Law

Ahh, so that’s how they’re going to get out of it

Lots of councils have borrowed vast sums to invest in now falling in value property assets. So, how are they goin to get out of this?

A council that borrowed more than £1 billion to bet on commercial property may have acted unlawfully, its auditor has said.

Spelthorne borough council in Surrey has built its property empire over the past five years in an attempt to generate income to compensate for loss of government support.

The investments include BP’s corporate campus at Sunbury-on-Thames, office buildings in Slough, Reading and London, and a local shopping precinct.

The council’s auditor, KPMG, has warned that some of its investments could have been unlawful.

Declare the investments ultra vires and thus unlawful and the contract is no longer enforceable……hey, it’s a bit rough and ready but it works.

Well, he’s right even if not politic

A top Republican senator has said that “democracy isn’t the objective” of America’s political system, sparking widespread outrage at a time when his party has been accused by Democrats of plotting voter suppression and questioning a peaceful transition of power in November’s election.

This is correct of course. That whole thing of two Senators for each state is to make sure that simple weight of numbers doesn’t rule. As is that idea of a written Constitution which is really difficult to change. The whims of the mob are supposed to be difficult to implement.

Sure, sometimes the bulwarks fail – Prohibition say – but that’s what they’re there for. To say that majoritarian democracy goes this far and no further. What else does anyone think the Bill or Rights is about? For that’s not just about what government may not do but about what the people through government may not.

And isn’t this a revealing quote informing us of the types that run ethics offices?

Walter Shaub, former director of the US office of government ethics, said: “People of my grandfather’s generation knew what to do about fascists. Now a member of Congress is urging us to join them. I wonder what made you hate America so much.”

Simple statements of truth are fascism now?

Oh Tee Hee, Tee Hee indeed

Trump Selects Amy Coney Barrett to Fill Ginsburg’s Seat on the Supreme Court

A Catholic mother of seven. Gonna be tough to find someone she raped.

The argument against will have to be that they don’t like her views – which isn’t really quite the point. Sorry, shouldn’t be, rather than isn’t.

This is amusing

Wrong, sure, but still amusing.

Alexandra Wilson, a criminal and family barrister and the author of In Black And White, an account of the challenges faced by a young female barrister of mixed heritage, tweeted that she was "absolutely exhausted" after staff at the court repeatedly failed to recognise she worked in the legal profession.
Her tweets quickly went viral, drawing accusations of racism within the UK’s court system.
Kevin Sadler, the acting chief executive of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service apologised to Ms Wilson and said it was totally unacceptable behaviour and he would be investigating the role of his staff in the incident.
Ms Wilson said when she arrived at court on Wednesday the security officer first asked for her name so he could find it on the list of defendants.
Ms Wilson said: I explained I was a barrister. He apologised and guided me through security. At this point I tried to shrug it off as an innocent mistake.
After meeting with her client, she then tried to enter the courtroom to discuss the case with the prosecutor.
She said: At the door a member of the public told me not to go into the courtroom. I asked why and she said because it’s a court, only lawyers can go in. She said I was a journalist.
The usher (the one person who recognised I was a barrister today) said to ignore her and to head on in.
As I opened the door, a solicitor/barrister said I needed to wait outside court and said the usher (who, by the way, was next to me) would come outside and sign me in and the court would call me in for my case. I explained I’m a barrister. She looked embarrassed and said ‘Oh. I see’.
She turned back around and I walked towards the prosecutor, ready to have our conversation. Before I got there the clerk, VERY loudly, told me to leave the courtroom and said the usher would be out shortly. Before I could respond she then asked if I was represented.
I, AGAIN, explained that I am a defence barrister trying to speak to the prosecutor. She looked at me, said ‘Oh, right, OK’ and continued with what she was doing.

From which we can learn two things. The first is that we’re a gloriously free and mobile society. That someone who, from outward appearance, could be the accused – or worse, a journalist – is in fact that stalwart pillar of the law, a barrister, shows that we are not, in fact, judging by outward appearance. Not as a society we’re not, even if a few individuals are.

Secondly, there’s a possibility that all that stuff about gowns and wigs actually has a value, eh?

