Excercise while smoking “Smokedo” – The Art of Smokexcercising

WARNING: Do not try this at home without first consulting a specialist like me.  This is only for professionals or for those who have been given the secret scrolls of Smokedo

I can tell you this though, when I have completed the drills, I shall be a lot fitter and slimmer.  It is working…. ripping that flab as I type.

Well on that note… as I clearly appear to have lost the plot… I have to go into a trance like state now, drink a few glasses of Rioja and spend some time with my paint brushes and watercolour pad.

Have an excellent week.

Regards as always

Sensei Charonaka

Smokedo Master
30aday Dan

Rive Gauche: Ex-Biglaw Partner Sues Over ‘Destroyed’ Reputation Thanks To Overbilling Scandal

Ex-Biglaw Partner Sues Over ‘Destroyed’ Reputation Thanks To Overbilling Scandal

It’s been three years since DLA Piper’sbilling practices came into question and made big waves thanks to a litigated billing dispute between the Biglaw firm and a former client. Normally, such a pedestrian suit wouldn’t have produced major headlines in the mainstream media, but this case was different — this case involved serious allegations of a “sweeping practice of overbilling,” supported by internal emails from DLA Piper that were peppered with phrases like “[t]hat bill shall know no limits,” and “churn that bill, baby!”

DLA Piper quickly denied that any overbilling had occurred and denounced the emails in question as “an offensive and inexcusable effort at humor.” The lawsuit between DLA Piper and Adam Victor, an energy industry executive who’d been accused of not paying his legal bills, has long since been quietly settled.

Read the rest…and marvel 


Back to painting again…canvases…not walls…

I am going back to painting – sensible and mildly odd…. my paints etc are being posted to me from London. Have missed painting.


Here are a few lines on a piece of paper…

I’ve been studying minimalism over the weekend – I think I shall turn this into a very large painting… won’t take long. It’s not an original concept, of course – this style is used in fashion art, where I drew the influence from.  It could look quite striking on white canvas about 6ft x 3ft?

I do, however, have to try my idea of making a life size torso and head of a barrister out of wire coat hangers first.  I suspect that this may prove beyond me… we shall soon find out.  I have to buy some wire clippers and solder.  This will give me an opportunity to buy one of those welding torches….



And here I am using my new Pay As You Go Phone… not very good….in fact, useless…


Chef Charon (Neuf Stars Chef) talks from Maison Charon en Glasgow

When I start ze restaurant Maison Charon, I specify that ze entrance must have ze big glass doors, pas de valeur architecturale… zut alors!… non!…. mais… so my maître d‘ can see ze punters coming in more ways than one.

You English have ze saying… less is more… I take zis to my heart….so in Maison Charon…. we are, how you say…. minimaliste…. minimal decoration, minimal service and ze minimal portions pour la haute gastronomie.  You English have been watching too much of ze Masterchef avec Chef Michel Roux, so I am more than happy to, how you say, fart about with your food and construct ze tours absurde on ze plate and smear ze sauce avec merit artistique. Zis allows me to give you less and charge more…. you see?… I am anglophile!

It is also important… pour ze clientele who frequente Maison Charon zat I ensure there is bollocks complète on ze menu, so I hire l’expert en marketing to write zebollocks complète to describe ze dishes I prepare.  Zis is one exception to ze ‘less is more’ rule.. here… more description means we can serve less…..

I give un exemple of how less is a lot more.  Zere is a chef in Denmark… Chef Rene Redzepi of Noma…. amusingly ze best restaurant in ze world… mon dieu!…… and he collects ze seaweed, berries, grasses and other delectations du nature, serves zem up on a plate and… Voila!….. ze hyperventilation of ze clientele est superbe!.

I do zis at Maison Charon..only se ozzer day. I send a sous chef to Wandsworth Roundabout and Hyde Park  avec a book on  foraging and say I want grass, berries, anything edible…..   I get anuzzer sous chef to go to B&Q to buy some Welsh slate roof tiles et Voila!…. ze Cuisine naturelle a La Suède. I wanted to put ze description a La Pseuede… mais…. maître d‘ he says to me…. “Chef Charon… you have eighteen Michelin stars to your name…. even though you give them to yourself… this is a step too far….. to mock ze punter is Le Sport… to ridicule ze punter is not good business.”  So… with free ingredients from Wandsworth Roundabout, a few absurd smears of sauces, berries arranged at each corner of ze welsh slate from B& Q and much pantomime from maître d‘… we serve three tiles of grass, and edible leaves and berries and charge £38.50 per portion…. who needs an amuse-bouche when one can do zat?!

Ze best part?…. when I come from le cuisine...to le salon de la gastronomie….avec mon chapeau de chef on my head to take ze adulation of ze punters…. and tell zem how much they have enjoyed l’experience du Maison Charon.….. and tell zem we take ze  AMEX.   Aussi… I try very hard not to drop my fake  accent français

I wish you all a Joyeux New Year

Chef Charon

West London Man – The series – with sound files. I’m writing some new episodes.


Tuesday December 29th 2015  

West London Man (24) : Diamonds are not forever
15th January 2009
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (23) : Half baked Alaska?
16th November 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (22) : It is crunch time
1st October 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (21) : Upwardly beautiful and officialdom
4th August 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (20) : A trip to Sainsbury’s
2nd August 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (19) : A short holiday in Padstow, Cornwall
29th July 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (18) : Der Peitsche
13th July 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (17) : Jolly Snorting Weather….
7th July 2007

Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (16): “I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.”
3rd July 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (15): 15 – love to George…
29th June 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (14): Royal Ascot – First Day
17th June 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (13): Friday 13th…
13th June 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (12): Panic buying
10th June2008
Text Version
West London Man (11): Biscuits
10th June 2008
Text Version | Audio Version

West London Man (10): Caroline talks to a friend….
5th June 2008
Text Version
West London Man (9): Short suits and other matters…
June 3rd 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (8): Legal advice…
25th May 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (7): Pre-dinner….
25th May 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (6): At home…
20th May 2008
Text Version
West London Man (5): To Lords for a spot of cricket…
17th May 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (4): A bit of gazundering…
17th May 2008
Text Version
West London Man (3): Talks Stagflation….
16th May 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (2): A trip to Lords is coming up…
13th May 2008
Text Version | Audio Version
West London Man (1): With the first hot weekend of summer…
13th May 2008
Text Version | Audio Version

Chef Charon’s Boeuf Buggerorf.

With no money to buy food because The Co-op Bank is useless and I haven’t had my PIN after a theft from my bank account – plenty of money in the account, though. (A new card had to be issued) – I thought it appropriate to tender Chef Charon’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon…

A recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon done in a slow cooker or ‘crockpot’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garlic and chive mash

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

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

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

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




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?)



H M The Queen – marvellous photograph and Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo is reflective…

I like this photograph.  The composition is excellent and the clever use of a black background and four views draws the eye and the eye lingers on it.

cardinalcharoni2augAnd… not to be outdone..here is one of Charon QC’s Italian cousinsCardinal Charoni di Tempranillo in a reflective pose with a red hat on – under which he keeps a bottle of red. In nomine Patris et fillii et Spiritus Sancti  as he often says when he pops over for a smoke.  When I say ‘he pops over’ he likes to think he lives in Italy, but, in fact,  he lives in Soho at Little Italy…I am advised by the Metropolitan Commissioner who keeps an eye on him.  The Commissioner remarked, acerbically, Charoni di Tempranillo is quite easy to keep tabs on – it is the red hat, it helps us greatly when we look at all our CCTV footage and Crimewatch reports to see if we have actually caught any law breakers this week.


I am sitting in a hotel room in Holborn keeping myself amused by blogging and watching BBC news – before my escape to the North and thence to Scotland…the wifi is working…the plastic card which is used to gain entry to the security doors on the 4th floor and my room is not that good.  It doesn’t always work.  I have had four cards given to me.  The hotel manager smiled wryly – politely, even – when I remarked, enthusiastically, to cheer him up – that we could do with Jack Nicholson to visit with his axe.  He knew how to get into a room.

The Man in a Hat reports on Lord Coke – WARNING – The story may make you ‘snort’.

There is only so much marvelling at the human condition that a man in a hat can do – but this story about “Lord Coke” is a ‘ripper’ and may make you ‘snort’ ?

Lord Coke: Top peer’s drug binges with £200 prostitutes

…And he’s the the one in charge of standards

The Sun reports :

A MARRIED peer in charge of upholding standards in the House of Lords has been caught on video snorting cocaine with a pair of £200-a-night hookers.

Baron John Sewel, 69 — Deputy Speaker of the Lords and once a key ally of ex-PM Tony Blair — stripped naked for one sleazy romp at his rent-protected London flat.

Last month he was also pictured snorting coke with hookers at a sordid sex party after asking: “What about trying the big one?”

The peer, in charge of upholding standards in the House of Lords, sniffed the Class A drug from one call girl’s breasts.

And he told the women — each paid £200 for the session at his rent-protected London flat: “I just want to be led astray.’’

Perhaps Lord Coke could just take it with a pinch of something….coke?


“It is literally the case that learning languages makes you smarter. The neural networks in the brain strengthen as a result of language learning.”

Michael Gove
Perhaps the Lord Chancellor should learn some law?  It would certainly make him ‘smarter’ when it comes to dealing with law and the legal profession? It may also be an idea for him to trust the legal professionals?  Asking for a friend…


Statement from The Bunker – Ignorance of the law excuses no man from impersonating a Lord Chancellor


I have seen the original sculpture in situ and I am not sure that my ‘modification’ adds much to the sum of human achievement…but be that as it may.  It is the period between Christmas and the new year and there is not a lot of law about…. being that I continue to pass myself off as a ‘law blogger’. I will get back to LAW in the new year. There will be much to write about and our revered Lord Chancellor KillaBurglar Grayling will, inevitably, provide some humour for me to write about.  He is unlikely to advance the cause of ‘Justice’, however you define it, forward.  Hopefully, it being election year next year, he will be returned to the back benches…in opposition.

Ignorance of the law excuses no man — from practicing it. Adison Mizner – to which may be added…’Or impersonating a Lord Chancellor in Britain’.


Well…there we are.  Back on the morrow…


Rive Gauche: A few paintings wot I did in the past….Happy Chrimbo etc etc…

I did paint ‘reasonably’ sensibly while at School well back into the last Century.  I am going to start painting again in the New Year.  It is unlikely that I will paint sensibly…. more of this sort of thing, I suspect:

But I may also do a few in this ‘style’….

Or even…this style…

I’ll Passmore on this (2009)
Oil on Canvas

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

Au revoir for now... I am certain that I shall post on the morrow…I am not a great fan of Chrimbo…

Chris Grayling Lord Chancellor impersonator – At it again? I marvel…

Mr Chris Grayling MP is a remarkable politician. He has done some unusual things while in office. I am probably not alone in wondering how Mr Grayling managed to become a Lord Chancellor impersonator.

Do, please, read the Twitter timeline from David Allen Green.  You deserve a laugh.

And I do like this tweet from Jon Whitfield QC : “Cut the crap – what about this bit?? “so unfair as to result in illegality.” All familiar to CG – unlawful, unjust, unfair.”


And also this tweet from  ‏@CatarinaSjolin  : @MoJPress Perhaps try reading paragraph 50 of the judgment again (which finishes “The failure was so unfair as to result in illegality”).


I posted about Mr Grayling fairly recently. I never tire of posting about Mr Grayling  – who, it has to be said, clearly enjoys hitting the dressing up box from time to time to be a Lord Chancellor.  Who said that comic opera is dead?  Alive and kicking at The Ministry of Justice…clearly.

Mr Grayling MP, aka Lord Chancellor Grayling, is probably not one of the great Lord Chancellors.  As he is not burdened by any significant knowledge of law this may explain it.  Still… let us look on the bright side. An election is coming soon.  His skills could well be put to better use elsewhere.  Italy perhaps?  China?

And here is Mr Grayling again…making off with the robes of a Lord Chancellor…

I marvel… I really do marvel…

A new comment on the post “Photobomb du Jour…” is waiting for your approval



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I don’t need to add anything to this…

The Times we live in…. bring back hanging? Dear gawd….. whatever next?

[I thought it was worth digging this post back up from the past]

#Hackgate continues with coverage of possible computer hacking in the papers this morning Yesterday Christopher Jefferies, the man ‘monstered’ in some tabloids as the suspect in the Yates murder, has won substantial damages from eight newspapers and The Lord Chief Justice has handed down a very critical judgment holding The Mirror and The Sun in contempt of court

The Guardian reports:

Earlier on Friday, Jefferies accepted substantial libel damages from eight newspapers – including the Daily Mirror and the Sun – over stories relating to his arrest.

In the contempt ruling handed down at the high court on Friday, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Owen described the Daily Mirror articles as “extreme” and “substantial risks to the course of justice”.

The judges said the Sun’s coverage of Jefferies created a “very serious risk” that any future court defence would be damaged.

