15 February 1999

The Lawyer

  • Aitken to pay daughter's legal fees

    15-Feb-1999

    Leading criminal practice Burton Copeland has won a court battle to allow the disgraced former Conservative minister Jonathan Aitken to pay his daughter's legal fees.Victoria Aitken was arrested last year over an alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, relating to a statement she signed as part of her father's libel action against The Guardian and Granada TV. The police cleared her of complicity.Her legal fees, believed to be thousands ...

  • Bacfi values place in the Bar Council

    15-Feb-1999

    Your articles "In-house barristers threat to split from Bar Council" and "In-house revolt against ruling bodies' bureaucracy" (The Lawyer, 8 February) do not give a fair impression of the Bar Association for Commerce, Finance & Industry's (Bacfi) policy towards its membership of the Bar Council.Bacfi is not considering splitting from the council. We value our position as a specialist bar association within the council's structure.

  • Bar concedes payment of QC selection costs

    15-Feb-1999

    The Bar Council has offered to pay for the QC selection procedure that currently costs the taxpayer £80,000 a year.The concession has been made at a time when the QC system is coming under increasing attack.Labour MP Andrew Dismore has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons calling for the abolition of QCs.So far, it has won the support of 102 MPs.Dismore's campaign was fuelled this week by the release of answers ...

  • Book of the week

    15-Feb-1999

    I want a divorce?By Simone Katzenberg.So he forgot Valantine's Day again? Well, what better read then than this excellent book by Wilson Craig partner, Simone Katzenberg.It links the legal processes with emotional stages, in a jargon-free guide aimed at the layman as well as solicitors, GPs and counsellors. (Also ideal for those engaged in extra-marital affairs at the office.)

  • Brand and deliver?

    15-Feb-1999

    Faced with increasingly demanding clients in a highly competitive market, many law firms are turning to branding. But, can rebranding exercises really improve a firm's fortunes? Maybe. Sean Farrell explains.The letters page hummed with dissent last month following editor Sean Brierley's attack on the marketing industry's obsession with "the power of the brand" (The Lawyer 11 January), which is increasingly attracting disciples in the ...

  • Burges Salmon hires CWC's head of taxation

    15-Feb-1999

    NIGEL Popplewell, a leading health and tax lawyer in the South West, is leaving Clarke Willmott & Clarke to head up the corporate tax team at Burges Salmon.Michael Clarke, managing partner of Clarke Willmott & Clarke, says: "We wish Nigel well, and we are recruiting elsewhere - particularly in planning ...

  • Carving a way through international crises

    15-Feb-1999

    JEREMY Carver has a rather unusual job. As head of the only specialised international law department in the world, at Clifford Chance, he specialises in dealing with wars, kidnappings, and other international disputes. As one colleague puts it, whenever there is a crisis, expect to see Carver in its wake.And, as of this year, it is Jeremy Carver CBE. The award is in recognition of his ...

  • Case of the week

    15-Feb-1999

    The trial of Anthony Sawoniuk, who is accused of murdering four Jews in the former Soviet Union of Belarus during the Second World War. A jury has already been sworn in at the Old Bailey in London and is due to fly to Belarus this week to hear evidence in Britain's first war crimes trial.

  • Chancery courts the future

    15-Feb-1999

    While the High Court continues to persist with the ancient Chancery Court and Queen's Bench Divisions, many argue that, ultimately, only one will survive.On the battlefield of legal services reform, the Chancery and its barristers are fighting hard to defend their territory and, for now at least, they appear to be winning.The Queen's Bench has traditionally dealt with common law matters such as professional and medical negligence, personal injury and ...

  • City firm to win Euro Bank Russian securities work

    15-Feb-1999

    Naomi Owen led the team at Rowe & Maw which advised Virgin Rail Group (VRG) on its u1.25bn West Coast fleet renewal.The successful bidder is a consortium of the French company Alstom and Italian Fiat Ferroviaria. Under the terms of the deal, the consortium set up a special purchase company, West Coast Service Provision, which will operate as the train service provider and deliver 53 tilting trains for u592m. Sister company, West Coast Traincare, will provide maintenance ...

