12 February 1996

The Lawyer

  • 'Bureaucratic' committal plans come under fire

    13-Feb-1996

    THE CAMPAIGN to force the revision of "complex, bureaucratic and inflexible" government proposals to abolish committal proceedings has intensified.The Law Society's criminal law specialist Roger Ede and London Criminal Court Solicitors' Association president Tony Edwards are due to meet senior Home Office officials this week to press the case for major changes to the Government's transfer for trial scheme.The scheme formed part of the 1994 Criminal ...

  • An open letter to the profession

    13-Feb-1996

    It is always difficult to know when to blow the whistle publicly. For many in the profession this piece of mine will be heretical and arrant nonsense; for others (perhaps more at the epicentre) it will be a long overdue exposure. For most, perhaps, it will simply be another milestone on the road to realisation.The text is: Martin Mears is not the new broom, the breath of fresh air, the sacker of Chancery Lane and saviour of the profession that many hoped ...

  • Barrister returns to City fold

    13-Feb-1996

    A BARRISTER who was made redundant by Denton Hall's planning practice in November 1994 has re-joined the firm as the number three senior lawyer in the same department.Margaret Caseley-Hayford replaces Helen Norris, who left Denton Hall for McGuinness Finch in October.Caseley-Hayford said of her move from Berwin Leighton back to Denton Hall: "I built up my reputation and track record with Denton Hall. I was lucky to work with an equally respected firm in ...

  • Brief

    13-Feb-1996

    LONDON firm David Wineman has issued a writ on behalf of five members of the hit seventies band Showaddywaddy, which continues as a successful touring group.The writ claims the three defendants are passing themselves off as Showaddywaddy. The trio, original band members who split away from the other five between 1984 and 1995, have already undertaken not to perform as or to describe themselves using the word Showaddywaddy until a court hearing expected at the end of the ...

  • Carry on conveyancing

    13-Feb-1996

    The ability of John Edge to find about 12,500 signatures to support his Conveyancing Fee Initiative, when the Law Society's paper Adapting To The Future received only a poor response, has surprised many in the profession.But there should be no surprise at the difference between these results; Edge's letter took five minutes to read, was easy to reply to and, if its proposals were successful, virtually promised greater financial reward for all. At first glance, ...

  • City split over pensions ruling

    13-Feb-1996

    The taxpayer may have to foot the bill for legal costs after a series of High Court rulings overturning decisions by the Pensions Ombudsman.However, City lawyers at Hammond Suddards and Paisner & Co, acting on either side in a recent case, disagree on whether a recent judgment will open the floodgates for successful appeals.They also disagree on whether the judge, Mr Justice Carnwath, even ruled on the important issue of ombudsman powers. And a number of other ...

  • David Gray sympathises with plaintiffs in bankruptcy orders

    13-Feb-1996

    Most litigators will have experienced the frustration of suing a defendant who goes bankrupt. Under Section 285 (3) of the Insolvency Act 1986, once a bankruptcy order is made no creditor of the bankrupt has any remedy or can start any action or legal proceedings against the bankrupt, if the debt is provable.But what does the plaintiff do if the bankruptcy order is made after the proceedings have been commenced?Unlike Section 130 of the Act, which ...

  • Dibbs strikes up partnership with major Chicago practice

    13-Feb-1996

    UK firm Dibb Lupton Broomhead has struck a formal association with 355-lawyer Chicago practice Hinshaw & Culbertson.Both firms say the partnership will aim to share expertise for mutual client benefit, refer business to each other, participate in joint projects and regularly second lawyers to each others firms.Thomas Hamilton, partner in charge of Hinshaws insurance coverage practice, said: "For each firm, we found ourselves trying to serve clients with foreign ...

  • Fear and loathing abroad

    13-Feb-1996

    Recent research by Executive Travel magazine and Visa International has established that one in three business travellers is deterred from visiting countries which are considered unsafe.The survey, which involved 1,000 UK frequent flyers, found that over half of the men and three quarters of the women questioned felt vulnerable when travelling overseas and over a third avoided visiting certain countries altogether.While business travellers expect their companies ...

