13 January 1997

The Lawyer

  • ...as state sector exodus continues

    14-Jan-1997

    Polish legal experts are continuing to forsake the state sector for the offices of foreign- owned law firms in Warsaw.Jacek Jonak, the former deputy chairman of the Polish Securities Commission, has been recruited by the Warsaw office of Allen & Overy as a senior associate specialising in capital markets.Jonak leaves public service, where he was one of the authors of the ...

  • A dangerous Bill for confidentiality

    14-Jan-1997

    The nature of the relationship between solicitors and their clients will take on new meaning if the Police Bill goes through parliament in its current guise. Under the proposed provisions, police will be free to bug solicitors during their conferences with clients. But who will authorise this?After initially proposing that the police should have this responsibility, the government now seems to have reached a compromise of sorts. It looks likely that it will agree ...

  • A new year revolution ahead?

    14-Jan-1997

    What will 1997 bring? Well, a general election for sure, but it may also bring a Labour government and a whole new set of challenges for beleaguered local authority lawyers.Certainly, local authority lawyers have had a rough ride of late. Compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) has been presenting a little local difficulty with, for example, local authority lawyers having to re-apply for their jobs.But it seems that this difficulty has not been enough, and in ...

  • An ideal solution - or commission impossible?

    14-Jan-1997

    The Criminal Cases Review Commission has a daunting brief - to restore public confidence in a discredited criminal justice system.And now that it is about to swing into action, the question on everybody's lips is whether the new commission will be up to the job or, in the words of one sceptic, whether it will be "a fig-leaf, very little more than a quango version of what existed before".The commission, born in the wake of a series of high-profile cases such ...

  • Bar acts to prevent listing monopoly

    14-Jan-1997

    The Bar Council is appealing for someone to take over a loss-making court listing service, to eliminate the threat of one supplier dominating the market.The Bar is concerned that Court New Service (CNS) - one of four suppliers contracted by the Court Service last year to provide an online court listing service - is on the verge of becoming a monopoly.CNS, which downloads crown court lists to PCs via a terrestrial broadcast channel, has proved popular, ...

  • British legal duo offers free help to murder charge nurses

    14-Jan-1997

    British lawyers are giving their services free to help the two nurses charged with murder in Saudi Arabia.Peter Watson, head of litigation at Glasgow firm Levy & McRae, is representing Scots nurse Lucy McLauchlan while Rodger Pannone, of Manchester firm Pannone & Partners, in conjunction with Paul Taylor, head of the forensic department, are looking after the interests of Deborah Parry.The two nurses have been charged with the murder of fellow nurse Yvonne Gilford, ...

  • CCT comes under fire from solicitors

    14-Jan-1997

    The compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) regime has been slammed as inconsistent and confusing by solicitors from 30 local government authorities in London.In a report forwarded to the Government, the London Boroughs' CCT Lawyers Group says it is working in demanding circumstances against a legislative back-drop that is subject to change on an almost monthly basis.The report, Comments on Changes to CCT Framework for Professional Services and ...

  • CCT: a little local difficulty

    14-Jan-1997

    Private law firms specialising in local government work no doubt hoped that the Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) of local authority legal services would lead to a surge in work, as more legal work in local authorities was exposed to external competition.The Department of the Environment (DoE), however, is less than pleased with the amount of work that has left in-house legal teams, and many lawyers have been left less than enthusiastic with the value of additional ...

  • China sets standards for legal profession

    14-Jan-1997

    Chinese legal history has been made this month with the introduction of the Lawyers Law, the country's first national law governing the regulation of the legal profession.It represents another step towards China's re-establishment of its legal profession. Lawyers were a casualty of the Cultural Revolution and were reintroduced in 1979.Although enabling regulations which set out the actual details of the law are still in the pipeline, the law itself ...

  • Claire Shaw clears a way through the electronic money jungle.

    14-Jan-1997

    Claire Shaw is a solicitor at Magrath & Co.The lacuna in the law of dishonesty left by the House of Lords' controversial decision in Preddy & ors (1996) 3 WLR 258 in July 1996 has already been rectified by legislation which received the Royal Assent on 18 December 1996.Following the decision, and after just one month's "informal consultation process", the Law Commission published its report, Offences of Dishonesty: Money Transfers, ...

  • Clifford Chance man heads group on pro bono mission

    14-Jan-1997

    Clifford Chance partner Tony Willis has been appointed chair of the newly formed Solicitors Pro Bono Group.Executive committee members are David Mackie of Allen & Overy, Nancy Nagle of Montague Harris, Paul Newdick of Clyde ...

  • Consolidating a new type of banking relationship

    14-Jan-1997

    In 1989 a part of the assets of the National Bank of Poland was used to create nine regional banks. Since then the Polish banking market has been very fragmented.Each of these banks inherited a large portfolio of corporate clients. This meant that the loan portfolio of these banks was not very impressive. However, over time, the regional banks restructured their portfolios, diversified their product range and strengthened their position in the market.In 1991 ...

  • Construction forums

    14-Jan-1997

    Construction firm Corbett & Co has opened two public discussion forums on the Internet. The forums, on construction law and arbitration/alternative dispute resolution, allow users to post new messages or contribute to ongoing discussions. They can be found at the firm's web site at http://www.corbett.co.uk.

  • DPR guide to security

    14-Jan-1997

    Alison Laferla reportsThe Data Protection Registrar has issued guidance on how to keep clients' personal details secure under the Data Protection Act. Keeping Customer Information Safe addresses sec- urity measures that should be adopted when responding to enquiries seeking access to confidential customer information. The guide is available free from the Office of the Data Protection Registrar, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow SK9 5AF; fax: 01625 ...

  • Edge & Ellison loses key solicitors as Dibbs boosts Birmingham office

    14-Jan-1997

    In a double blow for Birmingham firm Edge & Ellison, five of its key Birmingham corporate lawyers, including high-flying Midlands partner Chris Rawstron, the head of its Birmingham corporate department, and partner Russell Orme, are defecting to Dibb Lupton Alsop while London corporate finance partner David Mandell has moved to SJ Berwin.Dibb Lupton Alsop's poaching coup marks the first ...

  • Financings

    14-Jan-1997

    Richards Butler acted for Emirates in connection with a US$126m financing for Emirates' third Boeing 777 aircraft.

  • Freshfields faces 'loss of career' writ

    14-Jan-1997

    A Freshfields trainee solicitor is suing her firm claiming £633,436 for loss of her career as a lawyer, personal injury and psychological distress arising out of a business trip to Ghana.The trainee, Kate Cawthorn, details in the writ how she contracted shigella dysentery after eating fresh barracuda while working on the flotation of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation in Ghana in January 1994.She claims Freshfields failed to ensure she had the proper inoculations ...

  • Holding out for poetic justice

    14-Jan-1997

    Poetry has to be one of the least likely subjects for litigation. While different areas of the arts have at times been catapulted into the legal arena, those engaged in the rarefied world of producing verse have tended to be the exception.Which is why a case that created considerable ripples in literary circles but went largely unnoticed elsewhere is all the more remarkable. Settled in the summer of 1995, it was a triumph for the poet at the centre of it, ...

  • In brief: Buyout produces new Bournemouth firm

    14-Jan-1997

    Bournemouth has a new law firm after the partnership, premises and staff of Colin Bell & Co were subject to a buyout. Bell, who established the firm 35 years ago, has retired. Mark Taylor and Lindsey Watkins have taken over and renamed the firm Ashton Taylor Bell.

  • In brief: Chubb sets up dedicated claims unit

    14-Jan-1997

    Chubb Insurance Company of Europe has set up a new dedicated claims unit. The financial risk claims unit, based in Chubb's London office, is headed by corporate lawyer Julian Enoizi. It handles claims such as professional indemnity, bankers' blanket bond/fidelity and pension trustee liability clients.

