By Julienne Grant
I spent a few days “minding the gap” in London before IALL started. Caught a show in the West End, walked through the “Painters’ Paintings” exhibition (wonderful) at the National Gallery, and watched the RideLondon cycling race. What I’m always drawn to in London, however, is Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar is unlike anywhere else in the world; it has a certain pulse that reflects the vibrancy and diversity that makes London such an incredible place. I could sit for hours and take it all in, from the sidewalk art, to the eclectic mix of rhythms booming from the electronic keyboards of street musicians.
While at Trafalgar, I stepped briefly into the Westminster Reference Library and chatted with the librarian on duty. She explained that the Reference Library has the strongest public collection of legal materials in Westminster (one of Inner London’s boroughs). The Library currently offers access to Westlaw UK, which includes a number of eBooks, such as Chitty on Contracts. She explained that the eBooks are extremely important because the print copies of the same titles tend to walk off. At the same time, however, the librarian bemoaned the fact that the Library’s funding was being cut, and the Westlaw UK subscription might be discontinued.
While in London, I was also introduced to “Judge Rinder” on the telly. “Judge Rinder” is a reality court TV show seemingly modeled after the U.S.’ “Judge Judy.” Judge Rinder himself is actually barrister Robert Michael Rinder who has been hearing disputes on this popular ITV series since 2014. According to HuffPost Entertainment United Kingdom, these disputes “usually revolve around two mates fobbing each other out of money, and other issues with a vaguely legal undercurrent.” For those who are interested in such things, Judge Rinder wears an English barrister’s robe, rather than a judge’s.
More to come from Oxford where we are experiencing a bit of soggy weather, but are grateful for the foresight of the local organizers who provided us with our own Oxford rain ponchos.