  • Flotations

    13-Feb-1996

    Wallace & Partners acted for Gerrard Vivian Gray, nominated adviser to Jasmin and Telecom Credit Europe, in both companies' admissions to the Alternative Investment Market.

  • Govt takes legal advice on stalkers

    13-Feb-1996

    The Home Office is in talks with lawyers over plans to toughen up the law on stalkers.It is understood the discussions are centring on examples of specific anti-stalking laws in the US, Canada and Australia.In a letter to The Independent earlier this month, Home Office Minister Timothy Kirkhope said: "There are real difficulties in extending the law without criminalising routine and essentially harmless behaviour, but we are not complacent. We want to offer as ...

  • Hanson split puts firms in line for slice of the action

    13-Feb-1996

    GOULDENS and Norton Rose could be in the frame for work on the giant Hanson demerger, even though the company is initially handling its legal work in-house.Hanson's surprise announcement to break up into four separate companies, thought to be worth £2 billion or more apiece, is likely to involve demerger costs of at least £100 million.Rumours have been circulating ...

  • Howard and a chorus of judicial disapproval

    13-Feb-1996

    IF CROWN court judge Barrington Black's views on sentencing are typical, then the Lord Chief Justice got it spot on when he opted to greet Michael Howard's populist sentencing reform plans with a swift counter punch.Within an hour of unveiling proposals at the October Tory Party conference to force courts to impose longer prison terms for burglary, drug dealing, violence and sexual offences, Lord Taylor had publicly attacked them.For Judge Black it ...

  • In brief: AEL sets March date for Norway meeting

    13-Feb-1996

    The Association of European Lawyers is to hold a training seminar on employment law in the UK and Europe. It will take place in Oslo on 15 March. The 33-firm strong AEL was founded in 1989, and the largest group of commercial members is UK-based, with five firms represented. The latest meeting of the group took place on 19 January at member Morgan Bruce's Cardiff office. Representatives from members Anderson ...

  • In brief: High Court reaches Gulf War decision

    13-Feb-1996

    As The Lawyer was going to press the High Court announced a decision in favour of law firm Donn & Co, which had judicially reviewed the Legal Aid Board for awarding the legal aid contract to claim compensation for Gulf War veterans solely to two other firms; Dawbarns and Geoffrey Stevens & Co. A board spokeswoman said: "We are disappointed with the results particularly because of the effects on the claimants and the delay and disruption the decision will cause in progressing the claims. ...

  • In brief: Law Soc denies 'legal limbo' claim

    13-Feb-1996

    The Law Society has rejected claims in The Times that solicitors are working in legal limbo because its new £2.5 million computer system has failed to send out their practising certificates in time. The article said the Law Society was breaking the law by failing to discharge its functions under the Solicitors Act 1974. In a statement, the society said all practising certificates remained valid until a replacement was issued. It added that "painful teething troubles" with the ...

  • In brief: Lewis Silkin attracts Lovells partner

    13-Feb-1996

    Lewis Silkin has gained a property consultant from Lovell White Durrant. David Shankland was a partner at Lovells for 23 years and for much of that time he headed its property sector. Shankland said: "I relish this opportunity to continue and expand my property law practice at such a dynamic and client-focused firm as Lewis Silkin for the benefit of all our clients."

  • In brief: Lord Chancellor plans simpler libel actions

    13-Feb-1996

    Libel actions will be "improved and simplified" by Lord Mackay's Defamation Bill, introduced into the House of Lords last week. Improvements in the Defamation Bill include a new summary procedure, allowing judges to dispose quickly of simpler and less serious claims and avoid the need for a trial. Judges will be able to make awards of up to £10,000, while also dismissing weak claims. A new defence of 'offer of amends' will allow defendants to curtail proceedings ...

