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30/12/2015

Fugit inreparabile tempus*

Flooded street

As 2015 comes to a dark, stormy close, with the roof making ominous noises and the sofa surrounded by sandbags, it is with a grim inevitability that we come to the ‘end of year post’.

The end of the year may customarily reek of gin and regrets, a time of self flagellation and half-formed vows to be generally better, vows that taste of ashes in the mouth even as they are said. But not in these parts, oh no. We at NL regrette rien, (or almost rien), at least as far as the blog is concerned.

Well, maybe a couple of regrets to mention. Time, scarce, fugiting time, has meant we haven’t got to some cases as quickly as we ought to have done (or more rarely, not at all). This is inevitable, as we are all very busy and doing lots of other things, but I will confess to the occasional twinge of self inflicted guilt.

Also time related is the second regret, which is that lots of people ignore the ‘we cannot give legal advice via the site’ notice above the contact form. Lots of people email us, and do have genuine and sometimes desperate legal problems. It does not make me at all happy having to send them away. But we can’t advise. We aren’t insured for it, we don’t have the time, and in any event, there is this terrible thing about needing to do paying work in order to get paid. We all do pro bono work, as well as extensive free work on this site, and we can practically do no more. I do my best to point people at other places to contact, but in fairness, the no advice rule has to stay and apply to everyone.

This is a side effect of the cuts in legal aid scope and the contraction in legal aid provision. Many more people are searching for information and advice themselves. The numbers of non lawyers/non housing professionals visiting and revisiting the site seems to have gone up considerably over the last two or three years. While we hope the site is of use to all, we can’t offer more than that.

No regrets otherwise. We have kept on doing what we do, and people have kept coming to read it. I thought there might be a plateau in sight – housing law being pretty specialised, after all – and sooner rather than later, we would reach saturation point. But that hasn’t happened yet. 602,000 page views in 2015, which is up by about 80,000 on 2014’s 520,000.

Over 3000 people getting the email updates and a frankly terrifying 10,354 people follow the @nearlylegal twitter account, which provides a highly questionable mix of housing law news and commuting grumbles.

And resolutions for self-improvement for 2016? None at all…

In the continuing, inexplicable absence of someone offering us large amounts of money for the blog, we will stagger on as before. Any changes or new things will be the result of me being a bit bored with the current site and having time on my hands, so are unlikely.

I am currently ignoring the fact that 2016 will see the 10th anniversary of the site, partly because it makes me feel old – all those hours on posts –  and partly because it makes the site feel like a bit of an institution, ivy wreathed columns and all.

Ruin

So, on we plod. A very happy new year to all our readers (although given our range of readers, this is probably universally impossible). 2016 will be very interesting, one way or another.

 

*’it escapes, irretrievable time’

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

3 Comments

  1. Vivian

    This blog deserves charitable status and should apply for Lottery Funding (amongst other sources of philanthropy and benevolence). In the past, organisations such as ‘Release’ were kept going by the surplus wealth of notable rock stars et al. What has happened? Happy New Year NL and if you can establish a means whereby admirers can contribute financial support for your work then that would be a very good initiative amidst the coming tumult.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Why thank you, but our running costs are only £200 a year or so – thanks to Tessa Shepperson generously providing for our web hosting – and I can manage that happily. So no need for donations.

      Somebody actually being paid to run the site would be a different matter entirely, of course. And not at all cheap. But that is not where we are.

      Reply
  2. Julie Doughty

    Wonderful image of the ivy-clad ruin (the photo, not the site). Might represent all those neglected mansions in London…
    Happy New Year NL

    Reply

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