“These articles [in the Sun] would have certainly justified an abuse of process argument, and although their effect is not as grave as that of two series of articles contained in the Mirror, the vilification of Mr Jefferies created a very serious risk that the preparation of his defence would be damaged,” the judges said. “At the time when this edition of the Sun was published it created substantial risks to the course of justice. It therefore constituted a contempt under the strict liability rule.”

Attorney-General Dominic Grieve led the prosecution himself, unusually, and appears, rightly, to be taking a very hard line on the issue of contempt of court in relation to press and media reporting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Gaunt is, apparently, a columnist…

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

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

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

UPDATE Sunday 31 July 2011

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

Yes.. this is right…

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

Hanging’s Too Good For ‘Em

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


[I thought it was worth digging this post back up from the past]

Lord Chancellor Grayling – an epic career in progress or a crime scene in progress?

Mr Grayling MP, aka Lord Chancellor Grayling, is probably not one of the great Lord Chancellors.  As he is not burdened by any significant knowledge of law this may explain it.  Still… let us look on the bright side. An election is coming soon.  His skills could well be put to better use elsewhere.  Italy perhaps?  China?

At least the Prime Minister didn’t break in.. so Rule of Law in safe hands with the Tories (?)

David Cameron criticised for PR stunt in home of suspected illegal immigrants

Critics say it was improper and in bad taste for prime minister to pose for photos in Slough home after raid by border officials

David Cameron has been criticised for posing for photographs in the home of people suspected of immigration offences as part of a PR stunt aimed at showcasing the coalition’s toughness on illegal entrants to the country.

The prime minister was pictured in what appears to have been the kitchen and living room of a home in Slough where four men, thought to be Albanian, were detained by border officials.

His attendance at the raid was attacked by Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, who said it was at the very least “bad taste and constitutionally inappropriate for elected politicians to intervene in law enforcement”.

“Who gave Mr Cameron permission to look round these premises? Being prime minister doesn’t give you the right to enter private property willy-nilly,” she said. “Are we going to see politicians electioneering by taking part in immigration searches?”


I continue to marvel…. but at least he didn’t break in…. did he? Surely not?!

Read the article

Giving up smoking?

Having just recalled the advice of an old friend on Twitter…”If there is a plot…let us go and lose it.” – I took the advice and came up with some nonsense to hang on my wall.  I am using E-cigarettes in a vain attempt to give up smoking.  I have many of these E-cigarettes.  The conclusion I draw from this is…that my attempt to give up smoking is not going terribly well.

Well….at least I can put the used e-cigarettes to some good.  Am I getting the hang of this recycling thing?

Fence with Nosy Neighbour: Charon F**kArt painting.

I appear, still, to be using my time ‘wisely’.  I am painting a garden fence for the friends I am staying with.  I could not resist translating this rather unusual activity (for me) into a painting to add to my collection of F*ckArt nonsense.

I shall call this “Fence with Nosy Neighbour” (Not that neighbour is nosy).


The fence is the colour  in the painting.  Bright!  In fact, the paint I used is the fence paint.


Mind you – this ‘painting’ could equally be entitled “Surveillance Society”


The show goes on…Monsieur Grayling still Lord Chancellor…

I just fancied giving this old post of mine another airing. It would appear that  Monsieur Grayling LC is still hitting the dressing up box and  masquerading as Lord Chancellor….


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

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

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

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

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

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

As I return to blogging – I shall get fit with “Smokedo”

Now that my spinal injury (sustained when I tripped on a bathmat and fell backwards into a bath) is almost healed – I plan to return to decent fitness by walking and practising the noble art of “Smokedo” – doing exercises while smoking.

I cover this in an earlier blog post – http://www.charonqc.co.uk/2009/04/26/26th-april-postcard-from-the-house-of-lords/

Back to regular blogging and podcasting and a bit of Wonga greed….

Now that my spine injury is healing well – I will be back to blogging and podcasting from Monday – perhaps…even on the morrow if something surreal comes up – apart from Wonga  paying out £2.6 million quids  to compensate 45,000 customers after it sent threatening letters from non-existent law firms.

Even Muttley Dastardly LLP didn’t manage to think up a stunt like that!   One really has to laugh at the  stupidity and vapidity… greed is good? 

Back to blogging and podcasting….

I am now able to start blogging and podcasting again.  Missed it with the past injury.

And so I start with a gentleman from China who thinks he is “Charon QC”

On 11 Jun 2014, at 05:00, jiangzhihai wrote:

Dear Sirs,

Our company based in chinese office, our company has submitted the “charonqc  ” as CN(.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) domain name and Internet Keyword, we are waiting for Mr. Jim’s approval. We think this name is very important for our products in Chinese market. Even though Mr. Jim advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name.

Best regards

Jiang zhihai


I replied that it would provide some amusement for me to do a bit of satire if he is daft enough to use the name.

Onwards and upwards…as they say in Nuneaton.

Returning to regular blogging on the morrow

In the meantime… a view from my sardonic past….

Charon QC on Tea Making,  4th Supplement to the 29th Edition (Maninahat Press) £780 + VAT

“This inter-disciplinary and seminally important update to the 29th edition of this internationally acclaimed tractatus from leading and  very contemporary law diva, Charon QC, explores the commoditisation of law students from the academic stage of legal education all the way through to the industrial tribunal when they are finally fired by their law firm as 50 year old partners. Given recent Government reviews and consultations, resulting in access to justice being withdrawn from all save for wealthy injunctioneers and footballers unable to engage their brains before exercising their membrum virilis, commoditisation of law students  is very much an issue exercising the public agenda and ‘direction of travel’ at present. Charon QC deftly  argues that most discourse in legal education, and indeed the profession, is driven by sociological perspectives  involving large amounts of  money.  His aim is to interrogate the supply and demand of paid work for law students through a wider range of disciplines including tea making, flipping burgers, flogging off Olympic memorabiliatat and sandwich boarding. This is laudable, as complex social issues like failed expectation demands a truly interdisciplinary analysis and given the broad range of opportunities now available to law students within law firms, other than actual employment as a lawyer,  Charon QC, remarkably, despite his fondness for the nectar of the gods, has succeeded in producing a largely coherent, integrated and well organised volume that should be of interest to a diverse readership.  We, at Muttley Dastardly LLP, are certainly interested in providing opportunities for highly qualified law students who understand the intricacies of the Japanese tea making ceremony or chadō (茶道) as The Partners at Muttley Dastardly call it.”

I commend this volume to the world urbi et orbi – a bodice ripper of a book from The Diva!

Dr Erasmus Strangelove MA  (Oxon), MBA, Ph.d, FRSA, Barrister, Director of Psyops, Education and Strategy, Muttley Dastardly LLP


My ‘Brother’ Professor R.D.Charon wrote this some years ago

While my younger brother grapples with the technical aspects of wordpress and works out how to give me posting rights under my own ‘moniker’ I shall post with my avatar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

R D Charon

Well…I spliced the main brace last night and ended up three sheets to the wind.

The United States and The United Kingdom – Peoples divided by a common language? 

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

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


Of course…we all understand the above phrases..but how many of us know where they come from? An excellent book “Red Herrings and White Elephants” by Albert Jack will make all clear. Available at Waterstones and all our other favourite legal bookshops…hopefully, still available.



#SAVEUKJUSTICE – A few observations…some sardonic 

A message from Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo ? Absolutionally not!

It is some years since I invited a cousin – Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo –  to write on my blog.

This is what he wrote last time…. it will give you a clue as to why I have not invited him to write again….

“For many years the Church enjoyed power, prestige, influence, great wealth and the private pleasures of the flesh by preying on the superstition and lack of education of the people it sought to have power over.  King Henry VIII started the rot by getting rid of the Pope and grabbing the land and wealth owned by the Church under the wonderful euphemism of ‘Reformation’ to set up a model more convenient to his politico-legal needs to establish a dynasty. Now we share with our brethren in other faiths, a world of converts much diminished by education, and seek to convert the remaining ill educated peoples of the world to our ways.

We have had some success but the internet, the spread of television and people like Hitchens and Dawkins flogging their God Delusion books through Amazon and all good bookshops has made it much more difficult to pass the collection plate around on Sundays – although we are doing good trade in‘Weddings in Church for the modern godless couple’, particularly in our more ‘historic’ churches and…. we have upped the stakes by doing wine tastings on Sunday mornings and slipping in a bit of absolution and a complimentary wafer  as our congregation sips the wine.

I am often asked if I believe in God.  I smile beningnly, raise my arms to the heavens and say ‘God is within us all’… which usually does the business.   Now, if you forgive me, I have matters to attend to… we are developing a package for governments that are running out of money to pay their police and armed forces.  We have a working title for it… ‘Operation Put the Fear of God back into your people’.

In the name of the  Father… the son….

Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo”

The truly honourable who turn down absurd British honours…

The truly honourable who turn down absurd British honours…


I am not a fan of the British Honours system.  I can see no reason at all to call someone ‘Sir Basil” or “Dame Edna”… let alone the absurdity of ‘Lord / lady’.

Fortunately, I don’t need to – and won’t.

Also time to get rid of titles for all judges – gives the impression that they are not independent?  Some think so – as is their right…still… in Britain.  Why do we need a ‘Lord’ Chief Justice?  Chief Justice has far more impact.

I can’t imagine that judges need a title to do a decent job.  Ipso facto, why bother with the title?

But I do have some sensible advice for those contemplating a career in the law…

Postcard from The Bunker…. (1)

Finally recovering from a daft injury sustained when I tripped on a bathmat while shaving and fell backwards into the bath, cracking my spine.,  I can, at last, type with some accuracy and no pain.  Whether this advance will do anything to the cause of informing and commenting on the laws of our country is not for me to consider.

Nor is it for me or anyone else to consider calling for the abolition of The Monarchy – or even thinking about it?  For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Grayling, I am not and  never have been a member of the communist party, nor have I ever had the temerity to think in private or in public about the abolition of The Monarchy  etc etc. It is possible that my brain may have toyed with such thoughts when I was asleep – but I can hardly be responsible –  or have any of that old mens rea schtik –  while I am asleep.

The Ministry of Justice appears to be right up to the mark with ‘efficiency undreamed of in a modern state’  by managing to get ‘confused’ as to what laws in relation to the above are or are not still in force.

The Guardian makes the point: “A 165-year-old law that threatens anyone calling for the abolition of the monarchy with life imprisonment is technically still in force – after the Ministry of Justice admitted wrongly announcing that it had been repealed.”

It would appear that the Lord Chancellor has some competition when it comes to giving advice on the law: Helston pub affray conviction ‘unsafe’ as court bailiff slammed

Still…I suppose it must be difficult for the Lord Chancellor – not being a lawyer himself – to keep a grip on all this ‘law stuff’.

But the good news…demonstrating beyond doubt that the Lord Chancellor is concerned with law reform: “Among 327 offences that have recently been purged from the statute book was that of “being an incorrigible rogue”, under the Vagrancy Act 1824.”

But, be that as it may.  On to other matters….

First up is a question which has been on my mind, unanswered,  for many years – now solved by this helpful article: What does the Queen’s ‘warden of the swans’ actually do? (Phone hacking has had some benefits.)

I enjoyed this blog post: 

A simply appalling scheme

 Lloyds Banking Group has been fined £28m by the Financial Conduct Authority for simply awful management of staff.

To ensure that Britain continues to lead the way when it comes to matters of criminal Law, Legal Futures notesEntrepreneur-backed Defence Hub promises to “revolutionise” criminal defence market

I shall sleep easy in my bed this night knowing that all is well in matters of criminal defence and ‘hubs’.

And what about this – just to make us feel ‘Christmassy’? 

The Lawmakers riding roughshod over democracy .  It would appear Lord Sumption is right: legal activism devalues the demos.

But hey… while I am on what I am pleased to call ‘a roll’  – what about this from Legal Cheek?Frontman of company seeking to ‘revolutionise’ criminal law makes grammatically incorrect bestiality slur against bemused barrister

Back later.  I have to replenish supplies from the high street.

The #Reinventlaw conference is underway asking about the future of law… is this it?

The #Reinventlaw conference is underway asking about the future of law… is this it? 

I do hope not… still.. the delegates seem to be having fun…. and this is fine by me.

I am told that the hashtag #Reinventlaw is trending in Little Wallop..and this is also good.

Have a good weekend.  And do keep an eye out for those G4S vans in your area…





Is the Lord Chancellor mistaken….and about to be shuffled orf to Belfast as Sec of State NI?

I am grateful to The Criminal Bar Association for drawing attention to this from Hansard

I have taken the liberty of extracting the relevant passage to save you the trouble of scrolling down to find it.  It would appear that Mr Grayling – who some say is not an expert in knowing arse from elbow – is not fully aware of the distinction between the Bar Council and The Criminal Bar Association

Valerie Vaz (Walsall South) (Lab):Will the Leader of the House ask the Lord Chancellor to come to the House to explain his flawed policy on legal aid? He refuses to meet the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, the Law Society is threatening legal action, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls are against it, and it undermines the English legal system. We need a statement or a debate in Government time.

