Law: Briefs

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The Independent Culture
THE AUTHOR of a new unauthorised biography of Lord Irvine of Lairg caused consternation at the Lord Chancellor's Department press office when he telephoned to invite staff to the book launch.

The pre-publication PR of the book, Irvine: Politically Correct?, claims it will lift the lid on the friendship with Tony, the love affair with the former Mrs Donald Dewar and, of course, that wallpaper. Not the kind of blurb with which the Lord Chancellor's spin doctors would wish to be associated. So when the author, Dominic Egan, extended his party offer, he could hardly have been surprised by the lack of enthusiasm. He might just as well have accused them all of high treason.

GERMAN LAWYERS are busy rewriting the country's prostitution laws. After years of lobbying from members of the world's oldest profession, the German government is about to abolish the legal definition of prostitution as an immoral trade. Under current law, a man using the services of a prostitute can sue her for unsatisfactory performance but she has no legal rights when it comes to, say, a bounced cheque. The reform will transform prostitution into a job like any other.

ONE OF the more bizarre stories to be told by lawyers returning from summer breaks is that concerning criminal barrister Linda Dobbs QC. Ms Dobbs, it was reported last week, met her match when she took on a wild baboon in South Africa. In an attempt to chase it away from her holiday home near Cape Town, she slipped and broke a bone in her foot. "I felt as if I were on the ramparts of a castle keeping the enemy at bay," said Ms Dobbs. "When I threw stones it either ducked or jumped up to catch them." The baboon has now been christened Eric by locals.

BUNGLING DECORATORS slapped so much paint on to the cell doors at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court that security staff were unable to close them. Four cells were out of action for three weeks during the work but when it was finished staff found the three layers of grey gloss were just too thick for the doors to be locked. A court source said: "The prisoners had to be taken to the police station cells instead."