2 August 1999

The Lawyer

  • ...as it prepares for law firm cull

    3-Aug-1999

    A leading insurer is demanding to know the financial details of nearly 100 firms, sparking fears that its overgrown panel is about to be slashed.A letter, in the form of a pro forma spreadsheet, issued by recently merged insurer CGU, requires firms to provide financial and operational data for 1998.Alistaire Layland, project leader for legal services at CGU, says a decision on which firms will be retained is not far away.But he refuses to say if the ...

  • 08/03/1999

    3-Aug-1999

    A doctor is taking his partners to the High Court in a battle over their moves to expel him from a medical practice. Christopher Duckham is seeking a High Court declaration that a notice purporting to expel him from the Horncastle Medical Group last December is invalid and of no effect. He is also seeking an injunction restraining four partners from expelling or compulsorily retiring him from the partnership, and implementing or trying to enforce the expulsion notice. Duckham is ...

  • A Guide to Commercial Forum Shopping For In-House Lawyers

    3-Aug-1999

    INTERNATIONAL commercial lawyers usually conduct their forum shopping in advance of disputes, avoid the US and, as a result of the Woolf reforms, are now more likely to use the UK courts.Since the early 1990s, commercial courts in the European Union have allowed parties to bring actions in the forum of their choosing.The US courts, on the other hand, are considered by lawyers to be "parochial", tending not to allow action unless a US company is involved, although ...

  • A new, improved Merseyside

    2-Aug-1999

    Looking like he has just jumped out of the cockpit of a gleaming Spitfire, Jim Davies is an unconventional legal luminary in Liverpool.Davies set up Davies Wallis Foyster in the city in the late seventies - at a time when decent legal chaps simply did not do that sort of thing, eventually becoming the firm's chief executive.Although he looks every inch the pin-striped English lawyer, the exuberant Davies has gone against the grain in Liverpool, which despite ...

  • Andrew Parsons on professional negligence limitation.

    2-Aug-1999

    Andrew Parsons is a barrister practising at Portsmouth Barristers' Chambers.WHEN does the primary limitation period begin to run for a professional negligence action in the area of housing law? If a house purchaser intends to take action against an allegedly negligent surveyor or valuer who provides a mortgage valuation report for the mortgagee, does the limitation period run from the exchange of contracts or completion?Surprisingly, this important ...

  • Andrew Witts on resurrecting debts that have been rejected.

    3-Aug-1999

    Andrew Witts is a banking litigation partner at Dibb Lupton Alsop's City office.Mr Justice Park is to consider whether a claim for set-off can be raised following an earlier rejection of a proof of debt - one of the issues in BCCI (Overseas) (In Liquidation) v Habib Bank in the Court of Appeal.The issue arose from an application by Habib Bank to set aside a default judgment obtained against it by the liquidators of BCCI - a Cayman Islands-based company that ...

  • BAe threatens unethical firms

    3-Aug-1999

    British Aerospace (BAe) is demanding that firms prove a commitment to pro bono work, or risk being kicked off its panel.The blue chip client's call comes as companies increasingly review law firms ethical behaviour.BAe legal director Stuart Caroll has written to the company's panel firms asking them what pro bono work they are doing, and calling on them to support the Solicitors Pro Bono Group (SPBG).The company is now considering making ...

  • Barrett summons one day out

    3-Aug-1999

    Appeal Court judgment is now pending in a case in which protestors are challenging plans for the u700m Birmingham Northern Relief Road. The Alliance against the Birmingham Northern Relief Road, along with eight other individuals, took Environment Secretary John Prescott and Midlands Expressway to the High Court last October, in an unsuccessful bid to quash orders giving the go-ahead for the proposed 27-mile privately owned stretch of dual carriageway toll road, which ...

  • Barristers sexier than solicitors

    3-Aug-1999

    Barristers are sexier than solicitors, according to a survey of the public's dating preferences.The survey conducted by Drawing Down the Moon dating agency, found its female clients would much rather be dating a barrister than a solicitor.Male barristers rank in the top five of sexiest professions - just behind architects, bankers, doctors and directors while solicitors were well outside the top ten.Mary Balfour, director of the agency, which ...

  • Battle in the High Court

    3-Aug-1999

    The future of a High Court battle in which the Canada Trust Company is suing Wolfgang Stolzenberg president and chief executive of the Castor Group over alleged malpractice and fraud is to be decided by the House of Lords. Stolzenberg is fighting a long-running battle to block action in the English courts claiming he is outside the jurisdiction of the English High Court. However, in the High Court in 1997 Mr Justice Rattee dismissed his application to have the case struck out and ...

  • Berrymans' Taylor takes new role

    3-Aug-1999

    BERRYMANS Lace Mawer has changed its partnership constitution to formalise Paul Taylor's position as national senior partner.A new post has been created for Taylor, giving him a co-ordinating role to help consolidate the firm's recently merged northern and southern offices.Taylor says he has resigned from the management board to take up the post. He denies accusations that the move has left him sidelined: "I chose to resign from the management team, ...

  • Bird & Bird's passing off milestone

    3-Aug-1999

    BIRD & Bird has won a sweet victory in the Court of Appeal.

  • Canary Wharf's u2.6bn bonanza for City firms

    3-Aug-1999

    LEGAL history seems to be turning full circle at Canary Wharf - the 85-acre site east of the City - as Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance prepare for its unique u2.6bn flotation.City firms such as Ashurst Morris Crisp, ...

  • Case of the week

    3-Aug-1999

    No longer do music lawyers have briefs, they have "gigs". Such is the flow of "stars" wandering in and out of the Royal Courts of Justice, that it is taking on the appearance of Wembley Stadium. Thankfully, those nice young men from Oasis (a rock and roll band from Manchester M'lud) secured a settlement on the court steps with sacked drummer Tony McCarroll, who had been hoping to collect u18m in royalties. He got u550,000. Liam Gallagher ...

  • CC up against Norton Rose in Bermuda trust case

    3-Aug-1999

    CLIFFORD Chance and Norton Rose are involved in one of the biggest cases in Bermudan legal history, which has the plot of an airport novel.Expected to last a year, the case, over control of a family trust, is so big by Bermudan standards that a new court house had to be created from an old memorial hall - at the parties' expense. Bermuda simply did not have sufficient court space.

