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Lawcruncher
03-07-2009, 09:23 AM
TC2009 said:


I'm no lawyer (I am far too honourable for that profession)

Why is there a general perception that lawyers cannot be honourable?

jeffrey
03-07-2009, 09:37 AM
Why is there a general perception that lawyers cannot be honourable?
American 'ambulance-chasing' exponents, leading to UK "Have you been hurt? Claim big damages on no-win-no-fee basis" advertisements.

mind the gap
03-07-2009, 10:04 AM
TC2009 said:



Why is there a general perception that lawyers cannot be honourable?

Does TC2009's comment amount to a 'general perception'?

I don't think there is a general perception.

mind the gap
03-07-2009, 11:15 AM
Actually, I'll qualify that. I don't think there is a general perception that they are dishonourable. There may be general perception that they charge excessively for some of the things they do, relative to charges for services requiring equivalent training, knowledge, skill and experience which are offered in other professions.

agent46
03-07-2009, 11:32 AM
TC2009 said:



Why is there a general perception that lawyers cannot be honourable?

(1) Because it is a lazy knee-jerk stereotype which makes the person repeating it feel good about themselves..

(2) Because lay people generally do not understand and are frightened of the law (and by extension, lawyers).

(3) Because lay people are not aware of, or do not understand the rules of professional ethics that bind lawyers. In particular they do not understand that lawyers act on instructions and are professionally bound to accept their client's version of events at face value, they do not understand the absolute neccessity for the "cab rank rule" at the Bar (which ensures representation for anyone, no matter how disreputable), they are usually astonished by the requirements with respect to the disclosure of evidence to the other side, and they do not understand the lawyer's duty to not to mislead the Court.

(4) Because lay people on the whole are not all that ethical themselves and are therefore prone to judging lawyers by their own standards. The number of untruths (be they whoppers or just little white lies) that are told in the witness box every day simply beggars belief. Also, I recently witnessed a traffic accident, and a few weeks later the more innocent of the two drivers asked me to embellish and exaggerate my evidence ("But you could say that you saw that, couldn't you?")! She was a very respectable-looking and fairly well-spoken middle-aged woman (she looked like she was probably a teacher or even a doctor) but she didn't seem to realise that she was, potentially, asking me to commit perjury.

(5) Because lawyers are expensive and people generally resent paying high fees, especially when, on the whole, people usually do not willingly become embroiled in litigation, the outcome of which inevitably involves at least one defeated and financially much worse off party and a winner who has gone through months of stress and expense, simply in order to restore, in so far as it is possible to do so, the status quo.

(6) Because lawyers are, on the whole, good at manipulating language in order to persuade others to accept their client's version of events, or an interpretation of the law that most suits their client's case. They also have a tendency to use this skill in their non-professional life. Most lay people are not so skilled in this art, and are deeply suspicious of those who are.

There are probably more reasons, but I have a headache due to this horrible weather. :(

Lawcruncher
03-07-2009, 13:04 PM
(1) Because...etc.

I was going to say all that!

TC2009
03-07-2009, 14:00 PM
(2) Because lay people generally do not understand and are frightened of the law (and by extension, lawyers).

Meh. Most lawyers one deals with have no specific property law knowledge. They might be good at claiming for road accidents and the like, I dunno, I've never used one for that purpose.

TC2009
03-07-2009, 14:01 PM
And don't even bother to get me started on the teaching 'profession'

jeffrey
03-07-2009, 14:02 PM
And don't even bother to get me started on the teaching 'profession'
Oops. Mind the gap will be on to you. Don't make her angry- you won't like her when she's angry.

SALL
03-07-2009, 14:34 PM
And don't even bother to get me started on the teaching 'profession'

I'm with you on that one.

mind the gap
03-07-2009, 14:34 PM
It's OK. Even Ofsted inspectors and strange people like Chris Woodenhead are allowed to participate on this forum :D

agent46
03-07-2009, 15:05 PM
Meh. Most lawyers one deals with have no specific property law knowledge.

And..........? :confused:

jeffrey
03-07-2009, 15:12 PM
Most lawyers one deals with have no specific property law knowledge.
Eh? Most conveyancing solicitors have a good working knowledge of much more conveyancing and land law than anyone else (inc. Estate Agents). Not all conveyancers are solicitors, true, and only a few of us have a particularly good grasp of the more complex or arcane aspects.

TC2009
03-07-2009, 15:23 PM
One deals 99.9% of the time with commercial property.
Don't get me started on estate agents either. Its a very long list of professions that I'm happy to take a stereotypical view on, although it can be shortened if you include 'Public Sector Workers' (oxymoron) as one category

mind the gap
03-07-2009, 15:26 PM
One deals 99.9% of the time with commercial property. Who are you - the Queen?




Don't get me started on estate agents either. Its a very long list of professions that I'm happy to take a stereotypical view on, Estate agency is not a profession.

agent46
03-07-2009, 15:35 PM
One deals 99.9% of the time with commercial property.


Which one? :confused:

TC2009
03-07-2009, 21:31 PM
Who are you - the Queen?

One has been brought up to use the Queens English. Schprechen zie Deutsch?

Izzycam
03-07-2009, 21:48 PM
American 'ambulance-chasing' exponents, leading to UK "Have you been hurt? Claim big damages on no-win-no-fee basis" advertisements.

My pet hate.
In my opinion it hasn't done anything to enhance the profession, saying that, I must be the only person who trusts his/her solicitor implicitly.
Also, I do feel it is a bit naughty to criticize lawyer/solicitor's wages, people don't realize how long and how hard it is to become qualified (take note Agent some "people" can view things subjectively even though they don't know everything about they're profession)

agent46
03-07-2009, 21:48 PM
One has been brought up to use the Queens English. Schprechen zie Deutsch?

Nein. But, ironically, the Queen probably does.*

Also, if one is being pedantic, and one insists on the proper form in all things old chap, then one might also consider using an apostrophe in the word "Queen's".




* If it were not for her forebearers' name-change during WWI, her maiden name would have been Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Also, she is married to Prince Phillip, who does speak German, probably because he is descended from the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (Danish-German royalty)

TC2009
03-07-2009, 22:03 PM
Meh. Having passed the GCE O Level in English Language a year early with a grade A, one soon realised that it counted for very little in the real world.
Whilst some internet users may fud themselves to a frenzy if they spot a mis used colon or comma, I am firmly in the 'couldn't really give a flying f' camp when it comes to spelling.
Still, if it helps the inadequates feel a bit superior for 5 minutes, who am one to argue?

Lawcruncher
03-07-2009, 22:51 PM
I must be the only person who trusts his/her solicitor implicitly.

Very interstingly, a few years ago the Law Society commissioned a survey which revealed that 80% of people were happy with their own solicitor and thought he did a good job for them, but 80% of people thought that solicitors as a body were untrustworthy. It is an odd case of people's personal experience failing to overcome a general prejudice.


Also, I do feel it is a bit naughty to criticize lawyer/solicitor's wages, people don't realize how long and how hard it is to become qualified

The same can be said for a lot of professions. Teachers study hard and have to train too, but get paid a lot less than lawyers.

Krispy
05-07-2009, 11:42 AM
Very interstingly, a few years ago the Law Society commissioned a survey which revealed that 80% of people were happy with their own solicitor and thought he did a good job for them, but 80% of people thought that solicitors as a body were untrustworthy. It is an odd case of people's personal experience failing to overcome a general prejudice.



I don't believe anywhere near 80% of people have their own solicitor.

jeffrey
05-07-2009, 17:33 PM
Nein. But, ironically, the Queen probably does.*

Also, if one is being pedantic, and one insists on the proper form in all things old chap, then one might also consider using an apostrophe in the word "Queen's".




* If it were not for her forebearers' name-change during WWI, her maiden name would have been Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Also, she is married to Prince Phillip, who does speak German, probably because he is descended from the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (Danish-German royalty)
Pedant's note to a pedant: did you mean "forbears/forebears"?
Goldilocks only had three, you know.

Also, Prince Phillip is Greek (not German) by birth.

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 17:36 PM
Also, Prince Phillip is Greek (not German) by birth.

No, agent is correct :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip,_Duke_of_Edinburgh

jeffrey
05-07-2009, 18:11 PM
No, agent is correct :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip,_Duke_of_Edinburgh
No he's not:
Philip was born at the Villa Mon Repos on the island of Corfu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corfu) on 10 June 1921, the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Andrew_of_Greece_and_Denmark) and Princess Alice of Battenberg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Alice_of_Battenberg).[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip,_Duke_of_Edinburgh#cite_note-4) The Prince was baptised at St. George's Church at the Palaio Frourio (Old Fortress) in Haddokkos a few days after his birth. His godparents were his paternal grandmother (Queen Olga of Greece (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olga_Constantinovna_of_Russia)) and the Corfu community, represented by Alexander Kokotos, Mayor of Corfu, and Stylianos Maniarizis, Chairman of the Corfu City Council.

Bel
05-07-2009, 18:26 PM
Surely small town solicitors and pro-bono NHS suers are 2 different breeds?

On Radio 4 today (file on 4) solicitors representing the child body parts scandal parents claimed 4 million quid in costs, after securing compensation of £5000 for each family. They settled for 1/10th of this when NHS refused to pay.

But theres good and bad in every one

And its the system...

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 18:32 PM
No he's not:
Philip was born at the Villa Mon Repos on the island of Corfu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corfu) on 10 June 1921, the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Andrew_of_Greece_and_Denmark) and Princess Alice of Battenberg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Alice_of_Battenberg).[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip,_Duke_of_Edinburgh#cite_note-4) The Prince was baptised at St. George's Church at the Palaio Frourio (Old Fortress) in Haddokkos a few days after his birth. His godparents were his paternal grandmother (Queen Olga of Greece (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olga_Constantinovna_of_Russia)) and the Corfu community, represented by Alexander Kokotos, Mayor of Corfu, and Stylianos Maniarizis, Chairman of the Corfu City Council.

I am not disputing all that stuff. The fact remains that he was of Germanic descent :

Philip was originally a royal prince of Greece and Denmark, and thus a member of the Danish-German House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg,

jeffrey
05-07-2009, 18:49 PM
I am not disputing all that stuff. The fact remains that he was of Germanic descent :

Philip was originally a royal prince of Greece and Denmark, and thus a member of the Danish-German House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg,
So he is Greek by birth, as I said! Are you arguing that a UK-born person with non-white skin cannot be British?

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 19:03 PM
So he is Greek by birth, as I said! Are you arguing that a UK-born person with non-white skin cannot be British?

Go back a bit! agent46 said:

"...Prince Phillip, who does speak German, probably because he is descended from the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (Danish-German royalty)"

which you disputed, offering details of where PP was born and who his parents were. I pointed out that, as agent noted, he was nonetheless of German descent (as well as Greek and Danish and whatever else).

You leap in (again!) and say that he was Greek by birth.

I detect a pattern emerging here!

(However I don't know why we are expending so much energy on the man, since he is a Class A Twit). I couldn't care less if he had been born in the Gobi desert to a pair of camels, to be honest. In fact, it might have been preferable for the rest of us if he had.

As to your last question Jeffrey, you'll have to re-phrase it so it makes sense in the context of the D of E's biography, please! In other words, what are you talking about?

jeffrey
05-07-2009, 19:14 PM
Re-read post #23 and post #24, please. In the former, I did not dispute anything but stated (correctly) that PP is Greek by birth. That was what you (incorrectly) disputed, by stating "No, agent is correct"! The '46' was elided. As to my last post's last bit, I was proving that place of birth and familial origins are distinct. Unless you are BNP-inclined (and I know that you're not!), you agree with me that a person who is non-white but born in the UK is British; PP who is of Germanic antecedents but born in Greece is- in the same way- Greek.

Finally, why are you expending so much energy if you don't care either way?

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 19:21 PM
Re-read post #23 and post #24, please. In the former, I did not dispute anything but stated (correctly) that PP is Greek by birth.
That was what you (incorrectly) disputed, by stating "No, agent is correct"!

I'm losing the will to live here... but just in the interests of accuracy, where does agent state that Prince Philip was not Greek by birth, for you to challenge him: (#23):

Also, Prince Phillip is Greek (not German) by birth.?

All he says is that PP had German ancestry.

Or am I missing some subtle nuance in your challenge here?

And Battenberg (his mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, wasn't she?) is in Germany anyway (although I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean she was German herself. Perhaps she just liked the territory and nabbed it. Or liked the cake. Or something!)

jeffrey
05-07-2009, 19:24 PM
I'm losing the will to live here... but just in the interests of accuracy, where does agent state that Prince Philip was not Greek by birth, for you to challenge him: (#23):

Also, Prince Phillip is Greek (not German) by birth.?
Er, what 'challenge' can you see in an 'also'? No-one else can see one!

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 19:30 PM
Er, what 'challenge' can you see in an 'also'? No-one else can see one!

Sigh. The challenge is in your use of the oppositional clause 'not German'.

He isn't a lot of things by birth: Italian, Serbo-Croat, Madagascan, intelligent, tactful... but in choosing to point out that he was Greek, but wasn't German, you naturally give the impression that you are disputing a statement just made by someone else. Otherwise, why the random reference to his not being German?

It's called pragmatics.

jeffrey
05-07-2009, 19:36 PM
Oh, and don't mention The War!

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 19:38 PM
Oh, and don't mention The War!
I'll take that as a surrender! :p

TC2009
05-07-2009, 21:09 PM
I hate teachers

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 21:27 PM
I hate teachers

So that's lawyers and teachers. Anyone else you'd like to whinge about, in your inarticulate, ill-educated way? :D

Preston
05-07-2009, 21:34 PM
Who are you - the Queen?


Wouldn't it be great if she were? I wonder how much she knows about landlord and tenant law?


(1) Because it is a lazy knee-jerk stereotype which makes the person repeating it feel good about themselves..

(2) Because lay people generally do not understand and are frightened of the law (and by extension, lawyers).

(3) Because lay people are not aware of, or do not understand the rules of professional ethics that bind lawyers. In particular they do not understand that lawyers act on instructions and are professionally bound to accept their client's version of events at face value, they do not understand the absolute neccessity for the "cab rank rule" at the Bar (which ensures representation for anyone, no matter how disreputable), they are usually astonished by the requirements with respect to the disclosure of evidence to the other side, and they do not understand the lawyer's duty to not to mislead the Court.

(4) Because lay people on the whole are not all that ethical themselves and are therefore prone to judging lawyers by their own standards. The number of untruths (be they whoppers or just little white lies) that are told in the witness box every day simply beggars belief. Also, I recently witnessed a traffic accident, and a few weeks later the more innocent of the two drivers asked me to embellish and exaggerate my evidence ("But you could say that you saw that, couldn't you?")! She was a very respectable-looking and fairly well-spoken middle-aged woman (she looked like she was probably a teacher or even a doctor) but she didn't seem to realise that she was, potentially, asking me to commit perjury.

(5) Because lawyers are expensive and people generally resent paying high fees, especially when, on the whole, people usually do not willingly become embroiled in litigation, the outcome of which inevitably involves at least one defeated and financially much worse off party and a winner who has gone through months of stress and expense, simply in order to restore, in so far as it is possible to do so, the status quo.

(6) Because lawyers are, on the whole, good at manipulating language in order to persuade others to accept their client's version of events, or an interpretation of the law that most suits their client's case. They also have a tendency to use this skill in their non-professional life. Most lay people are not so skilled in this art, and are deeply suspicious of those who are.

There are probably more reasons, but I have a headache due to this horrible weather. :(

I agree with all you have said. But do you also think that the profession itself might have contributed to the public view to some extent as well?

For ecample:
* Some of its more arcane working practices appear to some to be deliberately exclusive.
* With some exceptions, lawyers rarely share the risk with their clients. (The best car mechanics will fix the problem and not charge for a second visit if they fail)
* The training seems to encourage a directive rather than a collaborative approach with clients

Overall though, I think the popular perception is unfair. And depressingly, TC2009 seems to have a problem with pretty much everyone who is different from himself. Which might be the more interesting, or maybe the more important issue.

TC2009
05-07-2009, 21:38 PM
My word this pond is well stocked

Preston
05-07-2009, 21:40 PM
My word this pond is well stocked

I'm too thick to understand that one I'm afraid?

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 21:42 PM
I'm too thick to understand that one I'm afraid?

He's implying that we are pondlife.

TC2009
05-07-2009, 21:46 PM
I'm too thick to understand that one I'm afraid?

Its the less serious forum, hence the less serious comments.
Except about teachers

agent46
05-07-2009, 22:00 PM
He's implying that we are pondlife.

Don't feed the troll!

Preston
05-07-2009, 22:06 PM
Its the less serious forum, hence the less serious comments.
Except about teachers

Okeekokee.

agent46
05-07-2009, 22:11 PM
Wouldn't it be great if she were? I wonder how much she knows about landlord and tenant law?



I agree with all you have said. But do you also think that the profession itself might have contributed to the public view to some extent as well?

For ecample:
* Some of its more arcane working practicesa appear to some to be
deliberately exclusive.
* With some exceptions, lawyers rarely share the risk with their clients. (The best car mechanics will fix the problem and not charge for a second visit if they fail).
* The training seems to encourage a directive rather than a collaborative approach with clients

Overall though, I think the popular perception is unfair. And depressingly, TC2009 seems to have a problem with pretty much everyone who is different from himself. Which might be the more interesting, or maybe the more important issue.


* Arcane working practices - please elaborate

* There are actually very good reasons why lawyers do not take a "collaborative approach". Lawyers are, in fact, prohibited from sharing risks with their client. Chief amongst these reasons is that the lawyer client relationship is not a partnership but an arms length contract for services because the lawyer has duties to the Court as well as to their client; with this other duty in mind, a lawyer needs to be very wary indeed of trying to hard to please their client at the expense of the proper performance of that wider duty. In short, "risk sharing", identifying too closely to a client, or having some interest in the outcome of a dispute can at the very least lead to a loss of objectivity in the lawyer, and at worst, encourage them to bend the rules and withold evidence etc. That is why, for example, UK lawyers are not permitted to take a share of their client's potential damages,* but instead are, with the exception of "conditional fee arrangements" (no win, no fee), paid their fee win or lose. For similar reasons, and especially because counsel addresses the Court directly (and thus has a great deal of power vested in him/her) the Bar is, on the whole, a referral profession (ie: can only be instructed through a solicitor), and a barrister is supposed to maintain an even higher degree of psychological separation from their client than is the case with solicitors and their clients; such "professional distance" helps to maintain counsel's absolute independence from outside influence. From the outside, these rules may just look like a cosy little scheme that allows 2 lawyers to collect fees for conducting a single case, and which also, on occasions, permit a a bad lawyer to walk away from a poorly conducted case with his trousers full of a disappointed client's money, but the intention behind the rules is to preserve the integrity of the justice system.

In summary, in common with lots of other people (including the Govt), you have attempted to apply "consumerist" norms to what is, in fact, a public service scenario, where such ideas should have very little traction (look at the way this dogmatic market-led approach has affected health and education "delivery"). In so doing, unfortunately, you have misunderstood the true nature of the lawyer/client relationship and this rather demonstrates the point I made earlier about lay people's general tendency to do so - if you, who, from what you have mentioned on other occasions, have a good deal of experience in instructing solicitors and counsel, have misconstrued the fundamentals of the relationship, then, a fortiori, the situation is going to be even worse vis a vis the ordinary man in the street who only rarely instructs a lawyer.


* Having an interest in the outcome of a case is known as "champerty"; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champerty_and_maintenance

mind the gap
05-07-2009, 22:13 PM
Don't feed the troll!
Ha! Well-spotted. There's a lot of 'em about.

TC2009
05-07-2009, 22:21 PM
Ha! Well-spotted. There's a lot of 'em about.

