Law Blogs #5 – 12 December 2011

Two great advantages provided by legal blogging, and a superb “Christmas contract”

By David Allen Green, media correspondent of The Lawyer

There are two clear advantages arising from the on-going growth of law blogging.  

First, it provides information on legal issues not easily obtained from “traditional sources”.  This is true for both the layperson and the specialist.  Useful and insightful information is published every day which would not otherwise be published but for the use of blogging platforms by practioners and enthusiasts.
Second, and perhaps less obvious to the outsider, is that it provides the means by which unwelcome things can be communicated to a profession rather adept at deflecting or denying criticism, however constructive.  

By-passing the formal vehicles of the trade press, informed individuals can seek to speak truth to power.  Accordingly, there is a lot which the sensible lawyer can read to understand just how his or her profession is seen: people saying what they want to say, and not necessarily what lawyers want to read.
Law in motion

An outstanding post in the first category – accounts of law in motion – was by Matt Evans at the excellent Justice Gap site on the outrage of the failed Cardiff Three prosecution .

Also worth looking at was the reaction of bloggers to the badly reported decision on “swearing at police” – see “Milly Moo” here and Francis Fizgibbon QC here.  Fitzgibbon also did a quick follow-on post, sharing this apparently well-known story:

“Other criminal hacks will know the old story about an angry defendant at the old Knightsbridge Crown Court (round the back of Harrods – those were the days) who was sentenced to a substantial bit of bird. As he’s being taken out of the dock he shouts at the judge: ‘You’re a c***’. Judge says: ‘Stay there a moment Mr X. Now, when I leave here I’m going to play a round of golf and then go home, where my wife will have a gin and tonic waiting for me. We may go out to dinner. You are going to gaol. Who’s the c***?’”

A perennial topic of “bad law” news reporting is “health and safety”.  A good post on this is by  John Hyde at Law Society Gazette – however it is a shame that he did not link directly to the Lofstedt report (pdf) .

Also dealing with “bad law” are a couple of great posts (again at the Justice gap) on the seeming racket of “civil recovery” – both the posts by Richard Dunstan  and Marc Gender should be read by anyone interested on how bad the law can be in action.

Elsewhere, Obiter J to one of his characteristically thorough and helpful posts on police “stop and search” powers as did Tom Hennessey on the potential use by the police of plastic bullets and water cannon . And the wonderful Kim Evans did an outsanding post on what can and should be said at a police station.

Posts which also were particularly informative and sensible were Legal Bizzle on Debt Management, Lucy Reed on the abuse of the family court process by stalkers and bullies (she also skewers the Lord chancellor Ken Clarke here and Natasha at Researching Reform wrote of the pressures on social workers to “sex up” dossiers.
Telling us how it is

As for the posts where legal professionals can learn things they may not want to listen to, there was Lousie Restell at Quality Solicitors with the real solicitors from Hell, Gerard McDermott QC on the current predicament of the bar , Richard Moorhead on how lawyers should learn from experience, Paul Gilbert (“LBC Wise Counsel”) on the myth of “free training”, Nicky Richmond
on staff reductions at law firms , and Mark Brandon on so-called business plans. The author of the Legal Aware blog also wrote with insight on alcohol and the legal profession .


Martin Porter QC gives an update on his on-going civil action for assault and BabyBarista deplores “client-focused marketing strategy” at Health and Safety at Christmas.. And a couple of lovely posts from in-house blogger Legal Bizzle (“saving your ass since 1999”): rules for the Office Christmas Party and a quite brilliant contract for Christmas.