1 November 1999

The Lawyer

  • A quiet life? Kylie's man should be so lucky

    1-Nov-1999

    Mike Stock, formerly of music production trio Stock Aitken & Waterman, is bringing a multi-million pound claim for property damage against London Underground.Stock, once of the outfit that dominated the music of the 1980s by penning songs for Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley, claims tunnelling work as part of the Jubilee Line extension has compromised the sound insulation of his studio, which stands above the tunnel.The case could be worth as much as £20m ...

  • A year of revolution

    1-Nov-1999

    CIVIL JUSTICE REFORMS

  • Apil warns of 'chaos' in insurance

    1-Nov-1999

    Insurance companies should improve their readiness for the Woolf reforms or risk "chaos" and a return to "trench warfare" between the insurance industry and personal injury lawyers, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) is warning.But insurers say they are baffled by the remarks, insisting they are fighting alongside everyone else to meet Woolf's tight April deadlines.Apil president Ian Walker says the "huge, dumbed-down claims departments" in ...

  • Auditor condemns banks for falsifying affidavit figures

    1-Nov-1999

    Banks are wasting the time of courts and submitting incorrect affidavits as they take cases to recover money from customers, claims a leading bank auditor.Mark Radin, managing director of bank auditors Anglia Business Associates (ABA), makes the claims at the same time as a high street bank admits to errors in an affidavit used in a case against a Norwich businessman.Radin says banks claim more than they are owed in 75 per cent of their cases and would waste ...

  • Banking chief takes the helm as Simmons head bows out

    1-Nov-1999

    Simmons & Simmons has elected David Dickinson as its managing partner. He will succeed the present incumbent Alan Morris in April this year.Dickinson joined Simmons in 1988 and has been managing partner of the firm's banking and capital markets department since his 1994 appointment.Morris refused to stand for re-election at the end of his three-year term, during which time the firm has been restructured with the introduction of performance-related incentives ...

  • Beering all in the pub

    1-Nov-1999

    Innovative Dundee solicitor, Andy Lyall, decided that beer causes trouble for so many clients that he is now advertising his services on beer mats in pubs.The beer mats bear Lyall's photograph, phone number and address with the words "Defence Lawyer".The Law Society of Scotland, however, was not amused and claimed the ads were "not in accordance with the dignity of the profession".The Times

  • BP chops in-house legal team

    1-Nov-1999

    Up to 20 per cent of BP's in-house lawyers are to be axed over the next couple of months as a result of the £67.5bn merger with Amoco completed late last year.BP is planning to cut its legal department, which employs over 340 lawyers worldwide.Peter Bevan, head of BP's legal department, says: "The extent of the reduction will be affected by the type of business activities and their location. The actual selection of lawyers will be based on meritocracy."

  • Brothers in law put up a fight

    1-Nov-1999

    They are the wise guys. Richard and Ian Wise to be precise. And between them they have kept thousands of Britain's most disadvantaged citizens out of jail.Last month, they won a landmark High Court ruling giving hundreds of fine defaulters the go-ahead to begin compensation claims for wrongful imprisonment.Their influence is becoming legendary in prisons. So much so that one in 12 applications for judicial review before the High Court is brought by ...

  • Calvert-Smith promises to make CPS victim-friendly

    1-Nov-1999

    The Crown Prosecution Service vows to give victims of crime and witnesses full explanations of why cases are dropped, says Director of Public Prosecutions David Calvert-Smith in an exclusive interview with The Lawyer.The CPS has been frequently criticised in the past for failing to inform victims, provoking stinging attacks in the media.Calvert-Smith, who took over the role of DPP in November, tells The Lawyer: "I am very anxious to give those immediately concerned ...

  • Calvert-Smith puts on a brave face while CCPs quit the CPS

    1-Nov-1999

    The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is facing a massive brain drain of its most senior lawyers following the planned shake-up on 1 April.More than half the country's 13 chief crown prosecutors (CCPs) will quit the CPS, cashing in on potentially lucrative early retirement and redundancy packages that will cost the service hundreds of thousands of pounds.In an interview with The Lawyer, Director of Public Prosecutions David Calvert-Smith QC says: "It is fair ...

  • Channel Five

    1-Nov-1999

    When Channel Five finally got off the ground in March 1997, it was already shrouded in a cloud of cynicism.

