Thursday, December 6, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Call centre worker wins compensation for accent claim
A British man of Asian origin has won a racial discrimination case against his employer, Talk Talk Direct, because his accent “wasn’t English enough”. CPD Webinars

£1m damages for man hit by sunlounger
A man whose life was wrecked when he was hit by a sun lounger blown off the roof terrace of a pub has been awarded £1 million damages in the High Court. Metro

Home Office's immigration policy confirms employers face £10,000 fine for unwittingly hiring an illegal worker
Companies face being hit with a £10,000 fine for each illegal worker they unwittingly hire after the government confirmed that new rules will come into force from February 2008. Personnel Today

Jewish school told to change admission rules
The country's top Jewish state school has been found to be breaking anti-discrimination laws and ordered to delete part of its admissions criteria that favours ethnically Jewish children. Guardian

Autumn date for forced marriages law
Justice Minister Bridget Prentice says that a law that protects victims and potential victims of forced marriage will come into effect next autumn. Ministry of Justice

Travelodge is given £20,000 fine
Hotel company Travelodge has been fined £20,000 after two accidents in their bathrooms. BBC

Best of the Blogs

BabyB shares his latest money-making scheme - selling off the Inns of Court. Baby Barista at the Times

Mon dieu.. if, of course, there is such an entity...Whatever next?
Police Community Support Officers are at the very forefront of crime fighting again. This time they are called to an incident by some witless shopping centre security guard to stop young children singing carols. Charon QC

The Bar is simply not getting the best brains
So how can advocacy widen its appeal? Lord Neuberger discusses why the Inns of Court have become increasingly exclusive. Times

Stick 'em up: it's a "raid"
It never ceases to make me my blood boil when I read of another celebrity falling prey to police theatrics due to the time of his/her arrest. These arrests often occur between 4-7am, a time when any self-respecting white collar criminal will be tucked up in bed and should be left to sleep off the day's fraudulent activities. PC Bloggs

Donations, ex-pat teachers and bank details of 25 million Brits
Poor old Gordon Brown is under fire again after claiming that he saw no reason to doubt the authenticity of a £2 million pound donation from Sharon Watts, checkout girl at Tescos. Frank Chalk

Is libel dead?
The number of claims has fallen dramatically in recent years but the leading libel lawyers are still doing very nicely says Linda Tsang. Times

And Finally...

Road kill teddies
A soft toy designer has come up with a macabre new range of road kill teddies. Ananova

Santa slapped with health and safety ban
Santa Claus has been banned from riding his sleigh on his visits to a market town - because of health and safety fears. Metro

Drop dead gorgeous coffin calendar
Models are helping to sell coffins in an Italian funeral parlour's raunchy calendar. The Rome-based undertakers have released pictures of 12 pouting women showing off caskets on the firm's website. Sky

Judge jails entire courtroom
A judge jailed everyone in an entire courtroom after no one admitted to being the owner of a ringing mobile. Sun

Have a cell phone? London's 'SatLav' promises to find you a toilet
A new service promises Londoners they'll never have to spend much time looking for the loo. CNews

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Judge ordered off divorce case after “flying carpet” racist jokes
A high court judge has been ordered to step down from a case after allegedly making mocking remarks to a sheikh involved in a multimillion-pound divorce. CPD Webinars

Woman 'too young' for job wins landmark ruling
A membership secretary of an exclusive London club has become the first person to win a discrimination claim for being told she was too young for her job. Independent

Fantasist jailed for nailgun attack claims
A fantasist who shot himself with a nailgun on two occasions before claiming that he had been attacked by thugs in an attempt to win compensation has been jailed for two and a half years. Guardian

Yahoo to pay damages in Chinese dissident case after 'moral pygmy' attack in Congress
The internet company Yahoo has settled a lawsuit with a Chinese journalist and dissident who were both sent to prison after the company passed on their details to the government. Times

Employment Appeal Tribunal rules age discrimination claim against mandatory retirement at 65 can wait for Heyday judgment
A surge in age discrimination claims from workers forced to retire at 65 has become more likely after an appeal tribunal decision. Personnel Today

Rent a home in Scotland and get cancer drugs free, QC tells English patients
English cancer patients should rent a second home in Scotland to gain access to drugs not available in England, an expert on NHS law suggested yesterday. Times

Best of the Blogs

Heard the one about the vicar?
The High Court is asked whether the laws of blasphemy are compatible with free speech. By Frances Gibb. Times

BabyB puts the "blush test" to the test, with the help of his instructing solicitor and Chelsea tickets. Baby Barista at the Times

Blogger warned to delete Avis logo
A US blogger who reported on a court ruling has been ordered by car rental firm Avis to remove an image of its logo from his blog posting to avoid charges of trademark abuse. But is using a picture of a logo trademark infringement? The Register

Court considers the right to a private life for anonymous Owls
The High Court ruled in Sheffield Wednesday FC v Neil Hargreaves that the identity of anonymous makers of comments on a website could stay hidden where those comments were "trivial" in nature, even if they were defamatory. However, the identities of makers of more serious defamatory comments were to be revealed. Impact

Unsolved/Unsolvable... same difference
PC Bloggs explains which crimes are "screened out". PC Bloggs

And Finally...

Bone Rangers
Introducing London's most fashionable dog walking company. Bone Rangers

Cat nap
Funny if you've got a cat. Quite funny if you haven't. You Tube

Tattoo artist causes a lifetime of embarrassment
A Thai tattooist has taken one Australian's instructions a touch too literally after branding the words LEFT ARM and RIGHT ARM on his limbs. Madasafish

Jimmy Saville jumped by spec thief
Veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile has told how he was "jumped" by a young woman who ran off with his trademark glasses. Sky

Man arrested over hallucinogenic toad
A Missouri man has been arrested for the possession of a hallucinogenic toad. Ananova

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Compensation from Pentagon for British troops
Three British soldiers and their interpreter will receive collective compensation of £320,000 from the US authorities after they were injured by the US military. CPD Webinars

Judges back two British boys who refuse to live in France
Two boys who hated living in France so much they asserted their Britishness and refused to return to live there with their mother have been granted their wish by senior judges. Times

Mother's court fight to keep baby secret from father
A mother's decision to put a child conceived during a one-night stand up for adoption has turned into a legal dilemma over parental rights and responsibilities. Guardian

Farmer who toiled for no pay wins £2.3m will
A farmer who toiled on his cousin's land unpaid for more than two decades has won a two-year legal battle to inherit the £2.3 million estate. Telegraph

City high-flyer sues firm over 'Guantanamo detainee' jibes
A City high-flyer who worked on an innovative Islamic policy for a leading British insurer has brought a claim for racism against the company after he was welcomed to the office as "Guantanamo detainee 948". Independent

School funds raided to finance local authority equal pay claims
Children's education is set to become the next victim of the equal pay crisis as local authorities resort to desperate measures to fund multi-million pound bills. Personnel Today

Best of the Blogs

BabyB gets philosophical quoting some poetry. Sort of. Baby Barista at the Times

Podcast: Simon Myerson QC on Pupillage and how to get it
Charon QC talks to Simon Myerson QC. Charon QC

Legal Opinion: Is the training of barristers fit for purpose?
Learning the law is only part of what it takes to qualify as a barrister. Robert Verkaik, The Independent's Law Editor, considers a forthcoming review of the system for training the modern advocate. Independent

A Barrister's Diary
This week: a floating trial. We wait around all morning and then by agreement "float out" of the list until Wednesday. Shereener Browne on the Bar Council Blog

Privacy and social networks: bees to the honeypot
The papers are currently full of stories about social networks - igoogle, 'MySpace', Facebook et al - opening themselves up to third party applications and sharing user data with them. It's not surprising. Laurence Kaye on Digital Media Law

How the traditional role of lawyers will change
Richard Susskind suggests that after years of talking with a wide variety of lawyers, he has found that many practitioners have one thing in common: they seem to want to deny that they are, well, lawyers. They downplay the legal content of their jobs. Times

And Finally...

Don't die in parliament, it's the law
A ban on people dying in the Houses of Parliament has been named the most absurd legislation in Britain. Telegraph

World's most gullible supermarket chain falls victim to online scam
Red-faced accountants from one of the biggest supermarket chains in the US are frantically trying to regain control of more than $10m lost after falling victim to online fraudsters. The Register

Man cold
Are you a man with a cold or a woman with a man with a cold? Worth watching ....You Tube

Dentist's disco dancing drill danger
A woman is suing her dentist, claiming that he accidentally drilled into her eye because he was disco dancing while carrying out a tooth extraction. Metro

Man killed wife - then shot divorce judge
A millionaire murdered his wife, then shot the divorce judge who had ordered him to pay $10,000 a month alimony, a court was told. Mirror

Hotels, houses, paintings and gems . . . the price of settling up with a sultan
The world’s most expensive and exotic family squabble came to an end yesterday when five English judges finally settled a $1 billion row between the Sultan of Brunei and his little brother. Times

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Weekly News

Legal News

Record damages for disability discrimination
A London park worker who was made redundant has been awarded compensation of £550,000 after an employment tribunal ruled that he was the victim of disability discrimination. CPD Webinars

Butcher fined for mincer accident
A butcher's shop and its manager have been fined for an accident in which a 15-year-old boy lost part of his arm in a mincing machine. BBC

Paedophile 'being a danger isn't an offence'
A judge has been accused of putting children at risk for refusing to jail a predatory paedophile because "being a danger isn't an offence". Telegraph

Gay couple adoption appeal lost
An ex-magistrate who says he was forced to resign because he would not place children for adoption with gay couples has lost his appeal. BBC

Engineer jailed in Ulster wins damages for race bias
An African engineer who travelled to Northern Ireland for a holiday only to be wrongly imprisoned on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant has won an apology and compensation from the Border and Immigration Agency. Independent

Cartoon protesters' jail term cut
Three men jailed for their part in protests against cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad have won an appeal to reduce their sentences. BBC

Best of the Blogs

Baby Barista confesses to a mild infatuation with a certain jewellery-stealing judge. Baby Barista at the Times

The end of lawyers? or The cartel’s last stand?
A report on Richard Susskind OBE, author, who has said a lot of things lawyers really don’t want to hear about the impact of information technology and the increased commoditisation of legal services on the future of the profession. f/k/a

Lawyers simply too dull to be on TV shock!
Charon QC reports on a story about Legal TV ditching programmes about and with real lawyers because they are too dull. Charon QC

The law explored: motive
Gary Slapper suggests that nothing you can do legally becomes unlawful just because you do it for the wrong reasons. Times

Endless new criminal laws that lead to injustice
More than 50 new criminal justice bills have been introduced in the last decade. Such a welter of complex legislation is taking its toll, says Robert Verkaik. Independent

And Finally...

Syphilis for Christmas?
Manufacturers are hoping their range of cuddly toy versions of microbes including gonorrhea and syphilis will be a hit for Christmas. Ananova

Halloween zombie mistaken for corpse
A drunken Halloween reveller in Germany found his costume was a little too realistic when he fell asleep on a train and was mistaken for a corpse. Sky

Mobile phone firms plan to find out what you’re talking about . . . and tell advertisers
Mobile phone companies have drawn up plans to monitor text messages and voice calls and pass the information to advertisers. Times

83-year-old finally quits McDonalds
The oldest McDonald's worker in the country has retired at the age of 83. Metro

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Surf the world

The following appeared in Real Travel Magazine in July 2007


Ever dreamt of riding the waves in a far-off destination but been unsure where to start? Here Tim Kevan guides you through six top surf spots around the world.

Subject to the risks presented by terrorism, Bali is the perfect place both to learn to surf and also for perfect waves for the best surfers in the world. For beginners the best place to learn in Kuta beach which is just near Legian where you will find much of the cheaper and best value accommodation. For the experienced surfer, one of the most consistent spots is Uluwatu which also lies near Padang Padang and its famous tubes. However, it tends to be crowded and extremely dangerous with the reef not far below the surface. If you’re thinking of staying for a longer time, one bit of advice once given by a fellow surfer was to invest in some fishing net and to offer it as a gift to one of the locals. He’d followed this same advice which had led him being introduced to the locals and eventually being given accommodation within one of their homes. As for getting there, flights are to Denpasar Airport (Kuta) which is an international terminal. For much of the time the best way to get around is by hiring a motorbike and getting shoulder straps for your surfboard. Bemo (taxi) drivers are everywhere if you want the surfing adrenalin rush on the land instead. Boat trips can be taken to spots such as G-Land. As for equipment, there are about 20 major well-stocked surf shops and again it is best to enquire with them as to lessons. Try to avoid January and February with its heavy afternoon rains and heavy humidity.

Gold Coast, Australia
Australia’s Gold Coast is one of the most famous surfing areas in the world, sitting as it does at the south of Queensland. Coolangetta is the best place to stay with youth hostels, budget hotels and motels all providing excellent value. To get there, international flights go to Brisbane and then you can get internal flights to Coolangetta or just drive an hour and a half. Buses from Sydney tend to take about 20 hours. Getting around can be by the Surf Side Buses or bikes although hire cars also tend to be reasonably priced. Beginners might try the beachbreaks north of Burleigh Heads with Broadbeach and Miami being two of the best spots. Ironically, ‘Surfer’s Paradise’ tends to be more dedicated to swmmers and so watch out for the flags. For the best surfers, a jewell in the crown is Kirra, the longest small wave barrel in the world. In the town of Coolangetta itself the best waves are at Greenmount Point and then Snapper Rocks just around the corner. Try to avoid September to November when the winds often interfere with the surf. There are more than 50 surf shops which are again the best place to start both for the equipment and also for asking about lessons. When there’s no surf, consider checking out Sea World, Sanctuary and Fleays among many attractions. Make sure that you respect the locals who can sometimes get aggressive in the sea if you’re not careful and get the highest sunblock you can find.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has surfing on both its east and west coasts from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans respectively. However, it is the west coast which provides a perfect destination for anyone learning to surf with consistent year round waves, lots of beach breaks to play in and tons of point breaks to improve further. Tamarindo’s Playa Grande is a good place to start with its excellent beach break and even the odd tutle in the line-up. The coast to the south is littered with good breaks from Langosta to Nosara. Just to the south of this at Punta Guiones, the reefs pick up any swell and can get big. For the really committed, two famous breaks which are a boat ride and four-wheel drive away are Potero Grande (also known as ‘Ollie’s point’ after Colonel Oliver North’s landing of weapons nearby) and Playa Naranjo in the north. To get there, San Jose is the main airport. There are also flights from Miami which land straight in Liberia (Guanacaste). There are daily flights to Tamarindo. May to November is the rainy season when most spots can only be reached by four wheel drive. Otherwise, the roads are much improved than in the past and a normal hire car will do although avoid driving at night. The bus system is also cheap and efficient. As for accommodation, there are numerous hotels in Tamarindo and also cheaper cabinas. Avellanes, Junquilla and Nosara are also good places to stay.

