Archive for September, 2014

Blustering buffoons

‘One of the great advantages of being a barrister is that it’s almost completely unaccountable to the people who employ you in the first few formative years of practisc.’ It was OldSmoothie lecturing one of the new pupils.

‘Formative in the sense of making mistakes off the backs of others,’ said HeadofChambers.

The pupil looked a little taken aback and BusyBody stepped in to explain.

‘Solicitors, you see, are simply too expensive to be dealing with the smaller level of claims and hence the need to instruct the baby Bar.’ As if that somehow made it better.

‘But the irony of all this,’ said OldSmoothie, ‘is that going down in flames on behalf of a client often causes more gratitude to be fed back to the all-important solicitor than ever a clinically brilliant display of advocacy leading to a victory might bring.’

‘Like you’d know what that is OldSmoothie,’ said UpTights.

He ignored her and continued, ‘Which of course means that the system therefore encourages the success of the over-confident, grandstanding losers in the early years.’

UpTights raised an eyebrow but resisted the temptation to comment.

‘Until that is the cases get bigger,’ said OldSmoothie, ‘and solicitors can justify coming along to watch. It’s only then that they realise quite what monsters they’ve been feeding.’

‘I was against just one of those today as it happens,’ said TheVamp. ‘The problem is that inexperienced counsel come in front of inexperienced district judges and it’s quite literally the blind leading the blind. The more he emphasised his terrible points with “It’s obvious, Sir” the more the district judge seemed to agree with him and whenever he buried his head in his hands muttering ‘Complete rubbish’ the judge simple frowned at me.’

‘Truly a meeting of minds,’ chuckled TheBusker.

‘That might going a little far,’ smiled TheVamp. ‘But a meeting of some sort at least.’

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.

September 30, 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.

September 29, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: Tom Hodgkinson ‘The Idle Parent’ at Young Minds 2012

September 27, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: Just Law by Helena Kennedy QC

Acute, questioning, humane and passionately concerned for justice, Helena Kennedy is one of the most powerful voices in legal circles in Britain today. Here she roundly challenges the record of modern governments over the fundamental values of equality, fairness and respect for human dignity. She argues that in the last twenty years we have seen a steady erosion of civil liberties, culminating today in extraordinary legislation, which undermines long established freedoms. Are these moves a crude political response to demands for law and order? Or is the relationship between citizens and the state being covertly reframed and redefined?

Available from Amazon.

September 24, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Crying wolf

OldSmoothie was moaning about insurance companies today. ‘There’s one out there at the moment which is haemorrhaging losses so fast that it’s pretty much gone into meltdown. Simply stopped paying any claims and spuriously claiming that they’re investigating the possibility of fraud on each one.’

‘Can they get away with that?’ I asked.

‘It’ll probably buy them about three months. After that, word will get around about them crying wolf and judges will just stop believing them even when the cases really are fraudulent.’

‘But don’t you need some evidence to be arguing fraud?’

‘Now you’re talking, BabyB,’ he smiled. ‘That’s where the fun starts. You see they’ve instructed UpTights to try and filibuster their files at court and although she’s not actually making any positive allegations of fraud, we’re still going to go after her personally for the costs wasted by these delays. Should certainly add a little spice to the next few months.’

‘What does UpTights think of that?’

‘We both know she’s usually so cautious she wouldn’t even break wind without passing it by the Bar Standards. But the problem for her is that this particular insurer pays about three quarters of her fees and if she doesn’t play along they’ll dump her in an instant.’

‘Ouch.’

‘Exactly so. Particularly when she’ll also be worried that if the insurer ends up going bust, she could lose the last two years of her earnings that they still owe her.’

‘Completely trapped.’

‘Don’t you just love it, BabyB. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning and skipping to work filled with a spirit of goodwill to all.’

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.

September 23, 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.

September 22, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: Interview with Lord Bingham, Part 1 of 4

September 20, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

Available from Amazon.

September 17, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Clothes make the man

‘I assume that you don’t intend to go to court like that BabyBarista?’ It was HeadofChambers.

‘Er, yes, that’s exactly what I’m about to do. Is there something wrong?’

‘Is there something wrong? Hmm, where to start?’ He took a deep breath and went on, ‘BabyBarista, I had the benefit of having been born looking like a barrister…’ You couldn’t be more right there, I thought. He then waved his hand theatrically and continued, ‘…but you on the other hand didn’t.’ He gave me one of his particularly patronising smiles before continuing, ‘However, fortunately for you, I intend to help.’

‘Hmm, help in dressing me up like like a pompous old fool stuck in the nineteenth century when believe it or not court hearings are now being tweeted and even the Tory Prime Minister knows what Converse trainers are…’ is what I’d have liked to have said. Instead I simply replied, ‘Oh.’

‘Yes, I’ve already talked to you about getting rid of that rucksack of yours and investing in a leather pilot bag. Clients will never respect a man with a rucksack.’

‘Oh.’

‘Then I see that recently you’ve taken to wearing shirts without double cuffs.’
‘It avoids the need for cufflinks,’ I replied.

‘That may be so but no opponent is ever going to take you seriously with cheap cuffs.’

‘Oh.’

‘And as for your slip on shoes and off the peg suit…’ He was at this point literally lost for words.

‘BabyBarista if you’re not careful, you’ll have fallen so low that people will…’ he hesitated as if he was going to deliver a terrible blow for which somehow I needed to be braced, ‘…people will think…’ another hesitation and then he spat out the words with an expression I imagine he has when he’s just sipped a wine which has gone off, ‘…people will think BabyBarista that you’re a solicitor.’

‘What was it Mark Twain said?’ smiled OldRuin. ‘Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.’

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.

September 16, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Uncategorized

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.

September 15, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized