Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Hello all (...anyone out there?).

It's been a wee while since I posted. Since then, good news- passed the BVC, woo! After some wrangles with the course provider it was agreed that I did pass as a first attempt, not as a re-sitter as they wanted to mark me as (which would have capped me at a bare pass) and thus my CV is now gilded proudly with the words Very Competant.

Well worth the £14k, I'm sure.

I didn't get the dream job I went for- but was happy to be one of 10 shortlisted out of 300+ applications. Hopefully that bodes well for the future. I think my CV is ok at the moment, as in another recent interview (with an amazing lawyer, who is quite famous and I managed to quite disappoint/irritate/sicken or all the above) she seemed to be quite impressed with it. I say impressed, she said something like 'well, you've won everything going haven't you' in what some might say was a disdainful way but I am choosing to take it as a compliment. Particularly as I haven't won anything really, anything I have got is more a 'well done for taking part' than a glowing badge of honour.

I am working - temping- which is paying the bills and getting rid of debt/helping save for a Masters. Which I am about to start applying for (a grumbling aside - why do I need to pay to apply?!). Boy is well and fingers crossed he'll have his tenancy confirmed shortly and all will be well that end. From him I have learned that criminal law pays not very well, particularly in the beginning stages of a case - not too bad at the trial end. And that it's not considered good form to ask your clerk how much you're getting for something (but surely that may be a factor in whether you choose to accept it, e.g. if you have to choose between 2 cases or if you risk missing a holiday, if we're being honest?).

On the health side things are much better. The benefit of a 9-5 job is that it's relatively stress free and this is easing recovery. This weekend I've the second part of the Amicus death penalty conference to attend- I will review this in my next post. Suffice it to say: Death Penalty= BAD.

Hope all well in the interweb. How the heck is everyone?


Friday, 31 July 2009


Somewhat belatedly, I can now share my lovely Blawggie award with you received from the lovely Minx.

How can I not have been shouting from the rooftops about this days ago, I hear you ask? Well, nowt to do with Minxy herself- she v promptly notified me and all. Last couple of days have been a tad mad though, house move, re-sit and V V V V important interview.

Re-sit went fine, interview was a train wreck. New abode working out very well!

I'm at the stage where I'm getting interviews for most things I apply for, so my CV seems to be alright. Perhaps in part due to the full on last year with the New York Bar and BVC and all. My personality and interview skills is apparently holding me back from getting an actual JOB though!

An interesting, paid, temporary job is not quite the golden snitch, to borrow Minx's analogy, but it would of those other things that they fly around after that gets you points in the game, even though getting the golden snitch wins the game? Can I tell I'm not really a Potter fan?

Speech? You want a speech? Well... I'm very happy with the above award thank you, and thank you to everyone who stops by here and makes the odd comment or two. I hope it's entertained you at some point, or informed you about the New York Bar. I have to admit, informing or entertaining hasn't really been the objective (this 'ain't the BBC, yo*) but it's jolly nice to share a rant every now and then amongst the blawging community and encourage each other and everything else. Thanks to the blawgers, to for hosting this technical stuff, Boy for buying me chocolates and flowers and stuff every now and then, and my family, and God and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. *wipes humble tear from my eye*.

Now, best get back to revising!

*Yes, I might be addicted to 'The Wire'.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Is that a naked man at 11 o'clock?

I had an interesting experience the other day. A friend came up to my end of town (I live in one of the leafier boroughs of London, great schools but useless for things most people in their 20's are interested in, being in Zone 72 and a half - I digress). (In fact Swiss I think you were close to this end recently? Digressing again).

So my friend came up, and we had lunch and caught up on each other's lives. We decided to go to a cake shop in Muswell Hill (regular readers may suspect this is not an unusual activity). This was a fair way away from where we were, and somehow we ended up in Ally Pally (aka Alexandra Palace) where we picked blackberries, sat on a bench and enjoyed the view.

The view comprised of most of London (Muswell Hill being - shock, horror- built on a hill), the usual trees and shrubs and stuff, couple of magpies, and a naked young man. I didn't spot the man, my friend did.

'Is that a naked man?' she said?
'What? where?' said I.
'At 11 o'clock.
'The other 11 o'clock...over there you, don't stare'.
'Huh. Yeah that is a naked man. And he is...enjoying his nakedness.'

I think it was a private show, seeing as he pulled up his trousers whenever a runner came by. Gosh, I felt special. I really wasn't much in the mood for a perv that day so we just ignored him until he went away, some 10 to 15 minutes later. No idea how long he'd been there.

About 10 mins after that, a couple of local bobbies were walking up and I waved one over. 'Are you here about the flasher?', I asked. They'd heard nowt about a flasher - so we filled them in. It wasn't really important enough to call the police about, but seeing as they were there we figured we should mention it.

I soon forgot the whole thing and expected to hear nothing more about it, but have since received lots of stuff from Victim Support and have been phoned to say they've arrested someone, can I id them and give a statement? I'm pretty impressed that they have tracked anyone down but not sure how I feel about it overall.

