Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Bufta buna!

That means 'bon appetit' in Romanian - I just realised that I should probably lighten up the blog for today with some stories from my trip to Romania in April - i.e. the most amazing experience of my life!

Of course there were sad bits: we were doing charity work in one of the poorest areas in the world, and there was one story that caused me to burst into tears (and trust me, I'm a right hard man usually). A homeless man's young daughter was very ill in hospital, and a simple operation should have her on the road to recovery. However, the girl's doctor was requesting a bribe (from a HOMELESS MAN) in order for him to perform the operation. Sickening, right? Unfortunately, Maria (who worked for The Smiles Foundation) told us that this is a normal occurence in Romania.

Absolutely disgusting.

However, there were some lovely moments, for example we met this guy called Zebby who lived in a tiny shed, with no job and no family, but when asked how he coped with this, replied (quite brilliantly) "Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get." You've got to smile when a Romanian man quotes - in perfect English - Forrest Gump. Tom Hanks has never spoken wiser words.

And of course the banter was unstoppable - it was a great group of us going and the boys even went so far as to create a House of Banter, each boy with their own aliases - Benjamin Bantlin, the Pink Banther, Tutanbantmun, Sir Bants-a-lot, the Banthom of the Opera and (maybe a bit less PC but I laughed when I heard it) Osama Bant Laden.

Stephen, our lovely Yorkshire guide, was another source of banter, with his terrible Romanian dialect ('ROOmania', 'BUHFTAH BOONAH' - classic), and just his general loveliness - he was adorable. Big love to Stephen fo lyf.

I'll probably talk more about Romania at various points - it really was the best holiday of my life and I'd encourage everyone to do it at some point - it is a beautiful, if tragic, country.

Work experience

Hey everyone,

I've just had my second day of work experience at a solicitors' firm in Cheltenham, and it has definitely been an eye-opener, not to mention very generous, as I got to leave at 2 o'clock this afternoon for some retail therapy in Topshop and a sleepy sun-drenched afternoon in my garden!

But onto the law aspect - I've already learnt lots of new things. So far I've been working in the Commercial and Commercial Property departments, and while they don't sound like one big party (and let's be honest, of course it wasn't!), it was certainly very interesting, and I got to read one case file that really inspired me and made me realise that I am pursuing the right career.

Obviously I can't give names and other details like that, but here are the basics: an individual applied to become a childminder with OFSTED, but at around the same time was persuaded to return to full-time work. Therefore she didn't respond to OFSTED's requests for more information, and never fully completed the application. In accordance to OFSTED's rules, this meant that they had to refuse her application on the grounds of incompletion of application, and she was automatically disqualified from working with children(!)

However, some time later the individual decided she wanted to become a foster carer, and so applied through FCA. But because of this disqualification with OFSTED, the agency has refused to carry on with proceedings, ALTHOUGH:

1) OFSTED have confirmed that it was just an administrative error on the part of the applicant that caused the disqualification, and therefore it is not anything which could cause harm to a child;
2) According to the law, it IS possible for the FCA to use their discretion and allow this to carry on, as it is just a clerical fault that is hindering it; however they refuse to do so.

Sounds quite unreasonable, doesn't it? This individual is being treated the same as a paedophile or a child abuser, all for not filling in a form, completely unaware of the consequences (as these were not made clear to her).

The work that the solicitors did on her behalf was, and still is, outstanding. Reading their many letters to almost everyone, even writing to the Minister for Children, Young People and Families, I was struck by their passion (sorry about the cheesiness of this, but it's true!). Although this was in the Commercial department, I felt it was a strong human rights case, particularly with the unhelpfulness of the FCA and the County Council. For shame!

In my opinion, I think the laws need to be changed so things like this are amendable. Applying to be a childminder should not be applicable to fostering if a situation like this arises, particularly as even if OFSTED waive the rejection of her application, it will have no affect on her application to be a foster carer as the 'disqualification' will still be there. Reforms need to be made to ensure that nothing like this happens again.

Do you have any views on this? Please comment and let me know what you think!

Sunday, 20 June 2010


Hi, and welcome to Legal Ambition! I won't waste too much time explaining about it, mainly because it's fairly easy to deduce from the title - this is predominantly a law blog, and usually will be about human rights law, as I want to become a human rights barrister one day, and even set up my own foreign law interpreting firm one day, again specialising in human rights issues from immigration laws, mistreatment/abuse/harrassment cases and even cases between celebrities and the media in the issue of invasion of privacy.

I'll talk about various experiences I've had (for example my recent trip to Romania in April, working with The Smiles Foundation, which inspired and provoked me to take more of an interest in human rights) and will be having (I've got work experience with BPE Solicitors LLP, a great firm that takes on a range of clients from corporate organisations to charities, so I'm really looking forward to it, and hopefully I'll get to go to court! Also, I am hoping to secure an internship with the UN over the summer, as my school advertised a program about it, but seeing as that was a while ago and they never gave us any contact details, I may be disappointed!).

I'll also discuss various human rights cases and some legal cases that I just find very interesting that have been cropping up in the news recently.

Hope you enjoy!