Archive for March, 2012

Weekend video: ‘Richard Burton reads ‘The Hound of Heaven’ by Francis Thomson’

March 31, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Bluffs and double bluffs

SlipperySlope was in chambers today dispensing some of his worldly advice from the other side of the profession. “You know, sometimes you have to issue just to get the insurers to deal.”

“Even on a hopeless case,” said a pupil.

“Particularly on a hopeless case. Rule number one is that the weaker your case the more agressive you need to be.”

“But surely insurers can work out from that when you’ve lost confidence in a case,” said the pupil.

“A very good point young man. Which leads me to rule number two: never follow rule number one.”

“Oh,” said the pupil now looking confused.

“You must always be unpredictable in the game of bluff and double bluff which is litigation,” said Slippery. “Keep them on their toes.”

The pupil was being mired ever deeper and asked, “So if you issue, you’re actually telling the insurer that you know that they know it’s weak case?”

“Exactly. The double bluff,” said Slippery.

“But what if they know that you know that they know?” he persisted.

“Young man, you’ve just turned something which was completely clear into mud,” said Slippery.

The pupil looked worried that he might have offended one of chambers’ solicitors.

“Which is exactly the sort of skill I look for in my barristers. You will, I believe, go far.”

“Oh,” said the pupil.

Slippery lowered his voice. “Though I should warn you that what you were alluding to there was the lesser spotted triple bluff. Something which should be played only very rarely and never mentioned above a whisper.”

“So sometimes you even say what you mean?” whispered the pupil.

“Exactly. Though as I say, it’s not something of which you should be making a habit,” said Slippery.

“Oh get over yourself,” siad UpTights. “We both know that whenever you issue you it’s because you’re worried about losing.”

“I’m delighted to leave you with that impression,” said Slippery as he pulled a face which completely failed in his bid to look mysterioso.

“Isn’t that a little rich coming from the renowned queen of bluff and bluster?” said OldSmoothie. “Though I’ve always found it rather charming that you’re such a terrible liar.”

“That’s what you may think,” said UpTights, also trying and failing to pull a face, though in her case due simply to too much plastic surgery.

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 Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

March 30, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Sponsored post: Don’t let those old Facebook photos hinder your pupillage application! @TheICLR

Chambers were discussing one of the candidates for a third six pupillage today.
“He’s by far and away the best-qualified of the applicants,” said OldSmoothie.
“I completely agree,” said UpTights. “But we do have one more issue to check over.” She looked over at HeadClerk. “What are the results of our social media vetting?”
“Er, well…” HeadClerk squirmed awkwardly.
“What?” asked UpTights. “Come on now, let’s have it.”
“Well, let me perhaps show you instead,” said HeadClerk.
He busied himself with plugging the computer into the overhead projector. He then theatrically pressed another button and a Facebook page came to light.
“As you can see, this candidate failed to adjust his privacy settings so that these pictures are there for everyone to see,” said HeadClerk.
“And what’s the big problem?” asked TheVamp.
“Well, if we flick back to a photo from a few years ago when he was evidently at university, you will find that…”
A picture came up on the screen of the candidate inhaling from a large cylindrically-shaped object.
“What is it?” asked OldSmoothie. “Is it some form of old-fashioned asthma inhaler?”
Er, well, you might say that,” said TheVamp. “Although I think you’ll find it’s commonly known as a bong.”
“A what?” said OldSmoothie.
“Used for smoking cannabis.”
“Come on,” said BusyBody. “This is a complete invasion of his privacy. We have no permission to be looking at these photos.”
“Er, yes, quite,” said HeadofChambers looking shifty. “Although since the cat, as they say, is now out of the bag, what are we supposed to do?”
“Ignore it, that’s what,” said BusyBody. “And anyway, whatever happened to that old principle of innocent until proven guilty?”
OldSmoothie guffawed. “Oh do be quiet and leave the theatrics for the juries BusyBody.”
“But there’s absolutely no proof that he’s inhaling cannabis,” she replied.
“Er, so what would you suggest he is inhaling?” said OldSmoothie.
“And even if it was, surely we should be forgiving of such minor indiscretions of youth,” she persisted.
“The real problem we have here,” said OldSmoothie, “is to decide whether or not he is now reformed.”
“How on earth are we going to know that?” asked TheVamp.
“Well, let’s take a flick through his more recent photos,” said HeadClerk.
He did so before HeadofChambers shouted, “Stop!”
“What is it?” asked OldSmoothie as they all stared at a more recent photo of him in his barrister garb and clearly sitting outside of court. “That doesn’t tell us anything at all.”
“Zoom in a little if you can,” said HeadofChambers.
HeadClerk did so.
“A little to the left…there. Well, that decides it for me,” said HeadofChambers sitting back.
“Fair enough,” said OldSmoothie. “I think we can officially now say that he’s back on the right side of the tracks.”
“But what is it?” asked TheCreep, clearly thinking that he was missing out on something himself.
“I wouldn’t expect you to notice,” said OldSmoothie, “but if you look closely, you’ll see that that’s a print-off of a case from the ICLR online that he’s carrying there.”
Everyone peered again.
“It’s good enough for me,” said UpTights. “If he’s got the sense to use the ICLR then I’m happy to believe he’s got the sense to have turned his back on his old ways.”
“Alleged old ways,” added BusyBody still smarting at the injustice of it all.