  • Chaos reigns as Revenue gets partners' tax wrong

    3-Aug-1999

    LAW FIRM partners are receiving demands for tax they have already paid, while others are being credited with huge repayments not owed to them.The chaos is due to the Inland Revenue's inability to deal with partnerships' tax returns as part of the mass of work created by the 31 January self-assessment deadline.Partnerships can make a single tax payment on behalf of all partners against the self-assessment reference of one partner. This is then reallocated ...

  • Chiefs in contract war with investors

    2-Aug-1999

    John Farr, head of employment, Herbert SmithDavid Cheyne, corporate partner, LinklatersAlasdair Simpson, senior partner, Manches & CoThe swift departure of Mirror Group boss David Montgomery was taken as a sign of a new era of "shareholder activism", with bolshy institutions removing chief executives when they are displeased ...

  • City demands opt-out measures

    3-Aug-1999

    City lawyers are now demanding changes to SIF and are calling for measures which may effectively allow them to opt out of the fund altogether.Law Society president, Michael Mathews - who voted to scrap SIF - says he wants the monopoly to look at more flexible "deductibles".A deductible is a set amount a firm has to pay itself on every claim. Each firm must be insured by SIF for £1m, but if given a £1m deductible, the firm could get this cover from ...

  • City firms break work time law

    3-Aug-1999

    City law firms are breaking the law over the 48-hour working week - despite a strict ruling in the High Court last week.In the first judgment on the Working Time Regulations since they came into force last October, a High Court judge ruled that five members of pit deputies' union NACODS did not have to work more than an average of 48 hours per week in a 17-week period.The judge called the introduction of the 48-hour week a "mandatory requirement which must ...

  • City firms woo US partners

    2-Aug-1999

    CITY FIRMS Herbert Smith and Freshfields are bucking the transatlantic appointment trend by recruiting US lawyers.Herbert Smith is adding two new partners to its international securities practice. US lawyers Jim Wickenden and Allen Hanen will be joining in March this year from the London office of US investment bankers JP Morgan.Freshfields is gaining the highly rated Sean Pierce, a general and structured finance specialist, who is currently a partner with

  • City lawyers threaten to take legal action over SIF

    3-Aug-1999

    A GROUP of City and commercial lawyers is threatening to take the Law Society to court over its decision to retain SIF's monopoly.A spokeswoman for anti-SIF campaigners the November Meeting Group says prominent silk Michael Beloff QC has been consulted, and he believes it has a strong case for taking SIF to judicial review for breaching European law.But, she says, the group is considering pressing ahead with legal action after the Law Society council voted ...

  • Court of Appeal to decide the fate of unqualified assistants

    3-Aug-1999

    A CLIENT who refused to pay a firm after he discovered an unqualified clerk was handling his case last week took his fight to the Court of Appeal.If he wins the case, it could have serious ramifications for unqualified assistants in law firms.Stuart Pilbrow claims that when he contacted East Grinstead firm Pearless de Rougemont & Co in November 1995 and asked to see a solicitor, he was given an appointment with a clerk who had a law degree, but no further legal ...

  • Cozens plans insurance law shake-up

    2-Aug-1999

    US firm Cozen & O'Connor, which has opened in London last week, is planning to open up the little-used practice of sub- rogation in the UK.In the US, around 60 per cent of the firm's work is in subrogation - cases where insurance companies sue a third party to recover the cost of a claim.The firm's founding partner Stephen Cozen says that last year such work put around $150m (£94m) back into the coffers of its insurance company clients.

  • CPS boss faces race discrimination case

    3-Aug-1999

    A SENIOR Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer has been reported to the Law Society over allegations that he breached the Race Relations Act.Stephen O'Doherty, assistant chief crown prosecutor for the London CPS, is accused of breaching the Solicitors' Anti-Discrimination Rule 1995. The complaint, which was made by Neeta Amin, a CPS prosecutor, has been referred to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS).O'Doherty is in the running ...

  • Criminal case review body to face radical shake-up

    2-Aug-1999

    The Home Office is threatening to instigate a shake-up in the commission that looks into suspected miscarriages of justice in a bid to clear the backlog of cases.A Home Affairs Select Committee is due to report on the Criminal Cases Review Commission in the next few weeks.Labour MP Paul Stinchcombe, who sits on the committee, says the commission needs to be streamlined to make it more efficient.The warning comes as the Government announced plans to ...

  • David Willis

    2-Aug-1999

    Fiona Callister meets David Willis, Forsters' senior partner, who has helped nurture the young firm which grew out of the ashes of Frere Cholmeley Bischoff.

  • Davies Arnold Cooper axes 90 staff in specialisation drive

    2-Aug-1999

    DAVIES Arnold Cooper (DAC) is making 14 lawyers in its London office redundant, and is closing its corporate department in Manchester.Around 90 staff are being made redundant altogether.The five partners and nine assistants made redundant in London include corporate partners Chris Croft, Anbereen Salamat and Stephen Lane, in addition to two unnamed partners from the reinsurance and professional indemnity group.The five-partner, 19-strong corporate ...

  • Davies Arnold Cooper is a sign of the times

    2-Aug-1999

    The revelation that Davies Arnold Cooper is to make 90 staff redundant and is on the verge of selling off its Manchester office will send shudders through many middle-sized firms. At first glance, DAC's drastic move seems to signal that something is seriously wrong in the mid-sized firm market and in the North West.Both assumptions are wrong. True, middle-tier firms are being squeezed between the big five and successful niche practices, with Simmons & ...

  • Denton Hall extends European network with Swedish alliance

    3-Aug-1999

    Denton Hall has brought Swedish firm Wistrand into its international alliance - a further sign that northern Europe is becoming an increasingly unified market.Denton International chairman James Dallas says: "It is another important step forward in our drive to become a pan-European network."Denton International now has interests in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, France, Germany and Spain.Peter Hedborg, the Gothenburg-based chairman of Wistrand, ...

  • Deutsche Bank hands Bankers Trust legal chief top UK post

    3-Aug-1999

    Bankers Trust head of legal Simon Dodds is to become the UK head of legal when Deutsche Bank and Bankers Trust merge.The appointment follows the departure of Peter Brooks, the former global general counsel at Deutsche Bank.Dodds will be responsible for all UK legal matters in the proposed super bank.His appointment is part of a restructuring of Deutsche Bank's global legal department.The Lawyer understands that Brooks' former ...

