Thursday, 26 February 2009


So much for my posts on the Death Penalty - I'm not the most reliable of bloggers, am I?

A little update on my life- the BVC is still a magnificent waste of time and money, ICSL practically had to prise their second cheque out of my hands. Upcoming assessments have my nerves all a-twitter.

I'm really disappointed with the Advocacy Training in the BVC. The major skill of a Barrister is surely advocacy, written and oral. I expected much more than a weekly session late-September to February. If assessments were at the end of the year, that would be another 3 months advocacy training. If you're going to make the course a year long, then make it worthwhile.

In other news Boy went ring shopping and when he presented me with a suitably sparkly one, well - it would have been rude to say no, wouldn't it?

I'm so looking forward to all the cake-tasting.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Death Penalty some food...and some complainin'

In reverse order to the title above, first comes the complaining. That's probably not a terribly good way to write a blog, I suppose you're meant to hook your readers in a bit? Look at it another way, we're getting the pain out of the way early. Although not strictly true as I will be ending on the death penalty...

Snowed in

Anyhoo. First- snow! So very pretty, and really terribly good fun. I made a snowman and played around with some bits of it for quite a while. The texture, packing together all those flakes of snow, imagining all those 6 pointed crystals jamming together, was really quite lovely. What made it feel a little slippery, slimy as it melts in your fingers? Ionic bonds, covalent something or other? Lovely as it was it did rather make London come to a stand still.

I think it was the combined prayers of ICSL students that did it...

This was a blessing of sorts because dear old ICSL was forced to extend the Opinion writing deadline for a day. This only made me think, ooh I have another day. Perfect time to finish the Blackadder DVD boxset (up to series 3 now, the power-crazed Liz 1 is most entertaining!). And now it has been submitted and I do hope that I've passed because I would happily never do that again. Until I start my practice as an actual barrister, where a significant chunk of one's daily work will involve giving advice and writing opinions.

Am I deluding myself as to my ability to be a good barrister? I hope not. I think there's a crucial difference between the artificial BVC exercise and real-life opinions. Namely that, if I was researching an area that I knew nothing about I'd probably run some things by someone who knew something about it. 'Dave, can I just check that I've understood this rule of X law? Aha, I see - glad I checked, it wasn't entirely clear from the case law/statutes'.

I'm quite sure that my research skills are severely remiss, and I completely understand why we are not allowed to talk to anyone about the subject matter of the Research/Opinion. It does cause a little bit of unnecessary panic though, and a lot of my panicking to understand the law of defamation would have been a lot more efficient, if for example as a pupil I could have talked to a co-pupil, a solicitor friend, or my pupil master.


The git has been submitted for now, and fingers crossed this is the last I will see of those two options! I'm much more looking forwards to concentrating on Drafting and Advocacy - things I might, with some luck, get good at.
I hope everyone else is feeling suitably relieved. Special mention to Barmaid who it seems had to deal with a stonker of an assignment.

Food, glorious food

And now for something completely different : I want a sous vide machine because of these chaps and also I saw it on a telly programme. Shame they cost $3000ish. Also, I do feel instinctively that they must make food taste of the plastic it's wrapped in. 90 minutes is also rather long for a steak. I'm sure it will pass, last week I wanted a chocolate tempering machine because of this man's blog. And an ice cream maker, the kind that has its own refrigeration unit. Then I could make gelatos, and sorbets, and creams and ices, and all manner of loveliness. The continuing cake obsession shows no sign of fading, you will be pleased to hear. My doctor will be pleased to hear that I have been tempering this will some sort of vegetable based items - try quarted brussel sprouts, boiled/steamed in a minimal amount of water until bright green (when their nutrients are at a peak) seasoned, with stilton cheese sprinkled on top. Revelation of brussel sprouts + blue cheese = guilt free deliciousness courtesy of The Gruniad.

Death Penalty

Finally, I opened up the proverbial can of worms with my last post. I did say that I would do another blog post, and in fact I don't think that the subject can be treated in a single blog post. Well, it could but it would hardly be easy to read.

Why my interest in the death penalty, you might ask? Well, I've lived here all my life and Britain is clearly a country that doesn't entertain capital punishment and I haven't had any personal involvement with it. Or, I should say with aggravated murder generally. That sounds a bit silly, but what I mean is my life experiences don't put me in either the 'victim/survivor' camp or the, umm, convicted murderer camp.

I have a connection to the States, and I spent a few months working with some of the leading death-penalty lawyers in the country. This was at State and Federal level, and included appellate work and working on live cases, and a fair bit on voir dire stuff as well as extensive research. Really blimming interesting.

The other reason for my interest is the same as many others- I live in society, subject to the rules of law and morality along with everyone else. I am probably a bit of a leftie-human-rights-cheerleader. That's me in context.

So, the Death Penalty in three parts:

1 - The Emotions and ethics behind the death penalty
2- the Death Penalty in practice - public perceptions, voir dire and trials.
3 - the Death Penalty in practice - appellate procedures, costs, and lots of lovely, shiny statistics.

Oh - if it wasn't obvious, I'm not a big fan of the death penalty.