  • City firms in European offensive

    15-Feb-1999

    UK firms are pushing to conquer the European market this week with a string of new offices, mergers and partner hires.While Herbert Smith is opening an office in Moscow, SJ Berwin is poised to merge with a French firm and Simmons & Simmons is about to establish a presence in Spain.In other moves, Eversheds ...

  • Dangerous precedents

    15-Feb-1999

    THE LORD Chancellor, Lord Irvine was predictably charged with cronyism this week when he refused to sack Lord Hoffmann for failing to reveal his links with Amnesty International during General Pinochet's extradition hearings.However, if Lord Irvine had sacked Hoffmann, who made the inexcusable mistake, it would have set a far more dangerous precedent. British judges are not carved from granite. They have passions, prejudices and strongly held ...

  • Dibbs gets boost with three new partners

    15-Feb-1999

    DIBB Lupton Alsop is appointing three new partners to its London and Birmingham offices.Dibbs is recruiting a corporate recovery and insurance (CRI) insolvency team from Davies Arnold Cooper.The team is headed by Nigel Montgomery, who brings with him Juliette Stevens, Geraldine Quirk and Stephen Hatherall.Montgomery will become a partner at Dibbs.Dibbs managing partner Nigel Knowles hopes that the appointments will bring the insurance ...

  • Do middle-tier firms need to grow?

    15-Feb-1999

    Chris Schulten, chief executive, Richards ButlerGeffrey Green, senior partner, Ashurst Morris CrispCharters Macdonald-Brown, managing partner, GouldensDavies Arnold Cooper's decision to "focus on core strengths" by sacking 90 staff last week, was a timely reminder of the pressures facing middle-tier City firms. So what ...

  • ECJ employment ruling is a 'fudge'

    15-Feb-1999

    Employment lawyers have described a decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to send a key unfair dismissal case back to the House of Lords a "fudge".Lawyers claim the decision to send the case back to the UK will hinder similar claims forms going through the courts.The case centres on Nicole Seymour-Smith and Laura Perez, who claimed unfair dismissal by their respective employers, despite not fulfiling 1985 rule - requiring a two-year qualifying period. ...

  • Eco lawyers branch out

    15-Feb-1999

    The newly launched Earthrights Solicitors is a very different law firm: money- making is not its prime objective.The firm is devoted exclusively to championing green rights and saving the planet. Its founders, John Dunkley and Charlie Hopkins, claim they are “environmentalists first and lawyers second”.It has no senior partner, since Dunkley and Hopkins’ principles eschew hierarchies. And it is located in cyberspace, as both solicitors work from home, using a ...

  • Eversheds closes Norwich arm

    15-Feb-1999

    Eversheds is closing its clinical negligence practice in East Anglia following the departure of its head of department to a rival firm.John Chapman of the firm's Norwich unit is leaving after 25 years to join Mills & Reeve's 75 healthcare team at the end of March.Eversheds will ...

  • Fatcat:Tackling the lure of the top five

    15-Feb-1999

    Senior partners of the top five staunchly defend themselves against accusations that they are poaching key players from the firms in the tier below them. "Partners are ruddy well queueing round the block to get in. We're having to turn them away," scoffed one senior partner recently after a rather heavy dinner - unattributable, of course.The firms haemorrhaging all these partners are getting increasingly concerned about how to keep them. Simmons & Simmons introduced ...

  • Firms gear up for boom as South African business targets City

    15-Feb-1999

    CITY firms say they are gearing up for a boom in business as increasing numbers of South African companies snub European markets for the London Stock Exchange.South African Breweries is to raise £150m in the next two weeks when it embarks on its primary listing from Johannesburg to the London Stock Exchange.Other major companies to have recently listed in London include mining group Billiton and insurance company Old Mutual.

  • Five of the best

    15-Feb-1999

    Alan Steinfield QC24 Old BuildingsCalled to the Bar: 1968 Appointed QC: 1987Professional achievements/associations: Deputy High Court Judge (Chancery and Queen's Bench Division) since 1994; bencher, Lincoln's Inn; member of the Chancery Bar Association, the Insolvency Lawyers Association and the Pension Lawyers Association.Areas of practice: Contract; company; insolvency; partnership; pensions; property law; civil fraud; professional ...