San Diego, California, USA
For many people, when they think of surfing, they think of the Beach Boys and surfing the Californian coast. A particularly concentrated area of good surfing Californian spots is around San Diego. To get there, you can fly to LA and then either get a connecting flight, drive down in about two hours or train it in about three. Once there, public transport isn’t much good and so you can either hire a car or alternatively stay in La Jolla where there is good access to the most number of spots. If the surf isn’t working, visit Sea World and the wave House Flowrider in Mission Beach. There is also baseball and football played at the dome. There are numerous beaches both to the north and the south. Easy waves can be found from Carlsbad to Encinatas. For the intermediate surfer, try Cardiff Reef which is particularly popular with longboarders. For the more adventurous, there is Blacks beach which is accessible via a fifteen minute cliff climb after which you may well find hollow waves. Big Blacks is for the really experienced surfers. If there’s a south swell and you want to get its full force then you can head to the south side of san Diego bay for spots such as Coronado and Silver Strand State beach. You’ll find numerous surf shops at Ocean Beach which tends to be a popular spot for San Diego based surfers.

St.Francis Bay, South Africa
Ever since the release of Bruce Brown’s surf movie Endless Summer about some surfers travelling the world in search of the perfect wave, surfers the world over have been aware of St.Francis Bay and the seemingly perfect wave of Cape St.Francis that just went on and on. This has now been over-shadowed by the discovery of Jeffrey’s Bay just nearby which is considered the best right hand break in the world. So much so that as Tom Anderson famously describes in Riding the Magic Carpet (Summersdale Publishing), he made it his life’s mission to ride that particular wave. However, the area, positioned between Cape Town and Durban, has far more to offer than just two famous breaks with some of the most consistent surf in the whole of South Africa. As for getting around, car rentals tend to be cheap and there are numerous hostels catering for surfers. Better quality options are the Cape St.Francis Holiday resort and the J-Bay Beach Hotel. They will direct you to the best person from whom to get surf lessons that season. The best time to go is between April and October when the winds tend to be better for surfing. However, if you want the best of the weather then it’s the other half of the year. Whilst it is certainly possible to learn on some of these beaches, this area is really best-suited to the experienced surfer. Take advice from the locals and beware of the sharks!

Cote Basque, France
One of the first places to take up surfing in Europe was the French resort of Biarritz situated in the South West and the whole of the surrounding area remains an excellent place to surf for those of all level of experience. It has the particular advantage of cheap direct flights which have opened up the area in recent years. The disadvantage of this is that at times some of the more popular beaches can become over-crowded. The main beach in Biarritz is the Grand Plage which tends to deliver heavy waves for the better surfers. However, just to the south and still within walking distance of the town centre is the Cote des Basques which is a great place for longboarders and therefore particularly suitable for beginners. The waves are gentle here and the beach is sheltered from afternoon breezes from the north west. If the swell gets a bit big then the waves tend to be smaller further down the coast at Hendaye Plage. Further afield, Spain is just a drive through the Pyrenees and you might even consider a trip to Pamplona and running with the bulls in the summer. As for getting around, you could stay in Biarritz and simply walk to the nearby beaches. Otherwise a car is essential. There are lots of campsites available from May to September and numerous hotels throughout the area from budget up to 4-star. Boards can be hired from the surf shop on the sea front at the Grand Plage.

Further information
Two particular British companies which provide surf holidays are: GSD ( and Surf South West ( For further reading, see The World Stormrider Guide (Low Pressure), Surfing: A Beginner’s Manual by Wayne Alderson (Fernhurst Books, 1996), Surfer's Start-up: Beginner's Guide to Surfing by Doug Werner (Tracks Publishing, 1999) and

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Weekly News

Legal News

Independent Insurance founder jailed for seven years for fraud
Michael Bright, the former chief executive of Independent Insurance has been sentenced to seven years for committing fraud that helped cause the collapse of the company. CPD Webinars

Employers face prosecution over crashes involving company car drivers
Companies that fail to make sure that their employees drive safely face prosecution under a new campaign by police to reduce the 1,000 fatal crashes a year involving work vehicles. Times

Lover wins court fight with dead tycoon's son
The lover of a wealthy businessman who committed suicide before fulfilling his promise to marry her on the Queen Mary 2 cruiseliner yesterday won a High Court battle with his family over his £3 million fortune. Telegraph

Councillor who offered staff paid Christmas shopping leave to prevent ‘skiving’ sacked
A councillor at Leicestershire County Council has been sacked for offering workers a fully paid afternoon off to do their Christmas shopping. Personnel Today

Senior judge calls for trust in jury system
Britain’s most senior judge has called for judges and the legal system to place more trust in the common sense of juries. Times

Disability qualification launched
The first qualification in disability awareness has been launched to help employers comply with disability legislation. HR Zone

Best of the Blogs

Jury service: should the Government turn the clock back?
Frances Gibb asks - do people in the legal profession influence the juries on which they sit and does having a police officer or lawyer make that jury less impartial? Times

BabyB takes on his next challenge. Baby Barista at the Times

Me and the Mob
It isn't often I get to arrest Real Criminals. In fact, I am not sure I have ever actually arrested a Real Criminal at all. PC Bloggs lists the signs that identify Real Criminals. PC Bloggs

Juries - Do we need them?
Brian St Louis and Nichola Higgins give their opinion on juries and the Bar Quality Advisory Panel. Bar Council Blog

'Convergence' is not an excuse to regulate the internet
The line between old and new media is becoming increasingly blurred. So why not do away with broadcast regulation altogether? asks Graham Smith. Times

'I spend my days preparing for life, not for death'
The former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent 25 years on death row in the United States - despite strong evidence that he is innocent. In his first British interview, he talks to Laura Smith about life in solitary, how he has remained politically active, and why the Panthers are still relevant today. Guardian

And Finally...

