Tuesday, April 24, 2007



BabyBarista in The Times
TopFirst meets HoneytrapStill our favourite blog, BabyBarista now seems firmly established on The Times. This week OldSmoothie winds up UpTights and TopFirst meets Honeytrap. BabyBarista in The Times.

Legal implications of smoking ban and of blogging
Charon QC, the king of the podcasts, this week interviews solicitor Liam Pike about the employment law implications of the smoking ban and of blogging at work. He also advertises for volunteers to help him launch a weekly web radio at Charon QC.

Blog Dysmorphic Disorder
Law Dent is obsessed with improving his blog. That’s on the same day that he “woke up dead”. Law Dent

Pupilblog considers his future
Pupil Blog decides whether to continue with his account of pupillage … or not. Pupil Blog.

The Bar’s diversity debate
"We’ll know we’ve made it when we have as many mediocre women in top jobs as mediocre men" – a quote from a contributor to Legal Week’s Talkback. See the Editor’s blog for his comments on the debate. Legal Week


Solicitors told to hand back £100 million
Solicitors must repay the government an estimated £100 million after a High Court judge ruled firms were overpaid for processing compensation claims for miners suffering chronic chest disease. Law Gazette

Claims Management regulation into force
From 23 April it becomes an offence for business offering claims management services to operate without authorisation or exemption. Claims Regulation.

Claimants face ‘postcode lottery’ over employment discrimination assistance
Employment discrimination claimants face a ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to finding and funding appropriate legal representation, research by the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has revealed. Law Gazette

High Court rules on s4 Fatal Accidents Act
High court rules that a payment made to a widow under an employee benefit trust, could not be relied on by an employer in its claim for a reduction of damages. Solicitors Journal

Architect bids to make legal history in bank charge battle
An architect is trying to make Scottish legal history by claiming back hundreds of pounds in charges from Clydesdale Bank. Scotsman

Making sure the cap fits
Law firms have been slow to follow other advisers in limiting their liability. John Verry says a standard clause in retainers should be avoided and explains what to look for when negotiating limitations. Law Gazette.


Yes, Minister…
Psychiatrist points to the continuing relevance of ‘Yes, Minister…’
The Psychiatrist Blog.

US Lawyer seeks $11,000 an hourHigh flying lawyer Willie Gary is asking Motorola Inc. to pay him $11,000 an hour in fees. Nice work if you can get it …. Roll On Friday

Boston Legal
James Spader slaps down a “good ole boy”. YouTube.

The men women see as too good to be true
The sweet smell of success may be the kiss of death for men who hope to get hitched, according to psychologists. When it comes to marriage material, women are wary of good-looking high-fliers, and are drawn to less successful men instead, they claim. The Guardian

Pig fat to be turned into diesel
A solution for the world's energy crisis may come in the form of a pig. BBC

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Jimmy Miller Foundation

We'd like to introduce you to an organisation which has recently been brought to our attention: The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation which is a non-profit 501(c) 3 Foundation in the United States dedicated to honouring the life of surfer Jim Miller by supporting the healing of mental and physical illness through surfing and ocean related activities. Through recreational, educational and mentoring programs, the Foundation brings together surfers, educators, therapists, lifeguards and friends to help people affected by mental and physical illness feel the joy and healing power of the ocean and surfing.

Jimmy Miller was a surfer, writer and world traveler. He started one of the first surf schools in Southern California, was an honored Los Angeles CountyLifeguard and Junior Guard Instructor and was the surf mentor to thousands of people around the world. In the last few months of his life in the summer of 2004, Jimmy suffered from a severe mental illness that led to his death. Also during the same time, he injured his shoulder and for the first time since his grommet days he was unable to surf and teach. His family and friends strongly believe that his sudden inability to surf and enjoy the ocean contributed to his death. They are dedicated to creating and providing activities and programs to help others with mental and emotional illness benefit regularly from the therapeutic and healing powers of the ocean. To find out more and to donate click here.

Friday, April 20, 2007

World's first carbon neutral surf shop

Incredible as it may sound, until recently there was no surf shop which was 100% carbon neutral. That has all changed with the opening of the Loose Fit surf shop. As part of this committment, they do the following:

1. Plant a tree for every surfboard they sell
2. Plant trees to account for other company activities such as flying over guest surfers and artists from abroad.
3. Use a green electricity tariff to ensure our electricity comes from renewable sources like wave, tidal and wind energy.
4. Ensure energy efficiency, by managing our use and introducing new technologies.

