the harm that might result from unauthorised processing or loss.

Real world examples, of self-prescribed Legal IT ‘security’:

–       Every barrister and staff member with non-expiring passwords

–       Everyone with the same password

–       Everyone being a Domain Administrator

–       Firewalls with any>any in and out

–       PPTP vpn

–       Continued use of Windows XP, Server 2000 etc

–       No backups

–       No desktop anti-virus

–       No gateway anti-virus

–       No patching or updates

–       No IPS/IDS

–       No firewall at all!

–       Regular transfer of data outside EEA

–       Inadvertent man-in-the-middle DHCP ‘attacks’

–       Sharing Dropbox data with the wrong parties

–       Personal, unsecured WiFi devices bridging to the corporate network

–       Unencrypted laptops, PC’s and USB devices

–       Shared/Home PC’s regularly used to store sensitive data

–       Single factor authentication

–       No authentication

–       Authentication sharing

–       Data synchronisation without limit to device, location or platform

–       Client data on personal email platforms

–       No PIN or encryption on mobile email devices

–       No IT training

–       Unprotected and internet facing financial and client data

–       3389 over the wire, without credential requirement

 

Chambers struggle to ‘enforce’ data security policies or make sensible practice a requirement of tenancy, because of the organisational hierarchy.  So, surely, effective regulatory compliance is the best way to ensure that client data is secured – at least to a reasonable level?  Immediate and minimum requirements, might include:

–       Password complexity and expiration

–       Multi-Factor Authentication

–       Full disk, centrally managed, encryption to FIPS 140-2

–       Disallowed use of non FIPS 140-2 encrypted USB devices

–       Annual training/awareness on data security

–       Enforced TLS email encryption, between counsel

–       Secure WiFi – e.g. 802.1x, perhaps with RADIUS

 

The list of technologies that might be used is long.  The real question is what ‘standards’ must be met and how they will be enforced and maintained.  This quick list may help the ICO and Bar Council attract the right kind of attention:

–       Publish and enforce minimum ‘requirements’, not ‘guidelines’

–       Unannounced audits and pen testing

–       Allow IT staff on to panels, to give quality and credence

–       Remove unhelpful and poor advice

–       Utilise existing standards and schemes such as ISO 27001, Cyber Essentials and Axelos

It is time that the Legal sector stopped pretending that IT security responsibilities do not apply to them – they hold, control and process some of their client’s most critical and sensitive data and are now seen as the least defended path to that information.  It’s time that the regulating authorities stood firm, stopped dithering and started fining.  Published minimum requirements, enforcing authorities and financial penalties work – we can see that in other markets; so why not in Legal?  Let’s begin to build a culture where barristers care for client data and respect the requirements set by their authorities.  In an age where chambers are suddenly realising that they do have a shared identity and that market reputation is key, how long will it be before they also realise that good, solid IT security can be a differentiator and an opportunity to win more business?

Gartner reports that 10% of legal services are in the Cloud today, but that 90% will be cloud based, by 2018.  Incoming EU General Data Protection laws will see increasing fines of up to 5% of global turnover.  ManagingPartner’s recent market research found that ‘the most successful law firms of the future will have lawyers who embrace new technologies’.  These are all reasons to start getting this right, right now.

Chambers do not function as a regular ‘business’, barristers are self-employed and often not subject to any centralised IT policy, regulatory compliance is commonly seen as optional and yet we expect barristers to use an ‘appropriate level of security’.  That’s not fair and it won’t ever work.  It doesn’t work, now.  A largely non-technical workforce cannot reasonably be expected to attain the right levels, or make the right choices, consistently and on an individual basis.  Governing bodies must help Chambers to manage this issue, with the prescription of sensible and proportionate policies and requirements.  It’s not complicated but it’s the very least that the precious data deserves.

 

 

Rive Gauche: Lord Madcow rides again…ish…

Many years ago, when I was reading Law at university, I had to break up a very nasty fight in the student house I was staying in. Six  Cambridge students – I cannot recall, now, if they were law students, were kicking one of my housemates who was on the floor and bleeding. I was with a High Court judge’s daughter at the time, a good friend. We had had an enjoyable evening out watching a film. I think it may have been “A Touch of Class”. (Ironic in the light of events which followed – my assailants showed no ‘class’ at all)  I told her to go into my room and lock herself in. I went into the communal kitchen, shouted at the Cambridge students to stop and ‘warned them’ that I was reasonably skilled in karate. I managed to ‘dissuade two students – one by kicking his upper arm and another, seeing that, backed off.  Unfortunately, a third student, very drunk, shouted.  I turned and he smashed a large empty milk bottle into my face. My nose nearly fell off, so hard was the blow and I lost most of my teeth. There was blood everywhere. I remained fully conscious, bleeding badly. At this point, the Cambridge students ran for it.  Police and Ambulance service arrived quickly and I was taken to a nearby hospital and patched up by a surgeon.  I refused to stay in hospital and, against the advice of the doctor, I went back to my room at the University.