Just a thought about RBG

I can see an argument developing here. Her biggest wish was – and I paraphrase – was that Trump not be able to replace her. So, there will be those who say it shouldn’t be done before the election. For this reason – leave aside all other reasons why or why not.

Which would really be most un-Supreme Court, wouldn’t it? The point of the institution being that the United States is a country of laws, not the wishes of any individual no matter how special or powerful?

My word, this is a surprise

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Obama calls on Republicans to delay filling vacancy – as it happened
Amid tributes to the late supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former president adds weight to calls for vacancy to remain until after November election

Who could imagine that?

And weren’t the Democrats simply incandescent with rage when Republicans did exactly that to Merrick Garland? Delayed the confirmation hearings until after the election? You know, the without double standards they’d have no standards at all thing?

Ha ha ha gurgle, snort

Commonwealth HQ lawyers facing charges of corruption

Well, OK. That’s not funny.

Joshua Brien, an expert on the law of the seas, and his wife, Melissa Khemani, a renowned anti-corruption expert, worked at the headquarters of the Commonwealth in central London.

That is.

Ms Khemani, 40, is facing two charges of acquiring, using or possessing £62,000 of criminal property. She is due to appear at court on October 22. She had worked in the criminal law section of the Commonwealth Secretariat helping member countries to implement the United Nations convention against corruption.

The Canadian-born lawyer was then appointed an anti-corruption legal expert with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. She is now a lawyer for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) working on due diligence on transactions and introducing anti-corruption reforms.

Quis cutodiet ipsos custodies…..

Very, very, confusing

Well, which?

You can drive a motor tricycle of any power rating if both of the following are true:

you’re over 21
you have a full car driving licence

You’ll need a full category A1 motorbike licence to ride motor tricycles up to power output 15 Kilowatts (kW), and a full category A motorbike licence to ride trikes with a power output more than 15 kW.

It’s necessary to have only a car licence or to have a bike licence to drive a trike?

Maybe Longrider can help out here?

Very weird expert here

Prince Harry likely to be given diplomatic status in the United States to help him get a green card easily, expert claims

Eh?

The Duke of Sussex is likely to be given diplomatic status in the United States to help him get a green card easily, an expert has claimed.

Matteo Carrera, an immigration law researcher for Cardozo Law School in New York, said settling Prince Harry’s visa situation would not be difficult.

Given his wealth and status he would probably be classified as a British diplomat, entering the US on an A1 Visa.

Mr Carrera said: “With this he would have been able to enter the US and then adjust his status to a green card.”

Someone, somewhere, has got terribly confused here. Or isn’t all that expert.

Diplomatic visas don’t aid in gaining settled status. Everyone’s quite clear about that. As someone who has had a diplo visa for the US they were very clear about it to me too.

Secondly, on an A1, he can’t work. Which would be something of a constraint really, as that’s why he’s there.

Thirdly, he’s married to an American citizen which gives him the route to a green card he needs.

According to the US state department A1 visas are for diplomats and government officials. If he was not given an A1 visa the Duke could have entered the US on a simple tourist visa, and then apply for a green card, allowing him to become a permanent resident and work….

And they’re really not keen on you changing visa status while in the country. And they really, really, don’t like you entering on a tourist visa (for Brits, usually tourist visa waiver scheme) and then trying to change status.

Now admittedly, I’m not an expert on American visas, just someone with an intimate knowledge of the little bits that have applied to me. But this really doesn’t sound like someone expert to me.

One thing we can be sure of here

They’ll screw up any definition of “tech” that they try to use:

Using smart technology to spy on or abuse your partner will become illegal under new domestic abuse laws.

Unveiling the bill on Tuesday, ministers said a new legal definition of domestic abuse would include “tech abuse” which research by charity Refuge found was recorded in up to three-quarters of cases.

According to ministers, abusers are increasingly using new technologies such as fitness trackers and “smart” home devices attached to heating, lights and video doorbells to stalk, isolate and control present and former partners.

Please define tech then.

An outbreak of good sense

But in a decision hailed by the Australian Workers Union as a victory for “workers rights in the digital era” and “Aussie larrikinism”, the full bench of the commission overturned the decision on appeal on Friday, finding the widespread use of the scene as a meme had the effect of “culturally dissociating” it from its original context.

