30.10.13

Book Recommendation: Brothers-in-Law by Henry Cecil

Roger Thursby, aged twenty-four, is called to the bar. He is young, inexperienced and his love life is complicated. He blunders his way through a succession of comic adventures including his calamitous debut at the bar. His career takes an upward turn when he is chosen to defend the caddish Alfred Greenat at the Old Bailey. In this first Roger Thursby novel Henry Cecil satires the legal profession with his usual wit and insight.

Available from Amazon

23.10.13

Book Recommendation: Jez Butterworth Plays: One (Mojo, Parlour Song, The Night Heron, The Winterling) [Paperback]

Jez Butterworth burst onto the theatre scene aged 25 with Mojo, "one of the most dazzling Royal Court main stage debuts in years" Time Out. This first volume of his collected work contains that play plus the three that followed, as well as two short one-person plays, Leavings and The Naked Eye, providing a complete record of his work up to to the multi-award winning international smash-hit sensation Jerusalem.
The four early plays published here for the first time in one volume are: the Olivier Award-winning Mojo, a sly and vicious black comedy set in 1950s Soho clubland; The Night Heron, a funny, sad, haunting, and strangely beautiful play about a group of outcasts gathered in the Cambridgeshire fens; The Winterling, a menacing comedy thriller about a group of misfits waiting out the winter on a moor in Southern England; and Parlour Song, a hilarious investigation of cunning, paranoia, and treacherous desire.
This volume also includes an interview with the playwright about his work.
Available from Amazon

16.10.13

Book Recommendation: Lives of the Law: Selected Essays and Speeches: 2000-2010 by Lord Bingham

Tom Bingham (1933-2010) was the 'greatest judge of our time' (The Guardian), a towering figure in modern British public life who championed the rule of law and human rights inside and outside the courtroom. Lives of the Law collects Bingham's most important later writings, in which he brings his distinctive, engaging style to tell the story of the diverse lives of the law: its life in government, in business, and in human wrongdoing.
Following on from The Business of Judging (2000), the papers collected here tackle some of the major debates in British public life over the last decade, from reforming the constitution to the growth of human rights law. They offer Bingham's distinctive insight on issues such as the role of the judiciary in a democracy, the implementation of the Human Rights Act, and the development of the rule of law, in the UK and internationally.
Written in the accessible style that made The Rule of Law (2010) a popular success, the book will be essential reading for all those working in law, and an engaging inroad to understanding modern constitutional and legal debates for the general reader.

Available from Amazon

9.10.13

Book Recommendation: Old Filth by Jane Gardam

old-filthFILTH, in his heyday, was an international lawyer with a practice in the Far East. Now, only the oldest QCs and Silks can remember that his nickname stood for Failed In London Try Hong Kong.
Long ago, Old Filth was a Raj orphan - one of the many young children sent 'Home' from the East to be fostered and educated in England. Jane Gardam's new novel tells his story, from his birth in what was then Malaya to the extremities of his old age.
Brilliantly constructed - going backwards and forwards in time, yet constantly working towards the secret at its core - OLD FILTH is funny and heart-breaking, witty and peopled with characters who astonish, dismay and delight the reader. Jane Gardam is as sensitive to the 'jungle' within children as she is to the eccentricities of the old.
A touch of magic combines with compassion, humour and delicacy to make OLD FILTH a genuine masterpiece.

Available from Amazon

2.10.13

The privatisation of the Royal Mail


Brought to you by our friends at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Having provided over 497 years of service, the Royal Mail is undergoing one of the biggest changes it has ever experienced. The coming weeks will see the iconic British service floating on the stock market, in a move that many thought would never happen.
For much of its history, the Royal Mail has been under government ownership. However, after the passing of the 2011 Postal Services Act, it was decided that the institution should move to the private sector, with over 90% of the company becoming privatised.
Speaking of this move, business secretary Vince Cable commented in his Commons statement; "The government's decision on the sale is practical, it is logical, it is a commercial decision designed to put Royal Mail's future on a long-term sustainable business.”
While the government insists this is the right move for the Royal Mail, the proposed changes have met fierce opposition across Britain. Delivering to 29 million UK homes, many are worried that such privatisation will affect the quality of service, a particular concern during the run up to Christmas. In addition, many fear that the already high cost of services will continue to soar as a result, in order to increase shareholder profits. Job losses are another concern, as privatisation often results in the shedding of employees in order to lower costs.
In a bid to soothe worried employees, Royal Mail has guaranteed free shares for their employees after its privatisation. This did little to numb the pain, with 96% of postal workers voting against the changes in a ballot ran by the Communication Workers Union.
However, some are in favour of the changes. It has been no secret that the Royal Mail has been struggling of late, with the advent of more affordable competitors like Parcelforce and UPS. Many welcome the change in order to preserve the legacy of the British institution.   
At the moment, it is difficult to tell how the privatisation of the Royal Mail will go. If you would like to find out more about financial law and the privatisation of companies, Freshfields is a great starting point.
Thousands of companies, like Toys ‘R’ Us and H.J.Heinz, have successfully moved from the public to the private sector so hopefully Royal Mail will follow suit, continuing the postal service’s impressive British legacy.

Book Recommendation: Pupillage Inside Out: How to Succeed as a Pupil Barrister by Daniel K Sokol and Isobel McArdle

The ultimate guide to pupillage, providing practical advice to all aspiring barristers for navigating this crucial stage in the path to practice, well-founded on the authors' own recent experience and the wisdom of their peers, clerks, and supervisors.

Available from Amazon