Thief unstuck after cement mixer escape
A thief caught shoplifting in Germany failed to grasp the concept of a quick getaway when he jumped into a cement mixer to try to flee the scene of his crime. Sky

Widow sentenced to eternity with in-laws
A widow who does not want to be buried with her parents-in-law has failed in her attempt to have her husband's ashes dug up. Telegraph

Victims make burglar clean their house
A couple in the United States knew exactly what to do with the burglar they caught ransacking their home. They made him clean up - at gunpoint. Sky

Hitch hits mobile phone funeral
The family of a Montenegrin man whose dying wish was to be buried with his mobile phone are to dig him up again after discovering they had forgotten the SIM card. Ananova

Weird and wonderful foreign phrases
English is a rich and wonderful language - but sometimes it's just not good enough... Mirror

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Weekly News

Legal News

Asian detective wins victimisation claim
An Asian detective has won a claim of victimisation against the Metropolitan Police after an employment tribunal found he had been victimised by his bosses. CPD Webinars

Freshfields lawyer loses discrimination case
Peter Bloxham, the former head of restructuring at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, has lost his landmark £4.5 million age discrimination claim against the elite City law firm. Times

Widow loses bid to stop £100,000 payment to ex-wife
A woman whose husband died a few hours after their wedding ceremony failed today to stop his former wife inheriting a large chunk of his estate. Times

Inconvenient verdict delivered on Gore's climate change film
It's the box-office sensation credited with confronting the world with the honest reality of climate change. But a High Court judge in London has made some distinctly inconvenient criticisms of An Inconvenient Truth, the Oscar-winning documentary on global warming made by Al Gore. Independent

Employment Appeals Tribunal refuses 'powerful' new evidence
A worker has won the right to compensation for his sacking after being accused of poaching customers from his employer and starting up his own rival firm. The employer lost the case despite a tribunal finding 'powerful evidence' in the employer's favour. Out-Law

Bent Coppers' author wins libel battle
A journalist has been cleared of libelling a former police officer whom he suggested might be guilty of corruption at the Court of Appeal. Times

Best of the Blogs

BigMouth, CopyCat, blind leading the blind
BabyB continues with his dastardly deeds to get what he wants. Baby Barista at the Times

BPP Law School: Forget students, this college has 'clients'
Privately owned and with a tough work ethic, BPP is a university with a lot of differences, says Andy Sharman. Independent

Carly is mad
PC Bloggs says that it is the police's job to look after Carly. It is their job to ferry her to and from mental institutes, to stand at the doors of said institutes to bounce her back in when she escapes. PC Bloggs

Can the judges trust Jack Straw?
Frances Gibb asks - is Jack Straw managing to pull it off with the judges? This week the Justice Secretary, aka Lord Chancellor, was clearly proffering plentiful olive branches to ease the deadlock in the continuing discord between the judiciary and the executive. Times

The Rule of Law, the Bill, and BQAB
The legal year has opened and Parliament is back in session. And there will not now be an election any time soon. With all this excitement over, we can return to the serious business of representing the profession says Geoffrey Vos QC. Bar Council Blog

Tenant defending s21 claim under the DDA 1995
More landlord law from the landlord law blog. Landlord Law Blog

And Finally...

Doctors save man with vodka drip
Doctors have kept a man alive by feeding him vodka through a drip for three days. Mirror

DNA mix-up babies reunited with families
Two families who realised they had the wrong babies only after one couple took a DNA test to silence pub gossips have been reunited with their real children. Sky

Would-be president took short cut in marathon
A Mexican politician who 'won' the over-55s section of the Berlin Marathon was disqualified for taking a short cut. Ananova

Salesman gives up kidney
A US man spent four years waiting for a new kidney - only to find a donor through a chance knock on his door. Ananova

Man arrested over fake money
An American man has been arrested after he tried to pay for goods at a supermarket with a fake $1 million bill. Madasafish

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Recommended Reading

I have recently been reading an excellent book called Bad Thoughts: a guide to clear thinking by Jamie Whyte, a philosopher and occasional columnist in The Times.

The book is a guide to logical fallacies, explaining why many oft-heard arguments are logically fallacious, and exploring how such errors of reasoning have been increasingly creeping into our everyday discourse. It is powerfully argued, yet this does not detract from its entertainment value because the author manages to remain both witty and interesting throughout. He relies upon examples from, amongst other things, politics, religion and literature.

The many topics covered in the book include:why the pot actually can call the kettle black, why Pascal (in his Wager) backed a loser, why the American Declaration of Independence is wrong, why a duck is the most common score in cricket and how success in bond trading is largely based on coincidence.

It is also a subject matter that should be of great interest to barristers. I found that the book succeeded in its purpose, stated in the Preface, of helping the reader to identify such fallacies when they hear them. This is a useful tool in picking holes in opponent's arguments.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Legal News

Compensation for injured soldiers is “insulting”
The Ministry of Defence is being criticised for not looking after severely injured troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The wife of a brain damaged soldier has said that the compensation offer is “insulting”. CPD Webinars

Pregnant woman loses unfair dismissal claim
An employment tribunal has cleared a company of unfairly sacking a pregnant employee but criticised its actions in carrying out the dismissal. Northampton Chronicle

Driver fined for smoking in lorry
A lorry driver has been prosecuted for smoking in his cab. A dog warden spotted him smoking and flicking the stub out of the lorry's window. He also received a fine for depositing litter with the stub. BBC

Good Samaritans face unfair dismissal claim
A couple who played Good Samaritan and gave work experience to a prisoner could have to pay up for unfair dismissal. This is Wiltshire

Man jailed over Facebook message
A husband banned from contacting his estranged wife was jailed after he inadvertently sent her a message on the social networking site Facebook. Telegraph

One in five job advertisements still fails to comply with age discrimination legislation
A year after age discrimination was outlawed in the workplace, one in five job advertisements still fails to comply with the rules. Personnel Today

Best of the Blogs

UK blawgs - where are we now?
Although a handful of UK law bloggers were active before 2006, it was only then that the UK blawgosphere started to take off. Since then, new law blogs have continued to appear at the rate of about one a week. There are now 125 UK law blogs. Binary Law

Playing his JackCard
BabyB's enjoying his new-found power as a tenant and gives some advice to a new pupil ‘Oh, it’s easy. Really. Just keep your head down, don’t cause any trouble and be nice to your fellow pupils.’ Baby Barista at the Times

When a judge poses a threat of serious harm . . .
There are good judges, there are mediocre judges and there are bad judges. But it is rare for an official body to conclude that a judge “poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public and to the administration of justice” says David Pannick QC. Times

Why the record industry is terrified of Radiohead's new album
Radiohead are the latest – and greatest – (says Andy Gill) band to shun the conventional CD release. Their new album is available online – and you don't have to pay for it. Independent

The Magistrate comments on two major legal events going on at the moment, one the trial of the Metropolitan Police for 'health and safety' failures over the death of Jean-Charles de Menezes, and the other the Diana inquest. The Magistrate's Blog

Drinking makes you clever?…
Charon QC reports on some refreshing research. Charon QC

And Finally...

Officers hunt cardboard cut-out thief
A thief has stolen a cardboard cut-out of a policeman which was put in a store to deter shoplifters. Sky

Judge ridicules £100,000 cost of car legal battle
Greater love has no man than he who lays down the contents of his wallet for his dream motor. But even the most devout petrolhead would have been forced to agree with Lord Justice Ward when he described one man's feud with a dealership over his "red hot" sports car as "completely cuckoo". Independent

US law student ruins his job prospects
Read the email sent by a US law student who took less than kindly to being made to hang around all morning for a job interview. And the reply from the partner. Roll On Friday

The church that's too ugly to get married in
It will do for praising the Lord or holding funerals and christenings. But when it comes to getting married, St Michael and All Angels church might as well be in the wilderness. Mirror

Artists' secret shopping mall pad
Eight artists built and furnished a secret apartment inside a US shopping mall - and stayed there for four years. Ananova

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cyclists and the law

A couple of nice quotes in The Times last week about cyclists and the law.