Mr Lansley:I sat here with my right hon. and hon. Friends during Justice questions a few days ago when almost exactly the same point was made to them, and I heard them reply and say how often they meet the Criminal Bar Association and others and that they had done so recently. I will, of course, draw their attention to what the hon. Lady has said, but I heard them say that it is not true that they are not discussing this issue with those affected.

I marvel – The CBA say that Grayling refuses to meet with them and Michael Turner QC.  – Astonishing…

It would be good if Mr Grayling could meet Mr Michael Turner QC , Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association,  for a chat….. he will be better informed on his legal aid reform schtik..

Perhaps Mr Grayling, Lord High Chancellor….may like to listen to my podcast with Michael Turner QC to get a bit of arse from elbow briefing action before talking to Mr Turner?

Tour Report #21: Podcast with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, on the legal aid reforms

Postcard from The Staterooms: “Check your porridge”, Mr Mount?

Cartoon by Charles Pugsley Fincher J.D. a Texas lawyer and artist

Dear Reader,

My Vapidity Beyond The Call Of Duty award for last week must go to the Westminster, Oxford and Bullingdon Club educated Mr Harry Mount – who even has a whole Wikipedia entry to himself.

I marvelled as I read the nonsense he wrote about the legal aid reforms in his seminal article in The Spectator: Take it from a former barrister: Chris Grayling is right to reform legal aid“There’s only one problem with Chris Grayling’s legal reforms – they don’t go far enough”

It is fair to say that Mr Mount’s absurd article drew the attention of the lawyers on twitter and elsewhere – derision and ridicule in the main. There is, after all, absolutely no point in getting angry with buffoonery. I particularly enjoyed Simon Myerson QC’s elegant evisceration of the article in the comments section – a must read.

Mr Mount did a pupillage but did not proceed to tenancy. He also writes for The Daily Mail, I understand. Research did not appear to be Mr Mount’s strongpoint in the article according to experienced practitioners who commented on the article.

I did enjoy this:  Justice ‘Overrated’, claims Justice Secretary

THIS IS EXCELLENT satire on legal aid reforms (BBC Radio 4 )… John Finnemore (Hat Tip to @taxbod) listen from 11 minutes in…

And on a more serious note, before I go on to lose the plot completely… a bit of serious law content on the Legal Aid Reforms

Obiter J: Some responses to MoJ consultation on Transforming legal aid

theintrigant: Fourth Letter to the Lord Chancellor

That is probably enough serious stuff for the present…onwards and upwards…or downwards, depending on your viewpoint of such matters…

Most UK and US lawyers are fairly measured in their approach to putting themselves forward by way of advertising or using social media as a platform for their views and writings.

NOT so this US lawyer: ADAM REPOSA: Lawyer, Patriot, Champion – You really don’t want to get in his way.  A truly astonishing advertisement – available on YouTube.  Do have a look if you haven’t seen it already.  You will laugh, I am sure. You may bang your head on the table afterwards, though.

It isn’t just the experienced lawyers who want in on the ‘unusual way to practice’. Legal Cheek covered the case of a Freshfields trainee:


A spokesperson for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer told Legal Cheek: “We are taking the matter very seriously and have started an investigation.”

Some weeks ago I did a podcast with ex-Tory MP and barrister Jerry Hayes – who was most eloquent and amusing about Grayling’s legal aid reforms.  I am pleased to draw your attention to a post he wrote in Legal Cheek:  ‘I HEARD A VOICE WHISPER: “WHAT A GHASTLY PORTRAIT OF INSUFFERABLE ARROGANCE” – AND I REALISED HE MEANT ME’

The law just keeps on giving…

RollonFriday reports: “The University (née College) of Law has banned students from using electronic cigarettes in exam rooms after several were spotted puffing away during assessments. Authorities sent the following strongly-worded email to the GDL intake after University spies reported that several nicotine addicts were smoking e-cigs under exam conditions” Read….

RollonFriday notes: A Cambridge University law exam has caused a furore in the national press because of its explicit content.

I can’t really see what the fuss is about.  Criminal lawyers have to deal with some very unpleasant issues – the exam question is fairly mild in terms of examples of criminal behaviour?  But…hey… it gave RoF a chance to do some ‘Breaking News’ and mock the tabloids – rightly.

Apropos of absolutely nothing… I used to set Contract and Sale of Goods law examinations – marking some, it has to be said, imagining myself with a square of black silk (A Black Cap) on top of my head.   I may have had a different life had I been an academic in the field of criminal law or, for that matter, chosen to be a criminal mastermind like Professor Moriarty

It isn’t all bad news for the legal profession.  At least one Tory MP is concerned about assisting the legal profession…

This tweet prompted Mark Lewis, a very experienced media lawyer, to suggest…

Isn’t a threat to sue for libel before anything is published rather menacing? @NadineDorriesMP@mjhsinclair#freespeech#chillingeffect

I had a heavy (and strange) week last week… but I did manage to comment acerbically on the Grayling legal aid reforms…

Right… orf for a walk.  No doubt, while I am away, Nicholas Witchell will be standing around outside a London hospital – pointlessly – waiting for some Duke of Edinburgh action so that BBC News can cover it ad nauseam.  No doubt, also – my emails will be read by GCHQ…aided and abetted by the United States drone hovering over the River Medway as I write..

I shall return on the morrow with more ‘tales’…

Have a good evening..

Best, as always


#SAVEUKJUSTICE – A few observations…some sardonic

The #SAVEUKJUSTICE demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday was well attended.  Coverage of the event has been extensive and well dealt with in the law blogs

A few observations….

The unified stance taken by the Bar and Law Society has been a remarkable feature of the campaign.  Leading lights from the legal profession have given time and thought to putting the message across through blogs and on twitter. Many bloggers have written on the subject.  Patrick Torsney has a comprehensive listing of blogs written by lawyers and others from the legal blogging community. 

Unfortunately, the extensive use of the #SAVEUKJUSTICE hashtag on Twitter served to irritate some, including lawyers, and the PR was almost certainly not sufficiently directed to the issue of fairness – at times, the message seemed to focus on how little the lawyers were being paid which is not a message likely to receive sympathy from some members of the public.

The petition, as of today, stands at a remarkable 79,000. But there are many thousands more lawyers – so it should have been relatively straightforward to get the 100,000 signatures needed to persuade Parliament to debate The Lord Chancellor’s plans? On the assumption that many thousands of signatories to the petition would have come from non-lawyer members of the public through publicity being generated by lawyers on Twitter – and, importantly, Stephen Fry, Bianca Jagger and other ‘celebrities’ who punted the petition actively, pleasingly – it must follow that a good 40,000+ lawyers did not sign the petition.

I have spoken to  quite a few commercial and City lawyers recently.   Some said, predictably, that they were not really aware of the issues and did not use twitter. A couple took a more hostile line and felt that the message of the criminal lawyers was wrong and too oriented to their own jobs and not the interests of the public.  Others have said – and I agree with this latter stance – the message could have been addressed more to the needs of the people and the importance of preserving the Rule of Law rather than ‘profession oriented’.  The message was not clear enough, they argued:  There was a ‘whiff of’ loss of law jobs with the reduction from 1600 to 400 firms which may have  given the impression that this reduction was more important than justice itself.

Certainly, I saw quite a few tweets along the lines of ‘Lawyers have been keeping access to justice exclusive with high fees for years’ 

I am not a practitioner.  I am a mildy reclusive observer.  But I do believe that the criminal barristers and solicitors are right.  The Rule of Law will be compromised by Grayling’s reforms and I do believe that these criminal lawyers, the majority of whom do not get that well paid – less than £50k a year I have seen quoted – are regarding the profession as vocational rather than commercial.

The City and large commercial law firms turn over billions.  Their lawyers are well paid – very well paid.  A newly qualified lawyer at a ‘Magic Circle’ firm starts at £63,000+. So what?  They run commercial businesses.  Their clients are men and women of commerce, large corporations, banks, in a global legal market.  A cynic might observe – and I am a cynic at times – that commercial and City lawyers are more interested in the ‘Certainty of Law’ rather than the Rule of Law.  I once heard a senior commercial lawyer say that “Contract law is not about ‘Justice’.  We want certainty so that we can advise clients to avoid  well established  legal pitfalls and operate at the lawful edge of the legal envelope.”

I also heard  words to the effect “Any bloody idiot can tell a client what they cannot do . We don’t want bloody idiots.  We want good lawyers who can tell the client what they can do within the law as it is set down by Parliament. “

The City / Commercial firm practice is a different world – but it is not a world paid for by taxpayers. Of course, the City and commercial firms benefit from the reputation of our legal system and ‘Rule of Law’.  As a friend of mine @taxbod observed bluntly on twitter only t’other night  – “But yet, any of those civil/commercial flog the British justice system when whoring to Russian chavs etc.” Sometimes… blunt… is good.

Legal Aid is paid for by tax payers, most legal aid lawyers are not well paid.  A legal system where people are not given a fair hearing – because they cannot afford lawyers, civil and criminal – is not a fair legal system

That being said – congratulations to all – lawyers and non-lawyers alike – for a good campaign.  The Ministry of Justice seems to have won the mainstream media PR war with their coverage in The Daily Mail yesterday:

£15m for just one firm on legal aid gravy train Scale of taxpayers’ bill revealed as Coalition vows to save £200m

  •  Ministry of Justice released a breakdown of payments to lawyers

  • Justice Secretary Chris Grayling says system is ‘not sustainable’

  • Demonstrators waved placards reading ‘justice is not for sale’

But the campaign is not over.  Surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility to get over 100,000 signatures?  Even if lawyers have to get on the phone to non-criminal law lawyers?

And lawyer or non-lawyer, if you would like to sign the petition – you may do so here

And… you can keep up to date with developments by following @TheCriminalBar on twitter

A selection of links:

The Criminal Bar Association:  Do read the Monday Message 03.06.13 – some real gems in there.

Obiter J : Some responses to MoJ consultation on Transforming legal aid

The Legal Cheek post includes some marvellous pictures and recordings of speeches by Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal Blog.

Head of Legal:  Geoffrey Robertson QC: there is a hidden agenda

Head of Legal:  Michael Fordham QC: the avocado of justice

Michael Fordham QC was I think the star of today’s “Saving Justice” demo outside the Ministry of Justice. His speech was both angry and funny – he called the Ministry of Justice “wankers”. And his avocado of justice, odd as it sounds, went down a storm with his audience.

The Bar Council: Bar Council responds to Legal Aid consultation

Circuit Judges: Critique of the proposals from the Judiciary

 The Law Society: Law Society responds to legal aid consultation

Storify of the SaveUKJustice demonstration 4th June 2013


A view of and from the law blogs…. (4)

Quote du Jour

“I’ll deny having said this, but it’s a bribe … the sort of thing I can say to these guys … you put that question down now, I thought you were interested in Fiji, would you like to come down to it, you know, I believe it’s quite nice … I can whisper that.”

Lord Laird as reported in The Telegraph story: Lord suggests best way to ‘bribe’ colleagues

It seems only right to start this review with a visit to thebungblog – A LIGHT HEARTEDLY SERIOUS LOOK AT THE BRIBERY ACT 2010.  Here is an enjoyable read:  “A QUESTION OF INTERPRETATION”

In the wake of the astonishing ‘Cash for Questions’ saga – more to come on that, inevitably – let me draw your attention to an excellent blog post done last year by A dragon’s best friend:  Cash for applications?

For my part – I would be quite happy to see the abolition of the House of Lords, a unicameral system (or at the least an elected second chamber) and the abolition of all honours.  It won’t happen of course – but holding these views allows me to keep vaguely sane in the current dystopian landscape.

But there we go… now to the law blogs…

I know nothing about crofting but I know a man who does.  Brian Inkster of Inksters is the man to go to for crofting law action. And there is a lot of it about with the recent Crofting Law Bill.

Crofting Law Blog: 6 out of 10 to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee
Brian Inkster manages to give a Strictly Come Dancing / Eurovision feel to an otherwise serious analysis.  That is classy blogging!

For those who are not operating in the Crofting Law field, Brian also blogs at The Time Blawg – the latest post, a very comprehensive review:  LawTech Futures 2013 Reviewed: The one with the neocortex

“Now let me point a finger, not at the Lord Chancellor, but at the legal profession. How the hell did we let this happen?”

Legal 2.0 is the man pointing the finger and I agree with him on the premise that the campaign should not be focused on preaching to the converted.  I raised this with Michael Turner QC , Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, when I did my podcast with him.  In fact, the CBA and others were successful in raising public interest – in the mainstream media, on twitter and also managed to get Stephen Fry , with his millions of followers, interested – and over 70,000 people signed the petition. The campaign should have been directed more to the general public?  Some, rightly, have voiced the opinion that the campaign leaders may have benefited from hiring in experienced PR campaign specialists. John Busby’s addition to a blog post written by Paul Wise of WiseCounsel is well worth a read. 

The Magistrates’ Blog considers the speculation about Ministry of Justice plans to ‘privatise the courts’: A Straw In The Wind – “Until last Autumn my court had a nice little snack bar, looked after by a lady who supplied reasonably priced refreshments to court users, staff and magistrates. It was a meeting point for lawyers and others, and was run at no cost to HMCTS. Last Autumn the lady decided to move on, and the bar closed. We were assured that a replacement was being sought, but had to go through the full ponderous civil service procurement process. Then silence……”

While the Government continues to ‘wrestle’ with compliance policy in relation to European Court of Human Rights judgments – the Scots are having issues of their own in relation to prisoner voting rights in the forthcoming independence referendum. Lalland’s Peat Worrier is on the case: Fulsome prison blues…

Ipso Jure by Dr Peter Groves, Solicitor, continues to provide analysis and commentary on intellectual property law and has a free textbook for law students.

I found this blog post by Paul Bernal most interesting:  Google Glass: just because you can…

Paul writes…”As a bit of a geek, and a some-time game player, it’s hard not to like the look of Google Glass. Sure, it makes you look a little dorky in its current incarnation (even if you’re Sergey Brin, as in the picture below) but people like me are used to looking dorky, and don’t really care that much about it. What it does, however, is cool, and cool in a big way. We get heads-up displays that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago, a chance to feel like Arnie in the Terminator, with the information about everything we can see immediately available. It’s cool – in a dorky, sci-fi kind of way, and for those of us brought up on a diet of SF it’s close to irresistible.”
Read more…


Time to go for a long walk while the late afternoon Sunday sun continues to shine.  I am sorry if I have not managed to cover all the familiar blogs in this series of four reviews of and from the law blogs.  I plan to look at some more, including US, Canadian and Australian blogs, soon and will, of course, cover interesting blog posts in my normal review of the ‘wonders of law’ in my regular postings.

I leave you with an old letter from Lord Shagger – who sends his best wishes from Monaco.  He is much amused by the greed and stupidity of parliamentarians caught up in the recent ‘lobby’ scandal.

A view of and from the law blogs…. (3)
A view of and from the law blogs… (2)
A view of and from the law blogs….. (1)

A view of and from the law blogs…. (3)

Franz Liebkind: Not many people know it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer.

The Producers (1968)

Apologies to The Pythons for hijacking the ‘Lumberjack’ song for pic above

As the EDL and BNP marched in Britain today to a faster pace, dreaming of being the master race,  and a #UKIP activist calls Lee Rigby’s family “idiots” for denouncing the #EDL – I could not help but recall the Mel Brooks Classic, The Producers (1968) and, in particular the ‘Springtime for Hitler’ song.

While laughing at fascists is good for the soul – and is probably quite a good way or dealing with them – they do spread hatred and the threat of and use of violence to express themselves.  This purple prose nonsense from a BNP supporter on the BNP website is fairly typical of the nonsense and hatred they spout:


The people of this great nation must remember the attitudes and beliefs that made us the Greatest Empire on Earth: intolerance of injustice; absolute belief in our duties; and resolutions to make the world a better place.

Islamist extremism is a cancer that must be purged. The ethnic communities of this country that nurture and cultivate extremism must at all costs be removed. We must remember what it means to be British.

Lee Rigby represents the warrior alive in each of us. One by one Islamist extremism is covertly ambushing our goodwill and butchering our culture.

Immigrants to this country must assimilate or expect to be extradited. We, the British people, must not sacrifice our beliefs, our children’s safety, our way of life and willingly surrender it to the cancerous invaders, savages and murderers, being accepted into our society.

Perhaps Mr Farage will check the background of candidates and supporters more closely  to ensure that UKIP  doesn’t turn into the ‘nasty party’ and become BNP / EDL Lite?


AND…on to the law blogs…

“It’s official! Kysen is now working for the man “with the best profile pic of any QC” according to the legal twitterati.  Hardwicke‘s PJ Kirby is shown here in full silk regalia, and clearly in a state of high excitement, on his way to the silks’ inauguration.”

From Clare Rodway’s The Conversation blog Sunday 14th April 2013.

I tend not to ‘gush’ or ‘exude’ – but I like Clare Rodway,  and her blog, The Conversation,  is fascinating, providing insights into the world of lawyers through sharply observed cameos.  Well worth a bookmark!

And another excellent blog – on  the ‘Art of Food’ –  with some beautifully crafted observations on restaurants is The Food Judge written by Brecher managing partner, Nicky Richmond.

I’d been up till two am the night before, discussing the merits of good lighting with Hugh, my new BFF and the man who is going to help make my house look mid-Century-modern-fabulous, so I really hadn’t planned on being sociable, especially not with clients….

The Food Judge on Il Baretto

I dipped into the world of restaurant reviewing (and was actually commissioned to review a few restaurants – an amusing ‘wheeze’) a couple of years ago with this nonsense: Charon goes to a restaurant run by East European border guards?

And John Bolch – provider of a very comprehensive review of analysis and comment on his Family Lore blog – has also created Edgar Venal, a man who lives up to his name and who is the senior partner of Venal & Grabbit, Solicitors

Inforrm’s blog: 

Can you help the Campaign for Freedom of Information? Urgent Appeal for Funds – Evan Harris

The Campaign for Freedom of Information (“CFOI”), one of the most important public interest campaigning bodies in Britain in recent decades, is in financial difficulties and needs help urgently.

AND… I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post from Giles Peaker who started the Nearly Legal blog some years ago… most amusing: A lesson in professionalism

Do have a look to see what lawyers who blog have to put up with sometimes from people with a ‘sense of entitlement’ – even though we blog ‘free to view’.

PINK TAPE covers the legal aid reforms in relation to Family Law: YOU HAVE BEEN CONSULTED

It is important for Lawyers to be LinkedIn, Fleecebooked (HT @afneil) and on Twitter…is it?  Really? 


Quick round ups…

Obiter J covers the whole life term imposed on Mark Bridger.  Those unfamiliar with judicial sentencing practice will, I am sure, find this analysis useful:  Whole life term imposed for murderer of April Jones

Carl Gardner on his Head of Legal blog covers a webinar from the Law Society: The future of press regulation: Law Society webinar

The Justice of The Peace considers: BAD DRIVING AND COMPUTERS

The Justice Gap: SAVE UK JUSTICE DEMO: TUESDAY, JUNE 4 –  There will be a rally outside the Ministry of Justice next week, on Tuesday 4th June 2013 – the day the consultation on the government’s proposals to ‘transform legal aid’ closes – from 4.30 to 7.30 pm – see (here)  for details.

Conflict of Laws.net:  ECJ Refuses to Extend the Scope of Article 5 (3) Brussels I to Coperpetrator

David Allen Green on Jack of Kent:  Public interest and the Computer Misuse Act

The Bizzle:  When is an alteration not an alteration? – ” Exciting news about public sector outsourcing (well, it’s relative) draws me back to the blog . This time it’s Serco, fingered by the Guardian (EXCLUSIVELY!) for alleged misconduct in the performance of a contract to supply out of hours GP services in Cornwall. The allegations include understaffing and excessive wait times for the patient helpline. There’s also this….”

The Panopticon blog from 11KBW:  Surveillance: RIPA and the Communications Data Bill

Litigation Futures: LSB calls for regulator focus on DBA ‘mis-selling’ risk

UKSC blog:  Upcoming cases in the Supreme Court


And with that…I am orf to watch a bit of Nordic Noir…. I shall return with Review 4 soon…

A view of and from the law blogs… (2)

Pic from a Buzzfeed article – amused me. HT @ChristianUncut

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.
Groucho Marx 

Communication has been occupying my mind for a few days.  This morning on BBC Breakfast they were taxing their minds with ‘spelling’ and one of the presenters was asked to spell *Supersede*.  Like many before him, he had a crack at it and came up with *Supercede*.

With way too much time on my hands early this morning , I made myself a cuppa and, as I did so, came up with the thought “One precedes, but one supersedes.”  This was enough to set me up for a sardonic day and knowing that bananas can walk has set me up nicely for a weekend of  Sybaritic pleasure drinking tea (not Earl Grey) and… in Britain we  spell it ‘grey’ not ‘gray’ when referring to the colour or our skies.

But does spelling matter?  Can you read this?

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it

Well…there we are…

ON to the law blogs…with a bit of dead tree press action to kick off…. 

In the wake of the tragic murder of April Jones we had the predictable call for ‘something’ to be done in relation to internet pornography.  A view that the state should not intervene in sexual activities between consenting adults which cause no harm to others – an old fashioned Benthamite utilitarian stance to be sure – seems a not unreasonable starting point for debate.

The Guardian editorial on the subject was pretty ropy and ill thought out and careered toward the Ban It stance of human thinking. Ironically, The Telegraph took a more reasoned view.

Given that our government has developed the skills of the whirling dervish and a predilection for U-turns, one hopes that there is not a pandemic of Kneejerkitis acutis toriensis on the  part of the shield munching beserkers  (pictured right) on the Tory benches, forcing yet more ill thought out snap reaction legislation, when Parliament eventually gets back to work again.

On the subject of the so-called ‘Snoopers Charter’ being revived in the wake of the murder of Lee Rigby, and the decision by the BBC to shunt Anjem Choudary onto Newsnight, David Anderson QC provides wise advice to government in this article from The Guardian: Anjem Choudary controversy sparks debate over TV censorship – “anti-terror law reviewer David Anderson QC says broadcasters should decide whether to show radicals on their channels.”

It seems that the Police are also getting in, rightly, on the sensible, cool headed, side of the debate. The Telegraph reported: MI5 failures over Woolwich probably ‘misjudgement’ not lack of snoopers’ charter, says Sir Chris Fox


And now for the law bloggers….

The League of Ordinary Gentlemen asks the (necessary) question: 

Why Does Everyone Want to Go to Law School?

For some reason people in America and the UK people have come to regard Law School as some sort of panacea. The pinnacle of academic learning and the route to meteoric career earning: the ultimate career backstop that offers glamour, big respect and guarantees a bulging bank balance.

Let’s call this ‘Law School Think’: the reason why everybody wants to go to law school.

However it’s all a myth.

The idea of Law School being a panacea is a perception ingrained so deeply that young men and women enrol in the face of hard facts that scream out: “Don’t go to Law School!” Slate writer Eric Posner provides a great prefatory note here.

Senior Partner and Director of Education, Muttley Dastardly LLP

Dr Strangelove wrote this some time ago.  It still seems to reflect the current state of affairs?

Dear Prospective Applicants,

It is that time of year again.  You are back at university.  The long summer holidays are over.  Binge drinking in Cornwall is a long distant memory.  Your *Gap Yah* is finished and your parents are now able to get on with what is left of the rest of their lives knowing that you are safely on the treadmill called life.  Now you are back at your cash poor universities or are attending one of the shiny new reassuringly expensive law schools doing your LPC.  If you haven’t already been snapped up by one of the big law firms,  sponsoring you, you are probably sick with worry about your future prospects – and, frankly, you have every reason to be.  We are not out of the bears shitting all over the credit crunch woods yet… Lord Browne is about to release his entirely predictable report to allow the Vice Chancellors to increase their fees, law firms are still reeling from  the credit crunch… well…some law firms are…we at Muttley Dastardly LLP are not..in fact, to be honest, we are rather enjoying it.

Over the next few weeks, on The Lawyer, Legal Week and LawCareers.net websites you will be able to find lots of shiny brochures to download from BIG law firms and BIG law schools – implausibly showing pictures of glossy potential lawyers smiling away….possibly even sitting on the grass…although why they should be sitting on the grass when they should be inside working is a matter of some surprise to *US* at Muttley Dastardly LLP.

There will be lots of pictures of young people in suits, carrying briefcases, looking busy and important. Our Psyops team has replicated the genre below…. we’ve gone for the lawyers happy on a beach look… (right).

OK… we talk straight… expensive… but straight at Muttley Dastardly LLP.  Listen up…. and, I cannot resist using that dreadful phrase so beloved of cliche ridden writers…and smell the coffee.

1.  The economy will improve

2. Law firms will recover

3. Universities will raise their fees – and so will the BIG law schools for you (although not for us!)

4.  The Legal profession is changing – read the journals and keep up to date.

5.  You have to get a 2.1 to even stand a chance of selection for a decent law school at LPC level and, being honest, a decent university if you are going to get into a City law firm or any major commercial firm.

6. Being really honest… you haven’t a chance of getting into Muttley Dastardly LLP unless you went to Oxbridge or a top Russell Group university – why would *WE* take second best?

7. Be realistic… City practice is not for everyone – there is a wonderful world of law out there for lawyers who don’t want to be rich beyond the dreams of avarice, who don’t want to be movers and shakers in the City and business world, who don’t want to rub shoulders with the likes of Duncan Genocide from The Dragon’s Den. [Good one, Harry & Paul] We don’t have a clue what these lawyers do… but hey.. there must be a Facebook group.. or Twitter hashtag… and you could always Google?!  FTW!…as, I believe, some say…..  LMFAO, ROFL  etc etc etc…..

