Postcard from The Staterooms

Dear Reader

As Chris Grayling raids the dressing up box, it warms the heart to see that he has finally been apprehended…

If I was inclined to rudeness – which I am not, I might be tempted to suggest that Mr Grayling would serve his country better by returning to the fold of back bench psychopaths on the Tory benches.  But as I am not rude, I won’t.  Tuberville v Savage [1669] EWHC KB J25

Having managed to fall backwards into a bath, slipping on a bathmat while shaving some months back – cracking my spine, I take an interest in The Darwin Awards.

The winner this year…

Yes, it’s that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.
Here Is The Glorious Winner:
1. When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.
I shall return later in the day, possibly, with another Postcard.  I leave you with good seasonal  news from RollonFriday “Allen & Overy has replaced the University of Law as its LPC and GDL provider with BPP University.”

Tour Report #26: Direct Access to barristers and the changing face of legal practice

Tour Report #26:  Direct Access to barristers and the changing face of legal practice

Today I am talking to Jonathan Maskew and Bruce Webster, of myBarrister about the firm and the concept and practice of Direct Access to barristers.

”myBARRISTER is a new online service that gives people and businesses direct access to the specialised skills of barristers, helping them resolve legal issues, defend against prosecution, take legal action or simply providing specialist legal advice on a particular situation.”

myBARRISTER website

The podcast covers:
The start up and challenge
Overview of myBARRISTER
The Brand
Aim of the Business
Direct access , the potential and online offering for client choice
What our business does
Views on the prospects for the profession moving forward

Listen to the podcast

iTunes Version of the podcast

Tour Report #25: The role of Information technology in modern legal practice

Tour Report #25:  The role of Information technology in modern legal practice

Yesterday I talked with Charles Christian, Editor in Chief of Legal IT Insider (both available online and in print), about the role of technology in the practice of law and the information  tools used by lawyers in the modern era.

We looked at:

1. The consumerisation of legal software – why Facebook is so easy yet MS Word so difficult when it comes to training

2. Asked why don’t legal publishers adopt the iTunes approach to content – you buy the chapter you want, boot the 19 chapters you’ll never need

3. The use of social media

4. The gamification in continuing education and training, making it more fun to learn

Listen to the podcast

iTunes version of the podcast

(We had bad signal issues on Skype yesterday so in parts the sound broke up briefly.  Beyond my control unfortunately)

Tour Report #23: Jerry Hayes on the Lord Chancellor’s Legal Aid reforms – a sardonic commentary

Today I am talking with Jerry Hayes a former Tory MP and practising barrister about the purpose and likely impact of the cuts to legal aid being proposed by Chris Grayling, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

Much has been written about the legal reforms in the dead tree press and the law blogs. (Patrick Torsney has a comprehensive listing of blogs written by lawyers and others from the legal blogging community. )

We discuss the need for the protest by lawyers outside parliament and the likely impact on society in terms of access to justice.  It is not about ‘lawyer fatcattery’ – the proposals being put forward by the Lord Chancellor will impact on many in our society in terms of a fair trial and access to good legal representation – and they will, directly or indirectly, affect us all – not least in terms of the ‘Rule of Law’ so lovingly used by the prime minister, foreign secretary and other senior ministers when promoting Britain overseas or lecturing despotic governments abroad.

Jerry Hayes is a former Tory MP who knows the back benches of the Tory party and its workings well.  Jerry is also a practising barrister.  He is not shy in putting his robust views on Chris Grayling’s reforms – nor is he shy in coming forward to comment sardonically.

Please listen to the podcast – lawyer or non-lawyer.   There is a serious message here – but there is also fairly ribald ‘analysis’.  It  was a most enjoyable podcast to do.

Listen to the podcast

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PLEASE SIGN the petition so that Mr Grayling has to answer before Parliament for his ill conceived reform plans.

>>>>Sign the petition – please, if you haven’t already.

The verdict is in: FailingGrayling LC guilty of attempted murder of Legal Aid

Tour Report #22: The trials and tribulations of applying for pupillage at the Bar?

The legal profession is under siege  from the legal aid reforms being proposed by the Lord Chancellor and access to justice – often for the most vulnerable in society – will be compromised.  I discussed this in relation to criminal law with Michael Turner QC, Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, in my last podcast.  

Some say that there is only a one in eight chance of a Bar student getting through to practice with a tenancy at present.  It doesn’t seem to be a good time to contemplate a career at the Bar. Senior members of the Bar have expressed concern at the numbers of aspiring barristers being churned out by the law schools and  that the Bar will become less diverse with only the middle class candidates, backed with family money presumably, able to contemplate a career at the Bar.

So what is it about the Bar that attracted a 42 year old ex-army tank commander – a non-commissioned officer with no A levels – to go to university after leaving the army, securing a First class degree in English Literature and Contemporary History from York St John University and a Very Competent in what was then the Bar Vocational Course,  and  apply for a pupillage at the Bar?

Well… I am about to find out. As part of my 12-18 month tour of the United Kingdom to see how law is practised in different parts of the country and what people think about our legal system,  today I am talking to Craig Lowe.

Listen to the podcast

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

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

To set the context, I quote from an article in The Express:

High Street solicitors could be forced to close by Government legal aid changes
MORE than 1,500 High Street solicitors will be forced to close branches “within a year” if the Government’s controversial legal aid reform plans succeed.

The loss of High Street solicitors would also have a severe impact on barristers. Michael Turner QC, head of the Criminal Bar Association, warned: “Our barristers’ system will fail. Our brilliant judiciary comes from the Bar. Once you have Tesco and G4S providing advocates, you will get Tesco and G4S judges in 10 years’ time. Make no bones about it, we are facing absolute devastation to what is the finest legal system in the world.”

He rejected claims that Britain’s legal aid was the most expensive in Europe. “You have a different system there, with investigative magistrates who interview witnesses, and the big cost is the judicial spend.”…..

Access to justice in a civilised society is fundamental to the Rule of Law and the rights enshrined in our Human Rights laws to a fair trial.

The Independent covers the theme:

New legal aid reforms end ‘justice for all’, lawyers warn

England’s 800-year-old tradition of fair and open access to justice for all will be destroyed by sweeping Government plans to reform criminal legal aid, senior judges and magistrates warn today.

In an attempt to save £200 million by 2018, the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling plans to stop paying solicitors for the work they do – and instead give them a fixed fee for each case they represent.

Lawyers will be incentivised to recommend guilty pleas to their clients, a coalition of judges, magistrates and civil liberties groups warns. Their fears are backed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates miscarriages of justice on behalf of the Government.

Criminal suspects will lose their rights to choose or dismiss a solicitor, and the number of accredited legal aid firms will drop from 1,600 to less than 400 – raising the possibility that hundreds of small high street firms could be replaced by huge contractors like G4S.

“The Government is creating a system where potentially the same company could defend you, lock you up in prison and then rehabilitate you when you come out,” said one judicial source……”

 Under plans to save £200m solicitors will be paid fixed fees, with contracts going to firms like G4S

Interestingly, two well regarded judges have commented on the issue…

The current President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, is understood to have deep reservations about Mr Grayling’s plan. Sources suggest that he believes it undermines the right – first enshrined in the Magna Carta – that “to no man shall we deny justice”.

The former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf told The Independent on Sunday that the proposals would lead to a “factory of mass-produced justice” and miscarriages of justice.

“It is the complete privatisation of justice.”

Michal Turner QC has robust views on the proposed reforms which will have a considerable impact on access to justice, the profession, the public and have a devastating effect on the very cornerstone of our democracy.

Listen to the podcast

iTunes version of the podcast

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Some useful links:

Michael Turner QC

Criminal Bar Association

The Independent: New legal aid reforms end ‘justice for all’, lawyers warn

David Allen Green, The New Statesman: How the Ministry of Justice’s proposal for the tendering of criminal legal aid is misconceived and illiberal

The Ministry of Justice consultation document: Transforming Legal Aid: Delivering a more credible and efficient system

Barrister 999: Legal Aid – some thoughts

Crimeline: DO NOT expect others to do things for you. It is your justice system at risk. Do something – here are some ideas.

Criminal Bar Association: PRICE COMPETITIVE TENDERING. A SOLICITOR’S VIEW FROM THE HIGH STREET

Crimsolicitor: The right to choose…

(Sorry about the minor technical recording difficulty at the beginning of the podcast – thankfully we only lost the  introduction – and a very brief summary of the Ministry of Justice proposals which are linked above under the links section.  We also had the sound of crockery being laid out in an adjoining room – which accounts for a very brief pause in recording eight minutes in!

Michael Turner gave me a short history of the Garden Court Chambers building and an excellent tour.  Fascinating. 

Please spread the word about this podcast – #SaveUKJustice)

Tour Report #20: Iain Gould, Solicitor, on actions against the Police

Iain Gould, Solicitor and Partner at David Phillips & Partners
TourLawcast 15

The Police and the Crown Prosecution Service  play a pivotal part in the criminal justice system – but, what happens when the Police break the rules or are negligent?

Solicitor Iain Gould has built up specialist expertise in the field of actions against the police and shares his thoughts and experience in this podcast

Listen to the podcast

iTunes version of the podcast

Tour Lawcast 14: John Cooper QC on the CPS guidelines on social media

Tour Lawcast 14:  John Cooper QC on the CPS guidelines on social media

“Well I don’t think John Cooper with all respect has seen anything like the number of cases I have. I don’t think he has thought about the sophistication of the issues. There are many cases…I mean he can point to one case [the Twitter Joke Trial]…yeah he makes a cheap point about one case, I’ve got to deal with the many thousands of cases that come in, I’ve got to deal with all the chief constables. So, yes, nice cheap point, but actually let’s get back to reality.”

These are the reported words of Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC following the issuing of new guidelines on social media prosecutions when he was placed under pressure by criticism raised by an experienced criminal silk, John Cooper QC.

Speaking on Radio 5 John Cooper QC said of the guidelines  …”totally and utterly unnecessary”, adding that the 25 pages would be better condensed to “two words: common sense”.

Today, I talk to John Cooper QC about the CPS guidelines on Social Media.

Listen to the podcast

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Tour Report #17: The Jackson Reforms and costs with Sue Nash

Tour Report #17:  The Jackson Reforms and costs with Sue Nash

“Let there be no doubt about it, the reforms will come into force next
April”. 

“It would not be an exaggeration to say that from my perspective costs management is the key to the Jackson reforms.  If it succeeds the reforms will succeed.  If it doesn’t, then we run a risk that costs will unnecessarily and otherwise avoidably increase and the reforms will fail”.

“I do not want to give the impression that I do not have faith in the reforms.  It might seem that I am already expecting disaster.  That is very far from the case. But one has to be realistic”

Lord Dyson MR

Today, I am talking with Sue Nash of Litigation Costs Services at the offices of Kysen PR in London.

The Jackson Reforms – in particular the issue of costs and retainers.

1.  A brief overview of the main aspects of the reforms – Costs Management/Budgeting, Provisional Assessment, new proportionality rule, new/revised funding arrangements i.e. DBAs/CFAs and the referral fee ban
2. Costs management/budgeting – how it is supposed to work and what firms need to do to prepare for it – analysis of historic ‘data (work) and recording and planning future work – need for specialist input from costs specialists – using them as part of the litigation team/process.
3. Provisional assessment – likely impact will be to discourage firms from seeking oral hearings to dispute the PA.
4.       Retainers
5.       Round-up – all reforms supposed to be looked at together and taken as a package – overall impact on Claimant PI firms/departments likely to be a fee income reduction of between 25 and 50% over the next 2-3 years (higher value cases will be less affected).  Get in expert help and spend time now – they need to know if their current business models are viable going forward and if not need to change them.

Tour Report #16: On Human Rights law with Kirsty Brimelow QC and Francis FitzGibbon QC

Tour Report #16:  On Human Rights law with Kirsty Brimelow QC and Francis FitzGibbon QC

Littman, David G. (January 19, 2003). “Human Rights and Human Wrongs”. National Review (New York). “The principal aim of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was to create a framework for a universal code based on mutual consent. The early years of the United Nations were overshadowed by the division between the democratic and communist conceptions of human rights, although neither side called into question the concept of universality. The debate centered on which “rights” — political, economic, and social — were to be included among the Universal Instruments.”

Human rights law is at the very foundation of our Rule of Law.  Today, I am talking to two of the leading crime and human rights lawyers – Kirsty Brimelow QC, the new Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee and Francis FitzGibbon QC, both of Doughty Street Chambers.

1.   What are human rights and the importance of human rights – The Rule of Law – Lord Bingham’s famous question about which human rights would you like to lose.

2.  Overview of the European Convention and ECtHR work

3.  The HRA and coalition government plans for a ‘British Bill of Rights’

4.  Human Rights hard cases – Qatada et al / prisoner votes et al
5.  Press and public attitudes to the Human Rights Act

6.  The role of The Bar in promoting human rights – British foreign policy predicated to some extent on countries complying with human rights

Listen to the podcast

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#WithoutPrejudice podcast: Leveson – Gay Marriage – Justice & Security – Contempt – Finucane

Welcome to Without Prejudice recorded last night at the offices of Preiskel & Co LLP with Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog and David Allen Green, solicitor and  legal correspondent of The New Statesman.

UK Law Tour Report #15: podcast with Alex Aldridge, Editor of Legal Cheek

Tour Report 15: podcast with Alex Aldridge, Editor of Legal Cheek

Today, at the offices of Kysen PR in Covent Garden, London I talk with Alex Aldridge, editor of Legal Cheek, about his serious yet irreverent online ‘legal tabloid’ Legal Cheek and the role of law bloggers in observing the state of the legal nation.

Listen to the podcast

 

iTunes version of the podcast

Without Prejudice lawcast: the Leveson Report with Carl Gardner and David Allen Green

http://www.insitelawmagazine.com/images/levesonreport

Without Prejudice lawcast: The Leveson Report with Carl Gardner, Jez Hindmarsh and David Allen Green

The BBC reports:

Would:

  • Create a process to “validate” the independence and effectiveness of the new self-regulation body
  • Validate a new process of independent arbitration for complainants – which would benefit both the public and publishers by providing speedy resolutions
  • Place a duty on government to protect the freedom of press

Would not:

  • Establish a body to regulate the press directly
  • Give any Parliament or government rights to interfere with what newspapers publish

Listen to the podcast

iTunesversion

Our thanks to Gray’s Inn for hosting the recording.

