Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Other Peoples' Children

Q. Parents are so boastful of their childrens’ achievements. Does such irritating behaviour offend against any law? I do not say this just because my own childrens’ achievements have been modest.

A.  My wife and I attended a parents’ evening where one mother was concerned that the curriculum would not extend her child as he was gifted, later she questioned the adequacy of the sports facilities as he was a natural athlete, finally her hand was up again to question the music teacher as her son was also a talented musician. He was 7 years old. As my wife later commented, “it is amazing that the most gifted children have the most stupid mothers”.


It may not be specifically mentioned in any declaration of human rights but being irritating is an inalienable right of man and womankind. But the irritating are the first to go in any revolution, or at least that is my plan.


Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lawyer Tease

Q. I have not made a will as I am too embarrassed to reveal how little I have got. I have always hoped that something would turn up, but time is running out.

A. It took me a few years to realise that my clients did not have more money than me; they just said that they did.


Over the years they have:


  •          Invented rich uncles poised to leave them a fortune.
  •         Made out that they had so much money that they had no need to work.
  •        Claimed that they had given substantial sums to charity.

Some clients got carried away, hinting at expensive mistresses and rich, generous mothers-in-law.

All fantasy, of course.

Therefore, your claims of exceptional wealth will leave your lawyer unmoved. Unless, you give your lawyer even  the slightest reason to suspect that the claims are true. For instant, a $10.00 tip to his or her secretary on the way in, followed by claims of anything over $10M is likely to cause a complete melt down.

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Why are lawyers not as popular as doctors?

Q. Why are lawyers not as popular as doctors?

A.  If there were another set of doctors on the other side of the operating  table trying to kill the patient, doctors would not be so popular either.


Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Criminal Shortage Prompts Prison Reform

Q. With falling crime rates and the creeping de-criminalisation of drugs, will our prisons be almost empty soon?

A. There has never been a shortage of people to persecute and incarcerate. I am sure we will think of something. For instance, many in the legal profession have always felt that children, especially teenagers, would gain from a custodial sentence. I am not suggesting long sentences (except in certain cases). Sentences would mostly take place in the school holidays so as not to interfere with school work. There would be no criminal record as the Child Custody (“CC”) System would not deal with crimes but everyday family irritations such as talking back and eating with elbows on the table. Not every infraction would result in imprisonment. For instance, what teenage son would refuse to put out the garbage if he had a suspended sentence hanging over his head? Only the consent of the parents would be required, and I expect that, in most cases, this would be enthusiastically given, especially for Holiday CC.

Once the principle had been established it could be extended to other troublesome family members such as mothers-in-law. Forcibly sending your mother-in-law to prison may be a breach of her human rights. However, human rights’ lawyers have never defended mothers-in-law in the past, and I suspect that they will not start now.

Once the criminals were cleared out of the prison system, wives could be attracted by a Hi-Security diet that really worked. Fathers may seek some solitude especially leading up to Christmas, birthdays or weddings. No more household chores, fielding requests for money, or going shopping for even short periods may be a welcome respite.

Include a “Throw Away the Key” option for spouses and we will need more prisons not less.

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2005-2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Glossy but Dull

Q. The glossy information sheet which accompanied my new driving licence warned me to “try and keep it flat”, “not to deform it by cutting or hitting it” and “not to soak it”. Increasingly, my attention is being diverted by pointless information packaged in a way that invites attention. The duller the message, the greater the marketing subterfuge. Can the law offer any solution to these time wasting antics?


A. All content should be colour coded - red, white or blue. Red being worth reading, and blue being not worth reading. For instance, all legal documents produced by banks would be defaulted to blue with occasional white and red streaks to enable customers to hone in on the important parts and disregard the rest. Productivity would increase dramatically.

Then we could colour code our politicians and have three parliaments, blue being not worth listening to. Materials - red, white, or blue produced by politicians of any hue, would be removed to the appropriate parliament.

With colour coded TV channels, all the films and shows which receive bad reviews would be shown on a blue channel giving us all the opportunity to have evenings free of the usual rubbish.

There would be anomalies. For instance, some blue jokes may need to be reclassified as red, and red herrings would become blue. Brides may aspire to red weddings.

In order to enforce these laws, white and blue judges would be appointed to join the red judges. Cases would be allocated red, white or blue status purely on entertainment value.


This is not a new idea; the US Federal Courts have been colour coding their attorneys for some time. Submissions from blue attorneys are dismissed without a hearing. It has saved a lot of time and is being considered by courts all around the world. 


Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO, lawyer to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Lawyers in Love Cartoon Slideshow - St Valentine's Day Special

Legal Cartoons for lawyers dating, living together, engaged, married, separated or divorced. Or anyone thinking about it.

Click here for the Lawyers in Love Cartoon Slideshow 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Losing your inheritance - the smart way

Q. A court has ruled that a will can be made on a smart phone. How do I stop my inheritance being tweeted away?

A. It used to be that thieves were branded on the cheek, murderers were hanged, and if a will was not signed at the bottom or foot thereof in the presence of two witnesses present at the same time, it was not valid. We all knew where we stood, and although it was difficult to get a will executed without someone inadvertently trying to leave the room, or wanting to sign in the wrong place, we managed. Now, if a Testator had a clear intention of creating a will, despite not observing the legal niceties, a judge may allow it over the line.

Once a Testator is deceased it is no longer his wife who decides his intentions for him, it is a judge, so it can still go either way. This means that if those in charge of your inheritance are unreliable (and let’s face it, we are dealing with your parents here) you may need to have an entire court case to beat off the other claimants, and that can be expensive.

Therefore, it is best to pay for your parents to make their wills properly and then wipe them out before they change their minds. This is not without risk and care must be taken to avoid suspicion of patricide, matricide or the ever popular, step-matricide. However, no one is surprised by what parents get up to these days. Accidents involving Bucking Broncos, parachuting and microlights seem commonplace for the over 70s. 

But, tweeting is just one of the ways to lose your inheritance, so be vigilant and proactive it may not be enough to support your parents’ extreme lifestyle choices and wait. 

Extract from - I'll have the law on you -unmitigated advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO, lawyer to be published later this year. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. Author of The Legal Guide to Dying...Baby Boomer Edition 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Falling crime rates

Q. Are falling crimes rates just another sign of the unreliability of this generation?

A. A growing number of prosecutors blame computer games such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, which have enticed the young to play out their violent, rapacious fantasies in the comfort of their own bedrooms rather than misbehave on the streets. One Attorney General told me “We were against violent computer games when they were first introduced, and we are against them now, we are just less sure how to explain why”.

Psychologists argue that it is the increase in One Parent Families which so often lack the presence of a violent father as a role model, also, that working mothers are just too tired and no longer at home to terrorise their teenage children and drive them out onto the streets.

While authoritarian governments see the absence of youth on the streets as a good thing other governments have coped with the decline by pretending that crime rates are going up in keeping with the public’s perception.

Parents who in the past have relied upon their teenage children to bring home the bacon and anything else that they could lay their hands on are facing financial hardship. The issue is compounded by their own parents who are retiring earlier and earlier; demanding attention and financial support. The solution is for retired parents to undertake shoplifting and mugging duties. Governments could set a generous limit to the amount that retired parents could steal before their Age Pensions are reduced.

Falling crime rates could be reversed by the adjustment of existing laws. For instance, change “threatening behaviour” to “looking at me in a funny way” and leave the rest up to police discretion. Who would not applaud the application of the terrorism laws to telemarketers?

By combining these simple changes with an increase in police numbers and a return to trumped up charges, the courts will be as busy as ever and no longer reliant on jobless youth.  


Extract from - My card "without prejudice" -advice on law and lawyers by John Fytit AO, lawyer to be published later this year.

(c) Paul Brennan 2014. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Life Going Nowhere?

Dear John

My life is going nowhere. Do I have a claim?

PB

Dear PB

It is only when Life Going Nowhere (LGN) Non-Activists become radicalised that they discover that it is not their fault after all. After years of self-blame, they are ready to identify and denounce those who are really responsible e.g. parents, government departments, ex-girlfriends etc. 

My advice is to choose one or more abusers and if you are wrong you can always change later. Your therapist can assist you through this process and help to apply an appropriate label such as LGN Abuse.

Although a lone voice, can generate some sympathy, to mount a legal claim you will need to encourage others to join you. With a subject such as LGN you should have no trouble, I feel like joining you myself.

Your motive must remain selfless. It is best to describe fellow sufferers as 'Survivors' which suggests overcoming adversity rather than malingering. The Survivors mission should be to assist other Survivors and prevent our children (especially the teenagers) from becoming victims. Remind them to remain humourless and easily offended at all times.

You will need a website, a trademark, t-shirts, posters, ribbons, social media consultants, but most of all, a generous travel allowance to organise the World LGN Abuse Summit. The prospect of foreign travel possibly in Bali should secure the support of family and friends who may have been sceptical up to that point.

Although the lawyers at the Legal Aid Department may empathise with you, legal aid is unlikely to be available initially anyway. Therefore, it will be necessary to raise money for necessary legal fees and other expenses.

It is important not to beg. Offer sponsorship, membership (platinum, gold, silver) and seek celebrity endorsement. There will be those who refuse to give. Rather than listing the people who give you money, list the people who do not.

Finally, find an LGN lawyer (there are no shortage) and select a jurisdiction with imagination such as America’s state courts.

John Fytit A.O.


(c) Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved. Extract from John Fytit’s International Legal Problem Page. For more go tohttp://www.lawanddisorder.com.au/legaladvicepage.html


A book of advice given by John Fytit A.O. over the years will be published next year.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Death of social media

To manage your social media commitments when you have a business to run is difficult but when you are dead it becomes almost impossible. However, with the right social media strategy your Virtual Assistant in Mumbai will live on and continue to send out your posts at one o’clock in the morning and could even change your status to “PO” (“passed on”).
 
Your On-line assets e.g. photographs, videos etc. will pass in your Will as these digital assets are intellectual property. You do not need to name each item, unless you want to give the asset to a particular beneficiary; otherwise, your digital assets will be part of the residue of your estate. This could mean that the wrong beneficiary could inherit, so if an item is important or valuable (e.g. business logo, business website content) you could make specific provision in your Will.

Nowadays, people having so many Friends that they do not know from Adam, creates special challenges for the executors who feel that they must ensure that  friends are aware of your death and also that they have access to your profile to discover who you were. Therefore, the executors need quick access to secure, control and utilize your on-line information. Leaving a Digital Register of all your assets and passwords to access the assets would be useful, or even just a list of the passwords to your social media accounts, but as you cannot remember the passwords yourself, it is probably not going to happen.

If, executors are ready to do battle with privacy issues they can increase your likes but do not expect to attract many followers.

To paraphrase Johnny Carson - for three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but tweets taper off.

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Modern Partnership


Dear John

I chose my partners at a time when “partner” meant “business partner”. We all knew exactly where we stood. Now, the situation is regrettably confused.

DT

Dear DT

As the use of the word “partner” has expanded to suggest romantic attachment many single business partners clearly hoped that this would be the solution to their lonely lives, especially the ugly ones. It was subtle at first, just hints that there was something more than a business relationship such as the use of the word “darling” or love” at the end of sentences, but soon it became “where were you last night?”, “You never listen to me” and even “Where’s my slippers?”. Many partners could not stand it and stormed out slamming the door.

Such was the concern in legal circles that lawyers have been permitted to incorporate, and we were immediately relieved that we no longer had to use the word “firm” as that seemed to have gone the same way as the word “ripe” let alone the word “member”.

It was a useful reminder to us that words that were regarded as perfectly innocent before the war are now a mine field. We immediately embarked on a review of our precedents deleting reference to words and phrases which could cause offence such as briefs, discharge, hung jury, motion, bond, age and restraint.

This is not to criticise those lawyers who have decided to remain in traditional partnerships. For the first time, many have been able to discuss their true feelings. Late nights at the office instead of going home to their spouses were not quite what they had seemed after all.

John Fytit AO

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Awardless

Dear John

As much as I try, why does everybody win business awards except me? 
RM, Sydney


Dear RM

Such is the proliferation of award ceremonies, I know of lawyers who are more decorated than Audie Murphy* and even though they readily admit that it is not a reflection on their abilities there is increasing pressure on we the “Awardless”. It has even been suggested by one client that I merge with a serial Awardling to “fill the empty shelves in my reception”.
                                                                                                                                
I have never sought any recognition or praise for my work, which my wife says is probably just as well. However, my principled non participation is now characterised as “Award Denying”.

You could sue the judging panel for being bias which may have the added advantage of discouraging future award panels from rejecting your award nomination without some consideration, however it may lead to accusations of sour grapes.

