Thursday, 28 February 2013

Airborne Affront to Court Etiquette

farted in courtFrom This is Grimsby 31/01/13:

The quiet dignity of a court session was abruptly disturbed when someone loudly broke wind in the public gallery.

Nobody apologised for the noisy interruption – and there were anxious looks from people nearby who feared they might get the blame. [Remember – he who smelt it, dealt it.  Then again, he who said the rhyme, did the crime].  Grimsby magistrates pretended they had not heard a thing, and in a seemingly unrelated incident a few minutes later, all the lights went out for a few seconds before flickering back on again.

Goodness me and a half.

Let’s hope it did come from the public gallery; surely the magistrates themselves wouldn’t have let rip with a backdoor trombone blast. 

I wonder how the parpetrator perpetrator fared.  Be right back

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

5 best break-up movies

Sponsored PostBreak up moviesFilms about break-ups not only help you review your own relationship when experiencing disappointments and frustrations, but distract you from reality for a while to appreciate the beauty of an ideal love.

If you’re looking for movie therapy to renew your hope in love and life, here are five movies that will not disappoint.

(500) Days of Summer

Time heals all wounds, but during a period of time after a devastating breakup, many people believe they would never love again. This is a film for those who have given more than they have gotten, but manage to pick themselves up when they realize it is time to move on.

The story is based upon the male protagonist Tom and his memory-driven look at a failed relationship. When Tom meets Summer, he is a romantic greeting card writer and she is a relationship cynic who claims she does not believe in true love. The two date for several months before they end their relationship on day 290. When Tom sees Summer again on day 488, she is married, but both of them have walked out of their past and gained better understanding of each other.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince – which is not too traumatizing when the frog is Hugh Grant and your prince is Colin Firth. A reinterpretation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the film centers on the love story of Bridget Jones, a single woman in her early thirties who occasionally overindulges in cigarettes, alcohol and food. After she begins a relationship with her charming boss, the beaux Daniel Cleaver, she thinks she has found her Mr. Right…until she catches him with a woman that is younger, thinner and more attractive than her.

As Bridget picks up the pieces, she begins to see a family friend in a different light. Bridget Jones’ Diary is a story about finding love in the most unexpected of places, and that sometimes appearances are just that – an appearance and nothing more.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

One of the most frustrating moments after a break-up is when you receive an invitation to your ex’s wedding. This is what happens to the New York restaurant critic Julianne. After knowing her lifelong friend Michael is about to get married, she heads to Chicago, planning to sabotage their wedding and not afraid to fight dirty in order to win him back.

Soon after her arrival, she meets Michael’s fiancĂ©e Kimmy, who asks her to be her maid of honor. This sets off a series of comic scenarios where Julianne needs to pretend to be a dutiful bride maid while continuing her plan to prevent the wedding.

However, as events unfold, Jules learns that love is not about possessing someone, but letting your loved ones be happy. A great movie if you’re feeling bitter about your ex’s new flame, My Best Friend’s Wedding is funny at the right times and ultimately delivers an important message: that winning isn’t the most important thing after a break up (even if it seems like it might be).

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The aftermath of a break-up normally includes destroying the photos you took together, deleting their mobile numbers or tossing out the CDs they gave you. But if you don’t think you can erase your memories about your former love simply by wiping the trace of them in your life, think again.

This 2004 American sci-fi romance tells the story of an estranged couple, Joel and Clementine, who went through a surgery in order to erase the memories about each other. When his memories disappear one by one, Joel struggles to hold on to the good times and realizes that he does not, in fact, want to forget these memories with her. A beautiful film, Eternal Sunshine proves that it is impossible to forget someone that once stirred your soul.

Eat, Pray, Love

Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir, this film covers topics much broader than romantic love – but romance is one of the most important elements in the story. Gilbert seems to have everything a modern woman wants – a good job, friends and husband – yet she is searching for something she really wants in her life. After getting a divorce, Gilbert decides to make a change by embarking on an adventure of self-discovery which starts in Italy, passes by India and ends in Bali, Indonesia.

During her journey, she finds the pleasure of “doing nothing” in Italy and then discovers the power of prayer in India. In her last stop, Bali, she encounters an unexpected situation, and realizes that when it comes to dealing with love, you’d better follow your heart, not your mind.

Author bio: Yuan Liu is a freelancer who loves romance both in theatre and in real life.

Movies and TV shows for the newly single mum

Sponsored PostDivorce MoviesBeing a single mum can be challenging, but it most certainly can be rewarding. While newspapers and television shows always seem to take a negative spin on single mothers, in reality you will have a closer bond with your child – and plus, who needs a man all the time anyway?

Single motherhood can be an occasion to rise to, and there is no better way to step up to the challenge than to watch some movies that just make you feel good. Whether you’re laughing with Lorelai and Rory or nodding in agreement with Miranda from Sex and the City, these movies and TV shows will make you feel strong, empowered, and ready to conquer the world with a little one in your life.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Dubbed as the ‘Godfather of single mother movies’, Erin Brockovich is one that you must, must, must add to your movies list. Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of Erin, an unemployed single mother who is desperately seeking a job. When she finally gets a job as a legal assistant, she begins exploring a case that eventually brings down a Californian power company. Packed with the perfect mix of laughter and heartwarming moments, this is a movie that will inspire and motivate you to follow your instincts, no matter what situation you are in.

Sex and the City (TV series)

If you haven’t watched at least one episode of Sex and the City, you have probably been living under a rock for the past two decades. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda are four single girls living in New York City, looking for sex, love, and self-empowerment.

With four distinct personalities, the girls find themselves in a variety of funny, sexy, moving, and just-plain-weird situations. Renowned for its ability to connect with women and for being frank about matters that were still swept under the rug in the ‘90s, Sex and the City will be a TV show that you can watch with popcorn as you dream of creative ways to talk to the hottie next door. Plus, you can gather all your girlfriends and talk about which character you’re most similar to. Are you a Miranda who works on legal separation cases at a law firm like Watts McCray Family Lawyers, or are you a budding journalist like Carrie Bradshaw?

Chocolat (2000)

The name of this film is a pretty good summary of what happens in the movie: a woman and her daughter move to a French village and open a chocolate shop, only to shake up the morality of the community. With beautiful cinematography and a dazzling soundtrack, this movie is perfect to watch with your girlfriends and some hot chocolate.

And if you’re still not convinced, then there is only one name left to say that will win you over: Johnny Depp.

Gilmore Girls (TV series)

One of the most beloved television shows of the new millennium, Gilmore Girls is part drama, part comedy, and all fun. Lorelai is a single mother living with her daughter, Rory, in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Over 7 seasons, the show looks at the ups and downs of being in a single-parent family and the pursuit of romance when you’re a teen and a single mother. Watch this one with your little one, and you’ll be sure to feel excited about the future that the two of you will embark together.

Mamma Mia! (2008)

“Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning, waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile…”

So goes the lyrics of Abba’s Slipping Through My Fingers, a classic song about the pains of letting go as a parent. This quintessential musical is all about a single mother whose daughter, Sophie, who is looking for her father while planning her own wedding. Filled with upbeat tunes and a message about the importance of family, Mamma Mia! will have you and your bub dancing around in the living room before you know it.

Author bio: Abby Jenkins is a writer who is a big fan of Sex and the City. She also loves Mamma Mia! – so much so that she owns the sing-a-long edition.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Old fashioned policing saves the day

Footprints in the snowFrom The Independent 19/02/13:

A drunk burglar who led police from the scene of a break-in to his own doorstep with a trail of footprints in the snow has been spared jail.

Lewis Ward, 28, snuck into a home in Raby Street, Darlington and took an iPad. He stole the tablet from a woman who was alone and waiting for her partner to come home from work.

Officers spotted distinctive trainer footprints in the snow by the victim's front door and followed the tracks down alleyways and back lanes.

Police spent an hour and a half following the mile long trail from the victim's home to Ward's house on the other side of town, where they discovered his trainers still wet, with identical patterns on the soles. They found the stolen iPad hidden in a bedroom in the house.

If only he had read or watched a bit of Sherlock Holmes!  Tracing footprints in the snow is one of the oldest tricks in the book. 

It’s also nice to know there’s still a place for old fashioned techniques in modern policing.  It certainly beats calling in a helicopter or firing a Taser at the first person who you don’t like the look of.

