Archive for October, 2007

Year 2, week 5: JudgeJewellery

The robing room was alight with gossip this morning when I went off to court.  There’s a vicious rumour going around about one of the district judges in the south of England.  I can’t be more specific as to where she’s based as it’d be pretty easy to identify her but for present purposes I shall call her JudgeJewellery.  Anyway, the rumour goes along the lines of someone knows someone who knows someone and then at the very end of the line, who knows someone who knows JudgeJewellery herself.  This particular person is a barrister and was indiscreet enough to tell her room-mate in chambers who has shared it with a few other and so it went on.  Apparently the gossip has been out for weeks but I only heard it today as I was in front of the sparkly judge herself.  Why the name you ask?  Well, apparently she unwisely confided to her garrulous friend that she has a penchant for cheap jewellery from a high street chain which I will call CheapnNasty.  Nothing particularly unusual there you might say.  Except that her penchant goes one step beyond merely the jewellery itself.  Apparently she gets a thrill out of stealing it straight out the shop.  All £10 worth at a time.  Whipped off the shelf, into her Gucci handbag and then straight out the shop without anyone daring to accuse someone so glamorous of stooping as low as to steal something so cheap.

And if that isn’t enough, she then likes to show off her wares in court the next day like some sort of trophy.  Sounds completely unreal but although the chain of Chinese whispers was fairly protracted, the gossip did come from reliable sources.  Certainly she was sporting some gaudy looking earrings today which certainly didn’t seem to go with the rest of her outfit.  Not that I’m much of a judge of these things but even so, they looked fairly out of place.  However, the great thing about JudgeJewellery and I’ve been in front of her more than once before is that simply out, she carried off whatever she is doing with enormous style.  It’s not merely that she is beautiful.  Without wanting to make it all sound crass, she’s one of those few people within the law who effortlessly seems to rise above it.  To be in a class of her own.  I’ve seen her reduce a barrister to rubble merely with one of her slightly amused smiles.  If there really is an ‘it’ of a secret formula out there, then JudgeJewellery surely has it.

Which means that because it’s her, she can even make nicking cheap jewellery seem kind of cool.  Which of course it isn’t.  But hey. I don’t think I’m the only male member of the bar who is suffering from this mild infatuation.

October 30, 2007 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
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Year 2, week 5: ManTrap

So I was chatting through the BigMouth case with my friend Claire on Saturday evening and it caused a little disruption when she heard that TheVamp was also instructed in the same case. 

‘What?  The same woman who was prepared to sleep with you as part of a settlement deal?’

Being a simple -minded soul I did not spot this commenty-type question for what it was: a huge gaping ManTrap ready to strike.  I was soon to find out after I replied with,

‘Well, I wouldn’t want to put it in quite such crude terms.  And anyway, maybe she just used the settlement as an excuse.’ 

At which point the ManTrap closed around me and I spent the rest of the evening trying to escape its barbs in the form of sarcastic remarks about myself, men in general, their egos and now and again, their lack of scruples.  It was only tempered when I managed to get her back to being rude about TheBigFatTramp as she now calls her, a description which is far from accurate though not something I was in the mood by that point for challenging further.   Okay, so Claire doesn’t like TheVamp and to be fair it hasn’t been helped by TheVamp herself being utterly patronising every time they meet.  Comments such as ‘Oh, this is your little pupillage friend’ or ‘Oh, you’re the JustGoodFriendsClaire’ don’t seem to help.  It’s at times like those just as it was on Saturday night that I know that I am totally and utterly out of my depth.

I just hope they are never against each other in court. 

October 29, 2007 · Tim Kevan · 4 Comments
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Year 2, week 4: an apple short

So today I had to call up BigMouth and get a bit more sense out of him than that which OldSmoothie managed yesterday.  I think he was just embarrassed for his old friend and didn’t want to explore the whole conspiracy story in too much detail.

‘So what sort of conspiracy do you suspect?’ I asked, trying not to sound circumspect.

‘I know what you think young man.  Old duffer’s gone off the deep end.  An apple short and what not.  But you’d be wrong in this case.  There’s big commercial interests at stake here.  If wireless does the damage my people think it does then some people stand to lose billions.’

‘And who are those people?’ I asked.

‘Well that’s what you might be able to find out.  Shareholders, I assume.  All I know is that I asked one question in parliament and within a week I was being exposed by RedTop.’

‘Maybe that’s simply because they had something to expose?’ I wanted to ask.  But instead followed up with, ‘I see.  Er, yes, I’ll see what I can do.  In the meantime, what exactly do you constituents say are the actual effects?’