  • Digest

    2-Aug-1999

    BROKERS Robertson Taylor is offering a legal insurance policy covering up to u5m in legal fees and damages for songwriters involved in plagiarism claims. The firm's managing director John Silcock says: "There has been a rising tide of plagiarism cases and we were approached by a leading lawyer for the music industry to set up this policy." Composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber recently won a court victory against a US composer who he alleged had used a tune of his in The Phantom of the ...

  • Don't put criminal law above civil

    3-Aug-1999

    Vicki Chapman warns that by making criminal cases a priority in the legal aid budget, the Lord Chancellor will be playing a dangerous game. Vicki Chapman is the policy director at the Legal Action Group.The Lord Chancellor recently revealed that funds for civil legal aid could be squeezed if there is a heavy demand on the criminal legal aid budget. The disclosure, made during the passage of the Access to Justice Bill, came as something of a surprise, ...

  • DSS drops Wansbroughs from panel

    2-Aug-1999

    National firm Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave has been dropped from the DSS panel of legal advisers after three years.The firm has been replaced by Simmons & Simmons and Eversheds.The panel advises on all legal requirements regarding IT contracting, outsourcing, Public and Private Partnership (PPP), Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and contracts for non-IT goods and services.

  • Dutch Bar opens the way for MDPs

    2-Aug-1999

    Ernst & Young has opened the way for multidisciplinary practices (MDPs) in The Netherlands after the Dutch Bar gave it the go-ahead for its accountancy and legal businesses to profit share.Under the agreement, the firm's accountants will have no say in the organisation of the legal side of the business, to avoid breaching Dutch law society rules.The partnership involved - one of three E&Y firms in The Netherlands - is a tax law specialist employing both ...

  • Eagle Star sheds its in-house

    2-Aug-1999

    Eagle Star Insurance is closing its in-house legal department following its merger with Zurich Insurance.One of its lawyers has already relocated to Zurich's UK legal department based in Fareham, Hampshire, while another three have decided to move on to other things.Paul Hitchings, group legal adviser, says the "discontinuation of some litigation activity" is involved in the "relocation".Those in-house lawyers who are attached to specific areas, ...

  • Economic meltdown to big freeze

    3-Aug-1999

    James Turnbull, vice-president of Credit Suisse First Boston's legal department, is typical of corporate lawyers working in Moscow. He is young, well-educated, puts in long hours and is at the heart of attempts to rebuild Russia.We met for lunch at one of the spanking new pizza joints that have sprung up all over the city. The restaurant stands in the shadow of the monolithic Intourist Hotel - a poignant reminder of the changes that have swept the country. In the bad ...

  • Encouraging words for SIF

    3-Aug-1999

    Although it will displease many of my colleagues, I support the retention of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund.As a solicitor working in a small firm, I don't have the time or the desire to pile through pages of glossy brochures to find the best open market insurance deal for myself.More importantly as a solicitor who has had a successful claim against me, I found the back-up of having a mutual fund invaluable.We all make mistakes. ...

  • Eversheds plans offices in Dusseldorf and Sofia

    3-Aug-1999

    Eversheds is expanding its European operation to capitalise on the burgeoning German and Bulgarian markets.The firm, which already has a considerable presence in Europe, hopes to merge with a Dusseldorf outfit in the next six months, having identified potential firms.Alan Jenkins, head of the Continental European practice, says it is a logical move to set up shop in the city because ...

  • Fairness at work to boost workload

    3-Aug-1999

    Janet Gaymer, head of employment, Simmons and SimmonsGeorgina Keane, head of employment of law, Richards ButlerSarah Keeble, partner, Manches & CoCommercial employers fear the Employment Relations Bill - now at committee stage - will cause them major financial and managerial headaches, because of increased trade union recognition and the raising of unfair dismissal compensation from £12,000 to £50,000.

  • Fines for footballers

    2-Aug-1999

    PROFESSIONAL footballers should be prosecuted for assaulting opponents, according to Judge Richard Benson.Judge Benson, sitting in Nottingham Crown Court, sentenced a 49-year-old amateur footballer to two year's probation and fined him u300 for causing actual bodily harm to an opposing player by headbutting him during a match.Benson said: "Paolo di Canio pushed over a referee. That is common assault. Why he was not brought up on these charges I do not know."

  • Firms still rising in the East

    3-Aug-1999

    Law firms based in the former Eastern Bloc face an ultimatum following the economic crisis. "A decision to pull out now means a decision to pull out forever," claims Elena Kirillova, head of Cameron McKenna's Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) practice group.Moscow remains a prestige location for international firms with a CIS practice, says Kirillova. Although senior US lawyers have been pulling out of the city, as reported in The Lawyer last month, ...

  • Fisher Meredith wins after ad ban

    2-Aug-1999

    LAW FIRM Fisher Meredith has won compensation after controversial advertisements were banned from London Underground.Two posters were outlawed because London Underground feared they were sending out an anti-police message.The first poster was banned last November. It advertised Fisher Meredith's actions against the police force.But a second poster, advertising the London law firm's criminal department, was only banned on the day it was supposed ...

  • Four link up in u154m Kuwaiti acquisition

    3-Aug-1999

    FOUR FIRMS - Wragge & Co, Pinsent Curtis, Dibb Lupton Alsop and Lovell White Durrant - have advised on the u154m acquisition of a group of Kuwaiti businesses.The deal, backed by venture capital giant 3i, will turn the businesses into one major company called The Mettis Group, which will focus on the aerospace and orthopaedic markets.Des Kavanagh, a former manager at Sheffield Forgemasters, ...

  • Four-fold hike for legal salaries

    2-Aug-1999

    Salaries in private practice have risen by an average of four times the inflation rate over the past year, according to a survey by The Lawyer and Michael Page Legal.The survey shows a range of increases between three and 18 per cent, together with a buoyant market in which quality non-contentious lawyers are in high demand.On average, a London lawyer took home 12 per cent more pay in 1998 than the year before.To command the largest salary, you should ...

  • From lawyer to prisoner - via banker and spy?