8.  We will always be honest with you…. if we take you on as a trainee, you will be worked beyond the limits of The Human Rights Act, you will learn a great deal about *OUR* type of practice and if you don’t cut it… we will give you a black plastic bag to take your belongings away in and that’s it.

Good luck with your studies this year.  I look forward to hearing from you… if you think you are hard enough.

Dr Erasmus Strangelove

Strength & Profits

Having been involved in legal education for thirty odd years – and continue with a Churchillian stance of ‘buggering on’ through blogging – I do get the  feeling that the law schools, particularly those providing vocational courses for the BPTC and LPC, are more concerned with their own profits and survival and this may outweigh their ‘corporate social responsibility’ to those they eagerly seek to enrol – and who may, despite all the third party advice on offer, be eager to enrol.

Interestingly: The Lawyer reports: 

Law students have reacted with anger and disappointment to the news that the National College of Legal Training (NCLT) has discontinued its legal practice course (LPC) and graduate diploma in law (GDL).

The NCLT announced last week that it is to stop teaching the LPC and GDL, blaming market conditions and a drop in the number of students for its decision (24 May 2013).

Legal Cheek had a good piece by David Banks this morning:  ‘JOURNALISTS PROBABLY DEAL WITH MORE LAW THAN ANYONE ELSE – INCLUDING LAWYERS’

Professor Richard Moorhead has an interesting post: Does legal education impact on how small businesses see the world?

“There are some interesting findings on attitudes risk and the incidence of legal problems in small businesses in the new study done by my colleagues Pascoe Pleasence and Nigel Balmer for the Legal Services Board. That study has drawn attention principally because it suggests a large latent market for legal problems. Small businesses have a large volume of legal problems which are not tackled with the assistance of legal advice. The median value of such problems was of the order of £1,2000 (though the mean value was much higher). Interestingly, also, whilst solicitors dominate service to this sector, accountants appear close behind…..”

Read more…

Practitioners may be interested in Professor John Flood’s article: Institutional Bridging: How Large Law Firms Engage in Globalization

“I’ve just posted a new paper to SSRN titled “Institutional Bridging: How Large Law Firms Engage in Globalization“. It’s for a symposium put together by the Boston College Law Review and the Boston College International & Comparative Law Review on Filling Power Vacuums in the New Global Legal Order.”

And that is probably enough for a Friday evening…back with Part 3 of my review of and from the law blogs at the weekend.

A view of and from the law blogs….. (1)

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
George Bernard Shaw 

Law blogging, despite the predictions of the gurus and prognosticators, continues to thrive.  Whether law blogs influence opinion is not of particular concern to me (nor, I suspect for  many law bloggers), for I blog for pleasure – but I would hope that the opinions and thoughts of my fellow bloggers at least provide food for thought.

The UK Human Rights Blog even considers  the right to blog in: Right to Blog, Lord Chancellor’s Legacy and Accountability for War Crimes – The Human Rights Roundup

Many law bloggers have been pre-occupied recently with the Legal Aid reforms.  Patrick Torsney has a comprehensive listing of some very good writing on the subject.

theintrigant continues to provide a dash of black humour to the proceedings with this Third Letter to The Lord Chancellor


@Mark_George_QC Tweets: 

One very angry #LegalAidWarrior comes out fighting http://www.gcnchambers.co.uk/content/download/2561/17348/file/Response%20to%20Transforming%20Legal%20Aid%20Consultation%202013%20-%20Mark%20George%20QC%20GCN.pdf … One of GCN’s responses to the worst Ld Chancellor in history

Francis FitzGibbon QC, who blogs at  Nothing Like The Sun, has a strong piece entitled Short Cuts in The London Review of Books.  The opening sentence should draw you in:

A fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the governed is taking place: by restricting access to the law, the state is handing itself an alarming immunity from legal scrutiny.

But what of other matters?…..

Although the Ministry of Justice has apparently denied any intent to ‘privatise the courts’ – they merely want the courts to have more ‘commercial freedom’ – Obiter J considers the matter : Privatisation of the courts?

Obiter J also considers: Citizen’s Arrest – a limited power

@TheCustodySgt  asks: “Think Mark Bridger deserves the death penalty? My views from Sept last year on a US execution.”

The most high profile media case of the week was Lord McAlpine’s claim against Sally Bercow. 

Informm Blog considered this in their excellent weekly round up: Law and Media Round Up – 27 May 2013

And – Antonin Pribetic, writing from Canada, wrote a thought provoking piece on the matter as a guest on my own blog:  McAlpine v. Bercow and a New Era of ‘Twitter Chill’

David Allen Green, writing at his Jack of Kent blog, considers: The law and culture of phone hacking

The UK Human Rights blog analysed the decision in R (on the application of Sandiford) v Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs [2013] 168 (Admin) – read judgment : DEATH PENALTY LEGAL FUNDING REFUSAL: APPEAL COURT CONFIRMS LIMITS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT


But it isn’t all serious on the law blogs….and I end this first (of several) reviews of and from the law blogs which I shall try and put together over the next few days…

Legal Cheek, as ever, continues to comment, provoke and amuse…

Last month, retiring Court of Appeal judge Sir Alan Ward (pictured) used his penultimate judgment to deliver a wistful nautical-themed allegory about departing the Royal Courts of Justice.

It wasn’t the first time that he’d made lawyers smile. Here are ten of his best lines…

Legal Cheek’s article….

And..mea culpa… it would be remiss of me to miss out a ‘tribute to our revered Lord Chancellor’ wot I did t’other day…

Back soon with more from the law blogs…

Caption du Jour: Mastermind

Well…at least some people know a bit….

The Telegraph reports: Leading barristers warn over legal aid cuts – Dozens of Britain’s leading barristers have warned that reforms of the legal aid system by Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, will “seriously undermine the rule of law”

AND… Anna Raccoon has a say: Judicial Chicanery

(Back later with a podcast with Charles Christian, editor of Legal IT Insider, on developments in information technology for lawyers)

Where is Grayling’s evidence? Was it nicked when he did his last prison photo opportunity?

Legal aid tendering: will it actually work?

Joshua Rozenberg in The Guardian: The MoJ’s public consultations on legal aid reforms show they are open-minded, but if the aim remains to reduce spending, what about the cost to justice?

Dr Elizabeth Gibby, head of legal aid policy at the Ministry of Justice, was answering questions at the first in a series of open meetings arranged by the department and advertised, very discreetly, on its website. This one took place at a hotel in Reading and attracted more than 100 lawyers; there are to be another 12 this month around England and Wales.

“We appreciate that the proposals [in Transforming Legal Aid] are causing deep anxiety and concern,” Gibby said, “and people have genuine worries about aspects of the [reform] model. That’s why we genuinely want to hear from people. I know people often think that responding to government consultations is a waste of time. All I would say to you is that we want to hear your views. We want to hear your suggestions.”

Dr Gibby came a ‘bit unstuck’, floundering when asked to point to the section in the consultation paper dealing with the interests of the user:

“I’m sorry; I don’t quite understand what you are saying,” Gibby replied after a pause. (She continued to flounder as Rozenberg relates)

Then it was the turn of Tim Mouseley QC who questioned her on Grayling’s assertion in the consultation:

“Where is the evidence that the public have a lack of confidence in the legal system as it currently is?” the QC asked.

Dr Gibby ‘made it clear that this line had not come from her’.

Mr Rozenberg wrote :“What struck me as I heard Gibby explain all this is that officials really cannot be sure that any of this is going to work.”


Good stuff,  Mr Rozenberg. It is good to know that our ‘political masters’ and civil servants are on the ball – not.

Some very useful reading on #saveukjustice.

A BARRISTER’S WIFE – a behind closed doors view of the justice system.  A must read!

Baroness Deech, Inner Temple Bencher, gives speech on the impact of legal aid cuts in the Lords:

State Opening of Parliament…. #FailingGrayling sings!

My apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan for ‘modifying’ the lyrics to the Lord Chancellor’s song in Iolanthe

I am sure you will be able to locate a true and real analysis of The Queen’s Speech on Google.

I shall leave you with this modification…back soon…adios for now

When I didn’t go to the Bar as a very young man
(Said I to myself — said I)

Lord Chancellor:
When I didn’t go to the Bar as a very young man,
(Said I to myself–said I),
I’ll work on a new and original plan,
(Said I to myself–said I),
I’ll never assume that a rogue or a thief
Is a gentleman worthy implicit belief,
Because his attorney won’t be getting a brief,
(Said I to myself–said I!).

Ere I go into the House I won’t read my brief through
(Said I to myself–said I),
And I’ll always take work the Bar is able to do
(Said I to myself-said I),
My learned profession I’ll do my best to disgrace
By taking their fees with a grin on my face,
When I haven’t been there to attend to the case
(Said I to myself–said I!).

For something serious – have a listen to my podcast with Michael Turner QC?

Tour Report #21: Podcast with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar Association, on the legal aid reforms

Morning Guv… new delivery of Stobars for you…where do you want ’em?

If you had any doubts about ‘external investment’ in the legal system in England & Wales…. Neil Rose’s article on Eddie Stobart will inform / amuse / irritate you!

Stobart Barristers sets sights on criminal legal aid contract

Stobart Barristers – the direct access service run by the famous logistics company – has given a strong indication that it will bid for the new criminal legal aid contracts the government is set to offer under price competitive tendering…..

He said the current model – with large numbers of firms doing identical work while fees are falling – was “unsustainable”. Even if they start to merge, that will not wipe out “the legacy of debt” most carry. He described criminal law practices as “very wounded animals ready to die”.

It would appear that Group Legal Director and founder, Trevor Howarth, has ‘form’… experience of the law as practice manager for the firm of celebrity solicitor Nick ‘Mr Loophole (TM)’ Freeman.Will the Stobart trucks used to ferry their lawyers to court be named as the trucks are for shipping goods?  Could keep us amused ‘spotting them’…

You may be interested in listening to my podcast with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of The Criminal Bar, on legal aid reforms and the rise of ‘external investment and involvement’ in the legal profession?

Scroll down or click here



The Guardian : Stobart lorry chief faces contempt trial

“High court judge rules Andrew Tinkler and legal director Trevor Howarth may have lied to secure gagging order on whistleblower”

Not an ideal start for a company wishing to provide legal services – if true?

Kippers like to imitate pot plants says Nigel Führer, Kipper in Chief

I have marvelled, as many others have, at the antics of the Kippers in the run up to the local elections. After the extraordinary report of a Kipper – the article headline says it all… Physical exercise prevents you becoming gay, claims UK councillor candidate… John Sullivan, a UKIP party candidate, up for election next week, has made a series of anti-gay Facebook comments, including congratulating Russia for banning gay Pride, and comparing gays to termites” – I didn’t think it could become any more farcical.

But… today, the Kipper in Chief excelled himself by revealing that one of his candidates was not giving a ‘Nazi’ salute…he was imitating a pot plant.

Nigel Farage claims ‘Nazi’ salute Ukip Candidate was actually ‘imitating a pot plant’

NIGEL Farage has defended a Ukip candidate who was pictured seemingly giving a Nazi salute, offering the bizarre explanation that he was actually “imitating a pot plant”.

Nigel Unter Den Linden was quoted in the articles…” “I’ve looked carefully into this and spoken to Alex, and I believe him when he says that he was angrily trying to take a camera off his girlfriend who was annoyingly taking pictures of him in the pub imitating a pot plant,” he told the Huffington Post.

“These things happen – I should know!”

I am not at all sure that we need politicians – local or national – who want to imitate pot plants.  The Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling is quite enough to contend with for the present.

Well…there we are… ain’t UK politics a larf….. ?

Back soon….

Breaking from The Ministry of Justice – Trial by Ordeal to unclog the Courts

The problem of costly and spurious  cases clogging up the courts will be tackled by new plans for Trial by Ordeal announced by Justice Secretary  Killaburglar Grayling LC.

The proposals would reduce the number of ill-founded defences so that guilty people can be dealt with more swiftly and effectively.

The changes will not alter the important role the CPS plays in holding the guilty to account   but will instead deal with the unnecessary defence lawyers in the system. The number of not guilty verdicts has rocketed in the past three decades.

Lord KillaBurglar Grayling LC said:

‘The Government is concerned about the burdens that proving guilt in criminal cases are placing on stretched public services as well as the unnecessary costs and lengthy delays which are stifling innovation and economic growth – particularly in the prisons construction sector headed by our friends in the prisons biz, now they have recovered from the Olympics fiasco.

‘We plan to renew the system so that Prosecutions will continue their important role but the courts and economy are no longer hampered by having to deal with defences being put forward and ensure  the defendant knows they have no chance of success. We will publish our proposals shortly.’