‘Well, there’s a gang of old aged pensioners all within the same neighbourhood who have suddenly turned to causing all sorts of trouble.  At least a dozen of them have ASBOs already and the figures rising by the week.  All very peculiar.’

Well, he’s right about that anyway.  In the meantime, I await the documentation.  Maybe I’ll even get to meet this unusual bunch of oldies who have suddenly started razzing it up.  Would be worth spending the time to have a conference in chambers just to see the reaction of a few of the more staid of the tenants.

October 26, 2007 · Tim Kevan · One Comment
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Year 2, week 4: ConspiracyTheories

‘It’s all a conspiracy,’ boomed BigMouth as he stomped into OldSmoothie’s room for a conference.

‘Yeh right.  Last bastion of the desperate or insane those conspiracy theories if you ask me.’ I thought.  Thankfully, they didn’t ask.

‘I wouldn’t put anything past RedTop,’ said OldSmoothie sympathetically. 

‘What sort of conspiracy were you thinking?’ purred TheVamp.  I think she may have already found a way of asking the difficult questions and getting away with it.

‘Wireless.  That’s what.  Wireless this.  Wireless that.  It’s killing people, you know.’

Even OldSmoothie had to take a deep breath.  His friend looked like he was starting to unravel before our eyes.

‘OK.  Let’s take this one step at a time.  Do you mean that the radio is killing you?’

‘Of course not.  Wireless internet, that’s what.  It’s driving people mad.’

Well, that was becoming apparent to us all, but no-one said as much.

‘Er, in what way,’ asked OldSmoothie.

‘Brain damage, that’s what.  It’s getting into their heads and killing all the brain cells.  Particularly old people.’

‘Er, right.’  Even OldSmoothie was now having difficulties.

Facing a room full of raised eyebrows, BigMouth ploughed on,

‘You don’t believe me, do you?  Nobody does.’

You don’t say.

‘But I’ve got a load of constituents being pumped full of wireless and, well, how can I put it, it’s affecting them.  Badly.  All gone potty.’

We were all now imagining some of BigMouth’s blue rinse constituents.  Potty was something we could believe.

OldSmoothie clearly thought his friend had been exposing himself to too much wireless (as opposed to prostitutes, I guess) and wanted to move on from this herring rouge as ClichéClanger was to call it after BigMouth had left.

‘I think this is something which BabyB can investigate.  What do you say?’

He turned to me.  What do I say?  ‘You must be joking.  Stop wasting my time, you old fool,’ would be one response.

‘Er, okay then,’ was all I could manage.

October 25, 2007 · Tim Kevan · 3 Comments
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Year 2, week 4: SueOrTrue

‘Of course he’ll sue’, said OldSmoothie as we sat around in conference discussing RedTop’s letter. 

‘But nobody believes what the papers say any longer,’ TheVamp piped up. ‘Why would he take the risk with all those costs, even if it’s all made up?’

‘Tory MPs are the very last of a breed who still cling to that nineteenth century notion that unless they sue, the allegations are taken to be true.’

Which is convenient for us.  Like OldSmoothie, I’m now starting to look forward to a long high profile trial.  Win or lose, it’s got to be better than car cases in the likes of Ilford every day.

October 24, 2007 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
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Year 2, week 4: DoubleDare

‘It’s all a bit of a dîner de dog if you ask me’ was ClichéClanger’s first remark after he’d faxed through RedTop’s response.

The letter had basically said, ‘Dear ClichéClanger, Your client is a vain, arrogant and nasty man.  You know that as much as we do.  If you want a fight we look forward to exhibiting him in front of a jury.’

Unfortunately, they are of course right.  Worse is that they have left it ambiguous as to whether the allegations are true or even as to what evidence they may have.  They are clearly calling our bluff.  If BigMouth ever sought pre-action disclosure to assess the strength of his case, they would report it front page along the lines of ‘BigMouth, surely you don’t need us to tell you whether it’s true or not?’  And anyway, even if they fought and lost, their circulation would rise so much during the trial that it’s more than pay for any damages award.

So the question now is whether BigMouth will step up to the mark in this game of dare and double dare.

October 23, 2007 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Year 2, week 4: Ernest

After all the excitement of getting onto BigMouth’s case in the last week or two I was brought crashing down to earth with a bang today as I was sent off to Ilford County Court to fight a car case worth all of £350.  He said, you said, they said.  They were all at it.  Never ceases to amaze me not only how important clients take such matters but also opponents.  The judge, naturally and like myself, was completely bored but my opponent, who I’ll call Ernest, was jumping up and down all over the place and droning on for hours.  He arrived with a big skeleton argument and a bundle of authorities on car accidents about three inches thick.  One copy for me, one copy for him and one copy for the judge.  I shudder to think how many forests are wasted each year due to absolutely and utterly pointless photocopying by lawyers.  And that’s just the cases I see.  Times it by a trillion and we’re probably nearing the damage done to the environment just by their paper usage alone.  Which of course is before all the hot air they let into the atmosphere as I’ve mentioned before.  Started me off daydreaming about my opponent being buried under the mountains of paper which are wasted.  Drowning out his whiny voice in the process. 

