15 March 1999

The Lawyer

  • ... as three in race row promoted

    15-Mar-1999

    THREE senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyers have been promoted, despite being named in evidence in a racial discrimination case against the CPS.Judith Bermingham, Colin Chapman and John Bell have been appointed chief crown prosecutors (CCPs) for South Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Essex, respectively.They are all named in evidence as part of a claim against the CPS for victimisation and race discrimination. A tribunal hearing is underway in Bedford, with Director of ...

  • Adrian Harris

    15-Mar-1999

    Adrian Harris remains undaunted by the prospect of long working hours at US firm O'Melveny & Myers- he's simply given up all his hobbies, writes Sean Farrell

  • BAe legal chief leaves to head up IT company

    15-Mar-1999

    BRITISH Aerospace legal director Stuart Caroll is to step down this week after three years with the company.He will be taking on a new role as legal director of the Morse Group, a software company based in Brentford, west London.Deputy legal director Terence Black says Caroll "chose to go".He continues: "We are bitterly disappointed at his departure. He did a substantial amount of work in terms of building up the legal department."Black says it is unlikely an ...

  • Baker & McKenzie plans merger with Spanish practice Jimenez

    15-Mar-1999

    Baker & McKenzie has found a Spanish firm to merge with in the continuing battle by UK and international law firms to find suitable European alliances.Nigel Carrington, chairman of Baker & McKenzie's European and Middle East Council, says: "We are in an advanced state of negotiations with a view to merging with Jimenez de Parga."Baker & McKenzie already has 50 lawyers in Barcelona ...

  • Bar Council in final bid to save aid in PI claims

    15-Mar-1999

    The Bar Council is to make a last-ditch attempt to save legal aid for personal injury claims, at the very least in relation to certain vulnerable categories.It is also continuing the fight to curb the Lord Chancellor's power to change the professional rules relating to the Bar Council, the Institute of Legal Executives (Ilex) and the Law Society.The third and final reading of the Access to Justice Bill takes place in the House of Lords this Tuesday, where the Bar Council ...

  • Bluebells hit royalty claim

    15-Mar-1999

    Former Bananarama singer Siobhan Fahey is heading for a High Court showdown with a man who claims he co-wrote Young at Heart, a 1983 hit for The Bluebells which was also used in VW's TV adverts. Robert Beckingham, also known as Bobby Valentino, is suing Fahey and writer, Robert Hodgens. He is seeking a High Court declaration that, as co-author, he is entitled to royalties from its exploitation, and an injunction restraining Hodgens, Fahey, ...

  • Brent Law Centre lawyers get redundancy warnings

    15-Mar-1999

    Seven lawyers at the beleaguered Brent Community Law Centre have been issued with redundancy warning letters.As The Lawyer revealed last month, the centre faces closure after the council cut its annual funding by nearly two thirds.The council said at the time that it wanted to work with the centre’s nine staff to try to come up with a rescue plan.But, according to centre solicitor, Paul im Thurn, although urgent talks continue with councillors and officers, no solution ...

  • Bryan Cave poaches rival US firm partner

    15-Mar-1999

    US FIRM Bryan Cave has appointed Walter H White Jr as a partner in its London office as part of plans to expand its corporate practice.He joins Bryan Cave's international transactions practice from the Moscow office of rival US firm Steptoe & Johnson, where he was managing director.White specialises in international utilities, telecoms and oil transactions.He says that moving to London will allow him to serve his international clients more efficiently. "London ...

  • Bupa to spurn City firms for regions

    15-Mar-1999

    PRIVATE health company Bupa is to sideline City firms in favour of cheaper services provided by regional practices and barristers.Head of legal Paul Newton says the hourly charge-out rates of top City firms are getting "ridiculous"."Something is going to have to happen. There is enormous pressure on us from management to reduce the amount we are charged."This is causing us to consider, where appropriate, outsourcing work to firms outside London. If it costs us 15 per ...

  • Camerons grows in Budapest

    15-Mar-1999

    Cameron McKenna has opened a property practice in its Budapest office, Cameron McKenna Ormai.The practice will be headed by partner Robert Porter and resident Hungarian partner Istvan Kovari.Associate Colin Dixon, who recently joined Camerons from Addleshaw Booth & Co, has moved to Hungary to co-head the department.Porter says: "The property sector in Budapest is now swinging into life.""We are establishing this new practice group firstly to cater for the major ...

  • Camerons partner lands top job at water company

    15-Mar-1999

    CAMERON McKenna water industry specialist Richard Temple has landed a top job at the three-month-old International Private Water Association (IPWA).Temple will be the first vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the US-based association.He is currently advising on the first municipal utility privatisation in Bulgaria, while also acting in the privatisation of the water and sewage system in the Romanian capital Bucharest.Temple says the IPWA was set ...

  • Camerons plans Euro network

    15-Mar-1999

    Cameron McKenna is to expand its European empire westwards with the announcement next month of a major new network.The firm is to follow Linklaters & Alliance's lead by creating an instant reach into western Europe which, it is hoped, will eventually lead to full mergers.Although the firm is staying tight-lipped about the details, it is believed to involve six major countries in western ...

  • Case of the week

    15-Mar-1999

    24-year-old rugby player Ben Smoldon will receive almost u2m damages in a landmark settlement with the Rugby Football Union. Smoldon, who is confined to a wheelchair, was represented by Leigh Day & Co, who claimed the referee failed to enforce the rules in a game eight years ago in which Smoldon broke his neck.

  • Costs to rise under Woolf warns Laytons

    15-Mar-1999

    CITY FIRM Laytons is warning its clients that the imminent Woolf reforms will spell "more expensive, time-consuming and burdensome" dispute resolution.Litigation partner Richard Harrison is urging other firms to follow suit before the Civil Procedure Rules come into force on 26 April.Otherwise, Harrison says, the legal profession will become the "fall guy" and face wave upon wave of disgruntled clients."It is difficult not to conclude that, for a long time to come, ...

  • Coudert Brothers in talks with Spanish and Italian practices

    15-Mar-1999

    Coudert Brothers has revealed that it is planning to acquire offices in Spain and Italy by the summer.Jacques Buhart, a partner in the firm's Paris office, says: "We are having merger discussions in Italy and Spain that will become concrete by June. We are negotiating with very substantial law firms in both those countries."He says the Italian practice will handle banking, capital markets and corporate finance work. The Spanish office will carry out corporate finance, ...

  • Council absence was unavoidable

    15-Mar-1999

    I want to clarify the position of the council members who were unable to take part in the council meeting on the future of professional indemnity. The date of the council meeting was re-arranged in January, which caused difficulties for some members. Nine could not attend due to unavoidable commitments, such as clients' court dates, judicial responsibilities, and family bereavement.I also want to correct concerns about the position of council member ...

  • CPS plans shake-up of 'preferred sets' system

    15-Mar-1999

    The Crown Prosecution Service is proposing fundamental changes to the system of selecting barristers to do its prosecution work, just a month after cutting 11 sets from its "preferred sets" list, as exclusively revealed in The Lawyer (17 November 1998).A CPS spokeswoman says: "The CPS has proposed that there should in future be access by all London branches to all preferred sets." She says the issue is being put before the Bar at a meeting this week.Michael Greenaway, sen-ior ...

  • Credit Suisse heads for court

    15-Mar-1999

    THE share-dealing scandal at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) involving the so-called "Flaming Ferraris" will this week explode into full-blown litigation.City firm Herbert Smith has assisted CSFB in its three-week investigation into the affair. The firm is now facing legal action by Adrian Ezra, one of three sacked traders.He is suing for his bonuses - believed to be in excess of £1m.Swedish equity arbitrage deals by the Flaming Ferraris, who are named after ...

  • DAC suffers blow as core team quits for Hammonds

    15-Mar-1999

    Davies Arnold Cooper is reeling from another severe blow dealt by the exit of its construction team to rival firm Hammond Suddards.The departures come on the back of the spate of redundancies at the firm's Manchester office, where the construction team is also based.Nigel Proctor heads the team and will be joined at Hammond Suddards by associate David Vayro, Caroline Hilton - an assistant in the department, and trainee Julian Scott.Also moving to Hammonds are ...

  • Derivatives practices eye up Liffe alliance

    15-Mar-1999

    City derivatives lawyers are expected to see a flurry in work if Liffe's campaign to win back business by forming an alliance with European or US exchanges goes ahead.Adam Ede, head of legal at Liffe - the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange - was unable to comment due to the sensitivity of the proposed deal.Clifford Chance is the main external lawyer to ...