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Useful resources

On Leveson, David David Allen Green
Carl Gardner on Leveson
The Guardian essential guide
and INFORRM’s
The MST:
HackedOff:
The FSN:

The Leveson Report

UK Tour Report #13: Social media and the employment law implications with Sean Jones QC

Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter,  is being widely used now and it is not without dangers. The recent Lord McAlpine libel litigation, cyber-stalking, tweets which break the contempt of court laws –  all have a ‘chilling’ effect on ‘free speech’.  Employers are increasingly turning to Twitter and Facebook to check out future employees and to monitor the behaviour of current employees.

Today, I am talking with Sean Jones QC of 11 KBW, a leading employment and public law set. We look at the employment law implications for use of social media in some depth and discuss the important case of Smith v Trafford Housing Trust [2012] EWHC 3221 (Ch)

We then move on to discuss practice at the Bar, the immediate to medium term prospects for barristers and Sean Jones QC provides some advice for prospective barristers.

Listen to the podcast

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Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services with Toronto lawyer Mitchell E Kowalski

Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services

“The past few years have seen incredible innovation and growth in the way legal services can be delivered–yet most law firms around the world continue to practice law the way it’s been practiced for centuries, namely, as a labor-intensive endeavor carried out by high-priced lawyers billing by the hour.”

I’m talking with Toronto lawyer Mitchell Kowalski the author of Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services. Avoiding Extinction makes the case for how the law firm of the future will succeed, with a laser-like focus on delivering high-quality legal services better, faster, and cheaper. This entertaining and instructive book is a must-read for anyone seeking a creative vision into what a new, truly different law firm could look like.

The podcast:

Your book – why did you choose the fictional law firm Bowen Fong and Chandri PC – the medium of a novel – for your book?

A utopian construct or capable of practical reality?

The billable hour v  value billing debate

Comparison with UK – UK firms Lawyers on Demand and Riverview Law?

Five key propositions for delivering legal services you regard as the most innovative and important

* Billing
* Knowledge Management
* The People at the top set the tune for the middle
* Legal process outsourcing – the more money you save, the more money you earn
* Project management – if you can’t map out all the processes you are doing  you cannot value and price it.

Listen to the podcast

iTunesversion of the podcast

UK Tour Report #11: An interview with Toby Craig, Head of Communications, The Bar Council

Report #11: An interview with Toby Craig, Head of Communications, The Bar Council

The Bar Council represents the interests of all barristers in England & Wales – the regulatory function being carried out by the independent Bar Standards Board.

Facing significant change in the way legal services are delivered in the wake of the Legal Services Act , increasing competition from solicitor-advocates and a government now cutting back on the provision of legal aid, proposing to restrict judicial review and pushing through legislation on secret trials – the role of the Bar Council in the legal profession is a very important one.

Last Sunday I did a podcast with John Cooper QC on the controversial issue of referral fees. Toby Craig, head of communications for The Bar Council contacted me soon after I published this podcast to ask if I would be prepared to do a podcast with him to enable The Bar Council to put their view.

The discussion with Toby Craig covered a number of controversial issues which members of the Bar have expressed concern to me about.

In this podcast we look at:

1. The Role of The Bar Council

2. The relationship of The Bar Council with government

3. The potential conflict of interest in relation to the Attorney-general who is the head of the Bar

4. Michael Turner QC’s robust criticisms published in The Daily Mirror: Injustice for all: Leading QC on why legal aid cuts and change in regulation is bad news for Britain

5. How democratic is the Bar Council and the controversy during the  recent  Criminal Bar Association elections

6. Criticism of The Bar Council raised in a report commissioned in 2011

7. Referral fees – the Bar stance is that referral fees are a breach of the Code of Practice and will also give rise to civil and criminal liability – issues raised by Nicholas Lavender QC in June 2012. I ask Toby Craig what steps the Bar Council is taking to survey Chambers that may have paid or are currently engaged in paying referral fees to bring in work.

8. Social media and diversity at the Bar

The podcast raises important issues of representation and professional ethics and I welcome comment and discussion from members of the Bar and others with an interest.

Listen to the podcast

iTunes version of the podcast

Human Rights podcast: UK Tour Report #10: Professor de Londras – Guantanamo and they key issues in human rights for Europe

UK Tour Report #10: Professor de Londras – Guantanamo and they key issues in human rights for Europe

We have a Bill of Rights in this country. It’s called the Human Rights Act and is thoroughly British, European and universal in its values”

Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty

Human rights underpins much of our law and we are in the midst of controversy yet again with a government appearing determined to avoid complying with the European Court of Human Rights in relation to prisoner votes and ‘disappointed’ with the recent judgment of SIAC in relation to Abu Qatada.

Today I am talking to Fiona De Londras, professor of law at Durham University. Her research primarily focuses on questions related to effective rights protection with a particular concentration on times of strain and crisis and especially counter-terrorism.

We look at the problems the US President faces with the closure of Guantanamo Bay – promised within a year of his inauguration as President four year ago – as a comparison with the difficulties the British government faces in relation to compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights – and then consider likely developments within human rights law in the United Kingdom in the next few years.

The plans announced yesterday by the government to limit the scope of Judicial review – covered well by Adam Wagner at the UK Human Rights blog: A war on Judicial Review? [updated] – bring into sharp focus the need to examine how Britain will respond to the human rights agenda in the future.

Listen to the podcast

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UK Tour report #9: A view of the changing legal profession – Jeremy Hopkins, RiverviewLaw

UK Tour report #9:  A view of the changing  legal profession – Jeremy Hopkins, Riverview Law

We’re not doing anything clever. We’re just applying common sense to the legal market

The UK legal services market is valued at approximately £24bn pa. It is highly fragmented with few brands. It’s going through a period of significant upheaval. Changes in regulation and customer expectation provide an opportunity for a more modern, flexible, and customer-centric approach to the provision of legal services.

Riverview Law website statement

Today I talk with Jeremy Hopkins, director of operations at Riverview Law.  Jeremy Hopkins, formerly a senior clerk at well known chambers 3VB, talks about the vision behind Riverview Law and the way they deliver legal services on a fixed fee basis.  We then move on to consider the wider issue of the immediate to medium term future of the legal profession.  The discussion is wide ranging.

Listen to the podcast

iTunes version of the podcast

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UK Tour Report #8 – John Cooper QC on the problems facing the Bar in 2012 and beyond

UK Tour Report #8 – John Cooper QC on the problems facing the Bar in 2012 and beyond

The Bar, as with the other branches of the legal profession, is having to adapt to the fast changing legal landscape.  As part of this preliminary series of podcasts, in which I try to set the scene for the tour as a whole,  I talk with John Cooper QC, a well known crime and human rights advocate, about the challenges facing the Bar.

We discuss a number of key issues:

(a) The problems being caused by the cuts to legal aid funding.

(b)  The undermining of the rule of law when  defendants cannot afford legal representation.

(c)  The practical difficulties faced by barristers in practice at the crime, family and common law bar.

(d) The debate between the Solicitors Regulation Authority and The Bar Standards Board on which regulator should regulate trial advocates.

(e) The role of the CPS and prosecutors – who will be fully funded by taxpayers.

(f) The complex and controversial issue of ‘referral  fees’.

(g) The role of the Bar Council and whether it is doing enough to represent barristers as a whole.

 

Listen to the podcast

iTunes version of the podcast

Note: Because John is in the middle of a trial outside London we had to record the podcast over Skype.  The sound quality, accordingly, is not as good as for the face to face recordings.  A couple of times, because of time lag or lack of Skype clarity, John had to ask me to repeat the question.  the hesitation in response on occasion was due to the time lag and not to any hesitancy on John’s part.

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John Cooper QC: 25 Bedford Row, London
Leading in serious crime including murder, serious violence, drug trafficking, terrorism, fraud, human rights and media. Regulatory work including fraud and sports regulation. Inquest work including Judicial Review. John Cooper QC has been named by The Times as one of the Top 100 Influential Lawyers of 2012 in the UK. He is also visiting Professor of Law at Cardiff University and a Master of the Bench at Middle Temple.

John Cooper was lead counsel in the successful Twitter Joke Trial appeal

Chambers : 25 Bedford Row
Blog: Shadow of the Noose
Twitter: @John_Cooper_QC

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Podcasts in the series coming up in the next two weeks:

1. Jeremy Hopkins, Director of Operations at Riverview Law on his view of the changing landscape from what he sees and hears on the ground.

2. Professor Fiona de Londras, BCL, LL.M, PhD (NUI) – Guantanamo and international human rights.

3. Sheila Bramley, Director College of Law Guildford on the changes in legal education.

4. Sean Jones QC, 11 KBW, on current key issues in  employment law.

5. Nicky Richmond, managing partner at Brecher, on the role of a managing partner in a modern law firm
and her perception of the future legal landscape.

6. Tom Harris MP on the role of the law makers in Parliament  and how laws are made and implemented.

I will publish the podcasts due to be recorded in December shortly.

 

 

 

 

UK Law Tour: Report #7 Human Rights law – Carl Gardner on the Abu Qatada judgment

“All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured . . . We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights . . . for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that.”
-The Dalai Lama

Human rights law is, arguably, one of the most important foundations upon which our modern society is built – a subject which arouses pride in some, yet irritation and anger in the minds of others when decisions of the courts do not fit with the political or national mood.

The BBC noted some time back: A common misconception is that the European Convention on Human Rights and its institutions have been thrust upon an unwilling UK as part of the wider European project. But the reality is that the UK (which passed the first ever legislation known as a Bill of Rights in 1689) was one of the architects of the human rights agenda that grew out of the devastation of Second World War.

The European Convention on Human Rights has its roots in the philosophical tradition of universal rights which stretches back to the Enlightenment of the 18th century and the French Revolution. But the actual catalyst for creating a model set of rights in the 20th century was the Allies’ determination to bring peace to Europe.”

On a day when Abu Qatada was released on bail following the judgment of SIAC yesterday – it is noteworthy that the Prime Minister commented in clear, negative, terms:

Mr Cameron told BBC News: “I am completely fed up with the fact this man is still at large in our country, he has no right to be there, we believe he’s a threat to our country…We have moved heaven and earth to try and comply with every single dot and comma of every single convention to get him out of this country.

…It’s extremely frustrating and I share the British people’s frustration at the situation we find ourselves in,”

Mr Cameron may well feel that his government has ‘moved heaven and earth’ – but the reality is that SIAC came to a view that the government had not made its case for lawful deportation and blame for that may well lie at the door of Theresa May, the home secretary.

Today, I talk with Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of the Head of Legal blog about the SIAC Abu Qatada decision and the wider implications for our society if we do not continue to uphold the Rule of Law – no matter how inconvenient it may be for politicians.

Listen to the podcast

iTunes version

Useful resources

SIAC judgment: read judgment

Theresa May MP, home secretary: Theresa May’s statement on Abu Qatada winning appeal against deportation:

Carl Gardner: Abu Qatada: what happens next?

Charon UK Tour Report #6: Professor Moorhead on legal ethics

Today, I am at University College London talking with Professor Richard Moorhead, Professor of Law and Professional Ethics. University College London has a curious distinction – the possessor of the utilitarian philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham’s skeleton dressed in his clothing preserved in a glass case.(Infra)

Professor Moorhead gives a brief definition of ethics before moving on to consider the practical difficulties lawyers face in practice today, illustrating his theme with examples. We consider whether the Code of Practice for solicitors is fit for the purpose – referencing a lawcast I did with Andrew Hopper QC on the regulatory framework – and we consider whether more emphasis should be placed on legal ethics at the academic and vocational stages of legal education.

Listen to the podcast on the Charon QC UK Law Tour blog

iTunes and downloadable version

Useful Resources:

Blog posts by Professor Richard Moorhead

Employment Tribunals: Weighted Against Employers?
Hackgate: where were the lawyers?
(Wannabee) Law Students: One graph which signals your future
LNATs and aptitude tests: what’s good got to do with it?

Footnote from Wikipedia on Bentham

As requested in his will, Bentham’s body was dissected as part of a public anatomy lecture. Afterward, the skeleton and head were preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet called the “Auto-icon”, with the skeleton padded out with hay and dressed in Bentham’s clothes. Originally kept by his disciple Thomas Southwood Smith, it was acquired by University College London in 1850. It is normally kept on public display at the end of the South Cloisters in the main building of the college, but for the 100th and 150th anniversaries of the college, it was brought to the meeting of the College Council, where it was listed as “present but not voting”.

UK Tour Lawcast #1: Andrew Hopper QC on the regulation of solicitors by the SRA

Photograph by Stephen Punter – an enthusiastic supporter of law (and my tour) who has given me permission to publish his remarkable black and white photographs in my tour reports.  Website Stephen Punter Photography – he  is also on twitter @stephenpunter

The regulation of lawyers in this country is vital to the maintenance of honest and best practice.  Solicitors are represented by The Law Society and regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority.  Barristers are represented by The Bar Council and regulated by The Bar Standards Board.  I plan to deal with the regulation of barristers in a separate lawcast later in the tour; similarly Charted Legal Executives, the third principal branch of the profession.  The regulators are regulated by The Legal Services Board and dissatisfied clients can take their claims to The Legal Ombudsman.  The profession is heavily – but not  necessarily – well or fairly regulated.

Today I talk with Andrew Hopper QC about the regulatory framework for solicitors, the Code of Practice, the strengths and shortcomings of the Solicitors regulation Authority and the need for legal education to be improved with good training for prospective lawyers in ethics – the morals and not simply the rules.

Listen to the podcast

Loads immediately in Chrome.  Firefox takes a while to load the whole file before streaming.  I will be opening a new iTunes account shortly to enable you to subscribe (free) in iTunes.

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Andrew Hopper is a solicitor and Queen’s Counsel; still a rare combination. He was admitted a solicitor in 1972 and from 1988 has practised on his own account in a niche practice concerned with professional regulation and discipline, principally in relation to solicitors. He was appointed Silk in 2001, the fifth solicitor Silk to be appointed and the first outside the City of London. He is regarded by many as the foremost expert of his generation on the law and practice related to the regulation of solicitors.

  • He has written, with Gregory Treverton-Jones QC, the Solicitor’s Handbook 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, an intended annual publication proposed to be the natural successor to the Guide, but containing in one place all the professional rules to which solicitors are subject, as well as guidance about the regulatory system generally, written with the benefit of over thirty years experience of this area of law. With the same co-author he has written a guide to Outcomes-Focused Regulation as adopted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in October 2011. Unlike the Guide however the Handbook is written from the perspective of the practitioner, rather than that of the regulator.
  • He is joint General Editor of Cordery on Legal Services, the principal authority on the law and practice affecting the regulation of the supply of legal services, including all aspects of the professional obligations and liabilities of solicitors and the other legal professions, and he is a consulting editor to the fifth edition of Halsbury’s Laws of England on the subject of solicitors
  • Website

 

Follow the Charon QC UK Tour on the new blog – register for emails, if you would like to be notified about new reports and you may download the podcasts through iTunes.  I am using the blogroll facility on the left hand side to set all reports out in chronological order.

Charon QC UK Law Tour blog

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Need IT support for your business or law film? TSG is one of the top UK IT support companies; providing various services for its clients – including IT support, sage software assistance, CRM software and Sharepoint – to name only a little of what TSG has to offer. Available all over the UK, TSG can boast IT support in the following cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, and Manchester.

Lawcast 222: John Cooper QC on the DPP round table social media prosecutions discussions

Lawcast 222: John Cooper QC on the DPP round table social media prosecutions discussions

Today I am talking to John Cooper QC.  The DPP is holding a series of round table meetings to consider where the law should be in relation to online social media, spoken and written.  Rather strangely – while the DPP invited lawyers who have been involved in recent high profile cases and some lawyers who weren’t even peripherally involved – Keir Starmer QC did not extend an invitation to leading criminal silk John Cooper QC who actually led the team in the celebrated Paul Chambers Twitterjoketrial case – which the team won.

I invited John Cooper QC to give the views he would have given to Mr Starmer had Starmer been wise enough to invite John.

We consider the issues in relation to prosecutions under s 127 Communications Act 2003 mindful of the requirements of Article 10 – the law must be formulated with sufficient precision to enable the citizen to foresee the circumstances in which the law would or might be applied.

Listen to the podcast

In Firefox the mp3 file takes time to load, depending on your settings.  In Chrome – the load is quick.

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law SchoolDavid Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School, Brecher Solicitors and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekly  and my Lawcasts

***

Travelex UAE is part of the international company Travelex. It is an essential base for anyone traveling to anywhere in and around the United Arab Emirates and is looking for Foreign Currency Services.

Lawcast 221: Simon Harper on the innovative firm “Lawyers on Demand” and the changing face of legal services

Lawcast 221:  Simon Harper on the innovative firm  “Lawyers on Demand” and the changing face of legal services

Today I am talking to Simon Harper (pictured right) who co-founded Lawyers on Demand with Jonathan Brenner

Simon spent 8 years as an equity partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner where he spent time leading the TMT group and advising clients on the disruptive impact of the internet. In 2012 he stepped down from the BLP partnership to focus on developing and leading LOD. Always a fan of creative legal solutions, he founded LOD after thinking of the idea whilst lying on a beach.

An extract from the LOD website explains the concept:

Lawyers On Demand (LOD) is a new and innovative legal resourcing solution. It unites the possibilities offered by new ways of working to adapt the traditional legal model for the future.

Perhaps the most succinct description of LOD came from The Lawyer’s write-up of their 2010 Awards: “Lawyers On Demand is the way things are going”.

LOD was born out of changes in the way people worked. Users of legal services were keen to find a way to make their budgets stretch further, to get ‘more for less’. Many lawyers were looking for greater flexibility and autonomy without sacrificing quality of work and technology was making it easier to connect without always physically being in the same place.

From this, LOD emerged. The idea was to pair talented, freelance lawyers with clients looking for an alternative resource, all with the know-how support of a leading international law firm. It began as a pilot in 2007 with eight great lawyers. Since then it has increased ten-fold in size, won multiple awards and gained a fantastic list of clients.

In 2008 LOD won the Client Service Award at the FT Innovative Lawyer Awards. Further, in 2010 Berwin Leighton Paisner won the awards for Law Firm of the Year from both The Lawyer and the British Legal Awards, each of which prominently cited LOD as a key factor in the win.

LOD website

Listen to the podcast (40 mins)

In Firefox the mp3 file takes time to load, depending on your settings.  In Chrome – the load is quick.

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law SchoolDavid Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School, Brecher Solicitors and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekly  and my Lawcasts

Lawcast 220: Professor Gary Slapper on Assange, Right to die, Porn Trial, Pussy Riot and Prince Harry

Lawcast 220

Today I am talking with Professor Gary Slapper, Director of NYU.  We have a fairly broad discussion on the ‘Right to die’, Assange, the Simon Walsh pornography trial, Pussy Riot and the publication of the Prince Harry photos

Listen to the podcast (48 mins)

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law SchoolDavid Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School, Brecher Solicitors and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Update: Looking for the right awards company for your upcoming company awards ceremony? EC Awards are the specialists responsible for some very grand and tasteful  awards, such as crystal, acrylic and glass awards – all ideal for a more high-brow awards ceremony.

Lawcast 219: Carl Gardner on the Assange asylum issues

Lawcast 219:  Carl Gardner on the Assange asylum issues

Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog, about the Assange Asylum issue. Before we look at the practical  legality of the United Kingdom government’s threats to Ecuador warning them about The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 – I want to put a few myths to bed by stating the legal position rather than some of the more bizarre and irrational concepts / constructs  used by commentators and commenters  in the press and on twitter

 1. The European Arrest warrant
What is it? – was it correctly applied? – is it valid?
European Arrest Warrant

2.  The United Kingdom Supreme Court judgment authorising Assange’s  extradition to Sweden

Carl Gardner: Lord Kerr on the Assange case

Carl Gardner: Supreme Court judgment: Assange v Swedish Judicial Authority

Carl Gardner: Could Assange apply to set aside the Supreme Court judgment?

Carl Gardner:  The Julian Assange ruling in full

Carl Gardner:  Extradition proceedings against Julian Assange

Carl Gardner: Where does Julian Assange go from here

Carl Gardner: Julian Assange can get out of this?

Without Prejudice
podcast on the UK Supreme Court judgment

Charon:  Podcast with Mark Stephens, Assange’s lawyer in 2010
Still relevant for context and history of Assange applications.

3.  Swedish rape would not be rape in England.
The High Court ruled that “It is clear that the allegation is that he had sexual intercourse with her when she was not in a position to consent and he could not have had any reasonable belief that she did.”

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/assange-summary.pdf

4.  Sweden is a lickspittle legal system.
No – It is a sovereign state, bound by the European Convention and International law

5. But Assange hasn’t been charged. 
In Sweden arrest is the first stage in the process followed by questioning.  Charges are usually laid shortly before the trial.

6. Can Sweden extradite Assange to USA?
Not without UK permission (Home Secretary)  S 58 Extradition Act / Article 28 Framework Decision
Neither Sweden or UK will extradite to USA where an individual will face the death penalty.  This is covered by The European Convention on Human Rights in the protocols

Has Assange actually broken any US laws:  US lawyers consulted think not.

7. The legality of UK Govt Threat to invoke The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987
The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987

Carl Gardner: Julian Assange: can the UK withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorian embassy?
8. Is Britain bound to give safe passage? 
No – ‘diplomatic asylum’ is not recognised by Britain – although some countries do recognise it.  The concept is not recognised by International law – a matter of state derogation according to ICJ

 9. Can Assange take UK to International Court of Justice? 
No.  He is not a state.  Individuals are excluded from suit.  Ecuador can and has indicated preparedness to do so

10. Will Ecuador win? 
Yes (possibly)  if arrest inside embassy or 1987 Act invoked.  No – if Assange arrested on British soil.

Useful materials:

The Independent – Owen Jones: There should be no immunity for Julian Assange from these allegations.
Ecuador is wrong to describe the accusations against the WikiLeaks founder as ‘laughable’

The Blog That Peter Wrote:  Assange Cultism

The Blog That Peter Wrote: Assange

Charles Crawford:  Assange, Asylum and Immunity

Embassies have replaced churches as the setting for confrontations between rival legal orders and concepts of fairness. Assange is in a different world, writes a former UK ambassador

Assange case: a quick reference of legal issues for journalists (with sources)

Extradition of Assange to the US via Sweden for espionage
Dr Mark Klamberg, LL.D. Lecturer public international law, Stockholm University.

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Listen to the podcast (46 Mins)

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law SchoolDavid Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School, Brecher Solicitors and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Lawcast 218: John Cooper QC on the #Twitterjoketrial judgment

Lawcast 218: John Cooper QC on the #Twitterjoketrial judgment

The judgment in the #twitterJoketrial is an important one for Paul Chambers who has been acquitted and can now get on with his life without the stain of criminal conviction hanging over his head.

Not given to hyperbole or persuaded by political grandstanding – I am interested in the hard law behind the judgment, why the decision is so important for ‘freedom of speech’, whether the DPP was misconceived  in bringing the prosecution as solicitor David Allen Green has stated (in fact he went further and described it as ‘disgraceful’ in an interview with Head of Legal blogger Carl Gardner), and whether the judgment really clarifies the law for users of twitter.
I am also interested in the change in legal thinking throughout the appeals – the arguments advanced by Ben Emmerson QC not finding sufficient favour at an earlier stage in the appeal process.  John Cooper QC was brought in for the final appeal before the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge.

The role of counsel in very public cases of this nature often goes unnoticed.  Counsel tend not to stand on the steps of the court to make televised announcements to the public – so for that reason and to get ‘counsel’s opinion’ on the matter I am talking to John Cooper QC who led the legal team before the chief justice Lord Judge.

I am not that impressed with Louise Mensch MP’s comments to Carl Gardner that the DPP should account to MPs who now appear to want to tell him that he got the decision wrong.  I am, however, impressed by Louise Mensch’s support for Paul Chambers’ cause. Her contribution is and was valued. Louise Mensch was the victim of some very nasty personal threats on twitter and gave her support to Paul’s cause freely not simply because he is now her constituent. Political sniping and teasing Louise Mensch on twitter goes with the territory of being an MP (and she is more than able to deal with that!) – personal threats to her or her family do not.  On the question of the DPP being called before the Select Committee –   I liked Carl Gardner’s take in response to Mensch’s political point…and I quote “The DPP’s also entitled to tell them (the MPs) that he makes his own mistakes – not those politicians tell him to make.”

This is a landmark decision for human rights, freedom of expression and common sense.  No-one will ever again, John Cooper QC says, have to go through what Paul Chambers went through as a result of a joke on twitter

Listen to the podcast

***

Useful materials

The Judgment in the Twitter Joke Trial Case
Paul Chambers v Director of Public prosecutions [2012] EWHC 2157

David Allen Green’s archive on The Twitter Joke Trial

Carl Gardner on the twitter Joke Trial

The “Twitter joke” trial: why on earth did the DPP pursue this case?

Chambers v DPP: the judgment

“Twitter joke” appeal: interview with Paul Chambers’s legal team

John Cooper QC explains his strategy on his Shadow of the Noose blog

The Twitter Joke Trial: The Punch Line.

Statement from the CPS

The statement below from the CPS has now been taken down from the CPS website pending review – I am reliably informed –  Charon/(Mike)

Paul Chambers case

Some reports in recent days have been misleading about the decision making process in the Paul Chambers case.

The DPP was not the decision maker in this case, nor did he ‘overrule his subordinates’. At one stage, consideration was given to conceding the appeal, but as a matter of law this was not possible because the key finding of fact in the case was a finding of the Crown Court, which only the High Court could overturn.

CPS report

I understand that a ‘clarification’ of the CPS is due.  The CPS statement certainly does not reflect informed commentary last Friday – so it will be interesting to see which reports were ‘misleading’.

Clarification statement from the CPS

30/07/2012

Clarification on decision making in Paul Chambers case

The DPP was not the reviewing lawyer in the case of Paul Chambers, but in June he did instruct the team managing it to consider conceding the appeal. This was considered and progressed, however, at a later stage the DPP was advised that, as a matter of law, conceding the appeal would not be possible. This is because it was not possible because the key finding of fact in the case was a finding of the Crown Court, which only the High Court could overturn. The DPP accepted that advice and reluctantly agreed that the appeal had to proceed.

Lawcast 217: Alex Novarese, Editor in Chief Legal Week – the changing legal landscape

Lawcast 217: Alex Novarese, Editor in Chief Legal Week – the changing legal landscape

Tonight I am talking with Alex Novarese, Editor in Chief of Legal Week.   The legal world is changing.  Legal news reporting  is changing – the way legal services are delivered is changing  and even the Bar is getting in on the act to compete for work.

Alex Novarese will not, I am sure, mind me saying that he has observed this process for some time as editor of Legal Week and continues to do so as  Editor in Chief.  We’re going to look at some of these changes and consider whether the so called new dawn of legal services is a good thing.

Listen to the podcast

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law SchoolDavid Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School, Brecher Solicitors and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Lawcast 216: Clare Rodway, MD of Kysen, on PR and marketing for law firms

Lawcast 216: Clare Rodway, MD of Kysen, on PR and marketing for law firms

Today I am talking to Clare Rodway, managing director of Kysen | Professional Services PR.  Public relations, reputation management and putting the message out is as important to law firms as it is to any other business.  Clare Rodway and her team have built a good reputation in the legal sector. Our discussion was wide ranging – the meaning of PR, the distinction between PR, marketing and advertising and the value of social media and blogging to law firms.

Clare Rodway also writes her own blog – The Conversation: an interesting concept based on conversations she has had with lawyers and others that week.

Listen to the podcast

Clare describes her blog thus:


The idea behind The Conversation is to do exactly what it says on the tin really
– to capture some of the most interesting conversations I have in the course of my work. One of my clients once asked me, “What happens if you don’t have any interesting conversations in a week?”! I was stunned, because I can’t think of a week that has gone by WITHOUT fascinating conversation. More often I have difficulty choosing which one conversation to highlight above others. His comment made me realise that perhaps I am quite privileged to meet so many interesting people and be privy so many original ideas and thoughts.

Part of it, I’m sad to say, is a function of age. Quite simply, I have been around a long time: more than 20 years in the legal profession in marketing and PR roles – 12 of those in-house, in four different law firms, and 5 of those studying part-time evening for an LLB.  So my network goes back a long way and includes solicitors, barristers, academics and journalists covering almost every corner of the profession.

