Showing posts from February, 2014

Lousy Legislation and Miller’s Malapropism

Maria Miller MP’s speech on the rights and responsibilities of the internet age was published online earlier today.Having a mooch through it, I spotted a bit of a howler.  Given that the context relates to child abuse online, the slip, if that’s the best term for it, was very unfortunate indeed.In tackling child abuse online, the new National Crime Agency is bringing greater resources to bare [sic].Really? Isn’t it, ‘to bear’?And talking of howlers, I’m not sure I agree with her claim that English law, as it relates to the relatively recent phenomenon of social media, exists as a ‘strong and durable framework’. In fact, it’s anything but.Quoting again from the speech:The internet isn’t a ‘Second Life’, it isn’t something where different rules apply, where different behaviour is acceptable – it isn’t the wild west.To put it simply the rules that apply offline are the same rules that apply online.Yadda, yadda, yadda. The same already applies on social mediaThe legislation is already in …

All’s well at blogging basecamp

Since the demise of Google Reader last summer, I’ve been pondering the best way to keep up to date with the online content I like to follow.I’ve tried a bunch of online RSS feed services and standalone applications. One of these was Digg Reader which, despite my best efforts in overlooking its obvious faults, I abandoned quite quickly feeling very underwhelmed.Well, I’m giving it another go. It’s still missing some functionality that I’d really like to see - such as unread post numbers and the ability to add new content directly into a subfolder. But I still prefer it to the competition, like The Old Reader and Feedly, mainly because of its clean and no-nonsense interface.Since firing Digg Reader back up, I’ve been pruning and purging some of my subscriptions. All that deadwood just had to go.It also made sense to thin out the number the blogs that I link to. I don’t feel the need to apologise: if you were on my blogroll but aren’t any longer, I’m sure you won’t have noticed the chang…

Motoring law – Speeding and New Drivers

Guest PostDoes a speeding fine matter if I’ve a clean licence? Well, apart from the fine it can have a bigger effect than you thought if you only passed your test in the last 2 years. If you’re still on a provisional licence courts may take an even dimmer view If you’ve passed your test fairly recently you will want to keep your new licence shiny and clean as long as possible. Fairly clearly, not breaking the speed limit is a very good start but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. If you drive a car or motorcycle we’re all familiar with the speed limits of 30 mph in a built up area, 60 on single carriageways and 70 on dual carriageways and motorways. If you’re towing a caravan or trailer you can take off 10 mph from each limit over 30. What often catches drivers out though are the local limits that are imposed on stretches of road by specific signs. Repeater signs are not always used or not used very frequently so can be easy to miss. If you are accused of speeding, the best out…

School closures during snow

From 22/01/14:When a storm is brewing and the streets are soon to be rendered useless by mounds of snow, there's really only one thing running through every student's mind: please let tomorrow be a snow day. Now there's science to back up canceling [sic] school due to nasty weather. According to a study by Harvard Kennedy School assistant professor Joshua Goodman, keeping the school doors open can actually hurt learning more than a snow day closure.The explanation for this, according to the article, is as follows. When a school remains open during a period of heavy snow, a lot of parents keep their children at home, whereas others might make it in to class. That throws the pupils’ progress out of sync, often resulting in the children who didn’t attend school during the snowy period missing out relative to their peers. However, where schools take the decision to close because of snow, substitute days are often added to the school calendar to make up for the misse…

Law Actually – 7 today

Today marks the 7th birthday of LA. Where the heck has the time gone?The blawgosphere has changed considerably over the past 7 years with a large number of the student/graduate law blogs that used to be so plentiful almost dying away completely.  I’ve mulled over a lot of the changes previously, so there’s no point in repeating them here.Any hopes I once held for a blawgging revival are long gone. Other forms of social media have taken centre stage and their popularity shows no sign of receding.  For me, they’re not mutually exclusive, but I know I’m in the minority on this. .My approach to blogging has changed, too.  I find I create fewer of my own images now – something I used to really enjoy.  Maybe I should get back to playing about in Photoshop a bit more.  I also feature more guest posts now.  I’m still trying to get the balance right with that.  I’ll keep at it.But the main thing to say here is that whilst there is little sense of a blogging community these days, I enjoy bloggi…

Connubial Chaos – it started with a kiss

Actually, it started with a water pistol and a pork pie. Like all true love stories, right?