  • In brief: Manchester venue for law seminar

    13-Feb-1996

    A lawyers' seminar to be held in Manchester on 22 February will outline for the first time details of draft proposals to bring co-operative law into line with company legislation. The event aims to bring together practitioners handling co-operatives' work to discuss a new Co-operatives Act. This will take the place of Industrial and Provident Society legislation, originally passed in 1852 and last amended nearly 30 years ago. 'Co-operative Legal Action Now' is open ...

  • In brief: MEP gives low-down on EU food law

    13-Feb-1996

    MEP Anita Pollack will be giving an update on EU food law issues, including novel foods, nutrition labelling and unit pricing to the Law Society's Food Law Group. The meeting will take place on 4 March 1996 at 5.30pm. Enquiries should be made to the group's chair Margaret Murray on 0181 944 1335.

  • In brief: Training companies forge partnership

    13-Feb-1996

    National Law Tutors, the legal training company, has teamed up with the University of Cambridge Board of Continuing Education to pool lecturing resources. The two bodies boast they can jointly provide more than 400 continuing professional development courses for solicitors. David Tucker, of National Law Tutors, said the venture combined the academic strengths of the University of Cambridge with the practical experience and technology of his company.

  • In-house QC decides to go private

    13-Feb-1996

    Derek Wheatley QC is taking a second shot at the private Bar after 17 years working as an in-house barrister.Wheatley has begun practice at Michael Edward QC's Verulam chambers.Since leaving private practice 17 years ago, he has been chief legal adviser at Lloyds Bank for 15 years and a legal adviser for London law firm Watson Farley & Williams for the last ...

  • Judiciary strikes back

    13-Feb-1996

    Judicial review used to be just an esoteric part of constitutional law studied by law students and usually forgotten once they qualify and practise in more lucrative areas of the law.But that no longer seems to be the case. Judicial dissent now seems to be the order of the day.Judges are often accused of being out of touch and sometimes too outspoken and controversial on the bench. That image is still perpetuated in the press and does exist.But the ...

  • Law group focuses on medical negligence

    13-Feb-1996

    THE NEWLY-formed Medical Negligence Defence Solicitors' Group has called for the legal profession to be properly trained in dealing with medical negligence cases.The proposal was made in a paper put to Lord Woolf by the group, which was founded at the end of last year to represent solicitors acting for defendants in medical negligence litigation.It calls for improved administration of courts and for a fully implemented code of practice governing pre-action ...

  • Law Lords scrutinise libel case

    13-Feb-1996

    A libel action struck out by the High Court in 1992 for want of prosecution is to come under the scrutiny of the Law Lords. Although the Court of Appeal backed the High Court ruling the Law Lords have given leave for Felix Fareed Ismail Grovit to question whether the case should have been struck out. The libel action centres on allegations about Grovit which were contained in a reference for one of the defendants in the action.

  • Law Society makes extra time for reform talks

    13-Feb-1996

    REFORM plans which could see the Law Society presid-ent's wings clipped are to be discussed at a special meeting on Wednesday.The extra meeting, which is costing the Law Society up to £20,000 to arrange, was scheduled after planned debates on a wholesale shake-up of Chancery Lane were squeezed out of both December and January's council meetings.Conveyancing has dominated society affairs recently, but last month the council also spent much of its ...

  • Letter to the president

    13-Feb-1996

    MARTIN Mears' election to the presidency has led to inefficiency, incompetence and discord at the expense of the burning issue of reform, according to his former presidential rival Eileen Pembridge.In an open letter in this week's issue of The Lawyer she launches an impassioned attack on Mears and his deputy Robert Sayer.She reveals she will not be standing for the presidency this year for "extraneous reasons". She adds that opposing the pair at the ...

  • Life as a high flier

    13-Feb-1996

    How many lawyers can you fit into a jumbo jet? The answer depends on who is paying the bill.If the firm's client is footing the bill for a long-haul flight, the lawyers will usually travel business class or the equivalent, never first class or Concorde, unless, perhaps, the client is British Airways. The reasoning is that time is money, and the lawyers should be working while in transit.City firm

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 13/02/96

    13-Feb-1996

    Robert David Norman Lowe, 44, admitted 1981, practised as partner in Lester Aldridge of Bournemouth, struck off and ordered to pay £943. Allegations substantiated he had been jailed for seven months last year after pleading guilty at Bournemouth Crown Court to fraudulent evasion of prohibition or restriction on the importation of indecent and obscene material. Convictions ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 13/02/96

    13-Feb-1996

    Piper v Milton Keynes Health Authority - QBD 22 January 199Claimant: Sydney Piper, 43, widower of Claire Piper, suing on behalf of himself and seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old sonIncident: Alleged medical negligenceInjury: Mrs Piper, 31 at time of death, referred by GP to general surgeon after she complained of stomach pains; 1986 report showing borderline malignancy not sent to her GP; at beginning of 1990 she was found to have ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 13/02/96

    13-Feb-1996

    Board's discretion as to terms of betting on horse racesR v Horse race Totaliser Board, ex parte William Hill, ex parte Guppy.QBD (Macpherson J) 15/12/95.Summary: Challenge to horse race betting conditions as set by the Totalisator Board.Bookmaker's application for judicial review of horse race betting terms which were determined by the Totalisator Board.

  • Litigation Writs 13/02/96

    13-Feb-1996

    Basildon man Martyn Smith who was badly hurt in a car accident is suing Helen Girling, of Ingatestone, Essex, the driver of the other vehicle in the December 1992 crash, for compensation. Smith, 25 at the time of the crash, suffered a serious lower back injury and a whiplash injury, for which prognosis is guarded but very poor.Writ issued by E Edwards Son & Noice, London E6 S206A widower who claims his wife ...

  • Making tracks

    13-Feb-1996

    The first-class carriages on Eurostar trains are fast becoming travelling offices for the UK's top corporate and commercial lawyers. And on an average working day, the £220 seats are likely to hold several City lawyers.This trend illustrates three facets of travel and the law. First, lawyers no longer have the luxury of enjoying the view, whether crossing the Channel or travelling through the countryside. They are expected to use and charge travelling time. Second, ...

  • Mayer Brown recruits add muscle to derivatives arm

    13-Feb-1996

    Chicago-based Mayer, Brown & Platt is the latest US firm to bolster derivatives in its seven-partner London office with two senior appointments.The move will strengthen the international firm's role in work between London and the US, the two most important markets for derivatives.US lawyer Richard Cole, partner in charge of the London office, said: "This gives us a very big boost, although we have done work in derivatives here before. With this acquisition, ...

  • MMC police duties plan goes on hold

    13-Feb-1996

    THE GOVERNMENT is deferring for a year its controversial plan to transfer enforcement of fines and other court orders from police to Magistrates Court Committees (MCCs).The transfer proposal triggered a legal action against the Government late last year.The Magistrates Association (MA) says it was told by the Lord Chancellor's Department that Lord Mackay and Home Secretary Michael Howard "acknowledged the problems which have emerged" in talks with MCCs.

  • MOD ban on gays may be resolved in European Court

    13-Feb-1996

    THE GOVERNMENT'S decision to continue the ban on homosexuality in the armed forces looks set to cause a clash between it and the European Court of Human Rights.The decision by the Ministry of Defence is expected to be announced later this month when the internal review of the policy is made public. The report will be passed to the all-party Armed Forces Select Committee for consideration before the matter comes before MPs.Defence Minister Nicholas Soames ...

  • No Excuse for poor practice

    13-Feb-1996

    A recent High Court move which could have blocked a number of solicitor's negligence actions has failed.In a case closely followed by a number of firms with pending negligence actions and also by the Solicitors Indemnity Fund, the High Court refused an application to throw out part of a negligence action as frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process. The action centred on settlement of ancillary divorce proceedings.The events which ...

  • Non-lawyer set to take top post at Simmons & Simmons

    13-Feb-1996

    THE FIRST non-lawyer to be appointed to the top job at a big City law firm will take the helm of Simmons & Simmons in January next year.Alan Morris, the firm's finance director, was elected by the Simmons & Simmons partnership after the election was widened for the first time to include directors rather than just partners.Simmons & Simmons marketing director Anne Marie Stebbings said the move marked a sea-change in the way law firms were managing themselves.

  • Pensions - acting for a safer future

    13-Feb-1996

    The Pensions Act, perhaps Robert Maxwell's most enduring legacy, received Royal Assent on 19 July 1995.It is designed to put pensions on a more secure, equal and sustainable footing for the coming century but how will it affect the providers of financial services in the future?The first part of the Act is concerned with strengthening the security of funds held by company pension schemes. The protection depends on three factors: the minimum funding requirement ...

  • Pillow Talk and Partners

    13-Feb-1996

    The complications which can arise when lawyers in the same office have affairs has caused management problems for many managing partners over the years.It is such a delicate subject that most firms do not have clear policies on how to deal with the situation when it actually occurs.The way in which practices have developed over the past 30 years may shed some light on why relationships have become such an issue.Up until the mid-1970s, practices were ...

  • Players serve tennis action

    13-Feb-1996

    Preliminary skirmishes began in the High Court within days of tennis players Mats Wilander, of Sweden, and Czech Karel Novacek, issuing a High Court writ against the President and Treasurer of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Procedural matters have already come under the gaze of the Chancery Division. The final case, expected to be pushed through as fast as possible, promises to be a landmark ruling over the legality of drug tests carried out by sporting ...

  • Property

    13-Feb-1996

    Eversheds acted for Pemberstone, a Worcester-based investment and property management group, in a £11.7 million purchase of three BES residential property companies. Martineau Johnson acted for the three companies - First, Second and Third Roman Property Trust - with Price Waterhouse Corporate Finance. Edge & Ellison acted for National Westminster Bank, providing finance to ...

  • Property

    13-Feb-1996

    Nabarro Nathanson acted for property investment and management group Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs in its £1.6 million purchase of Queens House, Twickenham, from Glaxo Trustees.

  • Putting a new spin on applications for silk

    13-Feb-1996

    The ruling of the Leeds Industrial Tribunal on 8 January 1996, that Labour's 'women-only' short lists are illegal, gives rise to some interesting questions (Dyas-Elliott & Jepson v Labour Party).The applicants were men wishing to be considered for selection in Labour constituencies which had women-only short lists. The men relied on section 13 Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA), which governs "an authority or body which can confer an authorisation or qualification ...

  • Recruitment made easy

    13-Feb-1996

    With the legal profession becoming increasingly involved in the provision of investment advice in-house, law firms are faced with the challenge of recruiting technically qualified and culturally compatible financial advisers.Experience has shown that finding the right person can prove more time consuming and traumatic for law firms than any other aspect of the development of an in-house financial services capability.Recruiting financial services professionals ...

  • Report turns up heat on Society complaints

    13-Feb-1996

    PRESSURE is mounting on the Law Society to give up its control of complaints handling despite its insistence that the issue is a red herring.The National Consumer Council has just circulated its response to the Law Society's consultation on reform of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau.It rejects society plans to make a revamped bureau more independent."We remain convinced the complaints body must operate completely independently of the Law Society," ...

  • Revised Bill fails to please

    13-Feb-1996

    The Finance Bill is once again poorly drafted, despite now being partly in the hands of private practice lawyers as part of the Government's drive for improvement, according to the Law Society.Concerns also remain on specific tax matters in the proposed legislation, including inadequate appeal provisions and 'over the top' rule changes.The society's revenue law committee said last week it "finds it unsatisfactory that, despite the current ...

  • Rights decision splits Aclec again

    13-Feb-1996

    A DEEP rift among the Lord Chancellor's advisers on rights of audience which first emerged last year over in-house lawyers' rights has resurfaced again amid claims the majority has not "adequately performed its role".The latest split in the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct (Aclec) is over its rejection of an application by the Institute of Commercial Litigators (ICL).The group wanted rights to conduct building, ...