Boris Johnson
Why do you cycle and talk on your mobile at the same time?
"Just as I will never vote to ban hunting, so I will never vote to abolish the free-born Englishman's time-hallowed and immemorial custom, dating back as far as 1990 or so, of cycling while talking on a mobile."

Lord Hoffman (Law Lord)
Do you always obey the Highway Code?
Up to a point, Lord Copper. Sometimes I lose patience at lights when there is obviously nothing in sight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

British Surfing Museum

Great news from Peter Robinson, the director of The British Surfing Museum, who tells me that he’s just obtained sponsorship for the museum from the clothing company Oxbow for the next three years. Apparently Oxbow’s new marketing strategy is to go back to its roots of longboard surfing which is great news for the museum which has the most extensive and historically significant collection of vintage surfboards, literature and memorabilia on public display and for academic research in Britain. The culmination of this sponsorship will be the establishment of a new purpose built venue in 2010.

In the meantime, Peter has organised a fantastic exhibition entitled ‘An Art History of British Surfing’ which will be situated in the Havant Museum in Hampshire from January 19th to March 1st next year followed by the Red House Museum in Christchurch from May 3rd to June 14th 2008 and finally The National Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby from June 28th to September 7th 2008. It promises to be a rare treat for surfers and non-surfers alike with original British surfboards dating back almost a century featuring art and sculptural form. It will be complemented by an eclectic mix of memorabilia showing amazing artwork from the creative minds of surfers and those drawn to this ancient pastime. Also on show will be stunning replicas of ancient Hawaiian surfboards hand carved by the Tom Pohaku Stone – a lecturer in Hawaiian culture and surfer of legendary status. Sponsored by Oxbow and the Kind Design graphics team in North Devon, it’ll be well worth a look.

For more information log on to

Weekly Review

Legal News

BT worker loses unfair dismissal claim for phone scam
A BT call centre manager, involved in a multi-million pound Ministry of Defence call-handling scam, has lost her claim for unfair dismissal. CPD Webinars

Lord Chief Justice speaks out against US-style selection of judges
Britain’s most senior judge has strongly opposed any move towards American-style selection of judges involving Parliament. Times

Whistle-blower in job fight
A health-club worker claims she was unfairly sacked after raising concern with bosses over the appointment of Angela Baillie - the solicitor jailed for supplying drugs to a prisoner. Scotsman

Judges attack hate campaign
Judges have reacted swiftly to condemn as “inappropriate and irresponsible” the publication of their home addresses by a fathers’ campaign group. BBC

Ramadan presents religious discrimination concern
Workers are being warned not to indirectly discriminate against Muslim workers by failing to recognise the month of Ramadan. HR Zone

Prince sues internet sites for breaching his copyright
He gave away his last album free with a newspaper, but Prince has now taken a stance to defend the rights of the artist by launching a legal action against internet sites that he claims have infringed his copyright. Independent

Best of the Blogs

Yet another police murder
PC Bloggs reports on the case of a woman who lay dead in a house for three years and recommends new legislation making it the police's job to force entry into the houses of anybody whose family hasn't visited for a while. PC Bloggs

Hey Up
As the tenancy decision looms, BabyB reports on his week of favours, stitch ups, bombs falling and combine harvesters. Baby Barista at the Times

Courts lose details of offender surcharges
The Magistrate asks - why does this not surprise me? The Magistrate's Blog

Time is ripe to judge the judges
John Malpas reveals his personal brushes with the judiciary. Legal Week Editors' Blog

Opportunity knocks
The goal of the Judicial Appointments Commission was to create a fairer recruitment process for the judiciary. Anita Rice asks - has much changed? Law Gazette Guardian

And Finally...

What can law schools do better?
The current issue of The Complete Lawyer focuses on law schools. The Complete Lawyer

Plagiarising lawyer sent to ethics class
A US lawyer has been forced to refund his client's fees and attend a class on professional responsibility after admitting charging thousands of dollars for a simple act of plagiarism. Roll on Friday

Silence (of the lambs) in court
A robbery suspect is wheeled into court strapped and gagged after attacking his lawyer. Mirror

'Nurse, I need a Wii'
Pensioners bored of knitting and bridge have got hooked on a Nintendo Wii games console at their retirement home. Ananova

'Unlucky' burglar tries to rob policeman
A man from Hampshire has been jailed after he was surprised by the policeman owner of the house he was attempting to burgle. Madasafish

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

First National Minimum Wage criminal prosecution case
The owner of a children’s nursery has been fined in the first National Minimum Wage criminal prosecution. CPD Webinars

Framed father tells of barrister fake email plot
A father who was framed by a leading barrister in a child custody case has spoken for the first time about the extraordinary chain of events that led to him uncovering the deception. Telegraph

Maimed soldier 'let down' by Army compensation
The mother of a soldier who lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan is to challenge his "flawed" compensation award in the High Court. BBC

Biotech firm sued over brain cancer vaccine claim
A biotechnology company whose shares more than doubled after it said that it had obtained regulatory clearance for the world’s first brain cancer vaccine is facing a class action lawsuit in the United States alleging that it misled investors. Times

Train ticket increases could breach law
Rail fare increases could breach competition law if passengers are left carrying an excessive share of the cost of running the railways, the industry regulator has warned. Guardian

Developer loses landmark squatting case
A property developer’s landmark legal fight to secure compensation for land lost to squatters has ended in failure after Europe’s highest court ruled that UK law did not breach the developer’s human rights. Times

Best of the Blogs

BabyB goes up against one of the most qualified people in the world ever. And wins. Baby Barista at the Times

Saga louts, plodberrys and a few other matters....
Charon QC comments on all sorts of matters... no law though Charon QC

No need to move for overseas travel
You feel you are in the same room as your witnesses or clients. They are life-size, they sit around the same table as you, their voices are undistorted and clear and you can look them in the eye. This is the new generation of video meetings and it is like nothing we have seen before says Richard Susskind. Times

We know better:
PC Bloggs reports on a PC who pretended she'd been mugged, apparently in order to get a new mobile phone. PC Bloggs

The era was marked by mysterious envelopes.
Andrew Longstreth explains that as class action hits Europe, securities cases slump in US heartlands. Legal Week

And Finally...