  • Digests

    15-Mar-1999

    The Official Solicitor is suing Dr K Shah and the Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust for alleged medical negligence following the death of Jacqueline Morin on 13 January 1996. The claim is being brought on behalf of Morin's dependents and her estate. It includes claims for damages for bereavement and funeral expenses. The writ claims that Dr Shah treated Morin between June 1995 and 5 January 1996. Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust are accused of providing negligent medical treatment, ...

  • Entertainments must get businesslike

    15-Mar-1999

    The recent legal battle in which James Palumbo's Ministry of Sound (MoS) companies sued one of its former key executives for breach of contract, is seen by top lawyers as highlighting the importance of equitable remedies in the fast moving and often informal environment of the entertainment industry.The recent case centred on Lynn Cosgrave, a former shareholder and director with the James Palumbo's Ministry of Sound companies.She was taken ...

  • Five of the Bar's best

    15-Mar-1999

    Mark Hapgood QCBrick Court ChambersCalled to the Bar: 197Appointed QC: 19Professional achievements/associations:Appointed to Queen's Counsel in April 1994 - the most junior bar member to be appointed a silk in the 1994 list.Areas of practice:Professional negligence, litigation, advisory and drafting work in the whole field of commercial law, including agency; banking; commodities and futures; company and insolvency; insurance; international trade; ...

  • Flotations & Financing

    15-Mar-1999

    Corporate finance partner Andrew Mitchell led a team at Norton Rose which advised on the launch of Mercury Asset Allocator (MAA), an investment trust managed by Mercury Asset Management (MAM), to provide a tax efficient investment option to shareholders who were offered loan notes, which amount to over u200m, following the takeover of MAM by Merrill Lynch in December 1997. Mitchell ...

  • FSA is set to become too powerful

    15-Mar-1999

    George Staple QC, partner, Clifford ChanceMonty Raphael, senior partner, Peters & PetersStephen Pollard, partner, Kingsley NapleyMounting allegations ...

  • Game, set and match

    15-Mar-1999

    According to at least one Labour MP, politicians view lawyers in the same way many people view politicians: at best they don't trust them, at worst they think they are over-paid, elitist and arrogant.It is an uncomfortable fact that, as the battle over the Access to Justice Bill enters the House of Commons, many MPs - the last hope for those seeking to change the legislation and restore the £65m paid in legal aid last year for personal injury cases - distrust lawyers ...

  • Govt rushing internet law, says solicitor

    15-Mar-1999

    A leading computer lawyer says industry has not been given enough time to respond to the Government's e-commerce proposals.And he says the industry panel selected to respond on 1 April comes from a "narrow" slice of industry leaders.Fox Williams partner and council member of the Society for Computers & Law, Nigel Miller, says: "This is a ridiculously short period of time for legislation ...

  • Halifax

    15-Mar-1999

    The Halifax is one of the boldest and most diverse financial services businesses, with 20 million customers and assets of u145bn.

  • How UK/US interest influenced italian alliances

    15-Mar-1999

    ITALIAN trio Bonelli e Associati, Erede e Associati and Pappalardo e Associati have snubbed foreign merger proposals in favour of an all-Italian link-up.Genovese firm Bonelli is keen to build on the reputation of its partners in commercial and corporate law. Senior managing partner Franco Bonelli admits international interest spurred them into action: "We considered the possibility of going international, but thought this would be preferable. The trend has been important for the ...

  • In brief: Cameron McKenna and CGU Insurance

    15-Mar-1999

    Cameron McKenna and CGU Insurance. In last week's issue we stated that CGU Insurance had removed Cameron McKenna from its panel. We also stated that Camerons recently failed to get on the panel of another leading insurance firm. We now understand both statements to be untrue and without foundation. While Camerons has worked and continues to work for CGU, the firm has never been on its general panel. We apologise to Camerons and CGU for any confusion and embarrassment caused.

  • In brief: Freshfields

    15-Mar-1999

    Freshfields is to take on six new assistants in its Paris office. The appointments will be in the corporate finance and finance department and are designed, says finance partner Jean-Luc Michaud, to redress the uneven ratio of assistants to partners.