 

Friends stayed with me all night.  I couldn’t sleep and they would not leave. The next morning a Detective Inspector from the Police arrived to check on me and take a statement.  He told me that my assailant had been arrested and was in court on the Monday morning.  As the Police officer was talking, one of the students from the night before barged into my room.  He didn’t even knock and warned me not to give evidence about the night before.  At which point, the Police officer, a detective officer, revealed his identity as a Police officer. The student looked shocked and ran for it.  I laughed as best I could – difficult with most of my teeth missing – although I had some semblance of a nose thanks to the skill of the surgeon the night before.

Unfortunately, the student who had assaulted me was charged with ‘common assault’ – a mistake, which the Police apologised to me for.  He got a very heavy fine.  I was told later that all six Cambridge students were ‘sacked’ from the University…”Sent down’ is, I believe, the phrase for this.

I then had a visit from a very charming man, the Vice Chancellor of The University, Sir Fraser Noble, who asked if he could help in any way.  The Head of the Law department, Professor Edward Griew (of The Theft Act books fame) and the lecturers I knew, were all very kind. I had the chance to go to Cambridge to read law myself and turned it down.  I stuck with Leicester University, then a fine law school and it continues to be a very good law school to this day.  I lost a year, but I survived that and went on to do reasonably well. I didn’t go into practice at the Bar – which I regret in some ways – but went into teaching and running law schools – BPP Law School, which I helped found with Charles Prior, then Chief Executive of and a founder of BPP Holdings PLC twenty-five years ago and had a most enjoyable career.  I enjoyed teaching very much. You win some and lose some in life.  I am lunching tomorrow with Peter Crisp, who has helped me greatly in recent years and one of my best appointments when I ran the law school, now Dean at BPP Law School.

And on that note…some smoking outside, a walk, and then I shall start on a new painting – a vaguely sensible painting. On the other hand, after smoking some menthol fags, I may do some Smokedo and run ‘amok’ with some more F*ckArt…who knows

Have a good evening.

PS.  the reference to ‘Madcow’  in the picture above – a nickname given to me by very good friends when I was very ill years ago and nearly died from swelling in the brain – partly caused by the injuries sustained that November evening at Leicester University. Never content with just a ‘nickname’ not only did I promote myself to Lord Madcow…it became Lord Madcow XIV… a Hat Tip to a French King.  (Madcow disease was a problem at the time in Britain)

 

The motorbike is a particular passion. So the picture from twitter is most appropriate. I have had 21 Motorbikes in my life: Many Honda FireBlades, Five Honda Blackbirds (Top speed 195 mph), one Ducati 916. I miss the bikes.  Only one accident – when a woman ran into the back of me in her car when I was stopped waiting to turn right.  Fortunately the bike was OK, landing on top if me as I slid down the road.  I had a lot of stitches, done by a friend nearby – a nurse.  I refused to go to hospital.  I hobbled back to the pub, had a couple of glasses of Rioja with the nurse and her husband and walked the motorbike back to my flat. I have some pleasing scars on the right leg!

Well…there we are.. life goes on.  there is Smokedo to be done….paintings to be painted and I shall use my ‘best endeavours’ to find some Law when I am outside smoking.  I may even have an Egg and Cress sandwich and an ice cream cone for dinner.  I live to live the ‘High Life”…and be a ‘gourmande’ etc!

Have a good Sunday evening!

Laters…perhaps..

Law of Contract Lesson 1: Don’t stop a cheque to a man who has taught Contract Law for forty years.

Recently, a law publishing company, publishers of law reports used by many UK lawyers, bought an advert on my blog for £50 for the year – a very modest amount.   I put the advert up and wrote up their service on my blog. Unusually – my clients are always very helpful and make very quick payment – I had to chase and chase for payment.  The publisher sent me a cheque.  I was rather ill and could not get to a bank and, as life can be difficult at times, I really needed some money for food and other basics in life. I told the managing director that I did all my banking online and offered Paypal or direct transfer to the bank as an option.  He ignored all my emails and would not take a call.  I eventually managed to bank the cheque and the firm ‘Stopped’ it.