Hobby horses are marketing and communication strategy as you’d expect, and linked to that ‘legal market change’; I also have particular interests in human rights (we have close links with Amnesty); City and financial regulation (something’s got to be done!); and anyone with anything new to say in the field of dispute resolution, whether in the context of personal or commercial relationships.  I also have a passion for the arts, particularly film, and this sometimes seeps into the blog.

***

I had lunch with Clare recently – and she has written a brief account of our ‘conversation’.  I would like to point out that working with Charles Prior, then CEO of BPP Holdings PLC, which led to the founding of a continuing education company and, subsequently, BPP Law School was a most enjoyable experience.  I sold my interest in the continuing education side as part of an agreement to work with BPP Holdings to set up BPP Law School and break into the GDL and vocational training (LPC and BPTC) sector. BPP Law School has gone on to be one of the leading law schools and, I have no doubt, will continue to do well under the present team.  One further ‘correction’ – I have declined honorary awards; one this year and two last. While the offers were kindly made – I am not a fan of honours or awards,  but I am always delighted when others receive them.

Lawcast 215: Francis Fitzgibbon QC and Amanda Bancroft on Criminal justice

Lawcast 215: Francis Fitzgibbon QC and Amanda Bancroft on Criminal justice

My guests today are Amanda Bancroft, author of the Beneath the Wig blog and Francis Fitzgibbon QC, a leading silk and author of the Nothing Like The Sun blog

We look at the criminal justice system.  Topics include – the role of the prosecution and defence counsel, ‘How can you defend someone you know to be guilty/unpopular defendants’, overview of the rules of evidence designed to ensure a fair trial, the role and power of the jury, contempt of court laws and the recent verdict in the PC Harwood manslaughter case.

Listen to the podcast

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law SchoolDavid Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School, Brecher Solicitors and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekly  and my Lawcasts

Without Prejudice podcast 27: David Allen Green on Contempt of Court law

Welcome to Without Prejudice with David Allen Green on Contempt of Court. 

“Contempt of court is a court order which, in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court’s authority.” (Wikipedia)  The powers of the judge are significant, as we saw last week when a trial judge used the contempt proceedings to prevent the showing of a BBC drama on the riots of last summer  during the final days of a sensitive ongoing trial on the Birmingham riots.

The powers are designed to uphold the rule of law and preserve the right to a fair trial.

We look at the powers at common law and in the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and illustrate the application of the rules with three important recent cases:  Chris Jeffries, Levi Bellfield and the Milly Dowler murder case and the Birmingham Riots case

Listen to the podcast

***

Useful references

CPS guidance on contempt under act and common law http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/contempt_of_court/ – this is good overview
Chris Jefferies
Levi Bellfield/Milly Dowler
The Birmingham riots injunction

Podcast 214: Andrew Keogh, The White Rabbit blogger, author and barrister

Podcast 214: Andrew Keogh, The White Rabbit blogger,  author and  barrister

Today I am talking to Andrew Keogh, a barrister in practice, author of Twenty Twelve and author of the White Rabbit Blog

We talk of many things – including, Andrew’s writing, e-publishing v traditional publishing, law blogging and social ‘meedja’, Libertarianism (whatever that is) and the state of the nation generally with reference, en passant, to the legal profession.  In keeping with the fine tradition of The White Rabbit blog  – we manage to avoid talking about law altogether!

Listen to the podcast with Andrew Keogh

Lawcast 213: Carl Gardner on the appointment of Lord Neuberger as president of the UKSC and House of Lords reform

Lawcast 213: Carl Gardner on the appointment of Lord Neuberger as president of the UKSC and House of Lords reform

Today I talk to Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of the Head of Legal blog.  Downing Street announced the appointment of Lord Neuberger MR as the new President of The United Kingdom Supreme Court – taking over in September when Lord Phillips retires.

We also  examine the reform of the House of Lords and the antics of our political masters this week.

Listen to the podcast

Read Carl Gardner’s blog post: We must say no to this bad Lords reform

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekly  and my Lawcasts

Lawcast 212: Peter Crisp, Dean and CEO of BPP Law School

Lawcast 212: Peter Crisp, Dean and CEO of BPP Law School

Today I am talking to Peter Crisp, Dean of BPP Law School, part of BPP University College. We examine the developing law programmes at  BPP Law School, the Legal Education Training Review and the changing face of legal education and practice in England & Wales

It is a wide ranging and robust  discussion which, I hope, will also be of interest to practitioners.

Listen to the podcast

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekly  and my Lawcasts

Lawcast 211: Giles Peaker of the Nearly Legal blog on housing law and the changing legal world.

Lawcast 211: Giles Peaker of the Nearly Legal blog on housing law and the changing legal world.

Today I am talking to Giles Peaker, a solicitor at Anthony Gold Solicitors and founder of the Nearly Legal blog – a specialist housing blog which has grown with Giles since he became ‘fully legal’ and started working  ten barrister and solicitor contributors

Listen to the podcast 

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekl and my Lawcasts

Lawcast 210: Barbara Hamilton Bruce on CILEX and the changing legal world…


Lawcast 210: Barbara Hamilton Bruce on CILEX and the changing legal world…

Today I am talking to Barbara Hamilton-Bruce who describes herself as “Mother, wife, friend, worker bee, FILEX, social drinker and occasional disco dancer” on twitter where she tweets enthusiastically as @bhamiltonbruce

Barbara also has a blog – The Red Files – and one of her recent posts caught my attention and amused me: Law Tourism

Listen to the podcast

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekl and my Lawcasts

#WithoutPrejudice Special: #Twitterjoketrial with David Allen Green

Welcome to this Without Prejudice Special on the Twitter Joke Trial with solicitor David Allen Green

The background to the Twitter Joke Trial is set out admirably by David Allen Green in a recent article in The New Statesman and here for some useful links to other coverage and legal analysis.

Also well worth reading from Heresy Corner : The Turing Joke Test

The appeal tomorrow, by way of Case Stated,  will be on points of law only.  Paul has appealed already to the Crown Court, which upheld his conviction.  A previous hearing at the High Court was inconclusive.  Tomorrow will be Paul’s seventh day in court on this case, which has lasted two-and-a-half years.

Listen to the podcast

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

Lawcast 209: Francis FitzGibbon QC on the Assange asylum bid

Lawcast 209:  Francis FitzGibbon QC on the Assange asylum bid

Julian Assange walked into the  Ecuador Embassy in London on Tuesday evening to claim political asylum.  The President of Ecuador is shortly to make a statement on Assange’s application.  Today I am talking to Francis FitzGibbon QC about the law relating to asylum and the legal consequences of Assange’s extraordinary decision to seek asylum – a decision which surprised several of his supporters who put up the bail money and which they are possibly in danger of forfeiting.

Listen to the podcast

Read – Francis FitzGibbon QC article: Julian the Asylum Seeker

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekl and my Lawcasts

Lawcast #208: Natasha Phillips of Researching Reform on topical family law issues

Lawcast #208: Natasha Phillips of Researching Reform on topical family law issues

Today I am talking to Natasha Phillips, a non-practising barrister and author of the Researching Reform blog – an excellent and  thoughtfully constructed resource for practitioners and others interested in the field of family law.

Natasha describes her blog in the following terms…”Researching Reform is a working project and an online platform dedicated towards simplifying the family justice system and finding solutions to the current problems faced by families and practitioners alike.  Researching Reform produces events, podcasts and articles all relating to the practical realities of divorce as experienced in the family justice system and beyond. We are dedicated to the welfare of the child and this central theme runs through every project we work on.

Listen to the podcast

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Useful links

As Natasha says… “DadsHouse and Researching Reform wanted to explain why we felt a nationwide tour highlighting the need to support loving single fathers was so important, so we decided to put together this policy document, explaining just that. It’s not at all boring as far as policy documents go. In fact, we think it’s quite zingy…… and if you thought we decided to launch a nationwide tour so that we could have oodles of fun and giggle a lot, you would be wrong. So wrong.
Have a look…

News articles referred to in the podcast:

Telegraph: Gay marriage raises prospect of disestablishment, says Church of England

HuffPo: Gay Marriage Branded ‘Deviant’ By Ulster Unionist Peer

Independent: IoS exclusive: Problem families told – ‘Stop blaming others’
Eric Pickles tells IoS he will pay councils to end the ‘it’s not my fault’ culture by targeting truants and jobless

Guardian: No-fault divorces ‘should be standard’
England and Wales’s most senior family law judge says couples should be granted a quick legal separation without shame

Forced marriage to become a criminal offence

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the  Law Review Weekly (starting this week) and my Lawcasts

Lawcast 207: Adam Shutkever and Jeremy Hopkins of Riverview Chambers on new legal services delivery

Lawcast 207:  Adam Shutkever and Jeremy Hopkins of Riverview Chambers on the style of new legal services delivery

Today I am talking to Adam Shutkever, COO of LawVest, which launched Riverview Law in February  – Riverview Law is the trading name of LawVest Limited – and  Jeremy Hopkins, late of 3 Verulam Buildings where he was a clerk. Jeremy Hopkins has joined Riverview Law as Director of Operations – he also blogs, enthusiastically and amusingly, at Clerkingwell

To set the context – let me quote from the home page of the Lawvest website…

“LawVest believes that attractive opportunities are being created by the structural, regulatory and commercial changes occurring in the legal market. To access these opportunities LawVest is deploying a market disrupting brand, pricing, and service delivery model both organically and, where appropriate, by acquisition.”

LawVest is owned by AdviserPlus Business Solutions, DLA Piper and a number of individuals. Karl Chapman is Chief Executive of LawVest and Adam Shutkever is Chief Operating Officer. Sir Nigel Knowles is Non-Executive Chairman.  Sir Nigel Knowles is also joint CEO and managing partner of DLA Piper

The legal advice provided to Riverview Law customers is delivered through Riverview Solicitors and Riverview Chambers.

Does Riverview Chambers herald the death of the ‘billable hour’ ?  Adam Shutkever believes that fixed pricing is the death of the billable hour.

Listen to the podcast

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With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the weekly Law Reviews (starting this week) and my Lawcasts

And…thank you to Cassons For Counsel David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcasts and the free student materials on Insite Law.

#WithoutPrejudice 26: Spectator contempt – Hunt / Warsi and The Ministerial Code – The Case for ‘Code’

Welcome to Without Prejudice

On the panel tonight – Kim Evans, commissioning editor of The Justice Gap and ex government lawyer Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog.

Tonight’s topics are varied and raise important issues for the law.

The Spectator contempt case

Hunt, Warsi, the ministerial code and the  meaning of quasi-judicial

Richard Moorhead’s “Case for code”

Listen to the podcast

I referred to Sir Edward Chalmers as draftsman of The Sale of Gods Act 1893 – it was, in fact, Sir Mackenzie Chalmers who drafted the Act.  I must have had Jedward on my mind – lord knows why. Mea culpa.

 

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Useful links

The Guardian: Spectator to pay out £5,625 over Rod Liddle’s Stephen Lawrence article

Liddle was wrong to write Lawrence trial article, and the Spectator was wrong to publish it

DPP launches public consultation on cases affecting the media 18/04/2012
Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), has today published interim guidelines on the approach prosecutors should take when assessing the public interest in cases affecting the media.

Professor Richard Moorhead in The Guardian: The case for code
The common law leads to complexity. Is that always a good thing?

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

Lawcast 206: Solicitor Nicky Richmond on Property and the Insurance sector, the changing legal landscape and food.

Lawcast 206:  Solicitor Nicky Richmond on Property and the Insurance sector, the changing legal landscape and food.

Today I am talking to Nicky Richmond, managing partner of Brecher, who specialises in property law.  We talk about the role of the insurance sector in the field of property, particularly when restrictive covenants are involved, Nicky’s view of the changing legal landscape and her thoughts on food – beautifully written up on her blog Saying it Straight

Listen to the podcast

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With thanks to the Law Society for sponsoring the weekly Law Reviews (starting this week) and my Lawcasts

And…thank you to Cassons For Counsel David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcasts and the free student materials on Insite Law.

Lawcast 205: Kim Evans – from the Flying squad to the police station as a police station representative

Lawcast 205: Kim Evans – from the Flying squad to the Police station as a police station representative

Today I am talking to Kim Evans former Flying Squad police officer turned police station representative and commissioning editor at The Justice Gap about her extraordinary career.  It is a fascinating story.

We cover Kim’s career in the Police,  her work as a police station representative and the work of The Justice Gap.

Listen to the podcast

Chrome loads the file immediately.  Since the endless and tedious Firefox ‘upgrades’ the file takes 3-45 secs to load.  Beyond my control.

The Justice Gap website

See also: The Guardian profile on Kim Evans – Police station duty lawyer: ‘You have to be brave in this job’

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And…thank you to Cassons For Counsel David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcasts and the free student materials on Insite Law.

#WithoutPrejudice 25 podcast: Assange judgment – Twitterjoketrial update / Diversity – Monarch

 

Welcome to Without Prejudice.  Tonight we discuss – The UKSC judgment in the  Assange extradition, Twitter Joke Trial, Abu Qatada,  Social mobility and diversity in the legal profession and Monarch

 

Listen to the podcast

(During the podcast I made an error in referring to Mr David Hart QC –  in his excellent summary of the Assange judgment on the UK Human Rights blog- as Mr Hunt.  I apologise unreservedly.  I had been watching far to much of the Leveson Inquiry earlier in the day where Mr Jeremy Hunt MP was put through his paces by Mr Robert Jay QC.  Mr Hunt is often on my mind. It was David Hart QC who wrote the excellent summary!)

 

UK Human Rights blog Assange: does it matter if ministers mislead Parliament?

UKSC judgment:

30 May 2012

Assange (Appellant) v The Swedish Prosecution Authority (Respondent)

 

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

UK Blawg Review #10 – Part 3

Listen to the podcast

I start Part 3 of UK Blawg Review #10 with another podcast to highlight the value of podcasting as a medium for lawyers who may not have the time to blog.  Podcast or be a podcastee?

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There are many things in life more worth while than money. One of these things is to be brought up in this our England, which is still “the envy of less happier lands”. I do not believe it is for the benefit of children to be uprooted from England and transported to another country simply to avoid tax… Many a child has been ruined by being given too much. The avoidance of tax may be lawful, but it is not yet a virtue.

Lord Denning MR
Re Weston’s Settlements
, [1969] 1 Ch 223

Practice Blogs from the profession

It is good to see practising lawyers providing high quality analysis and communicating their expertise through the use of blogs.  The UK Human Rights blog from 1 Crown Office Row, The UKSC blog which analyses all the Supreme Court decisions and now 4 Breams Buildings has a monthly digest of cases from the Court of Appeal – all free to view.

The Panopticon blog from 11 KBW’s Information Law Practice Group, led by Timothy Pitt-Payne QC, Anya Proops and Robin Hopkins, is a blog I visit often.  A recent post “Yo, Blair!” Bush/Blair conversations and the Iraq war is typical of the coverage as is..THE MINISTERIAL VETO STRIKES AGAIN – BUT THIS TIME NOT IN RESPECT OF CABINET MINUTES.  A useful resource and a good example of a set of Chambers raising their profile through the use of a practice oriented professional coverage blog.

But even solo practitioners are providing remarkable practice oriented blogs in their specialist field – some of which I note now and others in the various sections of this review.

Shireen Smith of Azrights heads her practice and produces a meaty blog on Intellectual Property law. New cookie law no longer an issue following an ICO backtrack? sheds light on the issue of cookies.

Another excellent blog on intellectual property law – Ipso Jure – is the brainchild of  solicitor Dr Peter Groves – author of a very fine dictionary on IP.

And Nearly Legal – a blog on Housing Law started many years ago by a lawyer who was then ‘nearly legal’ but is now fully qualified. The blog  has grown in size with additional contributors into a formidable resource on Housing Law. I found this recent post interesting: The Unbeatable Litigant in Person*

Solicitor Tessa Shepperson in her Landlord Law blog asks: Are you REALLY SURE you understand tenancy law properly?

More blogs from practitioners are highlighted in the various sections below…

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Time for a bit of light relief?

So there was Mr. Jarvis, in the second week, in this hotel with no house party at all, and no one could speak English, except himself. He was very disappointed, too, with the skiing. […] There were no ordinary length skis. There were only mini-skis about 3 ft. long. So he did not get his skiing as he wanted to. […] He did not have the nice Swiss cakes which he was hoping for. The only cakes for tea were potato crisps and little dry nut cakes. The yodler evening consisted of one man from the locality who came in his working clothes for a little while, and sang four or five songs very quickly. […] Mr. Jarvis has only a fortnight’s holiday in the year. He books it far ahead, and looks forward to it all that time. He ought to be compensated for the loss of it.

Lord Denning
Jarvis v. Swans Tours Ltd.
[1973] Q.B. 233 (C.A.)

Leveson continues to shed light and amusement on the nefarious deeds of press barons and the snivelling and craven behaviour of recent governments and politicians.  Former prime minister Tony Blair admitted that he did not wish to incur the wrath and vengeance of the press by taking them on – preferring instead to ‘manage the press’.  Prime minister, Police horse fancier and enthusiastic  ‘teen texter’ (LOL) Camcorderdirect, presiding over an ubershambles of a coalition government,  is to to appear at Leveson soon.  I have already bought the popcorn.

I have been a fan of RollonFriday.com since the early days – wasting industrial amounts of time on the discussion board as ‘Brigadier Grappa’  and enjoying the pleasures of good company at RoF drinks sessions.  Their Friday news – not strictly a blog – is always amusing – and Laura and Frank have taken to blogging within the RoF site.

Frank, continuing a RoF tradition of some time, has taken a pop at my old mate Nigel Savage, CEO of the newly ‘private sector vulture capitalist owned College of Law’:  Slim pickings at the College of Law as Chief Exec takes £100k hit (You may have to scroll down)

And while Legal Cheek does serious – always worth a look for the more surreal and astonishing behaviour of lawyers: City Law Website RollOnFriday Finally Admits That It’s Edited By An Ashurst Partner  < Good stuff..amused me.

Time to hit the blogs and be serious again…

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What is the argument on the other side? Only this, that no case has been found in which it has been done before. That argument does not appeal to me in the least. If we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand still whilst the rest of the world goes on; and that will be bad for both.

Lord Denning MR
Packer v. Packer
[1954]

Legal Bizzle, who has changed jobs recently, has returned to the blogging arena (fray?) with his usual style and panache: 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.

Tom Kilroy a solicitor turned GC and now acting CEO of a large public company provides insight into the commercial world of legal practice. In a recent post: Lies, damn lies and … metrics

Tom considers the definition of the word ‘metrics’ and concludes:

“The word “metrics” is so commonly used in modern business life that nobody thinks they need a definition of the term. It hardly occurred to me to look it up before starting this blog. But we probably ought to, because there’s a fair bit of groupthink on this topic. If you open the Oxford English Dictionary, once you’ve made it past the definition of the “metric system”, which remains a surprisingly lively political topic, you’ll find “metrics (in business)” defined as: “a set of figures or statistics that measure results”. That’s short, but it will probably do.”

In-house GC at the FT,  LegalBrat has moved his black look blog to a cleaner white look.  There is a great deal  of analysis on his old blog of great value and he continues to entertain on his new blog with: 5.15 k/o – what a FArce

‘Serial’ tweeter (in a good way), highly educated and well qualified, Dr Shibley Rahman runs the Legal Aware blog and is a keen supporter of all things blogging.  In a recent post he considers: Any successful company ignores the value of its workers and employees perilously

While some counted the cost in billable hours of all those judges and lawyers hiking around London recently ( I indulged in a bit of speculation on the matter myself as I sipped my cuppa)   – Louise Restell gives a flavour of what the recent London Legal Walk was like: Team Justice Gap on the London Legal Walk

I am a fan of the sardonic eye and voice  of John Busby, legal-two,  who is @legaltwo on twitter  I particularly liked the picture : Good Fucking Design Advice. You may have to scroll down as I couldn’t find a permalink to that pic on the blog – but it is worth scrolling down anyway – there are some remarkable images collected together in the blog

Good to see British academic Carole McCartney doing Blawg Review – The US original carnival of law blogs which I have had the pleasure of writing for six times so far: Blawg Review #323 – Memorial Day, the Rule of Law, & Human Rights. Dr Carole McCartney is a Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Leeds; Founder, University of Leeds Innocence Project < Powerful stuff.  A ‘must read’ for anyone interested in human rights, Amnesty and wrongful convictions.

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“We intend to lead a government of purpose and direction so that we can offer the people of this nation the opportunity to move forward to independence, democracy and equality.”

Alex Salmond

Time for a trip across the border to the land of my ancestors… Scotland.

My parents were Scots.  I was educated in Scotland – extraordinarily rendited at the age of seven from Singapore (My father worked for Dunlop) and detained first at a very strange prep school run by seriously odd people and thence to Trinity College Glenalmond (As it was then known), founded by that wonderful rogue Sir William Ewart Gladstone,  which I enjoyed – but also delight in describing as a detention centre (The Headmaster is called ‘Warden’) I was consigned to – using the famous John Mortimer QC aphorism – “For a crime I did not commit”.

I am not convinced that it is a great idea for Scotland to go independent.  It would seem that the majority of Scots (thus far) don’t think it is a ‘brilliant’ idea either.  Devo Max seems the better proposition – best of all worlds?  My Nat friends will be writing to me, I suspect, to correct the ‘error of my ways’

And here’s a taste of Scots blogger thinking…

Lallands Peat Worrier sheds light on how those political Scots get off with this post on Langside, recounted…

But he is a fine writer and does some very serious law.  This post was most interesting: Can Holyrood repudiate the UK Supreme Court’s civil jurisdiction?

LoveandGarbage veers  between the sane and surreal – writing in depth about serious issues and then going off piste on the SNOW. Occupying his mind in recent weeks: Possibly the finest legal news story of the year so far: Fitba players, eh? Bloody hell – “‘Out of breath’ footballer Garry O’Connor caught by police after 300m dash”

SCOTS LAW NEWS is a very good starting point to be kept abreast of law issues and topical matters… from Edinburgh University.

See: Death of Megrahi, Hector MacQueen

Ian Hamilton QC  – ‘a drunk man looks at the thistle’ is always worth a read even if you know nothing about law….
Read.. you’ll be amused and informed

The Lockerbie Case

And if you really want to get to grips with The Lockerbie case…and it may be a good idea for US Senators to do so… then you can’t do much better than this… blog by Robert Black QC FRSE who became Professor of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh in 1981 having previously been in practice at the Scots Bar.

Technollama asks: Should jailed convicts have access to social media?

The Firm (Scots law magazine) focuses on topical issues and news. The place to go for news on Scots Law.

 Gavin Ward is a serious blogger…Wardblog: great stuff

Legaleaglemhm’s Blog Does what it says on the tin…. and she is a keen and enthusiastic supporter of blogging: T minus 9 Days and Counting – I would walk 6000 miles ( not a song by the Proclaimers) though we are Scottish

And a few more excellent blogs for you to read from Scotland…

Alan Tench Public Law and Devolution: The Queen’s speech and the UK Government’s legislative programme for 2012-13

Legal History blog: Packed with Scots and other legal history

Eric Clive’s European Private Law News: Rome conference on “The Making of European Private Law: Why, How, What, Who”

Edinburgh Commercial Law blog: Thoughts on frustration of contract in Scots law

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Shagger is right.  And… no.. I don’t have any plans to swim across The Thames. Part 4 tomorrow / Thursday.

I’m or for a walk and coffee in the sun.

Part 1 UK Blawg Review #10

Part 2 UK Blawg Review #10

Part 4 UK Blawg Review # 10

And don’t forget.. you can win a prize in the ‘Caption Competition’ – details in Part 1

I am delighted to be hosting #10 of the UK Blawg Review roundup

(Albeit in 3ish parts!)

#WithoutPrejudice ‘Special #Twitterjoketrial result podcast with David Allen Green

Welcome to the ‘Special’ edition of Without Prejudice.  David Allen Green talks with me about the #Twitterjoketrial decision handed down today.  The two judges could not agree.  The appeal will now be re-heard by a three judge court.

Listen to the podcast

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David Allen Green’s New Statesman blog post

News: “Twitter joke” case, rehearing ordered before a three judge court
An excellent analysis from Inforrm’s blog

 

 

UK Blawg Review #10 – Part 2

Lawcast 203:  Kristen Heimark – From serving on the USS Lexington to practising as a London lawyer

Today I am talking to Kristen Heimark, a practising lawyer in London  who started her working life serving with the United States Navy on the USS Lexington.  It is a fascinating story.

Kristen talks about her career in the US Navy an her posting to London which eventually led on to her doing a law degree at SOAS and an LLM at The LSE before she qualified as barrister and cross-qualified as a solicitor.  Kris now practices mainly in the field of Landlord & tenant as a solicitor-advocate.

Kris is also an enthusiastic law blogger and user of twitter as @stokenewington

Listen to the podcast

I’ve been podcasting since 2006 and it seems that I have done over 450 podcasts ranging from the serious Charon Lawcasts and Without Prejudice series to the, being frank, insane and surreal.

I’ve started Part 2 of UK Blawg Review #10 with a podcast because I wanted to highlight that blogging is not the only medium lawyers may use to put their views across.

Pleasingly there are some excellent podcasters on law about.  I select two for you to have a look at: NorthpodLaw and Alex Aldridge and Kevin Poulter’s Legal Cheek podcasts.  I particularly enjoyed #RoundMyKitchenTable: Orwell Prize Shortlisted Law Blogger Milly Bancroft On The Rise Of The New Media Set

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The High Court is unable to agree on Twitter Joke Trial appeal

A fresh appeal hearing is ordered before three appeal judges as the case goes on.
David Allen Green at The New Statesman

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Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.
Groucho Marx

Groucho’s aphorism seems entirely appropriate to introduce a few posts from the leading family law bloggers I read.  First up is Lucy Reed of Pink Tape.  Two posts caught my eye: Lost in translation where Lucy considers the advantages of interpreters in court and Gold Band : Gold Standard?

Excessive Verbosity Warning. Do not go past this point unless you have at least two packs of kendall mint cake and a powerade about your person. 

[UPDATE : Office for Judicial Complaints now investigating Coleridge J – see end 5pm 15 May]

This weekend I listened to Coleridge J talk about his Marriage Foundation at the FLBA Cumberland Lodge weekend….

Read more

Natasha Phillips produces the Researching Reform blog – a fine resource with incisive, analytical and critical commentary on the family law justice system:  Her recent piece Single Fathers and the Economic Crisis caught my eye. AND… talking of using podcasts to communicate a message, as I was, Natasha is an enthusiastic podcaster and a good podcastee with John Bolch at Family Lore in his Lorecasts series.

John Bolch works tirelessly,  producing a remarkable treasure trove of analysis and coverage of topical Family Law issues – occasionally going orf piste with his Venal & Grabbit satires.  His Family Lore blog and Family Lore Focus really are ‘must reads’ for students and practitioners interested in family law issues.  AND.. if you are a lawyer manque and rise one morning with the thought that you would like to do your own divorce… his book on the topic is excellent!

Marilyn Stowe, practitioner and blogger considers: The cost of bankruptcy in family proceedings, by Danielle Day.

Jonathan James on Family Law blog writes: There is such a thing as common law marriage!

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The freedom to make a fortune on the stock exchange has been made to sound more alluring than freedom of speech.
Sir John Mortimer QC

Given that I still have ‘something  of the random’ about me today… in this section I declare myself free to roam at will and select some recent blog posts I have enjoyed before returning with some vague idea of structure and taxonomy.  So.. orf we go into another realm…

Adam Manning of A Lawyer Muses… reflects interestingly on: Government Attack on Justice

If you have a compensation claim you might have hired a lawyer who, if they are any good, will be fighting with all their skill, experience and passion to get you as much money and medical treatment as they can after you have been injured. In some cases, particularly involving serious injuries, your case maybe of great importance to you and your future, especially if you have a family to provide for. Proposed changes by the government to the compensation system will attack the rights of injured people and add insult to injury just when they are at their most vulnerable…

Read more…

I have been reading Bystander JP’s excellent Magistrate’s Blog since ‘time immemorial’.  Always a pleasure to dip into and read.   A recent post gives a taste of this independent JP’s  views: Well Down To Standard

The Anna Raccoon blog is one of my favourite blogs – a blog to make one think – it is a mix of law, politics and social commentary.