There's quite a few other things they've been up to as well but these four committments are ones which other surf shops might wish to consider. Besides that, when I visited, I was impressed by the wi-fi (surely an obvious one for surf shops?), the cafe and the friendliness of both the owner Jon Finch and of South African Mikey Corker who works there. Definitely worth a visit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Bezoar

A bezoar, a type of stone found in the intestines of mostly ruminant animals, was auctioned at Christie’s for €33,600 this week. Bezoar stones were highly sought after in 16th and 17th century England, as they were believed to cure depression and have the power of a universal antidote against any poison. But would the purchaser have a legal remedy if the bezoar did not have the expected magical powers?

This is the scenario that the Exchequer court was presented with in Chandelor v Lopus (1603) 79 Eng Rep 3 which concerned a purchaser who sued for the return of the purchase price of an allegedly fraudulent bezoar. Unfortunately the report does not discuss how the claimant set about differentiating his bezoar from a non-fraudulent bezoar, or indeed how he set about the task of proving that it did not work! The case is more than a legal curiosity, because the court announced for the first time the rule of caveat emptor ("let the buyer beware"), which meant that purchasers were responsible for checking the quality of goods that they purchased. The phrase caveat emptor has entered common usage, and is often used in the context of offers that seem "too good to be true".

It is interesting to consider whether Mr. Chandelor would have had more success in a modern court with the advent of notions of consumer protection and implied warranties that simply did not exist in the law of the early seventeenth century. There is a whole raft of consumer legislation that a feckless/gullible consumer could seek to rely upon. Alternatively, the disgruntled bezoar owner could trade the offending stone for a Carbolic Smoke Ball - as any first year law student could tell you, that will cure all of your ailments!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Businesses saving the planet

The best product I discovered last year was a battery that you can re-charge in a USB port. So simple that you can hardly believe it hasn’t been done before. However, it took the ingenuity of Moixa Energy to bring it about. It was only launched last September and it’s already available in over 50 countries. I notice that they’ve even launched a range of pastel coloured batteries for the fashion conscious battery users among us. You can order yours at here.

What I particularly like about Moixa is that they are actually doing something about helping the environment through private enterprise. They also have the vision to look beyond merely their present impressive line-up as they point out that much of our power needs could be provided through a low voltage electricity supply rather than the highly wasteful and outdated system currently in most houses. With governments that go with whatever way the wind happens to be blowing it is firms such as these who, in their own small and individual ways, offer us hope.

CEO, Simon Daniel commented “Our USBCELL batteries are for life, and not thrown away like other alkaline cells after a single use at Christmas. With over 15 billion batteries needlessly manufactured (causing significant carbon emissions) and thrown away into Landfill each year, the world needs to adopt more sustainable and usable products like the USBCELL”.


Weekly Review


BabyBarista: FakeClaims and Uptights’ Briefs
With BabyB firmly established at The Times, his following is no doubt growing. This week we hear about UpTights’ briefs, FakeClaims&Co, court listing and being caught without your wig. BabyBarista at The Times.

The age old discussion about the age old wigs and gowns
Legal Beagle puts his arguments for and against the tradition including his point that at least you don't have to make any effort with your hair in the morning. Legal Beagle.

Karma in action
Nearly Legal advises never answering a prospective client call after 5.20 pm on a Friday. Nearly Legal.

Are we in too much of a rush?
One of the world’s top violinists, playing on a $3.5 million 1713 Stradivarius, busks in an underground train station in Washington D.C.

Will any of the commuters, on their way to work, stop to listen?
Legal Scribbles.

Acting the goat
Outside the Law seeks advice on keeping a goat in a loft without a licence. Law Outsider.


Barrister fights bank charges
After months of controversy, Britain's banks face a landmark court challenge over charges as a result of a one-man campaign waged by a barrister who is risking his professional career to prove they are acting illegally. Independent.

Top QC condemns draft money laundering regulations
The government’s draft money laundering regulations are so vague it could be unlawful to prosecute lawyers who may unwittingly fail to comply with them, a leading human rights QC has claimed. Law Gazette.

NHS worker wins job back in landmark case
A 67-year-old NHS employee who was sacked the day before new age discrimination regulations protecting older workers came into force has won her job back in a landmark victory that could help others in a similar position. Times.

