18 September 2012

Library Eagle

How lovely to see Friern Barnet library in community use.

Legal eagles

Naturally the new joint service with Harrow Council (looks like a takeover but allegedly isn't) was touted by the council as the best thing since sliced bread. Here is something Richard Cornelius said

"The joint legal service with Harrow will actually see us being able to employ some specialists where as in Barnet we wouldn’t be able to keep them busy all the time."

The funny thing is, that according to The Lawyer  the merger of legal departments needed outside legal support. How ironic. How many teams of lawyers does it take to merge two departments? Four. Bonkers. Lawyers just love setting the clock running and finding every pernickety point whilst the time billing mounts up.

Mr Mustard thinks that the savings to be made have been overestimated as he expects that harrow don't realise quite how many scrapes Barnet Council can get themselves into. Now we have the Friern Barnet Library squat as a prime example. The unCommercial Director, Craig Cooper and the camera shy Assistant Chief Executive, Julie Taylor don't have, as far as Mr Mustard knows, any legal qualifications and so for them to be negotiating with squatters without a legally qualified person, expert in this area of law, attending them at the time was not the smartest room. They also couldn't take any executive decisions without a Cabinet Councillor present.

Anyway Julie Taylor said on Monday last that there would be no snap decisions about evictions, the process started the next day. With legal eagles tucked away in Harrow, and then having to decide for each new request whether they would deal with it in-house, or send it out to an expert, delay and confusion will creep in. As will extra travelling cost.

Mr Mustard read the report on Roger's Not the Barnet Eye blog earlier and noticed the attitude of the lawyer in accusing the other side of wandering off with his paperwork. Unusual for a legal person not to have better command of the spoken word, you can be sure Jeff Lustig in the same situation would have employed some deadpan humour. Then Mr Mustard read the report by Dan O'Brien in the local paper and noted the name of the lawyer concerned. Is he an expert on the law of squatting, thought Mr Mustard? Let's see.

So he checked on the Law Society register. No entry for a Mr Tazafar Asghar so not a Solicitor.

Then Mr Mustard checked with the Bar Council. There is an entry, the paper loser has been a Barrister since 2001.

Ooh, prestige address thought Mr Mustard. Now the location of your office and the quality of your work are not related but given the fact that the council is a public body spending the public's money then at the least they ought to retain firms with a certain standing and reputation amongst their peers without necessarily going to Lincoln's Inn and paying a fortune, although for the parking Judicial Review they have selected an eminent QC if Mr Mustard recalls correctly. It seems that the library building isn't worth spending quite so much on. It might even be that the council want to be seen to be tough whilst being weak so that if they lose they can re-open the library without losing so much face. 

Save time and money Cllr. Robert Rams and reopen Friern Barnet library and scrap your Arts Despot plan, then you are promised a good word from Mr Mustard.

Let's take a look at 353A Station Rd where these scintillating Barrister's Chambers are:

Chambers are usually upstairs.
Further research revealed that there is a Limited company at 353A. The London Academy of Law Ltd with as a Director and Company Secretary a certain Mr Tazafar Asghar. Thanks to Duedil, Mr Mustard was able to see how successful it is. Here is the net asset position of the company.

Started skint, still skint.

Mr Mustard noticed that the Annual Return which has to go to Companies House once a year is overdue since 14 September 2012. Not a heinous crime perhaps but still not professional for a Barrister to fail to comply with Company Law; hardly the best example to set.

The final piece of research revealed a letter signed by Tazafar Asghar opposing the application for a bingo premises licence for Riley's Snooker Hall in Wealdstone Harrow. (Mr Mustard is not really concerned with that as long as the calling out doesn't put him off his shot.) The capacity in which Mr Asghar signs the letter is as Senior Assistant Lawyer - Litigation so whether or not he has packed in as a Barrister, as his financial results were not looking too hot, or whether he juggles both jobs (paperwork is going to get into a right mess based upon today's showing) or what, Mr Mustard really can't tell you.

Mr Mustard's own lawyer thought that 30 minutes would have been a much more realistic time estimate for the hearing than the 10 minutes that Harrow Council estimated. That decision has caused a wasted hearing and costs.

Anyway for one of the first jobs done by Harrow Council legal on behalf of Barnet Council then I am sure you can all agreed that they have done a ...................................... job. (Insert your own adjectives).

There is a gig at the library tonight from 7 till 9.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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