“That the clip has been used thousands of times over a period of more than a decade for the purpose of creating, in an entirely imitative way, a satirical depiction of contemporary situations has had the result of culturally dissociating it from the import of the historical events portrayed in the film,” the commissioners found.

“After this period, any interest which remains in the clip will usually reside in the degree of inventiveness involved in successfully adapting the scene to fit some new situation. Anyone with knowledge of the meme could not seriously consider that the use of the clip was to make some point involving Hitler or Nazis.”

Akin to the equally sensible libel rule that “mere vulgar abuse” isn’t libel. You know, adults can tell the difference here…..

Oh how glorious

The niece of Sir James Gobbo, a former governor of the state of Victoria and a supreme court judge, she was a star student at university, was top of her legal ethics class and wanted to research the relationship between police and informers for her master’s degree.

OK, cool.

A prominent barrister who secretly informed on her clients to police, meaning that many of Australia’s most notorious criminals may have to be freed, has told an inquiry that she had lied about her past to become a lawyer.

Nicola Gobbo, 46, provided more than 1,000 intelligence reports on her clients and their associates that helped police to bust some of the country’s most extensive criminal networks. Her information is thought to have helped to convict more than 350 people.

The disclosure that she was a secret police informer stunned the legal establishment….

Ahahahahahahahha

Sub judice

There are rules about what you can say while a trial is ongoing. As Tommy Robinson found out.

American rules about what is sub judice might be different.

A trial in the Senate might not be a trial in this same sense.

Someone, somewhere, should tell us. For this could, potentially, be a dangerous thing to be saying:

Donald Trump is clearly guilty.

That it’s Amanduh does mean that it’s possible she’s been badly briefed as to the law…..

Eh?

A private police service is mounting the UK’s first private prosecutions for theft and other “minor” crimes because it claims the police have “given up” taking them to court.

Wasn’t there a time when all prosecutions were private?

Maybe that was before the UK though….

Glorious

Asailor who was facing up to two years in jail for being drunk in command of a supertanker has been unable to be sentenced because immigration officials will not let him back into the country due to his conviction.

Ukrainian, Valeriy Velychko, admitted being six times over the legal limit for alcohol when he appeared at Teesside magistrates’ court in the summer.

He also pleaded guilty to obstructing a police officer who was trying to remove him from the gigantic 23,600 tonne tanker Kohl 1 at Teesport in July.

But the 53-year-old tanker captain was given bail by magistrates and allowed to return home with his lawyers assuring the bench he would come back to Britain for his sentencing hearing.

However, on the two occasions he tried to re-enter the UK, to attend court, he was turned back by immigration officials because of his criminal record.

Me, I’d argue that the State has stopped him fulfilling his side of the bargain. Up to the State to sort it out. They can send a bloke around with the visa, they can meet him at the airport to usher him though, whatever. But sod ’em, their screw up, not his.

Seems sensible enough to be honest

Top City lawyers advising Thomas Cook on its failed rescue plan are said to have demanded weekly payments from the travel company to ensure they received their fees in the run-up to its collapse into insolvency.

The move spared insolvency experts at elite “Magic Circle” law firm Slaughter and May and US firm Latham & Watkins from joining a long queue of creditors when the company went down – including the company’s 21,000 staff, who face a long wait for their final pay cheque.

Also fairly normal I would have thought for both beancounters and shysters to ask the same of a company they’re trying to save from bankruptcy….

So, a question

Disputes will be settled in a court of arbitration, where major corporations maintain the right to sue governments that make unilateral changes to the law that affect their profits. This is a mechanism tobacco companies have used to extract compensation for laws restricting or banning smoking.

There have definitely been ISDS cases brought by tobacco companies over restrictions. Think Philip Morris sued Australia over advertising bans, or plan packets, something like that?

They also lost, big time. Which becomes the question. Suits have definitely been filed. But have the ‘baccy companies won any of them?

Government efficiency

US to resume executions of federal death row inmates after 16 years

They’ve been standing on the trapdoor – or strapped to the gurney? – all this time?

Just can’t get the staff these days…..