'From the bottom of my heart I'm sorry'
A guilt-ridden burglar in New Zealand has broken into the same house twice in one day, first to steal some goods and later to return them - along with a heartfelt apology note. Sky

Banger out of order
Butcher Dennis Spurr has been ordered to take down a sign showing the Olympic rings made from sausages. Mirror

Vicars ban ‘un-Christian’ yoga for toddlers
A children’s exercise class has been banned from two church halls because it is teaching yoga. The group has been turned away by vicars who described yoga as a sham and un-Christian. Times

'Stale wee' fails to stop play
England's cricketers kept their focus to triumph over India despite the efforts of up to 100,000 Arctic Monkeys fans. Ananova

Thieves swipe biker's prosthetic hand
A disabled biker who left his prosthetic hand gripped to the handlebars of his Suzuki faces a bill for £450 for a new mitt after thieves made off with the original. The Register

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Video joker in tribunal triumph
A supermarket manager sacked after posting a video of his colleagues on the internet has been awarded more than £2,000 for unfair dismissal. CPD Webinars

Mayor wins £7,000 after council's ban on breast-feeding
A former mayor has successfully sued her council for discrimination after she was banned from breast-feeding while using the official limousine. Guardian

Staff hitting back against bosses too eager to say: 'You're fired!'
A Scottish law firm has blamed Sir Alan Sugar's television programme The Apprentice for the growing number of people taking their bosses to an employment tribunal. Scotsman

Parliament war protester jailed over £600 fine
The first person to be convicted of organising a demonstration within an exclusion zone around Parliament Square has been jailed for refusing to pay his fine. Telegraph

Law firm settles 'homophobia' discrimination case
Clifford Chance, the world's biggest law business, has paid out an undisclosed sum in settlement of what is believed to be the first claim against a law firm for discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Independent

Three Rs could land bosses in the dock
Testing applicants' basic reading and writing skills could land employers in court, following a landmark case which ruled mild forms of dyslexia to be considered as a disability. HR Zone

Best of the Blogs

ThirdSix, TopFirst, Worrier and UpTights provide the entertainment for BabyBarista. All set up by BabyB himself of course. Baby Barista at the Times

Wigs and gowns: final furlong for the neighsayers . . .
Frances Gibb says that court dress is firmly back on the agenda — and it is still causing ruffles. Times

Learco Chindamo and the law
Head of Legal comments on the decision of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal that Learco Chindamo, the murderer of Philip Lawrence, cannot be expelled from the UK. Head of Legal

It's OK, it's Up North
PC Bloggs suggests we need new legislation, abolishing murder and outlawing firearms. PC Bloggs

And Finally...

Now police take to skateboards
Police are being sent out skateboarding during working hours in a groundbreaking bid to cut crime and make them appear "cool". This is Hampshire

Man sues florist for revealing affair to wife
A Houston man has filed a lawsuit against 1-800-Flowers after the company told his wife that the roses he ordered were for another woman. Find Law

A dad at 90
The world's oldest father has done it again - had his 21st child at the age of 90. Mirror

NYC detective canned after wife serves him marijuana spiked meatballs
A veteran detective with the New York police has been fired after failing a drug test. CNews

Topless car wash shock
Men who queued up for a topless car wash in New York got a bit of a shock to find the washers were men. Ananova

Monday, August 27, 2007

New surf website

We are always delighted to stumble upon a new surfing website, particularly one which is stuffed full of useful information. It was therefore a real pleasure to discover Surfing Genie which provides not only great information about the history of surfing and how to get started but also aims over time to provide a comprehensive and easily searchable guide to surfing in the British Isles.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Anonymous Lawyer: Big thumbs Up!

Heads up for a fantastic new book which I had the good fortune to be sent the other day called Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman based upon the blog of the same name. It's an hilarious satire of a big corporate American law firm through the eyes of an ambitious and hideously arrogant, vain hiring partner. The characters have a life of their own and the comedy in many ways revolves around how they interact. But what really takes it to the next level is the fact that the author has also brought together a great page-turning plot as Anonymous fights his nemesis The Jerk for the chairmanship iof the firm. All of which means that you'll find it hard to put down until the last page. I would highly recommend it to both lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Pensioner must wear fluorescent jacket and use warning signs to tend a flowerbed
June Turnbull has looked after the village flowerbed for eight years with little more than her green fingers but now council officials say she also needs three warning signs, a "lookout" and a fluorescent safety jacket to continue with the gardening. CPD Webinars

Tesco staff awarded £11,000 compensation following workplace accidents
Two Tesco employees have been compensated after suing the supermarket chain for negligence. Personnel Today

Hacked hacks to sue HP
Four US journalists have filed a lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard claiming they suffered mental anguish and emotional distress because the computer company illegally spied on them last year. Guardian

Muslim juror accused of wearing MP3 player under her hijab escapes punishment
A Muslim juror accused of listening to an MP3 player under her headscarf during a murder trial will face no further action. This is London

Patient wins six-figure settlement from hospital
Hospital bosses have paid out a six-figure sum to a Hampshire man who sued for negligence after doctors failed to request a crucial scan which might have shown his appendix had perforated. This is Hampshire

Police issue on-the-spot penalty fines once every three minutes
On-the-spot fines for crimes such as being drunk and disorderly, destroying property and shoplifting are being issued at a rate of one every three minutes, according to latest police figures. Times

Best of the Blogs

How well behaved are Britain’s judges?
Dale Simon has spent the past year investigating complaints about judges. Times

A heart attack, a cold shoulder and blackmail.
BabyB goes about his daily duties diligently. Baby Barista at the Times

American Bar Association Conference and The Rule of Law
Geoffrey Vos QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, reports on his recent visit to America. Bar Council

What do they put in the afternoon tea, oop North?
The Bar is often regarded, as Geeklawyer has observed before, by the public as a public school playground. Smug, self satisfied and aloof. Geek Lawyer

Eat what you kill?…
Charon QC exhibits caveman behaviour twice in one day. Charon QC

And Finally...

The world's strangest laws
Did you know it's illegal in France to name a pig Napoleon? Or that in Ohio you're not allowed to get a fish drunk? Alex Wade celebrates the spirit of the silly season with a list of the world's most ridiculous laws. Times

Security concern over open prison gates
A prison's external gate was regularly left open at night to allow staff to park in a secure area within the prison walls, it has been revealed. Sky

Queasy Rider Loses Leg On Crash Barrier
A motorcyclist who reportedly failed to notice he had severed his leg below the knee in a crash is recovering in hospital. Sky

China ‘Pop Idol’ is banned from TV after judge bursts into tears
Chinese officials have dared to tread where many a weary British parent can only dream, banning a reality television show on the grounds that it is “vulgar”, “coarse” and “lacks artistic standards”. Times

Chinese couple tries to name baby '@'
A Chinese couple seeking a distinctive name for their child have settled on the e-mail 'at' symbol - annoying government officials grappling with an influx of unorthodox names. CNews

Otters holding hands
How cute. If you like otters. You Tube

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The End of Wigs?

On 12 July 2007 the Lord Chief Justice announced reforms to judicial dress in court. The changes will mean that Judges in civil cases only wear a simple gown and no wig. It is suggested that advocates should follow suit, wearing only the existing gown and no wig, wing collar or bands.

The desire to modernise the profession is entirely understandable. It is concerning, for example, that the public perceive that barristers are out of touch with the population. Wigs and gowns are already put aside for small claims hearings and increasingly for fast track trials (although this depends on the practice of individual courts). In the circumstances it is natural to ask whether it is time to sweep aside formal court dress altogether.

