Lack of insight

Very weird conversation in the clerks room this morning as everyone discussed this blog. Specifically they were talking about which characters they all think they most resemble.
“I’d like to be OldRuin,” said TheCreep, but I think I’m probably more like TheBusker.”
Incredulous looks increased further when BusyBody then added: “And I’m definitely Worrier.”
“Well I think all this story-telling’s absolute nonsense myself,” said UpTights. “There are enough problems in the real world without having to read about made-up versions and from what I read of it today it looks they spend all their time arguing.”
“But which character do you think you most reflect?” asked TheBusker with a smile.
“Oh, I know you’ll all think I’m TheVamp. But just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I can’t also be OldRuin you know.”
Well, quite. Then OldRuin added: “I’d rather like to be TheBusker myself.”

July 14, 2015 · Tim Kevan · 4 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 £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

July 13, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: Lord Bingham – The ‘Separation of Powers’

July 11, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: The Silk Brief (The Silk Tales Book 1) by John Burton

David Brant QC is a newly appointed Queen’s Counsel, a “Silk”, a Criminal Barrister struggling against ever-dwindling legal aid funds and a lack of work. His Chambers is also suffering internal and external pressures and his Senior Clerk seems to only serve a select few. Life at the Bar is more challenging than ever before. His personal life is not much better. Having faced an acrimonious divorce after an inadvisable liaison with a female Solicitor, his life has become a mixture of enforced rest and ever increasing consumption of Claret and Rioja Reserva. However, after a night out with his Senior Clerk, he is instructed to defend in a Murder trial, leading one of the instructing solicitor’s firm’s In-House Barristers. The client is a Mr Damien Clarke, a cocaine addict charged with killing a known associate, Usman Hussain, after a night of smoking crack together in Hussain’s flat. The evidence against Damien appears almost overwhelming and as the case progresses towards trial it is strengthened by further forensic scientific evidence. David Brant QC must use all his forensic skill to combat the array of damning evidence against Damien and to pit his wits against a highly competent Prosecutor and a Judge who has a personal dislike for him. The Silk Brief takes us from before David Brant QC is instructed, through his early preparation of the case and conferences with the client in the High Security Belmarsh prison, through to the trial and verdict. It provides the day by day record of a murder trial including the examination and cross-examination of lay and expert witnesses, Counsel’s speeches, the Judges summing up and finally the jury’s deliberations and verdict. Although a work of fiction, the author draws extensively on his knowledge of the Criminal Bar of England and Wales, having practiced as a Criminal Barrister for over thirty years, latterly as Queen’s Counsel, conducting many trials, including murder trials in the Central Criminal Court, known colloquially and fondly as “The Old Bailey”.

Available from Amazon.

July 8, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Local justice

I’ve often heard about a certain eccentric magistrate in the far South West of England who doles out his own form of justice through imaginative forms of community service based mainly around the courthouse. But until Friday afternoon I’d never seen it first hand. I was down there to do a plea in mitigation for a privately paying client on a pretty small road traffic case. As I approached the court building, I saw about three hoodies climbing ladders perched against the wall and asked the security guard at the entrance what was going on. “Oh they’re just a couple of His Worship’s new window cleaners,” came back the answer. Then as I entered the building itself, I saw three more hoodies cleaning the floor. I looked back at the security guard as if to repeat my question and he raised his eyebrows with a knowing smile and nodded as if to say “Three more of His Worship’s cleaners.” As I entered the robing room, a hoodie asked if he could take my coat and after I passed it to him a little suspiciously he took it and put it on the stand. Then another appeared out of nowhere and asked if I’d like a cup of coffee or tea before I made my appearance. Two more of His Worship’s workers, no doubt.

That was all before I entered the courtroom itself which was quite a spectacle. There were two hoodies in each of the four corners of the room, each standing stock still with their hands on their heads. Clearly naughty hoodies in their respective naughty corners. But best of all were the two hoodies standing on each side of the stipendiary magistrate wielding huge bamboo fans as well as another who stood there holding a silver platter with jug full of iced water ready to refill his glass. Now don’t get me wrong, it was indeed a hot day and what’s more courtrooms are notoriously stuffy places at the best of times (in all senses of the word). But even so, it left him looking like a strange cross between a Roman emperor, a kind of Mr Kurz figure lazing around in the jungle bellowing out orders to the locals and Ricky Gervais nossing around his minions in The Office.

All of which put the fear of God into my privately paying and ever so pompous middle-aged lady who wouldn’t have wanted to be seen dead with any of those hoodies, never mind doing what she considered to be tasks which were, er, beneath her. However, when the magistrate came to sentencing he looked down at me with a twinkle in his eye and said that he’d give my client a choice: six points on her licence or a day spent serving drinks to the hoodies.

Despite all her snooty comments, when her bluff was called, she took the day serving drinks.

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July 7, 2015 · Tim Kevan · 2 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 £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

July 6, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: Magna Carta’s Legal Legacy: Conversation with Chief Justice Roberts & Lord Judge

July 4, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel

Is killing sometimes morally required? Is the free market fair? It is sometimes wrong to tell the truth? What is justice, and what does it mean? These and other questions are at the heart of Michael Sandel’s Justice. Considering the role of justice in our society and our lives, he reveals how an understanding of philosophy can help to make sense of politics, religion, morality – and our own convictions. Breaking down hotly contested issues, from abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage, to patriotism, dissent and affirmative action, Sandel shows how the biggest questions in our civiv life can be broken down and illuminated through reasoned debate. Justice promises to take readers – of all ages and political persuasions – on an exhilarating journey to confront controversies in a fresh and enlightening way.

Available from Amazon.

July 1, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Old school settlements

FanciesHimself the junior clerk was negotiating a fee for one of OldRuin’s cases today with a long-time solicitor friend of OldRuin. Apparently he was looking for an increase in the fee and the answer came back: “I’ll up the offer from pounds to guineas. I’m in favour of guineas and I think OldRuin should be too.”
Now this obviously caused a great deal of confusion for FanciesHimself but after he consulted OldRuin he discovered that the solicitor was right. OldRuin did indeed like guineas (and any other offer in old school currency it seemed). He was also utterly charmed by the approach as was clear from the tone in which he told the story at chambers tea today. “I wonder  whether I should have made a counter-offer in groats, just to make him smile,” he said.
“Shame it wasn’t in gold sovereigns,” said HeadofChambers.
Then TheBusker said: “Maybe we should all start being a little more imaginative in our settlements. Captain Cook used red feathers as currency in Tahiti and then there were beaver skins in the States…” he paused and then added, “Though I suppose they wouldn’t have been as convenient in your back pocket as the feathers.”

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June 30, 2015 · Tim Kevan · 3 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 £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

June 29, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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