West London Man (19) : A short holiday in Padstow, Cornwall+ Drinking Forecast

From a few years ago: I am awarding my first “For Idiocy” medal to Ceredigion Council for fining  a painter £30 for smoking in his own van. Decorator Gordon Williams was fined because council officials said it counted as smoking in the workplace.  Gordon Willaims was ‘dumbfounded’,  only uses the van to get to work,  and said ” It is not my place of work.  I paint and decorate houses not vans.”  Story from The Mirror

I am toying with the idea of bringing West London Man back – a tale of a middle class couple and their ‘journey’ through life.  I did about 30 episodes in text (and in sound with my ex-wife).


George and Caroline usually take a summer vacation in Southern France or Tuscany. Conscious, this year, that they should be seen by fellow West Londoners to be doing the right thing, they too are going to have a ‘British’ holiday quickly and then go on their real holiday to Tuscany in early August.  The Boden catalogue arrived and George has purchased some rather fetching outfits for the Padstow trip.  The children, Peregrine and Jocasta are looking forward to playing at the seaside.  George has arranged for a local nanny to look after the children during the day for the short week’s holiday.

George, to irritate one of his Chiswick friends who has an Audi Quattro TT, bought himself an Aston Martin DB9 and he and Caroline went down to Cornwall in the Aston.  The children followed later in the family’s BMW 4 x 4 with Caroline’s Mother who would help look after the children during the week’s holiday.

It was the first day of the holiday.  George and Caroline went for a walk on the beach – George dressed casually in navy shorts and a dark gray polo shirt.  Caroline wore a long floral print skirt and a soft black sleeveless top. George combines the shorts with a jacket and white shirt for office meetings in the summer as the model shows.

Caroline: George?…. isn’t that David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, sitting on the beach over there?

George brought his Zeiss binoculars up to his eyes and scanned the horizon.  It was not necessary to use binoculars because the Camerons were only fifty or so yards away.

George: I think you’re right, darling… yes…. it is Dave and Samantha?

Caroline: Dave?… do you know Cameron?

George: Well…. not exactly…. I joined WebCameron some time ago and get emails from him regularly.

Caroline: But doesn’t everyone who joins WebCameron get an email from him regularly?

George: welll… yes… yes… I suppose they do.

Caroline: So… you don’t actually know Dave and Samantha then?

George: No…. not as such…. no.

Caroline started laughing and said: Have you noticed that ‘Dave’ and Samantha are wearing exactly the same clothes as we are wearing.

George brought his binoculars up t his eyes again and paused.

George: Bloody hell… you’re right…. how could that happen…?

Caroline: Well they can’t be using a catalogue….. maybe they went to the same shop in West London?

George: Yes… possibly.

Caroline: I wonder if he has brought his bicycle with him?  He got it back you know.

George and Caroline strolled along the beach.  George waved casually at the Cameron’s who were about to be photographed for the newspapers and waved.

George: Hi Dave!… having a good break?  You gave Brown a good fisting in the Commons last week…. keep it up…

Cameron: Thank you… enjoy your holiday too.

George: Absolutely Dave…  gather you got your bike back… some hoodie made off with it is the word on the street….  quite amusing really.

Cameron: It wasn’t amusing at the time. Well… if you will excuse me…. I’ve got to get these pics done.

George: Well Dave… keep it up… you’ll be in Number 10 before Christmas…. and that Vince Cable bloke who called Brown ‘Mr Bean’ will be an excellent Chancellor of The Exchequer.  Good man, Cable….. you made a good choice there.

Cameron smiling wearily:  Mr Cable is a Liberal-Democrat.

George: Absolutely… well… it takes all sorts….. have a great vacation… I’ll be voting for you.  Bye.

Caroline dragged George quickly by the arm, laughing.  The Camerons laughed and Caroline was absolutely certain she heard Samantha say “What a strange man…. do you know him?”

Caroline: Well that was a command performance, George…. brilliant in fact.  Instead of saying ‘beasting’, which is probably just acceptable parliamentary language, you used ‘fisting’ and you did not appear to Cameron to know much about politics because Vince Cable is not a Tory…. but who cares… that was funny… very funny in fact… now take me for lunch, then take me to bed and take me..  It has been a while…

AND here is my DRINKING FORECAST based on the famous Radio 4 weather report forecast format – (I may have too much time on my hands?)



