And finally… “No, I ain’t got a badge”

This story from the Scottish Legal News has nothing to do with anything… except that reading it made me happy¬† ūüôā

And finally… roped in

A would-be bike thief was stopped in his tracks after he was caught ‚Äď by a cowboy.

Robert Borba was in a Walmart car park in Eagle Point, Orgeon when he heard a woman shout that a thief had taken her bike.

Mr Borba, 28, explained: ‚Äú[She said] ‘Stop him! Stop him! He stole my bike! He stole my bike!‚Äô And I kind of look around and all of a sudden this guy goes whizzing by me on a bicycle.‚ÄĚ

But Mr Borba gave chase on his horse and rounded up the suspect with his lasso. ‚ÄúA couple swings and then I threw it at him, just like I would a steer,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs like, ‚ÄėWhat are you doing, man? You got a badge?‚Äô And I‚Äôm like, ‚ÄėNo, I ain‚Äôt got a badge,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Mr Borba added.

Police then turned up and dealt with the suspect. Mr Borba said: ‚ÄúIf it was my wife or my little girl, I would hope somebody would help her if I wasn‚Äôt around.”

Police said the cowboy asked for his rope back, tipped his hat and rode off into the sunset.


“No, I ain’t got a badge”

Order in Council – update


“On the chart accompanying this Order are marked all the limits referred to therein”

My sea chart of the Cromarty Firth¬†arrived in the post this morning¬†– and what a thing of beauty it is! You can’t really tell from this image but the lovely folk at the Privy Council Office have scanned the original in sections then pieced them, almost seamlessly, back together. It is glorious and – as my lovely assistant demonstrates below, quite enormous!

Mo and chart

Mo with the chart

This is why I love these types of enquiries. It’s never just ‘looking stuff up and printing it out’. There’s always some investigation, searching, checking, double checking and – fairly often – some asking for help from another organisation. When I do have to seek assistance, in 90% of cases I encounter friendly, professional and endlessly helpful people who go above and beyond to get me what I need. So I want to say THANK YOU! to Margaret and her colleagues at the PCO. Your beautifully crafted chart has made my day, and I’m sure will make my enquirer very happy too¬† ūüôā

Orders in Council, old charts and the PCO

Last week I was asked to locate “the Order in Council dated 19th December 1913 (made pursuant to the Dockyard Ports Regulation Act 1865)” and concerning the Dockyard Port of Cromarty. You know I love these old ones!

Orders in Council are orders which have been personally approved, at a meeting of the Privy Council, by the monarch. If the order had been recent it might have been available via the Privy Council website Рbut 1913 is not recent (even by our standards).

Orders in Council fall into two broad categories, Statutory and Prerogative:

  • Statutory Orders in Council¬†are issued as¬†Statutory Instruments – they are¬†numbered and are published with¬†other SIs
  • Prerogative Orders¬†are not¬†SIs. They are published in the London Gazette and¬†Edinburgh Gazette.

I had no way of knowing which I was looking for…

I¬†began by checking our holdings of published SIs and our unique collection of local SIs (ones which don’t get re-printed). I did find a reference to the Order in Council in the back of the published volume but there was no detail there. Next, I checked online and quickly¬†found what I wanted in the Edinburgh Gazette.

So far, so disappointingly easy.

However, my enquirer soon got back to me. The Order in Council stated:

On the chart accompanying this Order are marked all the limits referred to therein.

“On the chart”? There was no chart reproduced in the¬†Edinburgh Gazette. I had a quick check in the¬†National Records of Scotland¬†online catalogue¬†but they don’t seem to hold anything on this Order. I decided to try contacting¬†the Privy Council Office¬†– the first time I’ve done so. I emailed and explained my request. Today I got a lovely wee message back:

We have searched our archive records and managed to find a copy of the chart. Unfortunately it is extremely large Рmuch too big  for our copier and scanner.

Therefore we have done a¬†‘cut and paste’ job and¬†I am putting a paper copy in the post to you.

