Busy in a trial this week.
Here are things that I’ve seen, noted and wanted to blog about but in respect of which others
who clearly have too much time on their hands who are more efficient than I* have beaten me to the blog post.
Settlement Conferences, courtesy of the Ministry of Justice. What could possibly go wrong I hear you ask? Er… A lot, says the ALC. Being piloted in my area, so I shall say no more and await the rigorous evaluation of quality and durability of outcome that I know the MoJ have in train already. *hard stare*
See Suesspicious Minds here, who also links to Sarah Phillimore’s post here and the ALC’s coruscating dismantling of the scheme in “Guidance” to it’s members. In short it appears to practically advocate a boycott of the pilot, a sort of “don’t touch it with a barge pole piece of guidance”. as Suesspicious Minds ponders, why on earth were the professions were not consulted about this? Perhaps these problems can be ironed out, perhaps not – but for sure the way to find out is not to test it on real live children.
Next, transparency. More on the Butler family and restrictions on reporting. A judgment published telling us about another judgment that we will find really interesting and important, but which we aren’t allowed to see, but that will be published at some point in the future…
Again, Suesspicious Minds here : Judgment on Reporting Restriction on the Butler/Gray case
There was a third thing, but if I’m honest I’ve forgotten what it was. So instead I will proudly share with you my best discovery today. My new fitbit tracks my heartrate. Today when I got back from court it reminded me that it had a flat battery, which prompted me to look at the app which displays all the stats gathered by this whizzy gadget. From looking at the heartrate information it appears that whilst cross examining I am burning fat. That is to say that I realised, when I looked at it, that the yellow “fat burning zone” peaks correspond entirely with my walking to and from chambers / court and with times when I was conducting cross examination (the bits in between are a rare and miraculous lunch break and me sitting down whilst other counsel conducted their examination in chief / re-examination). This is a fantastic and inspiring discovery that will possibly result in longer trials wherever I am involved. Because the longer my cross examination endures the more chocolate I can permissibly eat when I get home. I’m kidding of course, but it is quite gratifying to know that merely standing up and asking clever / incisive / annoying / foolish questions and vaguely employing my brain is *good for me*. I am only slightly disappointed and surprised to think that other traditional trial activities such as frantically flicking through my papers for a reference, leaning precariously back on my chair to whisper unobtrusively to my client, thinking VERY HARD and panicking about how I will completely rework my cross examination in light of that last answer does not also show yellow on the chart. Over the coming months I plan to conduct a *very scientific* study as to the comparative fat burning potential of different sorts of trials. I wonder if settlement conferences will be “good for my health” or not?
This sounds a bit flippant – and on one level it is. But it has a serious point. We work hard in this job, probably often harder and for longer than is healthy. Hence several of us in this week’s trial fighting sore throats and coughs and other ailments (myself included – send sympathy gifts via chambers). In fact we need to be better at keeping an eye on our own health in our working lives, because only by staying reasonably healthy can we be reliable, on the ball and effective for our clients, week in week out. I don’t REALLY think I’m going to get fit cross examining witnesses, but it is worth remembering the mental and physical and emotional energy we expend on this job, and remember to recharge the batteries when they are depleted.
* I don’t mean it lovely fellow bloggers. I’m just pulling your chain.