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