September 16th, 2013


Юрыздам к понедельнику


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As the return of hit BBC barrister series Silk nears, WaitroseLaw considers the practical lessons offered to members of the legal profession by actors pretending to be lawyers

Life may imitate art — but real-life lawyers have been distressingly slow to catch up with the immaculate hair, razor-sharp dialogue and weekly caseload turnover of their fictional counterparts. Which is a shame, because there is much to learn from the legal stars of screen and page...

Client tries to eat lawyer: beware of the risks


Unless you're regularly fending off instructions from international criminal networks, client ID requirements are mostly a tedious inconvenience. However, fiction offers a cautionary tale which would enliven any firm's anti-money laundering training.

In Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula, mild-mannered conveyancer Jonathan Harker travels to his client's mysterious estate to explain a property transaction to him and finds himself fleeing for his life from Count Dracula.

Had he insisted on proper proof of address, he might have realised that the Count's castle is sometimes invisible (not to mention pretty creepy) and perhaps suggested a nice conference call instead. The juxtaposition of Harker's goodness against Dracula's evil is also a salutary reminder that lawyers used to be respected pillars of the community — alas, the days when the clients were the bloodsuckers are long gone.

Be a wartime consigliere


On the subject of international crime and bloody murder...

The Godfather, as well as offering sage advice on animal husbandry and how to whip up a decent Pomodoro sauce, has much to teach the aspiring lawyer. Tom Hagen isn't just the Corleone family's corporate lawyer, he's their trusted adviser ("consigliere") — something many a City firm proudly proclaims itself to be to its clients.

However, when the Corleones start expanding into Nevada, Hagen is unceremoniously demoted by new family head Michael, who doesn't think Hagen can handle the tough times ahead. It's an object lesson in keeping clients on-side by showing them you've got teeth as well as charm — although, fortunately, kidnapping and murder are pretty rare occupational hazards at all but the most ruthless US firms.

Put in the hours


Much more honourable, but with a rather less impressive tan, was the peerless Horace Rumpole. A relic of a gentler age, when a legal aid income could sustain a West London flat and a near-daily wine bar trip, Rumpole had a keen understanding of the value of repeat business, as unofficial retained counsel to the Timsons, a family of minor South London crooks.

But perhaps he is most valuable as an example of the importance of a good work/life balance — in his case, spending as much time as possible in chambers (or a thinly-disguised El Vino's) to avoid his terrifying wife. As rents grow ever more unaffordable and young lawyers are forced to sleep in shifts in crowded flatshares akin to Victorian slums, it's an approach worth considering.

Heed the mistakes of "the shagging lawyers"


Nineties hit This Life (or, as WaitroseLaw's Spanish aunt used to call it, "los abogados follandos" — the shagging lawyers) is full of useful life lessons. Whether in matters sartorial (junior barrister Anna's leopard print coat and micro-skirts fail to impress around the Temple), pharmaceutical (hungover Anna's efforts to perk up a client conference with a swift line of coke end in disaster) or interpersonal (schtupping the clerk over a desk fails to land juicy briefs for, yes, Anna again), its photogenic characters were true role models for their time.

However, This Life shows its age in the portrayal of Egg, who drops out of the law to run a cafe, much to the chagrin of his solicitor girlfriend, Milly. Nowadays, as prospective lawyers face ever grimmer career prospects, street-food entrepreneur Egg would be the high-flyer of the gang, with criminal barristers Anna and Miles eking out a miserable existence from £2.99 fees at Woolwich magistrate's court and super-swot Milly filling out forms for a claims factory.

Maybe it's no surprise that Silk eschews gritty realism for high drama; as the life of a lawyer grows ever less glamorous, the gap between fiction and reality becomes ever wide

Вот и пойми наш суд...

Британский судья со второго раза позволил подсудимой-мусульманке носить на процессе паранджу

Судья разрешил мусульманке прийти в суд в чадре после того, как ее личность установили женщины-полицейские.

Читать полностью →

Вот в российском суде все просто и понятно: нельзя, значит – нельзя. Судья решений не меняет.  А тут – то пускаем, то  - не пускаем.  Ну что делать с современным британским правосудием?

Тем временем....

Judges must quit £3,000-a-night luxury lodgings and stay at B&Bs, as ministers seek to slash £5 million accommodation bill

.... пока вся Россия борется с жуликами и ворами, некоторые британские судья тратят на проживание $ 5000 за ночь. И бюджет платил....

История паранджи в британском суде: продолжение....


cnl_rebekah_dawson_1.jpgFINSBURY PARK, NORTH LONDON

A judge today (mon) ordered a Muslim woman to lift her veil to give evidence at her upcoming crown court trial.

Judge Peter Murphy made the landmark ruling that a 22-year-old defendant must remove her niqab and show her face to the court while on the witness stand.

He said she could keep on the clothing, which covers her face except for her eyes, during the rest of the trial, but would not allow her to give evidence while wearing it.

Judge Murphy said he was trying to tackle the 'elephant in the room' of defendants wearing traditional Islamic dress shielding their facial expressions from the jury.

Короче, теперь создан прецедент: ходить в суд в парандже можно, давать показания  - нет.

Повесть от первого лица

Все книги, кроме книги Володи Переверзина, о деле Юкоса/Ходорковского написаны авторами со строго «идеологических» позиций (либо только «за» или строго «против») и со слов людей, рассказы которых им «понравились». Сами авторы о деле только «слышали». Противоположные мнения в расчет не принимались. У меня сохранились переписки с несколькими «аффторами», которые являются великолепной демонстрацией того, почему около-юридическим публикация в России верить нельзя. Но Володя описал собственный опыт, испытанный на собственной, извините «шкуре», и поэтому его книгу читать обязательно надо. Она, в общем, не о Юкосе, она – о человеке.