Archive for October, 2015

Weekend video: Kimberley Motley: How I defend the rule of law

October 31, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Number of civil partnerships fell between 2013 and 2014

Consideration has been paid for the editing and publishing of this post

For specialist family lawyers it might be of interest to note that the Office for National Statistics has now provided figures for the number of civil partnerships in 2014. They show that whilst there were 5,646 civil partnerships in 2013, this fell to 1,683 in 2014, a fall of around 70%. On the other hand, the amount of civil partnership dissolutions rose 8.9% in the same period with 1,061 granted in 2014.

The report also looks at issues such as the how the mean age of civil partnerships changes (up for both men and women between 2013 and 2014) and the balance between men and women (a greater proportion being men in 2014). You can access the full report here.

October 30, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: Squeezing the Orange by Henry Blofeld

The quintessentially English cricket commentator, writer, oenophile, bon viveur, collector and national treasure, fondly known as “Blowers”, tells his riveting life story. Born in Norfolk and educated at Eton and Cambridge, Henry Calthorpe Blofeld OBE, nicknamed “Blowers” by the late Brian Johnston, is best known as a cricket commentator for Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. His distinctively rich, cut glass voice and his vividly eccentric observations of life on and off the pitch, have made him a household name, not only in Britain but around the world, wherever cricket is played. Blowers has been close the the heart of the game for over fifty years and his career has taken him to the far corners of the earth. This autobiography, stuffed to the gunwhales with delicious anecdotes, brings his astonishingly colourful story bang up to date.

Available from Amazon.

October 28, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Skeleton arguments

TheBuskerI’m off to watch TheBusker in court tomorrow since I have to say that my occasional visits are teaching me more about courtroom tactics than ever anything I learnt from my wonderful pupilmasters. Then again, TheBoss and Uptights were to say the least, a rum bunch. Anyway, the reason for going is that there is certain to be a performance given that he is pitted against TheCreep. The case is an appeal and skeleton arguments have been ordered to be written. TheCreep’s is hardly either a skeleton or an argument, extending as it does to some thirty-four pages. The Busker only highlighted the absurdity of such a creation for a pretty small personal injury case with a reply of a single sentence: “The appeal is misconceived since it has failed to refer to the binding authority of [case name].”

I look forward to the fight.

October 27, 2015 · 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.

October 26, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: Keep Making a Ruckus – Seth Godin

October 24, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

I’m not a typical lawyer. I don’t maintain a pretty office filled with mahogany and leather. I don’t belong to a big firm, prestigious or otherwise. I don’t do good works through the bar association. I’m a lone gunman, a rogue who fights bad systems and hates injustice . . . Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner who shot at a SWAT team. Rudd believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial – even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law: his last office was firebombed, either by drug dealers or cops. He doesn’t know or care which. But things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Arch Swanger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret . . . one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer is the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

Available from Amazon.

October 21, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Bideford Bar

BabyB LPlate improvedI was against one of the most pompous and self-important barristers I’ve ever met today (which is saying something). It was a very small personal injury action in which a fisherman was claiming for whiplash as a result of a Russian registered boat having accidentally knocked his own boat. If there was any doubt as to what my opponent thought of himself, you only had to look at the italicised description that he had put of himself at the bottom of his lengthy (and almost incomprehensible) skeleton argument: “BigHead is a world renowned expert [I’m not kidding] in private international law and in particular shipping and the commercial matters which arise therefrom. He travels extensively throughout the world [don’t we all on our holidays] and also acts as an expert witness for English law in this area.”

Except that today we weren’t in Monaco or Athens but instead we were in the county court of Barnstaple and it was clear that the deputy district judge had the measure of my opponent from the moment he started addressing the judge as “My Lord”. “Well, Mr BigHead, it’s very nice of you to visit our humble little court here in North Devon. Must be quite a change from what you are used to.”

Without even realising that the judge was ribbing him, BigHead replied, “Indeed, though I have to say that I find it’s good for the soul to do a few of these little cases now and again and to remind one what the rest of the profession has to put up with.”