Here is the ‘Artwork’ I created.  I am selling this ‘work’ for £10 – but you have to be vaguely interested in law (a) to want it and (b) to buy it! 

My remedy is twofold : (1) to sue in the appropriate court on the ‘friendly ‘pro bono’ advice of a friend of mine who is a QC (which I will do and as an exercise in litigation and write it up for the blog and (2) To stick the cheque one  one of my nonsense F*ckArt paintings and have a larf. I have found, in my early 60s that having a laugh is good for the soul.

You may be surprised when you find out who the ‘villainous law publisher’ is if you buy my ‘artwork’ ! 

If you would like to buy this ‘work of art’ for £10 + pp – do, please email me or send a DM on twitter. I can provide on-shore banking details and Paypal details!  I am not keen on getting a ‘bouncing cheque’ – even though that would be rather funny!

SOLD  to a very amusing man who I have tweeted with for years.  He won’t bounce anything… apart from a few laughs over lunch!

 

Rive Gauche: I am easily amused these days! – Cannabis emblem on a lighter

I have just been out to the High Street in Kingsbury, North London, to get essential supplies.  One of these ‘essential supplies’ was a lighter.  I am easily amused in any event – but to buy a lighter with a Cannabis emblem on it has made my day.  The newsagent, a good bloke, had no idea it was a cannabis leaf emblem!

This has inspired me to trawl the law blogs to catch up on, and post about, some LAW.

Have an amusing Sunday!

 

Law Review: A moment that changed me – seeing a man executed by Clive Stafford Smith

One of the most interesting writers on Twitter is Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve
Like many, I am against the death penalty – but it would seem to be ‘alive and well’ , unlike those put to death, in the United States and several others countries around the world.

A moment that changed me – seeing a man executed by  

On a visit to Malaysia many years ago, a country I knew well and lived in as a child, and later when I was running a Law School with many Malaysian law students,  I had a drink with a Malaysian High Court judge who told me, wearily, that he had sentenced four young Malaysians to death for drug offences that afternoon. I cannot remember his precise words – but they were roughly as follows: “I find it difficult that our civilised society has problems with drugs, but I find it even more difficult that a developed civilised country like Malaysia imposes the barbaric death penalty. It is not the right way to deal with this problem.  There is no shortage of young men prepared to take the risk of dealing in drugs and for so long as we continue with the death penalty, more will be hanged.”  His tone was sombre and he apologised to me for lowering the mood and he asked if he could talk of lighter matters. I understood his wish to do so.

Countries that use the death penalty today: Amnesty

And I walked into – and deserved this excellent tweet …punctuation is ALL, even on Twitter!

 

Legal Bizzle is right – here is my tweet and post title! I shall be more careful in future! 

To lighten the post, without minimising the seriousness of the issue above – my attention was caught tonight by an altogether different type of criminal behaviour.  The story is quite remarkable.

Woman dismantles ATM with her bare hands to retrieve ‘swallowed card’

The Mirror covers the story

Law Review Sponsored by Mike Briercliffe / @mikejulietbravo

Law Review sponsored by Law Absolute: Here is an interesting article on ‘How to Ace a Skype Interview’

Guest Post: Hypnotherapy for the legal profession and their clients

  • Legal Stress?
  • Need more detailed recall?
  • Need to reduce anxiety and panic?

The understanding of hypnosis has come a long way since the mid-nineties. It was then that MRI and PET scanning enabled us to finally lay to rest the claim that there is no such things as a hypnotic trance. As is typical with good evidence though it meant we had to re-assess exactly what we mean by the terms trance and hypnosis.

The same science showed that the changes in brain activity that take place in trance happen when we are in REM sleep. Now our understanding of the function of REM sleep has also developed so this has important implications for understanding trance.

It now seems very likely that REM sleep (about 20% of our sleep time) has the function of clearing out stress and anxiety from experiences during the day. It ‘defuses’ them as it were and transfers them for storage in the higher brain.

I should add here how very common trance is. If you have ever got home and not remembered driving, daydreamed or not heard someone speaking to you when you are deep in thought you have been in trance. In fact it appears we jump in and out of REM states quite frequently, something which has been verified by the same technology as that mentioned above. Though of course brain scans have not been carried out on people driving home.

Intriguingly it has also been shown that REM states use up more energy than doing a maths exam for example. Einstein’s school report said ‘appears to spend most of his time daydreaming’. It’s probably safe to assume that quite a lot is going on in this state.