Pheasant pluckers?….

will give you a taste of the genre

Babybarista and Anonymous Assistant always provide a wry smile and often laughter as the authors reveal their sharply observed, often sardonic eye, on the doings of the legal profession. The most recent post from Anonymous Assistant: Hen Dos and Hen Don’ts.

I did a podcast with the author of Anonymous Assistant way back in 2008.  She used a wonderful ‘Celia Johnson disguised voice’ and laughed a lot.  I decided to speak in the manner of Trevor Howard qua  Captain Bligh – a voice style which I often find useful in day to day life. Here it is if you wish to have a listen…. Still worth a listen – the author is a very amusing lady!  My obsession at the time was Judge Roger Connor who pulled a knife out in court – only to be asked by counsel if the knife was ‘legal’.  We discussed this surreal event and the podcast descended into nonsense thereafter – but in a good way!  A surreal podcast – which I thoroughly enjoyed doing.

It was interesting to hear discussion again in the podcast  of what law bloggers were doing in 2008 – nothing has changed… which is good..save that some bloggers have fallen away and many others have joined since.We came to the conclusion that many lawyers are frustrated actors or frustrated writers!

Tim Kevan, a good mate, has branched out with a new series of humorous law post on his Barrister blog: My new series of humourous legal posts

Professor John Flood’s RATs blog is another of my favourites – veering as it does between the serious and irreverent.  Here John considers The Return of “Silk” (Series 2)

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

In this section, I thought I would give you a taste of the practical issues facing lawyers today from some bloggers at the very cutting edge of legal thinking across a range of legal topics!

Right at the forefront of developments which will impact on the future of the legal profession is the thorny issue of ‘Education and Training’.  I end Part 2 of UK Blawg Review #10 with a podcast I did with Diane Burleigh, CEO, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives where she explained the advantages of considering qualifying as a lawyer through the CILEx route.  (Infra)

I’ve been involved all my professional life in Education.  I am now in a position to run ‘rogue’ should I choose to do so.  I have some critical views on the new style of practice oriented degrees – but I have an open mind and I am open to persuasion through considered debate.

Professor Stephen Mayson, whose work I have known for many years, is always worth listening to.  In his eponymous blog he considers: Lifting the LETR from the doormat. It is an excellent blog post… I introduce the post with his own introduction…

This morning’s seminar on reforming legal education and training, hosted by Westminster Legal Policy Forum, provided a timely opportunity to reflect on the progress so far of the Legal Education & Training Review (LETR).

The lead for the LETR, Professor Julian Webb, rightly reminded us that the function of the Review is to address the question of how best to regulate legal education and training – specifically, the scope, reach and proportionality of that regulation. He said that, so far, responses to the LETR discussion papers had reflected vested interests, and had demonstrated limited consensus and offered little in the way of alternative vision….

Read more…

Why am I not surprised to read, in relation to the Legal Education Training Review (LETR),   of ‘vested interest’ limited consensus and offering  little in the way of alternative vision?  I am not surprised. Stephen Mayson’s blog post is worth reading.  I have found, discussing legal education with legal educators, the smell of vested interests  – in both commercial and public sectors – is so powerful at times that I need a pomander !

Right at the forefront of developments in the legal profession is the excellent Legal Futures online magazine.  Not strictly a blog – but who cares these days about categorisation?  Neil Rose, the editor, is always worth reading.  A post today gives a flavour of the current issues of the day: Ombudsman sees good and bad signs in lower-than-expected level of complaints against lawyers

Another prognosticator (such a good word?) and commentator on the legal profession is Professor Richard Moorhead, late of Cardiff University from September  and then at UCL.  His Lawyer Watch blog is a good read and an excellent source of critical analysis on the profession.

Richard Moorhead comments on the LETR with this sharp post: Activity Based Regulation versus Professional Identity: Some thoughts on the LSCPs thoughts on…

The Legal Services Consumer Panel has published its thoughts on the early stages of the Legal Education and Training Review. Their point of view can best be summed up in the following quote:

“The system is failing because it tries to train the typical lawyer, when in reality there is no such thing. The legal market is simply too diverse to sustain the general practitioner training model any longer. Future education and training system should be built around an activity – based authorisation regime for individuals and entities. This reflects that different legal activities carry varying levels of quality risks for consumers and so different competency thresholds are needed.” (4)

Read more…

Moving away from the specifics of the legal profession to a blog which invariably produces detailed critical comment on the topical legal issues of the day.

Obiter J in his Law and Lawyers blog is a ‘must read’.  Obiter J shares a taste for not being shy about being critical.  A recent post gives a good taster: Outrage !! Unelected Euro Judges trampling on our democracy ! His post of last Friday is also worth a read: Unduly lenient sentences: a useful power; well used

Given the emphasis on legal education above, I thought it only fair that Dr Strangelove of Muttley Dastardly LLP be given the opportunity to inform you about a recent interview of an applicant for a training contract…

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

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

“Forgive the rather theatrical paper bag over your head.  At Muttley Dastardly LLP we operate an equal opportunities policy.  We are not swayed by good looks.  I will allow you to remove the paper bag when you have answered my first question; assuming that your answer is to my taste.  If you don’t, my colleague will take you to a waiting taxi, an idea I came up with after watching SurAlanLord Sugar’s reality TV programme The Apprentice the other night. This has the advantage that candidates who I reject do not recognise me should we happen to meet socially or in a nightclub in the West End.

“Contestant.. are you ready?” Strangelove shouted.

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

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

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

Strangelove considered the reply for a moment, sat back in the high backed leather chair and smiled.  “At Muttley Dastardly LLP, we assume  that our future trainees hold a first from Oxbridge or Russell Group university.  We assume, having paid a risibly high fee for your LPC at a purveyor of legal education, that they will be sensible enough, and have the grace,  to ensure you leave with a creditable result in that course.  We are not that interested in the grade.  We prefer to teach you how to be a practising lawyer ourselves, but we do like you to start from the entirely reasonable base of actually knowing some law from your university.   We have a diversity policy here and we expect our future associates, men and women who we rely on to add to the capital value of the firm and a year on year growth in billings of 20%, to have  the flexibility to be able to think on their feet.  That you have not eaten in a two star Michelin restaurant troubles me not, but there is no phone a friend or fifty-fifty  at our interviews.   I don’t want to put too much pressure on you, but you are one down.  We have a ‘Three strikes and you’re in that taxi’ policy rule here – a wonderful concept which I seem to remember our current prime minister, Mr Camcorderdirect,  coming up with before he became prime minister and wanted votes.  Let me suggest another line of enquiry.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

And finally…. for Part 2 of UK Blawg Review # 10 I thought I would end with a podcast I did with Diane Burleigh, CEO, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (pictured far right) this morning  on the third branch of the legal profession and the advantages of qualifying as a lawyer through CILEx.

Listen to the podcast

CILEx Careers website

CILEx Infographic

Part 3 will follow tomorrow….and I may have to go to a Part 4 as there are so many interesting blogs to cover.  Breaking the UK Blawg Review #10 into sections will, I hope, make it easier to digest.

Part 1 of UK Blawg Review #10 is below and linked  here

Part 2 of UK Blawg Review #10 is here

Part 3 of UK Blawg Review #10 is here

I am delighted to be hosting #10 of the UK Blawg Review roundup

(Albeit in 3ish parts!)

Lawcast 202: Gary Slapper on the fabric of law in society and weird cases

Lawcast 202: Gary Slapper on the fabric of law in society and weird cases

Today I am talking with Professor Gary Slapper, Director of NYU.  We have a wide ranging discussion on the fabric of law in society, the College of Law sale, the proposed new ‘practice oriented’ degrees and their value, if any, and consider the quality of judges.  Gary also introduces a few unusual cases towards the end.

Listen to the podcast

With the new Firefox – which appears to download the whole file before revealing the console – the podcast may take 30+ seconds to load.  in Chrome the player loads immediately.

***

And…thank you to Cassons For Counsel David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcasts and the free student materials on Insite Law.

#WithoutPrejudice 24: Libel Reform Bill & Leveson update

Today I am talking to David Allen Green, solicitor, legal correspondent at The New Statesman and author of The Jack of Kent blog about libel reform following the announcement of a Defamation Bill in the Queens Speech after a first reading in the House of Commons.  We shall also take a look at progress so far in the Leveson Inquiry.

Listen to the podcast

[If you are using Firefox – please be patient. It may take 30+ seconds to load. Firefox seems to have changed and now appears to download before the console appears.  Looking at embedded mp3 players for future – sorry!]

Important note:

Please look at David Allen Green’s excellent Libel Reform page on his blog which summarises all the developments in libel reform and provides links to all the relevant materials

Read

 

Useful article: Comment: How will the Defamation Bill protect free speech? By Rachit Buch UK Human Rights Blog

#Without Prejudice Podcast with Carl Gardner: Yesterday I did a Without Prejudice ‘Special’ covering a range of fascinating legal topics which you may find enjoyable to listen to.  Listen here

See also Nick Cohen’s excellent book:

Nick Cohen’s excellent book You can’t read this book formed the basis for our discussion in #WithoutPrejudice 22 on Free Speech and I have no hesitation in encouraging you to read it.  It is available on Amazon – a fascinating discussion for lawyers and others interested in free speech.

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

#WithoutPrejudice23 – A ‘Special’ looking at a range of important topical legal issues

Without Prejudice returns as a panel discussion in two weeks time.  In the meantime – a one on one ‘Special’ with Carl Gardner.  I will be talking to David Allen Green in another ‘Special’ tomorrow.

Listen to the podcast

[If the recording ‘sticks’ in first 3-4 seconds – please reload if you are using Firefox.  Firefox doing weird things to podcasts at the moment. Depending on the memory used by Firefox with open tabs it may take time to load – a recent phenomenon with yet another Firefox ‘upgrade’. .  Works fine in Chrome though. ]

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

#WithoutPrejudice podcast 22: FREE SPEECH

Welcome to Without Prejudice. Joining regulars Carl Gardner and David Allen Green: The writer and journalist Nick Cohen and former prospective Tory candidate for Parliament and policymaker Joanne Cash.

Tonight’s topic is Free Speech and how privacy and libel law may impact on this cherished right.

Listen to the podcast

(Depending on your broadband speed and browser it may take a few moments to load)

Nick Cohen’s excellent book You can’t read this book formed the basis for our discussion and I have no hesitation in encouraging you to read it.  It is available on Amazon – a fascinating discussion for lawyers and others interested in free speech.

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

In association with The Lawyer

West London Man (26): THE ADVENTURE OF THE FINAL PROBLEM

When last we saw George, he had been detained by American authorities at La Guardia Airport, initially for a rather poor diamond-smuggling effort. Subsequently he was implicated in the various crimes committed by disgraced financier Bernard Madoff…..

Listen to the audio version (14mins 43s)

Download the script

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

***

Episodes 1-25 may be found here


(West London Man 26 was written and produced by US lawyer and blogger  Colin Samuels and Charon QC.  Colin Samuels took the parts of Hank ‘Perry’ Mason and Madoff.  Charon took the part of The Narrator and George.)

I am not at liberty to explain if George survived his encounter with Bernard Madoff at The Reichenbach Falls… you will have to listen right to the end of the audio version to find out…

***

My thanks to Cellmark for encouraging  George’s return….

#WithoutPrejudice 21: Civil disobedience and the rule of law – Sumption v Sedley – Leveson – Abolition of rank of QC

Did the News of the World seek to undermine a murder investigation? This astonishing issue is but one of the topics being discussed tonight.  We’ll also be looking at the latest developments in Leveson, the issue of Civil disobedience and the Rule of law,  the Sedley v Sumption debate and finally,  whether the rank of Queen’s Counsel should be abolished.
On the panel tonight – Gary Slapper, Director of New York University in London,  former government lawyer Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal Blog and David Allen Green, who practises as a solicitor and writes for The New Statesman, The Lawyer and his own Jack of Kent blog.

Listen to the podcast |Subscribe through iTunes.

Useful reading:

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice 20 podcast: ABS and disruptives – Judicial advocacy assessment – Sun arrests – value of legal blogging

Welcome to Without Prejudice.  On the panel tonight are regulars, Carl Gardner and David Allen Green and our guests Cat Griffiths, Editor of The Lawyer and Nichola Higgins, a practising barrister and former Chair of The Young Barristers Committee.

We have five main topics for discussion –

ABS and disruptives
Oaths in court
Judicial Advocacy assessment
Sun arrests
Francis FitzGibbon QC statement to Leveson and the value of legal blogging

Listen to the podcast

Useful reading:

Francis FitzGibbon QC : Witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry on blogging and ethics

The Guardian: Lord Justice Moses and the 161 criteria

“Judges know the new ratings scheme for advocates is misconceived and over-elaborate. But they don’t want anyone else doing it.”

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice 19 podcast: The Leveson Inquiry and The Twitter Joke Trial appeal

1. The Leveson Inquiry

2. Twitter Joke Trial appeal

On the panel tonight –  Carl Gardner, David Allen Green, Dr Evan Harris and Charon QC

Listen to the podcast

Useful reading:

David Allen Green:  Twitter Joke Trial: the case stated by Doncaster Crown Court

Carl Gardner: Today’s “Twitter joke” appeal hearing

Francis FitzGibbon QC : Witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry on blogging and ethics

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Lawcast 201: Antonin Pribetic on twitter, social media generally and legal services

Lawcast 201:  Antonin Pribetic on twitter, social media generally and legal services

Today I am talking to Canadian lawyer and blogger Antonin Pribetic about social media:  twitter, blogging and legal marketing.

The Trial Warrior blog

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcasts and the free student materials on Insite Law.

#WithoutPrejudice podcast 18: Legal education – Human Rights left wing twaddle? – Assange extradition

1. Is the state too weak, too powerful or just right?

2. Why do we need universities?

3. Are human rights left wing twaddle?  and

4.   Commentary on the Assange extradition appeal in the UK Supreme Court after two days of argument before the Justices

5.  Barristers facing financial problems because of government inefficiency

Our guests tonight are resident panelist Carl Gardner, Professor Gary Slapper Director of New York University in London and former ‘left wing’ Tory MP Jerry Hayes, a practising barrister specialising in the more serious criminal cases.