  • Four join Bevan Ashford as Welsh Health folds

    15-Feb-1999

    The Cardiff office of nat-ional firm Bevan Ashford has taken four lawyers from Welsh Health Legal Services.Partner Chris Mayers, associate Mark Trillo and solicitors Andrea Thomas and Richard Thomas were all senior members of Welsh Health, which is to be dissolved at the end of March.Welsh Health was set up by the Welsh Office to provide legal services to Welsh NHS trusts. It is being scrapped as part of a strategy to remove quangos before the start of the new ...

  • Freshfields sued over alleged breach of duty

    15-Feb-1999

    CITY firm Freshfields is being sued by Reuters for an alleged breach of duty.The case centres on advice given by a Freshfields lawyer to the international news service five years ago, over the purchase of a company.In 1993, Freshfields carried out a due diligence investigation on behalf of Reuters into VAMP Health - a health information company subsequently bought by Reuters for £13m. Reuters now claims the law firm failed to alert it to a contract between ...

  • Fury as criminal aid is earmarked for civil cases

    15-Feb-1999

    LEGAL groups have responded angrily to revelations that the Lord Chancellor intends to cap the whole legal aid system and provide civil legal aid only if there is cash left over after criminal needs are met.Criminal legal aid must be demand-led to comply with the human rights obligations.The Law Society and the Legal Action Group claim the Access to Justice Bill implies criminal and civil legal aid funds will be separated.But, as the Bill proceeds ...

  • Govt guarantees legal aid contracts in first round

    15-Feb-1999

    THE GOVERNMENT has said that all franchised lawyers wanting a legal aid contract in the first round of the Access to Justice reforms will get one.But its refusal to guarantee contracts beyond the first round has led to a scathing attack from Lord Philips of Sudbury, who has accused the Lord Chancellor of being in cloud-cuckoo land.The Lord Chancellor's Department has announced that all firms with a franchise to act in either civil or criminal courts, will ...

  • Halliwell Landau recruits three partners to new London office

    15-Feb-1999

    HALLIWELL Landau has taken on three partners to staff its new London base.Robert Justice, Peter Richardson and James Parker have joined the firm to run the City practice, which will also have one consultant and five other fee earners.The Lawyer revealed last week that the firm was opening an office in the capital.Richardson was previously senior partner of Richardson Boyle Blackmore, a specialist practice handling commercial property development, ...

  • Immigration fee sparks outrage

    15-Feb-1999

    THE Home Office is levying charges on the Law Society, Bar Council and Institute of Legal Executives for the privilege of not regulating their members' immigration law practices.Law Society policy adviser Karen Mackay says a Home Office proposal that the Law Society and Bar Council "subsidise" the Home Office immigration law regulation scheme through the payment of, as yet, unspecified fees is "outrageous".She continues: "The commissioner is not going to ...

  • In brief: Abbey Life director

    15-Feb-1999

    Abbey Life director Nick Temple joins Bournemouth-based Lester Aldridge. Before joining Abbey Life, where he was group legal director for Tetley Tea, Temple acted as a legal adviser to Westland. At Lester, he will introduce a commercial audit/health check system to selected clients. "The health check is designed to get to the commercial heart of each business, going well beyond the scope of statutory ...

  • In brief: Cobbetts managing partner

    15-Feb-1999

    Cobbetts managing partner Stephen White is to become senior partner following Anthony Fielden's retirement from the Manchester-based firm. Michael Shaw will continue as managing partner for a further three-year term. He has overseen a number of potential merger negotiations in the past few years, most notably with rival firm Halliwell Landau.

  • In brief: Denton Hall

    15-Feb-1999

    Denton Hall's managing partner, Jonathan Tatten, is to stand down after six years at the helm. The board is proposing to divide the management of the firm between two managing partners - one for the UK and one for the rest of the world. The elections are to be completed by the middle of March. Tatten led the merger negotiations with Richards Butler and Theodore Goddard which broke down last November.

