Tuesday, 30 September 2008

New Forest - horse

Breakfast tv has just shown an item wherein it is complained that the New Forest (not that new it was, not personally, planted by William the Bastard, or Conqueror as he undoubedtly preferred to be called, around 1066), is being overrun by cars.
A man has just said
"cars are causing all the problems, why cannt people ride horses in the New Forest?"
They do not have horses.
They cannot ride horses.
Would they have to drive to the horses?
Where would they put the cars (in a car park in the New Forest)

Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein F....

What is it about the Austrians.
First we have the NSDAP (National Socialists or Nazi's to history), whose leader was from Osterreich
Following the war, which to put it mildly, was not exactly a resounding success for Austria (nor the rest of the world), one might have thought they would not flirt so outrageously with the right, but
Then we had Jorg Haider and the Freedom Party, which formed part of the government, before falling (not quite so dramatically for either them or the world)
And now the 30% of the electorate have voted for a combination of the Freedom Party and another similar party.
Never let it be said that politics are about prinicples apparently the Socialists are considering forming an alliance with the far right

Not law - Not anything

The weather forecast this morning stated that there was ging to be a lot of rain, the presenter, however, in an attempt to put a gloss on her home country's inclement weather has just informed us that "it is not raining everywhere in Scotland"
No, I imagine that it is not raining inside buildings.

Monday, 29 September 2008


I write this, while sitting in a hotel in the Midlands, I am off to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal up north tomorrow.
Being clever I thought I would drive up here book into a cheapish hotel, and get to Court early.
There are lots of hotels in the West Midlands, it is a Monday night.
It is also the Conservative Party Conference.
There are no rooms.
And I have no papers for tomorrows hearing.
And it is 1.00am

mad litigant in person

I sit in a County Court just south of London, a very pleasant Middle England kind of town, all nice houses and Daily Mail readers.
I am for a bank today in a case that concerns a Mortgage (god my work is topical), and therefore I think that I would stand a better chance of success if I were representing Stalin, Franco or the ruler of Dis.
Fortunately for me, and I am sure I will not be using that word after the hearing, my client is a professional litigant. Not a lawyer mind, just an individual who likes to go to Court.
I read his claim, and then I read it again, and again, and it still made no sense, it did not disclose a "cause of action" (legal term for the basis of a claim), it was a gripe against his bank, which he seemed to view to offer him the best possible deal, in fact he was asking to be put on a mortgage rate that he had himself designed, I am serious.
The bank refused.
I guessed he made other claims, often.
I arrived in the Court and saw a grey haired gentleman with a battered man purse, and concluded, rightly, that he was the Claimant, he had what might be termed, the look of a LIP, a litigant in person, otherwise known as a lunatic.
I promptly decided to hide in a conference room and stare at my computer.
The usher came to take my name, I asked if the grey man was the Claimant
"He is mad isn't he?"
"Yes, he is here often, he lives with his mother and has sued lots of people, the Judges are investigating him"
The George Carman of the populace has sued, among others
A company that makes hair dye for men;
Several supermarkets;
Other banks;
The same bank, and anyone who comes his way.
"Has he sued the Court, or the Court staff?"
"No, but he has made official complaints.
This afternoon will, no doubt, be another life affirming experience.

Arte y Pico

Arte y Pico

I have been nominated, by Matt of itshttp://www.itsquiteanexperience.blogspot.com/ and am pleased to accept the Arte y Pico award.

I am grateful and a little surprised, notwithstanding my rampant, unrestrained and probably undeserved ego.

The criteria for the award are as follows.

1. You have to pick five blogs that you consider deserve this award in terms of creativity, design, interesting material, and general contributions to the blogger community, no matter what language.

2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3. Each winner has to show the award and give the name and link to the blog that has given him or her the award itself.

4. Each winner and each giver of the prize has to show the link of “Arte y pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5. To show these rules.

I will therefore later today be searching out 5 recipients

Saturday, 27 September 2008


I have a cold, I wish I did not have a cold, but there is little I can do about it, I wonder if I caught it off one of my clients during the week, I hope not, if I did, a cold is better than some diseases I meet, which some appellants seem only to happy to share
Such as the appellant who attended Court looking slightly worse for wear...I thought he was ill, this did not take a great deal of thought as he seemed to be trying to bring up a lung he was coughing so hard. Also he was ashen coloured and thin, very thin. I could not see much of his face as it was usually in his hands or between his legs. I was worried that he had TB, he had a pretty thin case in any event and I was going to have to cross examine him extensively and I did not relish the prospect of 2 hours sitting opposite him dodging bits of his lung as he answered questions.
Tactlfully (well for me anyway) I spoke to his rep (not a lawyer, given his inadequate grasp of both the English language and Court procedure), and gently enquired after the health of his client.
"He coughs a fair bit, what?"
"Has he got TB?"
"No, he is fine"
"Really, he seems to be doing a passable impression of a sick person"
"No, he is ok"
"There is lots of TB where he comes from"
"No, he is ok"
"Have you asked him?"
I was going to ask the rep what his medical qualifications were, but was frightened he make take me seriously and try to explain, so I returned to my paper, and the rep back into the (small) conference room, where he remained for an hour with his client.
An hour later, our case began, and surprisingly the appellant was still alive, and still coughing (a lot). It was a pity that he could not lie as well as he could cough, as he soon succombed either to my fantastic forensic questioning, or his poor memory. I decided to put to him his account was a pack of lies (useful legal term, defendants and appellants seem to understand the question, but invariably disagree with it though), to which he responded
"The reason I cannot remember is I am not well"
"What's wrong with you?"
"I have got TB"
and he had.
He had lots of letters from various hospitals to support this.
What added to the oddness of the day, was that when I applied to adjourn the hearing on the basis that the appellant was dying (or could be) and I did not want to, the Judge said
At which point I informed the Court that either the appellant was going to leave the building or I was.
The appellant left the Court, and I went to hospital.

Friday, 26 September 2008

meee - life

Is it really 8 years since I embarked upon the relationship with my, soon to be, ex - wife. All very odd, still going to the same Courts, yet time has moved on, I find it all very odd and a bit disturbing. I am now older. I do not like being older. I do not look older (well not that much - apart from some gray hair). I do not act older. However, everyone else seems to have grown up a bit, and I am assailed from time to time with my own mortality. Usually when I am on my own (often now).
I cannot, however, find succour in the old "where did it all go wrong?" bleat, as on any sensible reading, the fault lies with me and my fondness for mood altering substances. Why do they call it substance misuse. I never mis used substances, if I misused the substances I would not have got into trouble, my problem was that I used them all too well.
Ah well, they are not being used or misused today, and that at the risk of sounding positive, is good.
And now, I will have another go at communicating with my client, who has miraculously been smiling at me for the last 30 minutes, wonder if he will be smiling after Court?


I sit in the waiting area of the court at the airport, looking at my client, looking is all I can do as my arabic is shall we say limited, well non-existant, and my client's English is not bad, he answers questions clearly and uses proper English words, unfortunately the questions he is answering and not the questions I am asking.
What disturbed me, was that it took 5 minutes of conversation before it became clear that he has no idea what I am talking about. When he showed me fourth phone bill instead of a photo of his (alleged) wife, I realised that either a. he was married to a phone, b. he did not understand me, inspite of his smiling face (probably a clue there that he had trouble understanding me) and assertions that he spoke "English half and half". I have never heard of a man marrying a phone, so guessed b. was right, obviously he speaks the other "half" of English, the one I don't speak.


Unpleasant call from wife (soon to be ex), who it must be said is not to blame in any way for the breakdown in the marriage, but more of that later - as given that this is supposedly about me, it appears a more appropriate title might be "things meee has seen", who started off by informing me that all of the problems were due to my personality. Intrigued I was, but before I could ask she happily informed me that I was a
"charismatic, self-obsessed, arrogant narcissist"
and I thought she did not like me.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

more meee

Gosh does anyone read this, other than me (over and over again) ... probably not, ah well must try to do better and tomorrow evening I might not miss my station (again)

more Algerian throat

throat still very sore, still not able to talk, but not such a problem as off to Siberia...and quiet

received odd email from soon to be ex, which is, as usual, a bit upsetting, though there is no point responding, not unless I want to be reminded just how poor a specimen of humanity I am (again). Very upset she is, but it is disturbing. Ah well it could be worse I could be in detention and be an Algerian...
The client before mine was such an Algerian, he had been in detention for 2 years waiting for a travel document from the Algerian Embassy. The Home Office said that he would have it soon, they have been saying it for over a year apparently. Unfortunately, for the Algerian, Algeria never issues travel documents, so he is in for a very long wait.
He is also going to be very lucky to get bail as:
a. he has no lawyer (presumably any money he has stolen is now spent);
b. he has criminal convictions (for theft);
c. he has used a number of different names (when stealing things).
He is not an atypical Algerian, Algerians only ever claim asylum when they have been caught stealing (usually shoplifting or robbery on or around Oxford Street (only the best shops /clients for them, no Lidl or Aldis...)). Oh and they all give false names, usually more than one, apparently its a condition of them being allowed in.
As an aside, as if this blog is not one enormous aside, how does anyone know if any asylum seeker or illegal entrant has claimed asylum in his real name or used a fake name as he is / was wanted in his own country for ............(insert offence of choice, anything from assault, through rape to genocide - in the grand old asylum and immigration courts no perversion is too low..I have heard it all from political opinions, through pedophilia ("my 12 year old boyfriend's father objected to the relationship" (Iran) to necrophilia ("I got caught taking the body...(literally) have placed it outside to warm it up in the sun" (Iran) - and all this before lunch).
The answer to the question "how do you know if they have given their real name is ?" is you don't. Sometimes, and again I jest not, the first time you become aware of it is when one of their victims (torture) sees their assailant in the United Kingdom pretending to be a victim as well.

Back to the Algerian. His application was to use a phrase "Doomed to fail". He struggled gamely on in a broken form of South London English - an odd accent for a Francophone. So odd that the Judge (keeping a straight face) asked him where he learnt English.
Given he had been in prison for 2 years 3 months and in the country for about 4 no prizes for guessing where.
The Judge plowed on and complimented the Applicant
"I commend you for your English it stands you in very good stead. When you go back to Algeria it will really help you"
What in the tourist industry?
In Algeria, in one of the all inclusive "shoot as many infidels for a fiver" resorts.

sore throat

On my way into exile last night I my throat started to hurt, and by the time that I had returned to the South Coast, it was as if I had been eating a meal made out of crushed lightbulbs. I was so tired following a hard day's work (or hard day's waiting, which is actually harder - trying to keep awake and not let the clients see me drifting off) that sleep came easily.
As usual, as a result of the pasting that I gave my nervous systems, I woke up at 5.00 (again), and got up, my throat now unable to remember what it was like to have skin.

My poor client today suffers from three serious complaints, the first is that he is deaf and bleeds, charming I know, from both ears, no doubt a unique party trick but not one that I would aspire to, nor did I take him up on his kind offer to show me the blood and puss covered tissue that he kept producing...
the second problem is that he has been working illegally on a French passport and I doubt that he is French,
finally his remaining problem was his lawyer, who had a strange habit of looking at me whilst pushing out his top lip, a feat I thought was not possible, and yet despite being disturbing was strangely compelling. Unfortunately, his lawyer, having mastered the sticky out top lip had not mastered anything useful, such as basic immigration law, or the English language.
None of the above helped him with, what was his third bail application in as many weeks.

At moment of writing I am this in the office of a solicitor surrounded by 4 Tamils and one small child who are all competing to see who can speak the loudest, normally I would win, but I have lost my voice, which given my liking for it, is very frustrating, so I am forced to sit and listen (and type), anyway hope their case has some merit, must read the papers later... back to the clients, as any of them seem to care that I am even here. (And I am the representative)

And my client got bail this morning, though I think it was more down to the Home Office only giving him two paracetamol tablets in 3 months for his bleeding (and) painful ears, and their refusal to let him see a doctor. Mind you I suppose he could always put the tablets in his ears, at least that might stop the bleeding.

