Archive for March, 2013

Weekend Video: Interview with playwright Jez Butterworth

March 30, 2013 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Taking all the credit for a pupil’s hard work – with @theiclr

Brought to you with the support of our friends at The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting

OldSmoothie was against a very traditional opponent today who always insists on bringing along to court the original volumes containing the particular law report in question. This meant that as he came into court both he and his pupil were weighed down by piles of authorities whilst OldSmoothie rather smugly carried his slim bundle of authorities in a folder under his arm.

The judge was an old sparring-partner of OldSmoothie’s and after he entered he smiled at OldSmoothie and said, “I’m particularly grateful to OldSmoothie for the extremely helpful bundle of authorities printed off using the excellent ICLR online.”

“Thank you, your honour,” came the reply, “I always like to be one digital step ahead in the technology stakes.”

“Ah, yes,” said the judge. “I’ve always had you down as a shiny new moderniser and not the prehistoric old fossil that others might cruelly suggest.”

“Tradition with a modern twist, your honour. I even have a fan page on The Twitter, you know.”

The judge winced and continued, “Yes, I’m sure your dictaphone and typist make you a real whiz on, er, The Twitter. I also thought, for what it’s worth, that it was an unusually well-crafted skeleton argument if you don’t mind my saying? Somewhat less skeletal than your usual.”

“Again, your honour, I like to be thorough in these things.”

“And it also elicited a surprising grasp of this particular area of law in which, as I understand it, you usually don’t practise.”

“Oh, there’s nothing I love more than swotting up late into the night on new little points of law.”

“All of which brings me to the conclusion that you had nothing whatsoever to do with the preparation of either this bundle or the skeleton argument.” Then, without pausing to give OldSmoothie a chance to refute this the tone of his voice changed and he barked at the pupil sitting behind OldSmoothie, “Young man, there, hiding behind his hands. Please stand up.”

The pupil rose slowly to his feet.

“Tell me this, young man. Did OldSmoothie put a single second of work into either the bundle or the skeleton?”

“Er…” the pupil blushed.

“Or was it, as I guess, all in fact done by you?”

“I, er…” the pupil remained unable to answer.

“And now he’s standing in this court taking not only his big fat fee but also all the credit.”

“Er, I, er, OldSmoothie…”

Before the pupil was able to start dissembling OldSmoothie was back on his feet and objecting. “Your Honour, I think my pupil is having difficulties answering when he is concerned that anything he might say as to the preparation of this case,” he pushed out his chest, “indeed the backstage of this particular performance, is of course protected and quite properly hidden from view by the stage curtains of legal professional privilege.”

“Ah, yes, OldSmoothie, I’m absolutely sure that’s the reason,” said the judge raising an eyebrow. “I quite understand and though I shudder to think what goes on backstage in OldSmoothie-land, I recognise that in stealing another’s limelight, as you might say, you follow in fine theatrical tradition.” Then he added, “But anyway, I would still like to congratulate you on your impeccable taste in providing me with authorities from the ICLR online.”

After which, having put the smugness who is OldSmoothie firmly in his place, he went on to give judgment in his favour with a knowing nod to the pupil.

March 28, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: ICLR

Book Recommendation: Tales from the Courtroom

Court-room dramas hold an endless fascination, but they are often a pale shadow of the real thing. Consider for example the case of the young man who, after being acquitted of his girlfriend’s murder, was challenged by the dead girl’s brother in a procedure which had not been used since the middle ages. It failed, but the facts of the case were recalled over a century later by another tragedy, which eerily mirrored them. Or the case of the vicar’s son convicted of cattle mutilation who was cleared, not as a result of diligent police work, but by the creator of England’s most famous fictional detective. This book contains a number of ‘unsolved mysteries’, like the murder of a magistrate which nearly ended the career, even the life, of Samuel Pepys. Other curiosities concern the quaint rules by which pirates were once bound and Parliament’s continuing concern for outlaws’ rights. Even the foggier crannies of the law can offer up their amusements, like the rhyming will which was put up for probate and the extraordinary story of how the law of cremation was reformed by an eccentric Welsh doctor and a Hindu ex-soldier. Told by a retired barrister, the tales in this book illustrate the role of the law in resisting oppression, whether from robber barons or modern governments. Selected for their intrinsic interest, the tales highlight lessons concerning the nature of justice and the diversity – sometimes the unknowability – of human conduct.

Available from Amazon

March 27, 2013 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 25th March 2013

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.

March 25, 2013 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Weekend Video: Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter

March 23, 2013 · babybarista · Comments Closed
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Honorable and learned friend

Much discussion today about the fact that the father of Teflon, a junior member of chambers, has just been named a life peer in the new list of political honours.

‘I guess that now makes you honourable,’ said TheCreep.

‘Which leaves the rest of us, what, dishonourable?’ said BusyBody.

‘It’s a bit like the use of the label “love-child” for children born out of marriage,’ smiled OldRuin. ‘It’s always left me wondering what a child born inside of marriage might be termed.’

‘Are you going to start using the title professionally?’ asked TheCreep.

‘I hardly think so,’ said Teflon.

‘I once did a piece of work for a QC whose father was a member of the House of Lords,’ said TheBusker. ‘He didn’t change a single word of the advice I wrote on his behalf except for the addition of the word “Hon” before his name and for that one addition he billed over £10,000.’

‘They’re completely divisive if you ask me,’ said BusyBody. ‘Just perpetuating our wonderful English class system.’

‘Oh hark the class warrior who’s had enough titles to fill a small library,’ said OldSmoothie.

‘I’ve just never really seen the point of them one way or the other,’ said UpTights.

‘Oh, I don’t know,’ said TheBusker. ‘I remember once being taken out for a bangers and mash lunch by the Earl of something or other in a pub named after him. It all seemed quite fitting really.’

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

March 21, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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New edition of ‘Kevan and Ellis on Credit Hire’ now available to buy!

A big heads up for Kevan and Ellis on Credit Hire which is the new fourth edition of a law book I first had published in 1999. It’s published by Law Brief Publishing which also publishes the Personal Injury Brief Update Law Journal (PIBULJ) which produces around 25 new articles a month on personal injury, fraud and credit hire. I’ve run the company with Garry Wright for over six years now and we’ve already made the content freely available to all PIBULJ subscribers. But now we’re offering a stand-alone PDF version for £50+vat and a hard copy version (see the picture on the left) for £70 (which includes a free PDF version). You can buy both versions at www.pibriefupdate.com. Later in the year we will be publishing the 20th anniversary edition of Alex Williams’ Queen’s Counsel cartoons which appear at The Times Online and after that we’ll also be publishing  ‘A Guide to Fraud in Personal Injury Cases’ by Aidan Ellis and James Henry of Temple Garden Chambers.

March 20, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book Recommendation: The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

 

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life.

‘The odyssey of a simple man, original, subtle and touching’. – Claire Tomalin

‘From the moment I met Harold Fry, I didn’t want to leave him. Impossible to put down.’ – Erica Wagner, The Times


Available from Amazon

 

March 20, 2013 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: books

Counting the costs

“You really know when things are not going well for a solicitor…” said BusyBody today.

“When they stop buying you lunch,” said OldSmoothie.

“Worse than that,” said BusyBody.

“When they start appealing costs orders,” said TheBusker.

“That’s when you start worrying for your own fees,” said TheVamp.

“Very close,” said BusyBody, “but worse still. It’s when they start appealing the costs of the costs appeals.”

“Sounds desperate,” said TheBusker.

“Last chance saloon,” said BusyBody. “If they lose this, they lose it all.”

“It sounds like a deathly and never-ending legal version of the hall of mirrors,” said OldRuin. “It could go on and on like Jarndyce v Jarndyce. Always appealing the costs of the last cost appeal.”

“Isn’t that something what the Achilles Paradox was all about?” said TheCreep.

“That however fast he went Achilles would never catch the tortoise would would always have departed his last stop by the time Achilles arrived.”

“I’ve always preferred to see it like Sisyphus,” said HeadofChambers. “Always pushing the stone up the hill, only for it inevitably to come tumbling down after you’ve arrived.”

“Either way, the point is that people could spend their lives in litigation over something which started out and really should have been a small and simple matter,” said TheBusker.

“Nothing’s ever small and simple when it comes to costs,” said OldSmoothie.

“I’ve always enjoyed costs work myself,” said UpTights. “Unlike most of my cases, the brief is thoroughly prepared and even delivered early.”

“And that wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that it’s their own money at stake rather than their client’s, now would it?” said TheVamp.

“Quite so,” came the reply.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

March 19, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons, 18th March 2013

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.

March 18, 2013 · babybarista · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized