Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book recommendation: Shark by Will Self

4 May 1970. A week earlier President Nixon has ordered American ground forces into Cambodia to pursue the Vietcong. By the end of the day four students will be lying in the grounds of Kent State University, shot dead by the National Guard. On the other side of the Atlantic, it's a brilliant sunny morning after an April of heavy rain, and at the Concept House therapeutic community he has set up in the London suburb of Willesden, maverick psychiatrist Dr Zack Busner has been tricked into joining a decidedly ill-advised LSD trip with several of its disturbed residents. Five years later, sitting in a nearby cinema watching Steven Spielberg's Jaws with his young son, Busner realizes the true nature of the events that transpired on that dread-soaked day, when a survivor of the worst disaster in the US Navy's history - the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the shark-infested south Pacific - came face-to-face with the British Royal Air Force observer on the Enola Gay's mission to Hiroshima. Set a year before the action of his Booker-shortlisted Umbrella, Will Self's new novel continues its exploration of the complex relationship between human psychopathology and human technological progress; and like Umbrella, weaves together multiple narratives across several decades of the twentieth century to produce a fiendish tapestry depicting the state we're enmeshed in. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Book recommendation: Us by David Nicholls

Douglas Petersen understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home. He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together. So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again. The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed. What could possibly go wrong? Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book recommendation: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. What do Apple, Starbucks, Dyson and Pret a Manger have in common? How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last? The old checklist of P's used by marketers - Pricing, Promotion, Publicity - aren't working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It's time to add a new P - the Purple Cow. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. In his new bestseller, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It's a manifesto for anyone who wants to help create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book recommendation: The Common Lawyer by Mark Gimenez

Andy Prescott is the most laid-back young lawyer in Austin, Texas. Specialising in traffic law, he operates from a small room above a ramshackle tattoo parlour. He rides a trail bike and spends way too much time drinking beer in the sunshine. Ambition has never been Andy's strong point - he prefers to take it easy. That is, until one of Texas's wealthiest men walks into his office. On the spot, billionaire Russell Reeves retains Andy as his lawyer and, in exchange for some easy legal work, pays him more money than he has ever earned before. Andy's life is transformed. But nothing comes for free. Russell is a desperate man whose sole aim is to save his eight-year-old son, Zach, who is dying from leukemia. He is prepared to do anything - even if it means putting Andy's life in danger... Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Book recommendation: More Uncommon - by A.P. Herbert

The second of two volumes which explore the humorous side of English law, written by a former lawyer and independent MP. Whether writing about the possibility of Brigitte Bardot becoming an MP, or whether a cheque can be written on an egg, the author describes the absurdities of the legal system. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book recommendation: Moriarty Hardcover by Anthony Horowitz

Sherlock Holmes is dead. Days after Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty fall to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind who has risen to take his place. Ably assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, a devoted student of Holmes's methods of investigation and deduction, Frederick Chase must forge a path through the darkest corners of the capital to shine light on this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace. Author of the global bestseller THE HOUSE OF SILK, Anthony Horowitz once more breathes life into the world created by Arthur Conan Doyle. With pitch-perfect characterisation and breath-taking pace, Horowitz weaves a relentlessly thrilling tale which teases and delights by the turn of each page. The game is afoot... Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book recommendation: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and on his writing. Equal parts travelogue, training log, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and settings ranging from Tokyo's Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, this is a must-read for fans of this masterful yet private writer as well as for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running. Available from Amazon.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Free Law Updates & Cheap CPD!

Brought to you by our friends at Stubb Legal Limited

Stubb Legal are doing a promotion of their service. They have a useful free facility. If you open an account on their website, you can access all their law guides, which are bang up-to-date, and contain all the latest important legal developments.

They are also offering a generous 70% discount on all podcasts to readers of this blog. You simply have to use the code "KEVAN14" at checkout. Each podcast normally costs £23.95, so the discount is worth £201.18 if you order 12 hours worth.

Using the Code
In order to use the discount code, you must have a Stubb Legal account (but it only takes a few minutes to set this up and it is free). You then simply need to add your chosen podcast or podcasts to your basket, and click checkout. You then enter the promotional code "KEVAN14" and it is applied to the total amount, to reduce it by 70%. You can then proceed through the checkout. The podcast will then appear in your account ready to be listened to.

About Stubb Legal
Stubb Legal is a service producing and distributing CPD podcasts and CDs for lawyers. Fully accredited by the SRA, Bar Standards Board and ILEX, Stubb Legal was launched in 2000 to allow solicitors, barristers and other legal practitioners to fulfil their CPD requirements by listening to podcasts about their chosen area of law. The service is used by over 1000 firms.
Each podcast or CD lasts about 45 minutes and, together with the quiz afterwards, is worth 1 CPD point for solicitors, barristers or Ilex.

Stubb Legal’s audio podcasts are not delivered ex tempore, but carefully drafted beforehand, and edited by expert barristers covering 144 different legal topics, which are categorised into 6 areas: civil litigation, commercial, crime, employment, family, and property. The podcasts are available to download to a portable device (for example an iPod) or to a desktop PC.

