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Showing posts from April, 2016

“Textalysers” coming soon?

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I already have a great deal of experience dealing with breathalysers, maybe I’ll soon need to expand into “textalysers” if this plan from America takes off.
New York law makers are looking to introduce “Evan’s Law” that would allow police to use devices at the roadside to see whether drivers have been texting while driving.  The name comes from Evan Lieberman who was killed in a car crash when Michael Fiddle claimed he fell asleep while driving – in the UK Fiddle would likely have been guilty of causing death by dangerous driving if he made an admission like that but in New York it seems that wasn’t enough to bring a charge against him as a grand jury refused to indict him.  The parents of Mr Lieberman felt there was more to the story than Mr Fiddle falling asleep and were able to force the release of Mr Fiddle’s telephone records, which showed he had been texting sometime earlier, although a judge said that had not been a factor in the crash.
The textalyser aims to give police the a…

Celebrity threesome privacy injunction

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The hot legal news story of the past week has been the super injunction granted to [CENSORED] who is the spouse of [CENSORED], a world famous person in the entertainment industry.  The injunction revolves around claims that [CENSORED] cheated on [CENSORED] by having a threesome with two other people, one of whom is a “businessman” who would like to make a lot of money from his relationship with [CENSORED] by stabbing [CENSORED] in the back.  Presumably so he can retire early.  I don’t know, I’m just guessing here.
Understandably the newspapers want to print all the steamy news about how [CENSORED] did this, did that or did the other to his two threesome companions, all behind the back of [CENSORED] and then went on to have an affair some months later.  Meanwhile, for equally understandable reasons both [CENSORED] and [CENSORED] would like to keep the story a secret.
I have to admit that I haven’t thought much about injunctions since I left Bar School some years ago so I had to look u…

Panama leak: What has David Cameron done wrong?

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You may (or may not) be surprised to hear that I don’t think David Cameron did anything wrong by benefiting from the Panama-based offshore trust that his father set up.  In my opinion, if a person can legitimately reduce their tax liability then they should be able to do so.  I said the same back in 2012 when Mr Cameron described comedian Jimmy Carr as “morallywrong” to put his money into the K2 tax avoidance scheme
That said, a number of people are now saying that the fund with which Cameron was involved actually increased the tax liabilities of the Cameron’s rather than reducing them.  The rationale behind this claim is that being based in Panama may lead to high returns to off-set the higher tax.  This seem reasonable, but if that is the case I am confused why the Prime Minister hasn’t simply said so from the beginning and I’m even more confused why he felt the need to off-load this investment before becoming Prime Minister and saying he would crack down on tax avoidance.
So the…

Mitigation: the art of not putting your foot in it

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One thing all advocates need to learn is how to put mitigation in the best possible light.  A very common mistake, one I see happening all the time, is advocates who blame a client’s misfortunes on their conviction, e.g. any sentence that begins “As a result of this conviction Mr X cannot…” is usually going to go wrong.
Before I move on I am going to make clear that I am not criticising any individual mentioned in this post and that I was not in court for the events described so I am relying wholly on press reports.  There are many reasons why an advocate may approach a case in a given way and people on the outside will not be aware of those reasons.  The facts reported by the press are probably not a perfect reflection of how mitigation was handled and it may well be that they completely distort the undoubtedly wise words of Counsel; however, the reports do reflect advocacy that I see on a daily basis so I am going to treat them as if they are accurate.
In the recent Tulisa drink dr…

Fixed fees v hourly rates

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The Legal Services Board (they oversee the legal services regulators – they’re the bosses bosses boss) has published research showing that firms charging fixed fees are likely to be cheaper than those charging hourly rates.  This is something most of us in the legal services industry already knew.
At London Drink Driving Solicitor, we think that we should be providing an excellent service for a reasonable price.  That doesn’t mean the cheapest - you can get cheaper and with some of those firms you will get a worse service, trust me I’ve reviewed some of their files for unhappy clients.  But what it does mean is that when you instruct a solicitor like me who is working on a fixed fee you know what you are going to pay.
Let me give you an example, I currently have a civil law solicitor doing some very simple debt work for me.  He originally estimated £500 for the entirety of the case.  So far I have paid him £1,825 and the case hasn’t even got a court hearing yet!  Unsurprisingly he’s …