  • In brief: Flook decides Guinness is good for her

    14-Jan-1997

    In-house lawyer Susie Flook has moved from US-owned food producer CPC, where she was group legal counsel and company secretary at its UK subsidiary, to Guinness as intellectual property lawyer reporting to the company's group legal director Kenneth Mildwaters. Australian-qualified Flook spent seven years at CPC and five years before that at Coca Cola. She said: "Seven years is a long time to stay in one place. Also I was keen to move into a single, specialist area. These days if ...

  • In brief: Henderson gets another four years

    14-Jan-1997

    Slaughter and May senior partner Giles Henderson CBE has had his position renewed to 2001. Henderson, who joined Slaughters in 1968, was appointed senior partner in January 1993. The 54-year-old was closely involved in the Government's privatisation programme from 1983 to 1992.

  • In brief: Holden receives time-honoured title

    14-Jan-1997

    Barrister John Ogilvie Holden has been sworn in as Chancellor of the Diocese of Manchester, at a ceremony held at Bishopscourt on 2 January. Holden, a barrister with Lincoln's and Gray's Inns, was a founder member of the Ecclesiastical Law Society, and sits as chairman on various medical and social security tribunals. His new role, which installs him as judge of the consistory court, can be traced back to the 11th century.

  • In brief: PFI guide produced for education sector

    14-Jan-1997

    Stephenson Harwood has launched a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) guide for the higher and further education sectors. Author Peter Walters said his booklet was aimed at providing university and college professionals guidance through the "procedural maze of PFI project procurement". The firm is advising the two largest PFI projects, which have been designated as "Pathfinders" by the Further ...

  • In brief: Unions handling more race claims

    14-Jan-1997

    Racial discrimination claims against employers are increasingly being settled by trade unions and Racial Equality Councils, according to the Commission for Racial Equality's annual review. The number of people approaching the CRE for legal help in 1996 has not increased on the 1995 figure, indicating that other organisations are resolving discrimination complaints. Chris Myant of the CRE said that the organisation wrote to all trade unions in 1995 saying that it would take action ...

  • In brief: Woolf to get grilling by women lawyers

    14-Jan-1997

    Lord Woolf is to face questions concerning the role women lawyers will take in implementing civil justice reforms at the third annual Woman Lawyer Conference. The conference, which takes place on 12 April, will explore strategies to enable women lawyers to rise through the ranks of a male-dominated profession. The programme includes workshops, an open forum with Kamlesh Bahl and Laura Cox QC on the panel, and a keynote speech from Roberta C Ramo, past president of the American Bar Association.

  • In search of new horizons

    14-Jan-1997

    Overwork and inflexible work practices can leave a partner in his 40s feeling jaded at the prospect of at least another 10 years of the same. The maverick appeal of smaller niche practices or independent consultancy can suddenly become attractive, even to the most staid of "company men".Dale Langley left his position as head of employment law at Ashurst Morris Crisp in 1993 to set up his own ...

  • Invested interests

    14-Jan-1997

    Home Income Plans are to come under the scrutiny of the House of Lords in an action between the Investors Compensation Scheme (ICS) and West Bromwich Building Society. Leave has been granted for ICS to appeal against decisions of the Chancery Division and the Court of Appeal in which it was held in respect of a preliminary issue that an arrangement under which ICS paid compensation and took assignment of investors' rights of action against third parties was invalid.

  • Japan gives all-clear to UK practice

    14-Jan-1997

    Baker & McKenzie has been granted regulatory approval by the Ministry of Justice to operate as a foreign law firm under its own name in Japan, while continuing a relationship with its former joint venture Tokyo Aoyama.The firm has had a presence in Japan since 1970 when it opened an office and shared a building with close Japanese associates which formed a separate firm, Tokyo Aoyama.

  • Kendal appoints legal veteran

    14-Jan-1997

    Local government lawyer Hugh McClorry has been appointed Kendal Town Council town clerk.McClorry, who has 24 years' experience with local authorities, has been in private practice since 1993.He will replace CG Thomson Wilson partner Robert Metcalfe, who retired from the part-time position after eight years because of an increasing workload in his practice which coincided with extra responsibilities at the town council under the Neighbourhood ...