The measures which will be considered include:

  • Shortening the length of time following arrest of guilty people so that they can be put to Trial by Ordeal within 24 hours  and stopping people from using tactical delays including the employment of counsel to defend them.
  • Halving the number of opportunities currently available to guilty people to demonstrate their skills by taking forward planned action to bang them up in advance of their actions
  • Reforming the current fees paid to lawyers to such a level to dissuade them from even thinking about acting pro bono

A public engagement exercise on the plans will be carried out shortly and kicked into the long grass for implementation after 2015.


Mea culpa – for the nonsense above – but I marvel at times… I really do.

The actual statement made by Mr Chris Grayling LC  – is quite similar to the nonsense above.

Adam Wagner of the excellent UK Human Rights blog – thankfully – had time to deal with this issue of the MoJ plans on Judicial Review – more seriously – an excellent read: A war on Judicial Review? [updated]

The Van Rouge Tour is on! – starts soon

I am moving to Kent to set up my ‘forward operating base’ (FOB) this weekend – taking some subversive ducks from Battersea-on-Thames with me to instruct Medway ducks in the delights of subversion.

Once settled – The Van Rouge Tour will start.  I will start in the South-East and go hence throughout our sceptred isle over the course of a year in a camper van.  To avoid inflicting hypothermia on myself in the winter months I may have to stay occasionally in a hotel and will, in any event, return to the aforementioned FOB at weekends to enjoy the pleasures of research and writing up.  In six months time FOB will be moved North and I will take another six month let in a modest dwelling.

Podcasts, voxpops with a television camera, analysis of the legal events of the day, commentary on the changing legal landscape, ephemeral musings and anything else that comes into my surreal mind will be reported.  I am setting up a special Charon Van Rouge Tour blog to place all the posts in one place.  I rather like the idea of going on ‘Assizes’ and creating a Legal Domesday Book.   The plan is to cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It will take at least a year.

The important thing for me is to have an open mind and talk to many people to find out what they think of our legal system.  I shall be thorough in my investigation and talk to a wide cross section of people – not just lawyers.

I very much hope that regular tweeters who know me through twitter will take part and make this a truly collaborative project.  It will be a pleasure to do and I very much hope readers will enjoy the ‘reports from the frontline’.

I am genuinely pleased with the extraordinary support – financial, moral, encouragement, offers of beds for the nights, offers of dinner –  from tweeters and I will do my best to include as many people as I can in this project.

So far, sponsors have come forward to assist with logistics, running expenses, kit etc: The Law Society, Kysen PR, The Legal Technology Insider, LBC Wise Counsel, Riverview Law, The University of East Anglia Law School, Brecher, Routledge Law, Inksters, Cellmark., The College of Law, BPP Law School, TaxAid, Darlingtons Solicitors, Lawyers on DemandThe Trial Warrior blog

I am not a rich man – nor wish to be.  So… if any other organisations or individuals would like to be involved in this tour as a sponsor, please get in touch with me.  Sponsorships are modest.

3 Gavels Dinner:  @bretttechlawyer is hosting a fund raising dinner in mid-November. Details to follow.  I will be auctioning some of my real artworks and some of my nonsense F*ckart.

A family weekend……of interest to lawyers?

Planning a move to Kent for six months for the end of next week and then the beginning of my Van Rouge / Cuppa tour (Details below).  Being sensible, I have decided to find a base to return to at weekends. If I can pull off the tour (I am getting good sponsor interest and many from twitter offering a bed for the night – which is most kind!), I can cover much of England & Wales over six months 4-5 days a week -. I may be a bit blogging light over the next week as I organise this.

However, I hope to do a Postcard From the Staterooms at Battersea-on-Thames – my last from Battersea, tomorrow.

Back later or tomorrow…

Professor R D Charon nearly died laughing… strange… but true? Evidence based blogging….

Taking an evidence sourced approach  to blogging –  the new ‘fashion’:

This is  what happened only last night when I nearly died laughing.

Unfortunately, the issue is not as simple as I assert with that proposition.

I had not considered the possibility of ambulance chasers in my vicinity at the time of laughing at tweets.  Unfortunately, this Wikipedia entry, unedited by the new Tory Party co-Chairman Grant Shapps MP, is not that helpful in defining ‘tweet’.

I was laughing privately and not in a manner likely to worry the Director of Public Prosecutions (Even on a bad day at the office). No menacing laughter justifying a prosecution near Doncaster under s. 127 per the Twitter Joke Trial. Not even the hint of affray, riot, treason, or even  failing to kettle myself when asked to do so, in a group of two, by a police officer.   (See the CPS guidelines for public order offences – whether you intend to amuse yourself by committing same or not, as may be the case).

I was laughing alone.  I did not feel the need to seek asylum at the Ecuador Embassy in London.

Events got a bit out of hand…. the following extracts from official documents provided to The Home Office and other relevant bodies serve as a narrative.


1. I died. I am not, in fact, dead – as will be clear even to judges seeking an appearance in The Daily Mail  (Here and here)  –  cf: despite the death certificate issued by Dr X who has not yet been struck off. (Infra)

2. However – in support of my claim for PPI, whiplash injury, loss of consortium with myself and all other losses, as yet unquantifiable,  but which will almost certainly become clear by the time we get to court, I claim that I suffered nervous shock (without even a hint of novus actus interveniens in between)  after reading the death certificate (infra) which Dr X handed to me after clinically processing  my Centurion AMEX card on his portable electronic wealth modifying device (WMD).

3.  The doctor attended at my rooms in Bloomsbury, accompanied by a solicitor.  They happened to be passing – driving a Toyota Priapic hybrid car en route to a car crash nearby, when they heard my laughter and broke in on the off chance that I may need assistance.


Attended at a flat in Bloomsbury. The law professor was sitting in a chair at a desk. I was able to deduce that he was a law professor by his mode of dress.  He was wearing full academic regalia, including mortar board and red doctoral gown. The professor’s iMac computer indicated that his name was “@ProfRDCharon”.  This was apparent even without an on site autopsy. I was able to form this view by looking at his twitter history (infra)  – The professor’s  browser  revealed that he was, and certainly had been when alive, on twitter. Professor Charon was a ‘goner’.  Dead.   Died Laughing.  Definitely dead.  A solicitor who attended with me also took the view that the professor was dead after consulting an accident claims website to gain a ‘value priced’ billable view.

Dr X

[A] .  I observed Professor Charon at 9.58 pm.  He had been laughing. He was in his chair at his desk.  He wasn’t moving that much after I had to break in. He had not responded to a ‘Direct Message’ on twitter for four minutes before, save to type “hahaha….”
I concluded he was dead.
People can die of laughter. He died laughing.

[B]  In support of this I am able to certify  that the cause of death was laughing

As an after thought to the extraordinary evening I had last night when a doctor and a solicitor broke into my rooms in Bloomsbury, unasked, to  declare  me dead –  I was able to resume my life and took the opportunity to ‘google death by laughing’

I read this on a website: “In the third century BC, Greek philosopher Chrysippus died of out-of-control laughter after he gave his donkey some wine, and then observed it pigging out on figs… Pietro Aretino (below), writer, raconteur, and the founder of “literary pornography,” is said to have died in 1556 of suffocation from laughing too much…

Read more on death by laughter on Wikiepedia…why not? – death by laughter is a bit over rated and didn’t work for me…..

AND… from the website, aforeto mentioned:

“More recently… On March 24th of 1975, Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer in Norfolk, England, kicked his bucket while howling with laughter over the “Kung Fu Capers” episode of his favorite TV show, “The Goodies.” The episode featured a kilt-clad Scotsman attacking a vicious-looking blood pudding with his bagpipes, and roundly trouncing it. After laughing uncontrollably for twenty-five minutes, Mitchell finally succumbed to heart failure on his sofa. His bereaved widow reportedly sent a letter to the producers of “The Goodies” in which she thanked them for making Mitchell’s final moments so enjoyable!”

While I am, of course, sympathetic to the last unfortunate demise – it is pleasing to see that The Goodies amused someone. I am still recovering from the trauma in childhood of watching same on television.

A most puzzling evening.  I continue, however, to live and I am grateful to my brother Charon QC for this opportunity to inform on this pleasing event in his blog.

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, 2009

Bonfire of The Vanities II – a story of glory on twitter?! ¡Ay, caramba!

Bonfire of The Vanities II (2012)
A Cecil B De Charon film

Cecil B de Charon’s Battersea-on-Thames ‘homage’  to Tom Wolfe’s original satire stars Julian Assange as  the “master of the universe,” a fearless exposer of secrets and truthtalkstopowerista, who leaks millions of documents while enjoying the good life in the Ecuador Embassy in Knightsbridge, London. Glenn Greenwald, Guardianistacomlately, and Assange are living the dream on twitter when they take a wrong turn and find themselves facing the omnipotence of ……the David Allen Green, Mythbuster.

What could possibly go wrong?…

And.. on that note… have a most excellent bank holiday weekend…I’ll be back with a Postcard over the weekend… if I am not rendited or denounced.  Adios, for now..as we say in Quito…¡Ay, caramba!



The New Statesman must correct its error over Assange and extradition
Mr Greenwald has written – in The Guardian: “The claim that Swedish courts, not government, have final say on extradition is a crucial mistake that distorts the Assange case”

David Allen Green will respond, he tweeted, after the Bank holiday.  David Allen Green’s analysis in The NS.

The story continues…..as I observed above.. what could possibly go wrong?

And then… there was this tweet from a Swedish academic:

Mark Klamberg@Klamberg

@ggreenwald is only qouting half of my statement and distorts my conclusion http://gu.com/p/3ax4a/tw  @davidallengreen



@Klamberg @DavidAllenGreen You wrote the ***opposite of what he wrote ON THAT TOPIC – you need to admit that, or retract it


Followed by…


And @ggreenwald is now ordering the actual source on which he relied to retract his dissent. Priceless.


@sunny_hundal yes, in parts both DAG and GG are right, but also that both are wrong, at least in some parts of their texts

Greenwald paints himself into a corner (?)


I marvel….

And.. a useful piece: How do you write about foreign legal systems – The Guardian style guide

And… truly.. my final tweet to all of the above on this:


. @ggreenwald @DavidAllenGreen @Klamberg You all have useful things to say… keep it friendly ? Won’t hurt 😀

I hesitate, in the present climate on twitter,  to mention this – but Carl Gardner did a podcast with me some days before David Allen Green did his New Statesman piece and we drew on a number of sources in the discussion. We even talked about ‘myth busting’.  I also thought an article by Owen Jones in The Independent  was rather good – and referred to it in the podcast.

Carl Gardner  has written extensively about the Assange issue for some time – which is why I wanted to do a podcast with him.



Mr Greenwald did suggest on twitter that I was being homophobic.  That is not the case, nor was it my intention  – I merely took the original film poster as a base – intending that a mild ‘parody’ might lighten the dark mood on twitter which the Assange issue has aroused.  The arguments are important – the unpleasantness between ‘factions’ is unfortunate.


Update: LAN2LAN is a British company that comprehensively specialises a plethora of useful and necessary services, including: wireless network solutions, data recovery, wireless security systems and a whole host of IT support services. We can help anyone in need.

Beyond parody… beyond satire… T’Wikileaks jumped the farkin shark today…

The Assanganistas head orf to their rapture….. as I like to imagine them so doing… above.

On a day when Wikileaks denounced lawyer and journalist David Allen Green (A lawyer I have podcasted with many times)  – for his correct analysis on the #Assange issue… I marvel.  Beyond parody…beyond satire.

I do enjoy the darker side of life and value humour, above all,  as a means of getting a point across.  Private Eye, Peter Cook and Python were formative influences in my young life.  I do not, however, blame them for my many shortcomings in life. But I do thank them for the many laughs they have provided – and continue to provide.

Assange, for me, has turned out to be a rather disappointing icon for free speech.  The Assanganistas will not listen to reason.  They are encouraged to read a bit of UK law  on twitter by law bloggers and many others  and respond by doing a Denial of Service attack on the UK Supreme Court website. Right on dudes! Way to go!

I am always prepared to tease my fellow bloggers ( I plan to continue doing so) – but I am pleased they do what they do. Unlike the Assanganistas – they don’t mind being teased – even if they have been denounced by Wikileaks.

In the meantime… for lawyers…at least those who did manage to shoehorn in a bit of Jurisprudence into their busy social lives while studying law at university..  my final thoughts on the day…

Modern hip lawyer: I’ll have a Bingham Machiato, Fuller than usual..easy on the Mill..was on the Raz last night… but Dworkin today..OK Yah?!

The Blawgers…

The Brethren are saving the unenlightened….what would we do without ’em?

Orf to find an exorcist… back later with some nonsense… have a good one…
A useful collation and comment on the Assange posts from Adam Wagner: The Assange Reality Distortion Field

And a podcast I did with Carl Gardner last Friday:Lawcast 219: Carl Gardner on the Assange asylum issues

In the meantime… as I am sure you are as Asshagged out as I am by Assange and the Assanganistas…. I rather liked this HT @bretttechlawyer

The strong (and passionate) arms of the law

Telegraph: As a leading QC leaves his partner for a much younger colleague, what is the truth about love and lust in chambers?