  • Charles Baker

    1-Nov-1999

    Abigail Townsend meets Lawrence Graham’s new shipping partner Charles Baker, a lawyer who loves to travel but hates the journey from his home to Heathrow.

  • Compensate delays to cases, says Scott

    1-Nov-1999

    Sir Richard Scott, the Vice-Chancellor, wants compensation to be paid to lawyers if judges are not available to hear civil cases on prescribed days under the Woolf system.Once the reforms have been instigated in April, courts are to have greater control of timetables and will set court dates earlier in an attempt to speed up the trial process. But civil lawyers are worried that log-jams may occur, leaving them without a judge to hear their case on the agreed day.

  • Costs expert slams legal post service for overcharging firms

    1-Nov-1999

    A Manchester cost-reduction specialist claims that he has successfully pursued a substantial number of claims for law firms for overcharging by monopoly legal postal service Hays DX.BCR Associates director David Ballard says Hays DX has paid tens of thousands of pounds in rebates to law firms in the last five years. He says that every single case that he has handled has been successful.Ballard analyses Hays' monitoring system, examines the number of letters ...

  • Court battle funds - millions of pounds unclaimed

    5-Nov-1999

    And according to a damning report by the National Audit Office (NAO), records fail to identify the rightful owners of nearly £10 million worth of funds.

  • Crawford: Pach plans are bar to equality

    1-Nov-1999

    The Race Relations Committee of the Bar is challenging the Bar Council's decision to bring forward pupillage recruitment to the final year of university.Chair of the committee, Lincoln Crawford QC, fears that changing the system could discriminate against visible minorities.He believes that recruitment will centre on the "old" established universities and not the "new" universities where most ethnic minorities study.Despite the Bar Council's ...

  • Diana lawyers keep bills low

    1-Nov-1999

    THE Diana Memorial Fund has decided to play safe with its legal bills following the bad publicity over Mishcon de Reya's #500,000 bill. Mishcon's successor, Harbottle & Lewis, will receive a "retainer" of #3,000 per month.Daily Mail

  • Digest

    1-Nov-1999

    THE unelected former Solicitor General Charles Falconer QC has risen to become head of the Millennium Dome, amid accusations of 'cronyism'. The downside is Falconer has to wear a hard hat and conduct site inspections. The upside is the Prime Minister's former schoolmate and flatmate is now considered one of the most important people in government by Westminster insiders. Falconer's fellow 'cronies' include Tony Blair's former boss, the Lord Chancellor, ...

  • Drink-drive barrister faces arrest on return to the UK

    1-Nov-1999

    A barrister faces arrest on her return from holiday this week after failing to appear on two drink-drive charges at Bow Street Magistrates Court last Wednesday.Karen Riggott, of Clerkenwell, wrote to the court saying that she could not attend because she was abroad.Prosecutor Raj Barot told magistrate Ronald Bartle this was not an acceptable explanation and a warrant with bail was issued for her arrest.Riggott is charged with failing to provide a ...

  • Elliot acts on Natwest disposal

    1-Nov-1999

    Linklaters partner Robert Elliot led the team which advised the NatWest Group on its disposal of three point of sale finance businesses to the Abbey National Group, worth £347m. Most significantly the underlying funding was £3.8bn.The acquisition by Abbey National will enable it to further strengthen its own point of sale finance operations.The three businesses involved ...

  • European Court breaks through language barrier

    1-Nov-1999

    Travelling citizens of the European Union must be able to use their own language in the court of the region they are visiting if that right is also enjoyed by residents of the area, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.Its judges were asked to consider the cases of an Austrian lorry driver and a German tourist visiting the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy, where there is a German-speaking community that is allowed to use its own language in the courts. The Austrian ...

  • Finers and Stephens Innocent merge

    5-Nov-1999

    The new firm will be called Finers Stephens Innocent and will operate from Finers' offices in Great Portland Street from December 14.

  • Flotations & Financing

    1-Nov-1999

    Simon Staite led the team at Nabarro Nathanson which acted for Henderson Investors, on behalf of Pearl Assurance, on its funding of the £21m Virgin Megaplex scheme in Glasgow. Property partner Diana Courtney at Denton Hall represented Virgin Cinemas, while Pearl Assurance was represented in Scotland by Stuart Tait at

  • Flotations & Financing

    1-Nov-1999

    Keith Thomson of Linklaters led the team which advised on a placing and open offer of £250m-worth of subordinated convertible bonds due in 2004, issued by Airtours, which was represented by Richard Lee at Addleshaw Booth & Co.

  • Government in war over gun amnesty

    1-Nov-1999

    The Government is heading for a new legal duel with former gun owners who complied with the post-Dunblane gun surrender regulations. They claim the Government has failed to honour its part of the deal to compensate them.The Home Office has now been given leave to challenge three earlier court decisions, in which Government moves to block a compensation claim by former gun owner David Steed have been thrown out.But a condition of leave, established at ...

  • Gregory Mitchell on thwarted attempts to change bank law

    1-Nov-1999

    Gregory Mitchell QC is a barrister at 3 Verulam Buildings.An important decision by the Court of Appeal has halted attempts to change the law on recovering money mistakenly paid out by banks.Lloyds Bank electronically transferred #162,000 to Independent Insurance Company, in respect of a debt owed to them by the bank's customer, WF Insurance Services. Unfortunately, the bank had failed to spot that its customer had insufficient cleared ...

  • Hambros buy increases its grip on share of market

    1-Nov-1999

    Estate agency Hambro Countryside Conveyancing, has bought two offices of leasehold conveyancing law firm EDC Lord for £1.6m.Hambro business development manager Richard Sawtell says Hambro aims to achieve more than 30,000 completions and at least a five-figure number of leasehold instructions this year.Already the UK's biggest freehold conveyancer, with 22,000 instructions last year, Hambro's purchase represents another blow for conveyancing lawyers. ...

  • Hammond Suddards poaches indemnity teams from Dibbs

    1-Nov-1999

    Hammond Suddards has scooped the professional indemnity teams from Dibb Lupton Alsop's Leeds and Manchester offices.David Simon, the partner who heads up the team, decided to leave the firm he has worked for for 27 years because he wanted to put together what he describes as two "complementary teams".Simon's nine-strong team - many of whom have been together for over eight years and which includes rated partner Brian McKendry - is long established nationally, ...

  • Hardwicke Building stalker gets court fine

    1-Nov-1999

    A barrister pestered a female colleague, plaguing her with phone calls and letters after she broke off their relationship, a court has heard.Justin Webster, who pleaded guilty to harassment after being charged under the new stalking laws, faces disciplinary action from the Bar Council. Webster, 37, of Hardwicke Building, once made 23 telephone calls in just two hours to the home of 9 King's Bench Walk barrister Bosmath Sheffi, Horseferry Road magistrates were told.

  • Hewitt seeks return of letters

    1-Nov-1999

    James Hewitt has started a High Court action against London solicitors firm, Lawrence Graham seeking the return of 64 letters which were stolen from his home at Bratton near Clovelly, Devon. He claims in the writ that the Princess of Wales wrote and sent him letters which are now in the hands of Lawrence Graham and that all attempts to recover them have failed. He wants the court to order ...

  • In brief: Brown & Wood

    1-Nov-1999

    Brown & Wood and White & Case, both based in New York, are set to merge at the end of February. Brown & Wood partner Tom Smith, speaking from the New York office, refuses to comment other than to say: "The end of February would be the target." If the merger does go ahead, it would create a 1,214 lawyer firm - the fourth largest in the US.

  • In brief: Denton International

    1-Nov-1999

    Denton International Spanish network member Bufete Lupicinio Rodriguez has changed its name to Denton Lupicinio R. The Denton International network is an alliance of seven European law firms with a total of 760 lawyers and the name change highlights Denton Hall's move towards globalisation.

  • In brief: Hempsons

    1-Nov-1999

    Hempsons is accused by the Medical Defence Union (MDU) of negligence. The claim comes in a writ issued last week against the law firm, which alleges it was negligent in its handling of a libel action brought by Dr Peter Bixon against Channel 4 in 1994. The writ accuses the firm of negligence and breach of professional duty in advice given to the MDU over the action. The MDU is represented in the action by Davies Arnold Cooper.

  • In brief: Magistrates' Courts Committees

    1-Nov-1999

    Magistrates' Courts Committees (MCCs) of Avon and Somerset are being merged into a single MCC, the Lord Chancellor's Department has announced. Administrative and financial structures for the courts will merge on 1 April, 2000. Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, wants to see the number of MCCs falling "substantially" as part of the drive by the Government to improve efficiency and reduce delays.

