Hearing voices

“My opponent’s voice completely changed when he went into court today,” said TheVamp. “One minute, he was negotiating all down to earth and normal and then suddenly…”

“His voice flew to the back of his throat?” said TheBusker.

“Yes. As if on entering the court he suddenly felt the need to sound posh.”
“I’ve had that quite a few times,” said TheBusker. “It’s as if they’ve watched too many ancient courtroom movie scenes and think that’s how a barrister should speak.”

“Straight from Uxbridge to Oxbridge,” said OldSmoothie.

“He was definitely that type,” said TheVamp, ignoring the last comment. “Every few words of his cross-examination seemed to involve an ‘I put it to you’.”

“Ouch,” said TheBusker.

“Along with mentioning ‘the great common law of England and Wales’ and worst of all ‘passed by our sovereign mother of all parliaments’ in the context of the Road Traffic Act.”

“Sounds like a solicitor-advocate to me,” said OldSmoothie.

“You’re hardly one to start casting aspersions about airs and graces,” said BusyBody. “The king of long-winded pomposity himself.”

“Well, I did wonder whether he was terribly experienced,” said TheVamp. “Although the truth came out when he admitted that he was currently doing his fourth third six.”

“Wouldn’t that mean it was his sixth six?” said TheCreep.

“Exactly.”

“I have to say that I’d take the ones that turn posh to the old advocates whose voice just turn impatient and bitter,” said BusyBody.

“Or those whose voices go so high with nerves that they can’t quite get a sentence out without it sounding like a question,” said HeadofChambers.
“Or the whiny young barristers who take everything their opponent says personally,” said UpTights.

OldSmoothie’s jaw dropped at the lack of insight from the original courtroom screech but even he refrained from pointing out such a clanger.

“I once had an opponent who deliberately used to whisper her submissions,” said OldRuin. “It always proved extremely effective in getting the judge to wake up and take a note of the points being made.”

“I think my favourite is when a judge puts on his headmaster’s voice,” said TheVamp. “You can generally tell when that happens that all he wants above anything else in the whole world is just to get home and do something less boring instead. At that moment you know that he’ll do everything in his power to make the parties settle.”

“And give you all the rest of the day off,” said TheBusker.

“Exactly.”

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.

July 8, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ No Comments
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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 ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

July 7, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Weekend video: ‘The Good Constitution’: The 2012 Sir David Williams Lecture – Lord Justice Laws

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Book recommendation: The Strange Laws Of Old England by Nigel Cawthorne

Did you know that: It’s against the law to check into a hotel in London under assumed names for the purpose of lovemaking? Under a statute of Edwards II all whales washed up on the shore belong to the monarch? Under a Tudor law Welshmen are not allowed into the city of Chester after dark? In THE STRANGE LAWS OF OLD ENGLAND, Nigel Cawthorne unearths an extraordinary collection of the most bizarre and arcane laws that have been enacted over the centuries. Some of the laws, incredibly, are still in force. It is still illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour . . . This elegant and amusing book is perfect for everyone fascinated by the eccentric history of these islands.

Available from Amazon.

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Glamping barristers

“I’m just back from living it large at Glastonbury,” said OldSmoothie the other day at tea.

The younger members of chambers winced at his turn of phrase.

“The end of cool as we know it,” said TheVamp.

“It’s worse than that,” said BusyBody. “Apparently TheCreep had also hired a couple of yurts in order to entertain some solicitors and they bumped into OldSmoothie as they were all unsuccessfully trying to blag their way into the VIP area backstage.”

“That whole image just doesn’t bear thinking about,” said Teflon.

“Well I think any form of corporate entertainment is a good thing,” said Slick, clearly seeing an opportunity to extend his reach a little further. “In fact, if solicitors like that sort of thing perhaps we should start looking at organising a chambers event at one of these festivals.”

“How about the Burning Man Festival in the States?” smiled TheVamp.

“Brilliant idea,” said Slick, clearly not seeing the funny side of a bunch of middle-aged barristers stuck out in a fancy dress dance party in the middle of the desert.

“We could even put it against tax,” said TheCreep.

“In just the same way that I have always seen membership of my St. James’s club as a business expense,” said HeadofChambers.

“Naturally,” smiled OldSmoothie, “and the same goes for the four high-priced the tickets to the Olympic beach volleyball which I will be using on my own favourite solicitors.”

“And who says we’re not allowed to buy cases, huh,” said TheVamp.

“Maybe we should just go for a weekend away in a nice big country hotel,” said HeadClerk.

“It’d be like one of those terrible get together weekends that Tory MPs used to do in opposition,” said BusyBody. “All woolly jumpers and chords and chortling excitedly about how funny it is to see each other in such casual civies gear.”

“A team-building weekend away would work wonders,” said Slick. “Maybe we could hire out a farm for a weekend. That would be great fun.”

“Not for the farmer,” said UpTights.

TheBusker smiled. “Yes, Slick could give a moo-ving speech, OldSmoothie could make a pig’s ear of his by boaring on and HeadClerk could steer us all in the right direction.”

“Eggs-ellent,” said TheVamp, “and we’d all learn that it’s not just what ewe say but sow you say it.”

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information visit and to read past posts visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

July 1, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ No Comments
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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 ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

June 30, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Weekend video: Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking

June 28, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons

The gripping first novel in an explosive new crime series by Tony Parsons, bestselling author of Man and Boy. If you like crime-novels by Ian Rankin and Peter James, you will love this. Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter’s Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable. Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London’s West End Central, 27 Savile Row. Soon he is following the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power. As the bodies pile up, Max finds the killer’s reach getting closer to everything – and everyone – he loves. Soon he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life …

Available from Amazon.

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Stealing clients

Following Slick’s little modernising speech, HeadClerk is particularly sensitive to demonstrating that the old school ways are best and this week he went into overdrive a little while back on his usual trick involving QC celebration parties.

You see, every QC has one, and tradition has it that it’s simply bad form not to invite anyone who sends them a congratulatory note. Which has meant that for years now, HeadClerk has always got FanciesHimself, his most trusted junior clerk, to write thank you notes to all new silks. He then attends all the parties to which he is inevitably invited and discreetly goes around selling our own chambers to the solicitors there.

The funny thing is that FanciesHimself was reporting back today on one such party and happened to comment that this whole tradition has created a kind of strange social circuit for those wanting to milk these parties. Mostly it’s other clerks but there’s also a few ageing barristers whose practices have seen better times and who use it as a means of funding their drinking habits.

Meanwhile, Slick has announced that he will be bringing in a possible candidate for the position of commercial director in the next couple of days. He currently works for a solicitors’ firm and Teflon looked up and then emailed around his online profile.

Let me just say at this stage that it wasn’t the fact that he’d qualified as a barrister and then not got taken on which raised eyebrows. In fact his experience at the Bar would positively count in his favour. It was that his profile picture had him posing for camera in wig and gown and holding up a degree certificate and explained why Teflon had headed his email “Ouch”.

I really don’t fancy his chances when it comes to being grilled at chambers tea.

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.

June 24, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  Âˇ 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 ÂŁ120 for originals and ÂŁ40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

June 23, 2014 ¡ Tim Kevan ¡ Comments Closed
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