To some, court dress is important.

Get­ting up and talk­ing in front of people is one of these activ­it­ies that does not often come nat­ur­ally. I have been doing in dif­fer­ent ways from around the age of 13 — the thick end of thirty years, now. I have done it in a wide range of forms — on stage in plays and pub­lic speak­ing com­pet­i­tions at school and uni­ver­sity. Present­a­tions to cli­ents and to audi­ences of peers at work–related con­fer­ences and events. I have pitched for work, I have spoken at fam­ily cel­eb­ra­tions. I have toasted friends and col­leagues, I have been the anonym­ous voice telling audi­ences what to do on leav­ing the theatre. You think I’d be used to it by now.

Not really. It’s true that skills become more finely–honed by prac­tice. It’s easi­er for me to flow whilst speak­ing now — the words come easi­er, take a shape and a struc­ture, hit the points I wish to make and leave the audi­ence (I hope!) con­tent with what I have expressed and the way in which I have expressed it.

But I’m not a nat­ur­al pub­lic speak­er. The thought of stand­ing up and say­ing things to oth­er people used to scare the liv­ing day­lights out of me. Actu­ally doing it was not much bet­ter — and the win­dow just before start­ing was par­tic­u­larly hor­rible. It took an effort of will for me to stand out there and speak. Some people can do this without appar­ent effort. Most people can­not.

But one of the things that made it easi­er was the pre­par­a­tion. On the stage, I’m in cos­tume and makeup, per­form­ing the rôle. On a stage at a tech­nic­al con­fer­ence, I (now) have my own little rituals of pre­par­a­tion[1]. Even toast­ing my Dad’s birth­day, I still draw myself togeth­er, neaten the shirt, smooth the tie, pre­pare to be watched as much as listened to.

I read today that in the Supreme Court, that (if all advoc­ates agree) the wear­ing of form­al court dress — wig and gown — can be dis­pensed with. I fer­vently hope that this prac­tice is seen to be an excep­tion, and does not become exten­ded to the lower courts. There are sev­er­al reas­ons for me think­ing this.

Firstly, the fact that the justices of the Supreme Court do not wear robes or wigs is a his­tor­ic­al acci­dent. The beha­viour was impor­ted to the Supreme Court from its pre­de­cessor body, the Judi­cial Com­mit­tee of the House of Lords, which main­tained the fic­tion that it was not actu­ally a court and there­fore its mem­bers dressed in day dress, not court robes.

Secondly, there is no sci­en­tific­ally reli­able evid­ence on wheth­er any­one thinks how advoc­ates or judges dress (with one excep­tion) mat­ters. The excep­tion is the Fam­ily Court, where the require­ment to put vul­ner­able or young wit­nesses in as famil­i­ar an envir­on­ment as a court can be made to be, should (rightly, I believe) be para­mount. Apart from that though, there is no ser­i­ous stat­ist­ic­ally rig­or­ous research done on the ques­tion. And simplist­ic ques­tion­ing will get the simplist­ic answer. But the level of answer is only lim­ited by the ques­tion­er — I could frame a ques­tion that would get crim­in­al cases at the Crown Court heard by someone wear­ing a black track­ie, with lilac and red pip­ing, no prob­lem!

So now that change for his­tor­ic­al reas­ons and for per­cep­tion reas­ons are elim­in­ated, I want to set out my stand. As a very juni­or poten­tial future advoc­ate, I like the wig and robe. Even though I have nev­er worn one.

I believe it allows people to step bey­ond them­selves, and assume the rôle.

We are asked to take whatever case we are giv­en, wheth­er we believe in it or not. We are asked to pro­sec­ute the poten­tially inno­cent and decent the poten­tially guilty, without fear or favour. The cab rank rule applies — we have no say in the cases that are giv­en to us. And those are good and neces­sary things for the admin­is­tra­tion of justice. One of the coun­ter­bal­ances to this in my view, how­ever, is that it is import­ant, espe­cially for those new to advocacy, is to phys­ic­ally have the act of being the advoc­ate, and the act of becom­ing the indi­vidu­al again. The dis­tinc­tion between indi­vidu­al and job per­formed. And, for a lot of people (and I hope to be one of them) this is sig­ni­fied by the put­ting on of the wig and gown.