Listen to the podcast

If you wish to purchase Gary Slapper’s book – you may do so from Amazon or Wildy’s

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice 17: The Jury – European judges meddling – More weird cases

Welcome to the Without Prejudice special with Professor Gary Slapper, Director of  New York University, London and Global Professor at NYU.  We look at the Jury and proposals to restrict the right to trial by jury, meddling European judges and Gary Slapper’s most entertaining new book…. “More weird cases”.

Listen to the podcast

If you wish to purchase Gary Slapper’s book – you may do so from Amazon or Wildy’s

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice 16: Justice & Security – Abu Qatada – Contempt – Occupy – Scotland referendum

Welcome to the first Without Prejudice of 2012.  We plan to resume the fortnightly series on Thursday 2nd February with a full panel – but tonight  I am going to review some topical issues with Carl Gardner (Head of Legal blog)

The Justice & Security Green Paper – Abu Qatada – The Occupy judgment  – Contempt of court and a quick look at the legal issues involved in the Scotland Independence referendum proposed by Alex Salmond.

Listen to the podcast

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Lawcast 200: James Vine on Bribery and social media

Lawcast 200:  James Vine on Bribery and social media

Today I am talking to barrister James Vine about Bribery and then his thoughts on social media.  James is also a farmer, enthusiastic tweeter  and author of The Bung Blog

Listen to the podcast

(Sorry, but there were a few helicopters going by as we recorded  – the pleasures of living in Battersea-on-Thames.)

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcasts and the free student materials on Insite Law.

Lawcast 199: Ashley Hayman on taxation and tax planning for Barristers

Lawcast 199: Ashley Hayman on taxation and tax planning for Barristers

Today I am talking to Ashley Hayman, senior partner of Cassons for Counsel Chartered Accountants, about certain peculiarities that relate solely to barristers and which are not always picked up by non bar specialist accountants.

1. Compliance matters – there are certain peculiarities that relate solely to barristers and which are not always picked up by non bar specialist accountants.  Barristers need to know to watch out for it!
a.     For their first 7 years, barristers are taxed on the cash basis as opposed to the earnings basis (ie what they are paid as opposed to what they bill).
b.     They are then subject to a catch up charge for any unpaid tax once they reach 7 years.  This can be spread over 10 years – the spreading charge.

2.  Watch out also for changes to the late penalty regime.  We know of barristers who pay estimated amounts for the tax bill but who have not submitted a tax return.  So far there has been no penalty as tax has been paid.  The regime changes for April 2012 when both tax return and tax payment have to be submitted on time otherwise penalties will be incurred.

3.  Tax efficient planning
a.     Pensions
b.     VCTs  (Venture Capital Trusts)
c.     EIS (Enterprise Investment Schemes)
d.     ISAs
e.     Choice of year end date
f.      Tax efficiencies via Chambers (eg TPAs  – see Ashley Hayman’s article in Counsel)

 

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcasts and the free student materials on Insite Law.

#WithoutPrejudice 15: Hackgate – Freemen ‘Cod’ Law – Politicisation of judges – Legal Aid – Privacy Law

Welcome to Without Prejudice one on one with David Allen Green.  We have a spirited discussion about a range of issues – Hackgate – Freemen ‘Cod’ Law – Politicisation of judges – Legal Aid – Privacy Law.

David Allen Green is a practising solicitor, author of The Jack of Kent blog and legal correspondent for The New Statesman.  He also covers media matters for The Lawyer

It is fair to say that the format was more discursive.

Listen to the podcast

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice 14: A-G speech – Assange judgment – LASPO – Brodie Clark v Home Secretary – Legal Aid cuts

In this Without Prejudice ‘Special’ I talk with Carl Gardner about a range of quite important topical issues:

The recent speech by the Attorney-General Dominic Grieve on Human Rights, The European Court of Justice and the principle of subsidiarity

The impact of the Assange judgment on European Arrest Warrants

Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke’s new sentencing proposals on mandatory life sentences and knife crime

The Brodie Clark v Home Secretary spat:  In particular we consider the potential problem of Absolute Parliamentary Privilege being invoked on Theresa May’s statements in Parliament and the potential for an unfair trial should it be an issue.

Legal Aid cuts and the rise in DIY lawyers

All in all a spirited and lively discussion which we hope you will enjoy.  It is about an hour long – so you may wish to take it in ‘bites’.

The picture above showing my absurd tache is for my ‘Movember’ support of prostate cancer charities.  Having suffered from prostate issues – caught early, fortunately, I am more than aware of the value of screening and speedy treatment.  I also happen to enjoy absurd taches.

Listen to the podcast

***

Brodie Clark’s tribunal claim – and Parliamentary privilege

Carl Gardner analyses – in great detail – the Parliamentary privilege point we discussed in the podcast – a good read.

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice 13: Carl Gardner on his trip to Nowhere Island in The Arctic!

Welcome to Without Prejudice – a special Without Prejudice – where I talk with Carl Gardner about his recent trip to Nowhere Island  a new island in the Arctic.  Next Thursday we will resume our fortnightly Without Prejudice podcasts with the panel, a slight change in format and structure. Sadly, David Allen Green can’t be a regular panelist because of increasing legal and journalism commitments.  Amanda Bancroft will be a regular and we have some very interesting people lined up to take us through to Christmas.

We also take fifteen minutes at the end to discuss some topical Constitutional Law matters relating to the Human Rights Act, The UK Supreme Court and the British Bill of Rights  in a very ‘impressionistic’ way.

Listen to the podcast

Nowhere Island website

***

In association with The Lawyer

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice 12: Riots, sentencing appeals – Troy Davis execution – Legal Aid cutbacks and Clause 12

Criminal Law Special

Sentencing in the wake of the riots and the forthcoming appeals

Contempt of Court

Troy Davis execution

Legal Aid and Clause 12 re-visited

Listen to the podcast

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Lawcast 198: Catherine Bailey on Marketing The Bar

Lawcast 198: Catherine Bailey on Marketing The Bar

Today I am talking to Catherine Bailey founder and managing director of Bar marketing Limited.  With the changing legal landscape, the cuts in legal aid and competition from solicitor-advocates there can be no better time for barristers to market themselves within, of course, the rules of ethics prescribed by the Bar Council and Bar Standards Board.

We look at the opportunities open to the Bar generally, procurecos, direct access and the value of social media and the net.

Listen to the podcast

 

Catherine Bailey

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

Lawcast 197: John Cooper QC on legal aid and the pernicious effect of Clause 12 LASPO

Lawcast 197: John Cooper QC on legal aid and the pernicious effect of Clause 12 LASPO

Today, I am talking to John Cooper QC about legal aid and, in particular, Clause 12.  To set the matter in context let me quote a passage from a recent blog post by a practising solicitor…

CrimSolicitor writes:
“The recent Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill has within it a clause that would appear to allow the government to vastly reduce the right to receive your advice in person, extending the number of offences that may only be dealt with by telephone advice. This is a worry, as this leaves open the possibility of a person being charged without ever having had a solicitor properly consider the strength of the case. Clients will and do say things in a police station for all the wrong reasons, because they are scared, bored or simply want to get out of an environment that is by definition hostile or are told by the police that they will have to wait for a solicitor to attend”

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

Lawcast 196: Professor Gary Slapper – a round up on the Justice system and legal education

Lawcast 196:  Professor Gary Slapper – a round up on the Justice system and legal education

Today  I talk with Professor Gary Slapper about the extraordinary changes coming up in our legal system, the legal aid cuts, the streamlining of justice proposed by the Ministry of Justice, their plans to promote our ‘Rule of Law’ to a grateful world and we ask and try to answer the question:  “Legal Education – is it just a racket for the law schools – and their owners in the case of the private law schools?

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

Lawcast 195: Daniel Hoadley provides an insight into the world of the Law Reporter

Lawcast 195:  Daniel Hoadley provides an insight into the world of the Law Reporter

Today I am talking to Daniel Hoadley, a member of the bar who went into law reporting for The Weekly Law Reports.  Daniel also blogs.

Listen to the podcast

Daniel Hoadley’s blog: Carrefax

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors

for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law

Lawcast 194: Nichola Higgins, Chair of The Young Barristers Committee, on the mentoring scheme with Zimbabwe lawyers

Lawcast 94: Nichola Higgins, Chairman of The Young Barristers Committee on the Mentoring scheme with young Zimbabwe lawyers

Today I am talking to Nichola Higgins, Chairman of the Young Barristers Committee about the new mentoring scheme for young lawyers from Zimbabwe.  We also take the opportunity to do a round up of issues affecting young barristers in the current climate, particularly those in public funded fields of family, crime and some civil litigation.

Listen to the podcast

Nichola Higgins Chambers website entry

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors

for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law

Lawcast 193: Sundeep Bhatia, Law Society Council member on diversity in the profession

Lawcast 193:  Sundeep Bhatia, Law Society Council member on diversity in the profession

Today I am talking to solicitor Sundeep Bhatia, a Law Society Council member and is a former Chair of the Society of Asian Lawyers. Sundeep is the proprietor of Beaumonde Law Practice in Middlesex and specialises in employment law.

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors and

Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

Lawcast 192: John Cooper QC on the sentencing of rioters and looters

Lawcast 192: John Cooper QC on the sentencing of rioters and looters

Today I am talking to John Cooper QC,  a practising barrister at 25 Bedford Row,  about the controversy which now rages in the press in relation to the sentences being handed down to rioters and looters.  The issue of proportion, parity and comparison with sentences given for so called ‘white collar crime’ by MPs, peers and bankers is examined in detail.

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

Lawcast 191: Felicity Gerry on women in the law, practice at the Bar and a view on sentencing

Lawcast 191:  Felicity Gerry on women in the law, practice at the Bar and a view on sentencing

Today I am talking to Felicity Gerry, a practising barrister at 36 Bedford Row, about women in the law, practice at the Bar and, given Felicity’s expertise, we will take a look at the role of the Sentencing Council and her thoughts on the sentences being meted out to the rioters and looters by the courts.

Listen to the podcast

 

An article by Felicity Gerry in Halsbury’s Law Exchange: I predict a riot – about sentencing

***

I am doing a detailed podcast on the riot and looting sentences with John Cooper QC this afternoon.  This will be available on the blog from 4.30 pm

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

 

 

#WithoutPrejudice 11: Riots and The Law – Human Rights Act update – #Hackedoff campaign update

#WithoutPrejudice 11: Riots and  The Law – Human Rights Act update – #Hackedoff campaign update

Analysis of the law relating to the riots, a review of a number of important human rights cases and the further developments on the #Hackedoff  campaign. David Allen Green and Carl Gardner is at the table as always and we are joined by former Lib-Dem MP Dr Evan Harris, David Wales, a lawyer in private practice – a criminal law specialist and blogger  –   and Adam Wagner, a practising barrister at 1 Crown Office Row and editor of the UK Human Rights blog.

Listen to the podcast

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Lawcast 190: On the death penalty with Professor Gary Slapper

Lawcast 190: On the death penalty with Professor Gary Slapper

Political blogger Guido Fawkes wants to bring back the rope for murder – child and cop killers in particular – and has set up a petition.  This petition was immediately countered by another petition to retain the ban.  last time I looked the retain the ban on the death penalty was doing rather better than Mr Fawkes’ hang ‘em high petition.

I am against the death penalty – and have made this more than clear on my blog.  Today I am talking to professor Gary Slapper of The Open University about the issue….

Listen to the podcast

Apologies for some interference on Skype.  Heavy rain while recording and signal affected.

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

Lawcast 189: Paul Gilbert, LBC Wise Counsel on General Counsel and the changing face of the legal profession

Lawcast 189: Paul Gilbert, LBC Wise Counsel on general counsel and the changing face of the legal profession

Today I am talking to Paul Gilbert Chief Executive of LBC Wise Counsel.  Paul Gilbert states on the front of the website… “”I want LBC Wise Counsel to be your inspired choice for advice, guidance and training. Everything we do is about adding something special to the way you work.”

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

#WithoutPrejudice 10: Leveson Inquiry – UKSC ‘Star Wars’ judgment – Legal journalism and blogging – Contempt of Court – Vacancies in Supreme Court

Listen to the podcast

Useful links

Joshua Rozenberg: Who will be the two new supreme court judges?

Leveson Inquiry | Lord Justice Leveson statement

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Postcard from The Staterooms: Lawyers giving us a ‘good name’? – and a UK Education onslaught by News Corporation?

It has been a while since I wrote a ‘Postcard’… so this evening, sitting at my post overlooking The Thames at Battersea, I thought a non-structured and, possibly random, review of law, oddities and musings would be appropriate as the silly season begins.

Keep marches away from the Ritz, says QC  (The Independent i newspaper)

“Left-wing” marches should be banned from taking place in parts of central London which contain upmarket buildings, a leading barrister has said.  John Beveridge QC was criticised after it emerged that he had written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, demanding that such a ban should be introduced…… according to West End Extra, he said the marches attracted ‘ragtag’ protesters who “become violent and urinate all over the place.”

It seems that Mr Beveridge was happy for these ‘ragtags’ to go and urinate all over the place attacking Safeway and Costcutter  but observed…“There’s no fun for them in attacking Safeway or Costcutter, but they love beating up the Ritz” He is reported as adding.. “(I) couldn’t care less if such a ban infringed rights”

Given that Mr Beveridge is a trustee of the St James Conservation Trust, one is not entirely surprised by his rather trenchant views about ‘ragtags’. The St James Conservation Trust website reports that he is a retired QC.

But… it isn’t just the Bar side of our profession giving us a good name…. The Lawyer reports….

SJ Berwin was ‘wrong’ to ask summer student to do an all-nighter

SJ Berwin has admitted that the firm “got it wrong” when a summer vacation scheme student was asked to work until the early hours of the morning. A female student is understood to have worked until five in the morning after being asked to help another female colleague on a document for an international arbitration.

Worthy of Dr Erasmus Strangelove – the new Senior partner and CEO of Muttley Dastardly LLP

And… if you are a student… it is not all doom and gloom.  RollonFriday.com reports:  “Nabarro has come top of this week’s announcements of trainee retention figures, with 19 of its 20 trainees set to qualify with the firm in September. But other firms have not done so well. In fact Nabarro made offers to all 20, with one trainee choosing to escape under the barbed wire for pastures new. BLP is at the top of the list as well, also retaining all but one of its 20 trainees. A super result for the firm which just goes to show that giving your future joiners a good bollocking when they’re on the LPC can work wonders.”