See for more information.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book recommendation: Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer

Horace Rumpole is not overfond of the rituals of Christmas: turkey, tinsel and the like. But happily the festive season is not one respected by the criminal fraternity; meaning that celebrations in the Rumpole household are frequently disturbed in most-welcome ways. There's the suspicious Father Christmas at Equity's Court's festive party. The actor who goes missing from the panto on the night of a major crime. As well as the body cluttering up the health farm (where the great barrister is gloomily restricted to a diet of yak's milk and steamed spinach to please She Who Must Be Obeyed). Available from Amazon.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Article with five tips for running a road traffic claim

Brought to you by our friends at Barletts Solicitors

I've just written an article for Bartletts Solicitors with five tips for running a road traffic claim which you can read here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book recommendation: Sober as a Judge (Roger Thursby) by Henry Cecil

Roger Thursby, the hero of Brothers in Law and Friends at Court, continues his career as a High Court judge. He presides over a series of unusual cases, including a professional debtor and an action about a consignment of oranges which turned to juice before delivery. There is a delightful succession of eccentric witnesses as the reader views proceedings from the bench. Available from Amazon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Article with Five Tips For Lawyers Bringing A Personal Injury Claim

Brought to you by our friends at Barletts Solicitors

I've just written an article for Bartletts Solicitors with Five Tips For Lawyers Bringing A Personal Injury Claim which you can read here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book recommendation: Tomorrow's Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future by Richard Susskind

Tomorrow's Lawyers predicts fundamental and irreversible changes in the world of law. For Richard Susskind, best-selling author of The End of Lawyers?, the future of legal service will be neither Grisham nor Rumpole. Instead, it will be a world of virtual courts, Internet-based global legal businesses, online document production, commoditized service, legal process outsourcing, and web-based simulated practice. Legal markets will be liberalized, with new jobs for lawyers and new employers too. This book is a definitive guide to this future - for young and aspiring lawyers, and for all who want to modernize our legal and justice systems. It introduces the new legal landscape and offers practical guidance for those who intend to build careers and businesses in law. Available from Amazon.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekend video: Albert Einstein- How I See the World

Article on the need to stop bashing the personal injury world

Brought to you by our friends at Barletts Solicitors

I've just written an article for Bartletts Solicitors on the need to stop bashing the personal injury world which you can read here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book recommendation: 'The Actaeon Tide' by Tom Anderson

I've recently been sent a review copy of The Actaeon Tide by writer, surfer and friend Tom Anderson. It's set mostly in South Wales and the protagonist earns his money as a private investigator in order to fund his time surfing. But his life is turned upside down when a client ends up dead. The book is an excellent thriller bringing together ancient myth and psychological tension all set against the backdrop of the rise and fall of the tide. Whilst it may well appeal to fans of other surf writers, it should also have a wider appeal beyond surfing and to all those who enjoy a cracking yarn well told. Move over Kem Nunn and Tim Winton, Tom Anderson is the new kid on the block for surf novels! You can buy a copy of the book at

Book recommendation: Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer

Horace Rumpole - cigar-smoking, claret-drinking, Wordsworth-spouting defender of some unlikely clients - often speaks of the great murder trial which revealed his talents as an advocate and made his reputation down at the Bailey when he was still a young man. Now, for the first time, the sensational story of the Penge Bungalow Murders case is told in full: how, shortly after the war, Rumpole took on the seemingly impossible task of defending young Simon Jerold, accused of murdering his father and his father's friend with a German officer's gun. And how the inexperienced young brief was left alone to pursue the path of justice, in a case that was to echo through the Bailey for years to come. John Mortimer's hilarious Rumpole, which fans of Sherlock Holmes and P.G. Wodehouse will love, sees the magician of the Old Bailey at his unpredictable and brilliant best. Available from Amazon.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Article on The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill 2014

Brought to you by our friends at Barletts Solicitors

I've just written an article for Bartletts Solicitors on The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill 2014 which you can read here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book recommendation: Just Law by Helena Kennedy QC

Acute, questioning, humane and passionately concerned for justice, Helena Kennedy is one of the most powerful voices in legal circles in Britain today. Here she roundly challenges the record of modern governments over the fundamental values of equality, fairness and respect for human dignity. She argues that in the last twenty years we have seen a steady erosion of civil liberties, culminating today in extraordinary legislation, which undermines long established freedoms. Are these moves a crude political response to demands for law and order? Or is the relationship between citizens and the state being covertly reframed and redefined? Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book recommendation: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital - an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both. Available from Amazon.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Compensation For Motorcyclists Injured In Accidents

Brought to you by our friends at Bartletts Solicitors Limited

The high incidence rate of road traffic accidents involving motorcyclists is due to various factors, including the relatively small size and instability of motorbikes, the lack of protection they offer the rider, and the high speeds they can travel at.

Accidents in which motorcyclists are injured commonly occur when another road user does not see a motorbike approaching when overtaking, pulling out, turning or braking. This is often the result of poor visibility due to traffic congestion or adverse weather conditions.

Injured motorcyclists can also claim compensation from the relevant highway authority under the Highways Act 1980, if an accident was caused by the unsafe condition of the road and inadequate maintenance.

