Blawg Review #290

twitter - courtesy of Rosaura Ochoa on flickr

twitter - courtesy of Rosaura Ochoa on flickr

Welcome to Blawg Review #290 which hails this week from Blighty, where we offer a warm welcome to the libel tourist and the would-be-wealthy divorcee alike. In a week of exploding aircraft and travel chaos there has been much said on twitter (#twitterjoketrial and #iamspartacus) and across the blawgosphere about the conviction of Paul Chambers for making a joke about exploding airports and travel chaos on twitter. Even ex-poet laureate Betjeman has offered his posthumerous support and no doubt David Allen Green (Chamber’s own solicitor, who has acted pro bono throughout) will add his two penn’orth in due course either via his Jack of Kent blog or whilst wearing his New Statesman hat (UPDATE: he now has). Comment on the conviction of Chambers for so-called ‘menacing’ remarks from both blawggers and bloggers (and pupil blawgers and more bloggers) alike has been pretty much universally condemned as a sorry indicator of the corrosive effect of terrorism on our approach to civil liberties. The judge has yet to tweet a response but no doubt it will simply be a matter of time. Other examples of crap jokes gone nuclear, resulting in arrest or legal action and a social media song and dance abound.

Also this past week we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”,  and the 50th anniversary of the first judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights. It seems only right therefore to take as my theme this week “the trouble people get into for saying stuff”. Funny stuff can turn out to be dead serious and vice versa The ironic collision of both anniversary and verdict is not lost on Charon QC, but then not much gets past him, other than ducks. Continue Reading…

Social Media As Evidence

Most often experienced in family law in all its excruciating banality in the form of facebook mudslinging between exes, this post from Justin McShane reminds us that what we post online can be incriminating in oh so many ways. Be careful what you post. It may just come back to haunt you…Being tagged by a friend in a compromising photo could lead to you being tagged in an altogether more physical sense…

Legal Costs

Short piece on ‘Today’ on Tues morning about costs in civil cases. I switched on as a clip of Lord Justice Judge opining about the state of civil justice was part way through. Evan Davis moved onto an interview with Bridget Prentice. Oh goody, I thought as I drove to court, something relevant to my line of work and NOT about banks. What struck me though was the complete failure of the piece to distinguish between court fees and legal costs. Unusually for Evan, who is pretty much always on the ball and whose faux naive questions make me chuckle, it sounded as if Evan himself had no appreciation of the distinction between legal costs and court fees (which are piffling in comparison to legal costs, at least unless you are a local authority issuing care proceedings). This was made worse by the fact that Bridget Prentice, in response to a question about ‘legal costs’, asserted that a low income claimant would know prior to issue that they would be able to be protected against paying these. It was apparent to a lawyer that she was talking about remission of court issue fees on a means tested basis but non-lawyers could have been forgiven for thinking that there was no risk of a costs order being made against a low income claimant, which of course is very much NOT accurate. Not helpful.

Did anyone else listen to this? Was it as confusing as I thought it was, or was I simply too distracted by the traffic on the M5 to listen properly to what was being said?