For the defendant, though, it’s going to take a fair while until he can live this one down.  In fact, it’s nearly as bad as this brarmer

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Debunking the Same-Sex Marriage Myth

Sponsored Post

Same Sex MarriageDecember 2005 – the Civil Partnership Act was born, giving same-sex couples the opportunity to enter into civil partnerships together.

February 2013 – the majority of MPs vote in favour of a change to the law which would allow same-sex couples to get married.

The backlash to the decision was perhaps predictable, but still surprising in some way – why are so many people opposed to the idea of gay people getting married?

Some of the more vocal critics like to point out that marriage is a sacred religious rite, rather than a civil right, often pointing to the Bible to back up their claims. The typically quoted passage comes from the book of Leviticus, stating “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death” (20:13).

Okay, so this does certainly seem as though the fundamentalists have a point. However, let’s not be too hasty and just have a look at another handful of quotations from the same book: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you” (Leviticus 19:28) – getting a tattoo is a sin.

“And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you” (Leviticus 11:10) – eating shellfish is also a sin, apparently!

“For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death” (Leviticus 20:9) – you’ll be killed just for insulting your parents? That’s a bit harsh!

The church has changed over time; everything has to adapt. Luke 16:18 says that anyone to have either divorced or remarried has committed adultery, and are therefore sinners. Henry VIII cut off ties with the Catholic Church and founded the Church of England because he didn’t like this law.

As the world changes, so must family law. We no longer cut off hands for stealing (Mark 9:43), and women are able to be the boss of male employees, even though Timothy 2:11 seems to expressly forbid this. We don’t stone women to death for not being a virgin at marriage (Deuteronomy 22:20-21) and I can’t imagine many of us believe that clothes made of linen and wool to be inherently sinful any more (Leviticus 19:19).

If you ask us, the world is a better place now that we don’t have to kill anyone who works on a Sunday – how annoying would it be if you ran out of milk in the morning?

And we quite like the fact that rape victims don’t have to marry their rapists. Also, let’s face it: how could eating bacon possibly be a sin?

The world moves on; even Christianity moves on sometimes. Same-sex marriage is simply another step towards global equality, and this is something we all have to strive for. The fact that the majority of MPs voted in favour of a change in the law is a bold stride forwards; now all we can do is wait for everyone else to get on board.

Tom Rokins who writes on behalf of

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Happy Birthday Law Actually

Birthday Picture for LA - SixYep, that’s another one ticked off!

Six years old – and still going strong!  I can hardly believe it.

As long as no one calls in and requests Vanessa (Frickin’) Feltz plays the number one song* from the day Law Actually was born, we’ll all be fine.

NoteHapp-PEE Birth-DAY…..Happ-PEE Birth-DAYNote

Oh, actually, they’ve changed the jingle now, haven’t they?  I think it’s the moronic interviews which irritate me most of all.  Still, I can’t miss Chris Evans’ breakfast show, can I?

*(It seems it was Mika’s “Grace Kelly”.  There’s no accounting for taste….)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Almost as boring as a lawyer’s office…

Burn baby burnFrom Huffington Post 16/02/13:

Brits have got the hots for slow-burning Scandinavian drama, from The Killing, to Borgen, to The Bridge, but the latest hot offering from Norwegian state TV might not see any takers here - a 12 hour broadcast of a burning log fire.

The NRK programme, described by the channel's head of programming Rune Moeklebust as "slow but noble television, will be a continuous shot of the wood burning - to capture the age-old entertainment of staring at a log fire.

I hear the BBC have commissioned two similar styles of show as part of their flagship Saturday night schedule.  One consists of a camera trained on a freshly painted wall so viewers can watch it dry.  The other sees a camera trained on a lawyer working at his desk.

I think the Norwegian log fire version wins every time.  Be right back

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Lawyer vs Pragmatist

Situation: Ben from Eastenders standing in shock over big Heather’s (Evvvv’s) body after smashing her head with a picture frame.

The lawyer said: “I’d advise you to put forward a prepared statement and then make no further comment at interview”.

The pragmatist said: “You’d better lube up - you’re going to jail”.