It’s the assump­tion of the rôle, the pre­par­at­ory step that takes you bey­ond your­self as an indi­vidu­al. The don­ning of the wig and gown is the phys­ic­al act that turns the per­son into the rôle. Game on, as it were.

At the levels of the Supreme Court, at which only the most com­pet­ent, the most in com­mand, the most skilled are ever likely to prac­tise — I can see that there is not neces­sar­ily any need for the advoc­ates and bar­ris­ters there to be in court dress. How­ever, in the lower courts, there are many people who take some com­fort in the wig and gown. I know I will. It may seem to be a trivi­al thing, an ana­chron­ism in this day and age. But to those who wear it and those who aspire to wear it, it can rep­res­ent some­thing that is the rep­res­ent­a­tion of some­thing more import­ant than them­selves as a per­son.

I real­ise this is an entirely emo­tion­al argu­ment, and one that can be eas­ily countered. Is it there­fore a just a cypher that I look up to? Maybe I need to find anoth­er less phys­ic­al man­tra that allows me to go “game on”. But giv­en that there is no stat­ist­ic­ally rig­or­ous evid­ence that any­one finds the wig and gown to be an issue (let alone com­par­at­ively how import­ant an issue), and giv­en that I like its abil­ity to step me out of “me” and into what I need to do — let’s ignore this for a bit. I’ll keep the wig and gown I hope to wear, if that’s all right. I’ll ditch them in an instant if if any­one can prove that people think that mat­ters.

Take your change and keys out your pock­et. You won’t nervously play with them in your pock­et. For the love of god, think how it looks…”

Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance — where does this ultimately lead?

My gut instinct regard­ing my last post on Roy­al and Sun Alli­ance Insurance’s busi­ness struc­ture increas­ing the costs of acci­dent repair was that it was unlikely to be the end of the mat­ter. Per­mis­sion had been gran­ted to appeal; I fully expec­ted to see the mat­ter be resolved there. But that would only determ­ine the law as it applied to the fac­tu­al mat­rix of the case in ques­tion. That approach would be unlikely to help oth­er cases much — it would be open to argue that the fac­tu­al mat­rix was suf­fi­ciently dif­fer­ent that the appeal judg­ment did not apply. This clearly would not address the core ques­tion.

Provid­ent Insur­ance has decided though to take a dif­fer­ent approach: to seek determ­in­a­tion from the Com­mer­cial Court — a spe­cial­ist branch of the Queen’s Bench Divi­sion of the High Court — as to wheth­er RSAI’s com­mer­cial mod­el is leg­ally cor­rect. In the case I last wrote about, it was held (at County Court level) that it was not, but clearly there has been a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion between County Courts. RSAI has agreed that it’s desir­able that its busi­ness prac­tice in ques­tion be tested for leg­al­ity.

So in Coles & Ors v Heth­er­ton & Ors [2011] EWCH 2405 (Comm) Provid­ent and RSAI have both brought claims between them­selves in the High Court itself (nor­mally they are pre­cluded from doing so because of the likely size of award), and trans­ferred in cases from the County Courts. The next step will be the selec­tion of lead cases in this mat­ter.

This is all at a very early stage, but it has poten­tially far–reaching effects. The lead cases will determ­ine the shape of the case as it will be heard, but there are more situ­ations than just vehicle repair paid by an insurer where a corporation’s intern­al group struc­ture can lead to addi­tion­al costs being passed to the per­son who ulti­mately pays. In the case pre­vi­ously men­tioned it was entirely unclear why addi­tion­al costs were levied by the inter­me­di­ate insurer–owned com­pany, and this is why some County Courts have rejec­ted such addi­tion­al costs.

How­ever, there could be poten­tial situ­ations where such addi­tion­al char­ging was trans­par­ent, and also neces­sit­ated by a busi­ness struc­ture chosen for legit­im­ate oth­er reas­ons, for example tax min­im­isa­tion. Wheth­er increas­ing the cost to the end con­sumer in order to achieve an unre­lated advant­age­ous fin­an­cial out­come for the com­pany as a whole is the ulti­mate ques­tion here, and one that is very inter­est­ing indeed.

Case Comment: Fallows v Harkers Transport (Royal and Sun Alliance, vehicle insurance)

Mr Fal­lows’ car was dam­aged by a vehicle owned by the defend­ants. Liab­il­ity was not an issue. Mr. Fal­lows’ vehicle was insured by Roy­al and Sun Alli­ance, who sought to recov­er their costs from the defendant’s insurers. The costs were £1825.53. Not a large sum. How­ever, the defend­ants objec­ted.

The reas­on for the objec­tion was that Roy­al and Sun Alli­ance arranged repair via a wholly-owned sub­si­di­ary, which then con­trac­ted with a sub­con­tract­or, who actu­ally repaired the vehicle. The sub­con­tract­or billed the sub­si­di­ary the sum of £1542.78. The sub­si­di­ary added on fur­ther costs, and billed Roy­al and Sun Alli­ance.

In Rom­ford County Court, the defend­ants ques­tioned the sum claimed. It was held that, giv­en the duty to mit­ig­ate, the best evid­ence of reas­on­able cost of repairs was that which RSA’s sub­si­di­ary nego­ti­ated with the sub­con­tract­or. There was no evid­ence that RSA itself could only nego­ti­ate a high­er price. While admin­is­tra­tion costs have been allowed by the courts in the past, there are no decisions allow­ing them to a sub­rog­ated insurer, let alone a sub­rog­ated insurer’s sub­sid­ary. And in coun­ter­bal­ance, there are decisions where admin­is­tra­tion costs have been dis­al­lowed.

The Judge (Platt J) said:

Since RSAARL is wholly owned by RSA the effect of these extra charges if they are paid by defend­ants is simply to boost RSA Group’s profits bey­ond the actu­al cost of repair by the mar­gins inser­ted by RSAARL. I can find no basis in law for say­ing that this is a course of action which a claimant insurer is entitled to take [..]. On the evid­ence the defend­ant has clearly estab­lished a fail­ure to mit­ig­ate on the part of the claimant.

Now that this judg­ment is pub­lic, the util­ity of this busi­ness arrange­ment to RSA is prob­ably moot. Oth­er insurers could use the same mod­el. This how­ever was found to be likely to lead to an increase in costs to the insured mem­bers of the pub­lic of some 25%.

RSA were held liable in costs to the defend­ant — exceed­ingly unusu­al in a small claim. Even though they were the claimant, they almost com­pletely failed to com­ply with pre–action pro­tocol and with the court–ordered dis­cov­ery pro­cess. For example, the exist­ence of a form­al invoice from the repairer to RSA’s sub­si­di­ary was not dis­closed, even once its exist­ence had become appar­ent dur­ing the tri­al.

Per­mis­sion was giv­en to appeal.

Judg­ment in the case can be found on BAILII at Fal­lows v. Hark­ers Trans­port (A Firm) [2011] EW Misc 16.

Your data in the Cloud is not secure from the US Government

Data stor­age in the cloud is clearly the where things are mov­ing just now. Giv­en the pleth­ora of devices people have — com­puters at home, laptops and tab­lets on the move, smart­phones in the pock­et, it makes per­fect sense for all of a person’s devices to use a single, com­mon repos­it­ory for shared inform­a­tion. Ser­vices such as Apple’s forth­com­ing iCloud at the domest­ic level, and commonly–used ser­vices such as Google’s Google Apps, and Microsoft’s Office 365 all store your data in their own clouds.

You’d think that this would be done with respect to Data Pro­tec­tion laws. Wrong. If the USA wants your data, the USA gets it. My friends Simon Bis­son and Mary Branscombe have the details: regard­less of European pri­vacy dir­ect­ives and the UK Data pro­tec­tion act, the US see the PATRIOT act over­rid­ing these for US com­pan­ies and EU sub­si­di­ar­ies of US com­pan­ies:

That means that US gov­ern­ment can (under the aus­pices of the act) request the data of any indi­vidu­al or com­pany that’s using US-owned or hos­ted ser­vices, no mat­ter where that data is actu­ally being held. It doesn’t mat­ter if you’ve geo-locked your data, and it only resides in European data centres, it can still be requisi­tioned and taken to the US. Yes, it’s an issue of nation­al secur­ity, but when res­ults can be found by machine learn­ing and trawl­ing massive data sets (the lar­ger the bet­ter), there’s a tempta­tion for gov­ern­ments to take all they can and more.

Undoubtedly this will lead to much hand–wringing in the EU Par­lia­ment. How­ever, what can be done? It is unlikely that the USA will give up their powers.

There­fore, the only solu­tion is in the hands of indi­vidu­als and com­pan­ies wish­ing to use cloud ser­vices — only use cloud ser­vices from wholly–EU–owned com­pan­ies host­ing your data inside the EU. While the leg­al pro­tec­tions you will have in those cir­cum­stances are not huge, they are bet­ter than none at all.

Oh — an after­thought. How happy do you now feel, if per­haps you have just giv­en a whole heap of your per­son­al inform­a­tion to Google, dur­ing the Google Plus sign–up pro­cess?

Hookway — I was there

Back in the middle of may, I had just fin­ished study­ing my judi­cial review mod­ules on my law course, and I thought it would be a good use of a free day to head to court to see judi­cial review in prac­tice. As luck would have it, there was a case lis­ted that day, the 16th May, at Manchester Civil Justice Centre:

R (Chief Con­stable of Manchester Police) v Salford City Magis­trates, case CO/3649/2011

Inter­est­ing, thought I. There had been a few cases in my notes where a decision of a Magis­trates Court had been judi­cially reviewed, but not any on the behest of the police. I decided to attend.

Of course, this case is now known as Hook­way. I really couldn’t have chosen a bet­ter case to sit in upon, in terms of its reper­cus­sions.

The prob­lem high­lighted by the case can be sum­mar­ised pretty quickly. Once the police arrest someone, they only have a cer­tain num­ber of hours to ques­tion them before they must be released. That time can be exten­ded, but only to a point. The ques­tion is, when a per­son is released on bail, is the “clock” still run­ning, or has it been paused?
It has been police prac­tice to assume the lat­ter as long as the cur­rent régime, intro­duced in the Police and Crim­in­al Evid­ence Act 1984, has been in force; but the sec­tions in ques­tion — 41 to 47 — are remark­ably unclear, and in fact make no men­tion of the clock stop­ping.

In the court itself, there were eight people. Mr Justice McCombe, the court clerk, one ush­er, two police­men, one police soli­cit­or, Ms. A Whyte QC, and me. Salford Magis­trates and Paul Hook­way were not rep­res­en­ted.

Every­one in the courtroom that day knew this applic­a­tion was dif­fi­cult, and that it had con­sequences. Every­one was fully aware that the reper­cus­sions of uphold­ing the lower court’s rul­ing would be far–reaching. Ms. Whyte QC ably led the court through the com­plex­it­ies of the legis­la­tion, point­ing out, entirely fairly giv­en that the defend­ants did not appear, the per­spect­ive from both sides of the argu­ment. There was abso­lutely no pre­vi­ous author­ity on the ques­tion, and only one aca­dem­ic work (which was not on point to the ques­tion at hand). The Judge and Ms Whyte slowly and care­fully picked their way through the six rel­ev­ant sec­tions of the act, tak­ing over two hours to do so.

It was hugely inter­est­ing to watch these people dis­sect­ing the sec­tions of the act in vari­ous ways, try­ing to tease out the pre­cise mean­ing of the words of the act. Ser­i­ous people, at a ser­i­ous task.

Sadly, I was unable to attend the handing–down of the judg­ment, which happened on Thursday the 19th May. The judg­ment wasn’t made pub­lic until the middle of June — and then, of course, there has been the usu­al raft of pub­li­city. While there has been some reas­on­able cov­er­age in the press, it’s sad to see that cov­er­age des­cen­ded rap­idly in the BBC and the Guard­i­an.

Today, two devel­op­ments have occurred. The Supreme Court have turned down a request for a stay of the rul­ing, pri­or to their hear­ing an appeal from it on the 25th of July. And on Thursday, the Gov­ern­ment are intro­du­cing legis­la­tion to over­turn the rul­ing.

While the details of the legis­la­tion are yet to be pub­lished, it is very likely that they will change the law to how it was believed to be pri­or to the rul­ing in Hook­way. This may be a missed oppor­tun­ity. Let­ters in the Guard­i­an sug­gest police bail can be abused, by the impos­i­tion of restric­tions dur­ing bail. Rather than enact in law a patch to re-estab­lish the status quo, might it be time to take a long look at the legis­la­tion sur­round­ing arrest, deten­tion and bail, and re–enact it to get rid of its incon­sist­en­cies, lack of clar­ity, and exploits?

More on media responsibility and injunctions

A month or so ago I wrote an art­icle on here about how the rise in injunc­tions gran­ted pro­tect­ing the iden­tity of the parties was the fault of the tabloids, and it’s good to see that in writ­ing that, I was agree­ing with the views of Steph­en Sed­ley, the recently–retired judge of the Court of Appeal.

In an art­icle in the Lon­don Review of Books: The Good­win and Giggs Show (which I found via Roy Greenslade’s blog entry about it in the Guard­i­an) he says:

The nam­ing of Good­win and Giggs is on a dif­fer­ent plane from min­is­teri­al brief­ings against judges, inap­pro­pri­ate as these are, because it dis­rupts the his­tor­ic equi­lib­ri­um between the judi­ciary and the legis­lature. The media may present them­selves as amused spec­tat­ors, but it is they who have pro­voked and exploited the break­down of an ele­ment in the demo­cracy they them­selves inhab­it.

A sen­ti­ment with which I whole­heartedly agree. And rather than sort out this per­fectly obvi­ous ele­phant in the room, seni­or politi­cians spend their time attack­ing the judges, rather than the media:

This is why the issues are large. It can be cred­ibly said that the fourth estate is close to being a state with­in the state, unreg­u­lated except to the mod­est extent that it chooses to reg­u­late itself and altern­ately feared and pandered to by pub­lic fig­ures.

Form­al reg­u­la­tion, I’d sug­gest, is over­due.

Mind you, in the UK at least we have the back­ground of some pro­tec­tion via the right to pri­vacy enshrined via Art­icle 8 of the European Con­ven­tion on Human Rights. A per­son whom I fol­low on twit­ter re–tweeted this link to an blog post by pop­star and new mum Pink, com­plain­ing about paparazzi try­ing to grab pho­tos of her new daugh­ter. At least in the UK and Europe that (fol­low­ing the case brought by JK Rowl­ing for breach of her son’s pri­vacy) is not allowed.

And in related news to do with the media: jury dis­charged before con­sid­er­ing wheth­er Levi Belfield abduc­ted Rachel Cowles because of adverse pub­li­city over his con­vic­tion of the murder of Milly Dowl­er. They couldn’t even wait until ver­dicts were brought in on all charges. The media simply don’t care about justice, or you — it’s all about the story.

BAILII needs help

My road toward the law has been long and not dir­ect — but one web site in par­tic­u­lar kept my interest when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Giv­en my sci­ence back­ground and near–obsessive need for inform­a­tion, you may not be sur­prised that the site is BAILII.

BAILII is a data­base of case law. It con­tains recent decisions for the full range of courts and tribunals across the UK, his­tor­ic decisions, and decisions from oth­er jur­is­dic­tions. It is free to access, and the best way in the UK for the lay per­son to access case law, giv­ing the abil­ity to inform them­selves about things like leg­al mat­ters in the press, but more import­antly giv­ing the abil­ity to research and arm them­selves in situ­ations where there can be little oth­er help — a dis­pute with a pub­lic body, or an employ­er, for example.

Run­ning BAILII is nat­ur­ally not free. While a num­ber of firms have made com­mit­ments to fund­ing, more is required to guar­an­tee the con­tinu­ing sur­viv­al of what, to me, is an essen­tial ser­vice. Frankly, I think it should be a publicly–funded ser­vice, but that is not likely in this day and age.

If, like me, you believe this ser­vice should con­tin­ue, please con­sider donat­ing to BAILII. It is a char­ity, dona­tions are man­aged via the Char­it­ies Aid Found­a­tion, and are gift-aidable (please do that if you can, it means an extra 25% to them).

News from the Florida Justice System

A man who killed two Brit­ish tour­ists in Flor­ida will not go to jail — even though he fled the scene and lied to the police. Ryan LeV­in paid an undis­closed amount to the wid­ows of those he killed, and will serve two years house arrest.

The offences’ sen­ten­cing guidelines call for up for 45 years’ impris­on­ment.

His law­yer was the Judge’s deputy cam­paign treas­urer.

For all people com­plain about the UK justice sys­tem, I’m glad that it’s pretty much as it is.

Alex Salmond’s criticism of the UK Supreme Court is grandstanding

So, Mr. Sal­mond would like to see the remov­al of the Supreme Court’s power to decide Human Rights issues with regard to the Scot­tish crim­in­al justice sys­tem. Moreover, he has chosen to per­son­al­ise the issue by attack­ing Lord Hope, the deputy pres­id­ent of the Supreme Court, and pre­vi­ously lord justice gen­er­al of Scot­land. The situ­ation has become so far­cic­al that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, led by the SNP, are look­ing at remov­ing fund­ing for the Supreme Court.

Loads of heat and noise there, against a tar­get that, to retain its impar­ti­al­ity, does not involve itself in polit­ics. It’s easy to shoot at some­thing that won’t shoot back, isn’t it?

Any­way, the changes the SNP are pro­pos­ing will not mean that decisions of the Scot­tish crim­in­al courts will not be prone to any review — it will mean that, as before the intro­duc­tion of the Scot­land Act and the Human Rights Act, Human Rights chal­lenges to it will have to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Stras­bourg rather to the UK Supreme Court. This will of course mean con­sid­er­able delay com­pared to now. And on the European Court of Human Rights there are pre­cisely no judges with extens­ive under­stand­ing of the Scot­tish crim­in­al justice sys­tem. On the UK Supreme Court, there are two — Lord Hope and Lord Rodger, who is unfor­tu­nately ill at the moment.

What Alex Sal­mond is doing is trans­par­ent — and it has noth­ing at all to do with the qual­ity of justice in Scot­land, or the rest of the UK. Sal­mond, as lead­er of the Scot­tish Nation­al Party, has just won a major­ity in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment. His party are com­mit­ted to a ref­er­en­dum on wheth­er Scot­land should be inde­pend­ent or not in the lat­ter half of this par­lia­ment­ary ses­sion. It is there­fore to his advant­age to cri­ti­cise decisions made by oth­ers that affect Scot­land — it’s the old “them and us” ploy. While Mr Sal­mond has always had a tend­ency to play the “poor down­trod­den Scots” card at every oppor­tun­ity, to per­son­al­ise the attack against the Scot who, with the oth­er mem­bers of the Supreme Court, is the last bas­tion against Human Rights-based mis­car­riages of crim­in­al justice in Scot­land, is rep­re­hens­ible.

What we should really be ques­tion­ing here is the decisions of the High Court of Jus­ti­ci­ary in Edin­burgh. In both their judg­ment in Fraser and HMA v McLean (the fore­run­ner to Cad­der) — the lat­ter with a bench of no less than sev­en justices — they have got a point of Human Rights law wrong. What is caus­ing this dif­fi­culty in cor­rectly ana­lys­ing wheth­er aspects of the Scot­tish crim­in­al justice sys­tem is com­pli­ant with the Con­ven­tion on Human Rights?

Anonymity injunctions protect other people, too

News Group tried to get CTB’s anonym­ity injunc­tion lis­ted last night, after John Hem­ming MP named the per­son in Par­lia­ment.

While Tugend­hat J’s rul­ing unfor­tu­nately kinda con­firms that (via jig­saw iden­ti­fic­a­tion) we all know who CTB is now, the third para­graph in the rul­ing — CTB v News Group News­pa­pers Ltd [2011] EWCH 1334 — bears repeat­ing. The injunc­tions are not just for the bene­fit of the claimant.

It is obvi­ous that if the pur­pose of this injunc­tion were to pre­serve a secret, it would have failed in its pur­pose. But in so far as its pur­pose is to pre­vent intru­sion or har­ass­ment, it has not failed. The fact that tens of thou­sands of people have named the claimant on the inter­net con­firms that the claimant and his fam­ily need pro­tec­tion from intru­sion into their private and fam­ily life. The fact that a ques­tion has been asked in Par­lia­ment seems to me to increase, and not to dimin­ish the strength of his case that he and his fam­ily need that pro­tec­tion. The order has not pro­tec­ted the claimant and his fam­ily from taunt­ing on the inter­net. It is still effect­ive to pro­tect them from taunt­ing and oth­er intru­sion and har­ass­ment in the print media.

(my emphas­is)

It could be sim­pler if news­pa­per apo­lo­gies had to take up the same num­ber of square inches of the paper as the ori­gin­al offend­ing article(s). The cost of such an apo­logy might be the only thing that may make them focus on stor­ies of pub­lic interest, rather than on feed­ing on the profit gained by the gen­er­al public’s pruri­ence. It has a cer­tain poet­ic justice that I like, too.