Archive for May, 2012

Leveson-lite

“I’ve been loving watching the Leveson Inquiry,” said BusyBody today.

“Yes, it kind of makes me think that chambers needs to hire someone to lobby high court judges and their officials when we’re involved in big cases,” smiled OldSmoothie.

“But you already do that yourself,” said TheVamp.

“I certainly do not,” said OldSmoothie looking particularly indignant.

“What? So sucking up to the court clerks, some of whom who we all know discuss the barristers with their judges, doesn’t count?” said BusyBody.

“Certainly not,” said OldSmoothie.

“Or going pheasant shooting with a certain high court judge?” said UpTights.

“Definitely not. He happens to be one of my closest friends,” came the reply.

“As is the circuit judge you’re always appearing in front of and who you just so happen to take fishing to Scotland every year?” said TheVamp.

“Exactly,” said OldSmoothie, looking a little less sure of himself.

“And the influential district judge who likes to watch a bit of cricket,” piped up BusyBody.

“And that’s before we even start analysing all the shmoozing that HeadClerk does on our behalf,” said Teflon.

“Enough,” said OldSmoothie. “No more. This is the sort of thing that should not be discussed out loud and I will hear no more of it here.”

There was a moment of silence before TheCreep changed the subject. “Well, I’ve been liking the way Robert Jay QC puts his questions to the witnesses.”

“Yes,” said TheBusker, it really does make you wish that parliamentary select committees had their very own barristers to ask the questions.”

“An excellent idea,” said OldSmoothie. “I’d apply in a jiffy if that particular job came along. I mean some MPs are excellent, but there are others who can only be described as vain, arrogant, pompous, self-satisfied publicity hounds.”

“And you’re suggesting that replacing them with you would change that profile?” said BusyBody sarcastically.

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.

May 30, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: ’21st Century Solicitor’ by Steve Weiner

“[A] tome of exceptional clarity…Weiner’s book is sensible and down-to-earth. Few would disagree with his premise that to succeed, today’s lawyer has to be more than merely technically proficient and Weiner ably distils the ways that a junior lawyer can make a difference.Alex WadeThe TimesThursday December 15, 2011There is no doubt in my mind that if you want to learn how to communicate effectively, increase your personal brand and commerciality to impress your colleagues, then you should take the time to read this bookWhile there is no manual, 21st Century Solicitor does a lot to bridge the gap so that paralegals, trainee solicitors and newly qualifieds can rest assured that not only are they making an impression, but that it is the right one and one that will be remembered for the right reasons. It is safe to say that this book is a must read for anyone working as a paralegal, trainee solicitor or newly qualified (and quite possibly could educate a few people who are already qualified).” — Sarah Bolt, Junior Lawyers Division executive committee member, Junior Lawyers Division Blog

 

Available from Amazon.co.uk

May 30, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books

Sponsored post: @TheICLR Ignore the new Practice Direction on the Citation of Authorities at your peril!

I had a small appeal today and my opponent was none other than TheCreep turned up with a huge bundle of authorities. Having failed to bash me over the head with them in the robing room, we went into court. Before TheCreep could even start whining on, the judge boomed: “MrCreep, you have provided me with a ridiculous number of so-called authorities and yet not a single one of them comes from the Official Law Reports on the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting. I will adjourn this case until you manage to comply with the Practice Direction: Citation of Authorities (2012).” He then quoted a particular section:

“Where a judgment is reported in the Official Law Reports (A.C., Q.B., Ch., Fam.) published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales, that report must be cited. These are the most authoritative reports; they contain a summary of the argument. Other series of reports and official transcripts of judgment may only be used when a case is not reported in the Official Law Reports.”

TheCreep looked crestfallen and dashed out of court. Eventually, his furious-looking solicitor managed to get copies of the authorities faxed from his own office and he came back with revised bundles mumbling about never instructing such an amateur again. TheCreep then delivered his submissions to a notably unimpressed bench.

As for my own submissions, my Skeleton Argument took a strategy of TheBusker’s that I’d used before and said simply: “The appeal is misconceived since it fails to refer to the binding Court of Appeal case of [name of my magic case].” As TheBusker had explained to me in the past: “Judges will be impressed both by your courage and your cheek in resting simply on this one sentence. Above all, they’ll believe that no-one would possibly dare to do such a short Skeleton unless they were absolutely certain they were going to win.” Then he added with a smile, “So it’s always good ground for a bluff.”

In the judge’s summing up, he said: “Mr BabyBarista provided me with a commendably brief Skeleton Argument, the reasoning of which I accept in its entirety. I should add that this case highlights that a single authority well-chosen and downloaded from the ICLR Online can be worth more than a multitude of lesser authorities, all the more so when they are drawn from less authoritative sources.”

May 29, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: ICLR, Sponsored, Uncategorized

Law and Peace currently just £1.19 on the Kindle for the Jubilee!

My latest novel Law and Peace has been chosen for special offer on the Kindle for the Jubilee. Get it now for just £1.19 here!