” A blast from the past” – Farage lays into Van Rumpoy

Listening to Nigel Farage of UKIP being rude about the new barely visible President of Europe (Herman Von Rumpoy) – a pretty poor attempt to do a Dan Hannan and go viral –  I was struck not only by the astonishing ‘crudeness of the  rudeness’  (Rather un-British) but also by the poor quality of the oratory…  As Oscar Wilde observed… “A gentleman is never unintentionally rude”

The Press Association reports: Mr Farage declared: “We were told that when we had a president, we’d see a giant global political figure, a man who would be the political leader for 500 million people, the man that would represent all of us all of us on the world stage, the man whose job was so important that of course you’re paid more than President Obama.”

He continued: “Well, I’m afraid what we got was you… I don’t want to be rude but, really, you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk and the question I want to ask is: who are you? – I’d never heard of you, nobody in Europe had ever heard of you.”

Mr Farage went on: “I can speak on behalf of the majority of British people in saying that we don’t know you, we don’t want you and the sooner you are put out to grass, the better.”

I have removed Farage’s third finger with Photoshop in the picture above.  It seems he doesn’t need more than two fingers to make his political points. I can see Mr Farage shouting obscenities at opposing football fans and flicking V signs, safe in the knowledge that the Police presence will ensure that there is no ‘physical’ retaliation.  Perhaps Mr Farage could be a consultant for the British Tourist Board?

(February 2010)

And a bit of Latin for you…and why not? : A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupiA precipice in front, wolves behind (between a rock and a hard place)


Memories from Battersea Square

A couple of years ago I lived in a flat near to Battersea Square and enjoyed good food at a very good cafe.  I found this post while flicking through my blog from 2010:

“After reading about people turning up at Tesco and other supermarkets to do their shopping in their pyjamas, I did not for one moment think I would witness  such bizarre behaviour myself.  I should have known better.  I have moved to Battersea… near Battersea Square in fact.  This very morning, but a few moments ago, at 10.30 after  returning from doing some Marlboro smoking and reading of the papers at a cafe on the King’s Road, I went into my local newsagent and saw a a man in a fairly unpleasantly coloured check dressing gown, even more absurdly check coloured bedroom slippers and pyjamas with a yellow baseball cap on.  He was buying newspapers and milk and was very pleased with himself generally – judging by the patronising way he spoke to the sales assistant behind the till in a drawling Sloany accent.  I suspect that he may be  ‘something in the City’.  I resisted the impulse to laugh maniacally like those ‘shouters’ who wander about  pissed in the street do and tried to avoid looking as if I was fascinated by the absurdity of his appearance.  I was standing nearby, waiting to buy more supplies.   I haven’t worn pyjamas for forty-five years – it seems to me to be a tad effete to do so – and marvelled that this man (a) would do so and (b) that he thought he was being ‘cool’ by shopping in them. A grown man, dressed in ‘jim-jams and dressing gown more suited to an eight year old boy at prep school in the fifties’, complete with nerdy bedroom slippers, and wearing a baseball cap, is not a good look. If I was Jeremy Clarkson I’d probably want to deport him… but I am not.”


Now…if the man had been wearing the yellow dressing gown – a Startreck special according to the rubric with the image, He may have been stylish.  He wasn’t.  His dressing was decidedly ropy.



“If your clients know how good you are, you can charge more.”

I read with interest an article on the Legal Futures website – a website which is most interesting and has the finger on the pulse.  I quote from the opening paragraphs:

“The barrister and law firm with the top High Court win rates in England and Wales will be named later this month, Legal Futures has learned.

US website Premonition, which has studied the win rates of attorneys across America, is to publish the names after studying 11,600 High Court cases over the past three years.

Toby Unwin, co-founder of Florida-based Premonition, said the report would cover every law firm which instructed a barrister in the High Court in the last three years, along with the 1,500 barristers who had acted for them.

“If your clients know how good you are, you can charge more,” Mr Unwin said. “The top 20 people will get very expensive, but right now some of the best people are not being compensated.”

