Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.

Honoré de Balzac

The Rogue notes: The first (AFAIK) iteration of this is attributed to Anacharsis by Plutarch: “Anacharsis… laughed at [Solon] for imagining the dishonesty and covetousness of his countrymen could be restrained by written laws, which were like spiders’ webs, and would catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but easily be broken by the mighty and rich.” [x]

Journalist On Trump’s Potential Conflicts Of Interest: ‘They’re Everywhere’

Donald Trump announced in a series of tweets Wednesday that he will be taking himself “completely out” of his business operations to avoid potential conflicts of interest as president. The president-elect did not offer details of the plan or say that he would divest financially from his businesses, but he did promise a news conference in the coming weeks that would address the issue.

New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that because of a “quirk in the law,” American presidents are not mandated to separate themselves from their businesses.

“He could legally continue to operate them and even take actions as president that would benefit those businesses, and it wouldn’t be a formal ethics violation,” Lipton says.

Lipton has been investigating Trump’s business holdings in the U.S. and around the world. Referring to Trump’s potential conflicts, Lipton says, “They’re everywhere.” He notes that the president-elect already mixed his business interests with his job governing when he praised his own business partner during a telephone call with the president of Turkey.

It was “a very odd circumstance,” Lipton says of Trump’s phone call. “We want a president to be simply thinking about what are the interests of the United States and having zero consideration for his or her financial interests in any conversations with leaders there.”

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

“The law, or the thoroughly realistic formalization of certain conditions for the self-preservation of a community, forbids certain actions directed against the community. However, it does not forbid the disposition that produces these actions, for it needs these actions for other ends.”

—F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power, §204 (edited excerpt).
Ontario lawyers agree to tackle systemic racism in the profession
“Overt discrimination and bias are a feature of daily life,” the group found. “Racialization is a constant and persistent factor.”

Larger law firms would be expected to work toward racial diversification and have to report out on their progress under recommendations approved without opposition Friday by the profession’s regulatory body in Ontario following hours of emotional debate.

In addition, the Law Society of Upper Canada will look to put measures in place to ensure legal workplaces do more to combat systemic racism and discrimination in their ranks, its governing body decided.

The recommendations — 13 in all — flowed from a working group that looked at the career obstacles black and other visible minority lawyers face. The group, set up in 2012, spent the last few years coming up with its report based on consultations and submissions from around the province.

Raj Anand, co-chairman of the group, who said he’s been the subject of racial slurs, called it gratifying the law society approved the report.

“There is a serious problem that needs to be addressed,” Anand said.

“We now can move forward to implement these important recommendations, which reinforce the special responsibility of lawyers and paralegals to promote human rights in their own workplaces — and in their relationships with the justice system and the public.”

Continue Reading.

Applying Lawyer Vision(TM) to Ace Attorney

So I am currently playing the Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice/Gyakuten Saiban 6. I’m playing it in Japanese - not least because I have a Japanese 3DS and 3DSes are region-coded - but I played the first 4 Ace Attorney games in English. OTOH, I played Gyakuten Kenji (AKA Ace Attorney Investigations) 1 and 2, Dual Destinies, and Ace Attorney vs Professor Layton in Japanese. Which is not the point of this post, but is some possibly interesting context.

Now, I love these games. I love them a LOT (with the exception of Apollo Justice, which annoyed me both from a plot and game mechanics perspective). I have loved them since I first played 1 to 4 in around 2007, and Spirit of Justice has been providing me with endless glee.

Nevertheless, as a lawyer, sometimes the illogic drives me up the wall. I mean, I am sure non-lawyers also stop and go “wtf?” at the fact that you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that SOMEONE ELSE DID IT for the person on trial to be found not guilty… but I suspect that my own desire to howl NOOO, WHYYY at the screen or choke with incredulous laughter and bang my head against a wall is exacerbated by my training and profession. I know I did headdesk at a lot of this stuff the first time round, but I swear it is worse this time. Which is odd, actually, because I don’t practice criminal law and I would have studied criminal law not that long before playing the games, so it should have been a lot fresher in my mind. Perhaps it was just as frustrating, and I am misremembering this.

However, like with movies and TV shows that are so bad they are funny, at a certain point all this legal ludicrousness becomes as hilariously ridiculous as it is insanely maddening, and so a few years ago when Dual Destinies first came out, I turned it into a game and started keeping a list of things that nobody in the Ace Attorney/Gyakuten universe really knows or cares about. In all fairness, I am approaching this from the angle of an Australian lawyer and the Gyakuten legal system is (very loosely) based on the Japanese legal system, so some of these things don’t apply or at least not to the same extent if you view it in that context. Still, at least some of this stuff is universal, and either way it amused me, so: I present to you the list of legal concepts that nobody in the Ace Attorney/Gyakuten universe legal systems knows or cares about, originally posted to LJ in 2013, now updated for having played DD, AAI2, and most of SOJ (spoilers for 1-4 and 6, mainly, but the spoilers for SOJ are marked and after a long gap).

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Nouvelle loi pour changer son état civil en France/New legal gender recognition procedure in France

[Mod note: a few precisions were added below/quelques précisions ont été rajoutées plus bas]

As of November 18th, it is now possible to change your name and gender on your ID much more easily than before. You no longer need proof of medical transition. 