Lawyer vs Pragmatist

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine’s Day Gifts

Forget flowers, chocolates or lingerie.  How about a “Hug-Ya” cushion?hug a partner cushionBut why’s the female version wearing a Marigold glove?  Don’t tell me it’s for the washing up.  A bit sexist, isn’t it?  Surprised smile

Or how about this robo-snog device – perfect for those long distance relationships.
And who said romance was dead?  Humans really are a disturbed species!

Friday, 8 February 2013

B2B Travel Law - The Digital Revolution

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As more and more businesses go digital, it is absolutely essential that you understand the potential risks that the digital revolution has on your travel business. ASB Law specialists in travel law have been hard at work gathering and researching information about the latest digital trends and the legal implications that the travel industry needs to consider when looking to go digital.

Here is what they found...

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Stating the obvious – postgraduate study makes a HUGE difference

Postgraduate Article - Metro 070213Darn it – there was no electronic version (at least not that I could find). Still, that scanner’s got to justify its existence somehow! ;-)

Anyhow, let me run that first line past you again.

Students who want to stand out in the job market now need postgraduate degrees, says a think-tank.


It took a think tank to figure this one out?  Is this another case of “more tank than think”?  Which politician was it who coined that one?  ;-)

This isn’t any kind of revelation at all; graduates have been experiencing the “degree inflation” phenomenon first hand for several years.  Quite why it’s popped up again suddenly as “news” is beyond me.

When I was towards the tail end of my LL.M, I immediately noticed what a difference having a postgrad qualification made.  In fact, my employer explicitly told me it was my postgrad degree which made the difference in them hiring me over other candidates (helped in no small part by my quirky dissertation). 

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that postgraduate study made a huge difference to my employability.  Sadly, it’s gone from being the icing on your curriculum vitae cake to being a quasi pre-requisite now.

And from things I’ve heard anecdotally, I know I’m not the only one who’s witnessed this.

Monday, 4 February 2013

How to improve your grades at law school

law student ipad workingNo, getting an iPad won’t help you.

I received the following email from a stressed (and struggling) law student a couple of weeks ago.

Dear Sir,

I am a second year Law LLB student. Actually, I have been very worried with my progress at university. In my first year I got very poor marks- I got 2 3rds and 1 2:2. This year I got my semester 1 marked assignments: Tort 52%; Civil Litigation 52%; Evidence Law 42% and Land 41 %. These marks are very worrying for me. I want to achieve at least a 2:1 Law degree. Will I be able to achieve a 2:1 with these poor marks? What do I do to get a 2:1? 

The remarks for my essay are that I am too descriptive though I have a good knowledge of the question asked and I give some good cases. What should I do not to be descriptive? Could you give me an example about this, please. 

I would be much grateful if you could advise me on this matter. 

Many Thanks.

Kind Regards,
[Law Student]

Deary me.  What’ya think folks?  Is our law student in trouble? What should the advice be? Is it too late for a second year law student to pull it around and get (at least) a 2:1? Heck, should a second year law student even be asking these kinds of questions?

I responded:

You shouldn't be too downcast over your grades at this stage; there is still time to do something about it and a 2:1 is not out of reach.  Clearly, though, your grades need to improve considerably for you to attain that.

I think the feedback you have received from your lecturers has already told you where you are going wrong; you are being too descriptive and not providing enough analysis of the law.

Simply stating what the law is is relatively simple and will not allow you to achieve the higher grades you're aiming for.

What you usually need to do in an essay type question is to critically analyse the law and set out suggestions for improvement.  Think about shortcomings in the way legislation has been drafted or problems resulting from how the common law has developed.  How could the law be improved?  Conversely, consider what could be argued in favour of leaving the law as it is or allowing it to develop via the common law rather than enacting new legislation.

Of course, it's essential you tailor your answer to the question being asked.  Consider the precise wording of the question very carefully.  It sounds obvious, but it's surprising how many students don't read the question carefully enough.

When answering problem questions, you should be extremely careful to apply the law to the facts you are given and not just state what the law is.  The higher marks here are for effective application of the law, and not mere description.  

Don't be tempted to needlessly mention as many cases as you can recall in any given area of law; you should limit them to only those which are relevant to the facts at hand.  Equally, don't get bogged down describing the facts of the case.  It is the legal principle it established or its value as a precedent which is important, rather than the circumstances of the case.

The scariest thing is that the student came back with a second (and arguably more worrying question).  I might share that at some point, too.