The Televising of Supreme Court Judgments

Ever since the highest court in the country changed from its title of the House of Lords to The Supreme Court, back in October 2009, it would seem that there has been a concerted effort to modernise our judicial system from the top down. This could certainly be said of the fact that on 16 May 2011, Supreme Court judgments were televised for the first time through Sky News.

Is this merely copying the United States of America, with their propensity to glamorise and televise their judicial system, or is there a genuine requirement for the hearings of the Supreme Court to be aired to the general population as a whole? This is an issue we will attempt to address within this article.

Speaking in Meetings

Speaking in meetings and making mini-presentations in meetings can be nerve wracking at the best of times. Even experienced speakers can feel nervous and anxious when speaking at meetings. So here are the top 10 tips to make sure your presentation is enjoyed and remembered by everyone:

More Secular Laws in the UK?

secular_lawsOne of the main observations made by the Pope on his visit to the United Kingdom last year was that our country is becoming more and more secular in nature. He expressed concern that we are departing from religious teachings and stated that he believed this to be potentially damaging to our society in the long term.

On the other hand, a growing proportion of our society adamantly does not believe in any religious order in the first place, least of all in those of the Roman Catholic Church. They believe that all religions have failed to evolve with the world in which they still exist. There is no denying the fact that today there is a battle within our legal system between those who would prefer our laws not to be based on outdated religious beliefs and those who still insist on following all the lessons to be found within the Bible.

ILSPA’s Top Students

ILSPA's top studentsWe are often pleased to see a high calibre of Students pass through our hands, but recently we were delighted to see two Students achieve distinctions for the Legal Secretaries Diploma course, both with results of 99%. Our Course Assessor, Maria Richards, said that they were the highest results she has seen.

These Students have shown complete commitment to their career and an exceedingly high aptitude for learning law and producing documents. They are sure to go far in their careers, and one of the Students, Helen Wheeler, has already managed to secure a fantastic new job. Helen says:

Don’t Just Hear - Listen!

How do you rate as a listener? Do you, for example, “tune out” because you find the speaker long winded? Or unwittingly, perhaps, display signs of impatience or irritation? Or maybe you turn a deaf ear to certain topics or subjects? If you do these (and more) regularly, you are losing vital cues to help you understand another’s behaviours and real meanings. Instead, you are simply picking up sound waves.

Here are the top 10 tips to help you listen actively:

Coping Well in Difficult Situations

Coping WellThere is a great deal we can do to cope well in situations which we find (or expect to find) difficult.

To see how the brain works in this context, it is useful to have a close look at the cycle of emotional arousal. This shows how negative emotional arousal can generate unhelpful thoughts, which themselves fuel further negative emotions. Knowing how the cycle works then informs us as to how best to make changes in that situation and so improves the way we cope.

The Human Givens School of Psychology uses the APET model. This is what APET stands for:

A: Activating stimulus (e.g. being part of a meeting or even just imagining being in a meeting).

Co-ownership – A Cautionary Tale

Co-OwnershipRecent case law highlights the importance of understanding how property can be held jointly

Whenever property is jointly owned, there is the possibility of disagreement. The ongoing case of Kernott v Jones [2010] provides, in the words of Lord Justice Wall, “a cautionary tale” to all unmarried couples and the solicitors who advise them.

If you have already completed the Diploma course, you will be aware that there are only two ways to hold property in England and Wales – as a joint tenant or as a tenant in common. With only two options, you would think that couples entering into the world of home ownership should always get suitable legal advice. Unfortunately, this is not the case and it can be a very costly mistake.

The Paralegal’s Greatest Asset is the Legal Secretary

Paralegals AssetWhen a paralegal first joins a firm, it is natural for the paralegal to look up to the lawyer as the mentor. After a few days, the paralegal soon learns that the nearest and most accessible mentor is his secretary.

Because the secretary is hidden behind the computer with a dangly headset, sandwiched between the file cabinets, do not think that this person is a mechanic. Not true. Given a few years’ experience, the legal secretary probably knows more about what goes on around the office than anyone else. Ask any lawyer. The legal secretary is the core of the law firm and not easily impressed by the briefcase-toting paralegal. Many offices are fortunate to have secretaries with ten or more years’ experience. Paralegals will learn from the legal secretary’s valuable expertise if they are smart.

The ‘West Lothian Question’: Stop Questioning and Do Something About it!

The West Lothian QuestionFor those of you already familiar with constitutional and administrative law, the ‘West Lothian Question’ will no doubt bring forth a frustrated sigh of recognition as you remember covering it in your legal studies. For those of you unfamiliar with this important point that affects our country’s democracy, allow me to explain as succinctly as possible.

The West Lothian Question was first raised in the House of Commons as far back as 1977, when Parliament was already discussing the possibility of a devolved legislature for Scotland. It was actually a Scottish Member of Parliament that questioned the fairness of non-English MPs being entitled to have a say over legal matters that were only ever likely to affect English constituents. That person was Tom Dalyell and at the time he represented the constituency of West Lothian.

Stretching Our Comfort Zones

Stretching our comfort zonesWe all have a sense of our own comfort zones: areas of our life and experience where we feel comfortable and at ease. Whilst we undoubtedly need a level of stability and consistency, we also have a basic need to be stretched and challenged, not least to give us the opportunity to learn and experience new things, to promote a sense of competence and achievement, and overall to give a sense of meaning in our lives.