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Phillip Taylor (Richmond Upon Thames, England)
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Thomas Erskine and Trial by Jury
Thomas Erskine and Trial by Jury
by John Hostettler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.95

5.0 out of 5 stars An historic celebration, 12 May 2015

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Today, Thomas Erskine (1750-1823) is certainly not as well-known and celebrated as he should be! He was one of the greatest advocates to appear in an English court of law and such an accolade has much competition over the centuries. The original edition was published by Barry Rose in 1996 and then the excellent Waterside Press re-published and modernized the original text in 2010.

As a senior barrister of Lincoln’s Inn, and a King’s Counsel, Erskine was involved in many celebrated trials, including the prosecution of John Horne Took for seditious libel and of Queen Caroline for adultery. John Hostettler’s biography covers magnificent ground with the famous cases

Other notable achievements include the successful defence of Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man”, which cost him the post of Attorney-General to the Prince of Wales. Thomas Erskine also served as a Member of Parliament for Portsmouth and for just one year was the Lord Chancellor. Later on he was elevated to the peerage as the First Baron Erskine of Restormel Castle. Hostettler’s book covers his controversial and interesting career and his rise to high office in a splendid way.

It is rightly described as a commendable study which deserves a wide readership as Scotland may still reasonably take pride in the achievements of the man who became Lord Erskine of Restormel Castle (that is in the Fowey Valley, Cornwall) - English lawyers may understandably remember with respect his marked abilities amongst other great lawyers of his time.

It’s 200 years since Erskine's death although it is right to say that many barristers and solicitor advocates still aspire to his legendary oratorical and forensic skills hewn from another era. Those who are not familiar with the life and work of Erskine would be well advised to read this biography for tips on advocacy.

And it’s correct to say that this biography is of more than mere historical interest because it explains how an advocate can affect the law process even in a modern era where advocacy skills are so different (and rather more muted if one is really frank about it!)

The final word must go to the journal “Justice of the Peace” commenting that, 'with eloquent invective Erskine mesmerized juries'.

Yes, reading this book he did just that and the biography is a great read for advocates and lay people alike.

Rome I Regulation: Pocket Commentary (Pocket Commentaries on European Regulations and Internationa)
Rome I Regulation: Pocket Commentary (Pocket Commentaries on European Regulations and Internationa)
by Franco Ferrari
Edition: Paperback
Price: £76.48

5.0 out of 5 stars A useful first reference, 12 May 2015

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

For students (primarily graduates and undergraduates) and practitioners professionally involved in European Union law in general -- and in the area of conflict of laws in particular -- this handy pocket-sized but comprehensive and detailed text is quite a find. It is the second volume in the increasingly well known ‘selp’ series of Pocket Commentaries published by Sellier European Law Publishers.

Bearing in mind the more than occasional abstruseness of European Union regulations, this is an excellent publishing initiative which is very handy for practitioners, especially international lawyers, to know about. This particular volume offers concise yet detailed and instructive commentary specifically on the Rome 1 Regulation.

The twelve learned contributors, including the editor Franco Ferrari, are either expert practitioners with well-known international law firms, (Baker McKenzie for example), or distinguished academics from leading universities. Franco Ferrari, for instance, is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Transnational Litigation, Arbitration and Commercial Law at New York University School of Law – and has also served as a Legal Officer at the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, International Trade Law Branch.

Similar to other books in this series, this commentary is meant to provide ‘a first reference’ to a particular instrument; in this case, Rome 1. Just to get technical, Rome 1 is the Regulation (EC) No593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations.

Rome 1, in other words, is about contracts. Aiming at achieving a desirable level of predictability and legal certainty for the parties to any given transaction, it sets forth (as the editor explains) ‘a set of uniform private international law rules for (most of) the member states of the EU.’

One can see the overall objective here. The Regulation is part of a general movement toward the harmonization of law across Europe -- and is particularly applicable to transactions which are linked, not just to one country, but to two or more within the European Union.

For those engaged in the study, or application of European Law, this book with its thorough and extensive footnoting (containing a mine of references) is a useful acquisition.

It does presuppose some familiarity, in fact considerable knowledge, of this particular aspect of European law on the part of the reader and is therefore perfect for researchers or practitioners seeking an enriched, in-depth and certainly authoritative examination of the Rome 1 Regulation.

The publication date is cited as at 2015.

Rough Justice: Citizens' Experiences of Mistreatment and Injustice in the Early Stages of Law Enforcement
Rough Justice: Citizens' Experiences of Mistreatment and Injustice in the Early Stages of Law Enforcement
by David Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Injustice all round, 12 May 2015

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Roger Williams is to be congratulated on opening up an intriguing debate on modern law enforcement. His catalogue of stories and comments on very recent matters highlight the need for urgent reform of the entire criminal justice process, and he is not alone in calling for such reform.

One of the worst aspects of what Williams uncovers here in “Rough Justice” with the experiences of ‘mistreatment and injustice’ is the frequency of the complaints raised by individual people.

The very word ‘complaint’ has for some time not been acceptable to many in the criminal (or civil) justice processes with the phrase ‘constructive observation’ being held to be more appropriate. To some this is a symptom of a much bigger malaise and this statement on criminal justice and where we are with it in 2015 makes troubling reading.

Williams says that when Pandora’s Box is opened what’s revealed are “not just a catalogue of bad experiences but inadequate legislation, dubious procedures such as the police investigating themselves, an inability to admit mistakes and poor regulation”. Yes, and a lot more, too.

So what are the answers to rough justice? Of all the examples, let us pick chapter 10 on Tim Loughton. The comment passed is that Loughton’s story shows just “how easily the police confuse victims with perpetrators”, concluding with “what can anyone say!”

Quite a lot, actually, if we are permitted to do so in the age of social media which has shifted the boundaries considerably in recent years on comment. And, for a start, we also need an end to nonsensical, costly annual crime statistics which bear no resemblance to reality in modern Britain.

Writing in the Foreword, Professor David Wilson reminds the reader of the very large number of people who do not come into contact or ‘encounter’ the State (we meet them on the election campaign!) So lawyers and politicians do! And we can voucher for the vast number of challenging hard cases we face prior to trial, or where the abuse received as either a lawyer or a political candidate regularly goes unmentioned.

Whilst there is probably a form of ‘contract’ between the State and the individual (citizen) the issue must be how equal it is and whether the balance has been achieved. In years gone by we were told we had the “best Police in the World” (Dixon of Dock Green) until we started seeing a different type of State employee.

As Wilson says, Roger Williams pictures our society now as a place ‘where these agents of the State are anything but accountable, professional and beyond reproach’. Wilson concludes that “Rough Justice” ‘should remind us all that our ‘social contract’ comes with some frightening downsides’. This is actually just the beginning of the “new debate” which is opening up.

So how do we evaluate the last great unreformed public service (the police primarily) after decades of tinkering with the systems by failed Criminal Justice Bills? The simple message here is actually and probably one of optimism that a lead will be taken by an incoming government in May 2015 to review the work of the police, the DPP and the IPCC to name three main areas.

One thing only is for sure: we need more books like “Rough Justice” to highlight what is happening because so many people are unprepared and, yes, scared, of following through a challenge to the behaviour of State officials.

We hope this little light which Roger Williams has shone on the UK will shine a path through to a complete overhaul of the criminal justice process even if this is merely but a pipe dream for the modern applied criminologist- it is not for the public.

Something has to be done but the question now is… when.

A Guide to the Reservoirs Act 1975 2e
A Guide to the Reservoirs Act 1975 2e
by Tim Hill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £60.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating area of law..., 12 May 2015

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Water is the elixir of life. Cleansing, refreshing and sustaining, no species can survive without it. All of which points up the importance of the new, second edition of this excellent book from ICE Publishing- ‘A Guide to the Reservoirs Act 1975.’

‘ICE’, by the way, is the Institution of Civil Engineers. But make no mistake; this publication is just as relevant to lawyers; environmental lawyers especially. This new second edition of the Guide -- like the first edition -- has been published to assist all those involved in the application of the Reservoirs Act 1975, specifically its implementation and its enforcement.

Completely updated, this edition reflects the current views and practices within that aspect of civil engineering concerned with dams; the safety and operation of dams being directly linked to the safety and operation of reservoirs. Incorporating the changes made by the Water Act 2003 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, it reproduces the full text of the Reservoirs Act 1975 with accompanying detailed commentary. Additional commentary on relevant Statutory Instruments is also provided, together with reproduction in full of these key pieces of statutory legislation where the detail is to be found.

Note, however, that this edition of the Guide is intended for the application of the Act to statutory reservoirs in England only. The Guide should not be used in relation to reservoirs in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. A version of this guide may perhaps be produced for Scotland and Wales following anticipated legislative developments – and for Northern Ireland following the introduction there of new legislation for the regulation of reservoir safety.

The purpose of the Act is clear from the outset. It is ‘an Act to make further provision against escapes of water from reservoirs, or from lakes or lochs artificially created or enlarged.’ The prevailing approach, or ethos if you will, is that of risk management.

The point is made that the Act with its various statutory instrument powers has been created to provide a legal and administrative framework ‘for the construction and management of reservoirs that… reduces the escapes of water from reservoirs caused by the collapse of a dam to an acceptable level.’

While there is no specific definition of safety in the Act, it focuses, obviously, on issues of safety to persons and property in line with its principal aims, namely to encourage the highest standards of reservoir safety and the proper application of the Act by all the parties involved.

This then, is a reference document for all who need to understand or apply the workings of the 1975 Act. Funded by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) this is the most authoritative publication available on this specific subject.

It should be considered an essential purchase certainly by all practitioners in environmental law.

Commons and Lords (Haus Curiosities)
Commons and Lords (Haus Curiosities)
by Emma Crewe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great essays..., 12 May 2015
Length:: 0:32 Mins


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

This book is described by `The Independent' as `nifty' and it is! The Times Higher Education goes to the heart of the success of this little book by saying that it can be read in one sitting... in an internet age, too! No small feat for the students of today, then, if we can succeed in getting their attention, which can seem to wander after 30 seconds.

In fact, what Emma Crewe poses here with her five chapters will interest a very wide range of both lay readers and students.

This short book covers: Parliamentary Curiosities; Party discipline: The Whips have no clothes; Women in Parliament: Performing patriarchy; Parliamentary scrutiny: Reading the runes; and finally the interestingly titled "Seductive gilded village and addictive city of torture".

As the publishers rightly proclaim, our two Houses of Parliament deserve closer scrutiny not just for the sake of democracy, but also because of the surprises it contains which challenge our understanding of British politics... and they get it in spades here with a very well researched and written trip round our Parliamentary system with all its faults.

"Commons and Lords" draws back the curtain on both the upper (senior) House of Lords (soon possibly to be a Senate under reform) and the lower House of Commons to examine their mysterious and unexpected inner workings. Both Houses are always linked with colour, the Lords for red and the Commons for green... and don't read into this any party political preferences! (Not yet anyway!)

The book emerges from substantial anthropological case work conducted on both Houses of Parliament. Crewe's thesis, part of the Haus Curiosities series, gives a surprising twist in how relationships in each section of the Palace of Westminster play out. She describes well "the high social status of peers in the House of Lords" and does give an interesting impression of hierarchy and, possibly more accurately, its patriarchy.

For balance, the Commons delivers supposed impressions of equality and fairness between members although backbenchers would probably not agree at all with this conclusion.

However, actual observations show the opposite: whilst the Lords have an egalitarian and cooperative ethos that is also highly supportive of female members (they don't have constituencies), the competitive and aggressive shouting matches in the Commons make that place a far less comfortable environment for women, as Blair, Brown and Cameron have found to their cost when addressing the singularly difficult issue of gender equality in politics and candidate selection.

Emma Crewe has done a superb job here opening up what so many students find as a boring and irrelevant place- you try teaching them the subject, although the guided tours are wizard to keep the attention span from wandering elsewhere.

She uncovers many surprises and secrets so this book is a short treasure house of modern facts about Westminster exposing what many consider the sheer oddity of the British parliamentary system: you make your own mind up but do get the book as you will not put it down when you start reading it!

Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Andrew Clapham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know...., 12 May 2015

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Professor Andrew Clapham brings together the differing contemporary strands of human rights issues we face today. He does so in a very matter-of-fact way and makes the introduction just for the individual interested reader with his excellent ‘very short’ book format from OUP which is set out in a quick and readable fashion.

He covers such fascinating issues as the controversial incarceration of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, to the brutal ethnic cleansing being practiced in Darfur, to the widespread denial of equal rights to women in many areas of the world, and human rights violations which remain a constant presence in rolling news items and in our everyday lives at home and at work.

Clapham gives an international perspective to the task facing him, and focusing on highly topical issues such as torture, arbitrary detention, privacy, health, and discrimination topics relevant to all. This “Very Short Introduction on Human Rights” does assist readers to understand for themselves the controversies and complexities behind this vitally relevant issue.

The author looks at the philosophical justification for rights, the historical origins of human rights and how they are formed in law. He also explains what our human rights actually are, what they might be, and where the human rights movement is heading at the moment which will benefit a wide range of his readership.

This short book covers one main area of current interest very well: how the human rights movement has gained increasing attention internationally. The author explains the scope of human rights today, and how they are used in both national and international law.
The work is completely up-to-date. Human rights remain a most topical and controversial issue for all of us and recent national and world events mean that they have been regularly invoked and analysed.
Clapham looks at the past, the present, and the future of human rights, especially relevant in a general election year in the UK. Questions of whether human rights are under threat as they come to be seen by some as obstacles to peace, development and security are also well covered.
In the wider community, ties in law, philosophy, and politics, reveal the role played by human rights in the contemporary world and has a special significance for Andrew Clapham as he was, for six years, the Representative of Amnesty International at the United Nations in New York.
Today it’s usually not long before a problem gets expressed as a human rights issue! Taking this into account, an appeal to human rights in the face of injustice can be a heartfelt and morally justified demand for some, while for others it remains merely an empty slogan. Such a balance is well presented here in a most succinct manner!

These “Very Short Introductions” books form a series from OUP which present themselves as excellent primers for undergraduates. The series contains hundreds of titles in almost every conceivable subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. OUP has brought together expert authors who combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

We feel they are highly suitable starting points for students of law, moral and ethical philosophy, history and politics. And, of course, activists in civil society movements or those who seek an accessible introduction to human rights and their relevance to current events.

So “Clapham on Human Rights” can be summed up as one of the best titles we have read yet from OUP in this series, but we would say that because we are lawyers!

Enforcement and Debt Recovery
Enforcement and Debt Recovery
by Peter Levaggi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £69.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly explained!, 11 May 2015

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

The three authors, Peter Levaggi, David Marsden and Peter Mooney, have produced a most useful statement on the new rules concerning the enforcement of court orders and general debt recovery.

Unfortunately, to many of our clients, the recovery and enforcement areas of legal activity remains a complete mystery to them because they assume that those subject to court orders will carry out the terms of the orders… and they don’t- so what happens then!

The law concerning enforcement and debt recovery includes many of the oldest laws on our statute books in England and Wales. But, on 6th April 2014 long-awaited reforms, the most significant for hundreds of years, came into force, unifying and radically reforming the law governing enforcement agents.

This is the second edition of what is both a popular and established book. It is of great importance to practitioners because highly respected experts with a wealth of experience in the enforcement industry have set out the most up-to-date and comprehensive review of the new law of enforcement for us here.

The content includes the following information: the new standards and certification for enforcement agents; a complete review of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013; the abolition of distress for rent; the introduction of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR); and the criminalization of squatting.

The authors combine this authoritative review and analysis of the law with insights into the practical impact and application of the rules and regulations, uniquely illustrated by numerous examples and practice points which are of great help to the legal adviser.
The book also includes an appendix, providing access to the relevant law and regulations in a single essential volume for enforcement agents, property lawyers, commercial landlords, surveyors and insolvency practitioners.

The Law Society continues to provide us, as practitioners (both barristers and solicitors) with some of the most up-to-date and accurate statements of current law and practice.

We are all actually both very grateful and very thankful to be able to receive these expert guides and toolkits which Law Society Publishing produce as it makes our work a great deal easier when advising clients in Conference.

A big “thank you” to the Law Society and to Peter Levaggi, David Marsden and Peter Mooney for what you have given us with this new legislation guide for our practice.

Pensions Pocket Book 2015
Pensions Pocket Book 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and concise, 11 May 2015

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

This collaborative work between Economic and Financial Publishing and Aon Hewitt brings together in one handy pocket volume all you need to know about the basics of our current Pensions framework in the United Kingdom, and it is very user-friendly! As Michael Clare, Aon Hewitt’s UK Country Director points out in the Foreword, the 2014 Budget contains the most fundamental reform to the way people access their pensions “for almost a century”.

We are reminded here, for example, that as individuals we can now take advantage, as of 2014, of ‘the new flexibility’ which allows us to use our pension pot to purchase retirement savings in lump sum form, with no further compulsion to use them to purchase an annuity.

Aon Hewitt, by way of reminder, is a global company operating in 90 countries, which specializes in human resource solutions, with a range of services that includes retirement, investment management, health care, compensation and more.

This little pocket book on pensions for which Aon has obviously provided consultancy, is an excellent publishing initiative and don’t let its pocket sized format fool you.
Its explanation of the current state of UK pensions manages to be detailed yet succinct on a subject which commonly is considered so abstruse as to be quite beyond the comprehension of all but specialists in the field. Its aim is obviously (and successfully) to demystify the intricacies of pensions and present them, despite their complexity, in an understandable and accessible manner.

Over a total of thirty sections and almost 300 pages, believe it or not, every pertinent aspect of pensions -- from equal treatment to contracting out -- is covered, with relevant legislation referred to throughout. There is a separate section on UK pensions case law, plus three reference sections and five appendices, including one on useful websites and another containing an absolutely indispensable glossary.

It would certainly be fair to call this a first-port-of-call reference work on pensions, which specialist lawyers, HR professionals and generally, members of the public will find extremely helpful and time-saving.

Note too, that buying the book links you to the Pensions Pocket Book Online service which provides additional data and information.

The publication date is cited as 2015.

Commonwealth Criminal Law
Commonwealth Criminal Law
by Troy Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £62.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Practical commentary and guidance, 11 May 2015
Length:: 0:24 Mins


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

As we now live in a global community linked by the Internet, business has gone global and so has crime and -- as time moves on -- so must the law. The problems of dealing with cross-border and international crime has been the subject of many a research study and a lot of books. This book from Troy Anderson of the New South Wales Bar is particularly important in that, as he explains, it is apparently the first book (published recently that is) to deal comprehensively with Commonwealth criminal law.

This, explains the author, is criminal law as prescribed under the Commonwealth's Crimes Act 1914 and Criminal Code Act 1995 (The Code). These are the two key pieces of legislation creating and dealing with `Commonwealth Criminal Law' to which the book refers. It also deals with the numerous Commonwealth statutes which create offences. Published by the Federation Press, the book covers as Anderson explains, `the general principles of criminal responsibility and many of these offences themselves.'

There are indeed many criminal offences created under Commonwealth legislation; a whole shopping list of them in fact, which is by no means exhaustive. They include, for example, fraud -- including tax -- drugs importation, money laundering, copyright infringement, cybercrime, counter terrorism, human trafficking and slavery, people smuggling, child exploitation, crimes against the environment and bigamy. It is always interesting from a UK point of view, to be reminded that in Australia, failing to vote is also a Commonwealth offence -- i.e. crime -- as is failing to participate in a referendum.

Being a barrister, the author has written this book specifically for fellow practitioners and students too, by presenting in a succinct and accessible manner, the type of information that practitioners need to know in order to advise clients and present matters in court. With its practical approach, the book will obviously be of particular interest to practitioners involved in cross-border and international criminal cases. Note that it also contains tables of cases and statutes -- and an extensive and helpful index.

As investigations into criminal activity (especially corporate crime) are now conducted more often than not, across several countries, or indeed, worldwide, we feel that this book presents valuable insights and much enlightening comment and information for the benefit of international lawyers everywhere who specialize in criminal matters.

The publication date is cited as at November 2014.

In-House Lawyers' Toolkit
In-House Lawyers' Toolkit
by Richard Tapp
Edition: Paperback
Price: £69.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A growing area..., 10 May 2015

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

In-house practice remains a growing area and the “In-house Lawyers' Toolkit” (plus CD) is the only precedent and toolkit resource available which is exclusively devoted to the requirements of this important sector.

These unique toolkits from the Law Society continue to provide an accessible, relevant resource for both new and for experienced in-house practitioners to work from, to adapt, and to act as a catalyst for their thinking… providing timely, high quality and cost-effective advice to their organisations. It is a great business service you give us and we are very grateful to the Law Society for doing so!

In particular, this toolkit takes the practitioner through the processes of managing an in-house function, including the following: the development of a strategy for legal services in your organisation; how to decide what legal services to buy, and from where; appointing, reviewing, managing and ending Panel relationships; working with alternative legal sourcing providers; managing the in-house team; and leveraging and demonstrating value.

The book is accompanied by a most useful CD-ROM which contains valuable and time-saving precedents allowing the reader to identify and implement best practice in their own in-house environment, and to develop and adapt systems and processes as appropriate.

The Law Society continues to provide us, as practitioners (both barristers and solicitors) with some of the most up-to-date and accurate statements of current law and practice. We are all actually both very grateful and thankful to receive these expert guides as it makes our work a great deal easier when advising clients a great deal easier.

Thank you Law Society and Richard Tapp and Ann Page for what you have given us with this new toolkit.

The publication date is 2014.

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