My advice is to join one of the many organisations offering awards and create your own category. For instance, an award for sober librarians or humble senior partners would certainly limit the legal field.

In awards, as in life, 85% success is turning up but it is possible to achieve a further 15% by changing the rules.

 John Fytit AO

*The most decorated soldier of WWII who was still receiving rewards in 2013 (30 years after his death).
 

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

Click here for a preview and to order 101 reasons from Amazon for the special price of $14.53 (usually $19.99) while stocks last. Also available as an eBook from Amazon.

Click here to order an autographed copy with a personal greeting at $19.99 plus P&P. 


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Book Review by the Law Institute Journal


For a profession known for taking itself rather seriously, lawyers are also exceptionally good at seeing the funny side of the practice of law.

There are few better at the art of skewering the pretensions and idiosyncrasies of legal practice than Queensland lawyer Paul Brennan, author of the Law & Disorder website which, for years, has been dispensing useful legal advice heavily disguised as comedy. As well as tips on topics such as “The 10 greatest legal mistakes in business . . . and how to avoid them”, the site is host to caustic and comic legal cartoons, an ezine and more.

Those readers familiar with the comic Queenslander’s books, including The Law is an Ass . . . Make Sure It Doesn’t Bite Yours, can now add to their collection with the latest Brennan book 101 Reasons to Kill all the Lawyers.

The book grew out of Paul’s blog of the same name. He said he decided on 101 reasons as he didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1001.

But there’s nothing depressing about 101 Reasons, with its advice about the things lawyers should know about but might not, such as the secret of enjoying committee meetings, how to field complaints, career planning and dealing successfully with their own legal problems. It is also about things Paul says lawyers are not expected to know about but probably should such as change, innovation, emotions, relationships and sex.
Law Institute Journal (Victoria)
September 2013 87 (9) LIJ, p.86


LETTER TO EDITOR OF Law Institute Journal
Sir: Your review article (With Due Respect September 2013 87 (9) LIJ, p.86) implied that solicitors have a good sense of humour.
I have had a sense of humour for over 30 years. However, I have not used it and do not intend to start now.
John Fytit AO  
Solicitor, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Charity and lawyers

Dear John

I believe that lawyers will be required to undertake 10 charitable hours a year under the soon to be introduced Charitable Legal Endeavours (CLE) points scheme. While previous charitable acts will be taken into account, my last one was in 1997, and I did not even win that raffle.

Is this not just another fad foisted on the legal profession like mediation and suspended sentences?

Concerned lawyer

Dear CL

Many legal practitioners will not have any difficulty as CLEs are to include hours spent talking clients out of litigation which is a daily occurrence with some clients.

I understand that the management of some larger firms insisted on a Charitable Emissions Trading Scheme (CETS) so that extra CLE’s can be purchased from smaller firms and overseas to fulfil the targets of their associate lawyers to avoid any distraction. Therefore, CLEs may prove fruitful, although the extra paperwork could be burdensome.

Of course, this is being driven by those young things in legal marketing departments who have an unprofessional interest in the spandex covered buttocks of trainee lawyers. Gone are the cherished photographs of lawyers and judges standing at cocktail parties, as legal websites begin to  resemble Club Med. Charity seems to start with expensive clothes and unrelated strenuous activity. Mother Teresa would not get a look in these days. The other day I saw a flyer for a fund raising walk for orphans which said “Bring the Family”. 

My approach to charity is that it is good for the soul, if anyone finds out about your charitable deeds, it does not count. Of course, without a marketing department it has been tricky over the years to let clients and others know how discrete and humble I am about this, but with the right receptionist I have managed.


Note: Lawyers undertake Continuing Legal Education (CLE) points each year which are regarded as of limited use as the younger and older lawyers know everything already.

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Defriend or Foe?


Dear John

On Facebook there is a person whom I wish to defriend. Could defriending be defamatory? Does it amount to an imputation that there is something wrong with that person? Would it be safer to write to the person first setting out the reasons so that they can make any submissions before I take the decision to defriend?

FB user

Dear FBU

Absolutely not, but have you considered the more satisfying and rewarding alternative of suing this interloper?

