Archive for September, 2011

Testiculators, blamestormers and seagulls

OldSmoothie was in the clerks’ room this morning reading out an email that he’d received. “It has a few new words which I thought might be applied to lawyers. The first is the blamestormer who sits around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.”

“Solicitors, definitely,” said TheVamp which was followed by nods of approval at that categorisation.

“Then there’s the testiculator,” he continued, “who waves his arms around and talks a lot of old, er, balls.”

“Barristers,” said SlipperySlope who was in chambers delivering a brief.

“Fair cop,” smiled TheVamp.

“Then there’s the seagull manager,” said OldSmoothie, “which they say is a manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, drops his, er, stuff, on everything from a great height and then leaves.”

A chorus of “Judges” came from all assembled.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

September 30, 2011 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Sponsored blog post: Advice on Evicting Residential Tenants

The current European sovereign debt crisis has greatly added to the economic uncertainty initiated by the 2008 credit crunch. As a result job losses are again on the upward march. These macro-economic events, coupled with a reduction in housing benefit payments and an increase in residential rental rates, have caused more and more tenants to default on their rental payments. It is hardly surprising that landlords are increasingly seeking legal advice on tenant eviction.

So what should a landlord do when a tenant falls behind with the rent? Firstly establish contact with the tenant to find out what the problem is, and agree on a repayment plan to reflect the tenant’s new financial circumstances. The repayment plan should clearly set out in table format the amounts and the dates that the rent will be paid on.

Secondly, the appropriate eviction notices need to be served on the tenant. This will save the landlord time in the event that the tenant does not stick to the repayment plan, and a court order is required to repossess the property.

Evicting a tenant is not easy, as a landlord’s claim for possession can be struck out of court for the smallest paperwork error. In addition, tenants often have the benefit of free legal aid housing lawyers, and district judges will often use their discretion to extend the time that a tenant can remain in a property. Therefore a landlord should always consider instructing a specialist solicitor.

September 30, 2011 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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The house always wins

I overheard my solicitor giving another of his clients advice today while I was at court. “The good news is that I’ve finally managed to get OldSmoothie to review your case.” He hesitated whilst the client looked up at him hopefully before continuing: “The bad news is that he says you’ll lose.”

The client looked completely deflated. Slippery put a consoling hand on his shoulder and without skipping a beat, as if he was a croupier at a big gambling table dragging in the punter’s losses, he added: “Now this doesn’t have to be the end of it.”

“How’s that?” asked the client.

“Well so far you’ve racked up £15,000 investigating the case and £5,000 on OldSmoothie’s opinion. Now, a second opinion on the prospects of success from my senior partner would only cost another £3,000 and having already spent the money you have, it seems a shame, well, really, such a waste to, you know, give up just when your luck might be about to turn the corner.”

The client looked more worried than ever and I was starting to feel decidedly uncomfortable myself. The problem in speaking up was not only that Slippery is one of my main sources of work but also that there’d be a rather convenient conflict of interest in doing so.

Thankfully, just as Slippery was making his little pitch, UpTights walked past having overheard the whole conversation. As she did so she said to her own solicitor in a stage whisper loud enough for Slippery’s client to hear: “Funny how he’s not offering to take the risk himself do it all on a no-win no-fee basis. Kind of gives you the answer already, wouldn’t you say?”

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

September 28, 2011 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ by Paul Torday

“A brilliant satire, leavened by genuine passion for its protagonist and his sport” (REBECCA SEAL OBSERVER )

“A delight … Paul Torday’s sparkling debut uses spoof parliamentary papers to tell a splendidly dotty tale” (SALLY COUSINS SUNDAY TELEGRAPH )

“Utterly charming and extremely funny” (IRISH TIMES )

Available from Amazon.co.uk

September 28, 2011 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books

Skypecast No.6 with writer and philosopher Andy Martin

This video is the sixth in what is a series of Skypecasts on this blog. Andy Martin is a writer, philosopher and Cambridge academic. His books include Stealing the Wave: The Epic Struggle Between Ken Bradshaw and Mark FooBeware Invisible Cows: My Search for the Soul of the Universe and the forthcoming The Boxer and The Goalkeeper: Satre vs Camus. He has also recently produced and directed an excellent short film about surfing in New York for The Independent. You can find more information about Andy on his website.

Please note that the video freezes a couple of times and also there is a short interruption in the audio for which many apologies. The content remained in tact and so I decided to put it up in any event.