I did enjoy Alex Aldridge’s quote in the article…

“The law is full of eccentrics,” says Alex Aldridge, editor the irreverent, must-read tabloid law website Legal Cheek. “Lawyers were usually the geeks at school who weren’t very happy or lucky with girls, so when they find themselves in a high status job, earning lots of money and getting lots of attention late in life, they do crazy things and behave like lunatics.”



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Postcard from The Staterooms: A return to dystopian reality

The Olympics, enjoyed by many, are now cast to the ethereal memory to reveal the malignant presence of dystopian reality.

The prime minister has left  Downing Street to go on a holiday (not annual leave: Politicians need holidays too, says David Cameron), leaving UK PLC in the capable hands of Theresa May and our foreign secretary, hitherto, arguably, the most sensible member of the axis of incompetence governing our country.  Mr Hague  decided yesterday to force the Assange issue by digging up a law from 1987 few knew about, let alone recalled, to suggest that Ecuador may be stripped of their diplomatic status and the rozzers could ‘storm’ the Embassy.

Ecuador has duly participated in Mr Hague’s cunning plan to shift moralo-global responsibility for the mess to Ecuador – Ecuador granted Assange asylum –  and there is much speculation on how Assange is to get into a diplomatic car without setting foot on British soil and avoid the attention of the Police who wait with their handcuffs to haul him off for breach of his bail conditions.  The BBC has the story.  Solicitor David Allen Green (aka Jack of Kent blogger and legal correspondent of the New Statesman)  valiantly tried to stem the march of the trolls and tin foil hat wearers by tweeting about the complexities of the law – to no avail – and my mate Carl Gardner appeared on BBC Radio 4 to inform Mr Naughtie and listeners, including me, about the law this morning.  Carl Gardner has written a sensible analysis of the problem faced by the UK Government: Julian Assange: can the UK withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorian embassy?

I don’t think I added to the jurisprudence on this issue with my sardonic tweet of late last night:  “Breaking: Ecuador Embassy buy teleporter from makers of Star Trek to transport Assange to Ecuador.”

David Allen Green has considered the twitter issue with: On being hated by tweeters.

And… a late ‘analysis from @Loveandgarbage – a must follow (at your own risk) on twitter – @loveandgarbageDuchy of Grand Fenwick turns down Asylum Application from Ecuadorian Ambassador

Apropos of Mr Assange escaping to Ecuador – a country not noted for free speech – without being arrested by police when he steps onto British soil to make a dash for the diplomatic car – I had the pleasure of teaching Mr Umaru Dikko years ago.

Wikipedia notes: “On July 5, 1984, he played the central role in the Dikko Affair; he was found drugged in a crate labeled Diplomatic Baggage at Stansted Airport, an apparent victim of a government (Israeli) sanctioned, but aborted kidnapping.[2] The crate’s destination was Lagos.”

Dikko came to see me in my office to talk about doing a law degree. I believe in the principle ‘innocent until proved guilty’.  As he had not been convicted of any criminal offence at the time,  I was quite happy for him to enrol on the University of London  LLB programme. I did warn him that should he be convicted at a future time – of corruption or any other criminal offence – this would impact on his suitability for call to the Bar. During one of my contract lectures, I happened to talk about a case involving a consignment of goods to Nigeria.  Several Nigerians at the back of the lecture hall – burst out laughing and  started shouting “Dikko, Dikko, Dikko”.  To his credit, and to my amusement, Mr Dikko, immaculately dressed in expensive suiting, stood up, turned to face the Nigerian students and did a bow.  Class!

The ‘silly season’ is upon us; traditionally a time for the surreal and daft to appear in our newspapers in the absence of more serious news. So, in that spirit… and I head this section with an image of the Olympics which I particularly liked…althought there were so many marvellous photographs.

Random wanderings about London
The long vacation for lawyers begins at the end of July.  I decided to take a short break away from law,  which I enjoyed.  I spent a few amusing days getting on buses without having a clue where the bus ended up.  I like a bit of ‘random’ in my life these days.  London is, truly, a marvellous place to wander around,  even for a law blogger who has lived in London for 30+ years. I won’t trouble you with the boring details of where I ended up – but I can reveal that I purchased a very bright green Casio wrist watch (£20) and a very loud pair of electric blue suede desert desert style boots on my travels.  I shouldn’t be allowed out on my own sometimes. It is perhaps a good thing that  I  don’t escape that often?  I did my bit for Britain during the Olympic fortnight, on my mystery travels, by talking to tourists about our great City – Big Society in action? The tourists were most grateful for the information I imparted…possibly. I wasn’t even tempted to say that Nelson’s Column was, in fact, in Chancery Lane and that the guy in Trafalgar Square was an imposter statue. No…sireee…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best, as always

PS… I am coming to the conclusion that academic lawyers may know more law than the practitioners.  Whether this is useful – I hope to consider this phenomenon and wind up some of my practitioner friends  when I get back to serious blogging.  In the meantime, you might enjoy this speech from Lord Neuberger MR – who is soon to be President of The United Kingdom Supreme Court: JUDGES AND PROFESSORS – SHIPS PASSING IN THE NIGHT

Wonderful stuff with much talk about citing academic lawyers – but only if they are dead!

Charon meets Nit Romney at The Staterooms… briefly… mercifully

Mr Nit Romney doesn’t really ‘get’ Britain…which is just fine and dandy with me…. Yeee…Ha!!

And… in other news… Britain’s LOCOG cracks it and goes for GOLD!

Thank gawd for the British Army – who, it has to be said, have pitched in when some of them could have been on well earned leave after very recent Afghan deployment

Professor RD Charon opines on the Bar Student Aptitude Test from the éminence grises of The BSB

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, 2009

While I marvel at the ability of regulatory committees to achieve anything of value, The Bar Standards Board, enthused, possibly, by that great festival of corporatism The Olympic games, have gone for Gold with their proposals to introduce a Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT).

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.

I have no idea how The Bar Standards Board cooked up their idea of a Bar Course Aptitude test – but it amuses me to think that it may not have been far from the imagined description above – judging by the plans in place thus far.

A number of points  come to mind.  I address these seriatim:

1. There is no room at the Inn.  There are too many Bar students pushing at the door and frightening the existing members worried about being handed a SAGA holiday brochure by the senior clerk in their early fifties if the thrusting young are not held at bay.

“And Lo”… the éminence grises of The BSB  pronounced the creation of the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT).

2. Competition Law, unintended consequences or even fairly straightforward out of the box thinking not being on the  agenda, presumably: The BSB has gone for an aptitude test which has, Neil Rose of Legal Futures reports, been “set at a level that aims to weed out the bottom 10% of candidates.   The Damoclean sword has been replaced by a bacon slicer.

3. It would appear that a law degree is not a sufficient test of ‘aptitude’ to be a barrister.  Curiously, The BSB  has decided, in its wisdom, not to test English as part of this aptitude for the time being.  One can only surmise that they are rather keen to ensure that the many students from overseas (who return to their own countries and are not a burden to our sceptred isle or the angst of the practising Bar worried about the horde at the gates) continue to come from overseas, pay the fees to them, the Inns and law schools, and then return to their own countries?  I would not wish it to be thought that I suffer from gout to come to such a surmise.

The alternative, possibly rather too radical, proposition of making the Bar Professional Training Course  more difficult to pass – which would probably  achieve the same reduction of numbers objective, give all students a fair chance to take the exam and  benefit the general public onto which the thrusting young barrister is unleashed  – does not appear to have survived the bacon slicer thinking behind the BCAT creation process.

Interestingly, The Bar Standards Board appears to have invented a good old fashioned bogeyman to head criticism off at the pass with this statement – taken from Neil Rose’s report:

Some 64% pass all modules of the BPTC at the first attempt. The application says that as well as showing that “students are admitted who are not capable of passing the course after the one year of academic study for which it is designed”, their presence “immensely diminishes the quality of the learning experience for the class as a whole”.

At the risk of being burned at the stake for apostasy by the éminence grises of The BSB – I would imagine that students with poor English skills being allowed onto the course, may well have a more ‘diminishing the quality of the learning experience for the good guys effect’?  But be that as it may.  Aptitude in English is not a required aptitude for practice at The Bar for the purposes of the bacon slicing designed to repel boarders at the gates of heaven.

I fear that Chris Kenny may have been reading too many editions of Private Eye with this wonderful piece of BBC Burtspeak taken from the Legal Futures article. I sympathise.

LSB chief executive Chris Kenny said the very fact that the test has not operated in practice, other than in limited pilots, means it is “impossible to verify in absolute terms” what impact the test will have on issues such as diversity, and the number or competence of barristers.

“This uncertainly has a material impact on our ability to reach definitive conclusions, both about the impact in relation to individual regulatory objectives and better regulation duties, and our assessment of the broader impact on the overall public interest,” he said.

But it isn’t all bad news: Neil Rose reports BSB chair Baroness Deech saying that far from breaking new ground, the BSB was late to the idea of aptitude testing. “Medics have been doing this for years without any adverse impact on race and class,” she said. Overseas legal bodies also used it, she added.”  So to borrow from the BBC’s excellent Twenty Twelve …”That’s all good”.

And…and at least fee income is being considered – a priority in these dark days..

The BCAT will be in place from this September ahead of applications for the 2013 Bar professional training course opening in November. The application fee for the test will be about £67. All students will be told their scores, but the information will not be passed to course providers.

I am, it has to be said, a bit baffled by the kafkaesque last sentence – “All students will be told their scores, but the information will not be passed to course providers.”  I can only assume that those who failed will be ‘disappeared’ or be given the keys to the library where a revolver and a whisky await, provided at no extra charge. ?

Perhaps I shall telephone the BSB to find out how cunning that latter part of the plan is and what the sentence means in practice.

On that note – given that it is unlikely my colleagues from the world of academe and practice will be able to pull any more stunts over the Long Vacation requiring my analysis, I bid you leave.

If you are short of material to read over the Long Vacation – may I suggest, without irony, my greatest work (infra)  which my brother Charon QC describes thus “If you thought that Shades of Grey was amazing…this mind  ripper will alter your mindset forever.”

I am not quite sure what he meant.  When I first asked him to review my book he replied with the famous aphorism of Sir Maurice Bowra when asked to review a book – “Be sure, I shall lose no time in doing so.”

Professor R.D. Charon LLB (Cantab), BCL, Ph.d,  FRSA
 Author: “Legal Nihilism: Taking Rights Seriously, seriously”, Maninahat Press, 2009


Note by Charon QC

My brother has ‘issues’ with the legal establishment.  I have found it better to humour him than engage with him in reasoned rational argument – for therein lies the sort of ‘mania’ experienced by some legal commentators on twitter when they engage the libertarians, trolls and shield munchers.

Idiocy 101: Britain goes for GOLD with this one…

I could not resist this picture from my old mate Charles Christian (@ChristianUncut and Editor of The Orange Rag)  – who keeps an eye on legal technology and this type of world class  marvellous behaviour…

However… all may not be as it seems.  HT to@Anttix for alerting me to this report from Snopes.com

Back tonight with a podcast on criminal law, the criminal justice system and the role of criminal lawyers.  We will also consider the PC Harwood acquittal.  Amanda Bancroft and Francis Fitzgibbon QC will be the guests, as will Carl Gardner if he is not tied up with work.

Tolerant libertarianism, twitter OUTRAGE and whackjobs and *caveat bandwagonjumperor*….


noun – Laissez-faire political philosophy advocating only minimal tolerance for deviation with/from views of libertarian tweeter
I have used Twitter for just over four years, racking up over 100,000 tweets in the process, and enjoy reading amusing tweets, the links and information provided by Twitter users –  and the debate when it is thoughtful, informed and intelligent.

However – there is a great deal of  ill informed discussion, inevitably, and while I will – to abuse the famous aphorism – defend to the death the right of all to talk complete bollocks (including my own bollocks) on Twitter and elsewhere – this does not mean that I need to engage with sundry whackjobs, tin foil hatwearers and intolerant ‘libertarians’ who seem blind and deaf to views which differ from their own. So I don’t and won’t now – if only for the sake of what is left of my ‘sanity’.

There are many on Twitter, including well known tweeting lawyers, who seem to get bogged down in fruitless ‘engagement’ with others on Twitter and then get ‘the hump’ when they find that their carefully constructed and well thought out  responses to the whackjobs et al  go unheard.

It may be, of course, that these tweeters are bandwagon jumpers and ‘engage’ to ensure that their ‘brand’ is kept before an adoring public when the music from their previous triumph fades into the chilling ether of obscurity – and  the twitter wildebeest herd  stampedes on to yet another OUTRAGE  – in which case…caveat bandwagonjumperor.