Lot of cliques too

Preston
05-07-2009, 23:14 PM
* Arcane working practices - please elaborate
In summary, you have misunderstood the true nature of the lawyer/client relationship and this rather demonstrates the point I made earlier about lay people's general tendency to do so - if you, who, from what you have mentioned on other occasions, have a good deal of experience in instructing solicitors and counsel, have misconstrued the fundamentals of the relationship, then, a fortiori, the situation is going to be even worse vis a vis the ordinary man in the street who only rarely instructs a lawyer.

Actually, it is you who has misunderstood me. Which rather proves my point, because rather than spend time trying to understand what I am saying, you have jumped to a conclusion and then have told me why I am wrong. An example of item 3 below.

1) Working practices. Example - wigs, gowns, use of jargon and rather opaque language even to the reasonably well educated.
2) Risk share. Example - some lawyers offer certain services at fixed fees (possession applications, injunctions, etc) A further step in this direction would be a good thing.
3) Lack of collaborative approach. Example - see above. The leaping to conclusions thing without all the information is a very frustrating trait. The better lawyers understand that a) they will get a better answer to the problem by working with their clients to understand the problem from the client's point of view and b) that their client will be less likely to experience the same problem again if their lawyer can work with them to help improve understanding or working practices. Its a working approach, an attitude of mind if you like. The issue has a parallel in other professions. I understand, for example, that doctors who work with their patients and listen to the problem from their point of view generally produce better results.

Incidentally, simply because someone doesn't mention something, it is not necessarily the case that they do not understand it. I am aware, for example that lawyers have responsibilities other than to their clients. My guess is that most other contributors are too. Nothing I have said in any of my posts challenges this.

Overall, your answer simply described things as they are, not how they might be. In other words, you come across, to me at least, as having a rather defensive and closed mind. You are right that I and my staff spend a good deal of money on legal advice and I am pleased to say that increasingly we are able to find lawyers who are a little more open minded - dare I say collaborative - in their approach.

agent46
06-07-2009, 01:11 AM
Actually, it is you who has misunderstood me. Which rather proves my point, because rather than spend time trying to understand what I am saying, you have jumped to a conclusion and then have told me why I am wrong. An example of item 3 below.

1) Working practices. Example - wigs, gowns, use of jargon and rather opaque language even to the reasonably well educated.
2) Risk share. Example - some lawyers offer certain services at fixed fees (possession applications, injunctions, etc) A further step in this direction would be a good thing.
3) Lack of collaborative approach. Example - see above. The leaping to conclusions thing without all the information is a very frustrating trait. The better lawyers understand that a) they will get a better answer to the problem by working with their clients to understand the problem from the client's point of view and b) that their client will be less likely to experience the same problem again if their lawyer can work with them to help improve understanding or working practices. Its a working approach, an attitude of mind if you like. The issue has a parallel in other professions. I understand, for example, that doctors who work with their patients and listen to the problem from their point of view generally produce better results.

Incidentally, simply because someone doesn't mention something, it is not necessarily the case that they do not understand it. I am aware, for example that lawyers have responsibilities other than to their clients. My guess is that most other contributors are too. Nothing I have said in any of my posts challenges this.

Overall, your answer simply described things as they are, not how they might be. In other words, you come across, to me at least, as having a rather defensive and closed mind. You are right that I and my staff spend a good deal of money on legal advice and I am pleased to say that increasingly we are able to find lawyers who are a little more open minded - dare I say collaborative - in their approach.


If I misunderstood you, this was probably because you, by and large, merely posted vague generalisations. For example, you used the term "collaboratively", without giving any specifics as to what you meant by that term in the context of the lawyer/client relationship. Overall, not being gifted with second sight, I answered as best I could in light of the common misunderstandings that are generally in play when such terms as "collaboratively" and "sharing risks" are used. If you had taken the time and effort to provide specific examples or clarifications, then perhaps I would not have been forced into a situation where I was answering your points without possession of all the relevant information (or as you put it "leaping to conclusions").

As to the specifics in your post, quote above - it appears that you are labouring under a number of misapprehensions. I will deal with those tomorrow....

jta
06-07-2009, 04:29 AM
* Arcane working practices - please elaborate

* There are actually very good reasons why lawyers do not take a "collaborative approach". Lawyers are, in fact, prohibited from sharing risks with their client.etc.

That was quite a good, concise explanation. Unfortunately it does not go very far in explaining why litigation is so expensive. There is definitely a perception that to go to court over any issue is more about paying out than justice. Once started there seems to be no end to it.

Judges seem to delight in 'setting aside' decisions already made. Magistrates interpret the law according to their own pet prejudice. Please don't tell me I'm wrong, I've been at the receiving end of that practice. All these things add to the costs of any court case. With your 'gift of the gab' Agent, I expect you will tell me that we get the service we pay for, and make it sound convincing too.

A case I was closely involved in last year was scheduled for three days in court, halfway through, Hizzonner decided that he wanted another four days for the trial to be heard properly. The trial had been estimated at three days. That was all very well in the interests of hearing all the submissions etc, however the Defendant had a demand from his solicitor for yet another ten grand, to be going on with, with no guarantee that would cover the final costs, or that he would win, the Plaintiff, naturally, had no money, so there was never a chance of getting costs out of him. Having weighed up the odds of paying out another 10 grand plus and still possibly losing, the defendant decided to 'settle'. That's not justice, the defendant had a perfectly good case and would probably have won hands down.

No Agent, real justice is only for them as can afford it, and that's wrong.

Now you will probably rip that post to shreds with one of your justifications, I think that others will agree with me though. If you are really rich you can get justice, if you are merely well off, then you can't, usually.

Bel
06-07-2009, 07:28 AM
Now you will probably rip that post to shreds with one of your justifications, I think that others will agree with me though. If you are really rich you can get justice, if you are merely well off, then you can't, usually.

Very rich or very poor seems to be the way to be.

jeffrey
06-07-2009, 10:14 AM
Very rich or very poor seems to be the way to be.
"In England, Justice is open to all; like the Ritz hotel.": Lord Justice Sir James Mathew (1830 -- 1908)

Lawcruncher
06-07-2009, 10:25 AM
It is quite wrong to say that justice can be bought and is reserved to the rich. I am not going so far as to to say that the rich do not have an edge, but it is no more than that. But then rich people have an edge in everything and if you want to change that then you want some pretty radical changes to society.

Of course many people are put off litigation by the cost. Whilst on the one hand this may deprive some people of justice, on the other it is perhaps no bad thing since the cost and risk discourages people from going to court frivolously.

The bottom line is that if you want a system of justice the people employed in it need to be paid. They are paid in part by the state and in part by the people who use the system. Society has to decide the proportion, making its decision bearing in mind that the more the state pays the more money it has to find, either taking it from something else or raising taxes.

