Thursday, August 31, 2006

Summertime And The Living Ain't So Easy...

I haven't written much of late because of work. Somehow the summer has turned out to be busier than any other time of year. It is not supposed to be this way. (But it's kept me out of mischief...).

In June/July I had two conferences, one in Germany and the other in the US. From that I returned to teach immediately a summer school class, Global Lawyering, for the University of Miami Law School. This year the class was rather popular with over 60 students, up from 16 last year. I'm doing the final grading for that.

I then had two papers to complete. One for a book on professions edited by associates at Lancaster Business School; the other will appear in the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. This last was finished yesterday. I'm not used to writing in the US law school bluebook style. It requires obsessive cross-checking and excludes useful information like the publisher. Frankly, it's an awful style compared to more "normal" ways of writing like Harvard or Chicago.

Summer is also the time when graduate students write their LLM dissertations. Drafts of chapters and sections come dropping into the Inbox. Whether they listen to what I say...?

I also have to write a new paper for a workshop in Onati at the Institute for the Sociology of Law. The workshop is on 25 September, so there isn't much time. It will be about the relationship between bankers and lawyers. I interviewed my first lawyer-banker last night.

Just before then I have another workshop at Lancaster on professions and I am talking about the effects of Clementi on the legal profession in the UK and elsewhere.

Then term starts......And it looks as though the job evaluation process for professors that I've mentioned before is going awry, again.

Tomorrow, I am off to Hong Kong for a break. On landing the first thing I'm going to do is get an hour-long foot massage--one of the best sensations ever!


I haven't mentioned this before, but my house is going to be part of the "Open House London" weekend in September. We will be open on Sunday, 17 September. The idea behind this is to let people experience "architecture in the flesh". You can catch some early pictures of my house on Channel 4's "Grand Designs" website. If you are interested in visiting, please contact me, otherwise check out the Hackney section of the Open House book.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Silly Season: Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean is a jolly good film. But I never realised it was a law film. It is and quite a subtle one too.

There is a "pirates' code" which they allude to during the film, which is never exhaustively disclosed as I'm sure it is constantly negotiated. It allows for discussion and potential settlement talks when a character says, "Parley!" Suddenly the horrible end that is about to be visited upon the hapless heroine is suspended.

It also has its more severe elements, such as if someone is stranded then no one should go back for him. And it is courteous: when Captain Jack Sparrow is left to fend for himself on an uninhabited island, he is given a pistol with a single shot. To kill himself with when the starvation and thirst can be endured no longer.

Lex pirata then is the buccaneer's equivalent of lex mercatoria. It may not have the respectability or the grand institutions to support it like ICC Arbitration, but it commands respect and observance. Pirates are not without all moral character and worth. Unfortunately respect for lex pirata is hermetic--in limits and symbolically--as we see when the British Caribbean authorities attempt to hang Jack Sparrow, even though he behaved in accordance with the code. It takes the intervention of Eros to force them to relent.