  • In brief: Steve Orchard

    1-Nov-1999

    Steve Orchard, the Legal Aid Board's chief executive, has been awarded a CBE in the New Year's honours list for services to legal aid. He has worked in the legal profession for more than 37 years and at the LAB for 10 years. He says: "I'm obviously delighted for myself and my colleagues who have all worked hard to put us in a successful position." He cites "the development and implementation of franchising and its growth into the basis for contracting of all legal aid ...

  • In brief: The Government

    1-Nov-1999

    The Government has greatly increased magistrates' powers in the Youth Court to lock up juveniles. This appears to have taken place without proper consultation. The maximum custodial term that the Youth Court will be able to impose has increased from 12 to 24 months. Paul Cavadino, director of policy for the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, says: "It cannot be right for such a sweeping increase in magistrates' powers to be implemented inadvertently ...

  • In brief: The International Bar Association

    1-Nov-1999

    The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute has achieved further success by successfully negotiating the release of Iranian legal scholar Hojatoleslam Sayyid Mohssen Saeidzadeh. He had been detained without charge and denied access to counsel since June 1998. He was imprisoned because of an article he had written arguing for a progressive view of Islam in family law.

  • In brief: Weightmans

    1-Nov-1999

    Weightmans, the Liverpool-based insurance law firm, is taking over eight-partner Midlands insurance practice William Hatton on 1 May. Weightmans will have 50 partners and over 450 staff. The move aims to strengthen Weightmans' position in the Midlands, where it has offices in Birmingham, and from March in Manchester.

  • In-house calls the shots

    1-Nov-1999

    Since the end of the recession - a watershed period for legal businesses - in-house lawyers have called the shots on fees. Private practices were bending over backwards to provide companies with competitively-priced services.But they weren't bending far enough, according to the findings of our survey. Fees are still a big bone of contention. Yes, in-house teams found external advisers helpful. Yes, very few found them patronising.But 70 per ...

  • In-house on the warpath

    1-Nov-1999

    This year promises to be a testing time for law firms as more companies than ever plan a strategy to minimise fees and squeeze greater value for money from their external lawyers. That is the finding of two exclusive surveys of in-house lawyers undertaken by The Lawyer last year.A mid-year survey conducted among 250 people revealed that 32 per cent of companies were unhappy with their external legal advisers and intended to change law firms in the next year - a figure that ...

  • Insolvency reform under threat as Mandy departs

    1-Nov-1999

    The future of insolvency law reform is in doubt after the abrupt departure of Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Peter Mandelson.Insolvency lawyers are questioning whether planned reforms will take place in spite of Mandelson's departure. Mandelson planned to reduce the burdens of insolvency.The fate of the proposed moratorium for smaller companies as part of a Company Voluntary Arrangement is uncertain, although the Department of Trade and Industry ...

  • Judges avoid charity work

    1-Nov-1999

    JUDGES are treating charity work cautiously following the Lord Hoffmann debacle.The Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, has bowed out of hosting a fund raising reception for Amnesty International because he has been told he could be one of the judges hearing General Augusto Pinochet's new plea for state immunity.While Lord Woolf has no formal role in Amnesty - unlike Lord Hoffmann whose links with the charity caused the original Law Lords' ruling to be ...

  • Kevin Lloyd is rejoining Herbert Smith as a litigation partner

    1-Nov-1999

    Kevin Lloyd is rejoining Herbert Smith as a litigation partner. Lloyd left the firm in 1988 for Australian firm Mallesons, where he was made a partner in 1990, handling commercial litigation cases caused by the corporate collapses of the late 1980s.Freshfields is appointing Jacques-Phillipe Gunther, a French avocat and competition specialist, as a partner in its Paris office. Gunther, a specialist in French and EC competition law, is currently a partner with ...

  • Law Lords protect the family home

    1-Nov-1999

    In 1986 Norton Rose put one of their newest recruits, Catriona Syed, on the team advising a wealthy widow on how to avoid the tax man getting his claws into the family home after her death.Now, over a decade later, Syed, who joined Charles Russell along with Norton Rose's ...

