Sunday, 9 December 2007

Work For Idle Hands

Or indeed the hands of the not so idle. Just when I thought that things were easing up I find myself busy again due to the extreme busyness of the rest of chambers. One of the junior tenants is doing some devilling for one of the senior juniors and is a bit under the gun so has asked me to have a go at a first draft - and has agreed to slip me such portion of his devilling fee as reflects the usefulness of what I produce. Now this could be nothing at all (as he so delicately put it!) but it is nice of him to suggest it as he knows full well that I would normally be expected to do any work for members of chambers for nothing anyway.

So, I guess that means that I am devilling for a devil. And in this case the term is rather apt - because the task at hand is to come up with as many arguments - no matter how technical, obscure, without merit or indeed downright evil - as I can think of in order to stall progress of the litigation in question while the Other Side busy themselves with analysing and responding to our unmeritorious points.

I must admit that this is not exactly the wielding of the "simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of honesty" that I had had in mind when I first dreamed of becoming a barrister (hang on, wasn't that Jonathan Aitken? Well - you know what I mean). All the same it is rather fun dreaming up points when not hindered by them having to be good ones. I hope that some of them at least raise a chuckle with the devil for whom I am devilling.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

How time flies when you're....

....actually doing some work for once!

Apologies for the radio silence of the last month. The demands of pupillage have ratcheted up a gear or two and I have struggled to find time to post. Even though things have eased up a bit today my prolix posts of old will be replaced by a rather more succinct account of my adventures.

PP has been globetrotting of late (can one really say that of trips to the Channel Islands?!). Well, at least it involved getting on a plane which made me feel moderately more glamorous than I did taking the tube to Regents Park to attend the Central London County Court or indeed walking as far as the winders. It was sweet of PM to bring me along, as I really do feel that I am surplus to requirements, but it is very good for me to have seen the whole of this case rather than just reading and advising on the papers. Got to see PM on his feet before a judge (rare occurrence), advising his client and lay-client, and also in negotiations with the other side. So a good chance to learn a bit of this peculiar trade.

PP was slightly underwhelmed by his visit to this particular tax haven which was not quite as glamorous as he had been led to believe. Despite enjoying a post-prandial jaunt in the client's Ferrari (rather fun, although one suspects that the ability to "open her up" and enjoy the benefits of such a beast are limited on an island of this size - I don't think that one can go over about 40 except for stretches of about 200 yards - the Nurburgring it ain't!) PP couldn't help being reminded of childhood trips to see grandparents in Surrey.

What's the point is of having pots of money and being a tax exile if one needs to live an extremely dull life. Surely better to live fast in London and take the tax on the chin - perhaps I am just showing that I have never earned enough to worry too much about tax rates. All seemed terribly dull to me, anyway. Would prefer to fritter it all away at the tables at Crockfords or somewhere than to be consigned to this Bergerac world!

Anyway, they are an odd lot out there. It is like being back at School or Oxford where everything familiar is rendered unfamiliar by virtue of a different name being given to it for no particular reason. Bankruptcy becomes "desastre" (I LOVE that - what a bunch of drama queens!), and someone who seems to perform something akin to the role of a Master is called a "Judicial Greffe" (I think deriving from the Norman French - how wonderful). Anyway, the whole "Alice in Wonderland" feel is heightened by the fact that EVERYONE one meets seems to be called "Le Quesne" - whether they are the lawyer, the judge or the maitre d'. I get the impression that there are not too many "incomers" on the island.

Anyway, my trips to tax havens are over for now (perhaps for ever) as the case has settled and so PP will be strolling about the Inns for the forseeable future.