13 February 1995

The Lawyer

  • A&O partner attacks discovery process

    14-Feb-1995

    THE DISCOVERY process does little to affect the outcome of litigation in the vast majority of cases, according to a survey by Allen & Overy.A&O partner David Mackie highlighted the findings at Lord Woolf's final seminar on Access to Justice.Mackie told City lawyers and judges that the existing system was "unsatisfactory" before pointing to some of the problems.

  • Bank of Scotland trims legal panel

    14-Feb-1995

    The Royal Bank of Scotland, banker to scores of law firms, has slimmed down one of its specialist legal panels.Routine personal debt recovery work is now being carried out by a handful of practices linked to a computer network.The panel has shrunk from about 35 to just nine firms to take advantage of information technology efficiency savings.Chief solicitor Derek Arnott says: "With this kind of high-volume, routine work we are talking about fairly ...

  • Court rejects SFO's press ban request

    14-Feb-1995

    THE HIGH Court has dismissed an order requested by the Serious Fraud Office to suspend reporting on Mirror Group pension fund litigation.Patrick Stewart, partner of Swepstone Walsh, says the SFO applied for an order to postpone reporting on civil litigation until after the criminal proceedings involving Kevin and Ian Maxwell are over.Stewart says the SFO, supported by the Maxwell brothers, contends that similar issues are involved in both the criminal and the ...

  • Firms deny negligence claim

    14-Feb-1995

    TWO law firms are to defend a negligence claim running into millions of pounds after allegedly failing to warn their clients a property they were buying was "seriously overvalued".Jeffrey Green Russell and Lovell White Durrant both say they will contest their liability vigorously at the High Court trial scheduled for Monday next week.Rentaminster, a property company now in receivership, and the Scandinavian bank SBG Holdings, claim the firms acted negligently ...

  • Fraud claims could 'cripple' fund

    14-Feb-1995

    THE SOLICITORS Compensation Fund could face a string of crippling multi-million pound claims arising from the alleged activities of one sole practitioner.A claim for u2.25 million and another for nearly u1 million have already landed at the door of the Law Society and it is feared that others may be waiting in the wings.The demands came about after an alleged fraud involving former Newcastle-under-Lyme solicitor Charles Deacon.Deacon is due to appear ...

  • Go-ahead for graduated fees

    14-Feb-1995

    THE LORD Chancellor's Department is pressing ahead with a radical new system of paying barristers for legal aid work, despite problems highlighted by consultants.KMPG Peat Marwick was asked to come up with a model for "graduated fees" - a form of standardised legal aid payment for barristers - but ran into problems due to wide variations in payments.The consultants were unable to devise a scheme guaranteeing that the overall level of fees would remain constant ...

  • Hammond Suddards restructure

    14-Feb-1995

    National firm Hammond Suddards is to restructure its Yorkshire base by moving its corporate, litigation and commercial property departments from Bradford to Leeds.

  • Hefty pay rises on books for librarians

    14-Feb-1995

    SALARIES for law librarians are outstripping the national average, a new survey reveals.Pay has gone up by 10 per cent over the last two years, according to research carried out for the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (Biall).But the inflation-busting settlements have not been matched by a significant increase in bonus payments. Only 17 per cent of librarians received a bonus in the year up to June 1994, compared to 22 per cent in the previous ...

  • In brief: Bolton merger forms Fieldings Porter

    14-Feb-1995

    Bolton firms Fieldings and Porter Hope & Knipe will merge on 1 May. The new firm will practice under the name of Fieldings Porter. The practice will operate from Fieldings' existing offices in Silverwell House, as well as premises in Blackburn, Westhoughton and Astley Bridge. Fieldings Porter will consist of 12 partners and 20 fee earners, becoming one of the largest firms in Bolton.

