Darkest hour

Last night, I cheered myself up by watching Darkest Hour.

If you have not seen it, I heartily recommend it for a number of reasons.

First, Gary Oldman’s performance as Winston Churchill is simply superb.

Secondly, it is a well paced story grounded however imperfectly, and with a degree of licence on well known and real events. History as art.

Thirdly, it is a salutary reminder that however tough the current public health emergency is, times were tougher then, and such times always pass.

It is premature to engage in futurology, but I am reasonably sure that both society and the legal profession and practice of law are going to be reshaped by this crisis. The degree of control that the government has taken over our lives and the extent to which state intervention has occurred, and will continue to occur in the economy is unprecedented in peace time.

There is something of an irony that it is a Conservative government whose party’s raison d’etre for many years has been “rolling back the state” which has implemented these measures, out of necessity. It may be that one of the changes wrought by the crisis, is the death of tired economic ideology, focused on competing notions of capitalism and socialism.

As was memorably observed by another practical leader questioned on his economic policy, “What does it matter whether the cat is black, or white, provided it catches mice?”

But on the political agenda is a basic incomes policy, to share fairly the wealth of the fourth industrial revolution. A massive increase in health spending and research, to deal with the plagues that will surely arrive in the years to come, the birth of the great society as volunteering and bottom up care for the vulnerable takes root with the seeds of the solution to the social care crisis. There will be exciting times to come, once the crisis has passed.

Coming back down to earth, I am intending to remain in my lair, undertaking conferences and seminars remotely, using the StarLeaf app. I will not be attending the county courts or the SCCO physically, until the emergency has passed. I am happy to attend hearings remotely. And advisory work is readily conducted by email and file sharing in any event.

The results from my recent survey are in. I am grateful to everyone who has replied. A number of conclusions as to what you want, spring to mind.

First, what people like about this blog, is the 1000-2500 word article, which contains analysis, and which can be readily digested at speed. This is preferable to the textbook, or mini novella I was contemplating.

Second, although people like the idea of video, with me blinking into the camera, and pouring my dulcet tones across the internet, it has been observed that finding time to watch videos is problematic and not so readily accessible as the short article, amenable to a Google search. So whilst I don’t wholly discount videos on this site they are not a priority. Instead there will be seminars and lectures, using the StarLeaf app for those who wish to take part or simply observe.

Third, I have concluded that I am going refine this blog, so it deals solely with costs and litigation funding. Others of my eclectic collection of practice areas will be dealt with on their own dedicated websites, and I will stream these posts on costs and litigation funding or group them under one of nine categories to assist with referencing.

Fourthly, there were a surprising number of queries asking if I dealt with arbitrations and early neutral evaluations. This is because, I have no doubt, of the current logjam in the courts. I am therefore going to investigate setting up a dedicated website for this service, and start offering quick, efficient ADR in costs matters, which will be no more expensive than a provisional assessment or equivalent court case.

Finally, as I am now at home, I am readily contactable if you have short costs queries, which you may be wondering about, because you are at home too. Feel free to contact me directly by email at andrewhogan@ropewalk.co.uk as its always good to talk.

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