May 28, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 28th May 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 info@qccartoon.com.

May 28, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: ‘Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip’

May 26, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Keep it complicated

“I’m really struggling to draft a Particulars of Claim I’ve been set,” said one of the pupils today.

“The general rule,” said OldSmoothie, “is to make it as long and convoluted as possible.”

The pupil looked confused. “But TheBusker was telling us only the other day never to say in a thousand words words what you can say with just a smile and a couple of sentences.” His voice went up in tone as he neared the end of the sentence.

“TheBusker’s quite right when it comes to court appearances,” said OldSmoothie. “After all, if you’re on a fixed fee, there’s no point messing around. But when you’re getting paid by the hour it’s always best to string it out for as much as you can.”

“Oh,” said the pupil.

“Yes,” said OldSmoothie warming to his theme. “Remember, they’re hiring a barrister and they don’t expect to get back a document that any man or woman off the street could write. What kind of an impression would that give?”

“Er …”

“Now, once you’ve mastered that, you also have to remember the exception to the general rule.”

“Which is?”

“That you should always leave at least one of the particulars vague or unclear.”

“Why’s that?” asked the pupil.

“Ah, ever the innocent,” said OldSmoothie. “Never forget that it’s all about costs, young man. Always and everywhere. If you understand that you’ll understand the reasoning behind every one of my little rules of practice.”

“I see,” he replied, clearly not seeing at all. “So, I leave it vague because…” He tailed off looking lost.

“Because it will force the other side to draft a Part 18 Request for Further Information. Now what does that signify to you?”

“The pupil’s face brightened as if a light had just been switched on in his head.

“Why, then I’d then have to draft a reply to that Part 18 Request.”

“Precisely,” said OldSmoothie.

“Which of course means more costs,” said the pupil.

“And never forget to seek more information whenever you do an initial advice,” said OldSmoothie.

“And once that information is returned, I suppose a conference would always help to clarify matters further,” said the pupil.

“Now you’re starting to sound like a real lawyer,” said OldSmoothie with a huge beam and not a little pride in his voice.

“It’s moments like that which make OldSmoothie skip home at night knowing that he’s done a some good in the world,” whispered BusyBody to TheVamp sarcastically.

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.

May 25, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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The barristers are revolting

BusyBody was talking about the possibility of the criminal bar going on strike over cuts to legal aid today. “These cuts are outrageous,” she said. Particular as we are already struggling to keep our heads above water.”

“Yes, it’s time to man the barricades,” said OldSmoothie raising a silver eyebrow.

“It’s alright for you,” said BusyBody. “You’ve made your millions in the property bubble and left our generation to pay the price at every turn.”

“I hardly think you’ll be garnering much public sympathy,” said OldSmoothie.

“It’s not exactly the miners’ strike, now is it?”

“Yes, you can’t exactly call yourself underprivileged,” said HeadofChambers. “All the more so in this so-called age of austerity.”

“Though BusyBody’s notion of underprivileged is having to buy Kurt Geiger rather than her usual Louboutin shoes,” said OldSmoothie.

BusyBody was so angry she was struggling for words and TheBusker came to the rescue. “To be fair, the argument isn’t really about relative incomes. It’s about whether the criminal bar will in future attract the brightest and the best.”

“Well if BusyBody’s so high-minded and pious about it all, she shouldn’t mind what she’s paid,” said OldSmoothie.

“Yes, but it’s not about her,” said TheBusker. “It’s a free market out there and if the civil bar pays disproportionately more than the criminal bar, it’s clearly going to attract the cream.”

“Just as Manchester City tends to attract better players than Accrington Stanley,” said Teflon.

“Why do people always seem to pick on Acccrington Stanley?” said TheCreep, missing the point completely.

BusyBody started to find her voice again. “You’re a pompous, sexist, out of touch old fool, OldSmoothie. Slashing legal aid undermines the whole right to a fair trial and turns it into a right only for those that can afford it.”

OldRuin gave a wry smile and added, “It does seem ironic that with all the great social developments of the last half century, that old saying about justice being open to all, like the Ritz, never seemed more apt than today.”

“Reminds me of the French writer,” said TheBusker, “who said that the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under bridges, begging in the streets or stealing bread.”

May 23, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: ‘The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall’ by Paul Torday

“It’s a novel that should enhance his reputation for excellent, ingenious writing” — Tina Jackson, Metro

“More intriguing is the skein of darkness that, in common with much of Torday’s fiction, runs discretely through the story – one sequence is sufficently macabre as to recall the work of a young McEwan.” — Jonathan Barnes Literary Review

“This is a novel about decay and destruction, but bracingly unsentimental and surprisingly moving.” — Kate Saunders, The Guardian

“A gloriously enjoyable wallow of a read.” — John Harding, Daily Mail

Available from Amazon.co.uk

May 23, 2012 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 21st May 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 info@qccartoon.com.

May 21, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized