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PhillipTaylor

PhillipTaylor

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I am a barrister-at-law practising in London

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since 20/12/2009

22

General Smuts, South Africa - Antony Lentin 29/06/2010

General Smuts- the fatherof reconciliation?

General Smuts, South Africa - Antony Lentin An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers The World Cup may have raised South Africa’s sporting profile, but for our money, her history is much more fascinating – hence the interest and timeliness of Tony Lentin’s latest historical biography of General Smuts. General Smuts was South Africa’s Prime Minster at the time of the Second World War, fighting on Britain’s side as a British Field Marshal. In Churchill’s opinion, he was “one of the most enlightened, courageous and noble-minded men of the twentieth century.” The first thing you notice when you open the book is the quotation from Smuts’s remark to Sir Alfred Milner in 1905: ‘History writes the word ‘reconciliation’ over all her quarrels.’ One wonders whether Nelson Mandela was familiar with this utterance, took it to heart and enshrined it in the title of his ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ initiative which continues to inform and inspire the continuing if difficult development of contemporary South Africa, with its agonizing mixture of almost intractable problems. Well, who knows? It seems apparent however, that ‘reconciliation’ has become part of the collective mind-set of South Africa. Historians are aware (but general readers all too often aren’t) that Smuts’s achievements and influence were by no means local to South Africa. He was, as author Tony Lentin points out, ‘the heart and conscience of the Paris Peace Conference’ in the aftermath of the First World War and ...

The Oxford History of the Laws of England - Patrick Polden 16/06/2010

How the law we know actually came to be

The Oxford History of the Laws of England - Patrick Polden Devotees of that formidably superb series, ‘The Oxford History of the Laws of England’ will be delighted that the last three volumes of the series, Volumes XI, XII and XIII are now out and about – published as a set – for the edification of legal scholars everywhere, as well as interested general readers. They cover 1820-1914 – from the coronation of George IV to the outbreak of World War I -- the Great War -- against Germany. The dizzying pace of economic, technological and social change during this turbulent period – encompassing the Victorian era of course -- gave rise to momentous legal developments and in turn were profoundly affected by them. Like the rest of the series, which commendably draws heavily on research using unpublished materials, these three volumes provide a detailed survey of English law, its institutions and the historical forces which impinged on them. As the authors point out in the introduction, ‘any legal history worth salting’ must deal not only with the law, but how and why it developed – ‘the shifts in the law itself and the rationalizations offered for them’. A legal history should also look at outcomes, say the authors,‘ for most legal change produces unintended effects.’ And so it transpires in these three erudite and very readable volumes. Vol XI deals for the most part with the structure of the English legal system, including its constitutional framework. Volume XII deals with Private law and its evolution and adaptation to a more ...

Bewigged and Bewildered? - Adam Kramer 14/06/2010

The jargon-busting guide...

Bewigged and Bewildered? - Adam Kramer TO MODERN BROTHERS (AND SISTERS) IN LAW…WITH GREAT UPDATES! An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers This is a very much needed book, with useful online updates, for anyone interested in becoming a barrister-at-law in England and Wales in 21st century. There has always been a certain amount of mystique about the Bar and what we actually do. Adam Kramer has been able to distil the work we do in a matter-of-fact way as though he were addressing a jury- and he puts the issues across very finely indeed with most questions answered. Ex Bar Chairman, Stephen Hockman, introduces the book in a very friendly manner and then launches into the realities of life at the Bar and the sort of problems we are facing at the moment. He concludes that ‘I only wish it had been available to me when I started in practice 35 years ago’ thereby identifying that today we have many new entrants to the profession from ‘outside’ so they will not know much of the intricacies of professional life gleaned from parents and relatives. This is a good thing because it shows the broad base which gives the Bar its unique talents for today. And, of course, this sort of book is needed as it explains all those little things which happen which appear a bit odd to ‘outsiders’ but are part of the traditions of the legal profession (and they work otherwise we would have got rid of them!). The book has 14 fact-filled chapters, and a most useful ’further ...

The Last Political Law Lord: Lord Sumner (1859-1934) - Antony Lentin 14/06/2010

Summing up Sumner

The Last Political Law Lord: Lord Sumner (1859-1934) - Antony Lentin SUMMING UP SUMNER An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers ‘A legal and literary genius’: such is the picture of Lord Sumner that emerges from this very scholarly, as well as readable and thought provoking biography. By all accounts John Andrew Hamilton, Lord Sumner (1859-1934) was a powerhouse of a man; one of those formidable figures in the law who, in the words of Lord Bingham, ‘forged the legal traditions which we have been privileged to inherit and enjoy.’ No longer widely known, this often controversial law lord was legendary in his time. By chance, as the author Antony Lentin points out, 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of Sumner’s birth, the 75th of his death, the centenary of his promotion to the Bench, the 80th anniversary of his last year on the Bench and the 90th of his secondment to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, in a move described as unparalleled for a law lord. He was apparently accused by John Maynard Keynes as being largely responsible for the heavy financial penalties exacted following the Conference against a defeated Germany. Such controversy (as well as approval) occasioned by his strong views and forceful utterances was not untypical of his life. Few, however, questioned his standing. In 1934, the year of his death, one, Sir Louis Stuart, referred to him as ‘one of the greatest lawyers who ever advised or argued, and one of the greatest judges who ever decided a cause.’ Characterising Lord ...

Construction Contracts: Law and Practice - Richard Wilmot-Smith QC 14/06/2010

Building on the success of the past

Construction Contracts: Law and Practice - Richard Wilmot-Smith QC An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers Life at the Construction Law Bar is always an exciting and adventurous place and time to be, and any new piece of literature to add to the sum of our knowledge in this area of law is to be welcomed. Wilmot-Smith’s work is now rightly in its place amongst the standard textbooks on the subject in this fast moving area. There has been a steady stream of significant judicial decision making in the four years since the first edition appeared. And, as Sir Rupert Jackson comments, it shows no sign of that stream abating. Jackson goes on to say in the Foreword that the number of High Court judges assigned to the Technology and Construction Court has been increased to four so an update is welcome at this time as the subject matter retains its economic importance. Other commentators have described this work as a most useful source of reference and we concur. Richard Wilmot-Smith’s endeavours have produced a statement on law and practice which is of even greater value for practitioners and judges in the construction law field, especially with the new chapter on partnering and the re-arrangement of some of the later chapters in the book with additional sections. In just over 600 pages, the 23 chapters offer the guidance one needs for construction cases and the final chapter on adjudication is particularly helpful. Wilmot-Smith had excellent resource help from 20 fellow experts. The new ...

The Path to Pupillage - Alexander Robson, Georgina Wolfe 14/06/2010

The best of the contemporary pupillage guides

The Path to Pupillage - Alexander Robson, Georgina Wolfe An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers In the first edition, we wrote that this was a great pocket book testimonial for the trainee barrister and it remains just that with the new, improved second edition. It remains a great little book: most informative as we did not have something like this when with Pupillage in the 1990s as training was more in line with of the observations and experiences made by Lord Phillips in his excellent original Foreword. It’s the modern networkers’ pocket book and is justifiably heavy on detail with a great glossary and splendid sections on funding and resources which are directly relevant for the modern trainee barrister. There is an impressive list of contributors giving sage pieces of advice throughout and we particularly liked comments on the ridiculous weight placed on the dreadful MCTs which are, to many, one of the hardest parts of the course. Most of the information set out by Wolfe and Robson is pure common sense as the student hurdles the various fences of legal training and we would urge all readers to be realistic about the practice areas you might wish to pursue (they are well covered here in the new edition). The authors have included a number of new quotes from contributors throughout the book. The two most exciting ones are a short new segment by Bernard Richmond QC in the chapter ‘A Dose of Reality’ and quotes throughout the book from Tim Kevan who is the author of ...

The Jurisprudence of Lord Denning - Charles Stephens 14/06/2010

One of the most influential judges of 20th century

The Jurisprudence of Lord Denning - Charles Stephens A three volume tribute to the memory of Lord Denning. An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers ‘Possibly the most interesting judge of the twentieth century’. This is how Lord Denning has often been described and this three volume work by Charles Stephens is a tribute to his memory. ‘I always felt reassured by Lord Denning’s presence in our national life,’ avers Stephens. ‘At the back of my mind I felt that we were all safe as long as he was Master of the Rolls,’ he adds, recalling that ‘the origins of this project lie in those memories.’ Stephens is an historian, we assume, and writes of Denning from an historian’s rather than necessarily a lawyer’s point of view; no bad thing when you consider the avowedly circular argument that the decisions of judges shape history and conversely tides and trends in history shape, or least wield considerable influence in shaping the decisions of judges. Viewing Lord Denning from an historian’s eye view offers academic and general readers alike a useful perspective on the influence judicial decisions are likely to have on the body politic, which in turn influences everyday life – the ‘quotidian world’ as Stephens puts it. Examples abound of how his background, education and family life informed and influenced Lord Denning’s attitudes and judgments, some of which remain controversial and topical to this day: single mums…the family…domestic violence…identity and nationality… ...

Privacy: A Very Short Introduction - Raymond Wacks 14/06/2010

Are you being watched?

Privacy: A Very Short Introduction - Raymond Wacks FREE SPEECH ECLIPSED An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers Raymond Wacks has created an in-depth exploration in only 150 pages, of the increasingly complex and controversial subject of privacy with this new addition to the OUP’s ‘Very Short Introduction’ series of pocket-sized books on academic subjects; short enough that is, for beleaguered commuters to read on the train, or, say, harassed lawyers to read in the courtroom corridor. This book is one of over 200 small-format books in this admirable series which covers everything from African history to Wittgenstein and world trade. Written by experts, they are intended as a stimulating and accessible way into a new subject – and very accessible they are, Professor Wacks’s ‘Privacy’ being a prime example. As he states in the Preface, Professor Wacks’s association with privacy and data protection has been from a legal perspective; the law, in his words, being ‘an indispensable instrument in the protection of privacy.’ The subject however encompasses other dimensions -- social, cultural political and psychological. Professor Wacks’s stated aim is ‘to consider these—and several other -- forces that shape our understanding of this challenging concept.’ Speaking of law and lawyers, there is, to my knowledge, no more erudite and persuasive an advocate for protecting privacy than Professor Wacks. If you ever find yourself in a debate on privacy versus free speech, this is ...

Love Letters From The Bar Table - Shane Dowling 14/06/2010

Natural justice and the new 'Table Talk'

Love Letters From The Bar Table - Shane Dowling An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE of Richmond Green Chambers I’m always interested in the cross section of law books depicting the working of the common law across its jurisdictions. When I came across this curious self published work, ‘Love Letters from the Bar Table’, from Shane Dowling, who has a certain number of ‘issues’ with the legal establishment in Australia, I thought it was worth looking at further. A doctrine which is gaining international popularity at present is called ‘judicial recusal’ where a judge stands aside (or is made to stand aside) in certain circumstances based on the two main rules of natural justice: namely, a judge may not act in his own cause; and both sides must be heard. New Zealand academic Grant Hammond has written a definitive work on the current state of the law. I think it’s a fair comment to say that we do not have any recognised corruption within the judiciary in the United Kingdom. I, for one, have grave reservations about the strength of any argument suggesting forms of corruption elsewhere amongst judges because of the catastrophic constitutional implications involved. So, what I am saying here is that I have no idea of the rights and wrongs of Shane Dowling’s detailed case. I don’t offer an opinion although I have read his documents and his views in the book in some detail. What I do say, however, is that I feel the worth of this book merits some consideration in relation to the basic concepts we hold true in the ...