Find out more about: Compensation For Motorcyclists Injured In Accidents

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book recommendation: The Law Machine by Marcel Berlins and Clare Dyer

The authors explain and discuss how the justice system evolved, the way it operates - including vivid descriptions of the trial process - and how lawyers work. Revised and updated throughout for this fifth edition, THE LAW MACHINE surveys recent developments in the workings of justice and the outlook for the future. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book recommendation: Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher

Letters of Note is a collection of over one hundred of the world's most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name - an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people. From Virginia Woolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II's recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression 'OMG' in a letter to Winston Churchill, to Gandhi's appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop's beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, to Leonardo da Vinci's remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives. Including letters from: Zelda Fitzgerald, Iggy Pop, Fidel Castro, Leonardo da Vinci, Bill Hicks, Anaïs Nin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Amelia Earhart, Charles Darwin, Roald Dahl, Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley, Dorothy Parker, John F. Kennedy, Groucho Marx, Charles Dickens, Katharine Hepburn, Kurt Vonnegut, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Emily Dickinson and many more. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book recommendation: Power of Attorney by Dexter Dias

With a $15 million super-yacht ablaze on the Thames and a tortured body upon it, young lawyer David Kilkenny, run out of the police force for exposing corruption, has the chance to make his name. Surprisingly, the main opposition comes from his enigmatic client, Sebastian Santos. Mercurial entrepreneur, money launderer or the most softly spoken, coldly cruel murderer to come before the courts? But to take down his client, he must also take down Santos' financier - David's own brother, Francis. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book recommendation: Scalia and Garner's Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges by Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner

In their professional lives, courtroom lawyers must do these two things: speak persuasively and write persuasively. In this noteworthy book, two of the most noted legal writers of our day - Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner - systematically present every important idea about judicial persuasion in a fresh, entertaining way. Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges is a guide for novice and experienced litigators alike. It covers the essentials of sound legal reasoning, including how to develop the syllogism that underlies any argument. From there the authors explain the art of brief writing, especially what to include and what to omit, so that you can induce the judge to focus closely on your arguments. Finally they show what it takes to succeed in oral argument. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book recommendation: The Stay-Behind Cave by Boris Starling

Lord Of The Flies meets Flowers In The Attic. December 1940. As the German army closes in on Gibraltar, 16-year-old Rassie Elder and five friends stumble across the most secret place on the Rock. They were never supposed to know about this place, let alone find it. And now they're trapped inside, Gibraltar has fallen, and they'll stay alive only as long as they can remain undetected. But danger is not just outside the cave. It's in there with them too. For there is no darkness greater than that of the human heart. And the terror is just beginning.... The greatest World War Two story never told. Until now. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book recommendation: Gray Mountain by John Grisham

One week ago, Samantha Kofer was a third year associate at New York City's largest law firm. Now she is an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small town Appalachia. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, her future. As she confronts real clients with real problems, she finds herself a world away from her past life of corporate fat cats and fatter bonuses. This is coal country. Meth country. The law is different here. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book recommendation: Personal (Jack Reacher 19) by Lee Child

ack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he's a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president. Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him. This new heartstopping, nailbiting book in Lee Child's number-one bestselling series takes Reacher across the Atlantic to Paris - and then to London. The stakes have never been higher - because this time, it's personal. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book recommendation: 21st Century Solicitor: How to Make a Real Impact as a Junior Commercial Lawyer by Steve Weiner

This might be news: success as a twenty-first century solicitor is not dependent on your technical aptitude alone. Sorry. As well as the basic requirements of understanding and applying the law superbly, you are also now expected to master a whole suite of so-called soft skills -- communicating empathetically, acting commercially, writing carefully, presenting brilliantly, networking sensibly and building relationships enthusiastically. These skills might be called soft by our industry, but the reality is that they are both incredibly hard and vitally important -- especially as a junior commercial lawyer keen to make a likeable, professional, commercial and lasting positive impression on those in control of your embryonic career. Written by a lawyer with unique experience as a commercial practitioner, trainer and law-firm voyeur, this no-nonsense how to guide is an honest, punchy and modern look at all the skills you don t get taught at law school, yet are absolutely critical to achieving success from day one of your life as a twenty-first century solicitor. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book recommendation: Politics of the Judiciary by J. A. G. Griffith

This classic account of how the judiciary cannot act neutrally, but must act politically, now in its fifth edition. John Griffith’s controversial book has been fully revised and updated to consider the latest developments in relations between politicians and the judiciary: Michael Howard’s conflict with the judges, miscarriages of justice, the Criminal Justice Act, the increased use of Judicial Review, the effects of anti-trade union legislation of the 1980s, and so on. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book recommendation: The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) by Robert Galbraith

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . . A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London - from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho - The Cuckoo's Calling is a remarkable book. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book recommendation: The Business of Judging: Selected Essays and Speeches: 1985-1999 by Tom (later Lord) Lord Bingham

This classic account of how the judiciary cannot act neutrally, but must act politically, now in its fifth edition. John Griffith’s controversial book has been fully revised and updated to consider the latest developments in relations between politicians and the judiciary: Michael Howard’s conflict with the judges, miscarriages of justice, the Criminal Justice Act, the increased use of Judicial Review, the effects of anti-trade union legislation of the 1980s, and so on. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book recommendation: Politics of the Judiciary by J. A. G. Griffith

This classic account of how the judiciary cannot act neutrally, but must act politically, now in its fifth edition. John Griffith’s controversial book has been fully revised and updated to consider the latest developments in relations between politicians and the judiciary: Michael Howard’s conflict with the judges, miscarriages of justice, the Criminal Justice Act, the increased use of Judicial Review, the effects of anti-trade union legislation of the 1980s, and so on. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book recommendation: Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University by Nicholas J McBride

Letters to a Law Student relays all that a prospective law student needs to know before embarking on their studies. It provides a useful guide to those considering a law degree or conversion course and helps students prepare for what can be a daunting first year of study. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book recommendation: A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd

Winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize. Escapee from suburbia, overweight, oversexed ... Morgan Leafy isn't overburdened with worldly success. Actually, he is refreshingly free from it. But then, as a representative of Her Britannic Majesty in tropical Kinjanja, it was not very constructive of him to get involved in wholesale bribery. Nor was it exactly oiling his way up the ladder to hunt down the improbably pointed breasts of his boss's daughter when officially banned from horizontal delights by a nasty dose ... Falling back on his deep-laid reserves of misanthropy and guile, Morgan has to fight off the sea of humiliation, betrayal and ju-ju that threatens to wash over him. A Good Man in Africa is one of the greatest comic novels of recent times and will be loved by fansof Any Human Heart, as well as readers of Ben Macintyre, SebastianFaulks, Nick Hornby and Hilary Mantel. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book recommendation: The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Book recommendation: Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another.Acting on a dinner-party tip from Mrs Algernon Smith, he feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising little war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. One of Waugh's most exuberant comedies, Scoop is a brilliantly irreverentsatire of Fleet Street and its hectic pursuit of hot news. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book recommendation: A Certain Justice by PD James

Venetia Aldridge QC is a distinguished barrister. When she agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, it is one more opportunity to triumph in her career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, called in to investigate, finds motives for murder among the clients Venetia has defended, her professional colleagues, her family - even her lover. As Dalgliesh narrows the field of suspects, a second brutal murder draws them into greater complexities of intrigue and evil. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book recommendation: The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus by Alex Williams

In 1993 the Queen's Counsel cartoon strip first appeared in the law pages of The Times. The authors were Alex Williams and Graham Defries, two young lawyers determined to make fun of the legal profession even as they attempted to climb its greasy pole. The strip soon settled on a handful of key characters: Sir Geoffrey Bentwood QC, Head of Chambers at 4 Lawn Buildings, a study in pomposity and all-round Master of the Legal Universe; Richard Loophole, ambulance chaser and senior partner at Filibuster and Loophole; and Rachel Underwood, oppressed associate who never quite makes partner no matter how good her work is. The strip has been published continuously in The Times ever since. Collected here for the first time is the author's personal selection of the very best cartoons over the past 20 years, showing that, despite all the changes in the legal profession in over two decades - nothing much has really changed. These cartoons show Britain's best-loved legal cartoon satire maturing into ripe middle-age; good-natured, funny, and a bit flabby around the middle. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Book recommendation: Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer

Horace Rumpole - cigar-smoking, claret-drinking, Wordsworth-spouting defender of some unlikely clients - often speaks of the great murder trial which revealed his talents as an advocate and made his reputation down at the Bailey when he was still a young man. Now, for the first time, the sensational story of the Penge Bungalow Murders case is told in full: how, shortly after the war, Rumpole took on the seemingly impossible task of defending young Simon Jerold, accused of murdering his father and his father's friend with a German officer's gun. And how the inexperienced young brief was left alone to pursue the path of justice, in a case that was to echo through the Bailey for years to come. John Mortimer's hilarious Rumpole, which fans of Sherlock Holmes and P.G. Wodehouse will love, sees the magician of the Old Bailey at his unpredictable and brilliant best. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book recommendation: The Due Process of Law by Lord Denning

Two central themes run through The Due Process of Law. The first is the workings of the various "measures authorised by the law so as to keep the streams of justice pure"-that is to say, contempt of court, judicial inquiries, and powers of arrest and search. The second is the recent development of family law, focusing particularly on Lord Denning's contribution to the law of husband and wife. These broad themes are elaborated through a discussion of Lord Denning's own judgments and opinions on a wide range of topics. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An Overview of DBS Checks and What They Are Used For

Brought to you by our friends at Personnel Checks

There are many types of job which require certain legal checks to be carried out on you prior to you being offered the role. Previously known as CRB checks (completed by the Criminal Records Bureau), these now fall under the responsibility of the Disclosure and Barring Service (or DBS). The Independent Safeguarding Authority has also become part of new governmental department.

When might you need to have one?
Generally, DBS checks would need to be carried out if and when you are applying for a job role which has a particular level of sensitivity or risk involved in it. For example, those who want to work in a care home, teachers wanting to take a role in a new school, or those looking to become foster parents would almost certainly be required to have a DBS check done on them.

What if you are unsure if you need one?
In most cases an employer will tell you if they want you to have a DBS check done, and will usually provide the relevant information on how to get this done. However, if you have any concerns about what this entails, or think you are being asked unnecessarily to complete one, there is a list of the roles which are eligible for DBS checks on the Government’s website.

How the DBS checking process works
Whilst it may sound daunting, the process for getting a DBS check done is actually very straightforward. In most cases, your employer or potential employer will provide you with an application form to complete at your earliest convenience. Along with your filled out form, you will also need to provide some form of identification - usually in the form of a passport or driving licence (your employer will take a photocopy of it so you don’t lose your original document).

The employer will then send your forms and documentation to the DBS themselves, before a certificate is issued to you if and when you have passed the assessment. You’ll be required to provide this to your employer before a date that has been agreed with you. It’s also possible to sign up to an online service to view your certificate online - this can be sent to the employer in a digital format - great if they are a company keen on ‘staying green’!

DBS check prices
Unfortunately it does cost a bit of money to have a DBS check done, but as it’s a legal requirement for a surprisingly large number of job roles, it’s well worth the money. The amount you will need to pay depends on the level of checks that your employer requires. For basic DBS checks, which include information on spent and unspent convictions and cautions, it costs £26, and takes approximately two weeks for the certificate to be issued.

You can also get an enhanced check - costing £44, which will look into any information that could have an effect on you getting a specific job role. For example, it’s very likely that those who are planning on working in a school with children will need to have an enhanced check done due to the sensitive nature of such a position.