When we wake up tired and already feeling down we may well have exceeded our REM quota and still not have been able to clear our accumulated stress. This means that further incidents have much more power to affect us negatively adding to the stress we already have. It’s not hard to see how this can become a vicious circle.

Research by the US military has shown that the ability of people suffering from stress (which drives reactions by the instinctive ‘limbic’ brain) results in a catastrophic collapse of decision making capabilities. These all reside in the higher cortex, a huge engine the capabilities of which we may not very often fully employ.

Trance states allow us to access that engine and more. They also allow us to help focus on defusing our accumulated stress AND developing techniques for both negating stress ourselves as well as accessing more of the higher brain functions.

Because of the ability of the trance state to access the subconscious it is also possible to focus on detailed recall in a psychological space which is safe for the person and can be beneficial in allowing potentially traumatic experiences to be defused of their emotional intensity.

The legal profession is one where what kind of mental state the legal professional, jury, witnesses, judge and defendants are in is the fundamental key to outcomes very often. In this setting hypnotherapy carefully used can help to produce more detailed recall and better considered reasoning.

Perhaps though the greatest benefits are for the legal professional themselves to cope with the inevitable stress produced by the work and to help those having to go through the often traumatic experience of legal complications (work, divorce, accusations).

Indeed judicious use of hypnotherapy could make the difference between an already fragile person being able to withstand the rigours of legal proceedings or not.

Not to mention the fact that once the legal aspect of the matter is dealt with the associated stress and trauma may continue for years unless dealt with.

In closing, let me stress that these techniques employ our own natural inherent ability to reprogram those things we may wish to by inducing a state of consciousness similar to REM sleep. In fact all of us will tend to drift in and out of trance many times during the average day. So while the practice focusses and utilises this state for the client’s benefit there is nothing Rasputin-like about it at all.

Mike Parker

For more information go to www.highendhypnotherapy.com

Guest Post: Bringing connectivity to conveyancing

 

Bringing connectivity to conveyancing
Veyo

Connectivity in business has become essential in the modern world, and all industries have reached a point in time when they need to recognise this need to adapt and change in order to remain effective and successful. One area in particular that is certainly not immune to this changing environment is the conveyancing industry, and its current limitations and desire to adhere to outdated traditions have left it with a desperate need to modernise.

Business is driven by consumers, and what the consumer wants. This fact is no different for organisations in the legal sector that still need to be run just like businesses, and work for the consumer in a modern and efficient way. More and more in the modern world what consumers want is connectivity, and this is something that is particularly evident in the estate agency side of the property sector. Through the use of property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, home-movers feel more knowledgeable and more connected to the initial process of buying and selling a property. They have access to swathes of data and information about properties, and they are handed the power to make informed decisions about the steps they can take.

However it has become clear, from a consumer perspective that this power is seemingly taken away once the initial stage of having an offer on a property accepted passes. The point at which conveyancing takes over. Obviously unlike the relatively “simple” stage of choosing a house to purchase, the conveyancing process can be extremely complex and the common house-buyer should not expect to understand all the events that are occurring throughout the process. This reality has been demonstrated through the results of the latest conveyancing report commissioned by Veyo at the beginning of January. This report shows that 53% of first time buyers have limited or no knowledge of the conveyancing process. In fact it is only “serial buyers/sellers” (those who have bought/sold five or more properties) who have a good understanding of the process, with over 60% stating they are “knowledgeable” or “expert” in the process.

This lack of understanding would clearly correlate with the stress people experience during the buying/selling process. In fact, 1 in 10 described it as more stressful than redundancy or having their first child. Therefore the two problems seemingly have the same solution in some respects.

While the solution is not for all potential home-movers to learn the conveyancing process from cover to cover. It is to say that, with modern technology, the tools can and will be developed that would allow home-movers to increase their understanding of the process. Giving them a view to each stage, and an understanding of what and why delays occur would be a first extremely helpful step in improving the consumer experience.

With regards to placing the consumer first, Elliot Vigar, CEO of Veyo, commented that; “understandably home buying is incredibly stressful – there is a huge sum of money at stake… An average conveyancing time of three months in our digital era is simply not good enough for homebuyers and they have made it clear what they wish for to improve their home buying experience… The widespread adoption of a comprehensive online conveyancing service for the entire industry is inevitable.”

Rive Gauche: I have no immediate plans to die… I told a cold caller…

 

I was rung up some time ago, an unsolicited call, to ask if I had made any burial plans.  As I had no immediate plans to die, I asked the caller if he knew something from ‘above’ that I was not aware of.  My question puzzled him and he asked me what I meant.  I told him that I wanted to know if he had been in touch with the ‘Great Architect’ or other ‘God type figure’ to get a Heads Up on my death date.

