David Allen Green reviews blogs on legal aid cuts, Tabak, Assange, Kiss-and-Tell stories, Hugh Grant, cycling QCs, legalising brothels, and The Joy of Sex…
Legal blogging continues to thrive. And perhaps because of the prominence of certain legal stories in the news, there was a great deal of first-rate legal blogging this week.
There were two exceptional posts on the recently established and highly impressive Justice Gap site. The first was by Jules Carey, the redoubtable solicitor for the Tomlinson family and many others facing the might of the police legal machine. In his post on the proposed reforms to civil legal aid he deftly destroys the justifications for the cuts. He also explains just why the cuts are fundamentally unjust: for example, those challenging police misconduct will now have their resources severely capped, whilst there will continue to be no limit on the spending of police legal departments.
The other outstanding post on the Justice Gap site was by criminal barrister and sex crimes specialist Felicity Gerry. Her brilliant post on why evidence was withheld from the jury in the Vincent Tabak murder jury is an important aid to understanding why something which seems (at least to lay people) so counter-intuitive was allowed to happen. This is the sort of blogpost which can make a real difference in informing public debate. Another good blogpost on the Tabak trial was by the leading legal blogger Obiter J , and there was also a fascinating piece by Steve Morris about the challenges for the journalist tweeting from the court.
This week also saw the High Court reject Julian Assange’s challenge to the Swedish European Arrest Warrant. The legalities of this defeat were dealt with excellently by both Adam Wagner and (almost inevitably) Obiter J, whilst Joshua Rozenberg spotted a potential loophole for future challenges. Paul Bernal also made a number of sensible points regarding how one should think about the case.
Two areas that particularly benefit from the expertise and efforts of bloggers are media law and family law, both of which can have such a direct and adverse effect on people’s lives. On the media law front, Judith Townend provided an excellent analysis of the dynamics and commercials of “kiss and tell” stories and Brian Cathcart exposed the Daily Mail’s intimidation of Hugh Grant. In family law, there were two extremely robust critiques: Amanda Bancroft dealt severely with the government’s proposals on adoption
and Lucy Reed set out her doubts on the possible “Clare’s Law” on disclosing information about domestic violence.
Elsewhere in the world of legal blogging, the bicycling QC Martin Porter went for an intriguing ride with the Metropolitan Police and a senior police officer, Simon Byrne, made the sensible call for de-criminalising brothels.
…the White Rabbit spotted a resourceful job applicant, Lallands Peat Worrier spoofed a judge being forced to take a paper round , and the invariably interesting “Law and Sexuality” blog managed somehow to present a celebration of “The Joy of Sex” as a legal blogpost.
David Allen Green is media correspondent of The Lawyer. He also writes the Jack of Kent blog and for the New Statesman.