I have taken the liberty of highlighting in red the most important part of the excellent article – which is entirely consistent with our philosophy at Muttley Dastardly LLP

The photograph shows the amount of money in my wallet this morning, a smaller quantity  than is usual, but I have a fairly large vault at home where I keep a bit more loose change.

We must tell our clients at every opportunity how good we are. We must tell them of our very high hit rate of WINS and we must tell clients how we keep control of brief fees to the other branch of the legal profession who are more than keen to work for our firm just for the prestige, and when I say ‘just for the prestige’ I mean just that.  We don’t actually pay counsel.  We do give them a bottle of tap water and an Egg & Cress sandwich from Tesco (£1.10p)  which they eat in the main hall at The Royal Courts of Justice.

May I suggest that you read the Legal Futures article fully – in your own time, of course.

Dr Strangle-Ove
Senior Partner

Strength & Profits

The Importance of Fire Safety in The Workplace

The Importance of Fire Safety in The Workplace

Every year in the UK, approximately 30 people are killed and over 2,500 are injured in workplace fires, making fire one of the biggest hazards to businesses today.

As with all aspects of health and safety, Fire Safety should be held in high importance in the workplace in fact since 1st October 2006 with the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 employers are now required by law to carry out fire safety risk assessments and ensure that necessary precautions are taken to reduce or remove the risk of fire.

Fire Safety Training doesn’t just ensure your employees safety, it also protects your investment. Did you know that as an employer you are directly liable for fire safety of the premises.

A fire can start in a matter of seconds, but the damage it leaves behind can cause years of disruption for a business. Damage to premises, equipment and loss of income while business is interrupted can all lead to significant losses.

When it comes to fire safety, prevention is always better than cure, which is why training and education are essential. In fact, Fire Safety Training is currently a mandatory requirement for every business and organisation in the UK, under the same Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005.

Having a working fire extinguisher in the corner of the office is not the only answer to fire safety in the workplace. Providing employees with quality training is the best way to prevent injuries and ensure the integrity of the workplace. Fire Safety Training will not only give staff a greater understanding of fire risks in the workplace, it will also ensure they are aware how to effectively tackle a fire in case of emergency.

For more information about the legal requirements of workplace fire safety contact Fire Risk Solutions, one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of safety training courses and risk assessments on 0333 577 0276.

Tweet du Jour from Grayling – a marvel of our times



Pic from @PA 

I marvel, I really do.  How did Grayling manage to be elected as an MP let alone impersonate a Lord Chancellor back in the day?


I enjoy Alex Aldridge’s excellent Legal Cheek.  Here is a pic from one of his recent posts…  He is also a good bloke! Amusing man who produces a great online mag.


Wikipedia notes: “To many lawyers the Word ‘Coke’ has an altogether different meaning – “Sir Edward Coke (1 February 15523 September 1634) was an early English colonial entrepreneur and jurist whose writings on the English common law were definitive legal texts for some 300 years.”

AND from Guido Fawkes: 9 Stories Grayling wants to keep secret.

“The Tory mask has slipped on Freedom of Information reform, as Chris Grayling confirms he wants to ban journalists from using FoI to hold the government to account. Grayling chillingly told the House:

“The Freedom of Information Act is something this government is committed to but we want to make sure it works well and fairly. It cannot be abused. It cannot be misused. It is on occasions misused by those who use it effectively as a research tool to generate stories for the media. That isn’t acceptable.”

Eh? The whole point of FoI is so journalists can use it “as a research tool” to expose government waste and wrongdoing…”

PS – Guido is always worth reading.

AND finally…my favourite tweet of the day…



Did you know, in office slang, that Adhocracy – is a department with little to no process or organisational ability? Perhaps you are unfortunate enough to work in an office with Agenda Benders – a co-worker who is easily side-tracked in meetings.? Perhaps you are prone to a bit of Cybernating – snoozing at your computer? Or… perhaps you suffer from Flashturbation – self-congratulatory and excessive use of animation in Powerpoint?

I came across a most amusing website where office slang terms have been collated. Well worth a look. – if you are to avoid attending a Goat Rodeo… an embarrassing meeting.

The Managing Partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP considers the problem of ‘Age’

The government is planning to abolish the retirement age of 65. As with many things the government does, this will not affect us. Partners may retire when they wish. If they haven’t retired by the time they get to 50, they haven’t been billing hard enough and, in the highly unlikely event that such a faux pas should be made (and it has not happened to date in the glorious history of this firm), the individual will be invited to visit the library or leave.

Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

To: All staff

1. The government is planning to abolish the retirement age of 65. As with many things the government does, this will not affect us. Partners may retire when they wish. If they haven’t retired by the time they get to 50, they haven’t been billing hard enough and, in the highly unlikely event that such a faux pas should be made (and it has not happened to date in the glorious history of this firm), the individual will be invited to visit the library or leave.

2. My attention was drawn to an article in Legal WeekLocking out older partners? The least-defended minority in the Square Mile:

“Given the level of debate generated by law firms’ treatment of gays, ethnic minorities and women, a neutral observer wandering into the Square Mile might wonder why there is so little comment on the deal dished out to older lawyers.

“After all, many City firms have hardly any partners over 55, law firms are notoriously lax at implementing the employment laws they lecture clients about and the long-hours culture of commercial practice is hardly conducive to career longevity.

“Yet it’s hard to see how the status quo is sustainable. The forces pushing for reform are too many and too fundamental. Aging Western populations, longer life-spans, later retirements, tougher employment laws and changing attitudes to age – it’s all pointing in one direction…”

3. While it is always of interest to me to read and listen to reports of travail, angst and difficulties at other City firms, we simply do not have an issue at this firm with age. Associates destined to join The Partners are selected most carefully and those who do not make the cut, on closer inspection of their own contract of employment with us – what we call a contrat d’adhesion – will discover, if they were not already aware, that they do not enjoy many rights in the event of termination of the relationship. If they did not realise the one-sided nature of the contract, this merely serves as evidence of their unfitness to continue as a member of the firm. For particularly recidivistic associates who have managed to find a copy of a book on employment law, they will face the arcane and complex and obscure world of ‘restructuring’ will stand in their path for a successful prosecution of a claim.

4. As this memorandum raises issues of age and termination of the employment relationship, I would like to take this opportunity of reminding associates about Clause 482 (1) (b) (x1) The Faustian Pact, the contents of which, were inspired by a note I found on Faustian pacts on Wikipedia:

“You undertake, by this pact, to kill children or consecrate them to the Devil at the moment of birth, take part in Sabbaths, have sexual relations with demons, and sometimes engender children from a succubus, or incubus in the case of women. The pact can be oral or written. An oral pact is made by means of invocations, conjurations, or rituals to attract the demon; once the conjurer thinks the demon is present, he/she asks for the wanted favour and offers his/her soul in exchange, and no evidence is left of the pact; but according to some witch trials and inquisitions that were performed, even the oral pact left evidence, namely the diabolical mark, an indelible mark where the marked person had been touched by the devil to seal the pact. The mark will be used as a proof to determine that the pact was made.”

5. Clearly, we do not believe in any form of superstition here. There is no question of the devil, or indeed ourselves sui generis, exacting enforcement, should same even be possible in an English Court of Law. I cannot speak for some courts in other countries, but our contracts are governed by English law.

6. Just see how successful you are at getting a job in The City, if you try and sue us and we make it known to potential employers that you signed a contract which included clauses, inter alia, whereby you promised “to kill children or consecrate them to the Devil at the moment of birth, take part in Sabbaths, have sexual relations with demons, and sometimes engender children from a succubus, or incubus in the case of women.” I rather suspect that this takes care of any age-related discussions?

7. That is all.

Matt Muttley
Managing Partner, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

An interview for a position at Muttley Dastardly LLP

Eva Braun, Matt Muttley’s PA, elegantly dressed as always in a tailored black suit and high heels, led a young man into the Partner’s Boardoom and seated him at the opposite end of the long boardroom table. He had a brown paper bag over his head. Dr Erasmus Strangelove, director of Psyops, Strategy and Education, looked up from his iPad 2, which held the applicant’s curriculum vitae and the security clearance report provided by a leading specialist security firm, and put his first question.

 Eva Braun, Matt Muttley’s PA, elegantly dressed as always in a tailored black suit and high heels, led a young man into the Partner’s Boardoom and seated him at the opposite end of the long boardroom table. He had a brown paper bag over his head.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove, director of Psyops, Strategy and Education, looked up from his iPad 2, which held the applicant’s curriculum vitae and the security clearance report provided by a leading specialist security firm, and put his first question.

“Forgive the rather theatrical paper bag over your head. At Muttley Dastardly LLP we operate an equal opportunities policy. We are not swayed by good looks. I will allow you to remove the paper bag when you have answered my first question; assuming that your answer is to my taste.

“If you don’t, my colleague will take you to a waiting taxi, an idea I came up with after watching SurAlanLord Sugar’s reality TV programme The Apprentice the other night. This has the advantage that candidates who I reject do not recognise me should we happen to meet socially or in a nightclub in the West End.

“Contestant… are you ready?” Strangelove shouted.

“Yes, Dr Strangelove” came the slightly muffled reply from the young law student seated twenty-feet away at the opposite end of the table.

“If you were on the menu in a two-star Michelin restaurant in London, what dish would you be?” Strangelove asked as he glanced at the cricket score on his iPad 2.

The young man, smartly dressed in a newly purchased suit, hesitated and said “I haven’t eaten at a two-star Michelin restaurant.”

Strangelove considered the reply for a moment, sat back in the high backed leather chair and smiled. “At Muttley Dastardly LLP, we assume that our future trainees hold a first from Oxbridge or Russell Group university. We assume, having paid a risibly high fee for your LPC at a purveyor of legal education, that they will be sensible enough, and have the grace, to ensure you leave with a creditable result in that course. We are not that interested in the grade.

“We prefer to teach you how to be a practising lawyer ourselves, but we do like you to start from the entirely reasonable base of actually knowing some law from your university.

“We have a diversity policy here and we expect our future associates, men and women who we rely on to add to the capital value of the firm and a year on year growth in billings of 20%, to have the flexibility to be able to think on their feet.

“That you have not eaten in a two-star Michelin restaurant troubles me not, but there is no phone a friend or fifty-fifty at our interviews. I don’t want to put too much pressure on you, but you are one down. We have a ‘three strikes and you’re in that taxi’ policy rule here – a wonderful concept which I seem to remember our current prime minister, Mr Camcorderdirect, coming up with before he became Prime Minister and wanted votes. Let me suggest another line of enquiry.”

Dr Strangelove flicked back to the applicant’s file on his iPad 2.

“I see, from your Facebook page, that you have a talent for drinking and gurning. Three photographs of you in a file captioned “Future Employer’s… f*ck ‘em” – I will overlook the apostrophe solecism – shows you dressed in what I am advised is tight spandex gear worn by militant cyclists, flicking a V sign at motorists. Do you consider that to be conduct becoming of a future associate at Muttley Dastardly LLP?”

The young man leaned forward. He was shaking slightly. “I thought I had erased those files”

Dr Strangelove smiled. “Fear not. We are specialists in ‘reputation management’ here. One of my ‘black hat’ departments is most expert at erasing information from Google and replacing it with a more ‘positive’ message. We prefer that more subtle approach to the bludgeon of a superinjunction. After all, we don’t want our clients to be all over Twitter, do we? The question is important. Think carefully.”

The young man sat bolt upright. “Yes… frankly. If I want to go through red traffic lights, cycle on the pavements, and assert my libertarian rights, I shall damn well do so.”

“Correct answer. Well done!” Strangelove said, banging his hand down on one of those old bells found on hotel reception desks in 1950s American movies used by guests to attract the attention of the psychopath who ran the joint.

“Finally… our maxim at Muttley Dastardly LLP is ‘Strength & Profits’. How do you feel about lawyers making exemplary amounts of money during their careers?”

The young man, more confident after his last answer, replied “A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi – a precipice in front, wolves behind. I want to be a wolf.”

“Young man,” Stranglove replied, a hint of amusement in his voice. “Welcome to Muttley Dastardly LLP. You may remove the paper bag.”

Rive Gauche: A special kind of stupid?


Plane makes emergency landing after ‘drunk naked man demanded sex with flight attendant’

It would be marvellous if you would like an ad on my  blog for life for £40.  I plan to blog for many years and the blog gets good traffic so your advert will be seen and clicked on. £40 for life.  DM or Email me if you would like a slot.