The suggested reforms have, however, already proved controversial, with members of the judiciary reportedly writing to the Lord Chief Justice to object. Wearing full robes, they say, is not only a long standing tradition, it also has practical benefits. It makes it easy to distinguish advocates from ushers and other court staff. Putting on the robes helps barristers themselves to take on the role of the advocate. Clients after all do not need to be friends with their barrister, they need sound objective advice and representation.

In the wake of the Lord Chancellor’s announcement, the Bar Council has opened a consultation on court dress. From past experience, this is an issue that excites strong opinions on either side of the debate. Whatever your views are, this is an important issue for our profession and I hope that many people are able to take the time to respond to the consultation.

Aidan Ellis

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

RAF typist wins £484,000 for injured thumb
A typist working for the RAF who developed repetitive strain injury in her thumb is to receive almost half a million pounds from the Ministry of Defence. CPD Webinars

Legal claim dismissed for being 88 seconds late
An employment court has thrown out a claim for unfair dismissal because the e-mail carrying the paperwork arrived 88 seconds late. Times

Legal fight over red cross symbol
Medical firm Johnson & Johnson is suing the American Red Cross, alleging the charity has misused the famous red cross symbol for commercial purposes. BBC

Times Online sets up Facebook Group for lawyers
The Times Online Law Section, which features BabyBarista and The Water Cooler, has set up a Facebook group for lawyers called The Common Law. Times

JK Rowling judge made mistakes, says privacy law expert
The judge in the JK Rowling privacy case should have taken account of the fact that celebrities may be more vulnerable to media pressure than others and so entitled to stronger privacy protection a leading legal expert has said. Out-Law

Sacked Domino's staff demonstrate
About 20 people have staged a protest outside a Domino's Pizza restaurant in Derby calling for the re-instatement of sacked migrant workers from Hungary. BBC

Best of the Blogs

More tea, vicar?
A bride's nightie, a urine sample and Alice in Wonderland type rules. BabyB reports on another week of pupillage. BabyBarista at the Times

Bare necessities: the truth about streaking
Police wanted to slap an Asbo on our most prolific streaker. Magistrates said no. So it's official: public exposure is part of our culture. By Andy McSmith Independent

Inciting hatred
Incitement to racial hatred has no place in a civilised society, says Geoffrey Bindman. Consilio

Stupid is as stupid does
The Magistrate suggests that the common thread that runs through most of the cases he deals with is good old fashioned stupidity... The Magistrate's Blog

Out with the old…in with the blue…
Charon QC muses on the Conservatives' new logo, tables for smokers, submarines and his WG Grace outfit. Charon QC

And Finally...

Thai cops punished by Hello Kitty
Police chiefs in the Thai capital, Bangkok, have come up with a new way of punishing officers who break the rules - an eye-catching Hello Kitty armband. BBC

Wannabe bike thief caught red-handed
A hapless thief was caught red-handed, literally - when he left his finger at the crime scene. Mirror

Man takes bull to jail
A Serbian court has ruled that a farmer should be allowed to take his bull to jail with him. Roll on Friday

Lost daughter 'right behind you dad'
A father posed for a publicity picture in a desperate attempt to find the daughter he has not seen for ten years unaware she was just a few yards behind him. Ananova

Stand by your ban!
Dolly Parton addict has hifi seizedCountry and western fan Diane Duffin has been D.I.V.O.R.C.E.D from her stereo after blasting out Dolly Parton 24 hours a day. Yorkshire Evening Post

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Stealing the Wave, Drift Magazine

The following appeared in issue 3 of Drift Magazine.

Book Review of ‘Stealing the Wave’ by Andy Martin (Bloomsbury, 2007)

If you say Mount Everest, you might think of Hilary and Tensing. Say Waimea Bay in Hawaii and many surfers may well think of Ken Bradshaw and Mark Foo. Almost certainly so after reading Stealing the Wave. However, theirs was not a mutual endeavour built on complementary skills. On the contrary, these two big wave riders were sworn enemies whose final tragic showdown in the cold water of Mavericks ended in death.

This book is the account of the rise and fall of these two great surfers. Bradshaw, whose character was carved from the rock of his native Texas, single-minded in his ascetic pursuit of dominating Waimea. Foo, the fun-loving, jonny come lately publicity hound who became the face of big wave riding. Bradshaw, the humourless enforcer who believed that nothing good came without prolonged effort. Foo, the entrepreneur, stealing in and taking the credit. Bradshaw, the dour rule-maker. Foo, the glamour boy breaking the rules. Bradshaw, the past. Foo, the future. Shadow and light.

Andy Martin presents us with two such strong and yet extremely different characters that it leaves the reader being able to identify most of the world as either a Foo or a Bradshaw. Andy Martin himself, a Cambridge academic whose first surf book Walking on Water was mostly about surfing in Hawaii is, I suspect, a Foo. This has a particular resonance at the moment with politics sitting at a watershed and very clear analogies to be made. Tony Blair is as clearly a Foo as Gordon Brown is a Bradshaw. Here there is perhaps a lesson. For just as Brown and Blair will be forever identified by their rivalry so it is with Foo and Bradshaw. What perhaps both pairings failed to realise was that much of their power and creativity came from the intense rivalry. The grit in the oyster. When Foo died, this was lost for good and perhaps not surprisingly in these circumstances, there is little that we have heard from Bradshaw since. Gordon Brown may well take note.

Worse still in the case of Foo is that it left a cloud over Bradshaw as to his alleged involvement in Foo’s demise. However, even though a suggestion is aired, one is left with the clear impression that the author doesn’t buy into any conspiracy theories or see it as anything other than a tragic accident. Certainly that was this writer’s view having read the book. One also feels that the author continues to view the great Bradshaw with enormous admiration, albeit tinged with pity for the sacrifices he has made along the way.

This is a book about the dark side of the human soul. Of suffering, jealousy and rivalry driven by naked ambition. It is a story that rises above surfing just as Touching the Void rose above mountaineering. It is a page-turning book of adventure and daring-do which goes much further than the usual efforts and leaves the reader with moral questions about the meaning of surfing, courage, risk-taking and ultimately life itself.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Indefinite sentences are “unlawful”
Prisoners serving indeterminate sentences may have to be released if a High Court ruling against the new Justice Secretary is upheld on appeal. CPD Webinars

Barrister’s overdraft charges test case rejected
Barrister Tom Brennan on Monday lost his legal battle in what he hoped would be a test case for the fairness of bank overdraft charges. Financial Times

Guantanamo inmate fights to stay
An inmate of Guantanamo Bay who spends 22 hours each day in an isolation cell is fighting for the right to stay in the notorious internment camp. He has filed an emergency motion at the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC asking for his transfer out of Guantanamo to be halted. Times

Appeal court judges hold up deportation of three Algerian terror suspects
The deportation of three suspected Algerian terrorists has been halted by appeal court judges who ruled that the UK government could not be certain that they would be safe from torture after they were sent back. Guardian

Barrister loses motorcycle parking challenge
A barrister who claimed his motorcycle was immune to parking tickets because its wheels did not touch the ground has been told to pay up by the Court of Appeal. Times

Cash settlement for woman who changed mind on abortion
An NHS hospital trust has agreed to pay £27,500 compensation in an out-of-court settlement with a mother of three for aborting her unborn baby against her will and ignoring her attempts to withdraw her consent. Guardian

Best of the Blogs

BabyBarista starts a mini-pupil sweat shop
BabyBarista takes on ten mini-pupils with the offer of a guaranteed reference. BabyBarista at the Times

Fashionable shoos
Edward Fennell comments on Shoosmiths’ hotshot IP and IT team's massive moral victory for the top-notch fashion house ChloĆ©. Times

Jaws and Sunday surreality…
Charon QC's comments this week feature sharks, tight trousers, doctors, mentally ill mice and teenagers. Charon QC

How many people does it take to work a court tape player?
Weeping with frustration. Nearly. Bar or Bust

Is it time for TCSOs?
Pc Bloggs puts forward the case for Terrorist Community Support Officers. PC Bloggs

And Finally...