I suppose shouting (my client was deaf) for two hours is a contributory factor to my lose of voice, ah well no sucking lemons later and no curry for me today

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Now I am stuck in Court waiting, I have been waiting for a long time. Unfortunately the case I have has a number of fundamental problems, my client was deported from the United Kingdom for faciltating entrance to the United Kingdom for other illegals. No sooner was he removed than he availed himself of his own fine service and hey presto, he is back! Unfortunately, his application has the following problems:
a. He is subject to a deportation order (i.e. unless he gets it revoked he is not allowed back);
b. He has no right of appeal;
c. His solicitor knows less about the law than him;
d. He is a stranger to the truth.
a. - c. would be fatal on their own, d. merely means adds the icing to his already well cooked cake.
Yesterday's client, a 36 year old father, was unfortunate, he struggled to understand that the insurance document he had purchased in a pub over a game of pool (for £500.00) was false (I joke not). When asked what information the "insurance salesman" asked for he replied "my name".
I explained that this was not a trick question, and what else did he ask for, he repeated his name and then looked blank (a look to which I am not unusued to, maybe it is me after all).
"Well when you bought other insurance, what other information did they ask you for?"
"I have never bought insurance before"
"Ah, that would explain the other convictions then"
His plea of not guilty did not look like it would meet with success, however he was adamant that he thought the certificate was genuine.
It was then suggested to him that to succeed on this basis he would have to demonstrate to the Court a level of cognitive impairment such as would place him, intellectually, on a par with fish. When this was explained to him in simple terms, i.e. "you are going to have to show the Court you are, and I mean no disrespect by what I about to say, daft", he replied,
He asked what I meant and then said "ok, well I can't read or write"


Having experienced divorce both as a representative and personally, I can safely say that I prefer the former over the latter, as at least with the former I can switch off, not listen and make glib observations, in the latter I am the subject of the glib observations...

Monday, 22 September 2008

meee - facebook

It was with some concern that I noticed that Facebook had changed.

This change would appear to be without any reason or basis, it has resulted in great turmoil or at least a number of sites seeking to return to the good old days.

I wonder how many of these "traditionalists" are aware of the origin of Facebook.

Its origins are shrouded in some mystery and some believe that references can be found to it, or at the least alluded to it in Virgil and Homer, though upon closer examination these are, arguably without foundation.
It was rumoured that Basil II, the noted Byzantine Emperor aquired the label "Bulgar Slayer" on account of a Bulgarian monk's unflattering comments posted on a monastic circular, which could be construed as a pre-runner to the modern day facebook, unfortunately the monk, his circular and monastery were put to the sword so confirmation remains problematic.
The Knights Templars, or the Poor Knights of Jesus Christ of the Temple of Solomon of Jerusalem, were the first to identify and properly exploit this "social utility".
While the Knights Templars have long been known as the original western bankers, feared crusaders and (unfortunately for them) heretics, it is not so well archived that the relied upon their own version of this latter day phenomenon, and it has been posited that those behind the modern version borrowed, and in the process anglicised, the name, the Templars using the name "Il libro del viso".
Il libro del viso, as it was called started out detailing promotions and news within the order, it also contained a section where Knights could keep up with social affairs, albeit by way of a code contained within the text. This "utility" enabled the Knights to communicate within the Holy Land also with their lands in Europe. It underpinned the Order and ensurred its pre-eminence in Christian Europe.
It was the Knights decision to refuse to "confirm" or "accept" Phillip the Fair as a "friend" or "fra", notwithstanding numerous requests that lead to his decision to suppress the Order, and the burning of the Grand Master Jacques Molay. It is recorded that Jacques Molay condemned both Phillip the Fair and the Pope who had participated in the persecution to join him in the hereafter within a year of his (Molay's) death. Actually, he delaimed that they would have to die before he would add them to his friends, and so they did.
It was at this point that documented details of Il libro disappear from the world scene. You can see an original manuscript along with a list of "friends" in the da Vinci Code, where Tom Hanks is in the Scottish Church.
However, reality becomes mixed with myth and various bodies have sought to "claim" this monastical, yet powerful "social utility" and to harness it for themselves. It is said that you can obtain a qualification in it in the Freemasons.
One last mention of "Il libro", which has some academic foundation relates to Robert the Bruce's victory at the Battle of Bannockburn 1314. Researchers have found that in the year proceeding the battle a strange document was to be found summoning "ye knightes of christe" to a great cause, a reunion no less. The reunion was to take place on the same day and close to place of the Battle of Bannockburn and it was "ye knightes" on their way to their party, who saw Robert in trouble and charged out of the mist to ensure Scotland's independance.
Next week
The Indian Mutiny - a leading academic argues that it was not cakes or chappatis that preceeded the Mutiny, but a Hindooostani blog
The American War of Independance -Boston Tea Party or irresponsible social networking?