A writ could be posted on your Friend’s timeline. Rather than being vindictive, you could claim you were just being efficient as it is now possible to serve court documents via Facebook. Others may Like the Post and if your Friend is particularly unpopular it could go viral on Twitter. The writ could be boosted by a tasteful, paid Facebook advertisement. Even something as mundane as a neighbourhood tree dispute could attract thousands of visitors to your Facebook page.

If this proves popular, you may find yourself eyeing up other Friends to sue. Of course, it would be best to choose your targets with the benefit of advice from a lawyer, who practices in the area of anti-social media, as I do. It is a matter of trial and error, but bikini models and accountants have proved extremely popular targets with my clients.

Therefore, it is essential to remain Facebook Friends so that your Friend can not only witness the humiliation of being so publically vilified but also be subject to the added sting of suspecting that they have helped to improve your Klout score.

As the Godfather said “You keep your friends close but your Facebook Friends even closer”.

 John Fytit AO

© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Clive Palmer, Billionaire, MP - a humorous insight

Rich men throwing gold coins into the crowd may seem tacky, but it would have gone down remarkably well at our business club on the visit of billionaire, Clive Palmer who was standing as a candidate for the Federal seat in our electorate. At first, he sat looking very much as I would look if I were the one in the room of small business owners with a billion dollars - nervous. However, there were no outright demands for cash, and he managed to ignore subtle hints such as my suggestion that if he did not give me instructions to sue at least two of the audience that morning, I would be hugely disappointed.

Once safely at the lectern, his demeanour brightened and he gave a speech that was both outspoken and riveting. When he declared “It is not my fault that I am a billionaire”, I thought “I wish I had said that” because when you have met a billionaire of a similar age, comparisons are often made, usually by your wife. If certain wives had wanted their husbands to be billionaires they should not have married them, or at least that is my excuse.

His description of career politicians as inexperienced, yes men, who retire with lucrative consultancies both horrified audience members and left many of us considering a career in politics.

He said “The top 5 politicians in Australia have 187 years of experience; it is just that only 27 years of those are in business and only 2 years actual work - as a cleaner. The rest is as policy advisors, trade union representatives, lawyers or similar”. From this, I sensed that he may have strong views about lawyers, too. However, in arranging his attendance I dealt with his in-house lawyer, who was exceptionally nice, which is always such a disadvantage for a lawyer. It is to Clive’s credit that he took her in.

When he accused a leading politician of having mental issues, which could be medically diagnosed, he had gone too far, and the local paper headlined his speech as “crazy talk”. Of course, a medical diagnosis of politician’s issues does offer the prospect of treatment and recovery whereas at present we all just put up with them.

At the end of his speech he shot out the door before anyone could button hole him. If you have ever had a billionaire come into your life and leave without giving you anything you will know that there is an acute sense of loss.
(c) Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

Clive Palmer is leader of the Palmer United Party and at the time was a candidate for Fairfax, Sunshine Coast,Queensland. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's a Bum Wrap

WINNER OF THE LEGAL BRIEFS CAPTION COMPETITION

Thank you to all those who submitted captions. 
The winning entry is from RODNEY MARKS, comic hoaxerhttp://www.comedian.com.au/

Rodney WINS : one pair of legal briefs bearing his winning caption "This is a Bum Wrap"  from the legal lingerie shop together with an autographed copy of 101 Reasons to Kill all the Lawyers - That Part which Laws or Lawyers can Cause or Cure

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Marriage and death

Disturbingly, thirty-eight per cent of murdered women are killed by their husbands. Often, wives are strangled in the bedroom whereas husbands are stabbed in the kitchen. Hence, the increasing popularity of knife blocks.

With the current divorce rate hovering at around fifty per cent, gay marriage will give a much needed boost to the married community’s numbers. However, an unintended consequence could be an increase in the Matrimonial Murder Rate (“MMR”). It would be especially regrettable if traditions were ignored and bodies began to be strewn all over the place. Although, anyone who has seen the Sopranos will know that sexist jibes about men’s reputations for untidiness should not extend to the disposal of bodies where a quick go round with the vacuum cleaner will not do.

Of course, the introduction of same-sex couples could even things up and reduce the MMR by making it less likely that one party could overwhelm the other, a sort of Matrimonial Mutual Assured Destruction (“MMAD”).

A further improvement in the MMR could be achieved by the introduction of polygamy to give married women backup. Saturday night fights between couples could become all night tag fixtures enjoyed by the whole family and neighbours alike.