Ouch. But that wasn’t the end of it.
“Well, Mr BigHead,” said the judge. “I’ve read your extremely thorough skeleton argument and as I understand it your main point is that we do not have jurisdiction to hear such a weighty matter as this and that instead it should properly be heard in the Admiralty Court in London?”
“Precisely, My Lord. I have absolutely no idea why anyone would even have dreamt that such a case could be heard in a county court.”
“I see. Just for the sake of completeness, do you have any further points to add beyond the skelton?”
“No, my Lord, I think it makes the point fully.”
“Yes, quite.” The judge then turned to me. Now I have to admit that jurisdiction had not even been something I had considered and given that I’d only received the skeleton that morning I was, to say the least, a little out of my depth on this point. I waited for the judge to start grilling me. “Now, Mr BabyBarista, he started. “I assume you want to rely upon section 27(1) of the County Courts Act 1984 which gives certain courts, including I might say this one, admiralty jurisdiction?”
“Er…” I had the rabbit in the headlights look and as I stared at him I could actually make out that he was nodding at me as if telling me that was exactly what I wanted to be relying upon. “Er, yes, of course, Sir. I’m extremely grateful. My point exactly.”
“Excellent. Well, Mr BigHead, for a shipping lawyer as important as your skeleton says you are I’m extremely surprised that you didn’t know that a few of us coastal courts can also manage the odd bit of shipping law on the side.”

BigHead was lost for words. Then the judge added: “I don’t know whether you’ve heard of the Bideford Bar, Mr BigHead but it’s provided more than a few shipping cases in its time, I can tell you.”
“Oh,” said BigHead. “I’m afraid I hadn’t heard of it. Does it have a particular specialisation in shipping?”
“You might say that,” said the judge with a wry smile before delivering the killer blow. “Though for your information it’s a sand bar at the end of the estuary and has nothing to do your own, er,” he looked directly at BigHead, “esteemed profession.”

October 20, 2015 · Tim Kevan · One Comment
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Daniel Warner Weighs In On The Future of Defamation

Brought to you by our friends at Kelly / Warner Law PLLC

The internet is a rock tumbler of culture. Ideas and opinions are expressed ad nauseum, and there seems to be no limit to how tedious or rude communications are allowed to be. Because there is no governing body within the internet itself, individual communities are, for the most part, self-regulating. For legal minds living in the physical world, it’s an odd fish bowl, one which doesn’t represent the mores of traditional society, but still must be beholden to them.

Nonetheless, the number of legal cases initiated for crimes committed on the internet is still relatively small. Though not unprecedented, cases like the teacher who sued her former student for things written on Twitter are still novel. Most cases of internet libel are left unpunished, most not even commented on by casual observers. It’s a state of affairs that surely can’t continue in its present form. But for now, internet defamation is a system that is still coming together, one which alternately fascinates and confounds the best legal minds.

Dan Warner of Kelly Warner Law is one such expert in this burgeoning field. Along with partner Kelly, the two lawyers are interested in what they see as an endless supply of interesting legal material. As lawyers working in the state of Arizona, the two are aware of uniquely American cases, which nonetheless occur on the borderless no-man’s-land of the internet. After the recent Oregon school shooting, one such case caught the attention of the American news media.

Though now controversial, the day before the Oregon shooting, an anonymous writer claimed to be preparing for an identical shooting which was to occur the same day. Occur it did, and the writer received encouragement and advice from the other anonymous members of a subforum of 4Chan. 4Chan is, depending on who you talk to, a bastion of free speech or an infected internet hive where anti-social creeps can air out their worst thoughts in anonymity. For some users, it’s a little of both, but events like the Oregon shooting conversation raise questions about how online forums such as this should be allowed to operate.

4Chan exists on the conventional internet, not simply the “Dark Web”, that nebulous realm of the internet which is not accessible through conventional search engines. In the post-Snowden world, it’s surprising that people can still achieve anonymity on websites as popular as 4Chan. But people still do. There are many people who sell drugs and perform crimes openly on Instagram. Illegal revenge pornography is nearly mainstream in much of the internet. And we’ve all had friends and relatives who have written angry and even violent things about politicians and public figures.

The question is not whether there is a problem or not. The question is what is the solution? With no quick fixes, and many hoping to preserve a free and open internet, the answer may be for lawyers to cherry-pick the most useful and relevant cases. Because there is no lack of them, and a growing generation of legal minds hoping to attack them, we can be sure that this development will determine the future of the internet, and a changing standard of free speech/defamation in general.

October 19, 2015 · 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.

October 19, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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