Archive for May, 2008

Year 2, week 35: BlindDrunk

It’s often been the case in the last year or two that I’ve thought the law was crazy when it came to personal injury, but today capped the lot.  Simple case.  My client got drunk on ten pints of lager on a Saturday night and tripped over a hole in the road.  Not a big hole but big enough to trip him up and cause him to injure himself.  Despite the fact that he admitted to having drunk ten pints in less than four hours, the judge still found in his favour and only reduced his damages by 50% as a result of what was euphemistically called ‘contributory negligence’.  Blind drunkness more like. 

Worst of all, the result wasn’t even a surprise and my opponent will almost certainly not appeal.

May 28, 2008 · Tim Kevan · 8 Comments
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Year 2, week 35: Buskered

TheBusker was back on form today at chambers tea as TheCreep failed miserably to try and put him down. Physically the two of them couldn’t be more different.  TheCreep is short and stocky and his brown hair is always neatly combed to the side.  Though his suits are always immaculately pressed, they always appear to be slightly too big as if he’s still hoping to grow into them. The way he holds himself has an air of a serjeant major on parade, as if he’s always standing to attention although again I wonder whether this is more a manifestation of him willing himself to be taller. TheBusker on the other hand is around six foot and quite slim but despite his snappy tailoured suits his lazy looking slouch somehow still manages to create an air of just about respectable scruffiness, as does his dischevelled mop of hair.  But their physical differences aren’t anywhere near as great as that of their style of advocacy with TheCreep all jumped up and stressed out and TheBusker only highlighting those difficulties with his laid back style.

Today TheCreep was feeling particularly aggrieved after TheBusker had given him yet another kicking in court this morning.
“I don’t think you take your cases seriously enough,” TheCreep piped up at TheBusker.
“You’re probably right,” TheBusker replied, only winding up TheCreep further.  Then he added mischievously, “But hey, do you think it’d be fair on the opposition if I did?’”
“You only won today because of that mad cow of a judge,” said TheCreep proving once again what a sore and sulky loser he was.
“You know,” said TheBusker.  "You’re always complaining about something.  Stuck down there in the murky details of life’s unfairness.”  He paused and looked up and realised that he now had an audience in chambers tea.  “Just for once, why don’t you look up to the horizon and admire the view.  You know, relax and hey, you never know what might happen.  You might even get judges starting to listen to what you have to say.”

As I’ve said before, I do like TheBusker.

May 27, 2008 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
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Year 2, week 34: TheParrot

Have you ever come across someone who when you say something simply repeats what you’ve just said? That was how my opponent was today when cross-examining the witnesses and the only name for him is TheParrot. “Where were you heading just before the accident?”
“Out to the shops in Bootle.”
“Out to the shops in Bootle. I see. Were you in a rush?”
“No I wasn’t. In fact I had given myself good time to get there.”
“You’d given yourself good time to get there. Right. Were you listening to the radio as you were driving?”
“Yes, I was listening to the cricket.”
“You were listening to the cricket. Hmm…”

Anyway, you get the picture. It starts to get annoying after a while and you could tell that it was really starting to irk the judge as he was raising his eyebrows every time it happened which looked slightly comical and only added to the mini-spectacle going on before me. Worse still I discovered on the way back on the train that my opponent’s habit even extended outside of the courtroom. Kind of made me want to insult him just to hear him repeat it before it registered in his brain. But hey, I’d won and earned myself a nice fat brief fee on a 100% uplift.

May 22, 2008 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Year 2, week 33: underbellies

“What is it that you’ve got against women, OldSmoothie?” It was BusyBody at Chambers Tea, back from maternity leave and on the war path.
“What on earth do you mean?  I love all women.  Every one of them.  Well, except perhaps the fat ones.”
“You see, that’s my point. Every time you open your mouth you reveal your misogynistic underbelly.” She looked him up and down. “And if I may say so, it’s rather a fat underbelly at that, wouldn’t you say? So, go on, what is it? Mother not cuddle you enough? Too ugly to get a girlfriend before you were rich? Or is it simply that we threaten you?”

For the first time since I have known him, OldSmoothie had no answer to give. BusyBody turned to UpTights and received a beaming smile. Well, it would have been were her stretched face able to move enough to beam.  I think that UpTights might just have found the junior barrister who could help her in her innumerable cases against the mildly overweight, pompous silver fox himself.

May 15, 2008 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
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Year 2, week 33: old dog new tricks

There’s a solicitors firm in North London which is holding a party this evening for which the invitation states, “Please bring a party trick.” Which of course was the hot topic of conversation and indeed speculation at Chambers Tea. As is often the case, the best line of the day belonged to OldSmoothie and came from a polite question from TheCreep to UpTights in which he asked: “So have you learnt any new tricks for the party UpTights?”

Quick as a flash and before she was even able to start an answer, OldSmoothie was in there for the kill and even the more wine-addled members of chambers winced as he made his strike. “New tricks? You what? Everyone knows you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

May 14, 2008 · Tim Kevan · One Comment
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Year 2, week 33: the all-rounder

Overheard a very revealing conversation at lunch today between OldSmoothie and another barrister who was obviously his opponent on a case he was doing. “You’re in TheVamp’s chambers, aren’t you?” the opponent asked.
“That’s right,” chuckled OldSmoothie.  “Everyone knows TheVamp.”
“You’re not wrong there, and legend has it that there are even a few who don’t know her intimately.”
“Not that I’ve met any myself.”
“You’re right.  Nor me.”
“Yes, what was it the legal directory said this year? ‘Has quickly gained a reputation as an all-rounder.’”
“Yes, that one certainly did the rounds.”

They both chuckled. “So how long did you have the pleasure?” asked OldSmoothie.
“Longer than most, actually.  As I remember it, a whole weekend.  How about you?”
“Landed her as my pupil for a month, so, you can imagine…”
“A month?”
“Well, there were a few of us vying to be her pupilmaster after we met her at the pre-pupillage drinks. So rather than limit it to two lots of six months, we divided her time twelve ways.”

All of which chit chat led to OldSmoothie making a settlement offer which his opponent agreed to without even a hint of getting back to his client.

May 13, 2008 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Year 2, week 31: holidays

So last week I had my first holiday since the start of my pupillage. I sometimes think that this whole self-employed freedom thing for barristers is a bit of a con really, certainly for the first few years at any rate. All that freedom you’re supposed to have and yet the truth is that if there are cases and there’s no-one else to cover then you have to be available. So I’ve been allowed one week in eighteen months and it’s only because there’s a new crop of pupils to cover the tiny cases that I even get that. But hey, at least I’m not in as bad a position as BusyBody.  She was lucky even to get a rent holiday whilst she was off having her child. If it wasn’t for the Bar Council guidelines she’d have even had to continue paying rent even during her maternity leave. Oh and if you think she’ll get any kind of allowance during that period, you’ve got to be joking. As HeadofChambers said only the other day: “You know, I can’t believe we’ve kept BusyBody’s room empty whilst she’s been away when she isn’t even paying rent. As if it isn’t enough that we subsidise women’s rent for the first few years only for them to leave when they find a rich man.”

When UpTights heard this, she started to get stuck in: “You know, that’s exactly the kind of remark I’d expect from a dinosaur like you.”

Which of course allowed OldSmoothie to slip in with: “Well, at least that’s one good thing we can say about you UpTights. There’s never been any chance of you disappearing on maternity leave, has there now?”

Welcome, once again, to the modern bar.

May 6, 2008 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
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