  • Russian firm takes first steps in London

    13-Feb-1996

    THE FIRST eastern European law practice to set up in London opened last week, promising to compete with UK firms based in Moscow.Laptev & Partners, of Tyumen, Western Siberia, says it is probably the largest law firm in the former Soviet Union. It has 10 partners and 110 staff, an office in Madrid, and plans to open in Frankfurt this spring.Partner and head of the London office Vasili Evdokimov said the London office would have departments specialising in: property, ...

  • SIBR 1995 - a user's guide

    13-Feb-1996

    At its December meeting, the Law Society Council passed the Solicitors' Investment Business Rules 1995 (SIBR). These rules have won the approval of the Master of the Rolls and will come into force on 1 June 1996.One of the purposes of the new rules is to simplify the wording and make it easier for users to pick a path through what is undoubtedly a fairly complex set of regulations.Consequently, practitioners who conduct non-discrete investment business will ...

  • Solicitor defends coma writ blunder

    13-Feb-1996

    A SOLICITOR whose process server was accused in the press of serving a writ on an unconscious cancer patient, and was subsequently criticised as acting in "an appalling way" by a fellow lawyer, has hit back at his critics.Aubrey Isaacson, who runs a practice of the same name in Prestwich, Manchester, has complained to the Manchester Law Society about comments made by immediate past president Jeff Wilner.Isaacson, a member of the local society, said Wilner should ...

  • Solicitors takes issue with Sheerness Port

    13-Feb-1996

    The Lappel Bank of Kent's Medway estuary is back before the courts. It was previously the subject of a 'jobs v wildlife' battle over the effect extending the port of Sheerness would have on local wildlife.But this time the litigation, which is in the Official Referee's Court, is over alleged non-payment of fees for work undertaken for the port.Plaintiff Stephen Bird Associates, from Staplehurst, Kent, is a multi-disciplined ...

  • The dating game

    13-Feb-1996

    They are intelligent, hard-working employees and well paid for their commitment. But are high fliers happy? Many appear to be sacrificing their personal lives on the altar of success.Lawyers are typical of the professional classes for whom St Valentine's day means nothing. Locked into busy schedules, they have no time to search out their ideal partner. Instead, they either stay on their own, marry legal, or choose a quick route to relationships by advertising.

  • THE law commission. 'Faceless lawyers' who caused a storm

    13-Feb-1996

    The Law Commission is never likely to underestimate the power of the popular press again.Twice now it has seen its work lambasted in the huffing columns of the Daily Mail. First on its Domestic Violence Bill and now over its Bill on mental incapacity.It is uncomfortable enough for any organisation to find itself taken to pieces and branded a social evil but the impact on this particular body, unused to adverse publicity, is hard to gauge.The Law Commission ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Ross Wellman

    13-Feb-1996

    Ross Wellman is a senior solicitor in the property department of Davies Wallis Foyster's Manchester office. Born in Salisbury in 1959, he now lives in Macclesfield. What was your first job?Self-employed, selling reject tennis balls and foreign coins at school.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£4,250.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?

  • Waltons & Morse clinches swift sale

    13-Feb-1996

    CITY firm Waltons & Morse secured one of the City's fastest-ever property deals when it completed the sale of the Lloyd's of London building.The sale, to German open-ended investment fund DESPA for £180 million, took just seven days from the day an offer was made and involved "working round the clock", said lawyers involved.Contracts were exchanged last week with DESPA, represented by Simmons & Simmons. Completion is set for mid-February, when ...

  • Wilde Sapte and Slaughters take on top roles in Lloyd's litigation

    13-Feb-1996

    WILDE Sapte and Slaughter and May have been appointed to advise two separate groups in the Lloyd's of London market.Both firms will help get the best deal for Lloyd's Names in the forthcoming settlement plan.The current phase of talks is critical. Lloyd's Corporation, the market's secretariat, is finalising terms of the settlement while Names consider ...