  • In brief: Hays DX

    15-Mar-1999

    Hays DX UK commercial director Glyn Jones has left the legal postal service. Jones spoke to The Lawyer recently following a series of complaints that Hays was overcharging law firms. Hays DX refused to comment on Jones' departure, except to say "it's got nothing to do with the story".

  • In brief: Roger Venne

    15-Mar-1999

    Roger Venne has been appointed the first head of the Civil Appeals Office. He will oversee the administration and management of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). Venne will also perform certain judicial functions previously undertaken by the former Registry of Civil Appeals. Venne was previously deputy secretary of commissions at the Lord Chancellor's Department.

  • In brief: Rosemary Carter

    15-Mar-1999

    Rosemary Carter, a partner at London-based Barnett Sampson, has taken over the reins at the Solicitors' Family Law Association following its recent annual general meeting. She replaces David Salter of Addleshaw Booth & Co in Leeds.

  • In brief: Rosling King

    15-Mar-1999

    Rosling King has opened its London market office to serve its insurance clients in the capital. The office, in Leadenhall Street, is opposite Lloyd's of London. Iain Corbett, insurance/reinsurance partner at the Fleet Street-based firm, says: "Clients want more than legal advice. The advice must be realistic and delivered speedily."

  • In brief: Rubina Cassell

    15-Mar-1999

    Rubina Cassell, the Wilde Sapte lawyer who sued her former firm for disability discrimination, has lost her claim. Cassell, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, brought the case under the new Disability Discrimination Act. It was one of the first cases of its kind to reach an industrial tribunal. Wilde Sapte personnel director David Fowler says: "It's a relief that it's behind us, but I don't want to give any sense of gloating over this matter."

  • In brief: The Law Society

    15-Mar-1999

    The Law Society says it is attempting to persuade the Chinese authorities to relax their stance on allowing Chinese lawyers into English firms based in China. Herbert Smith and Holman Fenwick & Willan are the latest UK firms licensed to practise in China. Part of China's bid to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) involves lifting all quantitative and geographical restrictions on foreign firms within a year of joining the WTO.

  • In brief: Turkish lawyers

    15-Mar-1999

    Turkish lawyers are coming to London this week to learn about human rights. The British Council project aims to build a network of Turkish lawyers with a UK and international perspective on the protection of human rights.

  • It's been a bad week for

    15-Mar-1999

    Writer Michael Thornton, whose 13-years-in-the-making biography of the Duchess of Argyll could be scuppered by the lawyers of a "headless man". Thornton has received more than a dozen letters threatening legal action from lawyers representing the Duchess' lover, whose headless body featured in photographs cited in divorce proceedings in 1963. The action was threatened after Thornton revealed his intention to disclose the man's identity in the biography, ...

  • Its been a good week for

    15-Mar-1999

    Privacy. Sir Elton John and his lawyers Eversheds, won a landmark ruling from the Press Complaints Commission, agreeing that his privacy was invaded when newspapers published long-lens photographs of Posh Spice and David Beckham at Elton's home. The ruling opens the floodgates to complaints lodged on behalf of visitors by their hosts.Censorship. The US Supreme Court ...

  • Juniors in name only

    15-Mar-1999

    When it comes to juniors, the professional negligence bar is weighted with talent.

  • Lawrence Graham in u70m joint venture

    15-Mar-1999

    Lawrence Graham has completed a u70m joint venture transaction on behalf of Scottish & Newcastle with Hugh Baird & Sons.Partner Paul Walker led a team of two partners Andrew Wade, Caroline May and two assistants. Scottish & Newcastle has previously instructed the firm on a number of transactions.Walker says: " This deal sets up a major force in the UK malting industry, bringing together ...

  • Legal image suffers at expense of self-interest

    15-Mar-1999

    The Lawyer will no doubt be accused of lawyer-bashing yet again this week because of the damning report on the lack of pro bono work carried out by the profession (pages 12-14).No one wants to confront the truth, but the facts speak for themselves. The Lawyer's survey of the profession's commitment to working on a no-fee basis confirms what many have suspected all along - that a lot of firms have talked a good game, but are failing to deliver.

  • Leicester wins college competition

    15-Mar-1999

    LEICESTER University has won the final of Boardroom Blitz - the business game for law students run by Berwin Leighton in association with The Lawyer.Forty teams of second-year students had to run fictional companies, making decisions on issues such as sales, marketing and research and development, until they were whittled down to five finalists over six rounds.The teams' decisions were fed into a computer, which totted up each company's profits.In the final, ...

