In our house the Lego Movie is the hot flick of the season. Along with it’s excruciatingly aweFUL theme song and fatuous lyrics (which those of you with kids will recognise from the title of this blog post – I can visualise you wincing as you read it) and impossible to source merchandise. There is also some mild amusement at the fact that Mummy is in a film, but in truth I cannot hold their attention as I do not perform Spinjitsu moves in said film. Nor does the fact that Mummy’s film is a video that will be on YouTube cut much ice. I cannot compete with Stampy Longhead and I do not think I will ever get into his lovegarden*.
However, I am relatively confident that there are people out there whose lives do not revolve around Minecraft, Lego (or indeed around any kind of building block at all), and so I am sure that there will be someone out there who will like my videos. They will, after all, be awesome. And this is largely because of the awesome team that contributed to them.
In truth they will not be exciting, but that really isn’t the point. They are a series of three short films for litigants in person who are at the outset of their family court experience. We filmed them in the course of a very long day at Bristol Civil Justice Centre in March – a day sounds like a lot of time to make a few videos, but my god it was a squeeze to get it all in! When we started this project it was all “yeah, we’ll just pop down to the court one afternoon, the two of us, and edit it on our computers that evening”. How naive. It took forever to script and almost as long to get approval to film. And then we had to actually turn a script into a shot list and plan the filming. And then it took a team of ten of us to do it. And now it’s being actually MADE into an actual film. And I am realising that soon my badly frazzled hair will be all over YouTube and there is no going back. I had never before realised how much goes into making even the most basic film and how much doing and re-doing is necessary to get it perfect. Our films will be imperfect, but I think they will be useful. They will also perfectly illustrate the point that a script turns an articulate human being into a stilted robot, but sadly a script was a necessary evil.
When the awesome movies are ready they will be available on YouTube here [EDITED - URL has been changed, because I am a wally]. Since a few of you have been asking about them I thought I’d give you a link to bookmark – you could even subscribe to the channel in breathless anticipation.
I will post again when they are up, at which point it would be great if you could share, link, embed (just mention where you got ‘em from), give feedback etc.
* don’t even bother looking it up. It’s way less interesting / saucy than it sounds.
Wanna see some scary stats? Here you go. I’ve prettified them but still best to view them through your fingers or by peering round the side of the sofa just in case.
Post script : I posted this late in the evening and in the aftermath of a near tantrum following an hour fiddling with the software to make the above chart. Hence, I did not have the wit to identify my source. Which was some stats circulated by our local DFJ and which originate from CAFCASS (not the court). The stats relate to s8 applications (contact and residence) and show variously cases where “one party has a solicitor”, “both parties have a solicitor” and “neither party has a solicitor”. That begs the question “What about cases involving more than two parties, e.g. those with a Guardian or a grandparent – the former is likely to involve at least one lawyer but I’m not sure if they are included in the stats or not.
One website is simply not enough these days. And so I have been working on a little side project (to the enormous detriment of my yet-to-be-begun redesign of poor old Pink Tape).
Ladies and Gentlebugs, may I present to you the lucyreed.co.uk public access website. Perty ain’t it?
A word or two about the why.
Because we at the bar are pretty inefficient when it comes to direct access enquiries. They take up lots and lots of clerking time, to the intense irritation of our lovely clerks, and rarely bear fruit. Many cases are unsuitable, a high proportion of enquiries are sent on a whim (the perils of easy clicking) and are not seriously pursued, particularly when money is mentioned), and others cannot be processed speedily enough to deal with a time sensitive issue, because the process of information gathering is not streamlined. This means lots of wasted time and effort for me, my clerks AND most importantly, for litigants in person frantically shopping around for some help, buzzing around the internet in a cloud of confusion.
So this website is designed to do two things : to inform and to triage. If a client properly understands public access before they make an enquiry (and in my experience they are utterly bewildered by it) then they may form a view its not for them and be diverted away from a pointless enquiry. If they do make an enquiry they are able to make it on an informed basis, and understanding their own responsibility with respect to the conduct of their case.
And in order to make an enquiry a litigant must answer some basic questions about their case and what they want from me. So the first contact I get contains the information I really need rather than the information a client thinks I need. If I can tell it’s not suitable from the outset that’s that. Nobody hanging around drumming fingers waiting for an answer. If it is suitable we can get off to a running start with the basic information gathered at the outset.
I think that’s what annoying management speakers call “Win Win” (yeurk). I know there are people I can help through public access – and hopefully this website will help me find them, and them find me.
We’ll see how it goes. It might not work. I’d welcome feedback, likes and shares.