One for the road
Student Jack Kirby drank 4,000 cans of lager and used the empties to build a car. Ananova

Richard Nixon fined for unbefitting conduct
In a strange flashback to 1972, a solicitor with the unlikely but apposite name of Richard Nixon has been fined for unbefitting conduct. Roll On Friday

Boss allegedly killed workers who asked for raises
The owner of a car dealership killed two employees because they kept asking for pay raises, police said Tuesday. CNews

Headmistress is a Harry Rotter
A PRIMARY school head ruined the new Harry Potter book for pupils — by reading out the final page on the last day of term. The Sun

Everything you see Is fake
Tricks of the trade. You Tube

Monday, July 30, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

“Junk mail” postal workers lose unfair dismissal appeal case
Two Royal Mail workers who won unfair dismissal claims after a bundle of “junk mail” was found in a sorting office cupboard have now lost their cases after an appeal by their employer. CPD Webinars

MacMillan fined over consultation regulations failings in landmark case
Publishing giant Macmillan has been fined £55,000 by the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) for its failure to implement Information and Consultation Regulations in the first case of its kind. Personnel Today

Ministers blasted over treatment of judiciary
Government ministers have been castigated over their “bungled” creation of the Ministry of Justice and “insensitive” treatment of judges in two separate Parliamentary reports. Times

Appeal court says surrogate mother can't keep child
A woman who agreed to carry a surrogate baby for a couple has been ordered to hand over the baby boy after she refused to give up the child. The desperate tug of love between the surrogate mother and the married father was finally decided in London's Appeal Court. This is Bristol

No sick pay for short-term agency worker
An agency worker who had entered into a contract of service for a period of less than three months was not entitled to statutory sick pay, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Times

McLaren escape punishment in spying row
The McLaren-Mercedes formula one team have avoided any punishment in the row over alleged industrial espionage against rivals Ferrari because of "insufficient evidence". In The News

Best of the Blogs

BabyBarista invites us to be his friend on FaceBook
After destroying TopFirst on FaceBook (leaving him "facebooked"), BabyB has also signed up as "BabyBarista Blog" and is asking us to be his friend. Baby Barista at the Times

Responsible renting – have your say
Your chance to respond to the Law Commissions consultation on responsible renting. Landlord Law blog

Presumed ignorant
Reports and comments on the billable hour f/k/a

How to get divorced without losing your shirt
Marriage on the rocks? Two big money divorce lawyers tell you 20 ways to make the split less painful. Times

Another slice of salami, sir?
The Magistrate has a word of caution for us. The Magistrate's Blog

And Finally...

Judge gives mobster shirt off his back
A man facing life in prison has had his sartorial blushes spared after a judge gave him a shirt and tie. Roll On Friday

Nasa astronauts 'sloshed in space'
Nasa let astronauts fly when they were drunk, an aerospace magazine has claimed. Sky

Grim reaper tabby
A cat has amazed medics - by predicting when nursing home patients are about to die. Oscar curls up next to elderly residents in the last few hours of their lives. Ananova

Binman's St George bandana 'is racist'
A black dustman has been banned from wearing a St George's Cross bandana because council officials say it could be regarded as racist. Telegraph

The countdown
100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers. You Tube

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Alternative Court Guide

The latest in an occasional series of titbits that don't make it into the official Court Guide...

Uxbridge County Court

This is one of the few County Courts (certainly in the South East) that is more than a mile from the nearest Tube or train station, making it quite irritating to get to and a taxi journey usually inevitable.

However, this does not necessarily have to be so. I recently discovered that the Court is a do-able 30-minute walk from Hayes & Harlington BR station (which itself is a 20-minute train ride from Paddington). The route I ended up taking was a particularly pleasant one which took me through a church yard, along a rural-looking path and across a village green. A change from the usual trek through urban sameness and certainly worth the effort (as long as you get long enough respite from the rain).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Paralysed man loses bulk of compensation claim
A Gloucester man "with everything to live for" who was paralysed from the neck down after a climbing accident has lost the bulk of his High Court compensation claim. CPD Webinars

Corporate killing law to include police and prisons as Government admits defeat
Prisons and police authorities will be liable for prosecution over deaths of people held in custody after a final defeat of the Government over the scope of new corporate manslaughter laws. Times

Japanese activist shareholder jailed for insider
most prominent shareholder activist was sentenced to two years in prison today after being found guilty of insider trading. Guardian

Sick baby must be treated, judge tells parents who put faith in God
A desperately ill seven-month-old baby may be given potentially life-saving medical treatment against the wishes of her devout parents following a High Court ruling yesterday. Times

Whiplash claim thrown out of court
A Lancashire woman has successfully defeated what she believes was a fraudulent whiplash claim for personal injury compensation. You Claim

Attorney's role 'unsustainable'
The role of the government's chief legal adviser, the attorney general, is "not sustainable" and needs reform, says an influential committee of MPs. BBC

Best of the Blogs

BabyBarista is dropped by UpTights in favour of a woman in order impress a lecherous chauvinistic pig of a judge who turns out to be female. Baby Barista at the Times

A ‘must read’ for Facebook users…
Charon QC recommends some reading if you're on Facebook. Charon QC

Outfit oratory
He said it two years ago and - after overhearing a few conversations recently at a restaurant - he's going to say it again, “males don’t wear outfits“! f/k/a

Downfall of a Master Criminal
Jimmy suffers from chronic back trouble....and makes a big mistake. The Magistrate shares another day at the office with us. The Magistrate's Blog

News Roundup
Blonde Justice shares two criminal law-related news stories. Blonde Justice

And Finally...

Doh! Homer Painting Upsets Pagans
Pagans have pledged to perform "rain magic" to wash away cartoon character Homer Simpson after he was painted next to their famous fertility symbol - the Cerne Abbas giant. Sky

Juror arrested for listening to music
A juror has been arrested after she was caught listening to an MP3 player during a murder trial. Roll On Friday

US cons attempt copyright-based prison break
Four inmates of Oklahoma's El Reno federal prison have been indicted for what must rate as the most audacious prison break scheme in history. They are alleged to have copyrighted their names then "demanded millions of dollars from prison officials for using the names without authorisation". The Register

Who Reads the Papers
Yes Prime Minister Clip. You Tube

New book about surfing in Britain and Ireland
Alex Wade takes the reader on a tour of some of the best spots and more colourful characters in the British and Irish surfing scene. Buy on Amazon here.