September 27, 2011 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: books, Skypecast interview

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 26th September 2011


This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including Lawyers Uncovered. He also does the cartoons for BabyBarista and has had two more excellent books published recently: 101 Ways to Leave the Law and 101 Uses for a Useless Banker. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 26, 2011 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: ‘This Life -S1E1 -part one’

September 24, 2011 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Roll on Friday review of ‘Law and Disorder’

Very many overdue thanks to VultureCulture at Roll on Friday for reviewing my book Law and Disorder. You can read the review here or below. You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk

Tim Kevan has numbered the ranks of the legal bloggers for over three years now. The former barrister pens the musings of a fictional junior barrister, BabyBarrista, who discovers that the bar is stuffed to the brim with incompetent, arrogant and out of touch individuals playing the system for all it’s worth.

And the blog has been popular. It was serialised in The Times, before Kevan switched allegiances to The Guardian once the paywall was installed. And from the blog a book was born. Law and Disorder, Kevan’s debut novel, is the first instalment of BabyB’s career path. It tells the tale of the young pupil barrister navigating his way through a year of pupillage, competing against a motley crew of fellow pupils to score the prize of tenancy.

BabyB’s journey starts off with the (non-shocking) realisation that he is little more than a glorified coffee maker  And it gets worse as he realises that his chambers are populated by unscrupulous characters.

Early indications that BabyB must get tenancy in order to support his poor, indebted, single mother who has sacrificed herself financially at the altar of his legal dreams – sound like the beginnings of a cliché and made VultureCulture groan inside a little.

However, it turns out that BabyB is not a self-righteous twerp who just wants to make a better life for his poor old ma. He is far from immune to a bit (in fact a lot) of backstabbing in order to grab the tenancy trophy from his thrusting fellow pupils. He plots their respective downfalls with relish – stooping to impersonation, identity theft, Facebook hacking, fraud and some kinky business along the way.

A deft study in the nuances of characterisation this book isn’t. The novel’s cast is colourful, brash and largely 2D – few of them very appealing. Only one person is given a name, BabyB’s confidante and best pal Claire. The rest are bestowed with helpful monikers. TopFirst is the main competition – bright, arrogant but led by his pants. TheBoss is BabyB’s very dodgy pupil master and TheVamp is a tenant in chambers and carry on character with whom BabyB enjoys a brief dalliance. You get the idea.

The reader is catapulted head first into BabyB’s Machiavellian scheming. There are certainly elements of cliché and farce throughout – but the book is richer for it. Kevan manages to swiftly draw the reader into BabyB’s duplicitous journey. The book is full of humour and sharp observations about the legal system and those who play it to their advantage. It quickly grabs the reader’s attention and turns out to be really quite hard to put down.

September 22, 2011 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Poem about the riots: ‘A victim of his Era’ by James Woolf

The following is a poem by poet, playwright and children’s author James Woolf who can be contacted here.

A Victim of his Era

Frank was sent to jail last week for some burglary or other
He blames it on his barrister, I blame it on his mother
He says his counsel knobbled him to accept a lesser plea
I say she’s molly-coddled him from birth to forty three
Frank maintains the Judge was bent and that the jurors were all mental
I would argue that Frank’s school has failed in the essentials
He says he was fitted up and was miles from all the riots
I say that his behaviour can be linked to his poor diet
My husband claims his Co-D was the one that caused the rumpus
Whereas I’d suggest society has lost its moral compass
Frank is very confident they’ll free him on appeal
I think lack of realism is Frank’s Achilles heel
Frank says that he’ll get revenge – that those SOBs will pay
I feel a father figure would have helped Frank find his way
Franks says that his legal team will be strung up from the ceiling
I say Frank has issues with expressing his true feelings
It’s really academic if he’s guilty or was framed
Whichever way you look at it, my Frank should not be blamed
The picture which emerges could not in fact be clearer
Frank is both an icon and a victim of his era

September 22, 2011 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: ‘The Warden’ by Anthony Trollope

The tranquil atmosphere of the cathedral town of Barchester is shattered when a scandal breaks concerning the financial affairs of a Church-run almshouse for elderly men. In the ensuing furore, Septimus Harding, the almshouse’s well-meaning warden, finds himself pitted against his daughter’s suitor Dr John Bold, a zealous local reformer. Matters are not improved when Harding’s abrasive son-in law, Archdeacon Grantly, leaps into the fray to defend him against a campaign Bold begins in the national press. An affectionate and wittily satirical view of the workings of the Church of England, The Warden is also a subtle exploration of the rights and wrongs of moral crusades and, in its account of Harding’s intensely felt personal drama, a moving depiction of the private impact of public affairs.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

September 21, 2011 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books