Folklaw 20 January

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

Proof in the puddingLast week’s Folklaw featured a quote from a law firm partner: “The hardest thing about practising law is getting the law degree”. Probably nothing ever rang…

Proof in the pudding

Last week’s Folklaw featured a quote from a law firm partner: “The hardest thing about practising law is getting the law degree”. Probably nothing ever rang truer for Brian Bero. Queensland’s Courier-Mail last week printed an article on Bero, who recently graduated with his law degree and next month will start a new position in Melbourne as research assistant with the Federal Court of Australia. A Queenslander born to Torres Strait Islander parents, his childhood was marked by poverty. He left school at 16 and qualified as a fitter-and-turner to support his mother and three siblings after the break-up of his parents’ marriage.

At the age of 32 he decided it was time for a change and enrolled in law at the Queensland University of Technology, while also continuing work as a fitter-and-turner to support himself. Adding to the challenge, he lost both his parents during his studies. Bero aims to be admitted as a barrister in private practice, specialising in intellectual property, tax law and native title. He hopes his story will be taken as proof that poverty and disadvantage don’t have to limit success, and will serve as an inspiration to other indigenous people. In fact, he is an inspiration to us all.


Full marks for effort

An Italian man is fed up with repeated delays on his country’s rail system, which he claims are making his life a misery, and is planning to sue the train company for causing “existential damage”. The Guardian reported that Mauro Brunetti, a teacher in Savona, was so “exasperated” by the constant uncertainty of whether his train would be late or on time, he was no longer sure if his life had any value or meaning.

Apparently this existential trauma hasn’t damaged Brunetti’s sense of drama.

Those crazy Brits

Also from The Guardian, the British paper has printed a list of “spurious public liability claims”, which were costing local government and insurance companies an estimated £250 ($586) million annually. Topping the list was a man who sued a local council after he ‘soiled’ his trousers. He blamed the incident on the council’s decision to close a public lavatory at the bus station and said he was owed the cost of a new pair of trousers.

Lawyers Weekly Discover

The list, compiled by public sector insurer Zurich Municipal, also included a man who had jumped out of a window to avoid being caught with another woman when his girlfriend returned home unexpectedly. He slipped on the steps, injured his arm and sued the housing association. Notable mentions were given to a bin man who lodged a claim against the local council after he was “startled” by a dead badger that fell out of a bag, a shoplifter who sued after falling down steps as she ran from the scene of her crime, and a motorist who claimed he had not seen a traffic roundabout in daylight, despite the large tree that was growing out of its middle.

Dog of an act

And while some were being treated like dogs, others were acting like them … Police in Stockton-on-Tees in England were hunting two thieves who had stolen a purse from an elderly woman. The pair burst into a house owned by a brother and sister in their nineties. One immediately dropped to his knees and started barking like a dog, while the other snatched the purse, and the man and woman looked on in disbelief. Police say it is one of the most unusual distraction burglaries they’ve ever encountered. But it worked.

In the dog-house, literally

A Polish wife, fed up with her 75-year-old husband coming home drunk, decided to show him who was boss, and chained him up in a dog kennel to prove her point. Zdzislawa Bukarowicza was chained up by his wife Helena and fed dog food and water because she was sick of watching him spend all their money on vodka. He survived temperatures of minus 20 degrees, despite having only an old dog blanket to keep him warm, for three weeks before friends called the police. They were concerned because he had been absent from the local for so long. A spur of the moment thing you could perhaps understand, but to drag it out for three weeks — that’s one hard woman.

Theyre back

Ah, Romania … a train in Romania was almost derailed thanks to thieves who stole 20 metres of track to sell as scrap metal. Fortunately, the theft was noticed soon after its execution, and the approaching train was able to be stopped in time, averting tragedy.

Apparently the scrap metal industry is big business in Romania, with electric cables, rails and pipes being frequent targets for thieves in the most impoverished areas of the country.

Folklaw 20 January
Intro image
lawyersweekly logo