I am not sure what is hardest, staying awake during tedious questioning or pretending to be interested in defendants lives outside of the case. In respect of the former, I am happy to say I have only fallen asleep once and in respect of the latter never.

me and money

Barristers cannot (in general, though for the pendants - yes it is changing and you can sue in some circumstances) sue for their fees. An agreement between a barrister and solicitor is called an honorium (or something similiar - like professional conduct issues - I studied it once and promptly forgot it). This is because the legal profession is a profession populated by gentlemen, it is honestly, I mean who has ever had a bad word to say about a solicitor?)

In theory this means that as solicitors are honest people they promise to pay us the fees that they have taken from their clients on our behalf. In practice, some (a few of these loveable rogues being immigration solicitors) see this as an opportunity to collect what is in effect a bonus from the client.
Barristers therefore have to rely on reporting the solicitors to the Bar Council (a fearsome body - but who it strikes fear into is somewhat unclear, and will remain so for the time being). They then blacklist (if the money is not forthcoming) the solicitor, which as you can imagine strikes the fear of the divine into them prompting immediate payment with interest or not.
One "legal rep" I use the term loosely as he is probably not qualified in any professional sense, owes me substantial sums of money. Quite by chance I saw him today in Court, a brass neck he surely possesses as he seemed quite happy to see me (perhaps he thought I could do some more pro bono (for free) work). He seemed less than happy when I asked him why he had not paid me and had he deceived anyone else. He seemed unhappy, and his clients (standing behind him) seemed less than impressed, at which point he asked whether I was, as a lawyer, aware of the law in respect of defamation. When I stopped laughing, I reminded him for him to succeed in establishing that I have defamed him, he would need to establish that my actions "would make a right minded person think less of him" (close to the test if not the test).
Though I confess to a sneaking admiration for his boldness. After running up a massive bill to a variety of barristers, he arranged a conference with chambers to sort out a payment structure. The conference was to be held on a Friday at 3pm.
He, unsurprisingly, did not appear, his office was called and his whereabouts equired after...
"Where is Mr X?"
"Oh, he is in India"
"He is getting married".
I suppose he used the money for the reception

more today from me


Following, as they would say on Facebook a change in my "relationship status", said change being helped (to put it mildly) by my over fondness to things illicit and not illict but damaging in quantity, a period of exile was in order. But where? What would be appropriate for the penitent man?
A hovel - in London? And where in London? (Which is not one question but 2)
appealing for support, friends and work.
Intensely depressing personally and likely to lead back to the illicit...
A palazzo abroad - nice weather, food, a change of scenery?
Good, but no work, language barrier (but heh - does anyone understand me...) again the illicit is likely to beckon.
Sussex - far away, no friends, old
Yup, sussex, familiar, neat, Not London
And so Sussex it was, a veritable trip down memory lane, having lived there for 12 years or so.
The plan was a good plan, and like so many would have been perfect, if only everyone had done what was required of them, why do they persist in following their own wants, if only they did as I wished.
My house in Sussex had everything and was ideal, well not ideal, given the fact that there were tenants living there. Well, thinks I they will leave, it will be good for them. I will even give some money to assist in their smooth passage. And so I waited for the Estate Agent to give me the good news.
"Have you spoken to the tenants?"
"Good news"
"No, they do not want to move"
"She is going to have a baby in 2 weeks"
"And the problem is?"
And that was that, no amount of persuading, haranguing etc could trouble them to move, inconsiderate or what?
To add insult to injury, I was then asked whether I would prepared to grant them a longer lease or consider selling the property to them at the end of the lease...of course I would, and I will also offer to drive them around and change the baby...
Back to work...grounds of appeal for sex offender facing deportation - I cannot imagine why he lost he case.