Book recommendation: Identical by Scott Turow

Two families entangled in a long and complex history of love and deceit . . . Twenty five years ago, after a society picnic held by businessman and politician Zeus Kronon, Zeus’ headstrong daughter Dita was found murdered. Her boyfriend, Cass Gianis, confessed to the crime. Now Cass has been released from prison into the care of his twin, Mayoral candidate Paul Gianis, who is in the middle of a high profile political campaign. But Dita’s brother Hal is convinced there is information surrounding his sister’s death that remains buried – and he won’t rest until he’s discovered the truth. Hal’s employee, former FBI Special Agent Evon Miller, teams up with Tim Brodie, a retired police officer, to investigate. After all this time, can they find evidence to place Paul Gianis, the ‘innocent’ twin, at the scene of the crime? Soon Paul will find himself struggling to hold his campaign together amidst Hal’s increasingly damning allegations. But what does the mayoral candidate really have to hide? And why has Cass Gianis vanished? A gripping masterpiece of dark family rivalries, shadowy politics and hidden secrets, Identical is the stunning new thriller from bestselling author Scott Turow, writing at the height of his powers. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book recommendation: The Verdict by Nick Stone

Terry Flynt is a struggling legal clerk, desperately trying to get promoted. And then he is given the biggest opportunity of his career: to help defend a millionaire accused of murdering a woman in his hotel suite. The only problem is that the accused man, Vernon James, turns out to be not only someone he knows, but someone he loathes. This case could potentially make Terry's career, but how can he defend a former friend who betrayed him so badly? With the trial date looming, Terry delves deeper into Vernon's life and is forced to confront secrets from their shared past that could have devastating consequences for them both. For years he has wanted to witness Vernon's downfall, but with so much at stake, how can Terry be sure that he is guilty? And what choices must he make to ensure that justice is done? Packed with twists, turns and an unforgettable trial scene, The Verdict is the most page-turning British legal thriller in many years. Available from Amazon.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book recommendation: RTA Allegations of Fraud in a post-Jackson Era: the Handbook by Andrew Mckie

A practical, concise and easy to read handbook dealing with allegations of fraud in personal injury RTA cases. From LVI to alleged staged accidents, this book covers all the main fraud topics including relevant cases, law and practical guidance that can be used by both junior and more senior fee earners in day-to-day practice in this complex and evolving area of law. Andrew Mckie is a Barrister at Clerksroom Manchester specialising in claimant and defendant personal injury, with a particular interest in cases involving alleged fraud and credit hire. He was called to the Bar in 2011 and before that was an Associate Solicitor and Solicitor Advocate. Before qualifying as a barrister, Andrew had over six years of advocacy experience as a Solicitor. He worked for a number of leading firms and dealt with both RTA fraud and credit hire and worked for both claimant and defendant firms. Most recently, he was the Head of Litigation and In-House Solicitor Advocate at a claimant personal injury and credit hire firm. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book recommendation: Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks

A gloriously witty novel from Sebastian Faulks using P.G. Wodehouse's much-loved characters, Jeeves and Wooster, fully authorised by the Wodehouse estate. Bertie Wooster, recently returned from a very pleasurable soujourn in Cannes, finds himself at the stately home of Sir Henry Hackwood in Dorset. Bertie is more than familiar with the country house set-up: he is a veteran of the cocktail hour and, thanks to Jeeves, his gentleman's personal gentleman, is never less than immaculately dressed. On this occasion, however, it is Jeeves who is to be seen in the drawing room while Bertie finds himself below stairs - and he doesn't care for it at all. Love, as so often, is at the root of the confusion. Bertie, you see, has met Georgiana on the Côte d'Azur. And though she is clever and he has a reputation for foolish engagements, it looks as though this could be the real thing. However, Georgiana is the ward of Sir Henry Hackwood and, in order to maintain his beloved Melbury Hall, the impoverished Sir Henry has struck a deal that would see Georgiana becoming Mrs Rupert Venables. Meanwhile, Peregrine 'Woody' Beeching, one of Bertie's oldest chums, is desperate to regain the trust of his fiancée Amelia, Sir Henry's tennis-mad daughter. But why would this necessitate Bertie having to pass himself off as a servant when he has never so much as made a cup of tea? Could it be that the ever-loyal, Spinoza-loving Jeeves has an ulterior motive? Evoking the sunlit days of a time gone by, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is a delightfully witty story of mistaken identity, a midsummer village festival, a cricket match and love triumphant. Available from Amazon.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lawyers and Social Media- The Do’s And Don’ts.

Brought to you by our friends at Vannin Capital PCC Ltd

There is little doubt that there are benefits aplenty for the savvy lawyer/law firm who engages with and carefully exploits social media. In short, social media offers cheap and extensive marketing opportunities and as such is a formidable commercial tool. Also social media is an excellent forum for communication with clients and potential clients. Furthermore, social media provides facilities for engaging in professional debate and accessing global and up-to-date legal resources. Additionally, adroit use of social media offers wide legal networking opportunities and a platform from which to raise one’s professional profile. The choice of social media sites is wide: for the purpose of this article the three most pertinent are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Judicious choice of site will be a first do or don’t for the prudent lawyer. From the outset, the modern lawyer/law firm must be aware that use of social media carries potential risks, as well as the aforementioned benefits. An initial risk is that participation in social media can blur the distinction between professional and personal identity. Social media is public by its definition; its contents may well prove to be permanent. Given that such content can be also pernicious and pervasive, it can be a dangerous tool.