    3-Aug-1999

    THE OLD Portuguese tourism posters hanging on the dirty white tiled walls of Caxias maximum security prison's visiting room in Lisbon portray a bitter irony. Any prisoner unfortunate enough to be locked in the hilltop prison, previously populated by the political opponents of Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar, will not be able to go sight-seeing for some time.If the irony has ever struck incarcerated British law professor David Lowry, it has long since worn off.

  • Gas leak case cries out for Woolf

    2-Aug-1999

    THE RECENT settlement of a personal injury claim at the doors of the High Court has drawn fierce criticism over the approach and attitude of public utilities towards damages claims. The case also resulted in a call for large corporations, public bodies and service providers to mediate in damages claims against them and only litigate as a last resort.The criticism and call for change comes from John Stitt, senior partner of London-based Stitt & Co.Stitt ...

  • Gibraltar's offshore status under threat from EU

    2-Aug-1999

    GIBRALTARIAN company lawyers are bracing themselves for an enforced change in the regulations governing the disclosure of accounts. The move threatens the territory's status as an offshore centre.There are almost as many operating companies registered in the colony as there are people - 31,000 - and the financial sector is Gibraltar's lifeblood. At one time, it was heavily dependent on British defence spending.The European Commission has started proceedings ...

  • Govt lawyers to work pro bono

    2-Aug-1999

    The Solicitors Pro Bono Group (SPBG) has called the decision to allow government lawyers to carry out pro bono work a "very important breakthrough".Solicitor General Ross Cranston has told the House of Commons that both he and the Attorney General were keen to encourage government lawyers wanting to handle pro bono work."Those in charge of the Government Legal Service have looked at this matter... and have concluded it is possible to encourage government lawyers ...

  • Halliwells sets sights on City base

    2-Aug-1999

    Manchester practice Halliwell Landau is poised to open a London office following the trend established by its main regional rivals, Addleshaw Booth & Co, Hammond Suddards and Dibb Lupton Alsop.It is believed the move will be finalised by the end of this week. It will have the capacity for expansion, but will initially be run by two experienced partners from the corporate department.In addition, it is believed there will be two consultants and about 10 fee earners.

  • Herbert Smith in £36.5bn Olivetti bid

    3-Aug-1999

    Herbert Smith is advising Olivetti on the biggest European debt financing ever as the computer giant prepares its audacious bid to buy Telecom Italia.The firm is working with Italian firm Erede & Associates in advising Olivetti on raising funds for its £36.5bn takeover of the Italian telecommunications giant, which is five times its size.Herbert Smith is advising on a £15bn-plus syndicated loan. The firm is understood to have fought off competition ...

  • Horses and carriages etc

    3-Aug-1999

    We are the solicitors for Mrs Pamela Rosemary White.We have seen the article entitled "Increase in Divorce Pay Out" in the Litigator's View column of The Lawyer dated 1 March.We would like to clarify any misunderstanding arising from this article.On 18 February, the House of Lords gave both Mr White and Mrs White leave to appeal the judgement of the Court Of Appeal. Both parties are dissatisfied with the judgement of the Court ...

  • Hugh James to merge with Ford Simey

    3-Aug-1999

    WELSH giant Hugh James is to merge with the Exeter-based firm Ford Simey Daw Roberts in response to changes in the insurance sector.Ford Simey head of insurance Paul Derbyshire says: "The move is insurance-driven. We had been working alongside each other on the Commercial Union panel, and have the same litigation philosophy."The new 57-partner firm, Hugh James Ford Simey, will ...

  • ILA elects Lawrence Graham partner

    3-Aug-1999

    THE INSOLVENCY Lawyers Association (ILA) has elected Lawrence Graham partner John Verrill as president.Verrill, former vice-president of the ILA and currently joint head of the Lawrence Graham insolvency group with Mike Stubbs, says this will be a "key year" for the corporate recovery market.Insolvency practitioners face major challenges, says Verrill. "Among them is the ...

  • Immigration lawyers

    2-Aug-1999

    Bad news for immigration lawyers this week - a report predicts that the already record-breaking backlog of asylum and immigration claims is set to grow even longer.The National Audit Office (NAO) warns the backlog of 45,000 claims will increase as a result of computer implementation delays.A further spanner could be thrown in the works if the system falls prey to the millenium bug. Siemens was due to develop a u77m computer system last October, but it is now ...

  • In brief: Clyde & Co

    3-Aug-1999

    Clyde & Co and Allen & Overy both scored multimillion pound deals as insurance club Ocean Marine Mutual finally sank into liquidation. A&O is representing Ernst & Young, the accountant called in by Midland Bank to oversee the protection and indemnity club which went under on 5 March. The bank is owed between ...

  • In brief: Hall Clark

    2-Aug-1999

    Hall Clark, the London firm which dissolved last Friday with the senior partner going to Berrymans Lace Mawer, says it decided to close before being approached by Berrymans. Hall Clark partner Andrew Pieri, who is accompanying senior partner Beryl White to Berrymans, says the firm has six lawyers and not 11 as was reported. "They have all made satisfactory and appropriate arrangements for ...

  • In brief: Herbert Smith

    3-Aug-1999

    Herbert Smith property partner, Gerald Bland, has been appointed by the National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives to replace Jonathan Edwards as vice-president for education. Bland has also become a director of the UK group.

  • In brief: In-house lawyers

    2-Aug-1999

    In-house lawyers will be able to train for their own qualification from the year 2000 under plans drawn up by the Law Society's commerce and industry group (C&I). The group aims to introduce a programme of up to 20 modules, that will include management and presentational skills, managing budgets and time-management. Lawyers will be able to "dip in and out of the course", says C&I chairman Paul Gilbert. C&I is carrying out a review of its training with the management programmes ...

  • In brief: Lawrence Graham

    2-Aug-1999

    Lawrence Graham, the City-based practice, has appointed Eversheds partner William Sturge to its insurance and reinsurance practice. Sturge is an international specialist with a particular knowledge of the Middle East and South America.

  • In brief: Linklaters & Alliance's

    3-Aug-1999

    Linklaters & Alliance's German partner firm, Oppenhoff & Redler, is undergoing a period of change to bring it into line with the Linklaters structure. Linklaters' senior partner Charles Allen-Jones says that the re-organisation is to ensure that both sides of the partnership have corresponding departments.

