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1st April 2012

Welcome to the new web site. Welcome to the new Blog! Blogging is a learning experience for me and I hope and expect blogging skills will develop over time. I don't think lawyers and the law are intrinsically interesting subjects for most people. I suspect most people enjoy a juicy criminal case or a celebrity litigation but since my firm does no crime and no litigation we are left with the drier stuff.

If you like crime by the way try http://www.bailii.org/scot/cases/ScotHC/. It's a treasure trove of criminal appeals and an eye opener in many ways.

For us however the world is less exciting ... see http://www.bailii.org/scot/cases/ScotCS/

Sadly I do find non criminal law interesting. A good job you might say. I take home case reports and Articles to read at the week -end for pleasure. There is a fascination in the twists and turns of words and concepts. Every set of factual circumstances... the factual matrix of a case as the judges say...is different and so applying the law is never the same in two cases. It is why we can rarely give a black and white answer to a client's apparently simple question ...and why clients are often frustrated! First of all the law is in words, and the meaning of words changes subtly when you order them and punctuate them... eats shoots and leaves being a fine example! Then you apply imprecise concepts to "facts" that each side somehow has a different version of. No wonder the courts are full! HOWEVER....

An interesting trend in both Scotland and England is for the Courts to try to cut through the academic beauty of the law and to try to make it more useful and less of an intellectual pursuit for boring people like me. Interesting comments ...some lawyers may say shocking even...from SHERIFF PRINCIPAL MHAIRI M STEPHEN in the appeal in the cause CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL against
MR JAMES BURNETT just recently reported at http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/A567_11.html

"Our system of civil justice should provide just decision making which is prompt and efficient. Procedural rules and efficiency in procedure are indeed only means to an end namely, the making of decisions that are indeed fair and just and that inspire public confidence in the law. I consider that it is desirable to adopt an approach to litigation which is purposive, practical and avoids unnecessary complexity. Likewise, multiplicity of actions should be avoided as this of necessity increases the cost of litigation to the parties. I endorse the opinion of Sheriff Principal Risk when he observed in the case of Milmor Properties Ltd v W and T Investment Co Ltd that it would be difficult if not impossible to explain convincingly to anyone who is not a lawyer why the pursuers should be required to raise two separate actions...thus immediately there would be additional procedure making additional demands on court time and laying additional expense on the parties".

This is representative of a line of thinking that I will come back to in the future...to make the law more useful and accessible and above all to remember that the law doesn't exist in a vacuum and is only relevant to society if it delivers value to society. In other words law exists for the client ...not for the lawyer!

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