Same-sex polygamy would allow fanatical football supporters to demonstrate their commitment by marrying and settling down with the entire team and give the rest of us a break.

I asked my wife, “How many husbands do you think are murdered by their wives?” and she said, “Not enough.” I may need back up.



(c) 2013 Paul Brennan. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

COMPETITION TO WIN A COPY OF THE NEW BOOK



Devise a humorous legal caption for (max. 10 words) suitable for clothing, mugs etc. (Example : a suitable caption for a trial lawyer could be “I can explain"). There are other examples at the following website (you may need to insert the URL twice) at http://www.cafepress.com/legalbriefsboutique.


THE BEST CAPTION WILL WIN an autographed copy of 101 Reasons to Kill all the Lawyers –That Part which Laws or Lawyers can Cause or Cure together with one pair of legal briefs bearing your winning caption from the Legal Briefs Boutique http://www.cafepress.com/legalbriefsboutique.
To enter your legal caption below or send a suitable caption to the Editor at info@lawanddisorder.com.au  on or before 25 July 2013. The winner shall be announced in the August 2013 issue of the Law & Disorder eZine.

Click here to read the rules of the competition which shall be binding on all entrants. 
Only subscribers to the Law & Disorder eZine can enter however subscription is free and immediate at http://www.lawanddisorder.com.au/ezine.html.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Front Rank File!

If you have seen the film Zulu you will know what it is like to be in a Government Ombudsman’s office risking daily being overrun by crazed complainants, fresh from battle.

The Ombudsman’s office is not allowed to use the Martini-Henry rifle and fire by rank manoeuvre, as satisfying as this may sound. However, the Ombudsman’s terms of reference can be drawn so narrowly that over 75% of complaints can be opened, found to be outside the terms of reference, and closed within a matter of a few days of receipt. Unlike Zulu warriors, complainants receive a two page, admittedly standard, letter of rejection. Despite this a customer satisfaction survey remains just as imprudent today as it was in 1879.

With the decks cleared, it gives the Ombudsmen the opportunity to assess the merit and appropriately investigate the remaining complaints. However, after the carnage of repelling the initial onslaught certain government Ombudsman’s offices can feel understandably quite worn out and find it hard resist having a quick role call and then swiftly finishing off the surviving complaints with a bureaucratic cats lick accompanied by another two page letter.

As in so many conflicts an Ombudsman’s lack of achievement can be portrayed as a victory. With glossy brochures reporting a courageous, fearless dedication to duty with occasional salutes by departing, vanquished but appreciative complainants supported by detailed statistics proudly declaring file closures.

Shouldn’t the complainants complain about this treatment? Yes, but who would believe them?

A tangible benefit of complaining to an Ombudsman is telling others that you have done so. It suggests that there is something wrong and that you have done something about it. With certain Ombudsmen, it is the only benefit. To paraphrase Michael Caine "Not a lot of people suspect that" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Caine.


© Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.

LETTER TO EDITOR


Sir:  Your article ‘Front Rank File’ 14 June 2013 may leave a misleading impression of the workings of a government ombudsman's office and I wish to point out that:
1. We do not have a hospital wing and as far as I am aware we have no malingers.
2. Our Welsh members of staff do not sing after the rejection of complaints. 
3. There are no drunken lay preachers in our office to my knowledge. If there were, they would not be ejected to prevent staff demoralisation. They would be treated considerately and either counselled or promoted in the usual way. 
O, name and address withheld.

Dear O: Your comments are noted and I am referring your letter to our newly appointed Agony Ombudsman ("A0"), John Fytit. He is a lawyer of over 21 year’s experience in legal misfortunes. Ed. 


 Dear O.
Your letter of complaint has been referred to me and I have considered it carefully. 

However, I regret to advise you that it is outside my terms of reference.

I realise that this is not the answer that you had hoped for. 
Yours sincerely


Sunday, June 9, 2013

SYDNEY BOOK LAUNCH

Thursday 4th July 2013 at 12.30pm at the lunch of the Rotary Club of North Sydney
North Sydney Leagues Club.