I also like this design  <—–

This puzzled the caller.  I told him that I had no immediate plans to die unless he was keen that I should do so to earn some commission., in which case I told him that I would give it some thought and try to die before the end of the month so that he would get commission this month..

This ‘freaked’ the salesman out.  The line went dead…to coin a phrase… RESULT!

And talking of graves…I recall at University when doing the Observer Moot with a friend, now a well known Family Law Silk.  He opened with the words…I kid you not..“My Lord…murder is a grave offence.”.  Rex Tedd, a well known barrister who was judging the moot, burst out laughing and said…”Indeed, Mr X…indeed.”  The packed lecture theatre erupted with laughter.  I seem to recall that we lost that moot!

In 1976, when I was at university teaching myself some Law (I didn’t attend many lectures or seminars – about three of each or so in three years, I paid for it by working as a gravedigger – working with a very amusing Irish digger who always wore a top hat as he pushed the spade into the first divot of earth! We got on well… and would read our newspaper on the hot days sitting about five foot down in the grave.  Occasionally we would get a ‘visitor, often an elderly person asking ‘Who was going in?’.  We always found that quite amusing. I can see myself doing that ‘nearer the time’.

 

I really must try and shoehorn some law into my blog posts…this being a ‘Law’ blog…

 

Law Review: Lord Goddard LCJ – judicial serial killer?

I quote from Wikipedia: Rayner Goddard, Baron Goddard (10 April 1877 – 29 May 1971) was Lord Chief Justice of England from 1946 to 1958 and known for his strict sentencing and conservative views, despite being the first Lord Chief Justice to be appointed by a Labour government, as well as the first to possess a law degree. He was nicknamed the ‘Tiger’ and “Justice-in-a-jiffy” for his no-nonsense manner. He once dismissed six appeals in one hour in 1957…

In December 1952 Goddard presided over the trial of Christopher Craig and Derek Bentley, accused of the murder of PC Sidney Miles at a Croydon warehouse on 2 November 1952. 16-year-old Craig had shot and killed PC Miles whilst resisting arrest on the roof of a factory he intended to break into. Bentley, who was 19 but of limited intelligence, had gone with him and was accused of urging Craig to shoot, having called out to him, “let him have it, Chris”, when a policeman, Sergeant Frederick Fairfax, asked Craig for the gun. Fairfax was wounded by Craig.

Lord Goddard directed the jury at the trial that, in law, Bentley was as guilty of firing the shot as Craig, even though there was contradictory evidence as to whether Bentley was aware that Craig was carrying a gun. During the trial, Goddard made no reference to Bentley’s mental state, apart from when Christmas Humphreys asked Bentley to read a statement he had allegedly made to Police Officers after his arrest. Goddard told Humphreys that Bentley couldn’t read.

After 75 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a guilty verdict in respect of both defendants. Craig was too young for a death sentence, but Bentley was not. Nevertheless, the jury had exceptionally returned a plea of mercy in favour of Bentley along with the guilty verdict. The decision passed to the Home Secretary, David Maxwell Fyfe, to decide whether clemency should be granted. After reading Home Office psychiatric reports and a petition signed by 200 MPs, he rejected the request and Bentley was hanged by Albert Pierrepoint on 28 January 1953. Craig was sent to prison and released in 1963 after serving ten-and-a-half years. Derek Bentley had his conviction quashed in July 1998 with the appeal trial judge, Lord Bingham, noting that Lord Goddard had denied the defendant “the fair trial which is the birthright of every British citizen.”

Wikipedia continues: “On 30 July 1998, the Court of Appeal granted a posthumous acquittal to Derek Bentley on the basis of Goddard’s misdirection to the jury which, according to Lord Bingham, “must […] have driven the jury to conclude that they had little choice but to convict.” He added that the summing-up of the case was “such as to deny the appellant [Bentley] the fair trial which is the birthright of every British citizen”.[12]

Lord Bingham also, however, acknowledged that Goddard was “one of the outstanding criminal judges of the century”, and underlined the change in social standards between 1953 and 1998.

After Goddard’s death, he was attacked in the columns of The Times by Bernard Levin, who described him as “a calamity” and accused him of vindictiveness and of being a malign influence on penal reform. Levin had also attacked Goddard when he retired as Lord Chief Justice thirteen years earlier in a Spectator article, saying he walked hand in hand with ignorance on one side of him and barbarism on the other. In The Times on 8 June 1971, Levin wrote (referring to Goddard’s assertion in 1970 that he had been “very unhappy” about Bentley being hanged) that “if Goddard did indeed claim this, it was a breathtaking piece of hypocrisy, in view of his conduct of the case”.[13] Afterwards Levin was blackballed by the Garrick Club, a favourite resort of both lawyers and journalists, when his application for membership came up.