March 28, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Anti-avoidance rules

“I can’t believe they only lowered top rate tax to 45%. I mean, when you take account of national insurance, chambers rent and other expenses, I’m still only getting to keep 25 pence for every extra pound that I earn,” said UpTights.

“Some might say that that’s a nice problem to have,” smiled TheBusker.

“For me, the most dangerous part of the budget is the general anti-avoidance rule,” said OldSmoothie. “It’s the thin end of the wedge as far as I’m concerned.”

“What, you’re going to have to re-jig your tax affairs so that you avoid paying more tax without actually meaning to avoid it?” said BusyBody.

“No, my bigger concern is the idea of any form of general anti-avoidance rule. Imagine if they introduced such a rule with respect to other laws.”

“What, you mean a rule against legal advice as to how they can get around particular laws?” said TheVamp.

“Exactly,” said OldSmoothie.

“And no taking sniggly wiggly little technical points at court?” said Teflon.

“Quite so.”

A look of horror all round.

“But that’d mean forcing us to follow the spirit rather than merely the letter of the law,” said TheCreep.

“Now you’re getting it,” said OldSmoothie.

“But my whole practice is based upon avoiding the spirit of the law with sneaky little technical points. It’s precisely where I add value,” said HeadofChambers.

“To your clients, maybe, but it hardly benefits society as a whole,” said BusyBody.

“But, but, they wouldn’t…” said TheCreep. “They couldn’t…surely?”

“Well let’s just agree that any such notion shall never be mentioned again,” said UpTights. “We wouldn’t want to be giving them ideas, now would we?”

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 Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

March 28, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Parking charge cancelled!

Following on from my letter which challenged a private parking charge, I received the following letter today indicating that the charge has now been cancelled (click to enlarge).

March 28, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: ‘Learning the Law’ by Glanville Williams

“Essential reading for anyone embarking on the study of law or on a course that includes an element of law.An excellent introduction to the methods and skills of the law. Beautifully written and gives a sense of historical importance to the law…prepares the student extremely well for legal studies.” New Law Journal

Available from

March 28, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books

Articles and a competition at

I’ve got an article in about my second novel Law and Peace. I also recently had an  interview  for them. The website is also running a competition to win a signed copy of competition to win a signed copy of the book.

March 27, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Legal directory games

“Please, please, please. Just this once. Perrrleeese…” It was TheCreep on his mobile phone in chambers.

“Sounds like one of his submissions in court,” said OldSmoothie.

“I know what it is,” said TheVamp. “He’s making his annual round of begging calls to solicitors to try and get them to say something nice about him to the various legal directories.”

“But he’s never been mentioned by a single directory,” said BusyBody.

“Exactly,” said TheVamp. “That’s the problem.”

“Can you imagine what the comments would be even if they were trying to be nice?” said TheBusker.

“The papers always come back neat and tidy,” said BusyBody.

“He will do anything you ask,” said TheVamp.

“An excellent last minute babysitter,” said HeadofChambers.

“Always the first person I ring when I need some free advice,” said Teflon.

“Very good at organising mini-pupillages for my friends’ children,” said HeadClerk.

“If you need lunch and you’re near the Temple then TheCreep’s your man,” said OldSmoothie.

“A man whose skeleton arguments are far from skeleton,” said BusyBody.

“A lethal weapon if you want to bore your opponents to death,” said UpTights.
TheCreep had come off the telephone by now and wasn’t look happy. “It’s just not fair,” he wailed. “These things all seem to go on who likes who and have nothing whatsoever to do with how much work you put in.”

“Welcome to the real world,” said OldSmoothie.

“But why do these things matter at all?” said a pupil.

“Because there’s nothing more powerful than peer review,” said OldSmoothie puffing out his chest.

“Or unadulterated vanity,” said BusyBody.

“And because these days solicitors hardly ever see you in court,” said TheVamp.

“So they therefore want to know what other solicitors might have to say about you?” said the pupil.

“Exactly,” said TheVamp.

“Even though they hardly ever see you in court either?” persisted the pupil.
“Quite so,” came the reply.

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 Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

March 26, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 26th March 2012

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

March 26, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: ‘The One Ronnie – My Blackberry Is Not Working!’

March 24, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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