  • In brief: County court users conference

    14-Feb-1995

    The theme of the sixth County Court Users Association annual conference will be 'They are your Courts - Use Them or Lose Them'. The event, being staged in Birmingham on 10-11 May, will be chaired by Jeremy Sutcliffe of Eversheds Hepworth & Chadwick. Michael Heubner, chief executive of the new court service agency, will address the conference on the future direction of the courts. Further details ...

  • In brief: Cumming to chair NE legal aid committee

    14-Feb-1995

    Lupton Fawcett's senior partner Anthony Cumming has been appointed chair of the North Eastern legal aid area committee. Cumming, who is a personal injury specialist at the firm's Leeds office, says: "It is an honour to be entrusted with the responsibility."

  • In brief: Goldsmith joins financial reporting panel

    14-Feb-1995

    Bar Council chairman and leading commercial lawyer Peter Goldsmith QC has been appointed as a member of the Financial Reporting Review Panel. The panel's remit is to examine the annual accounts of public and large private companies to see whether they comply with the Companies Act 1985. Chair of the panel is Edward Glasgow QC.

  • In brief: Government approves judges' pay award

    14-Feb-1995

    The Government has approved a 2.5 per cent pay increase for judges, at a cost of u3.9 million to the pay bill. The decision follows the publication of the 1995 reports of the review bodies. Prime Minister John Major last week announced the changes would be implemented by 1 April, saying costs would be met from public expenditure totals published at Budget time.

  • In brief: Herlihy settles out of court

    14-Feb-1995

    Former McKenna & Co solicitor Eileen Herlihy has settled her unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination claims against her old firm out of court. The case was listed to be heard at the Whittington House tribunal court in London last week, but the two parties came to an agreement shortly before it was due to begin. Neither side would comment on the settlement. Herlihy now works for Church Adams Tatham & Co.

  • In brief: London firm launches transport service

    14-Feb-1995

    Essex and London based law firm Kenneth Elliott & Rowe has set up a transport law department. According to the firm the new department will be capable of offering advice on all aspects of transport law. The department will be headed by partner Adam Carr and transport law specialist Jim Duckworth will act as a consultant. Duckworth, author of Road Transport Law, runs Transport Law Services.

  • In brief: Lovell White Durrant

    14-Feb-1995

    Cavan Taylor, senior partner at Lovell White Durrant, will retire and be succeeded by Andrew Walker at the end of April 1996, and not this year, as stated in The Lawyer last week.

  • In brief: The search for the ideal partner

    14-Feb-1995

    A former practising barrister has set up the country's first legal recruitment consultancy specialising in partnership appointments. Anthony Tomkins, founder of Charles Fellowes Partnership, says he founded his new London-based consultancy Tomkins because of the unprecedented demand for specialist partner level service.

  • In brief: Year and a day report due soon

    14-Feb-1995

    A report containing the Law Commission's recommendations for the reform of the year and a day rule will be released on 22 February. The rule currently states that a person cannot be convicted of a range of offences including murder and manslaughter if there is a delay of more than a year and a day between the infliction of the injury and the resulting death. The commission considered whether the rule led to injustice and whether safeguards would be needed to protect defendants ...

  • Law Soc will set up Yorkshire regional office in Wakefield

    14-Feb-1995

    THE LAW Society will open its new regional office in Wakefield after a meeting of the Yorkshire Union of Law Societies voted "overwhelmingly" in favour of the city.The site was chosen over Harrogate, York and Sheffield, which also put in bids after it was announced the area would get its own regional secretary.Society deputy head of communications Jonathan Gold-smith expects the office to open on 1 September and adds that the move is part of the society's ...

  • Lebanon and UK law socs sign treaty

    14-Feb-1995

    LINKS between lawyers in Britain and the Middle East are expected to improve as a result of an agreement of friendship signed by the two countries last week.The historic document, signed in Lebanon by the Law Society, the Beirut Bar Association and the British Middle East Law Council (BMELC), follows a cross-border conference held in Beirut in September.Law Society vice-president John Young and BMELC secretary general Ibrahim Kanaan, flew to Beirut to meet the ...