If society makes the decision that, perhaps with certain exceptions, the parties to a civil dispute should bear the cost and that it is unreasonable that it should be borne by the taxpayer, then the question of how much the parties' lawyers are paid arises. I think we can all agree that lawyers on the whole do not do too badly out of the law. However, even if lawyers charged at a rate that left them earning the same as, say, teachers, they would still have to charge at a rate that many people could not afford.

There is of course room for improvement in the system, but the problem is that no one can agree how it should be brought about.

Access to justice is a problem that all countries face and, on the whole, the UK probably does it as well (or if you prefer, as badly) as any other equivalent state.

jeffrey
06-07-2009, 10:33 AM
I recommend legal expenses insurance, added-on to a car/property/contents insurance policy.

agent46
06-07-2009, 15:08 PM
That was quite a good, concise explanation. Unfortunately it does not go very far in explaining why litigation is so expensive. There is definitely a perception that to go to court over any issue is more about paying out than justice. Once started there seems to be no end to it.

Let's look at why going to law is expensive. Court fees are not enormous (ranging from a few tens to a few hundred pounds per hearing), so the main bulk of the cost goes on lawyers. I am not an economist, but I would hazard a guess that lawyers are expensive for the same reason that eg: houses are expensive, namely the price of a lawyer is what the market will bear. The legal process takes a long time, so even though the hourly rate of a lawyer is not huge compared to other comparable professionals, the final bill can be enormous.

So, making law less expensive involves (a) making the legal process shorter or (b) reducing lawyers' rates, or both.

(a) It is a lay perception that the legal process is strung out by lawyers in order to bump up their fee income. Whilst I don't deny that this sometimes goes on, it is largely a myth based on ignorance of just how much work goes into building a case. For example, let's look at a very, very simple, run-of-the-mill neighbour nuisance and harassment case I was involved in recently on behalf of a friend. 2 hours were required for reading the documents produced by my friend and the other side (a litigant in person who had succeeded in getting an undefended injunction against him). 2 further hours were required for looking into the legal and procedural aspects of the case. 2 further hours will be required for drafting the application to set aside and/or discharge the order, and then, finally, there will be a half-day hearing. That's 6 hours pre-trial work plus a half day in court. If it was chargeable, the bill would be around £1500 (presuming nothing else crops up) even for such a simple case.

(b) Rates: Junior counsel of say 5 years call, in a reasonable set of chambers dealing with civil common law work (ie: personal injury, road traffic accidents, landlord/tenant, nusiance, breaches of contract, prof neg, employment etc) would probably earn around £150K in fees before deductions for income tax, chambers' rent, clerks' fees, pension contributions, health insurance, travel, books etc, which would leave net earnings of around slightly more than half that amount. So let's call it £85K for the sake of argument. Compared with the salary of a GP (£110K (ish) http://www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/workforce/nhs-staff-earnings/gp-earnings-and-expenses-2004-05), it actually looks like the barrister is quite hard done by!

I hate to trot out the old "if you don't pay top rates, then you won't attract top people" argument, but to some extent it is true.



Judges seem to delight in 'setting aside' decisions already made.

I don't know whether or not they delight in doing so, but there are occasions where decisions absolutely should be set aside, such as the one referred to above where my friend's nutty neighbour has subverted the legal process by obtaining an injunction against him by claiming to have served notification of the hearing when in fact he gave him no notification at all. In my experience most "setting aside" goes on not where parties are acting through lawyers, but where one or, even worse, both parties are litigants in person. In those situations all sorts of underhand game-playing goes on where, frankly, dishonest people routinely lie through their teeth about receiving or serving court papers in their attempts to prevent the defendant attending a hearing or to generally just frustrate or wear down the other party.


Magistrates interpret the law according to their own pet prejudice. Please don't tell me I'm wrong, I've been at the receiving end of that practice.

Magistrates are not involved in civil matters apart from family cases. Was this a mistake, or where you also referring to the criminal law?


No Agent, real justice is only for them as can afford it, and that's wrong.

Now you will probably rip that post to shreds with one of your justifications, I think that others will agree with me though. If you are really rich you can get justice, if you are merely well off, then you can't, usually.

I do tend to agree with that statement, but what is the solution?

(a) Reducing lawyers' charge-out rates for private work is neither feasible or fair.

(b) Simplifying or shortening the legal process much more than it already has been by the Woolf reforms is probably not possible, or even desirable (as it leads to rushed, rough and ready and second-rate justice).

(c) Public funding for private legal disputes is unlikely to be supported by the electorate. Would you be happy for your taxes to be spent on hours and hours of lawyers' time and a day in court in order to indulge two grown men who want to argue the toss about the height of a hedge?

jta
06-07-2009, 15:26 PM
Magistrates are not involved in civil matters apart from family cases. Was this a mistake, or where you also referring to the criminal law?


Yes, it was a mistake, it was probably a circuit judge or something. This particular one was so obviously biased towards the plaintiff that I got really angry in court, not a good thing to do obviously. A case where his mind was already made up I think.



I do tend to agree with that statement, but what is the solution?

(a) Reducing lawyers' charge-out rates for private work is neither feasible or fair.

(b) Simplifying or shortening the legal process much more than it already has been by the Woolf reforms is probably not possible, or even desirable (as it leads to rushed, rough and ready and second-rate justice).

(c) Public funding for private legal disputes is unlikely to be supported by the electorate. Would you be happy for your taxes to be spent on hours and hours of lawyers' time and a day in court in order to indulge two grown men who want to argue the toss about the height of a hedge?

I'm neither qualified nor clever enough to suggest anything along those lines unfortunately, perhaps when you rise to the giddy heights of Lord Muckitymuck you will be able to reform the whole system. :rolleyes:

mind the gap
06-07-2009, 15:53 PM
I'm neither qualified nor clever enough to suggest anything along those lines unfortunately, perhaps when you rise to the giddy heights of Lord Muckitymuck you will be able to reform the whole system.

And when you do, make sure you don't forget us lot on LLZ wot you sharpened your teeth on :)

(We'll expect mates' rates at the very least!)

jeffrey
06-07-2009, 15:54 PM
Aren't Mates Rates prophylactic prices?

mind the gap
06-07-2009, 15:59 PM
Aren't Mates Rates prophylactic prices?

You really do not want to know!

agent46
06-07-2009, 16:35 PM
1) Working practices. Example - wigs, gowns, use of jargon and rather opaque language even to the reasonably well educated.

Wigs and gowns etc - a complete red herring. How do wigs and gowns adversely affect lay clients' interests? In any case, (a) full court dress is not required in many civil cases, (b) there are sound ethical reasons why court dress is a Good Thing. I will elaborate if you wish.


2) Risk share. Example - some lawyers offer certain services at fixed fees (possession applications, injunctions, etc) A further step in this direction would be a good thing.

Fixed fees only work where the litigation is highly predictable, and most is not. In principle, if a lawyer offers a fixed fee service, they have an interest in the outcome of the litigation and there is an ethical risk. What I mean by that is they might not be so keen to advise a client to seek more evidence, or re-draft a witness statement in the light of new allegations or amend a statement of claim etc etc if this involves a more work for no more money. In such circumstances, the interests of their client or the interests of justice are not well-served. Risk-sharing of any kind, even the most mundane sort (ie: fixed fee) between lawyer and client carries a clear risk of contaminating the relationship and the system of justice.



3) Lack of collaborative approach. Example - see above. The leaping to conclusions thing without all the information is a very frustrating trait. The better lawyers understand that a) they will get a better answer to the problem by working with their clients to understand the problem from the client's point of view and b) that their client will be less likely to experience the same problem again if their lawyer can work with them to help improve understanding or working practices. Its a working approach, an attitude of mind if you like. The issue has a parallel in other professions. I understand, for example, that doctors who work with their patients and listen to the problem from their point of view generally produce better results.

(a) That's just a wooly, warm and fuzzy way of saying "obtain accurate, relevant instructions" or even more prosaically, "find out what the client wants (express or implied) and work out how to give it to them". That is simply a core skill of a lawyer and if they cannot do that, then they are failing to do their job. Needless to say, however, if a client wants to sketch in a great deal of background information, then so long as the lawyer is working on an hourly rate and not on a fixed fee, I'm sure most would be happy to get inside their clients' heads a little bit more. That comment was slightly sarcastic and snippy, but what you might not realise is that many lawyers do in fact give "freebies" or don't bill every hour worked in order to retain goodwill with clients who are likely to give them repeat business.

(b) Lawyers are, usually, also available for in-house seminars, training, compliance and process evaluation. The question is, however, "are clients willing to pay for those services?" Or do you think they should be handed out free, perhaps as some sort of BOGOF offer when you purchase one of their fixed fee possession "packages"?



BTW, both (a) and (b) are available on tap for a fixed fee, if one employs an in-house lawyer on a salary. The question is, would you be willing to pay for one, or is the cost of forward looking "best practice" advice, training and compliance just another "risk" that you would like lawyers in independent practice to share with you?

Preston
06-07-2009, 21:59 PM
As you know, I was attempting to explore some of the reasons why the popular perception of lawyers is not always positive. You had already listed a number of reasons outside the control of the profession, I agreed with those reasons and suggested a few more which are, perhaps, more in the control of the legal profession. I think that, possibly, the main difference between us is that you appear to see none of the "fault" as resting with lawyers themselves.

agent46
08-07-2009, 11:31 AM
I do tend to agree with that statement [that law can be difficult to access for anyone other than the very rich or the very poor], but what is the solution?

(a) Reducing lawyers' charge-out rates for private work is neither feasible or fair.

(b) Simplifying or shortening the legal process much more than it already has been by the Woolf reforms is probably not possible, or even desirable (as it leads to rushed, rough and ready and second-rate justice).

(c) Public funding for private legal disputes is unlikely to be supported by the electorate. Would you be happy for your taxes to be spent on hours and hours of lawyers' time and a day in court in order to indulge two grown men who want to argue the toss about the height of a hedge?

Extract from an address to the Bar Council by the Chairman of the Bar, Desmond Browne QC:

"Jackson LJ and CLAF

2009 seems to be the year of acronyms. One old friend CLAF – a Contingency Legal Aid Fund – is now back on the agenda with the publication of Lord Justice Jackson’s Preliminary Report on Civil Litigation Costs. The idea of a CLAF is to grant legal funding to chosen applicants on condition that they pay a percentage of any amount recovered back into the fund. It thus becomes self-financing.

Jackson LJ expresses the provisional view that, following the retraction of legal aid, either CFAs or some other system of payment by results (such as a CLAF) must exist in order to facilitate access to justice. The Bar got ahead of the game by asking a group under Guy Mansfield QC to look at this topic afresh. Their report dated 27 February 2009 can be read on the Bar Council’s website.

In Jackson LJ’s opinion, at first blush there is some attraction in principle in the group’s proposal, but there is still a great deal of detail to be worked out. This includes the question of the source of initial seed-capital. Guy’s group will be working on these issues in the months to come.

In the meantime it was intriguing to hear the views of the Shadow Lord Chancellor, Dominic Grieve QC, in his Boydell lecture. He expressed delight that a CLAF was being re-considered, because no government could provide more money for legal aid. On the other hand, he was harsh about CFAs, saying they had corroded and undermined the standards of the legal profession."


http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/news/chairmans-search/detail.php?id=156

jeffrey
08-07-2009, 11:47 AM
and your point is...?

agent46
08-07-2009, 11:53 AM
and your point is...?

If you read the quoted bit of the post, and then the reply/update to it, then I would have thought it is fairly obvious. Don't forget to breathe in and out whilst doing so, eh....

nata1ie
08-07-2009, 13:41 PM
Well there are the obvious unscrupulous lawyers about within the compensation sector as already mentioned. also within the Debt Collection Industry, there are many DCA's who claim to be lawyers and have very underhanded tactics including sending fake court orders etc.

Also the average layperson doesnt understand the complexity of the law, if something sounds logical they cant understand why that isnt necessarily the way things work. Therefore, they feel that, perhaps, they are being taken advantage of.

Ironically, I am moving INTO law because of integrity and ethical beliefs

If I mention my career pre-children was in PR and the media I'm sure no one will disagree that it's a very honourable move :D

agent46
08-07-2009, 14:32 PM
also within the Debt Collection Industry, there are many DCA's who claim to be lawyers and have very underhanded tactics including sending fake court orders etc.

LOL. I remember a couple of years ago when a DCA/bailiff sent me a demand for, IIRC, £190 in unpaid council tax, accompanied by a "Notice of Impending Bankruptcy Proceedings". There had been some 'previous' to this letter, including me sending them a photocopy of a bank statement which proved that their client (the local authority) had cashed my cheque for the amount owed.

I immediately faxed them an absolute rocket of a letter in which I pointed out: (a) £190 is below the bankruptcy limit of £750, so bankruptcy proceedings would fail, (b) wrongfully or maliciously petitioning for bankruptcy is a tort, and if they were unwise enough to issue proceedings, I would sue for damage to my reputation and well and truly take them and/or the local authority to the cleaners, (c) I had previously proved payment, but even if I hadn't, the amount owed was below the limit required (and they would know this), so their letter might well constitute the offences of "unwarranted demand accompanied by menaces" or "unlawful harassment of debtors" contrary to the Administration of Justice Act 1970 s.40.