Set out below are some basic do’s and don’ts, many of them based on common sense as much as any legal tenets.

The Do’s
  1. Firstly, lawyers should appreciate that professional conduct rules apply to their conduct online. These are clearly set out in the SRA Code of Conduct 2011, which includes a section on the use of social media. This highlights the aspects of a solicitor’s conduct that are most likely to be prejudiced when using social media, and these are integrity, independence and trust. The solicitor-client relationship is a fragile one. Being contacts of friends on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter could easily breach rules governing confidentiality and disclosure. Posting comments and opinions could cause conflict of interest and damage trust and confidence, leading to disputes over defamation and privacy issues. The best advice here is to read the SRA guidelines carefully and to follow them exactly.
  2. There are some fundamental, practical common sense rules that are to be followed when using any social media. These include using safe passwords, remembering to log out, having good back up systems, protecting and safe filing of client information and investing in good security systems that are anti-viral.
  3. Another essential safeguard for the law firm or lawyer planning to use social media, is to plan that use carefully. Initial questions to be asked include, what are the practice’s legal and commercial objectives? Who will direct and manage the social media operations? (The advice here is to have strong professional direction, both external and in-house.) Policies about use, and penalties for misuse, of social media should be clear and communicated to all staff.
  4. Where legal blogs are to be set up, access routes to them will be crucial. Lawyers writing such blogs should be careful to protect client’s and colleague’s confidentiality. Naming of clients and cases should be avoided. Content should be topical and informative. Care should be taken to make clear disclaimers that legal advice is not being offered, only personal opinions and interpretations. Most will be written in the personal voice (I) to make this clear. To provoke debate and a wide following they may need to be controversial as well as topical.
  5. The best overall advice is to be professional and do everything to ensure high standards. These standards will extend to accuracy of information, spelling and grammar. Politeness, respect and courtesy should be maintained at all times. Avoidance of personal criticisms, sarcasm and inflammatory statements is the rule. Ill-thought, knee-jerk and emotive statements could lead to further claims. So use social media cautiously and responsibly and minimise the risks.

The Don’ts

These are just the antithesis of the do’s, so are much shorter, and all are best avoided.
  1. Don’t breach any of the SRA on professional conduct.
  2. Don’t do anything that would jeopardise client confidentiality and client care.
  3. Don’t breach rules on disclosure.
  4. Don’t befriend clients on social media sites.
  5. Don’t talk to or about clients cases.
  6. Don’t breach any marketing-related rules on professional conduct.
  7. Don’t give legal advice on social media sites.
  8. Don’t use social media if you haven’t considered the potential risks and pitfalls. Not only could it be professionally damaging, it will also be time-consuming. Finally, remember, bad publicity is worse than no publicity.
  9. Do not put anything on social media if there is anyone, anywhere, anytime (the future can be a very long time) who you would not want to see it. 
  10. Don’t say anything you might be ashamed of, or later regret.
This article was written on behalf of Vannin Capital. Visit the site today to learn about Litigation Funding uk.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book recommendation: Solo: A James Bond Novel by William Boyd

It is 1969 and James Bond is about to go solo, recklessly motivated by revenge. A seasoned veteran of the service, 007 is sent to single-handedly stop a civil war in the small West African nation of Zanzarim. Aided by a beautiful accomplice and hindered by the local militia, he undergoes a scarring experience which compels him to ignore M's orders in pursuit of his own brand of justice. Bond's renegade action leads him to Washington, D.C., where he discovers a web of geopolitical intrigue and witnesses fresh horrors. Even if Bond succeeds in exacting his revenge, a man with two faces will come to stalk his every waking moment. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book recommendation: Just Law by Helena Kennedy

Acute, questioning, humane and passionately concerned for justice, Helena Kennedy is one of the most powerful voices in legal circles in Britain today. Here she roundly challenges the record of modern governments over the fundamental values of equality, fairness and respect for human dignity. She argues that in the last twenty years we have seen a steady erosion of civil liberties, culminating today in extraordinary legislation, which undermines long established freedoms. Are these moves a crude political response to demands for law and order? Or is the relationship between citizens and the state being covertly reframed and redefined? Available from Amazon.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Health and Safety Executive Reveals Mistakes That Small Businesses Make In Compliance Attempts

Brought to you by our friends at Concierge Legal Services Ltd

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently issued a news release directed to small business owners and their employees. The press release aims to target those companies who are incorrectly dealing with health and safety within their organisations. Some measures taken by companies have been deemed as “bizarre and unnecessary” by HSE, and they have published a few examples to help other businesses to figure out how to properly comply with health and safety.

What have small businesses been doing wrong?
The fact that businesses are trying to comply with health and safety laws and guidelines is of course to be commended, but time and money can be wasted by doing it incorrectly. After carrying out a survey, HSE shared that one business “completed a risk assessment for using a tape measure” and another “introduced written guidelines for walking up stairs”.

How can these mistakes be rectified?
HSE recommends that small and medium sized employers use its free online tools and guidance. They have a section online called H&S ABC which is designed to be an easy guide for getting the basics right. The idea is that business owners will be able to achieve the right level of risk management, as it seems that many are unsure as to what this should be. In line with this theory, nearly a third of small businesses have said that they are “aware they have to take some action but unsure where to start or if what they are doing is correct.”

What myths can be avoided?
Some companies just follow the advice of others, meaning they can end up doing things wrong - kind of like copying off someone’s test paper at school only to find out you could have done it better yourself. Common myths include needing to hire a specialist consultant when it comes to health and safety; one in five people believed they were not capable of managing this themselves and sourced an external person to help. Eleven percent of people who answered the HSE survey thought that they needed a qualified electrician to test appliances including kettles and toasters each and every year - this isn’t actually necessary.