  • Little incentive, even less opportunity

    15-Mar-1999

    MANY YOUNG lawyers attracted to large City firms by the financial incentives want to maintain their ideological commitments to avoid "selling out". Aware of this, large firms advertise their pro bono work as part of their recruitment and marketing drives.But, while many young lawyers, like myself arrive at large City law firms as trainees with visions of getting involved in pro bono, in reality it hardly exists.One of the things that drew me to my firm was the fact that ...

  • Local govt to lose Law Soc seat to trainee

    15-Mar-1999

    LOCAL government lawyers are being pitted against trainees following a recommendation to change Law Society council membership.The membership committee has recommended to council that the number of local government representatives be cut from two to one, to make way for a young solicitor with less than two years' experience.Local Government Group chair Bethan Evans says employed lawyers are once again being treated as sec ond-class citizens. "We are extremely angry ...

  • Magistrate reported to Lord Irvine

    15-Mar-1999

    A LIVERPOOL solicitor is reporting a stipendiary magistrate to the Lord Chancellor in a furious row over a drugs case.Robert Broudie of RM Broudie & Co says an attack made on him by magistrate John Finestein was "totally improper and inappropriate".Finestein criticised Broudie in October for wasting legal aid by instructing a barrister to try to get a drug-dealing case dismissed.Finestein said in court that "a first-year law student" would have known the man had a ...

  • Matisse family fight over painting copyright

    15-Mar-1999

    The worlds of art and publishing are on course for a head on copyright clash in the High Court, later this year. The family of Henri Matisse is preparing to sue publishers, Phaidon Press, for damages in respect of alleged use of unauthorised copies of Matisse’s paintings in six books published by Phaidon.The action has been launched by Paris-based Claude Duthuit, Gerard Matisse, Maria Schrepel, Maria Matisse, Paul Matisse, Jacqueline Matisse and Pierre Matisse, all trading ...

  • Mediators seek power to regulate

    15-Mar-1999

    THE UK College of Family Mediators is taking on the Government in a fight for statutory powers to regulate and discipline its members.Liz Walsh, college chief executive, says the Government is showing no sign of giving it "the teeth to enforce" high standards."This is regrettable and certainly not in the public interest," she says.The Lawyer also understands the Joint Mediation Forum - which includes the UK college, the Centre for Dispute Resolution and Mediation UK ...

  • Ocean Marine liquidation threatens lucrative work

    15-Mar-1999

    The provisional liquidation of shipping insurance provider Ocean Marine Mutual is threatening to cut short a mountain of lucrative legal work for UK law firms.Ocean Marine Mutual has been engaged in a series of long running disputes with a number of parties including its Australian reinsurer, FAI, represented by Clyde & Co, one of eight law firms which is acting in connection with the insurer.

  • Partners on the moveA

    15-Mar-1999

    Goodman Derrick has appointed Martin Emmison to its expanding corporate group. Emmison was previously a partner at Rowe & Maw and specialises in domestic and international acquisitions and inward investment from the US.Diane Murphy has left Taylors Solicitors in Blackburn to join Carlisle-based firm, baines wilson. Previously, she has worked for Dibb Lupton after its takeover of Wm F Prior, ...

  • Penningtons bullish despite family loss

    15-Mar-1999

    City firm Penningtons says it is adamant its family law practice will not suffer, despite the loss of its department head and two assistants.The head of the family practice, Susan Philipps, is leaving the firm after four years in the post. She has been a partner since 1986 and headed the team from 1994.Philipps and her two assistants, Emma Harte and Sara Hannell, will join 12-partner firm, ...

  • Personal Injury Awards

    15-Mar-1999

    Wen v Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust & Anor (1999) QBD (Buckley J) 23 February 1999Plaintiff: Female, married, 28 years old at date of accident; 32 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff attended St Thomas' hospital for minor corrective surgery to her eyelid. After the operation she was taken to the recovery room while the anaesthetic wore off. She was being attended by a scrub nurse when she had a cardio-respiratory attack, ...

  • Police to set dangerous precedent, says Tuckers

    15-Mar-1999

    A police decision to tell the victim of a hit-and-run accident to fight the case himself, despite having enough evidence to prosecute, is setting a dangerous precedent, says a leading criminal lawyer.Businessman Max Lehrain was told by the Metropolitan Police that it was "not in the public interest" to prosecute the motorist who drove off after knocking him off his motorbike.Franklin Sinclair, senior partner at Manchester based firm Tuckers, and chairman of the Criminal ...

  • Private practice lawyers miss out on top jobs in CPS shake-up

    15-Mar-1999

    None of the crucial roles in the shake-up of the Crown Prosecution Service have gone to lawyers in private practice, The Lawyer can reveal.Just two candidates from outside the CPS have been handed jobs as chief crown prosecutors in the 42 new prosecuting areas.But one has come from the civil service where he is legal director at the Department Trade & Industry while the other is a commander in the Royal Navy, who has been prosecuting court martials for the past three years.

  • Pro bono not top priority, says Law Soc president

    15-Mar-1999

    MICHAEL Mathews says the Law Society supports pro bono initiatives. So why has the Law Society recently turned down two applications for grants to set up pro bono schemes?Leeds Law Society recently applied for a u4,500 grant to set up a free advice centre in the city. The Law Society offered a mere u650 and the scheme is now in jeopardy.Similarly, the City of London Law Society was refused a grant to set up a clearing scheme for pro bono referrals, and is now seeking alternative ...

  • Pro bono: elementary to education

    15-Mar-1999

    Pro bono is viewed variously by lawyers as an altruistic sacrifice, good PR, or as building stronger links between the legal profession and the community. It is viewed by the Government as complementary to an efficient and fair system of justice, the same way as it views the relationship between government expenditure and lottery funding.But what of the role of pro bono in the education and training of young (and old) lawyers? There are still some in the legal ...

  • Prosecutor at centre of row takes top regional CPS post

    15-Mar-1999

    A prosecutor who left female lawyers distressed and in tears after a furious bust-up has been promoted to a senior management role in the Crown Prosecution Service.David Adams has been appointed Chief Crown Prosecutor in Derbyshire, with status equivalent to the area's chief constable. The row prompted an external review of staff relations and the management structure at East Midlands area headquarters.Adams, assistant chief crown prosecutor at the time in April 1997, ...

  • Quote of the week

    15-Mar-1999

    "It is part of an aggressive expansion plan"- Tom Jones, partner at Thompsons solicitors, defies the laws of mathematics when explaining that the departure of 11 of Thompsons' 55 equity partners will actually make the firm bigger.

  • Regions to be cheerful

    15-Mar-1999

    In the professional negligence field, the general perception is that the expertise is based in London and it is, in fact, true that the London Bar is used exclusively for the biggest cases. The reason given for this is that professional indemnity insurers are largely based in the capital and they prefer the expertise that the London Bar clearly has.Since panel solicitors go to London counsel, it is difficult to find practitioners for defence work in the regions. However, on the ...

  • Rising star shipping firm fined £50,000

    15-Mar-1999

    Fast-growing shipping and offshore specialist Curtis Davis Garrard has been hit by an exceptionally high wasted costs order of around £50,000.In a ruling leaked to The Lawyer last week, Mr Justice Rix says partner Mark Davis "has been negligent, not in just one respect, but in many", while acting on behalf of shipping company Lowline (PSV).The application for the order was brought by Norton ...

  • Rivals reject Thompsons excuses for partner cull

    15-Mar-1999

    PERSONAL injury firms have reacted with surprise to trade union practice Thompsons' decision to cull 11 equity partners.Thompsons, which has 55 equity partners and 15 offices, blames the Woolf reforms for the "voluntary" resignations, which, it says, have already been agreed.But rival firms argue it has been top heavy for some time.Thompsons claims that other firms are being shortsighted and have failed to deal with the imminent changes.One partner at a ...

  • Rogue door causes uproar

    15-Mar-1999

    The extent to which a local authority is justified in ordering a whole building to be demolished where planning consent has been breached is now pending in the High Court. The case centres on an enforcement notice ordering Anouschka Sparkes from Hampshire to remove a building on farm land at Hawkley on the basis it does not comply with permitted development provisions. That notice has been upheld by the Environment Secretary. However, the High Court has given Mrs Sparkes leave ...

  • Scuffle of the week:

    15-Mar-1999

    Veteran CPS basher Neil Addison (pictured) notched up another round in his battle against the service. Former senior crown prosecutor Addison, who resigned in 1995 after being suspended for his political activities while on the Bar Council, has since been consistently passed over for jobs at the CPS, despite enjoying a good reputation among his contemporaries. Addison criticised the CPS decision to appoint only two of its 42 new chief prosecutors from outside its existing ...

  • Shulmans wins employee ruling

    15-Mar-1999

    Leeds-based Shulmans has won a ground-breaking emp-loyment law case in the Court of Appeal.As a result of the win, the controlling shareholder of a company is now recognised for the first time as an employee.The ruling means controlling shareholders are now entitled to the same rights as employees.The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Shulmans' client Peter Bottrill who is seeking to recover money from the Department of Trade and Industry which was owed by a ...

  • SIF vote criticism 'sour grapes'

    15-Mar-1999

    It is nonsense to suggest that the four council members who also sit on the board of SIF have a "vested interest" in the continuation of the mutual fund and should have done the "honourable thing" by abstaining from the vote (The Lawyer, 9 March). I challenge anyone to explain precisely what form this "vested interest" is supposed to take.Peter Williamson, Paul Venton, George Staple and Angus Andrew were appointed to the board ...

  • Silk calls for UK to hire Sierra Leone lawyers

    15-Mar-1999

    ONE OF the country’s leading human rights silks is calling for UK solicitors firms to hire Sierra Leone’s top lawyers as paralegals or outdoor clerks.Michael Birnbaum QC, of 9-12 Bell Yard, says the horrendous troubles in the African country have forced many senior members of the Bar and judiciary to flee the country and seek temporary refuge in the UK.The Revolutionary Front, he says, is wreaking havoc in Sierra Leone, with lawyers and judges being slaughtered. The Solicitor ...

  • Simmons corporate partners quit firm after poaching spree

    15-Mar-1999

    Simmons & Simmons has lost three partners from its corporate department.The departures of Peter Faber, Peter Kennerley and Jeffrey Keey were announced to the firm last Tuesday.Senior corporate partner Peter Faber is leaving to join the London office of US firm Jones Day Reavis & Pogue.Peter Kennerley is moving to Edinburgh to become corporate lawyer and company secretary at the brewery ...

  • Solicitors team up with former barrister to create City practice

    15-Mar-1999

    A firm opening in the City this week combines the expertise of solicitors and barristers under one roof.Barrister turned solicitor-advocate Michael Jones, formerly of 1 Essex Court, has created Jones Warner with two solicitors.He says that instead of joining a firm as an employed barrister, he is using his experience of 20 years at the Bar to set up a new practice.He says: "We were brainstorming about the ideal law firm and the idea took wings."We are very excited ...

  • Square Mile

    15-Mar-1999

    One of the most important elements which makes a law firm successful is internal communication.The profession has always lagged behind industry. For decades, companies have pinned their productivity figures to shop floor noticeboards, and internal newsletters long preceded the microchip and the robot. Managers have been subjected to regular, written assessments for a generation, and now 360 degree reviews - where subordinates can gripe as well - are becoming ...

  • Stars in a diverse universe

    15-Mar-1999

    A wide range of practitioners come within the professional negligence Bar's broad church - right across the spectrum of common law and specialised Chancery sets. The following list is by no means exhaustive, rather a selection based on the subjective recommendations of leading professional negligence solicitors.First port of call for many (especially for solicitor's negligence) is 2 Crown Office Row, which will move to 4 New Square in September. The set headed by John ...

  • Stephensons lands Madrid property star

    15-Mar-1999

    CITY FIRM Stephenson Harwood has taken on a commercial property specialist in Madrid as part of its plan to double the size of the operation within two years.Spanish lawyer Javier Ibanez comes from Ernst & Young and has particular expertise in issues relating to shopping centres.Managing partner at the Madrid office Kenneth Bonavia says Ibanez will be joined by a junior, with a shipping ...

  • Sullivan & Cromwell in eight-day M&A deal

    15-Mar-1999

    US firm Sullivan & Cromwell got the call to represent French bank Societe Generale only eight days before its merger with Paribas went ahead, the lawyer who headed the deal reveals.Pierre Servan-Schreiber, partner at the Paris office, says that the firm's size was one of three deciding factors in its selection."SocGen needed a firm that could do everything that needed to ...