  • KPMG appointments reveal legal intentions

    14-Jan-1997

    KPMG has stepped up its efforts to move into the legal market by putting newly-appointed deputy senior partner Roger Dickens and Mike Rake, UK chief operating officer, in charge of legal team development strategy.The two have initiated preliminary talks about an alliance with several law firms, believed to include Norton Rose and

  • Law Lords look at confiscation loophole

    14-Jan-1997

    Legal powers relating to the seizure of the goods of those convicted of drug trafficking are to be tested by the Law Lords later this year.They have just given leave for an appeal by the Customs & Excise against a Court of Appeal decision on 19 February 1996 quashing a confiscation order made in respect of convicted drug trafficker Michael Emmett.The goods confiscation order was made when Emmett was imprisoned for twelve and a half years after his conviction ...

  • Law Soc targets Labour on Police Bill

    14-Jan-1997

    The Law Society is lobbying the Labour Party to oppose parts of the Police Bill, saying the proposed legislation will destroy the relationship between solicitors and their clients and breach civil liberties.The Law Society president Tony Girling will voice concerns about the Bill in an open letter to shadow Home Secretary Jack Straw this week.But there are already indications that the lobbyists' message has been heard, with announcements on the Bill from ...

  • LGA official aims to raise profile of in-house lawyers

    14-Jan-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsProving the worth of local government solicitors is a priority for John Rees, who has been appointed Local Government Association (LGA) assistant director, legal and member services.Rees, who since 1984 has been legal and parliamentary secretary for the Association of District Councils, will take up his new role when the three bodies representing local government authorities in England and Wales merge on 1 April.

  • Liffe Spitalfields deal cheers City lawyers

    14-Jan-1997

    In one of the largest ever property deals in the City, lawyers are drawing up the terms of the high-profile sale of part of Spitalfields Market to the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe).The multi-million pound deal is seen as a victory for the City Corporation over Canary Wharf, which had been trying to tempt Liffe out of the City. It will involve creating up to 700,000 sq ft of office space for Liffe on the former fruit and vegetable market ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 14/01/97

    14-Jan-1997

    Giuseppina Stefania Silvio, 37, admitted 1990, practising at material time as an assistant solicitor with Hudson Freeman Berg, London W1, fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,440 costs. Allegations substantiated she sought to deceive her principals about the performance of her professional duties by entering fictitious entries in a court diary and representing she attended clients when that was not the case. Tribunal said it was a sad and ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 14/01/97

    14-Jan-1997

    Logue and Anor v Giles - QBD, 28 November 1997Claimants: John Logue, 62, and Mary Fox, 55Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: Logue and Fox, his commonlaw wife at the time, were knocked over when, in February 1991, they stepped into a road following a drinking session. Logue was hit by the side of the car and now has to spend some of his time in a wheelchair. Fox received whip-lash neck injuries. It was ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 14/01/97

    14-Jan-1997

    Deportation and the public interestGoremsandu v Secretary of State for the Home Department (1996)Court: CA (Stuart-Smith LJ, Rose LJ and Sir John Balcombe)Summary: When the Home Secretary is to consider deportation of an offender, a factor which may outweigh the likelihood of the offender not offending again is where the offence is so repugnant to generally accepted standards of morality that it is againstthe public interest ...

  • Litigation Writs 14/01/97

    14-Jan-1997

    A Rochester man who suffered brain damage in a freak accident while helping to lower a boat into the water at Hoo on the River Medway is suing for damages. Brian Metherell, 59, was helping to lower a 29-ton Hood Class yacht down a slipway in September 1993 when the accident happened. His writ says it is believed he was thrown against a taut cable which then catapulted him over the cable and onto the jetty wall, where he landed on his head causing severe head injury and ...

  • Living up to great expectations

    14-Jan-1997

    Having scaled the heights of partnership, especially with one of the large City firms, it must be tempting to sit back and bask in the glory. Although it is a sign that you have arrived, after 10 or more years of serious fee earning, this peak may start to look suspiciously like a plateau from where further progress is hindered by a lack of possibilities within the firm.Compared to commercial companies, law firms tend to be extremely flat structures, with very few steps ...

  • Management guru joins Weightmans as chief exec

    14-Jan-1997

    Liverpool and Birmingham-based insurance litigation specialist Weightmans has hired Professor Martin Read as its first chief executive.Management specialist Read, formerly a managing partner at Leeds firm Read Hind Stewart, joined Weightmans from Central Law Training where he was chief executive to the management division.The 33-partner firm, which has experienced rapid growth, ...

  • Online and on course for more business

    14-Jan-1997

    Size has become a big issue in the law. Being bigger is a fine obsession. We would all love a larger slice of the big five law firms' client base. But it is not a life or death matter.No law firm is going to close down because it does not have the right number of partners on its letterhead. Nor will any go under because they are in the wrong position in the rankings by billings.But they will go under, or be forced into a loveless and unequal merger, ...

  • Owen sets the tone for the Bar

    14-Jan-1997

    Barely hours into his new role as Bar Council chairman, Robert Owen QC was making waves. Radio waves, that is. His attack on proposed legislation to allow police unchecked powers to tap phones, in an interview on Radio 4's Today programme on 1 January, received nationwide press coverage.His is something of a voice in the wilderness in a "zero tolerance" law and order election year, and Owen has yet to be mauled into reticence and cautiousness by the unpredictable beast ...

  • Owen takes on the law and order lobby

    14-Jan-1997

    New Bar Council chair Robert Owen QC has slammed politicians and the popular press for pandering to public prejudices on law and order.Just two weeks into the job, Owen said politicians were failing the public by not adequately debating legislation, such as proposed police powers to tap telephones, for fear of being seen as soft on crime."What concerns me greatly is we are not seeing the debate we should be seeing in parliament because of the fear of both political ...

  • Poles in foreign firms rethink

    14-Jan-1997

    Speculation is rife that the Polish government has backtracked on hard-won amendments to draft legislation which threatens to place severe restrictions on foreign lawyers hoping to practise in Poland.The initial draft would have forced shares in overseas legal companies - foreign lawyers operating in Poland are established as companies - into the hands of Polish lawyers and/or meant that legal services could only be provided by Polish lawyers.Intense pressure ...

  • Profession attacks hike in court fees

    14-Jan-1997

    Lawyers and advice agencies are outraged at the lack of consultation over new court fees which come into force this week, saying they are "unjustifiably large" and will limit access to justice.The new Supreme Court, Family and County Court fees come into force tomorrow after limited consultation and no public debate. The speed at which the Lord Chancellor's Department has acted has taken many by surprise.Among the changes causing most concern are increased ...

  • Property

    14-Jan-1997

    Nabarro Nathanson acted for Blue Circle Properties on the sale of the Masthead Estate at Crossways, Dartford, to Britannia Life for over £10m. Cameron Markby Hewitt represented Britannia Life.

  • Property

    14-Jan-1997

    Linklaters & Paines represented Hong Kong-based CCA Holdings on its acquisition of Brocket Hall, the 550-acre estate in Hertfordshire. Clifford Chance acted for Brocket Hall and Wedlake Bell acted for the trustees of the ...

  • Pros and cons of PFI

    14-Jan-1997

    It's official - the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is now firmly established as the route of public sector funding which is supported by both the major political parties.And, as local authority lawyers in private practice acknowledge, for an initiative formally created in November 1992, it has become established as an area of practice in its own right in a relatively short period.As can be seen by the table (right) compiled by PFI Report last month, PFI ...

  • Queen's Bench for '97

    14-Jan-1997

    Jury actions now pending in the High Court Queen's Bench Division for this year include: Hauber v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (not before 13 January); Aitken v Newspaper Publishing (not before 27 January); Livingstone v Donaldsons (not before 27 January).

  • Report reveals increase in sole practitioners

    14-Jan-1997

    Sole practitioner firms continue to grow despite increasingly difficult times for lawyers out on their own.The Law Society's 1996 Statistical Report reveals that while in the past decade mergers and business growth have seen a 29 per cent rise in the number of firms with 11 or more partners, growth in the legal profession is accounted for almost entirely by an increase in sole practitioner firms. Yet sole practitioners have the lowest gross fees growth rate per firm ...