  • In brief: Lord Denning

    3-Aug-1999

    Lord Denning, the former Master of the Rolls, was described as a "towering figure in the law", as the Bar Council and Law Society expressed sadness at his death late last week. Denning, Lord of Appeal, left a "lasting imprint" in trust, employment and public law. Dan Brennan and Michael Mathews both expressed sympathy for his family on behalf of their members. Denning had turned 100 on 23 January this year. Prime Minister Tony Blair described him as "one of the great men of his age".

  • In brief: McGrath & Co

    2-Aug-1999

    McGrath & Co, the Birmingham legal aid firm, has lost four partners after they left to form a new firm specialising in housing law and advising travellers. The Community Law Partnership - which includes partners Chris Esdaile, Chris Johnson, Rosaleen Kilbane and Mike McIlvaney - has set up shop in the city centre.

  • In brief: Osborne Clarke

    2-Aug-1999

    Osborne Clarke and alliance partner Graf von Westphalen Fritze & Modest - Germany's thirteenth largest firm - have merged offices in Frankfurt. Osborne Clarke calls it a significant step in strengthening its alliance with five European firms based in Milan, Barcelona, Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Frankfurt.

  • In brief: Patrick Hayes

    3-Aug-1999

    Patrick Hayes, a Sheffield solicitor, has been struck off and imprisoned for 30 months, after taking false claims from three robbery witnesses. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ordered Hayes, of Tapton Crescent Road, Sheffield, to pay costs of £1,104. Chairman David Faull says: "This is one of the most serious offences that could come before us." Hayes denied the charge, but was found guilty after a trial.

  • In brief: Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners

    3-Aug-1999

    Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners is acting for Harrods' former chief executive Gerhard Janetzky, who is claiming more than £2m in compensation for wrongful dismissal. It is the latest in a string of claims against the company owned by Mohammed Al Fayed.

  • In brief: Pinsent Curtis

    2-Aug-1999

    Pinsent Curtis is boosting its London office by moving the national head of corporate law down from Leeds. Alan Greenough (left) was lead partner in several recent major deals, including a £360m deal with Newmond and another £145m deal with AM Paper. The Leeds-based firm is hoping to win more international deals following the move. "Deals are getting bigger and the market in London is getting more and more international," says Greenough. The firm expects to recruit more ...

  • In brief: Shearman & Sterling

    2-Aug-1999

    Shearman & Sterling, based in New York, is expanding its German operation, adding four lawyers to the tax department. Dr Hanno Berger, a tax partner, and three tax associates from the Frankfurt law firm Punder, Volhard, Weber & Axster will join Shearmans' German offices to head up a German-based tax group.

  • In brief: Stephenson Harwood's

    3-Aug-1999

    Stephenson Harwood's intellectual property team has won the contract to manage the BBC's lucrative trademark portfolio. Tibor Jones, head of the intellectual property group, says the BBC uses its brand to merchandise its best known programmes, which reaps the corporation £75m a year. Field ...

  • In brief: The Channel Islands'

    3-Aug-1999

    The Channel Islands' largest law firm, Jersey-based Mourant du Feu & Jeune, has appointed the Treasurer of the States to act as its group finance director. George Baird has been treasurer since 1991, and as such his signature appears on every Jersey bank note printed for circulation. He will join the firm in June.

  • In brief: The Law Society

    3-Aug-1999

    The Law Society council has coughed up nearly £500,000 to help dig the beleaguered Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) out of its backlog misery. But the money - required to pay extra staff to deal with thousands of pending complaints - will only clear the backlog that has accumulated up to December 1997. Thousands more have built up since then, currently increasing at a rate of 95 cases per week.

  • In brief: The Legal Aid Board

    2-Aug-1999

    The Legal Aid Board's multi-party action (MPA) panel has only awarded membership to 18 firms across the country. The firms, which all have proven track records in group actions, may bid for any legally aided MPA work. Non-panel firms can bid for contracts only if they have clients in the action. A specialist unit has been established in London to oversee all new contracted MPAs.

  • In positive defence of the CDS

    2-Aug-1999

    With the proposals of the Criminal Defence Service looming, is the despondency surrounding it justified? Joel Bennathan gives four reasons why the CDS could be good news. Joel Bennathan is a barrister and a member of the Society of Labour Lawyers.TO ASK a criminal defence lawyer whether they are looking forward to the advent of the Criminal Defence Service, is to provoke a response similar to Napoleon's on being asked how he got on at Waterloo.

  • In-house barristers threat to split from Bar Council

    2-Aug-1999

    The UK's main in-house barristers' group has threatened to split from the Bar Council if the extended rights of audience provisions for employed lawyers are dropped from the Access to Justice Bill.The warning from Bar Association for Commerce, Finance & Industry (Bacfi) chairman Susan Ward comes just days after the chairman of the Law Society Commerce & Industry Group, Paul Gilbert, warned that in-house solicitors may be forced to form their own body, unless the ...

  • In-house lawyers are competent

    2-Aug-1999

    I am quite incredulous that the House of Lords can block audience rights for employed lawyers (The Lawyer 1 Feb).What do a couple of inbred land owners and zimmer frame career politicians know about the work of in-house solicitors, and whether or not they are competent to appear in the higher courts?Employed lawyers may be used to being treated as second-class citizens by their professional bodies, but at least they have some defence in that they know ...

  • In-house revolt against ruling bodies' bureaucracy

    2-Aug-1999

    In-house lawyers are fed up. Employed barristers accuse the Bar Council of, at best, ignoring their needs and, at worst, betrayal. In-house solicitors, meanwhile, claim they are under-funded, and unappreciated, by the Law Society.To add insult to injury, the House of Lords has thrown out the Government's plan to give in-house advocates the same rights of audience as private practice lawyers, amid claims that they cannot ...

  • Insurance giant CGU dumps Camerons from legal panel

    3-Aug-1999

    Cameron McKenna's dom-estic insurance practice is believed to be under fire after the firm was dumped from at least two panels, including that of recently merged CGU.The Lawyer can reveal that the top-rated 17-partner insurance practice is being forced to scale down and move partners into other areas, including international insurance specialisation and a focus on new products.A letter informing partners of the London cuts was thought to be going out over ...

  • Irvine set is top earner

    2-Aug-1999

    THE LORD Chancellor, Lord Irvine's former chambers, 11 King's Bench Walk, earned u36,687 in fees from the Lord Chancellor's Department in the past nine months - more than any other barristers chambers in London.The Express

  • It's been a bad week for...