  • The cuddly assassin lays down the law

    15-Mar-1999

    "I WAS attracted to the law for all the wrong reasons," explains Clive Anderson, the familiar smile spreading across his face. "I just enjoyed bobbing up and down arguing the toss in a funny costume."We are sitting in the Gay Hussar restaurant, a Soho institution and enclave of media luvvies. Anderson is at pains to explain, however, it is only the second time he has eaten there and that was also when taken by a journalist.If anything, the comedian, chat show host, travel ...

  • The firm

    15-Mar-1999

    The Lawyer: Can we talk about The Firm's commitment to pro bono?Mr Pratchard: Pro bono? Isn't that one of Henderson's Sicilian clients?The Lawyer: No, it's Latin. It means work for which you don't get paid.Mr Pratchard: Someone's not been paying us? We'll sue the pants off them!The Lawyer: No, I mean The Firm's commitment to voluntary work.Mr Pratchard: ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Ralph Picken

    15-Mar-1999

    What subject(s) did you fail at school?None.What was your first job?Porter at the Welsh National School of Medicine.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?u2,857 pa.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?Forensic pathologist.What annoys you most about clients?They assume that you are always at your desk ...

  • The pro bono myth laid bare

    15-Mar-1999

    AS THE Government pursues a successful strategy of attacking solicitors for their supposed greed, the legal profession is steadfastly refusing to reveal what work it does for free.Unearthing individual solicitors who are committed to pro bono is not difficult. But getting the entire profession to provide the hard facts and figures to show how much pro bono work it does is virtually impossible.The line most firms take is to simply claim they are committed to pro bono, without ...

  • Thespians play leading roles in law firm pitches

    15-Mar-1999

    Professional actors are the latest front line weapon in the war to win new clients, with several law firms using thespians to coach or even play the part of lawyers in pitches.Regional insurance giant Weightmans admits that it has used actors as role playing "extras' during beauty parades for new work.Several other firms are getting luvvie coaching on how to impress potential clients.

  • This week:

    15-Mar-1999

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, will address the 1999 Minority Lawyers' conference, "Meeting the Challenge of Change", on 20 March at the Law Society, Chancery Lane. Speakers include Lincoln Crawford, chairman of the Bar Council Race Relations Committee, and Jane Whittaker, chair of the Law Society Equal Opportunities Committee. Topics include the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights, community ...

  • Three top Italian firms merge to fight UK and US predators

    15-Mar-1999

    Three top Italian law firms are merging in response to "aggressive competition" from UK and US practices.The firms are Erede e Associati, which is advising Olivetti in its £36.5bn take-over of Telecom Italia alongside Herbert Smith (The Lawyer last week), Bonelli e Associati and Pappalardo e Associati.Foreign interest has forced Italian firms to examine their strategies.Meanwhile rival firm, Studio Legale Sutti, is planning to expand its practice by opening a ...

  • Wendy Lambert on who owns pension scheme surplus.

    15-Mar-1999

    Wendy Lambert is a solicitor Hammond Suddards.The David and Goliath angle on last month's Court of Appeal decision in the National Grid case has guaranteed colourful headlines. But most pensions lawyers conclude that the principles set out in the judgment are not new at all - they simply confirm the existing law.The case arose from a complaint by two pensioners to the pensions ombudsman, that National Grid had misused the surplus in its pension scheme ...

  • White & Case hires Bakers partner

    15-Mar-1999

    White & Case has recruited a Baker & McKenzie partner and an associate to its Hungarian practice, Reczicza Law Firm White & Case.Zsuzanna Kovacs is described as a senior Hungarian lawyer by Rob Irving, joint head of the White & Case Budapest office.Kovacs was a local partner at Baker & McKenzie ...

  • Woolf at the courtroom door

    15-Mar-1999

    Many lawyers may well find themselves agreeing with TS Eliot this year when he said that April was the cruellest month. On 26 April, Lord Woolf's civil justice reforms take effect, and there is a strong potential that ancillary professional negligence claims against lawyers will skyrocket.Lord Woolf's intention is to eliminate "the twin evils of delay and excessive cost". But there is still much dissent among lawyers on how effective the new changes will be in practice ...