Archive for May, 2014

Weekend video: David Christian – The History of our World in 18 minutes

May 31, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Fracking and the Legal Challenges: What the UK Can Learn From US Precedents and Practices

Brought to you by our friends at Vannin Capital PCC Limited

As energy becomes more expensive, alternative energy sources like shale gas have become important political topics in the UK. The UK’s shale gas industry is growing, but it remains many years behind the large fracking industry in North America.

As Britain’s political, industrial and environmental leaders discuss the pros and cons of fracking, we can learn a lot from the procedures, precedents and practiced used in the United States.

Fracking has significantly benefits and major potential downsides. Proponents claim its low cost makes it an affordable source of energy that will reduce the cost of living for millions of people.

They also claim that it has significant economic value. A shale gas industry will lead to thousands of new jobs in the UK, reducing unemployment and raising economic prosperity across the country.

The benefits of fracking are, however, balanced by its potential downsides. Fracking could have a significant impact on the environment, with water contamination one of the most worrying potential consequences.

Opponents of shale gas fracking also claim that the heavy industry involved could have an impact on the quality of life of millions of people that live in rural areas in which fracking could occur.

Interestingly, many of the questions raised in the UK regarding fracking have been answered already in the United States. The US shale gas industry has also run into many of the same obstacles – both environmental and political – as its counterpart in the United Kingdom.

Opposition to shale gas in the United States

In the United States, many members of the public and interest groups have opposed fracking. Lawsuits against shale gas companies have been filed in Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and several other states.

Legal battles have been fought between environmental groups and large industrial companies over a variety of issues. Much like in the UK, most opponents of fracking are concerned about its environmental effects on local water sources.

In the United States, conflicts between county, state and federal laws have stopped many anti-fracking cases from reaching the Court of Appeal. The wealth of facts and arguments provided in American fracking cases will be a valuable asset for fracking supporters and opponents as it becomes a more important legal issue in the UK.

The future of fracking in the United Kingdom

Over the last three years, plans for fracking developments in the UK have been set back by a growing anti-fracking community. Cuadrilla Resources, which planned to develop a fracking site in Balcombe, was forced to abandon its plans after protests from environmental activists and residents concerned about pollution.

Due to the chasm between the interests of energy companies and the goals of anti-fracking campaigners, a variety of alternatives to on-shore fracking have appeared in the last year. Recently, Cuadrilla was licensed to start fracking from an off-shore location near Lancashire.

Off-shore fracking allows energy companies and the general public to make use of the numerous benefits of fracking – namely cheaper energy and economic health – without so many downsides. While water contamination remains an issue, other issues such as noise pollution are largely averted.

The political importance of shale gas

With energy prices continuing to increase and the 2015 general election looming on the horizon, shale gas is expected to be one of the biggest political issues of the 2015 election. The potential economic benefits of fracking mean that it will likely be a key issue for all major parties.

As the debate regarding fracking continues to grow, UK litigators can become more familiar with the legal arguments for and against fracking by studying the numerous cases launched in the United States. Despite the differences in US and UK law, many similarities can be observed in the US and UK cases opposing shale gas fracking.

This article was provided on behalf of Vannin Capital, one of the UK’s leading specialist litigation funding providers.

May 30, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: A Certain Justice by PD James

Venetia Aldridge QC is a distinguished barrister. When she agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, it is one more opportunity to triumph in her career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, called in to investigate, finds motives for murder among the clients Venetia has defended, her professional colleagues, her family – even her lover. As Dalgliesh narrows the field of suspects, a second brutal murder draws them into greater complexities of intrigue and evil.

Available from Amazon.

May 28, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Bullying at court

“Sometimes, young man, you simply have to bully your opponent. Never forget to have that option on your back pocket.” It was OldSmoothie giving a lecture to one of the pupils today.

“I hardly think that’s the sort of thing you should be advising,” said BusyBody.

