Volume 51 - February 2011
John Fytit lawyer, cartoon character in Law & Disorder eZine by Paul Brennan

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This month

  • Enforcing payment of debts.
  • Your lawyer is not that bad compared to some.
  • Last chance to enter our 2011 Annual Cartoon Competition.

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Paul Brennan


Author of The Law is an Ass...Make Sure it Doesn't Bite Yours!


101 reasons to kill all the lawyers




Enforcement and Mr Pickwick

Legal Cartoon, meerkat, Paul BrennanOnce you get judgment against a debtor that is not the end.  You must enforce it, in order to get your money.   Enforcement means making the debtor bankrupt, or wound up, or publically examining the debtor in court, using a bailiff to seize and sell his or her possessions or docking the debtor's wages. Tactics depend on cost and the chances of getting paid.  However, you cannot get blood out of a stone and even the nicest of creditors can be so frustrated by the process that he would cheerfully opt for a pound of flesh if that option were available.

In the past when someone owed you money one of the common and popular enforcement options was to cast him (or her) into a debtor’s prison where they would rot until they paid up with interest and costs.

This is what happened to Mr Pickwick in The Pickwick Papers.  He was accused of breach of promise in that he offered to marry his housekeeper, she had accepted and then he reneged.  It was a misunderstanding.  But he was sued and the housekeeper won.   He was ordered to pay damages and the housekeeper’s legal costs.  He refused to pay.  The housekeeper’s lawyers applied to the court to enforce the judgment and Mr Pickwick was committed to the Fleet debtors’ prison where he was to remain until he paid the damages and costs.  But he continued to refuse to do so and gave every appearance of being prepared to stay there until he died.

The housekeeper’s solicitors had planned to receive their costs from Mr Pickwick and when this looked unlikely they claimed against the penniless housekeeper, obtained judgment and enforced it by committing her to the Fleet, as well.

When Mr Pickwick found out the housekeeper was in the Fleet, being a kind man he relented and agreed to pay her costs and in return the housekeeper abandoned her claim against him for damages.  They were both released, the lawyers were paid their fee, a happy ending of sorts.

Legal cases do not always work out this well.

(c) Paul Brennan is a business and property lawyer on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.  Both  "Deals and disputes".

Death of a solicitor

Legal cartoon, unbillable hours, Paul BrennanMany people ask me what is the difference between a barrister and a solicitor.  Well, they are both lawyers but the main difference, in my view is that only one practicing solicitor has ever been executed. 

Rather than turning on his own clients as some would expect, he attempted to poison another solicitor in a conveyancing matter which had turned sour.  His first attempt was to invite the solicitor to tea; scones laced with arsenic.  The other solicitor became ill, but survived. He then sent chocolates which caused a family member of the other solicitor to be sick, but she survived too.  Numerous further invitations to tea followed which the other solicitor understandably avoided. 

The solicitor’s undoing was that he was buying increasing quantities of arsenic from the local chemist who was the father in law of the other solicitor.  The matter was reported to the police who during their enquiries dug up the solicitor’s deceased wife and found an unusually high concentration of arsenic in the body.  He was charged with murder. He claimed he was devoted to his wife but police investigations revealed that although she was described in the local press as popular very few people attended her funeral.  They concluded that she was domineering and often acted in a crazed manner but this was no lawful excuse for murder (husbands please note).

The solicitor continued to maintain that the arsenic was for his dandelions until his execution in 1922.  Since then the Dandelion Defence has lost popularity especially among devoted husbands.

(c) Paul Brennan.  All rights reserved.

Click here for details of another notorious lawyer. 

This month, listen to Paul Brennan on Business Essentials Australia's best monthly business update CD. Click here to purchase the Business Essential's CD "The 10 Greatest Legal Mistakes in Business and How to Avoid them".


2011 Annual Legal Cartoon Competition

Legal Cartoon Competition, Paul Brennan

Thank you to those who entered our cartoon competition, so far.

It is still not too late to win your own copy of

The Law is an Ass...Make Sure it Doesn't Bite Yours!



Please submit your own cartoon or a caption for this legal cartoon by email to

info@lawanddisorder.com.au  on or before 25 February 2011.  The winner shall be announced in the March 2011 issue of the Law & Disorder eZine with the best entries.

Click here to read the Rules of the competition which shall be binding on all entrants. 

Only subscribers to the Law & Disorder eZine can enter however subscription is free and immediate at https://www.lawanddisorder.com.au/ezine.html.

If you want to run your own cartoon competition using Law & Disorder Cartoons send your request by email to info@lawanddisorder.com.au

Speaker or MC

Paul brennan lawyer speaking video In March ,  Paul will be speaking to Rural Valuers at the Australian Property Institute conference.  

If you wish to book Paul as a speaker or MC call Marg Booth of the Great Expectation Speakers' Bureau on 61 (7) 3844 2277 or email her at marg@greatexpectation.com.au 



The content of the Law & Disorder eZine is to give you legal basics and in some instances included unashamedly to try and make you laugh.  In law it is sometimes difficult to work out what is serious and what is just for fun.  Therefore, if you plan to do anything legal, rely on your own lawyer’s advice or instruct me to look at the particular facts of your case.  Not only will I deny responsibility for the legal content but also for some of the jokes.


In this Issue
Enforcement and Mr Pickwick
Death of a solicitor

Annual Cartoon Caption Competition

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The Law & Disorder eZine attempts to provide legal information in an entertaining and amusing manner to help clients avoid predictable legal issues.

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