Next steps for small businesses
Kate Haire of HSEs small business team says: “Health and safety is all about taking steps to manage serious risks of ill-health and injury in the workplace” - and also provides procedures for business when accidents at work happen. She continued by saying: “If something sounds completely unreasonable, more often than not it will be totally unnecessary too.”

The National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, John Allan, spoke on the topic, saying: “The fear factor forces many businesses to adopt unnecessary health and safety procedures which costs time and money.”

To avoid these problems in the future, more research should be done by business owners to clarify what is needed, and what isn’t. Of course, the HSE website is a good place to start, including the resource at

Monday, March 17, 2014

From Then to Now: How Has Litigation Funding Reformed?

Brought to you by our friends at Vannin Capital PCC Ltd

Over the last five years, legal funding in the UK has changed considerably. Third party funding has become a global phenomenon and the number of businesses going down the funding route has increased immensely.

Why? Taking a case to court is a costly endeavour and in such tough economic times, it is no wonder why so many firms are taking the high road when it comes to pursuing a patent dispute or insolvency claim.

However, third party funding has witnessed a boom in popularity given that it is a viable means to achieving justice and spreading the risks. It gives businesses the chance to go to court when money is lacking. 
  • Investment

A third party funder fundamentally sees it as an investment. Yes, it is a huge risk to cover your legal fees because if the case loses, they don’t get any of their investment back and they have to cover the defendant’s legal costs. The client on the other hand, can walk away without paying anything.

Nevertheless, if the case wins they will expect a return which is roughly around 25-40% of the investment. This may sound a lot but given that some cases can take around five years to reach a verdict, the fee is justifiable. You will probably find that most funders don’t take cases on unless they value more than £2million, simply because they have to be financially viable.

As covering all of the costs is so risky, third party providers will not accept a case unless it has a strong defence and a sound likelihood of winning. This is why up to 80% of applications for funding are rejected. 
  • Code of Practice

It has been claimed that legal funders bet on the outcome of a litigation dispute when in reality, it is much more professionally calculated. Reputable funders are members of the recently formed Association of Litigation Funders of England and Wales (ALF). All members are bound by a rigorous code of practice which is in place to ensure good practice in the industry.

Members must follow set rules which safeguard the client against terminating agreements half way through a case, and it guarantees that they have adequate funding supply, so they don’t run out of money during a trial. What’s more, they aren’t allowed to overly interfere in the cases. 
  • Regulations

Solicitors are regulated too by the professional body The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). By law, solicitors must explain all funding routes to their clients, so that they are fully aware of their options.

More recently, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) came into force (1st April 2013) to reform legal costs in the UK. The full effects are yet to be understood however, it has been predicted that it will lead to better budgeting and greater transparency for clients.
Litigation funding has changed significantly over the last five years but cost remains at the heart of it.

Third party funding is an exceptionally worthwhile funding route and it is hoped that the new regulations will make costs clearer.

There’s only one question remaining- what will happen during the next five years? We’re excited to find out!

This article was written on behalf of Vannin Capital. Visit their website to learn more about litigation funding.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Clinical Negligence Claims Infographic

Brought to you by our friends at Blackwater Law (a trading style of Holmes & Hills LLP)
  Clinical Negligence Claims InfographicOriginal source of clinical negligence claims information: Blackwater Law.

Book recommendation: What About Law? Studying Law at University by Catherine Barnard (Author, Editor), Janet O'Sullivan (Editor), Graham Virgo

Most young people considering studying law, or pursuing a legal career, have very little idea of what learning law involves and how universities teach law to their students. The new edition of this book, which proved very popular when first published in 2007, provides a 'taster' for the study of law; a short, accessible presentation of law as an academic subject, designed to help 17- and 18-year old students and others decide whether law is the right choice for them as a university subject, or, if they have already made the choice, what to expect when they start their law degree. It helps answer the question 'what should I study at university?' and counters the perception that law is a dry, dull subject. "What About Law?" shows how the study of law can be fun, intellectually stimulating, challenging and of direct relevance to students. Using a case study approach, the book introduces prospective law students to the legal system, as well as to legal reasoning, critical thinking and argument. This is a book that should be in the library of every school with a sixth form, every college and every university, and it is one that any student about to embark on the study of law should read before they commence their legal studies. All of the authors have long experience in teaching law at Cambridge and elsewhere and all have also been involved, at various times, in advising prospective law students at open days and admissions conferences. Listed as one of the Six of the best law books that a future law student should read by the Guardian Law Online, 8th August 2012. Available from Amazon.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A potential business opportunity for stay at home parents

Moo Music is a potential business opportunity for stay at home parents who don’t want to return to their careers after having had time out to raise a family. It is fun, very easy to run, flexible and potentially lucrative! It can also easily fit around family and other commitments. “If you love children and a good sing-song this could be the perfect business opportunity for you,” says Jess Parker, co-founder of Moo Music.

Moo Music is a musical feast for pre-school children, featuring four fabulous characters – Maggie Moo, Ollie Oink, Henry Horse and Doris Duck – created by renowned artist Alan Rogers, whose credits include TV classics Bod, Pigeon Street and The Flumps. Each character has its own repertoire of 25 songs by well-known songwriter Craig McLeish, who has worked on hit West End shows like Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, as well as many television favourites. The songs were recorded by professional singers and musicians, and a team of primary education experts was involved in every stage of Moo Music’s development.