I am sure I will find some law somewhere on the web… this being a ‘law’ blog etc etc…

Instruments of Torture

Instruments of Torture
Tom Tyson (@MaltonTom)

It is a Sunday afternoon. I am sitting watching rugby and wondering when it was last when the put-in to a scrum was supposed to be straight. It is one of those minor, petty injustices that annoys me, perhaps disproportionately; the side in power, in the ascendency, sneaking an unpalatable and unnecessary advantage.

I am also, sad as I am, preparing a lecture on the proposed changes to housing legislation. Whilst doing so, a remarkable statistic crosses my desktop. In the years 1998-2010, the number of statutory instruments averaged 1,894 per annum.

Statutory Instruments are queer little beasts.

They are regulations, commencements of statute and other matters (closures and re-opening of trunk roads are popular). They are laid on the table of the House and not subject to amendment.

The LibDems in the House of Lords are attempting to spike the cuts to tax credits by throwing the Regulations back to the House of Commons, causing a (minor) constitutional crisis. This post is not, however, about tax credits.

Reading the Housing and Planning Bill 2015 is a depressing process. The Conservatives made a manifesto commitment to allow more social housing tenants to exercise the right to buy. By way of minor digression, solving a housing crisis by increasing demand and reducing supply is something I simply do not understand. But the ‘detail’ of the vague policy commitment is in the H&P Bill.

The ‘detail’ is little more than a framework for the responsible Secretary of State to make “Regulations” (Statutory Instruments) toensure that such properties are sold, at what price and how much rent should be charged to those in social housing fortunate enough not to rely on tax credits.

The Bill is therefore a broad framework of powers granted to the government to devise a system that suits them and which cannot later be challenged in Parliament. That is my concern, the lack of scrutiny of the detail of this Bill. After enactment, there will be no scrutiny. Any profit made by sales, and increased rents appears to go straight back to the Secretary of State; any financial support the other way “may” be by way of a “grant”. It is a one-way street to exacerbate a housing crisis universally acknowledged to exist. But the constitutional questions are much wider. Cross-benchers (Law Lords) discussing Regulations under LASPO said they must have been ‘asleep’ when similar enabling powers were granted.

Those powers have seen the wholesale denial of access to justice for the vulnerable; court fees have increased to the price where only the rich or the desperate (or both) can afford to go to law.

Government by Regulation relies on trust of those in power. Trusting them to use the powers vested in them by Primary Legislation to do. As an addendum, the average annual number of statutory instruments from 2010-2015 is 3,240 p.a. They cannot all be trunk roads. So it must be that, increasingly, we are governed b unchallenged and unchallengeable executive whim.


With thanks to @CharonQC for enabling this rant

P.S. The Housing and Planning Bill does propose to “reduce Regulation” in Chapter 4 Part 3 by way of “Regulations”. Just in case you thought I was making all this up.

Return to Perth, Scotland with a battered old iMac computer

I went to school at Trinity College Glenalmond – Now Glenalmond College – about ten miles from Perth where I am staying presently,  making up my mind where I want to live – Perth, Crieff or The Isle of Arran on the West Coast. I have been rather ill and unable to work for about ten days with recurrent malaria which I have had for 40 years after picking it up when I worked as a field exploration assistant to geologists in Zambia.  I read geology before changing to Law.

I am trying to drum up some work as I have used up my resources – so, if you would like an advert on my blog for life for £40 do, please, let me know by DM on twitter or by email.  My email is at the top of the blog on the right hand side.

I have long wanted to return to Scotland and it feels good to be back.  I have given all my furniture and paintings to my family in London.   I have no need of them now.  All I need is is one suitcase – a battered old iMac computer, a camera, some shoes and clothes!

I want to write, blog, paint and take photographs.  I worked hard for many years – enjoyed founding BPP Law School with BPP Holdings PLC,  and enjoyed working there as the first Chief Executive for five years.  Later years brought mixed fortunes and I lost all my money on setting up internet professional education courses, net television for lawyers and a host of other net based ventures.  First in does not always win.  I have no regrets.

It would be marvellous if you would like an ad on my  blog for life for £40.  I plan to blog for many years and the blog gets good traffic so your advert will be seen and clicked on. £40 for life.  DM or Email me if you would like a slot. 



