I’m appealing

UpTights was against OldSmoothie today and his pupil reported what happened later in the day. When she turned up, she looked more uneasy than usual.

‘I’ve started a new diet,’ she said somewhat defensively as she approached. ‘Four hundred calories a day all taken as liquid.’

As she got closer the reason for this introduction became clear. ‘Woah, you could strip paint with that breath,’ said OldSmoothie.

‘Yes, er, well,’ said UpTights. ‘I don’t think there’s anything more to discuss.’ With which she turned on her heel.

OldSmoothie then turned to his pupil and said, ‘Go and tell the usher that UpTights has suggested we use the small courtroom given that this is only an interlocutory hearing.’ He smiled smugly and waved over at UpTights.

Well, the first thing you should know about courtrooms is that there’s no air-conditioning. What’s more, the small side rooms tend to be tiny and er, somewhat intimate. So when we were ushered through, UpTights looked distinctly worried and it turned out with good reason.

Once the judge got a whiff the hearing was cut short with a very quick finding against UpTights’ case. As they were all leaving the courtroom, UpTights said somewhat sulkily: ‘Anyway, I’m appealing.’

‘On today of all days,’ came the reply, ‘that statement really couldn’t be further from the truth.’

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

October 21, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ No Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

October 20, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Weekend video: John Mortimer talks to Ludovic Kennedy – Portait – BBC

October 18, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: Sober as a Judge (Roger Thursby) by Henry Cecil

Roger Thursby, the hero of Brothers in Law and Friends at Court, continues his career as a High Court judge. He presides over a series of unusual cases, including a professional debtor and an action about a consignment of oranges which turned to juice before delivery. There is a delightful succession of eccentric witnesses as the reader views proceedings from the bench.

Available from Amazon.

October 15, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Handling the client

I don’t know what it is about family law barristers but there’s a large number that seem to take the whole thing extremely personally. I say that after having had to endure such a case this morning. As I sat flicking through my papers in the robing room, the peace and tranquility was suddenly interrupted by what felt like a human whirlwind.

It was a male barrister about the same age as me and he rushed in with an air of great urgency and self-importance. Given that there were only two others in the room, it was then more than a little odd for him to shout out,

‘Who is the barrister representing Mrs Smith in the divorce hearing today?’

I indicated that it was me. ‘I think everything’s agreed,’ I said.

‘Far from it,’ he said. ‘I’m not at all happy about giving you all that money and I’m going to tell the judge in no uncertain terms.’

‘You mean your client’s not happy about giving my client all that money,’ I corrected before adding, ‘Have you seen the consent order?’

‘Of course I have,’ he said dismissively. ‘But it isn’t going to stop me telling the judge what for.’

Which is exactly what he did, much to the consternation of the judge who generally deals with personal injury cases and interrupted him with,

‘I don’t know where you usually practise but let me tell you very clearly that I don’t appreciate grandstanding in this court. All the more so when it has no purpose other than to vent the feelings of your angry client. Remember, it is your job to control the client just as it is my job to control you.’

There was silence followed by a, ‘but…’ which went no further after the judge looked at him and raised his eyebrow as if disciplining a young pup.

The barrister sat down and his client started poking him angrily in the back.
‘And may I add,’ said the judge. ‘That if your client isn’t happy with your performance that you might consider the point that you reap what you sow. Always keep a professional distance and never get emotionally involved with a case however much you might think it helps at the time.’

Another ‘but…’ followed and an even sterner looking eyebrow shut him up before the judge rubber-stamped the order and pointed towards the door.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

October 14, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ No Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

October 13, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Weekend video: Lee Child: “A Wanted Man” & “One Shot”, Authors at Google

October 11, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future by Richard Susskind

Tomorrow’s Lawyers predicts fundamental and irreversible changes in the world of law. For Richard Susskind, best-selling author of The End of Lawyers?, the future of legal service will be neither Grisham nor Rumpole. Instead, it will be a world of virtual courts, Internet-based global legal businesses, online document production, commoditized service, legal process outsourcing, and web-based simulated practice. Legal markets will be liberalized, with new jobs for lawyers and new employers too. This book is a definitive guide to this future – for young and aspiring lawyers, and for all who want to modernize our legal and justice systems. It introduces the new legal landscape and offers practical guidance for those who intend to build careers and businesses in law.

Available from Amazon.

October 8, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Judicial assistance

Okay, so here’s an admission. I do a lot of car cases. I cross-examine other drivers on their driving abilities and have a go at them for breaching the Highway Code. Pretty average for a common law barrister, you might say. That is, were it not for the fact that I’ve never actually learned to drive. Now in any other line of work this shouldn’t be a problem.

Shipping lawyers don’t have to be sailors and aviation lawyers certainly don’t need a pilot’s licence. The problem is that if a client is ever going to take you seriously in conducting his precious road traffic case, the very least he expects is that you are also a driver and not only feel his pain but understand exactly what he is going on about.

Now don’t get me wrong. This generally isn’t a problem. If I don’t know what a hub cap or a crank shaft is, I simply say ‘For the benefit of the court, could you perhaps enlighten us as to how a particular thing works’. But today the truth was very nearly out.

You see, I was cross-examining a man who had an irritating habit of answering my questions with a question and at one point he turned to me when I was being particularly aggressive and said, ‘Do you drive mate?’ I ignored it and tried to continue. ‘No, mate,’ he continued, obviously smelling blood. ‘You’re on this big high horse and everything. Just tell me this: do you even have a driving licence?’

I was absolutely stumped and looked like a rabbit in the headlights with nowhere to go. As my initial pause turned into what felt like a deafening silence my client started to look at me a little suspiciously. Eventually and in blind panic by this point, I turned to the judge for assistance. He gave me a knowing look before turning sternly to the witness and saying,

‘It’s not for Mr BabyBarista here to be answering the questions and if you continue in this belligerent manner I will have no alternative but to commit you to the cells for contempt of court.’

The judge gave a kindly smile, my opponent smirked, and I lived to fight another day.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

October 7, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ No Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

October 6, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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