This is hugely, hugely, amusing

Staff at an exclusive private members’ club co-owned by the Tory donor Lord Ashcroft have been asked to take a cut in their basic pay in return for a share of the service charge, in a move that could leave low-paid workers vulnerable while reducing the company’s tax payments.

Workers at the Devonshire Club in London, where members pay £2,400 a year for access to a 68-room boutique hotel, brasserie and champagne bar, were asked last month if they would take a formal cut to the legal minimum wage.

They were promised that their total pay would be topped up to the current level using money from the service charges automatically added to customers’ bills and distributed via a system called a tronc.

The scheme would potentially cut the Devonshire Club’s tax bill as, unlike basic pay, national insurance payments are not levied on independently distributed tips.

Although staff will save on national insurance in the short term under the scheme, cutting their contributions will affect statutory protections such as redundancy pay, maternity or paternity pay, or the state pension. Money from a tronc also cannot be included in staff contracts, potentially leaving staff vulnerable to a pay cut.

If the amount must be paid – if it’s not a tip therefore, but it is a service charge – then NI is payable on the distribution.

If it really is a tip, not a service charge, then the management don’t get to decide upon the distribution, the money already belongs to the staff.

The basic set up just doesn’t work.

I quite agree with David Lammy

Those responsible for the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire must face trial
David Lammy

Well, yes.

For most people it means putting those responsible for the horror in the dock in the Old Bailey, on trial for gross negligence manslaughter. Anything short of that will be a whitewash.

The thing is though David, who is it that is going to be in the dock?

Well, yes, obviously

The report also found that whether or not a person is sentenced to death has more to do with where the crime was committed than the crime itself. Seventy-four percent of the executions carried out in 2017 took place in just four states: Texas, Arkansas, Florida, and Alabama.

Not every state has the death penalty.

Don’t think this works, does it?

After the couple had a son together through IVF at the clinic in 2008, a number of embryos were frozen and they signed agreements annually for these to remain in storage.
In October 2010, the mother handed IVF Hammersmith a ‘consent to thaw’ form, forged with ARB’s signature. On the basis of this document, an embryo was thawed and successfully implanted.
‘Unwanted child’
The father said his ex-partner’s dishonesty resulted in the birth of his daughter, an “unwanted child”.
“It’s a very, very difficult situation for me. A beautiful child, a child that everyone would want, a child that I love. But also a child that has brought us so much pain.”
He argued that the clinic should pay for the cost of her upbringing, including private school fees, holidays, refurbishing her bedroom and her wedding.

Isn’t it a basic of English law that having a healthy child simply cannot be a tort which leads to damages?

I dimly recall some case where a women went in for an abortion, they took out only one of two embryos, the second one was born and she could get no damages?

Well, no, not quite

A woman in suburban Detroit has been sent to prison for seven days for failing to vaccinate her nine-year-old son.

Part of the agreement over the divorce was that the son would get vaccinated. She’s being sent to prison for breaching that, not because she didn’t vaccinate.

Judge Karen McDonald, presiding over the court on the outskirts of Detroit, found Ms Bredow, a mother of two, to be in contempt of court.

This is what strict liability offences do

A 12-year-old girl who was pressured by an online paedophile into sending topless photos of herself has been told she could now face criminal charges.
Despite by groomed by the online predator, the schoolgirl is now facing a police investigation for sending an indecent image.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be continually inventing new strict liability offences?

Be interesting to see the explanation for this

Young black people are nine times more likely to be locked up in England and Wales than young white people, according to Ministry of Justice analysis.

The official exploratory study also shows that young black people are more likely to be identified with “gang concerns” and be considered a risk to others when being sentenced than any other ethnic group.

Is it because young black people are more likely to be in gangs or is it institutional wacism?

This is somewhat unfortunate

Charlie Gard’s parents have privately expressed their concern after discovering that the lawyer appointed to represent their 11-month-old son in court heads a charity that backs assisted dying.

Victoria Butler-Cole, who speaks on Charlie’s behalf in court, is chairman of Compassion in Dying, a sister organisation to Dignity in Dying which campaigns for a change in the law to make assisted dying legal in the UK. Dignity in Dying used to be called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

Nothing like knowing your lawyer truly believes in your case. Of course, if that were necessary then the truly guilty would never get a defence but still, unfortunate.

Erm, in London presumably

Last week Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, announced that France would set up a special English-language court to handle English-law cases for financial contracts after Britain leaves the European Union.

Most loan and derivative contracts in Europe are written in English law, but Britain’s exit from the European Union raises problems about how they would be enforced outside of Britain.

Just like happens now?

Don’t think this works really, does it?

Quito: Julian Assange’s lawyer accused Britain on Thursday of breaking international law by denying the WikiLeaks founder safe passage out of the country if he leaves Ecuador’s embassy in London.

“Britain is… violating all the norms of international law, human rights and humanitarian law,” said Baltasar Garzon, a Spanish ex-judge who leads Assange’s defense team.

He’s wanted for breaching his bail terms. There is no right of free passage in such circumstances.

From memory Garzon was the magistrate who wanted Pinochet so he’s been inventive in legal theory for some time.

Labour pledges to outlaw freelancing

Labour has pledged to ban all zero-hours contracts,

Which is a bit of a bugger really.

Obviously, I can see the difference between CapX saying yes they want a piece from me today, or no, they’ve enough from other people so nothing today Tim, and someone getting or not getting a MaccyD shift that day.

But I can’t really see the difference in law.

