Law: Briefs

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The Independent Culture
Sir Leonard Peach's recommendation for greater self-appraisal in the judicial selection process was warmly welcomed by the Lord Chancellor last week. The idea is that judges should habitually ask themselves questions such as: "What have you found most satisfying about the work in the past year?" and "How could you have been more productive or successful?"

Lord Irvine, giving his blessing to the proposal, told journalists: "My life is a continuous process of self-appraisal with a good deal of assistance from the press in making that self-appraisal... It's a novel idea and good for the soul."

It would be interesting to know how much time he's spent considering question number eight: "On reflection, what views do you have of the procedure which led to your current appointment?"

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A LOT has been said about the pressures facing young City lawyers. But what about legal journalists? Last month the stress of meeting unrelenting, weekly deadlines took such a toll on staff at Legal Week - the magazine run by former staff from The Lawyer - that the management decided to give everyone a free massage. And no, it wasn't the case of the editor personally attending to each of her journalists by applying subtle pressure. The management paid for a masseuse.

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IT'S NOT just lawyers and journalists who are suffering from stress. Figures released today by the Trades Union Congress show that stress- related cases have increased by 70 per cent with unions taking 783 legal cases in 1998 compared to 459 the previous year. But the stress case thatall litigation lawyers are waiting for is the one where the Christmas shopper sues a department store for contributing to his or her Yuletide breakdown. It would be a litigation of truly biblical proportions.

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