I CC'd the local authority concerned, the local Police and the Police force covering the area in which their office was located, and rather unsurprisngly, I didn't hear a dickie bird from them ever again. :D



Ironically, I am moving INTO law because of integrity and ethical beliefs



Good for you. That's one of the reasons I went into the law, and it's also why I am quite vociferous in debunking the sort of tired, ill-thought through stereotypes we've been discussing here (or, being "defensive" as Preston puts it).

nata1ie
08-07-2009, 15:03 PM
There is a lady on another site who has just been threatened by a DCA, that they are going to contact social services, because if she can only afford a token payment to them, then she obviously isnt in a financial position to be caring for her children properly. However, if she agrees to a charging order they wont contact them.

agent46
08-07-2009, 15:24 PM
There is a lady on another site who has just been threatened by a DCA, that they are going to contact social services, because if she can only afford a token payment to them, then she obviously isnt in a financial position to be caring for her children properly. However, if she agrees to a charging order they wont contact them.

That's out of bl**dy order. I presume you've referred her to CAB or a similar organisation and/or told her to inform Trading Standards? AJA s.40 would apply.

jta
08-07-2009, 15:26 PM
I am quite vociferous in debunking the sort of tired, ill-thought through stereotypes we've been discussing here (or, being "defensive" as Preston puts it).

We're all stereotypes of one sort or another, it depends on your education, experience and all sorts of factors. Simply because someone does not have the knowledge that you possess does not mean that their argument need be ill thought through. It may be that that is the way they understand things. Your explanations of various points of law have been a great help in promoting a better understanding of how the law works and interpreting some fairly arcane language. I don't see you as defensive or even hostile, I must say I take delight in winding you up sometimes, you are quite predictable yourself you know.

I have learned so much since I came onto this forum that, on certain matters, I can formulate answers without being corrected by Jeffrey, that has to be progress. I don't really know any more about the law though, except maybe little bits of it, it's all re-cycled parrot fashion. Your criticism of the whole BTL business is very useful, it gives a refreshing view that not all people think alike, or even want to. I certainly make sure that I follow best practice where my tenants are concerned, and that's a direct result of my learning experience on LLZ.

I dunno if that makes a lot of sense to you tbh. It's just the way I see it.

jeffrey
08-07-2009, 15:47 PM
I have learned so much since I came onto this forum that, on certain matters, I can formulate answers without being corrected by Jeffrey, that has to be progress.
Oops. This sounds dangerously similar to a compliment.
[But I'd use a full-stop or semi-colon in place of your final comma there!]

mind the gap
08-07-2009, 15:52 PM
Oops. This sounds dangerously similar to a compliment.




Crikey, don't pay him compliments, jta. It'll just encourage him! :rolleyes:

jta
08-07-2009, 15:54 PM
Oops. This sounds dangerously similar to a compliment.
[But I'd use a full-stop or semi-colon in place of your final comma there!]

Sigh! Don't you start with correcting grammar as well, that's what we've got that laydee for.

agent46
08-07-2009, 16:01 PM
We're all stereotypes of one sort or another, it depends on your education, experience and all sorts of factors. Simply because someone does not have the knowledge that you possess does not mean that their argument need be ill thought through.

The problem is, when those "all lawyers are crooks" cliches are trotted out, the person putting the view forward is almost always unable to formulate a convincing argument as to why that is the case. Just look at the other thread which involved a rather self-congratulatory and sanctimonious rounding on ticket touts - when those claims ("ticket touts bad, landlords good. Baaa, baaa etc") were put to the test, it turned out they had very, very little substance to them, and in fact, it could be argued that I put forward convincing reasons why landlords are actually in a worse eithical position than ticket touts.

This trait of "repetition of commonly held belief completely unsupported by evidence or argument" is proof of lazy, uncoordinated and generally weak thought processes on the part of the person making the claim, although the characteristic is by no means unique to LLZ. It is not intellectual snobbery (as you seem to believe it is), to point out this deficiency, but merely a statement of fact.

jeffrey
08-07-2009, 16:08 PM
Reminds me of the joke current at the time of the Miners' Strike. Many locally were grumbling about the supposedly oppressive policing (that is, except when the grumblers were lobbing blocks of concrete at police cars). The poser, however, was: "Whom will you call next time that your house is burgled? Either:
a. miners; or
b. police?"
[please select one of above]

jta
08-07-2009, 16:29 PM
This trait of "repetition of commonly held belief completely unsupported by evidence or argument" is proof of lazy, uncoordinated and generally weak thought processes on the part of the person making the claim, although the characteristic is by no means unique to LLZ. It is not intellectual snobbery (as you seem to believe it is), to point out this deficiency, but merely a statement of fact.

Look! You've gone and done it again! 'Repetition of commonly held belief' . For years there was a commonly held belief that MP's were overpaid and on the fiddle, not a shred of real evidence. Well, blow me down Jim, do I not remember something from a month or two ago that confirmed that widely held belief? 'Weak thought processes'! The persons with those thought processes, that you consider weak, may only have two thirds of the intelligence quotient that you have. They may well have thought long and hard about what they were going to write. If what they do write is wrong, that is not evidence of weak thought processes, but of a lack of knowledge.
I have never, ever, accused anyone on this forum or elsewhere of intellectual snobbery. We all have different skills, I have said before, in my own specialty I would leave you floundering, that's not snobbery, it's simply a result of years of experience. In the same way you have the edge on me, and on most of us, when it comes to interpreting the law. Horses for courses innit?

agent46
08-07-2009, 17:29 PM
Look! You've gone and done it again! 'Repetition of commonly held belief' . For years there was a commonly held belief that MP's were overpaid and on the fiddle, not a shred of real evidence. Well, blow me down Jim, do I not remember something from a month or two ago that confirmed that widely held belief? 'Weak thought processes'! The persons with those thought processes, that you consider weak, may only have two thirds of the intelligence quotient that you have. They may well have thought long and hard about what they were going to write. If what they do write is wrong, that is not evidence of weak thought processes, but of a lack of knowledge.
I have never, ever, accused anyone on this forum or elsewhere of intellectual snobbery. We all have different skills, I have said before, in my own specialty I would leave you floundering, that's not snobbery, it's simply a result of years of experience. In the same way you have the edge on me, and on most of us, when it comes to interpreting the law. Horses for courses innit?

(1) The 2nd sentence seems to suggest you believe that, in the absence of evidence and reasoning, supposition, prejudice and guesswork is a handy replacement!