Anyone? How can we still have freelance work on demand and no zero hours contracts?

The lawyers here will know more than I do about this

Strict limits on the height of houses could be axed under the biggest overhaul of Britain’s planning laws for more than 70 years.

Sajid Javid, the Local Government Secretary, is examining plans to relax strict laws dating back to 1947 which ban new homes from being taller than surrounding properties.

Ministers are also reviewing rules which prevent neighbouring properties from being cast into shadows in a bid to solve the nation’s housing crisis.

“Lights” is common law isn’t it? So not something they can gaily legislate upon? Or rather something they’re going to have to be careful about?

No Suzanne, just no

Ukip leadership hopeful Suzanne Evans has suggested judges should face the prospect of being sacked by MPs in the wake of the Article 50 case in the High Court.

She warned about judges increasingly intervening in political decisions and suggested the judiciary should face being grilled by a Commons select committee with the power to recommend sacking them.

Really, just no. That she doesn’t even guess why this is a bad idea is what makes it so terrible.

The judiciary under political control? Jeebus.

Well, it beats just making it up

It was revealed earlier this year that top law firms are charging clients as much as £1,000 an hour, meaning a six minute toilet break could cost up to £100.

Nabarro’s ‘Time Recording Policy’, which was leaked to legal website RollOnFriday earlier this year, read: “Any short break, e.g. coffee break, of up to six minutes should still be recorded to the matter you are currently working on, on the basis that you would still be thinking about it”.

Making it up being what some have accused legal firms of doing.

Now they’re just flat out lying

Like TTIP, Ceta threatens to lock in privatisation, making renationalisation (of Britain’s railways, say) or attempts by cities to take control of failing public services (as Joseph Chamberlain did in Birmingham in the 19th century, laying the foundations for modern social provision) impossible.

It doesn’t say anything of the kind.

Here’s an example of what the cretins are actually complaining about:

One look at the practice of investment arbitration shows that concerns with regard to the respect for
human rights and environmental law during ISDS proceedings are not unfounded. Some investment
protection proceedings gave rise to conflicts with i.a. the right to health96, the right to water97 and
with general environmental rights.98 Also the current proceedings in Chevron v Ecuador99 show that
the (human) rights of third parties often receive only insufficient attention in arbitration proceedings.
In these proceedings, to which the arbitration rules of UNCITRAL100 apply and which were initiated on
grounds of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between the USA and Ecuador, Chevron objects to the
enforcement of a judgment by an Ecuadorian court which had convicted Chevron to a payment of
billions in damages to a group of plaintiffs.101 In several interim awards, the arbitration panel obliged
Ecuador to avert the enforcement of that judgment.102 This gave Ecuador the choice either to
interfere with the otherwise independent judiciary of the country in an unconstitutional manner or
to pay billions in penalties to Chevron. Thus the arbitration proceedings function additionally as an
authority which is de facto able to override even the decisions of the final courts of appeal103 and
which deprives the persons affected of the rights they have in legal proceedings without letting them
participate in the arbitration proceedings. The lacking consideration for the rights of third parties
who do not participate in the proceedings themselves is the focus of an intense debate in the
literature on investment protection law.104 A particular point of criticism is that such proceedings
may have the effect that states will not be able to comply with their responsibility to protect the
human rights of third parties, as investment arbitration tribunals pay no or very little attention to
these rights.105 This becomes also evident in proceedings regarding the privatisation of water. In
these cases, states claimed a duty to guarantee their own population the right to water, even if the
water supply had been privatised. Most arbitration tribunals, however, did not accept this
Ultimately, the two Vattenfall proceedings, in which the Swedish energy company sues the Federal
Republic of Germany for damages, also manifest the grave implications that arbitration proceedings
may have for matters concerning environmental law107 and how “a tension can arise between them
and the national constitution.”108 This result is shared by many authors dealing with the clash
between environmental matters and investment protection law.109 In addition, there are a number of
arbitration tribunals on the question whether environmental requirements constitute an indirect
expropriation or the violation of other investor rights. Legal practice shows that the arbitration
tribunals certainly apply a broad definition of indirect expropriation. The arbitration tribunal in the
case Metalclad v. Mexico110, for example, assumed that the prohibition to operate a landfill
constitutes an indirect expropriation.111

The Chevron case is the one where the lawyer bribed the judge and it turned out that the entire case was a complete fabrication from start to finish. Oh how terrible that ISDS provisions protected Chevron from that.

Vattenfall is even more fun. No one doubts at all that Germany can decide not to have nuclear power plants. But if at the stroke of a pen, by changing the law, you turn many billions of valuable power plant into expensive scrap then you’ve got to pay for it. Just as with all the other nationalisations and so on. You can nationalise anything you want. You’ve just got to pay for it.

So, speed limits then

Battery-powered bicycles are being modified to travel at almost 30mph – twice the speed permitted in public places – putting owners and pedestrians at risk.
Cyclists fit devices that override a speed sensor on the bikes that cuts the motor at the legal limit of 15.5mph.
Others are being sold bikes with motors that exceed the 250-watt power limit permitted on roads.

Something I have no clue about at all.

What are the speed limits for cyclists? Because 15.5 mph is easy enough to beat. I assume this limit is just for these electric bikes.

And has a cyclist ever been given a speeding ticket? I can imagine serious riders out barreling through a 20 mph limit easily enough….

Finally, why in buggery 15.5 mph for these things? What bureaucrat thought that up? Ah, it’s 25 kph, isn’t it?