Firstly, it's not the most important thing to be arresting people for- the sort of thing the guy was doing was an offence but he didn't come anywhere near us and I don't feel like a victim of crime - as compared to stabbings and burglaries and the like. Second, I'm not sure how I feel about giving a statement and ID information. What if they get a conviction - for something which I found to be a mild annoyance but frankly, hardly surprising to come across at one time or another? Is my natural anti-establishment/anti-authority way of thinking getting the better of me? Or is it more that I think that what he was doing wasn't really a crime? I don't think that's the case, I recognise the need for public order/sexual offences crimes of that sort.

Perhaps it's more of an indictment of how jaded London life has made me that being the 'victim' of such a crime leaves me pretty unfazed.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Swine Flu

I gots it. First in the blawgosphere.

My prize is a fever, headache, fatigue and sore throat. Wait, what? I don't want the prize...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Are you familiar with fail blog? Here's an example:

Mostly VCs, a couple of competents. 4 fails.

So, I've managed to fail the BVC overall. I need a big FAIL stamp on my head.

I should point out - I didn't attend those exams. I mean, only a total berk would actually fail the BVC, right?

I was ill. For quite a long time. Except I didn't get my evidence in on time. Because I'm a total berk. I shall of course be appealing the decision, but at this stage it looks like I'll be excluded from applying to a bunch of different chambers. Which makes a total shambles of everything I've been working for for the last few years.

On the one hand, I'm seeing my dreams go up in smoke before my eyes and know that I lit the torch paper. On the other hand, with the health of some close relatives apparently failing and other issues, including persistent ill health I'm finding it hard to maintain any stable emotions about anything much at all.

I'm watching other blogs and the Student Room as I'm interested in the progress of others. I've heard some interesting stories, including the one about 4 people invited to drinks at a set offering 4 pupillages (after the second round and before the 31st July, crucially) in a wink wink effort, and the one about the girl who sent in two applications to a non-Olpas set because she wasn't sure they'd received the first one. She received two responses- a rejection and invite to interview.

I'm pretty glad I didn't apply this year- but I'd at least have been able to apply to a bunch more sets than I'm looking at at the moment.

To add insult to injury, there will almost certainly be some exhorbitant charging for re-sits.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Mad as a box of frogs

I went to the Liberty 75th Anniversary Conference yesterday, "Common Values in times of Crisis". It was a thought-provoking and very interesting day. The Liberty staff and volunteers had cool t-shirts, designed by Dame Vivian Westwood which read 'I'm not a terrorist, please don't arrest me'. She sat on one of the panels and whilst she had a lot of interesting things to say that I don't disagree with, she does come across as mad as a box of frogs. No one really does mad eccentrics like the Brits!

There were excellent speeches by Lord Bingham of Cornhill on the Human Rights Act and the history of human rights in the UK- the gist being, they're a good thing, the Human Rights Act is a good thing, and getting rid of it wouldn't do much because we're still bound by the European Convention (which British lawyers and law contributed to very significantly so it's downright silly to think of it as a 'foreign' influence)- and Nick Clegg, Shami Chakrabati and many others.

I must say, I've never thought of joining a political party but Mr Clegg just seemed so eminently sensible, and his proposals for legal reform so workable, I am tempted to nail my colours to the mast for once and all, so devoid was his speech of the usual political hyperbole and posturing for posturings sake.

The most impressive person I think, however, was Gareth Pierce. Famed human rights solicitor who's worked on all the big cases and issues you'd care to think about in the last 20, 30 years she has the most remarkable way of speaking. I don't think you'd know her in the street, or to look at her would think anything in particular but she speaks in a very soft, and yet incredibly powerful way.

She was on the panel in the 'Terror' workshop, alongside many other distinguished speakers. In the audience and attending the Conference was a Mahmoud Abu Rideh, who I understand is a client of Gareth Pierce. His story was chilling.

In short he has been held by the government for 8 years now, first in Belmarsh without trial until the Law Lords ruled that unlawful and then under various control orders. He has been hospitalised and terrorised by the experience, and before us was a clearly desperate man.

When he came to the UK, he had a UN travel document as an asylum seeker. The document is no longer valid, because of the passage of time, and despite promises from David Blunkett and Tony Blair to provide him with a new one they have not. The govt have said he will be allowed to leave the country, but still keep him waiting and under house arrest.

No charges have been brought against him, nor has he been told of the evidence against him - this is the nature of the 'civil' Control Order: because it is non-criminal the Police aren't involved and your PACE or Article 6 powers aren't invoked.

I urge you all to write to the new Home Sectretary, Alan Johnson (at the last I heard, anyway) on and ask him to provide Mr Abu Rideh with the travel document he has been promised. I will edit this post to include some more details of his case, but I'm sure that you will want to do your own research. Plug his name into Google and various articles and information will come up.

It's pretty shocking that this regime is allowed to continue- it is executive action in its more brutal and unchecked form. There is no way of challenging a Control Order (detention of less than 14 hours has been held to not constitute a breach of Convention rights). Mr Abu Rideh's children and wife have left the UK, although they are British Citizens because they could not take living in this way any longer. They were not allowed a telephone, internet, visitors, and were subjected to random and indiscriminate searches every few days.

I've posted previously on the Palestine-Israel situation, and my shock at the horrors of life in Gaza. This man is begging to be allowed to leave so that he can go back to Gaza.