(2) In any case, there was evidence, stretching all the way back to Robert Walpole (originator of the phrase "Every man has his price", IIRC) that some MPs were corrupt. Off the top of my head and in no particular order: cash for questions, cash for honours (first tried by Lloyd George, but, allegedly revived under Blair), the F1/tobacco advertising affair, the Shell crisis of WWI, the Lavender List affair, the Iraq war, Jonathan Aitken, the Iraqi Supergun, Peter Mandelson's mortgage and last but not least, one name that sums up the whole foul jamboree, Jeffrey Archer.

(3) If someone has, as you claim, thought "long and hard" about their position, then why are they unable to fill in the the enormous blank which comes after the word "because" in their propositions? ie: "Ticket touts are morally inferior to landlords because......" or "Lawyers are dishonourable because......"

If they can't fill in those blanks, then clearly they have not thought long and hard, or if they have thought long and hard, the quality of their thoughts has not matched the quantity.

(4) It's nothing to do with my knowledge or experience of the law or of anything else for that matter, it is simply a rule of argument that if a person makes a claim, then they must provide reasoning and evidence as to why their proposition leads to the conclusion they say it does. Too many people don't seem to understand or even be aware of the difference between propositions and conclusions and the absolute need to make a link between the two.

jta
08-07-2009, 18:27 PM
(1) The 2nd sentence seems to suggest you believe that, in the absence of evidence and reasoning, supposition, prejudice and guesswork is a handy replacement!

Not at all. guesswork and prejudice has no place in it of course, what you call supposition is what these people may actually believe the law to be. Whether that be by misunderstanding or they have been misinformed by others, they may still, honestly, believe in their position. When they have the good sense to post their questions and conclusions on this forum, and others of course, then their mistakes are rapidly explained to them. Most people are happy to listen to wiser, or possibly better educated, heads

(2) In any case, there was evidence, stretching all the way back to Robert Walpole (originator of the phrase "Every man has his price", IIRC) that some MPs were corrupt. Off the top of my head and in no particular order: cash for questions, cash for honours (first tried by Lloyd George, but, allegedly revived under Blair), the F1/tobacco advertising affair, the Shell crisis of WWI, the Lavender List affair, the Iraq war, Jonathan Aitken, the Iraqi Supergun, Peter Mandelson's mortgage and last but not least, one name that sums up the whole foul jamboree, Jeffrey Archer.

Agreed. All those examples you have quoted, however, involved mainly individuals. The latest scandal has involved 90% of the House of Commons members.

(3) If someone has, as you claim, thought "long and hard" about their position, then why are they unable to fill in the the enormous blank which comes after the word "because" in their propositions? ie: "Ticket touts are morally inferior to landlords because......" or "Lawyers are dishonourable because......"

Maybe the questions should be changed to:- 'Some Ticket touts are morally inferior to landlords because.....' and 'Some lawyers etc....'

If they can't fill in those blanks, then clearly they have not thought long and hard, or if they have thought long and hard, the quality of their thoughts has not matched the quantity.

I think I made that point in my post, not everybody has the ability to match the quality of thought that you can bring to bear on an argument. I would hope though, that they could understand a reasoned argument for a different conclusion.

(4) It's nothing to do with my knowledge or experience of the law or of anything else for that matter, it is simply a rule of argument that if a person makes a claim, then they must provide reasoning and evidence as to why their proposition leads to the conclusion they say it does. Too many people don't seem to understand or even be aware of the difference between propositions and conclusions and the absolute need to make a link between the two.

I agree with you on that last highlighted point but please try to see my point, it ain't always their fault. ]

TC2009
08-07-2009, 19:15 PM
Can we do teachers now?

Preston
08-07-2009, 20:05 PM
Can we do teachers now?

I'm just beginning to get your sense of humour - I think.

That made me laugh.

agent46
08-07-2009, 20:50 PM
Not at all. guesswork and prejudice has no place in it of course, what you call supposition is what these people may actually believe the law to be. Whether that be by misunderstanding or they have been misinformed by others, they may still, honestly, believe in their position. When they have the good sense to post their questions and conclusions on this forum, and others of course, then their mistakes are rapidly explained to them. Most people are happy to listen to wiser, or possibly better educated, heads


Eh? I wasn't talking about law. Specifically, I was referring to your comment about MPs, but in general, and in earlier posts, I was referring to the over-reliance on lazy, knee-jerk, ill-thought through stereotypes.



Agreed. All those examples you have quoted, however, involved mainly individuals. The latest scandal has involved 90% of the House of Commons members.

"Involved" doesn't necessarily even mean "implicated", much less "condemned".

There are approx 650 MPs and only a handful (about half a dozen, ie: less than 1%) of them have been legitimately accused of doing something outright dishonest (such as claiming for phantom mortgages and so on), and some of those MPs so accused have excused or justified their behaviour on the grounds of eg: forgetfulness or oversight, which may or may not be true.

Then there is the fairly large group of MPs who have been accused of "flipping" and other loophole-utilising schemes. Let's remember that the vast majority of these MPs were acting on the advice of accountants, the HoC Fees Office, and even, in some cases, HMRC. I think there is a huge dollop of hypocrisy in play when we point the finger at people who "game play" expenses or tax rules, as we are only too happy to do so ourselves when it suits us, and we even probably go so far as to rub our hands in glee or even boast about putting one over on "The Man" when we succeed. Hand's up anyone who, if their accountant or HMRC told them they could claim a monetary allowance or avoid paying tax, would opt to forgo the benefit or pay the money over to HMRC! The test of dishonesty (in law) is whether a person's conduct was honest according to the standards of reasonable people, and, at the time of the offence, did the accused believe that what they did was dishonest? (R v. Ghosh.) As the "flipping" MPs were only doing what almost everyone else does or would do if they had the opportunity, and also, without prejudice to the former point, because they were acting upon advice, none of the flippers and loophole-seekers could legitimately be descibed as dishonest.

That just leaves the rest of them who've have had mud slung at them largely for pettiness (eg: claiming for a lightbulb) or extravagance (duck islands, moat cleaning etc). Grasping (probably), insensitive during a recession (certainly), but not dishonest or corrupt.

Also, this whole saga has to be viewed against the background of MPs pay, conditions and job security when compared to comparable professions. When looked at that way an MP's pay is actually quite modest, and historically they have been wary (on grounds of political expediency) of bringing their pay in line with those professions, and so they were encouraged by their overseers to claim whatever expenses they could in order to achieve parity.



Maybe the questions should be changed to:- 'Some Ticket touts are morally inferior to landlords because.....' and 'Some lawyers etc....'


No. Because then specific examples of dishonest individuals can always be found without actually providing grounds for extrapolating the propensity for such behaviour to the class as a whole; it would almost be as meaningless as saying "Some ticket touts like birdwatching" or "Some lawyers have brown hair". The issue was couched (by others) in terms of generalisations about those professionals, but when challenged, no-one was able to come up with solid justifications for the stereotypes that were capable of resisting a counter-argument.