Bratislava New Year FireworksMy website Homework Direct slightly predates this one, having been established just over seven years ago using the development service Wix. After the first fourteen months, however, I had largely given up on it to focus my efforts here (and later on Wikipedia). There are two principal reasons for this – first that I was running out of ideas for what to include, and second that I found the Wix interface much more difficult to manage than WordPress.

Not only was updating the website a difficulty, but even monitoring activity was far more difficult than here – instead of a daily tracker I only received monthly reports by email, which frequently said there had been no views at all. In the entire seven years of operation I only recall getting one sincere communication from a client, and that was only to mention that there were spelling errors (but not specifying where!). I also occasionally got messages from a web review service saying that they had found code errors on the site which prevented it from being seen. The result is that, for most of its existence, Homework Direct has been a dead weight.

A few days ago Wix notified me that my business plan (for domain connection) was coming up for renewal and that the price, constant since 2015 was to rise 64%. WordPress, so far, has given no indication that it will do the same. This announcement was the impetus to finally make a move.

As of today, the contents of the website, as well as the domain name, have moved. I have also designed a new logo for the site (the 2015 version being little more than a placeholder), though the overall colour-scheme has been retained. This does not necessarily constitute a revival of the project, but at least what already been made is now in a more usable state (for both writer and readers) than it had been before.


Double David

For a while now the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has had two vacancies, caused by the retirement of Lord Lloyd-Jones and Lady Arden of Heswall in January. Yesterday it was announced that appointments had been made: Arden’s place is to be taken by Sir David Richards, formerly of the Court of Appeal of England & Wales, while Lloyd-Jones’s successor is… Lord Lloyd-Jones.

The reason for this bizarre phenomenon is found by looking at legislation relating to mandatory retirement ages. The Judicial Pensions Act 1959 set the retirement age for people entering the judiciary thereafter at 75, though it was not binding on those already holding office by then (so Lord Denning and Lord Cameron continued until ages 83 and 85 respectively). The Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 lowered this to 70, but again was not retroactive so that those who had held judicial office before 31 March 1995 were grandfathered in. Lady Arden was the last such grandfathered member of the UKSC. The last overall was Sir James Holman, appointed a judge of the Family Division (EWHC) on 18 March 1995, who retired on 28 June.

The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 (which received Royal Assent on 10 March) raised the retirement age back to 75, and this time it was retroactive, so that those already in office can now serve an extra five years, and some who recently retired at age 70 (such as Lloyd-Jones and Richards) can come back for an encore.

Incidentally, I discovered these appointments through the Twitter feed CrownOffFOIDs. The name is a shorthand for “Crown Office Freedom of Information Disclosures”. This is the Crown Office in Chancery, a small section of the Ministry of Justice responsible for the production and management of certain state and royal documents. Whether the office itself, or a private citizen, is operating the Twitter account is not clear. The output includes photographs of the Great Seal of the Realm as well as many of the different types of document to which it may be attached. There are writs, warrants, patents and proclamations of a great many kinds, including the proclamation of the present monarch’s accession, which the Tweet notes is not as physically impressive as one might have expected.


Lyon Lectures


A downside of the fading of the pandemic and return to normalcy is that a lot of the institutions which had taken to putting on virtual meetings have now reverted to doing them in person only. Since these events are in many different locations around the world, far away from each other and from me, my ability to attend is severely limited.

One particular frustration has been been the Lyon Court, which for the last few months has been commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Lyon Register. Many times I have seen these lectures advertised on EventBrite, but I have not been able to go to them.

Now, belatedly, there is happy news, for the Lyon Court’s formerly-sparse YouTube channel has in the past fortnight seen a flurry of uploads from this lecture series. It is a little disappointing to have to catch up months later instead of taking part live, but getting to see them at all is still a great improvement compared to what would have been expected three years ago.

Developments in England have been less encouraging – there has been no newsletter from the College of Arms for this July. Upon inquiry, Portcullis told me that they hope to publish one later in the year. The heraldic decisions of Amess, Amos, Blair and Hoyle remain elusive.