Marcel Berlins, writing in The Independent in August 1998

“THE JURY didn’t want Derek Bentley to hang. They had listened to the cocky, almost boastful evidence of 16-year-old Christopher Craig in the witness-box, casually admitting to owning 40 guns and frankly accepting that he had been the instigator of the criminal enterprise that had resulted in his killing PC Sidney Miles. They had contrasted that with the 19-year-old Bentley’s pathetic, child-like performance, showing in nearly every answer his lack of comprehension, his low IQ, his mental dullness. The jury knew that Craig could not hang because of his age; and for Bentley, they recommended that he be shown mercy. Unfortunately, Bentley had the bad luck to be tried and sentenced by one of the last of the hanging judges, Rayner Goddard, the Lord Chief Justice.

We don’t have hanging judges today. There are, to be sure, judges who support the death penalty and would be prepared to impose it. But the concept of the hanging judge implied more than mere support for capital punishment. It meant an unwavering belief in “an eye for an eye”, a refusal to accept that the act of killing could have any mitigating circumstances, an enthusiasm for putting on the black cap before announcing an imminent execution, and an element of sadistic pleasure in ordering a fellow human being’s death.

Lord Goddard fitted all the criteria. A brilliant lawyer, he was also a domineering bully with viciously punitive views on all aspects of criminal justice policy. His idea of fun, after a legal dinner, was to take part in a “boat race”, in which two groups of lawyers and judges would arrange themselves on the dining-hall floor in the formation of a rowing eight, and shuffle on their bottoms towards a finishing line. More sinister and perverted was his habit, according to his clerk, of ejaculating when passing a death sentence, so that a fresh pair of trousers had to be brought to court on those occasions.

Such was his influence that few in the legal profession dared criticise him. In 1953 the barrister John Parris – who had represented Craig at the trial – attacked Goddard’s campaign in the House of Lords to bring back flogging; and suggested that legal opinion was not unanimous in regarding him as a model of courtesy, fairness and impartiality. Parris was suspended from practising as a barrister for four months.

A commentator who submitted an anti-Goddard article to a legal journal was told by its editor that, good as it was, it could not be published, for fear of reprisals from the legal establishment. When Bernard Levin wrote a critical piece in 1958, the Attorney General of the day seriously considered prosecuting him for criminal libel – punishable with imprisonment. In 1971, on Goddard’s death (at 94), Levin wrote a column in the Times denouncing his behaviour in the Bentley trial as unjudicial, vindictive and crudely emotional, and his reign as chief justice as calamitous. Violent abuse and complaint poured in from the judiciary, still defending their former chief; the Times was boycotted, and Levin blackballed from membership of the lawyer-heavy Garrick Club.

With a different trial judge, Bentley would have had a chance: perhaps of being convicted only of manslaughter or possibly acquitted altogether. Another judge would at least have put Bentley’s defence to the jury, especially the ambiguity of the words he was alleged to have shouted (and probably didn’t say at all): “Let him have it, Chris”.

But Lord Goddard bullied the jury into finding Bentley guilty by misrepresenting the law and distorting the facts. He didn’t need to bully the appeal court judges into rejecting Bentley’s appeal – there was no chance, anyway, that they would have dared rule that the Lord Chief Justice had been wrong. He stiffened the Home Secretary’s resolve to refuse clemency by making it firmly known that he saw no mitigating circumstances, in spite of the jury’s plea for mercy.

It is some small consolation that no judge these days – not even the Lord Chief Justice – can exercise the kind of malevolent power that Goddard did in his day. It is doubtful that a modern-day Derek Bentley would be prosecuted at all, in today’s legal framework. His mental backwardness would almost certainly make him unfit to stand trial. But even if he was ruled capable of being tried, the evidence against him would be different, and far less damaging. Interviews with him would be tape-recorded – and be in the presence of his lawyer.

There would be no possibility of the police writing out his “confession” in police language and having it admitted in evidence. The law of “joint enterprise” has been changed so that, if Bentley was unaware that Craig was carrying a loaded gun, he couldn’t be charged jointly with the murder. The trial judge would not be able to get away with the highly biased and legally incorrect summing-up to the jury that Goddard gave. An appeal would not be so rushed and cursory.