Tonight, I shall be ‘prepping’ for our Without Prejudice podcast tomorrow evening.  Sadly, Carl Gardner is away in Holland, but David Allen Green will be at the table, together with our guest Joshua Rozenberg, a leading legal commentator and presenter of the BBC’s Law in Action series, and Amanda Bancroft, a former practising barrister and author of the Beneath The Wig blog.

We plan to look at the possible controversy about the appointment of Leveson LJ to head the #Hackgate Inquiry – given his recently disclosed links to the Murdochs, The Supreme Court ‘Star Wars’ judgment, Legal journalism and blogging, Clare’s law, Secret evidence, Press contempt of court, and, if we have time, the continuing saga of the Solicitors from hell website. I am looking forward to asking Joshua Rozenberg questions.  It may be a novel experience for him to be on the receiving end of questions?   Lucy Reed, barrister and author of The Pink Tape blog, has a thoughtful piece on Clare’s law in the Guardian this week: Why Clare’s Law won’t prevent domestic violence

Making law accessible to the public

Adam Wagner, I Crown Office Row and editor of the excellent UK Human Rights blog has a good piece in The Guardian this week: As legal aid reforms threaten access to lawyers, there are three relatively inexpensive ways to improve public access to law.  

On the theme of legal aid cuts, Professor Richard Moorhead points out: Lawyers are their own worst advocates

The government’s legal aid reforms will shortly become law, even though they are premised on a number of un- and half-truths.

We are not, for instance, a country gripped by a litigation culture, yet this is a problem that the Ministry of Justice is perpetually trying to solve. Litigants in person will cause the courts significant problems, even if the secretary of state is right that many will also give up on their cases rather than litigate them (apparently seeing this as a good thing).

It occured to me on twitter last night, as I marvelled at the usual stream of information and surreality with a glass of Montepulciano, that Michael Gove’s many reported meetings with News International (He used to work for NI, apparently) were almost certainly not about BSkyB, but were more likely to be about education.  This was confirmed by Gove this morning.  Given that it has been reported that UK Murdoch’s ‘loss making’ flagship newspapers,  The Times and Sunday Times, were subsidised by The News of The Screws (Now defunct) and The Sun, and the fact that education is VERY big business in the USA, Murdoch may well be thinking about getting into the soon to be ‘de-regulated’ UK education market.

Apollo, a large US company owns BPP University College (BPP Law School) and The Washington Post owns, inter alia, Kaplan – a keen entrant to the highly profitable GDL, LPC and BPTC market.   On that premise – it would make sense for News Corporation to muscle their way in to the education market in the UK generally.

During the CMS Select Committee hearings a week ago, sitting behind Murdoch, was a man who  sat impassively throughout.  “That man’s name is Joel Klein, the chancellor of New York city’s public schools, the same man who is now heading the internal News International investigation in the UK, he is Executive Vice President overseeing investments in digital learning companies with a News Corp education division and a $2 million salary.”

I am, obviously, not alone in having these thoughts and I draw your attention to an excellent piece of blogging by @Colmmu: Murdoch – The Last Frontier or The Next Frontier? where Jon Harman, director of The College of Law Multi-media division analyses the position in some detail. I intend to speak to Jon and follow up.

Given that there are doubts about News Corporation’s ‘ fitness and properness’ to even hold onto their current BSKYB holding, it may be that David “Two Brains” Willetts MP, Minister for Universities, will not be too keen to have any meetings with News Corporation on the matter of a Murdoch onslaught into education in the UK – at least for the present and medium term future?

Well… there we are… still a lot happening in the legal world….

Best, as ever

Charon

#WithoutPrejudice Special podcast: David Allen Green on The Myler/Crone conflict with Murdoch evidence et al

The Independent reports today…. “A claim that James Murdoch gave misleading evidence to a Commons committee is to be referred to Scotland Yard, a Labour MP said today. Tom Watson said he would be contacting Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers – who is leading the phone-hacking investigation – about the claim made by former News of the World editor Colin Myler and former legal manager Tom Crone.”

Today I am talking to solicitor David Allen Green about the legal implications of this and the legal position of News Corp solicitors Harbottle & Lewis and the extent to which they are now able to put their views on the Murdoch testimony of last Tuesday….

Listen to the podcast

(The sound quality is ‘patchy’ in parts – although only one minor cut out.  I had to call David Allen Green on a mobile while he was in a taxi.)

Useful links

Other Without Prejudice podcasts on #Hackgate:  in the last week

David Allen Green in The New Statesman: Allowing the lawyers to speak

Samira Shackle in the New Statesman: Tom Watson asks police to investigate James Murdoch

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice Special podcast: Tom Harris MP on #Hackgate et al…

Today I am talking to Tom Harris MP, Glasgow South’s Labour member at Westminster,  to shed some light on the workings of Select Committees and the extraordinary resignations and arrests in relation to the News International scandal.

* The work and powers of Select Committees

*The need for care to avoid prejudicing the inquiry and any future possible criminal trials

* The questioning of the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks at the CMS Committee  on Tuesday 19th July 2011

* The resignations of Stephenson and Yates and the position of Prime Minister Cameron re Coulson

* The political landscape pre and post #Hackgate

Listen to the podcast

Other Without Prejudice podcasts on #Hackgate

#WithoutPrejudice 9: Hacking / NoTW – Criminal offences in #Hackedoff – Powers of Select Committees – Assange Case

#WithoutPrejudice Special:  the US position under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act  with US lawyer Peter Friedman

#WithoutPrejudice Special podcast: News of The World – Judicial Inquiry – The law and the commercial ‘real politik’

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice 9: Hacking / NoTW – Criminal offences in #Hackedoff – Powers of Select Committees – Assange Case

Listen to the podcast

I talk to US lawyer, Peter Friedman, Of Counsel at Hull McGuire PC,  about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the potential civil and criminal liability for News Corporation if the FBI investigation reveals any wrongdoing.

Listen to the podcast

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

#WithoutPrejudice Special podcast: News of The World – Judicial Inquiry – The law and the commercial ‘real politik’

Today I talk to Carl Gardner and David Allen Green about the extraordinary events surrounding the hacking of mobile phones which led yesterday to the closure of The News of The World, a debate in parliament and the setting up of two inquiries – one judge led.  We look at why Jeremy Hunt and the government may well be constrained by law on blocking the BSkyB merger, the judicial inquiries, the Coulson arrest, systemic abuse throughout the media, and the extraordinary statement attributed to Mark Stephens by Reuters last night…” If News of the World is to be liquidated, Stephens told Reuters, it “is a stroke of genius—perhaps evil genius.” which I covered in a blog post.

Listen to the podcast

***

Useful Links

David Allen Green: Closing the News of the World makes no legal difference

Carl Gardner: Can the NewsCorp-BSkyB deal be stopped?

Charon QC: Time to respect Murdoch’s need for privacy in Coulson’s hour of need ? (Dealing with the Reuters / Mark Stephens points referred to in the podcast)

Politics HomeStatement by James Murdoch announcing closure of the News of the World.

Wall Street Journal:  Tabloid to Close Amid Scandal

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David Allen Green, solicitor,  is the author of the Jack of Kent blog and is the legal correspondent  at The New Statesman.  Carl Gardner is an ex-government lawyer and is the author of the Head of Legal blog

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

AND… finally…

Without Prejudice 7: Legal Aid Cuts – Milly Dowler case – FOI & Employment – The Scots / UKSC question – ‘Stab a burglar’ reform plans

Welcome to Without Prejudice…. Our guests tonight are Timothy Pitt-Payne QC from 11 KBW and Amanda Bancroft, a former practising barrister and author of the Beneath The Wig blog.  Regular panelist David Allen Green, sadly, is giving a speech elsewhere and cannot be with us.

We have a lively range of topics for you tonight – The Milly Dowler case  controversy – Legal aid cuts –  The position of Scots Human Rights Law, the UK Supreme Court and Alex Salmond’s extraordinary interventions.  We also plan to look at FOI, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Bill and Ken Clarke’s ‘Stab a burglar’ law reform plans.

Listen to the podcast

(Apologies for helicopter noises – Police helicopter and businessmen escaping the traffic jams caused by the strike marches! – )

David Allen Green, solicitor,  is the author of the Jack of Kent blog and is the legal correspondent  at The New Statesman.  Carl Gardner is an ex-government lawyer and is the author of the Head of Legal blog

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Lawcast 188: Peter Crisp, Dean of BPP Law School – Funding and privatisation of legal education

Today I am talking to Peter Crisp, Dean of BPP Law School, part of BPP University College. We examine the diversity and funding issues which BPP Law School is addressing and consider the ‘privatisation’ of education generally, but with particular reference to legal education.

It is a wide ranging and robust  discussion.

 

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law.

 

 

Lawcast 187: Julian Summerhayes on Social Media for lawyers – and the changing face of legal practice.

Today I am talking to Julian Summerhayes – Julian describes himself thus on his website….”I am a non-practising solicitor with a passion for EXCELLENCE, social media, cyclist and a bookworm on all things related to business and personal development.”

We look at twitter, Linked-in and the pitfalls for lawyers using social media as part of their business development.  We also consider the changing face of legal practice and why lawyers may benefit from professional development education in fields other than law
Listen to the podcast

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And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors, Raleys Solicitors – a firm who specialise in hospital negligence claims    for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law

Lawcast 186: Gary Slapper, Director Open University Law School privatisation education – Legal Aid – Dowler case

Today I am talking to Professor Gary Slapper, Director of the Law School at The Open University. We look at the relentless march towards privatisation in legal education, the Legal Aid reforms and briefly examine the criticism of Jeffrey Samuels QC in the Dowler case
Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors

for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law

Lawcast 185: Gary Slapper, Director Open University Law School on the New College of Humanities and changes in legal education

Today I am talking to Professor Gary Slapper, Director of the Law School at The Open University.  We look at some topical matters relating to legal education, the reforms being considered by the profession, the influence of the big vocational law schools  on legal education syllabuses and teaching and the recent announcement by Professor A C Grayling of the New College for Humanities.

 

It is a wide ranging discussion, noting the influence of the big vocational schools, BPP University College and The College of Law, on legal education.
Listen to the podcast

My post on the New College of Humanities

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And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors

for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law

 

#Without Prejudice 6: Tomlinson – Separation of powers and injunctions – Privacy – and The Role of GCs

Listen to the podcast

Tim Bratton blogs in a personal capacity – and his latest post: One for the students: so, you want to work at Big Law? is a good one for law students, particularly.

David Allen Green, solicitor,  is the author of the Jack of Kent blog and is the legal correspondent  at The New Statesman.  Carl Gardner is an ex-government lawyer and is the author of the Head of Legal blog

***

I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Lawcast 184: Jon-Paul McTavy founder of Solicitalawyer.co.uk

Lawcast 184: Jon-Paul McTavy founder of Solicitalawyer.co.uk

In a slight departure from my podcasts on the legal profession, where I interview lawyers,  I thought that it would be interesting to talk to the founder of an online directory for lawyers.  Marketing, a presence on Google and a good website are basic requirements for all law firms. While the large City, leading commercial and regional full service law firms have budget for traditional marketing – the smaller firms and sole practitioners may not.

I asked Jon-Paul McTavy, founder of Solicitalawyer.co.uk to describe his directory:

Solicit A Lawyer is a large database of UK based lawyers and solicitors.  The site which started life as a standard database has been heavily modified to ensure I only offer the most up to date information on law firms.  Company owners can add, edit and delete information and are encouraged to do so.  When adding a new listing law firms can choose from a paid ‘premium’ listing or a free listing.  The paid listing is £10 for the year and will give the company profile more advertising on the website along with use of a e-mail contact form and a clickable link to their own website.  Updating the information is a free process as it’s important to ensure correct and accurate information.  Many law firms take advantage and update their information to add in details on which areas of law they cover along with any additional information which they believe will benefit people visiting the site.   The site breaks down the UK into Cities and Towns to try and make it easier for users to find a local Lawyer / Solicitor.  Our top city is of  London which now lists over 1800 firms and is regularly updated by new listings or updated listings but we also cover the much smaller areas to ensure users will find their local law firm.  The long term goal for www.solicitalawyer.co.uk is to have all UK Law firms listed with up to date information.”

Listen to the podcast

***

And…thank you to Cassons For CounselJustgodirect.co.uk and  David Phillips & Partners Solicitors , Contact Law UK Solicitors

for sponsoring the podcast and the free student materials on Insite Law

#WithoutPrejudice 5: Bin Laden assassination – Ian Tomlinson G20 – The Bribery Act – Access to practice in The City

Listen to the podcast

Useful links:

Does school mean smart? – the profession should decide which side of the fence it sits on with social mobility

CPS: The death of Ian Tomlinson – decision on prosecution

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

Legal Profession Law (4): Jeremy Hopkins, Practice Manager, 3 Verulam Buildings

Today I am talking to Jeremy Hopkins, a practice manager at 3 Verulam Buildings, the Chambers of Ali Malek QC – a leading and well known commercial set.  Given the recent TV programme Silk (and the arguably  better version of Peter Moffat’s writing, North Square – both series featuring extremely cunning clerks at the very centre of the action… I thought it would be interesting to get an inside track on this world from Jeremy…. but first……. I would like to get a view on the real world of practice managers / clerks,  the state of the legal profession today and his thoughts on the changes to the legal landscape coming in the wake of the the coming into force of The Legal Services Act this autumn.

Listen to the podcast

#WithoutPrejudice Podcast 4: Twitter Joke Trial – Privacy Law – Freedom of Speech – Judicial review – Referendums and the Law – Law of Royal Succession

#WithoutPrejudice Podcast 4: Twitter Joke Trial – Privacy Law – Freedom of Speech – Judicial Review – Referendums and the Law – Law of Royal Succession

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Our guest tonight was Dr Evan Harris  (Follow on Twitter?  @DrEvanHarris )

Useful links: 

Twitter Joke Trial

Privacy law should be made by MPs, not judges, says David Cameron

Judicial Review: The British Telecom case decided Thursday 21st April 2011 on the Digital Economy Act 2010

The Law of Royal Succession

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I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law School David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone and Cellmark for sponsoring the podcast  – and the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.