  • Law Society goes it alone on standard fee research

    1-Nov-1999

    The Government's refusal to conduct "essential" research into standard fees for family law cases has forced the Law Society to hunt out its own data.The Law Society is fiercely critical of the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine's decision to introduce standard fees for all family law related cases in January 2000 without conducting new research.The Law Society's head of solicitor remuneration, David Hartley, says: "We are doing this research as the Lord ...

  • LCD's computer choice is branded 'illogical'

    1-Nov-1999

    An Information technology company has lodged a complaint with the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) over the "illogical" selection of a rival computer system, costing £60m more, to be used in magistrates courts in England and Wales.A private finance initiative deal worth £183m - known as Project Libra - was awarded to ICL and Unisys just before Christmas. They will supply computers and software to 500 magistrates courts. The service will be up and running ...

  • LCD's PI reforms 'incomplete'

    1-Nov-1999

    Personal injury lawyers are furious that they have still not been told about the new rules and practice regulations that they will have to work under, with just 77 working days to go before the Woolf reforms take effect.Lawyers are angry that they are being given no time to prepare staff and clients for what has been called a "revolution" in legal practices.The Lord Chancellor's Department counters that the draft rules have been available on the Internet ...

  • Legal Widow

    1-Nov-1999

    When the great managing partner holds that final drinks party in the sky, I'll be in good company, because I'll be with all the legal widows (legal widowers, I'm afraid, will have to find their own champion and in any case, statistics are on our side).

  • Leigh Day partner persuades govt to back Japanese PoWs

    1-Nov-1999

    Leigh Day & Co senior partner Martyn Day has persuaded the Foreign Office to reconsider making a claim against Japan to compensate former prisoners of war.He is due to meet Foreign Office minister Derek Fatchett on Wednesday, and says he expects the Government to decide this week whether it will make a claim under Article 26 of the 1951 Treaty of Peace with Japan.Foreign Office advice not to use this route to pursue a claim was concealed from the public. Article ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 11/01/99

    1-Nov-1999

    Martijn Willem Otto Biesheuvel v Andrew Birrell (1999) - QBD (Eady J) 21 December 1998Plaintiff: Male, 22Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: Plaintiff was a rear-seat passenger in a car being driven by the defendant. The defendant lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a row of parked cars. Neither the defendant nor the other three passengers were badly hurt, but the plaintiff broke his neck in the accident and was left paralysed ...

  • Litigation Writs 11/01/99

    1-Nov-1999

    The Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) is suing Michael Clarke, of London SE6, in respect of a collapsed £2.2m property deal. The writ says Clarke agreed to buy property called Lake View at Farnborough, in Kent, with additional land, for £2.2m in December 1995, and instructed solicitors Streathers to act for him. It alleges that Mr Aitkenhead, a third party, advanced £150,000 to the firm by a telegraphic transfer into the firm's ..

  • Mandela team to see Gadafy

    1-Nov-1999

    NELSON Mandela is sending a two-man delegation to Libya to meet Colonel Gadafy this week in a diplomatic initiative to persuade Libya to hand over the two main suspects in the trial over the bombing of the Pan Am flight 103 which crashed on Lockerbie in 1989.The Guardian

  • Marketing does not add value to service - or reputation

    1-Nov-1999

    Many City firms are facing the coming year with fear and trepidation. The managing partners of most medium-sized firms risk losing a large number of clients to the bigger firms and, as such, the prospect of merging has become increasingly more attractive.Some firms have already indicated that they intend to fight their corner by specialising and putting their faith in marketing. There is nothing wrong with using marketing to make your firm appear more attractive as a potential ...

  • Maverick Judge dies aged 83

    1-Nov-1999

    Judge Michael Argyle QC, has died at the age of 83. He was a controversial character, famous for defending the great train robber Ronnie Biggs and later for presiding over the Oz obscenity trial.Educated at Westminster, Judge Argyle was called to the Bar in 1938 but was delayed in his legal career by the Second World War, in which he won the Military Cross. He was a Conservative parliamentary candidate in 1950 and 1955 before going on to defend Biggs.Judge Argyle ...

  • Mystery US firm offers £1m for UK partners

    1-Nov-1999

    A US firm is offering a staggering £1m minimum salary in order to poach partners from UK practices.It is believed to be a record salary for a job advertisement.The huge incentive is the latest inducement by cash-rich US firms to attract City lawyers.An advertisement placed in The Lawyer is calling for UK partners to jump ship and join the US firm, which has remained anonymous."The firm is intensely profitable - the headline figure ...