Twitter is a fine tool but it can, when overused, lead to *atrophy*.  I am grateful to my friend, US lawyer Dan Hull, who writes the excellent Whataboutclients? blog (Weekend edition: WhataboutParis?) for drawing my attention to ‘atrophy’.

The dark side of my nature bubbled up this morning on twitter – shortly before I escaped/farked orf to t’caff for black coffee and the papers. I tweeted: “*Atrophy* – the partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body including the brain following twitter overuse.”

To which @princessofVP responded with the excellent : “Twatrophy?”

Anyway.. we are where we are.. to use yet another overlaboured phrase…

Enjoy your Sunday… of OUTRAGE… if that is your bag!

Guest post: Professor R.D. Charon on the vicissitudes of a career in Law

From time to time I allow my brother, Professor R.D. Charon, to express his more strident views on legal academe by inviting him to do a guest post. Well to the right of Mr Genghis Khan and embittered by an almost invisible career in the back rooms of a university – the worthy professor has advice in plenty for the aspirant law student.  I accept no liability whatsoever for any injury to mind or body (or at all) which may be sustained by the reader who is minded to take Professor Charon’s advice.  Caveat emptor… as we say down at The Old Duck and Dog.

The Vicissitude of a career in Law

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, 2009

I can do no better than reprise my annual address to the new intake of vestal virgins who present themselves at my university each October, their burden of wealth lightened by the accounts department, eager to begin their ‘journey of discovery’ in the Law.

Gentlemen and Ladies, Good morning.

Professor RD Charon plays the opening song   from Cabaret to the audience

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!
Fremde, etranger, stranger.
Gluklich zu sehen, je suis enchante,
Happy to see you, bleibe, reste, stay.

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret

Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs,
Ladies and Gentlemen! Guden Abend, bon soir,
We geht’s? Comment ca va? Do you feel good?
I bet you do!
Ich bin euer Confrecier; je suis votre compere…
I am your host!

Well.. there we are… you few, you happy few, you band of brothers who, despite the endeavours of Mr Michael Gove, a political Colossus who strides the empire of his own vanity, have arrived at our university to begin your studies in the Laws of England & Wales with a soupçon of European law woven pervasively through the syllabus to equip you to deal with Johnny Foreigner’s issues across The Channel, should you have the misfortune to be involved in same.

A few words to encourage you. Approximately two percent of you gathered here today will defeat the examiners – and make no mistake, at this university, we are out to get you – you will secure First Class Honours.  Given the reputation of our university, such an award, maxima cum laude, will provide a most satisfactory start to your career. Fifteen per cent of you will secure honours at Upper Second, giving you a sporting chance with the leading firms and chambers, and 40 per cent will have to do what you can in the legal world with a Lower Second.  For the gentlemen and gentleladies among you who regard your lives as a crime in progress, as Hunter S. Thompson would say, and secure a Third – this is a Certificate of Incompetence and it may be best that you leave your alma mater and head off , post haste, to the Police Community Support Officer’s recruitment centre – the address to which is helpfully provided by us in your ‘Welcome Pack’.  The Law will not be for you.

The exigencies of modern life, with universities cast into the cauldron of commerce by Two Brains Willett’s and left to fund for themselves, have forced us against the very fabric of our collective wills, to levy a fee for your education well north of the £9000 per annum charged by lesser institutions.  On the upside – you will not be required to sit through a battery hen two year ‘new style’ law degree favoured by some parvenu institutions where black letter law is regarded as an inconvenience and the syllabus is brimming with the practice skills of stapling, creating PDFs, bundling et al and a fair bit of financial mumbo-jumbery cobbled together from the vaults of a US inspired MBA program (sic). Nor will you be taught by sundry gurus, prognosticators and modern day legal profession Messiahs. You will be taught by distinguished men and women who have devoted their lives to the study of law in their field and who, through benefit of reflection, are able to shape the laws of our country by sharing their opinions through learned journals.  Indeed, my own magnum opus, “Legal Nihilism: Taking Rights Seriously, seriously”, Maninahat Press, 2009 was, I am advised, quoted with approval by a High Court judge only yesterday in a complex matter.

As to your future.  From this university a career at the commerical bar or a leading City law firm awaits those who reach the top of the mountain first.  You will be able to writhe with pleasure in the cess pit of mammon for about thirty years before the inevitable decline at the age of 50 and you are de-equitised by your partners at the firm of your choosing or, in the alternative, the senior clerk of your Chambers asks if he may have a ‘quiet word’ and hands you a copy of the latest Saga holiday brochure.

Gentlemen and ladies – the future is bright… the future is in your hands.  Tomorrow belongs to you.  I wish you well.

Professor Charon nods to the students and plays Tomorrow Belongs To Me from Cabaret to inspire the students.

Podcast version – with music

Birthday Honours: Who is the odd one out?

Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera lives on with the announcement today that Prince Charles is to be made Field Marshall, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshall of The Royal Airforce – the highest military ranks.

The luvvies are doing their best to see who can be the most self-deprecating about their ‘Honours’… the BBC reports

The British Empire Medal makes a come back.  But no ‘Empire Comeback’ – Ingerland beating Sweden at the footer is good, but not quite in the same league.

Honours & Awards – harmless enough I suppose – an opiate for some, desired by the self important – I prefer the style of the many who turn them down.  They don’t need awards… I don’t quite see why anyone needs one.

Anyway.. to my question:

Question: In the two pictures above – who is the odd one out?

Answer:  Trick question.  There is no odd one out.  They all have honours they have given themselves or been given for being ‘Royal’…. and why would I be against such a thing?  Haha.. I’m not.. I regularly award myself geegaws and baubles.

Fancy being a Lord or Lady?  No problem… just make yourself a duke or buy ‘nobility’ from the internet

The day started well enough….Clegg at #Leveson, PMQs and Jezza Hunt MP defending Labour motion.

Rising at 5.00 to a pale sunny dawn which turned into a glorious summer morning, I drank tea and looked over the river from my desk in the bay window overlooking the Thames.

A few ducks had gathered – no doubt to consider and reflect upon today’s bread and circuses:  Clegg at Leveson, PMQs on BBC Daily Politics and the ‘spectacle’ of Mr Jeremy Hunt MP  rebutting the Labour motion to send him to MinisterialCode Man with..“I haz dun nuffink wrong…Evar!  Louise Unmenschionable MP has exonerated me and Dave said I was innocent within minutes of my ‘strong’ performance at Leveson.”

Carl Gardner argues, rightly in my view –  Hunt’s handling of the NewsCorp-BSkyB deal was unlawful

Ah well… after my dental visit this morning and injections which left me sounding like the Elephant Man… I need a day of panem et circenses.  Could be amusing?

And finally… A duck has texted me..“If PM Cameron can forget his child at pub… just imagine how much he can forget for appearance at #Leveson.”


But the day ended rather badly…

Ah well.. predictably the beserkers rushed into the house – not bothering to actually listen to the debate – to vote for their chum Hunt.  Winning a motion does not, of course, mean that Hunt did not break the ministerial code. If 57 Lib-dems had grown some… Hunt would have lost the motion.

Invertebrate (n): political or animal species that does not develop a vertebral column.
Synonym: Liberal-Democrat

There is no excuse for perjury – never, never, never. There is truth, and the truth demands respect.

There is no excuse for perjury – never, never, never. There is truth, and the truth demands respect.
Kenneth Starr

Gordon Brown and Rupert Murdoch both believe they told the truth at Leveson.  Unfortunately, their evidence is contradictory.  One of them lied?  Which one?

Perjury is a serious offence.  Will one of them be done for perjury?  Holding my breath?


Matthew Norman (Independent) : The brooding, tortured soul of Gordon Brown

Quentin Letts (Daily Mail): His lip curled like one of Ali Baba’s slippers

SCOOP!: Charon unearths shocking emails between The Godfather and The Secretary of State for Culture..etc etc etc…

It is with regret that I add to the burdens faced by Mr Robert Jay QC and Lord Justice Leveson –  who appear to be the unwitting victims of a ‘Big Society Alice in Wonderland Coalition farce’.  But in the public interest, and with no thought of advancement, reward of dubious knighthoods or peerage honour, I must reveal the cache of emails I found between Don Corleone, The Godfather, and Mr Jezza Punter MP, Secretary of State for Culture etc etc etc.

T0: JezzaPunter@gov.uk.org
From: The Godfather@YoudontneedtoknowwhereIamfrom.com

Subject: An offer you cannot refuse

You remember when we  eat cornettos at Nardini’s in Largs, West of Scotland,  last year I say to you… Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me..?  Well – that day has come.  Capische?  This man Cable…he has an attitude problem. I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse if he don’t back down on his hostility to me taking complete control of the olive oil business in Inghilterra.  Capische?  I have sent Don Vinnie Cable some fishes. It’s a Sicilian message. It means he sleeps with the fishes..”


T0: The Godfather@YoudontneedtoknowwhereIamfrom.com
From: JezzaPunter@gov.uk.org

Subject: RE: An offer you cannot refuse

Yo Don Corleone!  Good to hear from ya.. I am fully in favour of your taking over complete control of the olive oil business in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and even Scotland – although I should warn you that in Scotland, although they have a penchant for deep frying everything, I don’t think they use olive oil.  I’ll get Giorgio Osborno to ‘fix it’.  I am honored and grateful that you have emailed me on the wedding day of your daughter. And may their first child be a masculine child. Buona sera. LOL”


T0: The Godfather@YoudontneedtoknowwhereIamfrom.com
From: JezzaPunter@gov.uk.org

Subject: Good news

I emailed Chancellor Osborno to say that I am seriously worried that we are going to fark this up. Hey presto I hear on the news that Dr Cable has been sacked from his quasimodo-judicial responsibilities to determine your bid to control the olive oil business in Britain because of his ‘unfortunate’ remarks to two very pretty girls posing as constituents but who were, in fact, journalists who haven’t been arrested for anything yet.  Remarkably… and I Coulson’t make this up – we still have a few journalists who are not on bail somewhere in Britain.

I have received a very cryptic email from Giorgio Osborno…”I hope you like the solution’.  Minutes later, would ya believe it, I get a text from the prime minister “Jezza, I’d like you to fix, by which I mean, handle… this olive oil bid from Don Corleone.  I know you will do what is right so I don’t have to trouble the independent chap I appointed  who handles references for breach of the Ministerial Code.  Capische? ROFLMAssangeOff. LOL DC”

This means I now have to work out what Quasimodo-judical responsibility actually means and completely set aside my enthusiastic bias in your favour before deciding that you are a ‘fit and proper’ person to control the entire olive oil business in Britain.  What larks eh?  Grazie, Jezza.


T0: The Godfather@YoudontneedtoknowwhereIamfrom.com
From: JezzaPunter@gov.uk.org

Subject: RE: Good news

This Quasimodo-judicial responsibility doesn’t mean bent up like da hunchback guy on top of Notre Dame does it? We are going legit. I don’t want no bent judicial antics unless you can keep it out of #Leveson.  That Leveson… he remind me of Luca Bratzi.. who was a very scary guy I used to enforce the rule of law.

I said that I would see you right in my papers because I had heard that you were a serious man, to be treated with respect. But I must say yes to you and let me give you my reasons. It’s true I have a lot of friends in politics, but they wouldn’t be so friendly if they knew my business was  running newspapers and television companies instead of olive oil which they consider a harmless vice. But newspapers and television, that’s a dirty business.Capische?

From now you deal with my son Michael. Capische? He likes a lot of texts.  And you don’t mouth off in Parliament – Capische?


T0: The Godfather@YoudontneedtoknowwhereIamfrom.com
From: JezzaPunter@gov.uk.org

Subject: RE: Good news

Congratulations on taking over the olive oil business in Britain.  I am sure you will miss the FBI in New York….  ROFL LOL Jezza.



And it came to pass…

Mr Jezza Punter MP, Secretary of State for Don Corleone, Michael and Spumante (DCMS) was duly summoned before The Leveson Inquiry.  He wriggled like a worm on a hook while he was grilled for six hours.  A nation watched with popcorn, marvelling at the exquisite questioning of a leading Silk – delighted to see a politician squirm,  as his naivety and astonishingly reckless behaviour was ripped from him, as a butcher chops up a dead animal, stripping the flesh from bone and laying out the truth of the matter.

Despite the best endeavours of the leading Silk, Louise Unmenschionable MP  was quick off the mark with a tour of TV news studios to declare to an astonished nation that Mr Jezza Punter MP had been ‘completely exonerated’ at The Leveson Inquiry, that he had never done anything wrong… EVAR…  and that the prime minister ofered him ‘his full confidence and support’ and there would be no Breach of the Ministerial Code reference.  Ms Unmenschionable MP then went on twitter to grandstand and glory in her own self importance before making plans to highjack HM the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to promote herself on twitter over the holiday weekend.

Sadly… the Coalition did not end happily ever after.. it still goes on doing  U-Turns with the enthusiasm of a spin dryer at the end of the wash cycle.



From LoveandGarbage: BREAKING: Bletchley Park set task of breaking ministerial code