Shell suit ends in record $450m payout
A ground breaking European class action against Royal Dutch Shell by a group of more than 50 investors has resulted in a $450m settlement. Legal Week.

Virgin TV in BSkyB court action
Virgin Media has launched a High Court action against BSkyB in a programming row between the UK broadcasters. The Sky Basic package, including Sky One which shows Lost and 24, was cut from Virgin last month in a row over fees Sky wanted to charge. BBC.

State school pupils helped to get a foot in the door of law
The law remains an elitist profession - with the vast majority of those at the top educated at private school. But a new programme to help state pupils get a foot in the door aims to change that. Independent.


Is there a link between excessive body hair and intelligence?
Psychiatrist discusses a study which has found a correlation between intelligence and body hair. Have you got a hairy back? Read on… The Psychiatrist Blog.

How do you eat yours?
A confused cockatoo at a wildlife centre has spent the last two weeks trying to hatch a bowl of Easter eggs. Manchester Evening News.

Off their trolley
A book about abandoned shopping trolleys titled The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification has been named as the oddest book title of the year by industry magazine Bookseller. BBC.

Beware of out-of-date gherkins
A 105-year-old man has lost his record of never being taken to hospital after being admitted for indigestion after eating a jar of pickled gherkins. Romanian doctors said Tudorica Anghel was "amazingly healthy" for a man of his age, despite never being taken to hospital before. It's thought that the offending gherkins were well past their sell-by date. In The News.

Careless rapture
A Chicago woman is suing a colleague for “negligent dancing” after he dropped her on her head while flipping her into the air at an office party. Lacey Hindman, 22, suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries. The Times.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bar Council website

The Bar Council has just produced a long overdue new website which is a massive improvement on the old version. They have also launched a blog to which we shall both be contributing an article once a week. There will be four other contributors plus the Chairman of the Bar and the Chairman of the Young Bar so it promises to be quite a lively forum.

Online Footprints

This article by Tim Kevan and Aidan Ellis appeared on the new Bar Council Blog on 12 April 2007.

As we launch the Bar Council Blog this week and reflect upon the convergence of old and new, it raises an issue which may become increasingly relevant for prospective lawyers of the future: the extent to which they may take account of an applicant’s online footprint. Many people at one time or another have left comments on a blog, sometimes perhaps without giving it a second thought. Others have their own pages on sites such as MySpace. In the light of this, it is perhaps not surprising that a recent YouGov poll was reported in IT Pro to show that 15% of firms rejected employees on the basis of their online footprint and this was as high as 25% when it came to human resources managers. Of course, there may well be issues of privacy and freedom of expression. However, whatever the law eventually dictates, it raises the practical question as to how any such problem can be avoided in the first place.

In this respect, it’s important to realise that once you’ve posted something online, it’s potentially out of your control and into the wilderness of cyberspace. Even if you have a website which you then take down, some search engines and other sites may already have recorded your content and ping it back up when a search is being made. This is not to suggest that everyone should sit around being so cautious that they become like the worst politicians, saying nothing, taking no risks and draining the soul out of any of their communications. However, it is to remind people that just like email, what you post is not the same as having a conversation with your friends, something which disappears into the ether. This is not to give a view on the rights and wrongs of any such searches. But it is to counsel caution when you sit down in front of a computer and think of writing a rude or indiscreet comment online.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ministry of Defence Compensation Pay Outs

At the start of this week, newspapers reported that the Ministry of Defence had paid out £67 million in compensation payments in a year. Legal costs were reportedly in the region of £11 million.

The MOD is the latest in a line of public bodies attacked in the press for high compensation pay outs. Already this year the NHS and the prison service have come in for similar criticism.

The barrister blog continues to ask the question is this just media hype or is compensation culture going too far?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Weekly review


BabyBarista goes global by joining the Times Online!
We’ve just spotted that BabyBarista is now writing for the Times Online. This week UpTights gets clobbered in court and BabyB has his first victory…by accident. BabyBarista at The Times.

Charon QC on role of managing partners, practice and examinations
Charon QC presents podcasts on the role of the managing partner in modern law firms, on practice as a solicitor and on preparing for exams. Charon QC.

The end of satire
Magistrate reflects on how if someone returned to this country after ten years of New Labour they would think someone was playing an April Fool on them. The Magistrate’s Blog.

Big Brother - something to shout about?
Comment on the report that the UK’s CCTV coverage is to be augmented in 20 areas by a system which will permit audio messages to be relayed via loud speakers. Impact.