  • In brief: Jaffe Associates

    15-Feb-1999

    Jaffe Associates, the legal business development consultancy in North America, has opened an office in London. Four UK consultants will join the consultancy from the professional and business sector. Jay Jaffe, chairman of Jaffe Associates, says: "Our new associates have led the business development effort in a number of leading firms, including Clifford Chance, Coopers & Lybrand, Deloitte & Touche ...

  • In brief: Laurence Messer

    15-Feb-1999

    Laurence Messer, former managing partner of Davies Arnold Cooper, has been acquitted on four charges of conspiracy to defraud. Messer was charged with being involved in a property fraud scheme. The trial at Southwark Crown Court ended on 22 January. The Crown was ordered to pay Messer's costs. Messer stood down as managing partner of DAC last month due to ill-health.

  • In brief: Rowe & Maw

    15-Feb-1999

    Rowe & Maw is continuing its lateral hiring spree with the addition of property partner Lesley-Anne Avis, (right) from DJ Freeman. Chris Pullen, director of marketing says more appointments are planned. Within the last three months, Rowe & Maw has attracted Garrett's head of banking, Peter Richards-Carpenter, whose move followed hot on the heels of European Union and trade law partner, Philip Ruttley. Deacons Graham & James corporate partner, Nicola Squire, was tempted away from ...

  • In brief: The Lord Chancellor

    15-Feb-1999

    The Lord Chancellor plans to end the Worshipful Company of Scriveners near 200-year monopoly on notorial work in central London. Notaries authenticate certain legal documents, mainly for use abroad, by signing and sealing them. Lord Irvine wants to amend the Access to Justice Bill to give all public notaries the right to practise in the City, regardless of whether they belong to the company.

  • Industry must explain how it assesses cases, says MP

    15-Feb-1999

    David Kidney MP plans to summon sections of the insurance industry to explain how they will tackle insurance for conditional fee agreements (CFAs).Kidney, chairman of the legal affairs sub-committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party's Home Affairs Committee, decided on such a move after hearing a joint Bar Council and Law Society attack on government plans to abolish legal aid for personal injury cases in favour of CFAs.A spokesman for the Bar Council says: ...

  • Inns of Court to offer unified training

    15-Feb-1999

    Unified training for solicitors and barristers is closer than ever as the UK's largest bar school, the Inns of Court School of Law (ICSL), prepares itself to offer the Legal Practice Course.ICSL principal professor Richard Stone says the move is a response to the Lord Chancellor's vision of the future, which will see all lawyers - barristers and solicitors - able to provide advocacy services, or conduct litigation."If that is the future, then pressure ...

  • Insurance lawyers call for law to stop misuse of CFAs

    15-Feb-1999

    INSURANCE lawyers are seeking urgent changes to the law to protect clients from solicitors who try to push them into conditional fee agreements (CFAs) for the sake of winning bigger success fees.Martin Bruffell, president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (Foil), says 17 million Britons have legal expenses insurance attached to their home, car or credit card insurance, but most are not aware of it.Instead of checking whether clients have such insurance, Bruffell ...

  • International firms set to benefit from new EC work rules

    15-Feb-1999

    International firms could benefit from proposals to cut the red tape governing the employment of non-European Union workers from EU countries.The European Commission has proposed that non-EU citizens should be able to apply for a card, which would be valid for 12 months, guaranteeing their right to work throughout the EU.Under the present system, when practice managers want to temporarily post such employees or contractors from one EU member in another, they ...

  • Irish demand clarity on money laundering

    15-Feb-1999

    THE LAW SOCIETY of Northern Ireland is under attack from lawyers who say they were not properly warned about the dangers of anti-money laundering legislation.The Proceeds of Crime (NI) Order 1996 is aimed at stopping solicitors assisting criminals in retaining the proceeds of a serious crime, or perverting the course of justice by informing a suspect about an impending investigation.But a spokesman for the Belfast Solicitors Association says the Law Society has ...

  • Irvine frustrated as Lords amend key legal policy

    15-Feb-1999

    THE LORD Chancellor has reacted angrily to being defeated in the House of Lords over a Bar Council amendment to the Access to Justice Bill.The Lords has inserted a clause into the Bill saying that, in exercising its duty, the Legal Services Commission - which is due to replace the Legal Aid Board - must strive to provide access to justice for anyone who could not otherwise afford it.Disabled people are also provided with a specific anti-discrimination clause.