  • Pets to join the jet-set

    1-Nov-1999

    QUARANTINE laws could become a thing of the past if cat-lover Matt Geiden (above) is successful with a judicial review action he is pursuing in the High Court.Geiden argues that quarantine breaches the Treaty of Rome's guarantee that citizens of the European Union are entitled to move freely between member countries "with their goods", on the grounds cats and dogs are "goods".As animal owners have paid an estimated #200m in kennel fees since Britain joined ...

  • Prince Jefri: KPMG case rings change in the City

    1-Nov-1999

  • Property

    1-Nov-1999

    The Greenalls Group and Nomura International have agreed to sell their entire franchised and tenanted estate to Tudor House Acquisitions. The total purchase price is £370m. Greenalls was advised by Travers Smith Braithwaite with partner Simon Jay leading the corporate team. Nomura was advised by Clifford Chance, ...

  • Property

    1-Nov-1999

    Herbert Smith acted for Stockley Park Consortium in its sale of 3 Furzeground Way to Equitable Life for approximately £30m. Property partner Shelagh McKibbin acted for the Consortium on the sale. Peter Goddard of Denton Hall advised Equitable Life.

  • Property

    1-Nov-1999

    Michelle Howie, property partner at Herbert Smith, advised BSkyB in relation to the acquisition of a new lease for the West Cross House in Brentford from Brixton Estates. The lease has been taken for a term of 20 years at an initial annual rent of £1.35m.

  • Protocols still not finalised

    1-Nov-1999

    The pre-action protocols for personal injury law under the Woolf reforms are still missing.Nigel Tomkins, of the joint working party drawing up the protocols, says they were due to be released before Christmas and says he can not understand why they are still under wraps. "As far as I know they were finalised weeks ago. But I haven't even had a copy of them and I'm a member of the committee," he says.A spokesman for the Lord Chancellor's Department ...

  • PwC plots City firm takeover

    1-Nov-1999

    The world's biggest accountancy group, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is understood to be planning to buy a medium-sized City law firm this year as part of its plans to be a top five international law firm.Gerard Nicolay, global leader of PwC's legal network, says he wants the group's London practice to have 400 to 500 lawyers within two years. PwC's London firm, Arnheim Tite & Lewis, currently employs 100 lawyers.However, Arnheim Tite & Lewis ...

  • Rebel without applause

    1-Nov-1999

    Danny McNamee is clearly a dedicated man. He has been waiting for over 12 years to practise law. He has “assisted” in Old Bailey trials, High Court appeals and the collection of forensic evidence. His legal training has taken him to some of Britain’s most secure prisons, from Brixton to Durham, Whitemoor, Belmarsh and most recently Belfast’s Maze.Although he passed his law degree in June, it was not until eight days before Christmas, when the appeal court quashed his conviction ...

  • Reforming the Bar for business

    1-Nov-1999

    I should like to address the article written by Ronald Thwaites QC (The Lawyer, 3 November 1998) entitled "Stemming the young Bar tide".I am currently on the Bar Vocational Course and to date have not been able to secure a pupillage. I have a first degree in Chemistry and 15 years experience in industry in a technical/commercial role.Whilst reassured that eminent barristers in the profession are concerned with our situation, I cannot agree ...

  • Ruling frees councils' hands for tendering

    1-Nov-1999

    Local authorities are now free to judge tenders for council contracts on their merits, rather than being tied to one supplier.The change comes as a result of a recent High Court ruling, in which London Transport took Hillingdon Council to judicial review, claiming its existing bus shelters must stay in place forever under the London Passenger Transport Act 1934.However, the court upheld Hillingdon Council's decision to force London Transport to rip down ...

  • Securicor

    7-Nov-1999

    On Tuesday Securicor will move from its position in the FTSE 100 into the FTSE 250, when its market capitalisation drops from £3.6bn to £600m.

  • Setting standards for Bar practice

    1-Nov-1999

    Sir Winston Churchill said that an optimist was someone who found the opportunity in every difficulty. I declare myself an optimist about the kite-marking of chambers management and administration.In 1999 the Bar will introduce a kite-marking system based on its existing Practice Management Standards (PMS). The kite mark will have British Standard or similar, approval followed by accreditation through independent agencies.The standard should be approved ...