From the Telegraph 17/02/14:A couple's wedding celebrations were interrupted by a brawl that is thought to have started over a pork pie. Officers from the dog section at West Yorkshire Police tweeted that they were on the way to the ''large fight'' in Bradford which led to three arrests. The tweet said: ''All started over a pork pie apparently!'' Ah. The food for the reception must have been selected from the ‘garage snack’ range rather than the gourmet menu. More shopping cart than a la carte. Around 30 to 40 wedding guests were involved in the disturbance at the wedding of Wendy Carter and her fiance Ryan Barraclough. Chris Sowden, 43, steward at the Harold Club said: "People had been drinking since 2pm. The class of a traditional English wedding!"It all started with a water pistol then a pork pie got thrown. It beats confetti I suppose."It wa…

Reducing Stress Whilst Studying Law

From 15/02/14:It’s true, your first-year of law school will be stressful, very stressful.  From managing all of your assigned reading to preparing for three finals in the same week, time management is key.  So, how does suggest student combat that stress?Log your hours.  Your first-year of law school will instill some odd new characteristics into you.  One of which is this feeling of guilt you’ll get when you’re not studying.  It feels like you’re not doing enough.  I found a simple way of combating this problem—logging your hours.  So you’ve spent four hours in the library today.  Log those hours.  You spent two hours studying before bed.  Log those hours.  Then at the end of the week, look back at what you’ve accomplished.  Actually, that’s quite a good idea (and one which, refreshingly, isn’t face-slappingly obvious). It also has the useful side effect of getting students comfortable with recording their time – something which is essential in legal pract…

Are Human Rights Improving or Regressing?

Guest Post

Around the world, human rights remain an important topic. Over the last 50 years, they have evolved from an abstract goal into a concrete set of rights that remain a major topic of activists, political leaders, and global journalists.
Today, human rights remain a controversial topic. A recent news article in the Mail Online was published with the headline “Human Rights an Affront to Justice”, arguing that payments sanctioned by the European Court of Human Rights had been given out to criminals, threatening the pursuit of justice.
Within Europe and the UK, human rights are often the subject of political debates and discussions. Throughout the world, however, they play a different role. Human rights are an important part of maintaining stability and quality of life in many of the world’s most dangerous and oppressive countries.
Foreign secretary William Hague spoke about the importance of defending human rights at the recent Conservative Party conference in Manchester. Hague p…

Car Window Policeman Pay-Out Demonstrates Legal Right over Emotional Reaction

Guest Post

The newspaper headlines this week that have bemoaned and cried in shock at the decision to award ex-police officer Mike Baillon £430,000 in damages demonstrate that media outrage and emotional reaction account for little compared to legal right. Mr Baillon quit his job as a police officer after a video of him smashing a pensioners car window went viral and was viewed by more than 30 million people worldwide. He claimed that other officers were making his position in the police force untenable and he felt forced to leave his position. But despite the widespread criticism that Mr Baillon received from co-workers and others in the wake of his action, he was cleared of any wrongdoing and his complaint of constructive dismissal was upheld. The internal investigation into the case cleared Mr Baillon and found that he had expertly used a conflict management technique known as an ‘explosion of force’ that is taught to officers. Mr Baillon explained: “The reason I left was because…

What are clients’ favourite flavour of crisps?

From the Solicitors Journal 21/01/14:Legal Choices, the legal regulators' consumer-friendly website, went live [recently] with a variety of polls and quizzes, including one which asked consumers about their favourite crisp flavour.The suggested answers are: ready salted, cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, carrot and coriander, or, […] bizarrely, 'hedgehog'.Another quiz, […] tests consumers' knowledge of the jargon they might come across in the legal world.A question on the phrase 'actus reus' gives, as an example of where people might see it: 'The actus reus of theft is horrible for the victim.' [Another example included use of the Latin term ‘inter se’.]Another question, on the word 'notwithstanding', suggests consumers may come across it in a conversation about the weather, presumably with their lawyers: 'Notwithstanding the terrible weather, the holiday was great'.Oh, please. “Notwithstanding” is a regular word in the English languag…