    3-Aug-1999

    Edward Bentley. A court heard how the former solicitor lost u30,000 when shares he had invested in collapsed. The Cleveland solicitor's solution was to steal $64,000 from a client's mortgage account and jet off to Monte Carlo in a bid to place a one-off break-the-bank bet at a casino. After discovering the casino no longer took bets of more than u10,000, he flew back to England, placed a u10,900 bet at the horse track on a 3-1 dead cert, ...

  • Its been a good week for...

    3-Aug-1999

    Manchester-based firm James Chapman & Co - possibly the only solicitors in the land totally delighted with the this week's decision by the Law Society to retain the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund (SIF). While SIF represents the antichrist for many solicitors, for Chapmans SIF is a valued client.Prisoners, who may be allowed sex privileges during private visits under current Home Office plans. "Conjugal visits" have the advantage of maintaining ...

  • Jacksons and Crutes pull out of North East merger talks

    3-Aug-1999

    Merger talks between Newcastle firms Jacksons and Crutes have broken down at the last minute.The two firms - which sources say have been in talks for three weeks - say the discussions broke down due to "operational concerns and potential client conflicts".An industry source says the talks had reached the stage where Jacksons and Crutes had signed letters of intent.Jacksons was also involved in tripartite talks last year with

  • Keeping beer prices down

    2-Aug-1999

    Court of Appeal judgment is now pending in a legal battle aimed at reducing the price of beer. One of the country's best known and oldest breweries, Kent-based Shepherd Neame, has appealed against High Court rulings upholding two budget increases of a penny per pint on beer. Shepherd Neame claims the increases are unlawful or that they should be scrutinised by the European Court of Justice. It claims it is "in stark contrast" to the pattern established in other ...

  • King leads XL Capital tie

    3-Aug-1999

    Linklaters corporate partner Peter King led a team which advised Cayman Islands company XL Capital on the English law aspects of its merger, valued at US$1.2bn (u750m), with NAC Re Corporation, a corporation in Delaware.The two companies provide insurance and reinsurance coverages and financial products worldwide, with business in the Lloyd's insurance market.The merged ...

  • Landlords' entry rights re-visited

    3-Aug-1999

    A decision preventing landlords to re-enter property under certain circumstances has been reversed by the Clarence Cafe v Comchester Properties High Court decision last November.Clarence Cafe had leased a pizzeria from Comchester Properties for £40,000 a year to the year 2000. However, it went into administration in March 1998 owing more than £26,000 in rent. Comchester then effected "peaceable re-entry" into the premises in respect of ...

  • Law centre windfall to double staff

    2-Aug-1999

    The Law Centres Federation (LCF) is using part of a £500,000 National Lottery windfall to more than double its staff.LCF director Jay Sharma says the six new policy co-ordinators and development workers will work with local backers and advice centres to encourage communities across the country to set up their own law centres. A communications manager charged with kitting out the existing 52 law centres with networked computers is already on board.The LCF ...

  • Law Soc plans advertising attack on legal aid changes

    2-Aug-1999

    THE LAW Society is planning to attack the Government's changes to legal aid, and the Access to Justice Bill, by launching an advertising campaign.David McNeill, head of press at the Law Society, says talks are underway with shortlisted advertising agencies.He says the focus of the campaign will be aimed the general public. "Legal aid is an important public service, which is there to help people at crisis point," he says."It is a system that has ...

  • Law Soc slams proposals for trial-without-jury in EU fraud

    2-Aug-1999

    Plans to introduce a special prosecutor and trial-without-jury for alleged fraud in the European Union have been branded unworkable by the Law Society.A damning Law Society report is due to be submitted to a House of Lords sub-committee looking into the European Commission proposals, known as corpus juris.Kingsley Napley partner Christopher Murray, who wrote the report, ...

  • Law Soc staff face huge pay cuts in new regime

    2-Aug-1999

    Law Society staff are facing massive pay cuts and potential job losses as the society enforces a revised pay scheme.The salary system, drawn up by Hay Management Consultants, which is also responsible for the current pay and conditions structure at the Legal Aid Board, also makes provision for "external career counselling services" for those choosing to leave the Law Society.According to documents leaked to The Lawyer, those staff whose salaries exceed the top ...

  • Lawyers defend clerks against damning report on aid claims

    2-Aug-1999

    Lawyers have attacked a damning report showing a quarter of criminal legal aid claims are paid without checks or proof of entitlement.The National Audit Office report also reveals that in 38 per cent of legal aid applications magistrates court clerks "get the sums wrong" when calculating payments.Legal aid lawyers have jumped to their defence, pointing out that courts do not have time to thoroughly ratify all claims, while delays in granting legal aid would result ...

  • Lawyers launch appeal as Lowry gets nine years

    3-Aug-1999

    British law professor David Lowry plans to appeal to the Portuguese Supreme Court after being sentenced to nine years in prison on fraud and forgery charges.Lowry's friends and law-yers were shocked at the verdict last Friday. They said Portuguese authorities failed to understand the international financial market, and were making an example of him.The prosecution had only asked the court for an eight-year sentence.Gudrun Parasie, his English ...

  • Legal aid cutbacks to hit coalminers

    2-Aug-1999

    A North west firm says the continual erosion of legal aid has thrown doubt over future attempts by coal miners to claim compensation for health disorders.Liverpool-based Silverbeck Rymer's claims follow the recent £500m compensation payout to 40,000 miners suffering from vibration white finger, and to 100,000 pitmen with chest complaints (The Lawyer 25 January).Joe Skinner, head of non-motor plaintiff litigation says: "There will be a lot of miners ...

  • Legal Widow

    2-Aug-1999

    Why did the little girl die? I ask at the end of ER, sitting curled up by the fire, face streaked with tears. Not, actually, a metaphysical question, but genuine confusion after an hour of people in green sacks running around and shouting out letters and numbers at other people who are generally lying down and in no position to respond. The Lawyer, sprawled on the sofa in a posture of despair, a sheaf of papers held to his brow, answers that it was because she had read too many proposal ...