One of the most astonishing aspects of the Craig and Bentley process was its sheer speed. PC Miles died on 2 November 1952. The trial started on 9 December, and lasted just three days. Bentley was hanged on 28 January 1953 – less than three months from the murder. Is it too complacent to shrug away the whole Bentley horror by saying that it was the fault of one old and powerful maverick judge, the like of whom we shall never see again; or to say that our criminal justice system is now immeasurably better than 46 years ago – in the sense of providing safeguards for a defendant?

Of course miscarriages of justice will never disappear, but miscarriages of the Bentley kind – even without capital punishment – are highly unlikely. More disturbing than the scandal of Derek Bentley’s trial, polluted by a judge whose savage emotions overcame his sense of justice, has been the disgrace of successive Home Office manoeuvrings designed never to admit that a gross mistake had been made.

Everything that had gone wrong in the Bentley case was apparent from the available documents, including Lord Goddard’s grossly defective summing- up to the jury. Yet at no stage did the scrutiny of the Home Office’s C3 branch, given the job of sniffing out injustices, or of several home secretaries (some of them lawyers), conclude that anything was amiss. Only the grudging admission that Bentley shouldn’t have been executed emerged from Kenneth Clarke, barrister.

Happily, in place of the comatose C3, we now have the independent and energetic Criminal Cases Review Commission to look into alleged miscarriages. It was the commission that sent Bentley’s case to the appeal court (and which a few months ago, accompanied by little publicity, was instrumental in getting the court to quash the conviction of another man wrongly convicted and executed, Muhammed Mattan). If there is one practical step the Government can take to try to atone and apologise for Bentley and many other miscarriages of justice, some as yet undiscovered, it is to fund the commission properly so that it has the money and the people to do its job.”

English judges rarely conceal improperly gained evidence, but their rule was largely invented by the sexually depraved Rayner Goddard (1877-1971). Goddard was a criminal court (King’s Bench) judge 1932-38, on the Court of Appeal 1938-44, a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (law lord) 1944-46, and Lord Chief Justice 1946-58. He resigned aged 81 because he was going blind. The Concise Dictionary of National Biography notes that he “tried a number of notable murder cases including the Craig-Bentley trial”, and that he was a “strong supporter of corporal and capital punishment”.

***

A rather unpleasant sidenote of Lord Goddard  

EVAN WHITTON: The Cartel Lawyers and Their Nine Magic Tricks

28 – The Sexually Depraved Lord Goddard’s Rule – England

… the court is not concerned with how the evidence was obtained.

– Lord Goddard, 1955

English judges rarely conceal improperly gained evidence, but their rule was largely invented by the sexually depraved Rayner Goddard (1877-1971). Goddard was a criminal court (King’s Bench) judge 1932-38, on the Court of Appeal 1938-44, a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (law lord) 1944-46, and Lord Chief Justice 1946-58. He resigned aged 81 because he was going blind. The Concise Dictionary of National Biography notes that he “tried a number of notable murder cases including the Craig-Bentley trial”, and that he was a “strong supporter of corporal and capital punishment”.

Kuruma. In Kuruma v R (1955), Lord Goddard wrote: “… the test to be applied in considering whether evidence is admissible is whether it is relevant to the matters in issue. If it is, it is admissible and the court is not concerned with how the evidence was obtained.

If the Clark rule tends to corrupt judges, the Goddard rule tends to corrupt police: it virtually encourages them to gain evidence improperly; elements of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad lived up to their name in the 1970s; their crimes included torture to obtain false confessions from the Birmingham Six. The squad was disbanded in 1989 and outside police were called in to review 97 of their cases.

A Secret Agenda? There is also the question of whether Lord Goddard had a secret agenda. Oliver Cyriax notes that his clerk, Arthur Harris, had “to take a spare pair of the standard striped trousers to court on sentencing days. When condemning a youth to be flogged or hanged, Goddard always ejaculated”. This leads to frightening speculation as to whether the Lord Chief Justice may have become a sort of judicial serial killer.”

The rest of Evan Whitton’s article is fascinating on other cases.

 

Shark in the sea with Diamonds By Charon in his ‘Lost the plot’ period.

Shark in the sea with Diamonds
By Charon in his ‘Lost the plot’ period.

This ‘Homage’ to Damien Hurst – a famous artist who amused the world by pickling sharks in tanks and encrusted a skull with Diamonds is now available at a much more modest price than Mr Hurst would sell for…. a bargain at £10 + pp – and, so you get some additional benefit for your professional work  – you may have a free advert on the blog for a year.

Do email me if you would like to buy it.  Can deliver in London and you can even sign the painting yourself or I can… or, indeed, we both can sign it.

 

Rive Gauche: ‘The art of being thick.’ The Americans have a good word for it – ‘Dumbass’.

I thought it worth re-publishing this post from my blog back in November 2006

“The theme to start this Saturday is ‘The art of being thick.’ The Americans have a good word for it – ‘Dumbass’.

Sheffield United manager, Neil Warnock, claimed this week that some footballers are thick (The Independent)

I quote: “Two of my players have been in the news this week for the wrong reasons. Alan Quinn was fined after admitting being involved in a fight in a Sheffield pub used by Wednesdayites and Paddy Kenny had his eyebrow bitten off after a late-night dust-up in a Halifax takeaway.

These things happen for managers, but I’d prefer they didn’t and I hope the players learn. They’ve been a bit thick. Quinn’s an ex-Wednesday player, he goes into a Wednesday pub, has problems, and wonders why!”

This stimulated Brian Reade in my Saturday tabloid of choice, The Mirror, to bring up his own examples of dumbass behaviour by footballers…

Jason McAteer (nicknamed Trigger) being asked at a take-away if he wanted his pizza cut into eight slices or four, and answering “Four. I’m not that hungry.”

Or when he locked himself out of his Porsche, his mate told him to get a coat-hanger so he could pick the lock and he came back with a wooden one.

Paulo di Canio’s defence against being a nasty bigot: “I’m a fascist, not a racist.”

Everton’s Neil Adams breezing, towel in hand, into the reception of a Madrid hotel asking for directions to the beach.

And there I was…sipping an espresso…smoking a Silk Cut and wondering whether I could find any stories about Lawyers behaving oddly. Of course –RollonFriday came to mind and, sure enough, an excellent story about a memo to staff on ‘toilet etiquette’ written by Stephen Ryan, managing partner at St Alban’s firm SA Law

Source: RollonFriday

On the premise that this memo is not a spoof – I started to think how Mr Ryan could know about the the activities of the bogey flicker(s) referred to in Paragraph 2. Is it part of a managing partner’s remit to inspect the lavatories? Or did he notice the wall peppered with curious objects? Or did he, in fact, have information about the perpetrator(s) of this unusual comedy routine. And then I started to wonder if the perpetrators kept the door open so they could flick it onto the ‘opposite wall’ of the entire washroom or did ‘opposite wall’ mean the door of the lavatory? As you can see, I have way too much time on my hands when I sit at Cafes with my laptop and take advantage of the cafe wifi and write my blawg. The mind boggles – is this a common routine at SA Law?

I suspect that Matt Muttley of Muttley Dastardly LLP would applaud Mr Ryan for his directness, candour and humour.

 

Memo to all Staff from Matt Muttley, Managing Partner on the wearing of religious symbols at work

Memo to all Staff from Matt Muttley, Managing Partner

It came to my notice the other day, when I made a rare appearance in the open plan work area, that quite a few associates and administrative staff have taken to wearing burqas, skull caps, silver crosses, orange turbans, white druidic robes and various other symbols of faith. I find this pleasing. As I have no desire to see Muttley Dastardly LLP subjected to vilification by bearded Bishops a la British Airways – our official policy on the wearing of religious symbols at work is that you may do as you please and, it has to be said, I would not wish brownsuedeshoesthis firm to be ‘boycotted’ by the bearded Bishops. The only caveat I enter is that you are happy in your work and do the hours and that you think about the wealth of our firm and your future part in that wealth. Muttley Dastardly LLP is an equal opportunity employer with a structured and hierarchical approach to the distribution of rewards. The restriction on wearing brown suede shoes with a pinstripe suit, or indeed any suit, continues in place – although senior associates may wear shooting tweeds and Plus Fours on Fridays if they so choose, in which case the appropriate footwear is a good pair of Church’s brogues. That is all.

Matt Muttley, 
Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

Rive Gauche: Summer Solstice edition – 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.

Apropos of nothing in particular – I have meet three Monarchs in my time, apart from King Arthur.  H M The Queen when the law school I was then with was given a Queen’s Award for Exports, The Kabaka of Buganda, Ronnie Mutebi – who I taught when he was studying law and Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yussuf Izzuddin Shah Ghafarullahu-lah, of Perak and The 9th King of Malaysia.  I taught two of his children back in the day.   Azlan Shah, a lawyer and Lord President of The Malaysian Federal Court was a charming man and it was a great pleasure, given my childhood and law teaching associations with Malaysia, to attend his coronation.