To book to attend the lunch at a cost of $35.00 please contact Jenny Thomas 0412 210 084 
email: jmexec@bigpond.net.au 


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Legal Underwear Caption Competition



Insert this link in your browser http://www.cafepress.com/legalbriefsboutique if it does not automatically connect.
Impress your clients and colleagues with your commitment to the law, right down to your smalls, with captions such as:
“Cautious lawyer" - “Please rely on your own judgement and advice”,
“Property lawyer” - “quiet enjoyment”
“Sexy property lawyer (limited edition) ” - “quiet enjoyment please”

“Legal Receptionist” – “Please hold”

COMPETITION

To celebrate the Opening of the New Legal Briefs Boutique   and to help us to cover every area of law we want you to suggest suitable captions for the area of law which most interests you. Captions are to be of no more than 10 words.
THE BEST CAPTION WILL WIN one pair of legal briefs bearing the winning caption together with an autographed copy of 101 Reasons to Kill all the Lawyers –That Part which Laws or Lawyers can Cause or Cure to be launched in Sydney on 4th July 2013 (see below).

To enter post your caption in a Comment below or send it to the Editor at info@lawanddisorder.com.au on or before 25 July 2013.  The winner shall be announced in the August 2013 issue of the Law & Disorder eZine.

Click here to read the rules of the competition which shall be binding on all entrants. 
Only subscribers to the Law & Disorder eZine can enter however subscription is free and immediate at http://www.lawanddisorder.com.au/ezine.html.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Join Your Local Witch Hunt

Those of us, who have not followed life with sufficient gravity to become a judge, can always piously adopt a serious cause and seek elevation to a commission or investigating committee. For others with a shorter attention span, the advent of social media offers mobs opportunities that the French Revolutionaries could only dream of.

In 1953 The Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller likened the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) to the Salem Witch trials of 1692. Hollywood operated a blacklist for celebrities falling foul of the HUAC such as Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Paul Robeson all of whom had to go overseas to work.

Miller was suspected of being a communist and in 1954 the HUAC denied him a passport for the London opening of his play.

In 1956, Miller married Marilyn Monroe and was subpoenaed to appear before the HUAC. Miller did not wish to name, names and the Chairman seemed to agree to defer that question. Miller then gave a detailed account of his own involvement with Communism as a writer under a pseudonym. He was later convicted of contempt for refusing to name, names and was sentenced to a fine of $500 or 30 days imprisonment. He was blacklisted and disallowed a US passport. He appealed and his conviction was overturned as the Chairman’s concession made it unclear that a prosecution would follow.

Witch hunts are just as popular today be it retired light entertainment celebrities, priests, climate change sceptics or anybody appearing to step over the bounds of political correctness. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on these topics provided it is the right one or they keep it to themselves, otherwise they are attacked too. Names (right or wrong) are named and vilified.

Amid this, there are people like Miller who dared to lampoon and Napoleon who perhaps more satisfyingly turned the cannon on the mob, while sensible people do nothing and keep their opinions to themselves.

What can you do about it? Well, if you are like me, nothing.



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Advice to Mothers in law making a Will


Dear John

I have appointed my son as my Executor as he is devoted to me. However, I am concerned that he has fallen under the influence of my daughter in law who has asked me if I had any objection to a “Cardboard Coffin”.  

Is there any legal obligation on the executor not to be too cheap with the funeral arrangements?

Worried mother

Dear Worried Mother

You are right to be concerned, Edith Piaf’s mother was put out with the trash.

You could express a wish in your Will for either cremation or burial but usually that does not bind the Executor. 

Whereas, your Will makes specific directions for the disposal of your money and other assets, your body is not really property as such, and therefore it is up to your executor as to how it should be disposed of, within reason. Health departments and courts can, in certain circumstances, deter some of the more enthusiastic means of disposal favoured by daughters in law, such as “sky burial”.

However, careful wording of the Will can alleviate some of your concerns. A clause such as “I leave $5000 to a donkey sanctuary unless I am buried in a solid oak coffin” should suffice. It does not need to be oak and can be any other material, although I would caution against any precious metals e.g. gold or silver as even a clause specifying “and remains there” can be ignored.

I find that once this method is explained to clients even the most conservative life can be celebrated with professional mourners, a horse drawn hearse, or apologies read out by certain relatives at the graveside.

Finally, a court would find that as Executor this is your son’s decision alone and your daughter in law should make that quite clear to him.

J.F.


(c) Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved. Extract from John Fytit’s International Legal Problem Page. For more go to http://www.lawanddisorder.com.au/legaladvicepage.html