September 2008

Domestic Violence

Contacted by solicitor to draft grounds on behalf of client who was complaining that they were the victim of domestic violence and sought to stay in UK on back of Home Office policy to allow people who are victims to stay.
Client was from G in Africa, client had a name which at first blush did not immediately indicate whether they were a man or woman, given the upsetting and unusual nature of case, I decided to research the grounds and was fairly impressed with them when they were sent off.
A month later, a conference was booked with the client, to whom I was going to show the utmost curtesy (as always) and also sympathy, given that she was likely to be a vulnerable woman. The first surprise was that he was a man. The second that he was a large, well built and very relaxed looking man.
Well perhaps, thinks I, that his wife was particularly unpleasant and violent and he, being the perfect gentleman, just took it.
I start by explaining my role and exhorting him to tell me the truth so "I can best represent you..." and then proceed to ask him where he met his wife, to be met with a blank stare. I assure him that it was not a trick question. He stares back. I inform him that most people can remember when they have met their wife. Blank look.
Desperation seeks in.
I try again, reaffirming that he needs to tell the truth and give me as much information as possible and on the papers before me, he has a good case, I also, imagining that he is in pain try a different tack...
"Why did you marry your wife?"
"To get a visa"
Now why I am sure that is the underlying reason behind a lot of marriages (there being a great number of young, tanned males married to large, pale and malnourished British women in the Immigration Courts), noone has ever made so bold as to say so expressly.
Shock...professional conduct issues rose before my eyes...
Maybe he has made a mistake (in telling me the truth perhaps), so one last effort...
"Have you slept with your wife?"
"Did she ever go to G. with you?"
"Right could you just wait outside"
Conference with (panicked) solicitor ensued, at which we both considered a. photos in the Sun, and b. a career change (Tescos).
Client called back in..
"Now thank you for telling me the truth Mr Y. I can no longer represent you"
"You have lied"
And with that he left.
Youth Court
The Youth Court is a particularly strange enviroment, while one is used to being insulted by the Crown, the Judge and despised by all and sundry, the one person who (usually and subject to bail and / or non-custodial sentence) is polite(ish) is the defendant. But not in the Youth Court.
Why it is called "Youth Court" is in itself a mystery. The defendants are not Youths, not in any conventional sense of the word. And it bears no resemblence to a Court, everyone sits and smiles at each other and the defendants are treated as if they are clients.
Also the defendants are generally there for one of two charges, burglary or robbery. And sometimes for having a knife.
Also they view their representative as "one of them", which is indeed not that far from the truth, I suppose we are adults.
What is amusing is that they are required to attend with an adult, either a parent, relative, social worker or some other poor unfortunate who cannot divest themselves of the task. Imagine, parents day at school with criminals (with attitude).
Sympathy, Empathy, Understanding are not respected or even desired, this I found to my cost. I have found that the best approach is rigorous honesty...
Such as when the Youth Offending Team (probation service for young people) lost a report causing everyone to wait hours.
"Whose fault is it we have to stay here, I cannt believe we have to wait, dont they know their job, its a liberty we have to wait, aint nothing that cannt be done, why do we have to wait if they cannt get their act together?"
"Because you keep going into peoples houses at night univited"
"I dont wanna wear a tag. It aint fair. Why have I got to wear one?"
"To stop you burglaring other houses"
"The photo of the knife shows it wiv the blade out, but it was folded when the police found it"
"You had the knife clipped inside your underpants"
"Would you have clipped it inside your underpants open?
"Thought not"
And so it goes, invariably this approach has the client tripping out of Court asking you to represent them on their (and there always is) next appearance, this is after they have asked you for a. money, b. cigarettes, c. a lift.