  • Let sleeping dogs lie, says judge

    14-Feb-1995

    BARTY the springer spaniel adds a welcome human touch to proceedings at Colchester County Court, according to his master Judge Nicholas Brandt.Last week Judge Brandt rubbished claims that the elderly pet had distracted a defendant from conducting his own defence by snoring. He threw out an application for a retrial.Speaking after the case, the judge said Barty was a great favourite among court staff and helped litigants feel more at home."He can be ...

  • Management expert tells firms 'grow to prosper'

    14-Feb-1995

    NINETY-THREE per cent of the top 300 stock exchange quoted companies use a top 10 law firm for their major corporate work.The figure was revealed by management consultant Alan Hodgart at a recent marketing conference when he warned corporate commercial law firms they needed to grow to prosper.Hodgart, director of Hodgart Temporal & Company, said an increasing amount of the profitable work was going to firms which had strength in specialist fields.Generalist ...

  • Nabarros and McClure Naismith split coal property disposal work

    14-Feb-1995

    BRITISH Coal has appointed Nabarro Nathanson and McClure Naismith Anderson & Gardiner to assist with the massive disposal of the corporation's property portfolio.Nabarros will take on the work in England, while McClure Naismith will act north of the border in selling off thousands of acres of land.

  • Pupillage system 'needs shake-up'

    14-Feb-1995

    THE ENTIRE pupillage system may need an overhaul or it will remain a disorganised lottery for young barristers, a major study on the junior bar has concluded.Alarming levels of sexual harassment and perceptions that racial and sexual discrimination in the independent Bar is rife are also highlighted in the report commissioned by the Council of Legal Education.The vocational training course run by the Inns of Court School of Law, however, is singled out for praise ...

  • SBA makes record level of awards

    14-Feb-1995

    MORE than u1 million in awards was authorised last year by the Solicitors Benevolent Association, for the first time in its 138-year history.The association, which offers financial assistance to English and Welsh solicitors and their dependants, has also recorded a deficit of u50,000 for 1994.Association secretary Commander Nick Lorimer says the awards consist of outright grants and interest-free loans to the SBA's 550 current beneficiaries.The ...

  • Sexual Harassment

    14-Feb-1995

    FORTY per cent of the women barristers surveyed had experienced sexual harassment and 70 per cent had encountered discrimination.Three quarters of the respondents said racial discrimination was a problem and out of an original non-white student intake of 115 on the 1989/90 course only two were identified as having made it to junior tenancy.For Barbara Hewson, of the Association of Women Barristers, the report is a shot across the bows of chambers."Chambers ...

  • Sole Practitioners Group examines core activities

    14-Feb-1995

    THE SOLE Practitioners Group has set up four new committees to help focus its activities.The constitutional and administration committee will deal with issues relating to the running of the group, while the practice standards committee will give advice and assistance on issues such as franchising.A business and legal practice committee will have a watching brief and will examine and analyse changes. These will include indemnity contributions and rules on conveyancing, ...

  • Stephensons' win waste work

    14-Feb-1995

    ENVIRONMENTAL law specialists at Stephenson Harwood have won a government contract to survey planning legislation affecting waste- burning power stations.The firm's environmental law group, headed by partner David Cuckson, won a competitive tender to get the work from the Department of Trade and Industry's Energy Support Unit.His team of four environmental law ...

  • Westminster inquiry hears council policy 'judge proof'

    14-Feb-1995

    WESTMINSTER City Council's policy of selling off housing stock was "judge-proof" after it was given the go-ahead by Jeremy Sullivan QC, the inquiry heard on its final day.Anthony Scrivener QC, acting for former council leader Dame Shirley Porter, said the District Auditor John Magill had been wrong to declare the scheme unlawful.Scrivener, who noted that the inquiry had lasted longer than World War II and had been the most expensive audit in UK history, ...