  • Legal Widow

    3-Aug-1999

    Of course, what we all want is to be single with no kids again," the Lawyer announced at a dinner party last Saturday. It's an incantation I often mutter under my breath, especially as I spent the evening with my arms folded in order to disguise where little Liability tried to conceal a chocolate finger as we were leaving - "in case dinner wasn't very nice". On the other hand, I do object to the Lawyer trying to wish away the children in public. So to remind everyone what it would be like ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 8/2/99

    2-Aug-1999

    Pineiro v Hammersmith & Queen Charlotte's Special Health Authority (1999) - QBD (Latham J) 29 January 1999Plaintiff: Male, 5 months old at date of accident; 14 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff was awarded for the brain damage he suffered during an operation to correct a congenital heart defect when clotted blood was transfused into his body.Injuries: The plaintiff suffered multiple cerebral emboli resulting in severe brain ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 8/3/99

    3-Aug-1999

    Mohibur Rahman v (1) Arearose (2) University College London Hospitals NHS Trust (1999) QBD (Rougier J) 18 February 1999Plaintiff: Male, married, 25 years old at date of accident; 30 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff was employed as manager of the King's Cross franchise of the Burger King fast-food chain. In March 1995, two men entered the restaurant and physically assaulted the plaintiff.Injuries: The plaintiff ...

  • Litigation Writs 8/2/99

    2-Aug-1999

    Four members of the band the Pulkas are being sued for damages for allegedly refusing to make a follow up to their album Greed. Nottingham based Earache Records have issued a writ seeking court orders aimed at forcing the band members to comply with their alleged obligations, and banning them from entering into recording agreements with other companies. Julian McBridge, Martin Bourne, Robert Lewis and Luke Minton are also being sued for damages, specific performance ...

  • Mind your manners at the northern bar

    2-Aug-1999

    Barristers' chambers on the north west circuit are winning fresh praise and new work, yet it is the little things that see them lagging behind their London contemporaries."I know it's a little thing and it's superficial," sighs one Manchester solicitor, "but they're not as good with the coffee and sandwiches".On a lack of chocolate biscuits have great empires foundered.Complaints about common courtesy were frequent from solicitors ...

  • Miners in UK time directive test case

    2-Aug-1999

    THE CONTENTIOUS EU working time directive will be tested in a British court for the first time this month by Sheffield firm Keeble Hawson Moorhouse, acting for six Yorkshire miners.The six pit deputies, members of Nacods, the mining union, claim RJB Mining has forced them to work more than the 816 hours allowed, under the directive, in a 17 week period.Keebles solicitor Derek Rodgers, says the workers reached their 816-hour limit a couple of weeks early, and ...

  • Mishcons' partner joins Speechly

    2-Aug-1999

    MICHAEL Gleeson, former head of insolvency at Mishcon de Reya, has been snappedup by City firm Speechly Bircham.The Lawyer reported in November that five partners, including Gleeson, were set to leave Mishcons. At the time, Gleeson was in discussions with a number of firms.The Mishcons exodus follows restructuring and the implementation of a controversial remuneration ...

  • Nabarros gains head of Wilde Sapte's rail group

    2-Aug-1999

    Mary Bonar, head of Wilde Sapte's rail group for five years, has left the firm to join Nabarro Nathanson's project finance group.The appointment is part of Nabarros' continuing expansion in transport and infrastructure work.Nabarros' senior partner, David Bramson, says of the appointment: "Mary is a well-known name in the rail sector and the project finance market ...

  • New Act will slow divorce proceedings

    2-Aug-1999

    SOLICITORS Family Law Association (SFLA) chairman David Salter is warning that the end of quick divorces in England and Wales will cause international clients to “forum shop”, or seek divorce abroad.The Family Law Act, due to come into force next Spring, replaces the existing fault-based divorce laws with “no fault” provisions, which require couples to undergo mediation.Divorces currently take about five months, but will take 12 months or 18 months if the couple ...

  • Ninety to lose jobs in DAC restructure

    2-Aug-1999

    Davies Arnold Cooper is making a staggering 90 members of its Manchester and London staff redundant to concentrate on what it describes as its "two pillars of strength" - litigation and property/banking.The move, first revealed on The Lawyer's website, Interactive Lawyer last Wednesday, is the most significant attempt to date by a medium-sized City law firm to compete with firms in the premier league.Competitors in the market have described DAC's move ...

  • North west sets forge alliance

    2-Aug-1999

    Top Manchester set 9 St John Street is extending its reach to Liverpool, by forging an alliance with 42 Castle Street Chambers, in what is believed to be the first move of its kind.Unlike many other sets in the North of England, they have rejected a full-blown merger because they believe it would damage the chambers' focus.Head of chambers at 9 St John Street, John Hand QC, says: "We looked long and hard at mergers, but they are like a job lot in an auction ...

  • Northern exposure

    2-Aug-1999

    The North West's legal lonely hearts club just gets bigger by the day. Liverpool insurance giant Weightmans, and Manchester's personal injury specialist Donns Solicitors are just two of the firms who have been caught whispering sweet somethings into the ears of opponents, in the hope of striking a deep and financially meaningful relationship.Meanwhile, half-competent partners in ...

  • November Group shuns court case

    2-Aug-1999

    The November Meeting Group (NMG), which is campaigning to buy insurance on the open market, has shunned Michael Dalton's pleas for help in his fight to take the Law Society to the European High Court.Dalton, who is seeking a judicial review of his Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) bill, approached Paul Clements, acting chairman at the NMG, with an offer to pool financial and management resources. Dalton says: "I have been encouraging the NMG to understand that my court ...

  • OSS ignores legal aid asylum scam revelations

    2-Aug-1999

    The Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) failed to pass on a report to the Legal Aid Board (LAB) outlining a legal aid scam that cost the taxpayer millions of pounds.Former Law Society immigration law sub-committee secretary Richard Dunstan gave the report to the OSS last October.The report claims firms approached refugees at the offices of the Government's Asylum Screening Unit (ASU) in London.They used interpreters to get asylum seekers ...

  • Outrage as Law Soc Council demands member payments

    3-Aug-1999

    LAW Society council members have provoked furious criticism by demanding payment for time spent in meetings.Sole practitioner Wendy Gray storms: "In the current circumstances, I think it's unbelievable. Their decision on SIF is going to see solicitors going out of business, and now they're talking about paying themselves."Lawyers from the top 20 firms and high street practitioners were of one voice at Wednesday's full council meeting, as member ...