  • SIF distorting market claims Michael Beloff

    1-Nov-1999

    Michael Beloff QC has attacked the Law Society's Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) for restricting and distorting competition under European Community law.Beloff's advice was requested by the November Group, which is campaigning against compulsory professional indemnity insurance.Beloff also says that SIF is "the creation and puppet of the Law Society" and through it the body "controls the market, both insurance and legal".His advice comes ...

  • Simmons set to advise MoD

    1-Nov-1999

    Simmons & Simmons beat eight law firms to advise the Ministry of Defence on the privatisation of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA).DERA conducts research and gives advice to support the development and procurement of defence systems and equipment. The government decided earlier this year to investigate public/private partnership options for the agency to help raise money for public spending.Simmons will initially work on developing recommendations ...

  • Slash your fees, say in-house to law firms

    1-Nov-1999

    In-house lawyers are set to become more aggressive with their law firms in 1999, re-negotiating fees and reviewing panels, an exclusive survey by the Lawyer reveals this week.Seventy per cent surveyed say their private practice fees were excessive in the survey, which was conducted at the end of last year.Of those who said that fees were excessive, 50 per cent said they would consider using an alternative firm.The survey also reveals that 68 per cent ...

  • Small-town solicitor still practising despite five misconduct convictions

    1-Nov-1999

    A WELSH solicitor is still being allowed to practise despite being found guilty of misconduct on five separate occasions.The case of Tyrone Jude Francis has re-ignited calls for a tightening up of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT). The Law Society believes it is too lenient in too many cases.Francis faced disciplinary hearings in 1986, 1989, 1992, 1996 and 1997. On each occasion he was found guilty of conduct unbefitting a solicitor. He has been fined ...

  • Spanish government up against ECJ over discriminatory law

    1-Nov-1999

    A law in Spain which requires foreign plaintiffs to give a financial guarantee to cover costs and lawyers' fees prior to the conclusion of civil proceedings is to become the focus of a legal battle at the European Court of Justice.The European Commission has referred Madrid to the ECJ, which has the power to order the Spanish government to abolish the practice. If it refuses, European judges can impose huge fines.Spanish citizens are not subject to the requirement ...

  • SPC chief blames delays on sabotage

    1-Nov-1999

    The beleaguered Solicitors Property Centre Network Services (SPCNS) is nearly out of money and it claims that attempts to launch the first Solicitors Property Centre (SPC) in England were sabotaged by estate agencies.SPCNS director Tony Bogan says that the first SPC - which will offer a property selling service in house - would have been open by now had the 10 firms involved not been continually gazumped on their new premises."The local estate agents were putting ...

  • Stars in their files

    1-Nov-1999

    NO one could accuse Razi Mireskandari of name-dropping - despite the fact that he has just casually mentioned Liam, Noel, Paula and Jarvis.As the Simons Muirhead & Burton partner reels off a a few of his clients, he names a showbiz celebrity A-list. A solicitor to the stars, Mireskandari probably knows a few secrets that would have the tabloid press salivating.He acted for pop star Jarvis Cocker after the infamous 1996 Brit Awards affair, when Cocker upstaged an evangelically-posed ...

  • Swapping law for crocodiles

    1-Nov-1999

    A trainee solicitor-cum-Crocodile Dundee adventurer has given new hope to those wanting to opt out of the law.Twenty four-year-old Abigail Wilkinson of Solihull gave up her traineeship at a Birmingham firm where she aimed to specialise in EU law, because she found it "boring".Wilkinson then went backpacking in the Australian outback, fell overboard while canoeing through a crocodile-infested swamp and was dragged out by cattle rancher, David Wielders, who she ...

  • The glam world of anoraks

    1-Nov-1999

    As the media law bandwagon hurtles on through the digital age, lawyers working in the field face the increasingly tough task of keeping on top of developments.The launch of digital television last year, the increasing use of the Internet, new technology and the changing role of libel law all give the lawyer specialising in media and entertainments a fair bit to think about. And the increasing complexity of the area means it now attracts legal anoraks alongside the cinema ...