Too sane to be rational
Thought-provoking article on the suggestion that only those with brain damage and economists act rationally. f/k/a.


Significant changes to CPR Parts 36 and 14 now in force
To see the new versions, click the links: Part 36 and Part 14. To see the comments on the changes, click here.

European Court rules against spying on staff
A college secretary from Wales has won a legal challenge against her employers and the UK Government after an employee of the college secretly monitored her personal communications for up to 18 months without her consent. Solicitors’ Journal.

Bar School numbers may be capped to widen appeal
The numbers of students who can train as barristers could be capped in a move by the profession to reduce wastage and widen its appeal to the best from all backgrounds. The Times.

OFT launches wider study into bank charges
A much anticipated crackdown on bank charges has been delayed after the government announced an in-depth study into the issue. Which?

Dockers' right to claim asbestos compensation upheld
The Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling to allow dock workers with asbestos related illnesses to sue the government for compensation. Injury Watch.

Criminal law bar faces up to ‘solicitor threat’
The Criminal Bar Association has launched a draft paper on how to maintain its members’ position in the market in a bid to meet the ‘growing threat of unfair competition’ from solicitor higher court advocates. Law Gazette.


Why bloggers are often anonymousPsychiatrist writes about why bloggers so often keep their identity a secret. The Psychiatrist Blog.

Boston Legal
Another cracking clip from Boston Legal, this time involving an alleged UFO sighting. YouTube.

Students Seek $900,000 for essays
Four US students are suing an anti-plagiarism service for $900,000 claiming that it has nicked their essays. Roll on Friday.

Beach walk that could cost author £2,000
Best-selling writer Ian McEwan is facing a £2,000 fine after he grabbed some pebbles from a South Coast beach. The Telegraph.

Surfing dolphins
Beautiful footage of dolphins enjoying the surf. YouTube.

Changes to CPR Parts 14 and 36 into force

Just a reminder that the changes which we flagged a few weeks ago to CPR Parts 14 and 36 came into force on 6 April. To see the new versions, click the links: Part 14 and Part 36. To see the comments we made in our last article, click here.

How much is your blog worth?

My blog is worth $41,211.42.
How much is your blog worth?

Check out this site which gives an estimate of how much your blog is worth (monopoly money, of course!)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The coast is clear

Interesting story in today's Independent that David Miliband is about to open up the entire English coastline to the public in an historic and controversial extension of the "right to roam". I wonder if there are any decent surfing beaches which have been hidden away on private land which may now become accessible? Interesting time for David Miliband to be courting the traditional Old Labour left as The Telegraph reports that John Reid would back him against Gordon Brown in a leadership race.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Weekly review


Training contract rat race
More tips on getting a training contract. UK Law Student.

On TK Maxx and disclosure laws
Why it would be helpful to adopt disclosure laws similar to those in California. Geeklawyer.

BabyBarista: how to get back to chambers before lunch
He’s still keeping the quality high and gets our approval once again. This week, he rails against cabbies failing to abide by their annoying ‘cab rank rule’ and meets his first client “BullDog”. BabyBarista.

Legal Aid dispute analysis
Comprehensive analysis on the details of the dispute. Nearly Legal.


Brown’s cuts to hit courts and criminal bar
The Department for Constitutional Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office could be forced to reduce frontline services and impose pay and job cuts, after last week’s Budget demanded a 3.5% reduction in real terms year on year to both departments’ expenditure. Law Gazette.

Da Vinci Code Appeal collapses
The novelist Dan Brown did not copy large parts of another book to produce The Da Vinci Code, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Times.

Blogger wins sacking case
An Englishwoman sacked for bringing her employers in Paris into disrepute by writing an internet diary under the pseudonym “petite anglaise” was awarded £30,000 for wrongful dismissal. Telegraph.

Poor likely to suffer in fees dispute as some legal aid firms hold out
A stand-off on the legal aid contracts leaves thousands of poor people without access to justice. Guardian.

Falconer bags top job at new Ministry of Justice
Lord Falconer has been unveiled as the UK's first secretary of state for Justice. The Lawyer.


Health, love and marriage
Psychiatrist tells how marriage can increase your life expectancy…if you’re a man. The Psychiatrist Blog.

Boston Legal
Homeland Security Bureaucracy. YouTube.

Surfing penguins
New movie featuring surfing penguins. You Tube.