We at Folklaw don’t claim to be perfect, but have been distressed of late by the number of emails, articles and submissions we have received, from lawyers and academics no less, that use American spelling. We believe this can be largely attributed to the lazy man’s tool, Microsoft spell check. Several times a day this fiend tries to change our spelling from organisation to organization, or recognise to recognize. Is it not enough that our children listen to rap, wear their hats sideways and call each other mo’fo’s? Can you really imagine a world where colour has no ‘u’? What is the world coming to?
Tardy practitioners at risk
Suggestions from a group of Darling Downs lawyers that doctors could be sued for running late with appointments have been met with disdain by the profession. ABC News reported that Darryl Cox of the Downs and South West Law Association said waiting times of up to an hour were costing patients time and money. He said doctors should stop “over-booking”. However, chairman of GP Connections in Toowoomba, Dr John Lamb, said doctors did not run late deliberately, and asked if doctors could be sued for tardiness, could patients also be liable if they ran late.
The subject has aroused discussion on medical website Kevin, MD, where one anonymous blogger bemoaned the lot of the doctor, who would make an appointment for a routine 10-minute wart evaluation, only to find that the patient also wanted to discuss their shoulder pain, hypertension, headaches and cholesterol. “Sometimes the retirees would bring in their spouse who didn’t have an appt. to try and squeeze out a freebie,” the doctor wrote. “I always loved the hypertensive, diabetic, asthmatic patient who thought it would be a brilliant idea to stop all their medications a few days prior to the appointment so ‘you can see what I’m really like’”.
That, the blogger wrote, was why doctors run late.
Folklaw can understand why someone might think the potential rewards of robbing a bank are worth the risk, but who would stage an armed hold up for the sake of a haircut? One Polish man obviously thought his girlfriend’s grooming was important enough to risk a jail sentence. Not only did he hold up a salon at gunpoint and demand a free dye and haircut for her, but he returned the next day and demanded that the hairdressers do a better job. Still, he got away with it and is still running around, probably staking out potential beauty salons for a pedicure and facial.
Don’t bite the hand …
Bulgarian hunter Vasil Plovdiv, 35, was shooting quail in Rasgrad in the country’s north-east, when his German Pointer, which had retrieved a bird, refused to drop it. Plovdiv attempted to knock the bird from the dog’s mouth with his gun, but the dog sprang at him, knocked the trigger and peppered his owner’s chest with shot.
The hunter had to be treated for his injuries at the local hospital. It is unclear whether he will be pressing charges against his ‘best friend’.
Change of fortune
A Russian astrologer has launched a $387 million civil case against NASA after it crashed the Deep Impact probe into the Tempel 1 Comet in July. Marina Bai claims the action has interfered with her cosmic predictions and ruined her career. Bai said it was “obvious” that elements of the comet’s orbit, “and correspondingly the ephemeris, a table which lists the positions of celestial bodies, will change after the explosion, which interferes with my astrology work and distorts my horoscope”. However, physicists have dismissed the claim, saying the change to the comet’s orbit after the collision amounted to no more than 10 centimetres.
This message will self destruct
It sounds like something out of Inspector Gadget, but Belgian officials are considering the introduction of self-destructing brief cases to deter attacks on security vans. Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has confirmed that his staff was talking to security and technology firms about the development of cases that would self-detonate if in the wrong hands. It was believed that thieves would think twice if they saw signs on security vans that indicated the cases inside would destroy themselves and their contents if taken.
Surely Belgium is just opening itself up to civil suits brought by robbers who have been injured by the exploding cases.
It is not something you often hear of lawyers doing, but top criminal lawyers in Scotland have threatened to strike in response to new legal aid fees. The Scotsman reported last week that about 20 advocates were considering action — anger had also been fuelled by reforms to the High Court that had left some of Scotland’s “best-paid criminal lawyers” out of work, the newspaper stated. The article by Michael Howie said senior legal sources had predicted the number of advocates practising in criminal cases would be cut in half in coming years, with close to 60 practitioners expected to be driven out of the profession by a “more efficient” court system. Hmmm, striking to prevent efficiency doesn’t sound so grand, but the case against the new system of legal aid fees seems to have more merit.
The system sets out how much an advocate can earn for representing clients in criminal cases, while the old system set a base fee and allowed counsel to claim extra, depending on the complexity of the case. Ian Hamilton, QC, told Howie that if more money was not directed into legal fees, standards would slip. Action has already been taken, with two appeal hearings cancelled in June, after QCs refused to appear in court in protest against the fees.
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