At the very least you’d think they’d have re-cycling bins at court.  Maybe they could even introduce costs sanctions for wasting paper.  Or in my opponents case, wasting everybody’s time as well.

October 22, 2007 · Tim Kevan · 6 Comments
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Year 2, week 3: RobingRoomKiss

Well, a great bit of gossip today.  I haven’t mentioned them since the tenancy decision but both TopFirst and ThirdSix have both ended up squatting in chambers.  That’s not some kind of weird yoga position but instead means that they can continue to ply their trade from here until they find somewhere else.  Or until people’s patience with them runs out.  In the meantime, they were against each other on a case today.  I’d like to try and suggest that it was some sort of cruel twist of fate.  But it wasn’t.  The junior clerk, FanciesHimself (the one who had an affair with BusyBody) deliberately booked them in against each other knowing the recent history of animosity.  He had apparently been told by both sides that the case was already somewhat heated and that an aggressive approach would be needed.  And with those two on the billing, such an approach was guaranteed.  He even sent a couple of mini-pupils along just to act as supporters in the fight which would undoubtedly ensue.

Now when I say fight, I mean that somewhat metaphorically.  The ancient craft of advocacy would be taken to its limits.  Dry, legalistic put downs would be thrown from one side to the other and the judge would keep control with a slight raising of the eyebrows.  Which is not what happened at all.  No, the robbing room of Wandsworth County Court was the scene for a battle in a very real sense.  One in which TopFirst got a bloody nose and ThirdSix a black eye.  Which, as you might imagine, took some explaining both to their clients and  also the judge.  Hard to use the lamp-post as an excuse when there’s more than one alleged victim.

Apparently the best they came up with was that the lame excuse that there was a tripping hazard in the robing room.  But more importantly than all of that was the result.  OldSmoothie called both mini-pupils into chambers tea this afternoon and grilled them on every detail in front of half of the rest of chambers.  Despite being a rugby player, ThirdSix apparently fought like a girl.  Flapping around and punching like a march hare.  Against all the odds, it was TopFirst who really showed some talent, getting stuck in with a slightly mis-timed headbut.  Apparently his wig slipped as he made his move causing him to make a slightly mad connection which caused both his own nose bleed and ThirdSix’s black eye.

Forget the so-called GlasgowKiss.  It’s a move which is now being described as the RobingRoomKiss.

October 19, 2007 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
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Year 2, week 3: WishYouWereHere

Got a postcard from TheBoss today.  Well, it didn’t actually say it was from him.  Kind of Shawshank Redemption style.  All a but over-dramatic and forced on the mysterious front which shows that he’s probably still unravelling after the shock of the hearing.  Thankfully, anyway, there was humour rather than menace in its tone.  It was a picture of a long golden beach somewhere in the Caribbean and it read simply,

“Wish you were here…don’t you.”

Unfortunately it has conjured up the somewhat unseemly and to say the least unattractive image of TheBoss and BattleAxe sunning themselves for all to see.  Which is just too much for a BabyBarista on a cold Thursday afternoon in October to have to be dealing with.

October 18, 2007 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Year 2, week 3: LetterofClaim

So TheVamp and I drafted a letter of claim to the publishers of RedTop today.  Basically, “Dear RedTop, That was very naughty of you to have been so rude about our client.  We know he’s an obnoxious, arrogant so and so of the worst kind but really, honestly, he did not and we repeat, did not, hire a prostitute.”

‘Do you think he did it?’  I asked TheVamp.

‘Well, the way he was inviting me over for tea in the Commons last week, I certainly don’t buy the whole happily married story.  But whether he went the whole hog, so to speak…’

She tailed off.  That really is the million dollar question.  At some point we’re going to have to be given the chance to grill BigMouth a little more thoroughly.  It is to say the least unfortunate that this has not happened before the letter of claim, but there you go.  His loss for having chosen his best friend to represent him, I guess.  To make matters worse, unlike most clients who would probably be satisfied with a restraction and a prominent apology, the inflated ego of our politician friend insisted that we write the letter and also offer to settle now for not only an apology but also for a million pounds.  Yeh, right.  If I were a jury, even if the story was untrue, I would find it hard to put a value on BigMouth’s reputation at anything more than a few hundred pounds.

But, hey, I guess I’m still smarting from the coffee insults.

October 17, 2007 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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