Here is the new legal text from the official text of the law: (from here)

II.-Après la section 2 du chapitre II du titre II du livre Ier du même code, est insérée une section 2 bis ainsi rédigée :

« Section 2 bis 
« De la modification de la mention du sexe à l'état civil

« Art. 61-5.-Toute personne majeure ou mineure émancipée qui démontre par une réunion suffisante de faits que la mention relative à son sexe dans les actes de l'état civil ne correspond pas à celui dans lequel elle se présente et dans lequel elle est connue peut en obtenir la modification. 
« Les principaux de ces faits, dont la preuve peut être rapportée par tous moyens, peuvent être : 
« 1° Qu'elle se présente publiquement comme appartenant au sexe revendiqué ; 
« 2° Qu'elle est connue sous le sexe revendiqué de son entourage familial, amical ou professionnel ; 
« 3° Qu'elle a obtenu le changement de son prénom afin qu'il corresponde au sexe revendiqué ;

« Art. 61-6.-La demande est présentée devant le tribunal de grande instance. 
« Le demandeur fait état de son consentement libre et éclairé à la modification de la mention relative à son sexe dans les actes de l'état civil et produit tous éléments de preuve au soutien de sa demande. 
« Le fait de ne pas avoir subi des traitements médicaux, une opération chirurgicale ou une stérilisation ne peut motiver le refus de faire droit à la demande. 
« Le tribunal constate que le demandeur satisfait aux conditions fixées à l'article 61-5 et ordonne la modification de la mention relative au sexe ainsi que, le cas échéant, des prénoms, dans les actes de l'état civil.

And here is more about the name change:

« Art. 60.-Toute personne peut demander à l'officier de l'état civil à changer de prénom. La demande est remise à l'officier de l'état civil du lieu de résidence ou du lieu où l'acte de naissance a été dressé. S'il s'agit d'un mineur ou d'un majeur en tutelle, la demande est remise par son représentant légal. L'adjonction, la suppression ou la modification de l'ordre des prénoms peut également être demandée. 
« Si l'enfant est âgé de plus de treize ans, son consentement personnel est requis. 
« La décision de changement de prénom est inscrite sur le registre de l'état civil. 
« S'il estime que la demande ne revêt pas un intérêt légitime, en particulier lorsqu'elle est contraire à l'intérêt de l'enfant ou aux droits des tiers à voir protéger leur nom de famille, l'officier de l'état civil saisit sans délai le procureur de la République. Il en informe le demandeur. Si le procureur de la République s'oppose à ce changement, le demandeur, ou son représentant légal, peut alors saisir le juge aux affaires familiales. »


Thanks for sharing about the new law! As a moderator, I would like nevertheless to clarify two very important things: first, the new regulations and procedures concerning legal gender recognition on ID and other personal records and documents will only apply in early 2017, according to the French Ministry of Justice, when the matching decree law will have been definitely published.

For the first name change, the new rules were officially enforced right when the law itself was published a week ago, but experience proves that civil state officials still didn’t take it in account in most of towns: it is therefore very important to keep in touch with your city hall and eventually try to do everything to inform yourself the staff in charge if it proves necessary.

Finally, I would like to insist on the fact that while the legal gender recognition process will be de-medicalized according to the new law, it will stay still subjected to a juridical approval by the court, represented by the state prosecutor. Even if we will only know later the law’s precise conditions of application, an advocate will certainly be of strong help to achieve the procedure the best way and the prosecutor will still dispose of a huge arbitrary power while judging the “proofs” at disposal that motivated the asking for legal gender recognition. We are therefore very far from declarative or self-determination laws that were recently voted in a few other European countries (Malta, Ireland, Norway and Denmark if I’m not mistaken - I’m asking other mods to correct me if it is the case!). We still have to fight for an emancipated, declarative and free of charge ID change of first name AND gender designation in city halls in France, which does not forget minors/underage children and teenagers and also includes the possibility of choosing at least a third gender-neutral designation ;)


Merci d'avoir partagé le texte de la loi! En tant que modératrice, je me permets quand même de rectifier un point important: la nouvelle procédure pour le changement de la mention de sexe à l'état civil ne sera en vigueur que début 2017, d'après le ministère de la justice, une fois que le décret d'application correspondant aura été publié.

Quant à la nouvelle procédure de changement de prénom en mairie, elle est officiellement déjà en vigueur depuis une semaine (c'est à dire depuis la publication de la loi elle-même), mais d'après la plupart des retours à ce sujet les officiers d'état civil dans leur immense majorité ne l'ont pas encore prise en compte en pratique: il faut donc régulièrement se rendre en mairie pour s'informer (et mettre la pression sur les fonctionnaires pour qu'il s'informent et se mettent à jour eux-mêmes).

Enfin, dernière précision, la demande de changement de la mention de sexe, certes démédicalisée, n'est pas dé-judiciarisée dans la nouvelle loi: elle doit encore se faire au tribunal auprès du procureur. Même si nous ne connaîtrons que plus tard les conditions précises d'application (avec le décret), l'assistance d'un avocat sera probablement fortement recommandée, et le procureur garde un considérable pouvoir d'appréciation arbitraire des “preuves” fournies à l'appui de la demande. Nous sommes donc encore loin de l'auto-détermination et du changement déclaratif votés dans d'autres pays européens (Malte, Irelande, Norvège et Danemark si je ne me trompe pas). Le changement d'état civil libre et gratuit en mairie, y compris pour les mineurs et qui inclut la possibilité de choisir un troisième genre neutre pour les personnes qui le souhaitent ou en ont besoin, reste un combat à mener ;)