“That’s a bit rich coming from the Robing Room Rottweiler. Hectoring, finger-pointing, threatening. You’re as bad as anyone and don’t deny it.”

“I always prefer to be a little more subtle about it,” said Teflon. “Like maybe dropping into the conversation that you’re friends with the person with whom your opponent’s been having an affair.”

“Or insinuating some sort of professional misconduct,” said UpTights. “I’ve seen OldSmoothie mention the Bar Standards Board on many an occasion when he’s getting a little desperate for a settlement.”

“I always find that it unsettles an opponent simply by handing over a four inch thick bundle of case law at the door of court,” said TheCreep.

“Yes, a sight of your four inches would unsettle even the best of us,” said TheVamp.

“Better still, just ignoring them completely can sometimes do the trick,” said UpTights, looking over at OldSmoothie.

“I prefer picking on them in front of the judge,” said HeadofChambers. “Throw in a small suggestion that their submissions are verging on the disingenuous and they’ll be so furious at the insinuation that they won’t even spot you running away with the case.”

OldRuin smiled and said, “I’ve always found that good manners never go far wrong when dealing with opponents. Losing their confidence might be somewhat of a pyrrhic victory when you’re looking at a career which might span over fifty years.”

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 27, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. 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 26, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: An Interview with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss: Sherlock Season 3

May 24, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus by Alex Williams

In 1993 the Queen’s Counsel cartoon strip first appeared in the law pages of The Times. The authors were Alex Williams and Graham Defries, two young lawyers determined to make fun of the legal profession even as they attempted to climb its greasy pole. The strip soon settled on a handful of key characters: Sir Geoffrey Bentwood QC, Head of Chambers at 4 Lawn Buildings, a study in pomposity and all-round Master of the Legal Universe; Richard Loophole, ambulance chaser and senior partner at Filibuster and Loophole; and Rachel Underwood, oppressed associate who never quite makes partner no matter how good her work is. The strip has been published continuously in The Times ever since. Collected here for the first time is the author’s personal selection of the very best cartoons over the past 20 years, showing that, despite all the changes in the legal profession in over two decades – nothing much has really changed. These cartoons show Britain’s best-loved legal cartoon satire maturing into ripe middle-age; good-natured, funny, and a bit flabby around the middle.

Available from Amazon.

May 21, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Settlement city

“I just love it when insurers settle at the door of court,” said SlipperySlope on a visit to chambers today.

“Yes, not only do we get the day off,” said OldSmoothie, “but we’re also rewarded with double fees for having taken such a huge risk in bringing a case to trial.”

“Even though the reality is that you knew you were always going to win,” smiled TheBusker.

“Quite so,” said SlipperySlope.

“So why on earth don’t they settle earlier on?” asked a pupil.

SlipperySlope have her a paternal look and said, “The key is to get the file handler at the insurer to take an aggressive stance at the start. Try and wind them up and give them false grounds for suspicion. Maybe send them the wrong witness statement or leave the impression that even you are not sure of your own client’s case.

After that they’re more likely to deny liability even on the most hopeless of cases. After that we just start billing so fast that it becomes easier for the insurer to save face by simply running the case to trial and blaming the barrister for having caved in at the last minute.”

“And even their barrister wins since he not only gets paid but the file handler will keep on passing him work despite the back chat to his superiors,” said TheCreep.

“It’s win-win all ways round,” said Slippery. “There’s nothing I like more than a beautiful virtuous circle building up the costs of both sides. Truly no-one loses.”

“Except, that is, those who have to pay for it through rising insurance premiums,” said BusyBody.

“Well someone has to pay for OldSmoothie’s champagne and baked beans,” said SlipperySlope. “Even in the age of austerity. At least this way it doesn’t come from the very poorest since they wouldn’t be able to afford a car.”
“How very reassuring,” said BusyBody.

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 20, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. 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 19, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: David Kelley – How to Build Your Creative Confidence

May 17, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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