UK Law Blogs Review 2 – October

Anna Raccoon: Cops on The Box: “Occasionally, a debate in the snug or a confidential chat with a regular can lead to another post, as is the case with this one. When Gildas recently expressed an interest in writing a piece on US police dramas of the 1970s, I recalled a post last year by Moor Larkin which did just that. Gildas took a look and decided to write eloquently on the un-glamorous world of the downbeat British spy of the same era, ‘Callan’. This then left a vacancy for a look back at the way in which British TV portrayed the police in the 70s, and I guess it’s left to me to fill it……”

Clare Rodway: The Conversation – “(Re)insurance specialist Ed Lewis is guiding us all through cyberspace. This forward-thinking lawyer in the EC3 team at Weightmans is working hard to raise awareness, particularly in the insurance industry, of how seismic the change is that the internet age is bringing, both in terms of how we do business and the legal issues and risks that surround it. Cars increasingly resemble digital devices (before you even mention driverless ones). Services businesses store pretty much their entire intellectual capital in cyber space these days. “The business world has silently slipped into cyber space over the last decade with most people still not really understanding the legal and risk consequences that arise from this” Ed says.

“In essence it’s quite simple” he tells me. “It’s about all the old familiar risks, just manifesting in new ways. The mistake is often made that “cyber risk” exists in a separate space from other insurable risks. But it is pervasive. The “cyber” revolution impacts every aspect of our business and personal lives.”
Jonathan Mitchell QC – Scots Law and Legal Practice: Judicial Conduct And Complaints – “Last month, the Scottish judiciary launched an excellent new website (even the reliably-bilious Peter Cherbi described it as ‘quite good’!). It has a great deal of material which was previously inaccessible, ranging from all travel and subsistence expenses claimed by individual salaried judicial office holders1 to summaries of significant sentencing statements in the courts; even a Twitter feed, for the benefit of journalists rather than lawyers or the public. An enormous improvement on the tired and convolutedScottish Courts Service website, the site shows care at every level. One small but politically-significant example is the domain, which as Iain Nisbet has explained is sensibly ‘org.uk’ rather than the governmental ‘gov.uk’: something the UK Supreme Court couldn’t manage in spite of cogent judicial criticism2. Something I particularly liked is the use at many points of FAQs.The matters I’d like to draw attention to here, however, are these: the publication of the new ‘Statement of Principles of Judicial Ethics for the Scottish Judiciary‘, formerly available only in samizdatform since April, and the implementation of an interim complaints procedure……”The Magistrates’ Blog – There Are Cracks Appearing In The DamI have had my say about the Courts’ Charge, and I have heard more than enough recitals of the MoJ line about those who use the courts…nada nada nada, but yesterday’s Times piece by Jenni Russell was especially persuasive.  (sorry Rupert, but I do have a sub to your organ)

I think that this will get sorted out. Grayling remains beneath contempt.

Gove must reverse this court charge scandal
Jenni Russell

“The justice secretary knows that penalising those least able to pay is unfair and unworkable.

Chris Grayling, the former justice secretary, came up with a brilliant wheeze earlier this year to help fund Britain’s courts at a time of budget cuts. His solution was to get criminals to pay substantial sums towards the running costs, with those contesting their charges paying the most. Since April everyone found guilty in a magistrates’ or crown court would be automatically charged £150-£1,200 on top of any fines, prosecution costs or victim surcharges, and regardless of ability to pay.
Perhaps it looked good on paper. The Ministry of Justice estimated that it would raise £95 million a year. In practice, a source tells me, it’s delivering “significantly less…….”
Obiter J : Law and LawyersConcern over amended Ministerial Code: “
On a new Ministerial Code three vital Ministerial duties appear to have been removed – Ministerial Code October 2015.They are the duties to uphold:1.  International law

2.  Treaty obligations

3.  The Administration of Justice.

What remains is a duty to comply with the law and to protect the integrity of public life.

It may be that compliance with the law is to be taken to include international law and treaty obligations but the matter is no longer as clear as it was.  Protecting the integrity of public life might include the administration of justice but that is also far from clear…..”

And Simon Myerson QC on his Pupillage And How To Get It nlog  is always a good read: How to Deal with Creepy Compliments
“It occurred to me that the much discussed outing of a solicitor who liked Charlotte Proudman’s linked in picture might provide a teachable moment.I am perfectly prepared to accept that his message was an act of blatant sexism. I don’t see it quite like that myself – but why should I? I’m a man. I don’t get menaced by considerably older people saying inappropriate stuff, and while I’d be perfectly happy to call it creepy and move on, not everyone is forced to adopt that approach, especially if it is genuinely the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I do think he was trying it on. The ex post facto “I simply meant that it was a professional photo” is about as good as “I bought it off a man in a pub whose name I don’t remember”.I wouldn’t express myself as Charlotte did either, but in my view, junior members of the Bar almost invariably use high falutin’ language  when simplicity is better. I did as well. In my case it was something to do with being slightly overawed that someone was actually prepared to rely on my opinion and thinking that involved sentence structure and big words added weight. Plus which, there was the hope that the complexity of the whole would prevent clients seeing the Emperor’s new clothes content. So, aggravating but not an offence.Nor am I particularly bothered that this generated a complaint to the firm and the SRA. Both are big enough to say “Thanks. We’ve undertaken a detailed investigation in 30 seconds. He does a good job for his clients. You are entitled to be offended but that doesn’t mean he should be disciplined.” Or, if they’ve taken leave of their senses, or are as frightened of publicity as the craven UCL was in the Tim Hunt affair (or, to be honest, if I’m wrong), they could discipline him.

My concern regarding barristers is that this was published for all the world to see. I have a real problem with ‘outing’ anyone. It unleashes the torrent of vile and disgusting people who, lacking lives of their own, make up for a self-esteem shortfall by being vicious on social media. Barristers with experience in criminal or family work have almost always seen this in action……”


UK Law Blogs Review 1 – October

I thought I would occupy and amuse myself at the Salvation Army hostel in Perth where I am staying after a bout of unpleasant recurrent malaria by doing a review of recent posts from some of UK Law blogs.  I’ll try and cover all the better known blogs.  I may do this in several posts over the course of the weekend.

First up is my friend Jerry Hayes – barrister and ex MP –  who always amuses on his excellent blog.  This is typical of the ‘genre’.  He is always well worth reading.


Carl Gardner on his Head of Legal blog writes: Fraud unravels all: the Supreme Court divorce judgments in Sharland and Gohil

The Supreme Court has today given two judgments (Sharland v Sharland, and Gohil v Gohil) about re-opening divorce settlements on the grounds of fraud. Sharland lays down a new test in cases involving fraud, which should mean more settlements are reopened in future…..


David Allen Green writes: Michael Gove “picks a fight” over the MoJ’s Saudi contract bid: the background

The overnight news was dramatic: the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, has “picked a fight” in Cabinet.

And the subject of this political spat?

It would appear that it is the commercial bid by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to assist the prison service of Saudi Arabia, something I have been blogging about here and at the FT since January…….

John Bolch on Family Lore: Human Rights Explained In A Beautiful Two Minute Animation

John Flood on RATs: The Law of Legal Services


I am doing a full coverage in short blog posts rather than one long post. Back with more later. 

Getting back to blogging after a bout of recent illness

Getting back to blogging after a bout of recent illness – recurrent malaria and other complications.  Now sorted.

If you would like to advertise on my blog – I can do a one off deal for £40 for life.  New or existing clients can take this offer up! Send me an email if you would like to take this offer up.

Now…there must be some law about which I can comment on.  I think I will do a UK Law Blog Review this weekend…. and see what my fellow bloggers are up to.

I am risen…like Lazarus….

I am in Perth, Scotland  in a Salvation Army hostel after a bout of rather nasty recurrent malaria.  I can’t seem to get onto twitter for the moment. The hostel doesn’t have a net connection so I am on a dongle.  It seems to work on sites other than twitter…unless twitter is down for the present.

Back to blogging soon.  Nearly recovered.


Back on Twitter now… good to be back on..,..


Thank you

I would like to say Thank You to those who have helped me recently.  They know who they are and are kind people.  I have been unwell – recurrent malaria and I am still suffering from it.  It will pass soon,

I’ll get back to blogging soon!