Law & Disorder

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

Legal cartoon, john fytit, Paul Brennan

Volume 82 - July 2013 - Printer friendly version

In this issue:

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101 reasons to kill all the lawyers +You

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

Front Rank File

If you have seen the film Zulu you will know what it is like to be in a Government Ombudsman's office risking daily being overrun by crazed complainants, fresh from battle.

The Ombudsman's office is not allowed to use the Martini-Henry rifle and fire by rank manoeuvre, as satisfying as this may sound. However, the Ombudsman's terms of reference can be drawn so narrowly that over 75% of complaints can be opened, found to be outside the terms of reference, and closed within a matter of a few days of receipt. Unlike Zulu warriors, complainants receive a two page, admittedly standard, letter of rejection. Despite this a customer satisfaction survey remains just as imprudent today as it was in 1879.

With the decks cleared, it gives the Ombudsmen the opportunity to assess the merit and appropriately investigate the remaining complaints. However, after the carnage of repelling the initial onslaught certain government Ombudsman can feel understandably quite worn out and find it hard resist having a quick roll call and then swiftly finishing off the surviving complaints with a bureaucratic cats lick accompanied by another two page letter.

As in so many conflicts an Ombudsman's lack of achievement can be portrayed as a victory. With glossy brochures reporting a courageous, fearless dedication to duty with occasional salutes by departing, vanquished but appreciative complainants supported by detailed statistics proudly declaring file closures.

Shouldn't the complainants complain about this treatment? Yes, but who would believe them?

A tangible benefit of complaining to an Ombudsman is telling others that you have done so. It suggests that there is something wrong and that you have done something about it. With certain Ombudsmen, it is the only benefit. To paraphrase Michael Caine "Not a lot of people suspect that"

(c) Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.



Sir: Your article ('Front Rank Fire' 14 June 2013 - below) may leave a misleading impression of the workings of a government ombudsman's office and I wish to point out that:
1. We do not have a hospital wing and as far as I am aware we have no malingerers.
2. Our Welsh members of staff do not sing after the rejection of complaints.
3. There are no drunken lay preachers in our office to my knowledge. If there were, they would not be ejected to prevent staff demoralisation. They would be treated considerately and either counselled or promoted in the usual way.
O, name and address withheld.

Dear O: Your comments are noted and I am referring your letter to our newly appointed Agony Ombudsman ("A0"), John Fytit. He is a lawyer of over 30 year's experience in legal misfortunes. Ed.

Dear O.

Your letter of complaint has been referred to me and I have considered it carefully.

However, I regret to advise you that it is outside my terms of reference.

I realise that this is not the answer that you had hoped for.

Yours sincerely
John Fytit AO
Extract from John Fytit's International Legal Problem Page.

legal briefs Paul Brennan


Devise a humorous legal caption (max. 10 words) suitable for clothing. (Example : a suitable caption for a leasing lawyer could be "I hate those leases to pieces"). There are other examples at the following website (you may need to insert the URL twice into the browser)

THE BEST CAPTION WILL WIN one pair of legal briefs bearing your winning caption together with an autographed copy of 101 Reasons to Kill all the Lawyers - That Part which Laws or Lawyers can Cause or Cure to be launched in Sydney on 4th July 2013 (see below).

To enter send a suitable caption to the Editor at on or before 25 July 2013. The winner shall be announced in the August 2013 issue of the Law & Disorder eZine.

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

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- That Part which Laws or Lawyers can Cause or Cure
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Disclaimer: 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.

Brief Books QLD BN22069914

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