Ali Hider, who runs Moo Music classes in Winchester says “feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive. Every class is designed to develop language, memory and co-ordination while the little ones are enjoying themselves. Parents love that their children are learning such valuable skills while having fun. Even the quietest children are singing and dancing after a week or two because sharing music is such a brilliant way to boost confidence.”

To find out more about Moo Music franchise opportunities visit
For the general public website please go to

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book recommendation: Glanville Williams: Learning the Law (Fifteenth Edition)

First published in 1945, Glanville Williams: Learning the Law has been introducing new and prospective law students to the foundation skills needed to study law effectively for more than sixty years. Presenting an overview of the English Legal System and covering the essential legal skills that students need to master if they want to succeed both in their legal studies and in their future careers, this is a must-have book for all new law students! Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book recommendation: The Law's Strangest Cases by Peter Seddon

Author Peter Seddon gives life to over five centuries of bizarre, macabre and sometimes hilarious criminal cases. You'll be gripped by tales of murder, intrigue, crime, punishment and the pursuit of justice. Despite how unbelievable the stories banged up inside these pages may seem, Law's Strangest Cases promises to tell the truth, the whole truthand nothing but the truth about the most ludicrous criminal cases in legal history. Full of riotous and entertaining stories, this book is perfect for anyone who is doing time on a long stretch. Just don't try to steal it, or you may end up inside! Inside you'll encounter: * The only dead parrot ever to give evidence in a court of law * One of the most indigestible dilemmas - if you'd been shipwrecked 2,000 miles from home, would you have eaten Parker the cabin boy? * The doctor with the worst bedside manner of all time * The murderess who collected money from her mummified victim for 21 years.

Available from Amazon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Your child and divorce

Brought to you by our friends at Slater Heelis LLP

The expert solicitors at Slater Heelis LLP provide advice for you, your family, and especially your child through the emotional difficulties of a divorce.

You’re already going through a separation from your long term partner, potentially feeling hurt, angry and the whole range of emotions in between, then you have to explain to your child why this is all happening.
How your family copes with your separation is dependent on the context, if you are coming to the end of an emotionally abusive or violent relationship then you may be facing some short term turbulence as you move from a family unit to a single parent family. In this instance it is vital that you protect any children involved from any upsetting behaviour. This includes arguments between you and your former partner, hurtful words about the other parent to family and friends in front of your child and influencing the way your child views either parent.
Protecting your child’s perception of their parent remains crucial even if that parent has proven to be a danger, or a highly disruptive figure in their lives, as far as the child is concerned they are still their parent. In cases like this it may result in that parent being withheld visitation rights, and perhaps the adult involved does not want to see the child, either of which can have a detrimental effect on the child. Children have a right to a relationship with both parents, but it is always up to the parent with parental responsibility to determine what is in the best interest of the child.


If your child is younger they may not have realised what is happening in your relationship, however, if they are older it is likely that they have and it is important to respect them by having an open and honest discussion about what comes next; particularly if one parent will be moving out of the family home or even further afield.
Each family is different, and however you cope with child custody arrangements the child’s best interests must be at the forefront of your decision making. As discussed there will be cases where having a relationship with both parents is not possible either because a parent is not safe, or because they do not wish to be present in their child’s life.
If you and your former partner both want to be involved, it is important that you make the following issues are resolved together from as early on in proceedings as possible:
  • That the child be raised by both parents; this usually entails the child having a permanent residence with both parents, even if they only stay with one of the parents for one or two nights a week.
  • Both parents are supportive of the child’s positive relationship with the other parent.
  • Children, especially young ones, understand the living arrangements and have an established routine as to when they spend time with each parent that the routine is disrupted as little as possible.
  • Parents protect their child from any ongoing conflicts between the two of them.
  • Any new partner is complicit and understanding of all child custody arrangements.
Discussing these subjects in an open manner is the often the quickest route to a successful resolution, as each partner will have an understanding of the other’s feelings and wishes.

Who has parental responsibility?

All mothers and most fathers have legal parental responsibility. From the birth of her child the mother is automatically responsible, whereas a father has parental responsibility if he is either married to the child’s mother or listed on the birth certificate. If either parent does not automatically have parental responsibility, in the instance of adoption or a civil partnership, it can be applied for.
If you have parental responsibility you must fulfil the following roles on behalf of your child:
  • Provide a home
  • Protect and maintain the child
  • Discipline them
  • Choose and provide their education
  • Agree to any medical treatment
  • Naming the child and agreeing to any name changes
  • Looking after the child’s home
While you have responsibility for a child, you will not be granted a divorce or a dissolution of a civil partnership unless you are able to prove that you have arranged how the child will be financially and physically taken care of, as well as when the child will see each parent.


If your family is currently going through a separation and you and your former partner are struggling to come to an agreement over child custody arrangements, an alternative method of dispute resolution such as mediation could increase your chance of reaching a compromise that you can both be happy with.
The mediation process involves both parties discussing their problems with an impartial third party over three to five sessions. It is therefore dependent on your personal situation as to whether this approach is suitable for you. During mediation you are each free to consult your own solicitor for legal advice, then when you have come to an agreement this can be approved by your solicitor who will complete the legal formalities.
We have a specialist team of family law solicitors at Manchester based firm Slater Heelis, provide supportive and clear advice, using a pragmatic yet understanding approach to our clients. We will help you deal with the legal formalities of your divorce or dissolution while you focus on the future of your family.