  • It's been a bad week for...

    15-Feb-1999

    Leigh, Day & Co senior partner Martyn Day, who is representing lung cancer victims claiming compensation from tobacco companies Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher. High Court judge Mr Justice Wright ruled that smokers must bring claims within three years of diagnosis - effectively barring many of Day's 42 clients from continuing with the trial.Free speech, after Lord Irvine stopped the legal press from attending a briefing about his Access to Justice ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    15-Feb-1999

    Princess Diana's former lover James Hewitt, represented by Harkavys, who has won his battle to keep 64 love letters she sent to him after bringing legal action. London firm Lawrence Graham acted for the Princess's estate.The Law Society, which has been allowed by the Government to continue regulating immigration solicitors, despite one former ...

  • Jeremy Dickerson on the Titanic trade mark dispute

    15-Feb-1999

    Jeremy Dickerson is an intellectual property lawyer at Hammond Suddards.The Titanic has resurfaced in a three-cornered trade mark dispute between Harland & Wolff - the builders of the original ship which sank in 1912, chef Marco Pierre White - who has opened a restaurant in the same name, and Twentieth Century Fox - the makers of the multimillion dollar film.Harland & Wolff are suing Marco Pierre White on the grounds of registered trade mark infringement, ...

  • Kennedys hires six to boost insurance

    15-Feb-1999

    Rapidly expanding City firm Kennedys has recruited six lawyers in a drive to build up its existing insurance litigation practice.The firm has recruited three partners from Dibb Lupton Alsop, a partner from Lawrence Graham and two lawyers from Lloyd Cooper.Christopher Sharrock, Christina Jabri ...

  • Kingfisher

    15-Feb-1999

    Kingfisher is one of Britain's most successful retail groups. It is best known for its high street trading subsidiaries - Woolworths, Comet, B&Q, MVC, Superdrug and, property business, Chartwell Land - which have a total of 2,000 sites around the UK. Kingfisher also has businesses based throughout Europe and internationally.

  • LCD agency fails targets

    15-Feb-1999

    The National Audit Office has issued a report criticising the way an agency run by the Lord Chancellor's Department is handling a billion pounds of mentally incapacitated people's money.The Public Trust Office (PTO) - an LCD agency since 1994 - supervises the investment of over £1.45bn of thousands of patients' cash.In the report, NAO chief, Sir John Bourn, says the performance on patients' investment portfolios is "disappointing".

  • League hounded into High Court by Hunt

    15-Feb-1999

    Roger Pearson examines why the Royal Artillery Hunt is suing the League Against Cruel Sports for damaging allegations.MILITARY huntsmen are heading for a High Court libel showdown with the League Against Cruel Sports. The league and its spokesperson, Rose Pelling, are being sued by Major Jonathan Seed, Master of the Royal Artillery Hunt, over a press release issued by the league.The release accused the Royal Artillery Hunt of failing ...

  • Legal cowboys prey on desperate refugees

    15-Feb-1999

    TAKE a firm of solicitors, employ an Albanian "interpreter" to recruit hundreds of Kosovan asylum seekers from major ports and stations, and promise them top-notch legal advice. Then do nothing for them, but swell the practice's income by more than u1m a year through legal aid claims.This is the scam that has allegedly been operated by scores of London solicitors over the past year.Immigration green form advice is the largest single drain on the legal aid ...

  • Linklater in tribute to former partner

    15-Feb-1999

    LINKLATERS & Alliance has paid tribute to former senior partner Ferrier Charlton, who has died aged 75.Charlton was senior partner at the City law firm from 1985 to 1988. He helped to set up the Eurobond market in the 1960s and later advised the Thatcher government on the privatisation of British Telecom in 1984.Jeremy Marriage, a senior corporate partner at Linklaters, says: ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 15/2/99

    15-Feb-1999

    Ward v Hutchins (1999) - QBD (Alliott J) 1 February 1999Plaintiff: Female, married, 51 years old at date of accident; 58 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff was driving along the A281 at Cowfold, when the defendant, who was travelling in the opposite direction, swerved onto the wrong side of the road, causing a head-on collision Although doctors described her as being in a "persistent vegetative state" following ...