Lexcel Client Care Toolkit - The Law Society 14/06/2010

So, you're managing your practice admirably...

Lexcel Client Care Toolkit - The Law Society BUT ARE YOU MANAGING YOUR CLIENTS? An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers Law being a people business, or essentially, a people-with-problems business, client care and the policies which govern it are essential to the work you do as a solicitor. Furthermore, good client care procedures are required for compliance with the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007. The Law Society has therefore published its latest helpful offering useful for solicitors and public access barristers: the Lexcel Client Care Toolkit, which we believe could take much of the stress and strain out of the day to day running of your practice. The aptly named Toolkit is a treasure trove of template documents -- policies, procedures, pro-formas and standard letters -- each with the appropriate wording for implementing policies related to your client care obligations. Rest assured that as Lexcel is the Law Society’s practice management standard, the policies therein meet the most rigorous standards of management and customer care. By adapting them to the specific needs of your firm, you can save considerable time, and money – which could mean reduced workloads for you and your staff and certainly, happier clients. The accompanying CD ROM allows you to customize such documents as needed. Practical rather than theoretical, the contents of this useful volume include a quality policy...a client care policy…an equality and diversity policy…an equal ...

Bonfire Of The Liberties - K.D. Ewing 14/06/2010

All fired up for change in 2010

Bonfire Of The Liberties - K.D. Ewing The book is rightly subtitled “New Labour, Human Rights and the Rule of Law” and describes, with examples, the erosion of our civil liberties since 1997. It starts ominously with this statement: “we live in a society where he police have more power, where we are watched and monitored more closely and more often, and in which our ability to speak out and protest is subject to more and more restraints”. A damning indictment of New Labour, many may feel, if ever there was one. Ewing does say that many people do not share his views although ‘at best they may share the concerns’ and that really sums up the worth of the work- it’s a collection of statements on areas of the law which affect the direct relationship between the State and its people with worrying conclusions. There are 8 chapter headings in 300 pages covering all the usual ‘liberty’ issues and there are some useful cases and statutes cited. It’s very readable and something which all MPs ought to read, especially the new intake from 6th May 2010. Probably the single most important theme is the erosion of individual rights by the state and Ewing backs up each topical issue with breathless detail to justify the assertions made. Ewing also knows a few of the tricks about reviews because he says that normally only the introduction and conclusion of most books are read. This book is different, however, because the wealth of detail on what can be termed ‘abuses’ by the state are well worth reading in detail ...

Pleading Guilty - Paul Genney 12/06/2010

Never Plead Guilty, but do read this novel

Pleading Guilty - Paul Genney HE'S NOT SUCH A WALLY! Paul Genney weaves a good tale with this patchwork legal quilt of ‘fly on the wall’ vignettes linked to his character, ‘Wally’ Wallace of Whitebait Chambers, up north. We met Paul recently and he outlined his book, which took our attention so we read it with interest after the defining Mortimer years with Rumpole and Sir John’s concerns over ‘New’ Labour changes to our profession which seem to have set the current precedent in modern legal characters after Henry Cecil’s Roger Thursby in the Fifties, (which was controversial enough in its time.) Most practising barristers will identify very quickly with the issues confronting our flawed hero, Henry Wallace. We’re not giving the plot away, but let us just say that Genney falls nicely into the Somerset Maugham concept of the novel which should end with a death or a marriage, or so Willie said in his most esoteric work ‘The Razor’s Edge’ (which didn’t). Read ‘Pleading Guilty’ and you will see the nice twists as they develop. It is a book for today with the nice, under-done boot kicking softly at the legal establishment, born more out of a frustration with the system which we all feel from time to time. This snapshot of legal life has the statutory four letter words -a bit too many, but probably at the publishers’ insistence if modern success in getting published is anything to go by. Some were rather unnecessary as most of these words are normally ‘quotes in court’ and not that often heard in the ...

Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss 12/06/2010

Punctuation: the endangered system

Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE, Richmond Green Chambers A great piece of humour here and, yet, with a serious aim, this little book has become a runaway bestseller overnight and rightly, too. As author Lynne Truss has explained, there are many people who have little idea of the basics of punctuation. This does not surprise me in the slightest. As an examiner and a forced PGCE learner, I have found scant regard paid to full stops, commas and question marks- and it is getting worse! However, by far the number one serial offender is the missing apostrophe. The story of the Panda who eats in a restaurant, then shoots the restaurant up and departs is an amusing story with an important message. The placing of punctuation in the wrong place can completely alter the message being conveyed… and at what a cost. A REVOLUTION IN PUNCTUATION The book is dedicated to the memory of the striking Bolshevik printers in St Petersburg who, in 1905, demanded to be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters, and thereby directly precipitated the first Russian Revolution. We have come a long way in nearly 100 years and the main casualty has been the written word. The ‘shorthand’ I have encountered in the last six years using the Internet is enough to convince me that this book should be compulsory reading in schools. Besides, it is a good read and very funny in places. To sell 50,000 copies in just over a week on release is a great achievement and ...

The Judicial House of Lords - Louis Blom-Cooper 12/06/2010

The judicial House of Lords

The Judicial House of Lords - Louis Blom-Cooper A TRIBUTE, A COMMEMMORATION AND A VALEDICTION An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers At last the judicial House of Lords has come up to retirement, having closed its venerable doors on 1st October 2009, with the new UK Supreme Court having just taken over its judicial functions. This quite exquisitely compiled volume is very much, so to speak, its commemorative engraved silver salver, or gold watch following 133 years of service as the highest court in the UK. A momentous chapter in the history of the UK legal system has now ended with another having just begun. The work is actually a compilation of articles, essays, review and comments by over 40 leading scholars, judges, academics, practitioners and other top professionals from the UK and abroad. The aim: to provide ‘a history of the House of Lords as a judicial institution’, together with an examination of ‘its role, working practices, international reputation and its impact on the UK legal system.’ The idea for the book was inspired by, in the words of the editors ‘a strong desire to commemorate the achievements of a prominent legal institution in British society and to offer the reader ‘a rich and diverse range of perspectives on the history, work and contribution of the House of Lords in its judicial capacity.’ The publication date of was expressly timed to coincide with the changeover of the venue of the court from the Palace of Westminster to Middlesex ...

Palmer on Bailment - Norman Palmer 12/06/2010

Bailment:

Palmer on Bailment - Norman Palmer THAT RAPIDLY CHANGING AREA OF LAW THAT ‘ATTRACTS COLOURFUL CHARACTERS’ An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers If you are involved as a practitioner in any aspect of bailment, you’ll certainly need the new and latest edition of this definitive and authoritative work on the subject -- the first to be published in 18 years. Since then, as the author puts it, the subject has moved with the times…both in doctrinal development and in commercial application….’ Lucidly and engagingly written, this definitive work, not only provides comprehensive analysis of bailment, with guidance on litigation and pleading, but illuminates what Norman Palmer refers to as ‘the alluring qualities of bailment’ which, in his words, ‘remains largely the child of the common law’. He refers, intriguingly in the preface to an ‘engaging feature of bailment; the ‘beguiling dramatis personae that haunt its pages’. Remember the one about the compulsive shopper who hoarded thousands of unpacked merchandise in her apartment? It and any number of numerous other examples pertaining to bailment should provide you with much erudite insight and certainly entertaining reading if you are of a mind to bring your knowledge and understanding of bailment completely up to date. ‘These newcomers, says the author, now join ‘the bear-skinning septuagenarian doctor, the “home alone” daughter, the deciduous brothel client, (yes, ‘deciduous’) the deviant coachman and the ...
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