  • SCL's Cambridge talk

    14-Jan-1997

    Professor Richard Susskind will address a new East Anglian group of the Society for Computers & Law on 'The future of law - facing the challenges of IT' on 30 January at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. For details, contact Joanna Wagstaff on 0117 923 7393.

  • Softly, softly approach

    14-Jan-1997

    I read with interest your leader in The Lawyer, 17 December, headed "A firm emphasis on good management".As a consultant to professional firms, I have observed on many occasions that while lawyers are excellent at advising clients they are generally poor at looking after their own practices. Too often department heads are promoted because of their technical skills but lack the necessary management skills.Poor administration and reporting ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Philip Canter

    14-Jan-1997

    Philip Canter was born in Liverpool on 15 March 1937. He is now head of the criminal department at Liverpool firm Gregory Abrams. What was your first job?When I qualified I set up in partnership with Howard Jackson as Jackson & Canter.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£5 per week in the second year of articles.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?

  • The sloping playing field

    14-Jan-1997

    Stephen Sidkin's review of the European Commission's report on compensation/indemnity for commercial agents highlights the inadequacies in the EU agency directive and its national implementation. Reading it the same morning as I took Italian law advice on behalf of a UK agent whose principal is insisting on Italian law, the article struck home. National laws vary. Levels of compensation/indemnity are far from clear and jurisdictional issues are complex.Taking ...

  • UAE bans ex-pat advocates

    14-Jan-1997

    Courts in the UAE have implemented legislation barring the use of expatriate lawyers as advocates.The restrictions in the Lawyers Law, passed in 1991, only came into force on December 1996. The restrictions are aimed primarily at lawyers from other Arabic-speaking regions."It is to encourage the development of domestic lawyers - which is good - but it will prevent many good foreign lawyers from practising [advocacy]," said Andrew Clark, an

  • UK's Asian community gets justice helpline

    14-Jan-1997

    The Society of Asian Lawyers has launched the first national legal helpline which will give free advice to the Asian community in mother tongue.The service will be manned by a volunteer team of qualified barristers and solicitors who will offer advice on simple matters or refer them to legal assistance available in their area.The helpline will initially run for one evening a week, between the hours of 6pm to 9pm, and will be based in the offices of Sherratte ...

  • US wields wallet-power as five leave Simmons

    14-Jan-1997

    Simmons & Simmons managing director Alun Morris gave a pep-talk to the firm's banking department last week after it was hit by the departure of five lawyers, two of whom were lured away by US firms offering double current salaries.The departures of two partners and three assistants (one newly-qualified) is bound to damage morale at Simmons, coming as they do only weeks after leading tax partner Stephen Coleclough left the firm.And firms across the City will ...

  • Video the way forward, says US lawyer

    14-Jan-1997

    Pictures are set to become an increasingly important weapon in the armoury of the courtroom advocate, according to an American legal expert.Deanne Siemer, chair of the US National Institute for Trail Advocacy trustees board, said that a range of visual tools such as video and computer generated images were set to gain greater prominence in the courtroom in an attempt to win over judge or jury."The power of the box is really quite amazing," she said.

  • Wacks Caller hit by defectors

    14-Jan-1997

    Manchester firm Wacks Caller has strongly denied suggestions of internal problems after the defection of two partners and two lawyers.In a reversal of fortune for the firm, partners Geoffrey Smith and David Leverton have left the firm they joined in January 1995 when they defected from Fox Brooks Marshall.Wacks snatched four partners and nine fee earners from Fox Brooks, temporarily crippling its Manchester rival while doubling its size.However, the ...

  • White & Case lead project finance table

    14-Jan-1997

    The battle between US and UK firms in the global project finance market is hotting up as US firm White & Case is named as top project finance law firm worldwide by number of deals for the period January to October 1996.Seven US and six UK firms are included in the annual table, which is published in the industry journal, Project & Trade Finance. White & Case, the leader, advised on 48 ...