  • The Lawyer boosts its coverage

    1-Nov-1999

    The Lawyer is boosting its requested circulation from 18,000 to 25,000 and undergoing a major editorial revamp as part of ongoing expansion.The circulation hike means that the paper will now reach every in-house lawyer in commerce and industry.There are now nine pages of news instead of five, three news analysis pages and a new-look back page which will feature fortnightly columns.The City Lawyer pages have been redesigned to focus more on the personalities ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Keith Vaz

    1-Nov-1999

    Keith Vaz MP was born in in South Yemen in 1956. He is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General and MP to Leicester East.What was your first job?Sales assistant, household goods, Dickens & Jones, aged 16.What subject(s) did you fail at school?All science subjects.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?#4,000 pa.

  • Threesomes make uneasy bedfellows

    1-Nov-1999

    What is it about tripartite mergers? Despite numerous attempts, only ex-Tory minister Lord Hunt of Wirral seems to have been able to pull one off.And the Beachcrofts and Wansbroughs merger is not really a three-way deal. Poor little Vaudreys up in Manchester was always a tiddler which Wansbroughs had decided to swallow, long before Lord Hunt sauntered onto the scene with a proposal to meld his London spider into Wansbroughs' regional cobweb of offices.The ...

  • Time to get real - the big five just got bigger

    1-Nov-1999

    Not so long ago the word in the legal marketplace was that big was no longer beautiful. The multi-firm mergers that created City-dominating giants were on their way out and clients were instead looking for boutique services and concentrated expertise.All that may have been wishfulthinking. Multi-skilling and global reach are still big news. PricewaterhouseCoopers' avowed aim to become "one of the top five legal firms in the world within the next five years" ...

  • Time to play the field in euroland

    1-Nov-1999

    Chris Bates, Clifford ChanceHaydn Puleston Jones, LinklatersBill Richards, Lawrence GrahamMuch has been said about the potential strengths and pitfalls of the euro, now ...

  • Tobacco advertising challenge

    1-Nov-1999

    The High Court has cleared the way for tobacco giants British American Tobacco Investments, Gallaher, Imperial and Rothmans (UK) to take their fight against restrictions on tobacco advertising to the European Court of Justice. The four tobacco giants are challenging the legality of EU directive 98/43/EC which bans tobacco advertising. In making the referral, Mr Justice Turner said that their case was "overwhelming".

  • Tribunals in cash plea as workload increases

    1-Nov-1999

    Employment lawyers are demanding the Treasury urgently increase funding to employment tribunals after the release of a government report that predicts a big jump in cases.Employment lawyers sector say action is needed to ensure they can cope with a raft of new employment legislation.In its annual report, government watchdog the Council on Tribunals - headed by former Labour minister Lord Archer of Sandwell - says European working time rules, the impending minimum ...

  • Under sheriff fights back

    1-Nov-1999

    I write in response to Philip Evans' article (The Lawyer, 1 December 1998) on whether county court bailiffs can deal with the increased pressures forced upon them by recession and rule changes.The description of a "shrivelled shrievalty" mentioned in Philip's penultimate paragraph is inaccurate and misleading. The sheriffs in England and Wales have been described recently as the law's "best-kept secret". The oldest secular office in ...

  • US seeks to try Pinochet

    1-Nov-1999

    General Pinochet is now under investigation by the American Justice Department, which is considering whether he can be tried in the US.Attorney-General Janet Reno said her department was reviewing a car bombing in Washington in 1976 which killed former Chilean Ambassador and prominent Pinochet critic Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt, a US citizen.Meanwhile, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon whose warrant led to Pinochet's arrest, has been voted ...

  • Will judges return to the dark ages?

    1-Nov-1999

    To most of the population, the UK's judges were, for a long time, an anonymous bunch of toffs, probably a bit doddery and completely in the dark about The Rolling Stones or Gazza. The average person on the street probably did not know what a Law Lord was, let alone be able to name one.All that changed with the Pinochet case.Under the world's spotlight, Lord Hoffmann - not only no longer anonymous, but now infamously known as "Legover Lennie" - forgot ...

  • Woolf reforms will 'hike costs'

    1-Nov-1999

    The Woolf reforms will complicate the legal system and cost clients more money, believes a legal costs expert.James Diamond, managing director of Legal Costs Services, which prepares figures in court costs disputes, says many of the provisions invite abuse from wealthy groups to the detriment of the less well-off. The requirement that a party must pay the other side's costs 14 days after losing an interlocutory hearing - even if it has a good chance of winning the case ...