Problem Solving

Many people like puzzles. They become expert in crosswords or sudoku or similar recreations, which can be a pleasant way to spend time, but real life legal puzzles are not an entertainment; for those clients caught in the midst of a legal puzzle they endure great stress. Most people who find themselves being sued or having to sue never, when they started on a course of business or a relationship, envisaged that it would end in tears. They suddenly, and these things often happen suddenly, discover that their life’s work is at risk, and the stress of many thousands of hours being wasted. Continue reading

Radicalisation, Extremism and Propaganda

Schools, colleges and universities are now supposed to have policies in place to prevent “radicalisation” of students and prevent students from being subjected to extremist ideas. It is an unfortunate use of language. A radical is simply someone who believes something that is not  a generally held belief. An extremist is someone who simply wants to take his or her belief to the ultimate logical step.  Continue reading


Some people make things very complicated, whether in life, in relationships or in law. It is quite easy to train your mind to make things complicated. It is much harder to simplify things accurately. There are many famous examples of complications; Continue reading

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is really two separate and related freedoms. The first freedom is the freedom to express ideas, however repulsive the ideas may be to some. An idea is a thought that suggests or possibly hints at a truth. Freedom of speech is in the first part a right to speak what an individual sincerely believes is the truth. Continue reading

The Use of Beauty

Nothing can be wholly beautiful, Rudyard Kipling wrote, that is not useful. I think Kipling was wrong. Pure beauty is quite separate from usefulness. Beauty, like truth, is a rare quality. It is almost unique. Its only purpose is to affect your emotions and in doing so it may change your philosophy and your life. Beauty does this almost without you realising that it is doing this. Whether this is useful or not I cannot say. And beauty, like truth and rarity, is enclosed in a cycle of death and rebirth, from cinders to form and back again, never ending. Treasure its shade, when you see it.

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

The heading is the oath that witness swear. I rarely find that the truth is simple or pure; it is a complex thing which is woven with many threads which interlock in ways that can be hard to find out. It is never pure; truth may seem to be but can never be pure. It can be impossible to speak the whole truth, no matter how hard you try and harder still to speak nothing but the truth. Life is so complex that we must speak in short cuts and abbreviations as well as speaking from an imperfect knowledge of life.

Nevertheless the oaths serves its purpose which is to make a witness agree that he or she will give evidence that is the approximate truth as the witness understands it and as complete as the witness feels it necessary to speak so as to avoid not speaking the untruth. It might be better to change the oath to a promise that the evidence will not be untrue.

The Power of Words

There is wisdom in words, even in foolish and dangerous words. There is beauty in words; the sounds that we hear from speech and the sounds that we form in our minds when we read can be as beautiful and as moving as the best music that we can hear. There is truth in words, even in words which do not speak the truth, because through lies we can better understand the truth. There is rare simplicity and great complexity in words. There is grace in words. Words are powerful; they can shape movements and bring ideas into reality.

We owe it to ourselves not to abuse words and not to use them badly. So many these days are so good at picking a selection of words that trigger emotions to make us buy something we do not need or sell something we should keep, or fight a war when we should be at peace or justify that which cannot be justified. Yet we cannot pay this debt to ourselves, for so many do not care beyond their selfish desires and greed.