  • Litigation Writs 15/2/99

    15-Feb-1999

    Housing association chairman, Jeannette York, is suing a former board member for damages for allegedly harassing her. In her writ, York, and the West Hampstead Housing Association - which she chairs - claim that Peter Rutherford sent her letters which contained veiled threats of violence, or other drastic action against her, and were vexatious, time wasting, and vituperative. Now, York and the West Hampstead Housing Association are claiming ...

  • Magistrates court staff demand 6 per cent rise

    15-Feb-1999

    MAGISTRATES court staff are threatening to work to rule if their demands for a 6 per cent pay increase and a £600 lump sum are not met, The Lawyer can reveal.If the threat is carried out, magistrates courts could be plunged into chaos with ushers, clerks and administrative staff refusing to work outside their contracted hours.Rosie Eagleson, general secretary of the Association of Magisterial Officers (AMO), comments: “We are talking to members about the possibility ...

  • Marketing more than just slick PR

    15-Feb-1999

    As a professional services marketer, it would be easy to fly off the handle at Sean Brierley's piece on marketing not adding value (The Lawyer 11 January). So let me take a different angle, and actually agree with him.I agree that slick new advertising will not defeat rivals. And there is no question that winning new clients is less important than retaining existing ones. We are also at one on the fact that it is servicing existing clients that counts, ...

  • Multi-purpose furnace

    15-Feb-1999

    A pet crematorium in Guilsborough is at the centre of a High Court planning and environmental battle. Complaints have been made about smoke, dust and fumes emitted by the crematorium, but the operators, Timeright, wants to expand its activities to include the disposal of medical and chemical waste - and Daventry District Council have agreed to the scheme. However, neighbouring Thornby Farms argue that a variation notice paving the way for expansion of the operation ...

  • Nabarros renews Coal Authority deal

    15-Feb-1999

    Nabarro Nathanson has renewed its exclusive contract with the Coal Authority.The deal, which covers work in England and Wales, will last for five years - two years longer than the national firm expected.Its previous contract with the authority expired on 31 December, after four years. Nabarros has held the contract, which complements the work of the authority's in-house lawyer, ...

  • Next week's news

    15-Feb-1999

    New Zealand's parliament will debate on giving great apes basic human rights under new legislation.Under the Animal Welfare Bill, the apes would have fundamental rights, including the right to life, the right not to suffer cruelty, and the right to be selected for the All Blacks.Lawyers who find such sentiments absurd may like to note that similar scoffing occurred when New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women - also descendants of the ...

  • Nick Sinfield

    15-Feb-1999

    Last week, The Lawyer revealed details of the massive restructure at Davis Arnold Cooper. Now at the helm, with new title of managing director, Nick Sinfield is preparing to steer the firm on a new course. Sean Farrell reports

  • Olswang launches Brussels office

    15-Feb-1999

    Specialist communications and media firm Olswang has opened its first international office in Brussels.Belgian lawyer Dirk van Liederkerke will head the office.Chief executive Jonathan Goldstein says: "If you look at the world in which we operate, it is full of international clients. There are competition issues arising in this market that you wouldn't previously have considered, ...

  • OSS failures shame the legal profession

    15-Feb-1999

    THE OFFICE for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) was in the firing line yet again last week, after being ordered to pay u1,000 compensation for poor complaints handling.Legal Services Ombudsman, Ann Abraham's ruling highlighted how the OSS had failed at the most basic level to reply to the complainants letters and phone calls.Sadly, such tardiness is not an isolated incident, and the ruling is another appaling indictment on the ...

  • Owen steers Virgin deal

    15-Feb-1999

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will finalise a contract - worth approximately u0.5 million in fees - with a major City firm this week.Lawyers from the firm will advise on a project which focuses on assisting the development of companies and securities law in Russia. The bank would not comment on which firm it had selected from the eight submissions.The proposed changes will affect several areas, including mergers and acquisitions ...

