In Between.

Alas, there was no workshop this week, so we are in between things… Preparing for the battle of next week (all shall be explained later). Even if there was a workshop this week, I wouldn’t have made it because my bike and I, we had a little disagreement. All is well now, but needless to say, the bike won and I wasn’t going anywhere yesterday. I don’t think we have to upload a blog this week as there was no workshop, but I didn’t want to keep you guys hanging, so here we are.

Our task is to prepare for next weeks workshop, which is a big one… Wait for it… A moot! For those of you who aren’t down with all the legal lingo, a moot is a form of legal debate/argument. Many of you will be aware of the word “moot” from the saying “moot point”. As you know, a moot point is a point that you can argue over and not be able to find a satisfactory resolution. That is basically what a moot is. We are given a set of facts and split into groups, one will be for and one against, or the appellant and the respondent. We have to argue the point, basically, often with no clear way of stating who is right or wrong. You may be thinking, “well, what is the point to all of this then, if there is no right answer?”. I still often think that… But the point is when you moot that is not just about the legalities of the argument. It is also about how you speak (how well it is paced, how clear you are etc.), how well researched your argument is, in general: how you argue.

I’m starting to see why people dislike lawyers as a general rule… I mean, where else do you go where they teach you how to argue?

Here is the moot problem:

                                                                  Simms                                                  Appellant

v

                                                                  Channel Xstra                                           Respondent

The plaintiff, Terry Simms, is an actor of some limited fame. After being ‘killed off’ in a recent episode of West Enders, a popular serial on BBC television, Mr Simms had an idea for a television serial. The storyline revolved around a group of young clothes designers, struggling to hit the big time in the tough world of fashion. Mr Simms spoke to Janet Nye, a well known scriptwriter, hoping to interest her in the idea of turning his storyline into scripts. Nye took the idea to Frank Blyton, a producer of many well known television serials. On return, she told Simms that Blyton rejected the idea, saying that it would not have the mass appeal that is needed for a successful serial. Accepting that Nye’s expertise and Blyton’s verdict was correct, Simms thought no more about the script. Some time later, Channel Xstra, a digital channel, started to broadcast a daily ‘soap’ serial, called ‘A lines’ , starring several well known actors of repute. The storyline was almost identical to that discussed by Simms and Nye. The producer was Blyton. Simms sued Channel Xstra, Nye and Blyton for breach of confidence, alleging that Blyton knew that the idea was his (Simms’s) when he was approached by Nye. The court found that Channel Xstra were approached with the idea without knowledge that it was Simm’s and that no breach of confidence had occurred by Channel Xstra. Stepney J also held that it was in the public interest that mere ideas for serials (which had not been written down or developed yet to the full) should be in the public domain and not protected by the laws of confidence.

Simms is appealing on two grounds:

  1. Channel Xstra were bound by the laws of confidence, even though they were a third party to the knowledge, and did not know that it had been imparted to Blyton in confidence.
  2. There was no public interest defence available to Channel Xstra in this situation.

As you will notice, it is pretty similar to last weeks scenario, with a few more bits and pieces added in here and there. I will be arguing for the defence, or the respondent, Xstra.

I would put up some of the law, but I can’t risk the other side seeing it… You know, all this hush hush business! But fear not, it will be up here next week.

Until next time,

R

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