Best regards…

I fervently hope any cutting was¬†only figurative in nature. I would¬†hate to be in anyway connected to the¬†disassembly of a 102 year old sea chart…

Anyway, after a wee bit of treasure-hunting and the help of the¬†friendly folk at the PCO, my patchwork chart is in the post it seems. I really do love these old ones¬† ūüôā

Like law books… only fun

This morning I noticed this on our ‘new books’ shelf:

Leading Cases in Song

Leading Cases in Song, S Todd, 2013 9780864728449

Among other things it contains an ‘opera’ recounting the dramatic events¬†in¬†the seminal case of¬†Donoghue v Stevenson!
It¬†reminded me of some of the other, less serious, legal books that are¬†available.¬†Here are a few¬†examples…
Storytelling for Lawyers

Storytelling for Lawyers, P Meyer,2014 9780195396638

Is Eating People Wrong?

Is Eating People Wrong?, A Hutchinson, 2011 9780521188517

Justice for Hedgehogs

Justice for Hedgehogs, R Dworkin, 2013 9780674072251

The Man on the Clapham Omnibus

“Who is ‘The Man on the Clapham¬†Omnibus’?” – Some time ago I was asked this question, half in jest,¬†by one of my Enquirers.¬† My first response was “What man where?” …but after a little explanation I set out to track him down…

‘The Man on the Clapham Omnibus’ is a phrase¬†used, mainly in¬†England I would assume, to illustrate the ordinary or average man, the ‚Äėman on the street‚Äô[1].¬† In legal terms he is a fair and reasonable man.¬† A pinnacle of right-thinking.

The first reported legal use of this term was in a judgement given by Sir Richard Henn Collins, Master of the Rolls, in the case McQuire v Western morning News Company:

“Fair”, therefore, in this collocation certainly does not mean that which the ordinary reasonable man, “the man on the Clapham omnibus,” as Lord Bowen phrased it, the juryman common or special, would think a correct appreciation of the work;[2]

Sir Richard gives no specific citation here but there are, elsewhere in the opinion, references to a reported opinion of Lord Bowen‚Äôs from 1888[3].¬† However, having looked through this report, I was unable to find any mention of ‘The Man on the Clapham Omnibus’.¬† Lord Bowen may have used the phrase during the course of the case but it was not included in his reported opinion.

Although Lord Bowen may have been the first to use this phrase in court it did not originate with him.

The journalist Walter Bagehot is credited with coining the term but I have found no evidence of him referring specifically to the Clapham Omnibus. In his book The English Constitution he says:

“Public opinion” nowadays, “is the opinion of the bald-headed man at the back of the omnibus”.¬† It is not the opinion of the aristocratical classes as such; or of the most educated and refined classes as such; it is simply the opinion of the ordinary mass of educated, but still commonplace mankind.[4]

Note that Bagehot uses inverted commas around the phrase. This implies it was a term already in use around his time.

The earliest reference I have come across was from 1857 in the Journal of the Society of Arts.  It was used in relation to the terrible traffic problems which already existed in London at that time:

So thoroughly has the tedious traffic of the streets become ground into the true Londoner’s¬†nature, that, to shorten his course from Piccadilly to the Bank, would be to rob him of a vested right or a natural privilege.¬† If a railway train from Aberdeen or the Land’s End arrives in London five minutes behind its time, the indignant traveller vents his spleen and writes a letter to the Times, but your dog-coller’d¬†occupant of the knife-board of a Clapham omnibus, will stick on London-bridge for half-an-hour with scarcely a murmur.[5]

So, there you have it!  The extent of my, admittedly fairly light-hearted, search for The Man on the Clapham Omnibus.  He seems to have originated in a 150 year old complaint about traffic congestion. Nothing changes.

[1] Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed, 1989, Vol III, p.272
[2] [1903] 2 KB 100 (at p. 109)
[3] Merivale v Carson [1888] 20 QBD 275
[4] 2nd edition, 1872, p.355
[5] May 1, 1857, p. 348