  • Partners on the move...

    15-Feb-1999

    Nabarro Nathanson partner, Mark Kingston, has moved in-house to Tishman Speyer Properties. Kingston has been appointed European general counsel. His departure comes after almost 10 years in the Nabarros' commercial property department.Jane Shirran has been appointed to the position of general counsel for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, leading the in-house legal teams for both ...

  • Quote of the week

    15-Feb-1999

    "Auditors are the ones who, after the fighting is over, go around the battlefield bayonetting the wounded. It's usually their own side that they bayonet." - Sir John Banham, chairman of Kingfisher Group, addressing Dibb Lupton Alsop's annual cocktail party.

  • Report gives new light on Finucane murder case

    15-Feb-1999

    FRESH evidence suggesting security forces colluded in the murder of Irish solicitor Patrick Finucane has come to light in a confidential report handed to the British and Irish governments.The report, based on research by British Irish Rights Watch, was delivered on the tenth anniversary of Finucane's death and has led to renewed demands for an independent judicial inquiry.Finucane was murdered at his home in front of his wife and three children in February ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    15-Feb-1999

    Mike Tyson may be back in jail, but Derry "Rowdy" Irvine and Jack "Hard Man" Straw have stepped into the ring in this thrilling "Clash of the Civil Servants". The Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) and the Home Office clashed again last week when LCD Minister of State, Geoff "The Boy" Hoon slated the way civil servants in other parts of Whitehall prepare Bills. Hoon's words were interpreted as a thinly-veiled attack on the ...

  • Share schemes 'inflexible'

    15-Feb-1999

    EMPLOYEE benefits lawyers are calling for the Government to introduce more flexible rules for employee share ownership schemes.The call accompanies a survey by Norton Rose showing workforces lag behind senior executives in benefiting from the trend towards employee share options.David Cohen, head of Norton Rose's employee benefits group, and chairman of the Share Scheme ...

  • SIF case must wait until May

    15-Feb-1999

    SOLICITOR Michael Dalton's long-awaited day in the High Court is hanging in the balance as the Law Society claims one day is insufficient time to hear the case.The Portsmouth lawyer, who is seeking a judicial review of his Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) bill, could now go to the High Court in April or May instead of 24 March.David McNeill, head of press at the Law Society, says: "Looking at all the evidence, one day would never have been sufficient."

  • Small time inventor wins patent claim

    15-Feb-1999

    ON 15 January, a groundbreaking High Court ruling established that commercial success in the marketplace could be taken into account when determining patent ownership.In 1990, Hertfordshire housewife and mother-of-three, Mandy Haberman pioneered an invention for spill-proof children's trainer cups.In 1995, the Anywayup Cup was initially produced on a shoe-string budget, and by 1998 it had become such a runaway success, that ...

  • Songs that sound the same

    15-Feb-1999

    Liverpool-based Produce Records are taking BMG Entertainment International UK to court, claiming that BMG's release of the dance record Macarena by Los del Rio breaches copyright of a record called Higher and Higher by The Farm, and released by Produce. In its argument to have the claim struck out, BMG contended that under copyright law, no judge could hold that even parts of Macarena were similar to parts of Higher and Higher. However, early High Court ...

  • SPC stalwart decides to go it alone

    15-Feb-1999

    Tony Bogan, the man who urged other solicitors to band together to form solicitors property centres, has finally set one up on his own.Bogan, former operations director of the Solicitors Property Centre, has relaunched his London estate agency as Barber & Company Solicitors Property Centre.It will offer estate agency, conveyancing and financial services. "Having dreamed up the SPC initiative two years ago, it's about time I did it myself," he says.

  • Star performers in the 'trial of the century'

    15-Feb-1999

    The DefenceCharles Ruff - the man who wrapped up the caseThe man charged with wrapping up the defence case was Charles Ruff, disparagingly referred to by some as the man who cleans up the President's mess.Delivering his compelling defence from a wheelchair, he made a mockery of House Judiciary chairman Henry Hyde's references to the ghosts of Normandy as witnesses to the sanctity of the "rule of law".Ruff, who has been the White ...

  • The best of the rest

    15-Feb-1999

    Chancery barristers now frequently cross over into various areas of commercial work, making it impossible to restrict the sphere of practice that is covered by chancery specialists.Movement between chambers is becoming increasingly regular and it is easy to see why. The leading chambers are recommended not only for the individual barristers they contain, but for the service they provide. The work of the clerks can make or break a barrister's practice and so it is essential ...

  • The Firm

    15-Feb-1999

    Excerpt from minutes of Marketing Committee meeting.In attendance: Angela La Croix, marketing manager; Tom Henderson, managing partner; Robert Pinton, head of property.Ms La Croix: ...and now on to our primary initiative - Rebrand '99. For six months, we've focused on grouped finance directors in top 500 FTSE companies and asked - "what core values represent The Firm?" Some described us as "that firm under investigation ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Neil Hunter

    15-Feb-1999

    Neil Hunter was born in Liverpool in 1969. He is an assistant solicitor at Davies Wallis Foyster in Liverpool.What subject(s) did you fail at school?None.What was your first job?Trainee solicitor.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?u12,000What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?PE teacher.

  • The secret of 'open' government

    15-Feb-1999

    Edward Garnier wants to know why he can't get a straight answer from Minister of State, Geoff Hoon. Edward Garnier is Conservative Party spokesman on legal affairs.On the 26 January, I asked the Minister of State at the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD), Geoff Hoon, a perfectly simple question: "Under the Access to Justice Bill, the Lord Chancellor has taken on 17 new powers. Will the minister justify three of them?" [Hansard cols 137-138]

  • The top silks in chancery...

    15-Feb-1999

    The leading silks at the chancery bar are able to turn their hand to most types of commercial dispute. Traditional chancery silks are less in demand than they used to be - much of this work is non-contentious and many solicitors consider themselves experts in their own right. However, counsel at the commercial end of chancery work all earn high praise from solicitors.This list of barristers is not exhaustive, but is based on the recommendations of leading commercial litigation ...

  • Thompsons waives all fees for CFA clients

    15-Feb-1999

    Top union firm Thompsons is waiving all upfront payments from clients, to take part in a scheme which will extend personal injury cover to more than five million Britons.Unison, Britain's biggest union, is extending its free personal injury scheme for accidents outside the workplace to the families of its 1.3 million members.The scheme, which is the first of its kind, has been prompted by the Government's civil justice reforms and will see the union ...

  • Top civil rights lawyer Birnberg retires

    15-Feb-1999

    Leading civil rights lawyer and BM Birnberg & Co senior partner, Benedict Birnberg, is to retire in April, forcing the closure of the firm's London Bridge office.The firm will continue to practise as Birnberg Pierce from the Camden office, with Gareth Pierce taking the helm as senior partner.Birnberg says the closure of the London Bridge office will lead to a number of redundancies, but not among the fee earners.Birnberg, who has been in practice ...

  • White & Case pulls out of Jakarta after crackdown

    15-Feb-1999

    International firm White & Case has closed its office in Jakarta.The five-consultant office has been relocated because the Indonesian government does not allow foreign lawyers to practise, and no longer approves of the consulting office device used by a number of firms.George Crozer, a partner at the firm's Hong Kong office, says: "A number of firms adopted the consulting ...

  • Woolf book chaos angers solicitors

    15-Feb-1999

    THE WOOLF reform "brown book" is this week back on the shelves of the Stationery Office following anger as solicitors found stocks sold out.The long-awaited Civil Procedure Rules were published on 28 January. However, within days, callers to the Stationery Office - which publishes the u250 tome - were told stocks had run out as lawyers around the country scrambled get copies.In the week following the launch, the office's media spokesmen insisted all orders ...

  • Work in progress tax to hit small firms

    15-Feb-1999

    LAW FIRMS are being warn-ed to prepare for impending changes in the way they calculate profits for tax purposes. And the Law Society predicts smaller practices will lose out under the one-off adjustment fee.The changes contained in the Finance Act 1998 mean firms that calculate taxable profit on a cash or hybrid basis will have to change to an earnings method, which will include valuing all work in progress (WIP).For those firms that did not previously recognise ...