  • Oxford Utd MD quits after fraud probe

    2-Aug-1999

    Solicitor Keith Cox has quit as managing director of Oxford United Football Club following allegations concerning a $100m (£61m) fraud investigation in the US.Cox's resignation came a week after The Lawyer revealed he was being investigated by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) following a complaint to the Law Society.In his resignation statement, Cox says the OSS found there was no case to answer. But The Lawyer understands the investigation ...

  • Panel cutbacks continue to hit litigation firms

    2-Aug-1999

    Insurance companies are cutting down on the number of law firms on their panel, making litigation work increasingly competitive.Peter Whitehead, partner at James Chapman & Co says: "Insurance companies have historically sent work to a range of law firms, but at the moment they are reducing the number of firms on their panel."There will be "fewer hands and more control", says Whitehead. He says smaller firms "will be losing out as they won't be as specialised".

  • Partners at war

    2-Aug-1999

    Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners are prime candidates. And the 20 or so partners who marched out of Dibb Lupton Alsop earlier this month could probably testify to the need for it.It might go against the grain, but seeking the help of external counsellors - who assess personalities, work out individuals' values and goals and help resolve partnership disputes - is now a viable option for law firms.A change in management style may not only spare ill-feeling, ...

  • Partners on the move...

    2-Aug-1999

    Stewart White, telecoms partner at Ashurst Morris Crisp, is set to move in-house at the end March. He will co-ordinate regulatory policy at the newly merged mobile phone group Vodaphone Air Touch. He will be liaising with Vodaphone's company secretary and its existing head of legal, Stephen Scott.David Wightman, who specialises in commercial rural property and heritage property ...

  • Partners on the move...

    3-Aug-1999

    Freshfields has strengthened its New York office with the appointment of senior tax partner, Robert Scarborough. Scarborough joins from US firm Sidley & Austin, where he was a partner for five years. He specialises in advising clients on the tax aspects of structured transactions, derivatives, securitisations, and other complex financings. Freshfields now has more than 40 lawyers in its New York and Washington office, almost all of whom are US-qualified.Construction ...

  • Perrin's View

    3-Aug-1999

    A finance guru tells a roomful of partners that partnership these days owes more to the franchise business model than to the conventional paradigm of ownership. You buy into the business because you like their idea. You run the business according to their pre-set strategy. You sell out when the time is right. And then you move on.Cue sharp intake of breath. Inflammatory as it sounds, the analogy isn't far off the mark. These days, the best firm money can buy ...

  • Personnel head quits CPS as selection row rumbles

    2-Aug-1999

    THE HEAD of personnel is quitting the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) amid protests from lawyers that he was wrongly involved in selection procedures for new jobs.Glyn Harvey will take early retirement, as the CPS continues to lose senior staff in advance of its 1 April reorganisation.Harvey, head of personnel, training and development, is accused of interfering in the process which sifted out applicants for interview for the 42 new jobs of chief crown prosecutor.

  • Picasso set to pay u250m to ex husband

    2-Aug-1999

    Next week, the daughter of Pablo Picasso may pay out the biggest divorce settlement ever. Roger Pearson reports.NEXT Monday sees the start of a financial battle in the High Court's Family Division which could make all others pale into insignificance.Recent weeks have seen Jerry Hall filing for divorce, and the talk is of her seeking a u30m settlement from Mick Jagger.But a closed court hearing scheduled to begin next week ...

  • Pierce sends CBE back to Number 10

    2-Aug-1999

    Gareth Pierce, the high-profile solicitor who successfully fought to release the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and battered wife Sara Thornton, has rejected her New Year CBE.Pierce, a partner at BM Birnberg & Co, was given the award in the New Year Honours. When awards are made, recipients are informed and expected to accept or reject them there and then.However, it is understood Pierce's gong has only just been sent back to Number 10.One ...

  • Police face action after 'soundproof' blunder

    3-Aug-1999

    THE POLICE face new charges of incompetence after a Nottingham solicitor discovered he could overhear conversations from a witness waiting room.The soundproofing blunder at Carlton Police Station prompted Brian McArdle, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East Midlands, to contact the local Law Society and ask all defence solicitors with concerns to get in touch with the relevant station.The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also received from Nottingham Police Station ...

  • Practices fight it out as Mirror battle nears end

    3-Aug-1999

    HERBERT Smith, Norton Rose and Macfarlanes are the legal players in the battle for the Mirror Group - owner of The Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People and Live TV- which is nearing its climax.Herbert Smith and Norton Rose are acting for Trinity - the publicly quoted regional newspaper business - in ...

  • Property

    2-Aug-1999

    Tony Patterson of Forsters, assisted by Graham Lloyd-Brunt, advised Guardian Assurance on the sale of three warehouses in London to The Trustees of Henry Smith's Charity for £4.65m. Peta Dollar of Denton Hall advised the purchasers.

  • Property

    2-Aug-1999

    Ian Lyall of McGrigor Donald acted for Devonport Royal Dockyard Pension Trustees in Plymouth on a £3.1m investment purchase of property in Stirling from National Provident, advised by Biggart Baillie.

  • Property

    3-Aug-1999

    Lawrence Graham partner Richard Miles advised Legal & General in its £83m deal with Hermes to purchase a 315,000 sq ft shopping complex in Northampton, the Grosvenor Centre. Hermes was advised by Iain Carruthers of Herbert Smith.

  • Property

    3-Aug-1999

    Kent-based firm Brachers has been advising Eurotunnel on the development of its strategic partnership with BAA. The deal has secured a 15-year contract for BAA's subsidiary, World Duty Free, to manage and develop Eurotunnel's retail factilities at its terminals in Folkestone, Kent and Coquelles. It is expected to generate more than £100m a year in sales by the year 2000. ...

  • Quote of the week

    2-Aug-1999

    "He's not in the office today he's in the London office."- The secretary to senior partner of Halliwell Landau, Roger Lancaster, when asked whether Lancaster could confirm rumours that the firm was opening a London office.

  • Rivals snap up axed DAC lawyers

    3-Aug-1999

    Sixteen of the solicitors made redundant from Davies Arnold Cooper have been scattered around four rival firms.The 16 have been divided between Garretts, Hammond Suddards, Addleshaw Booth & Co and Halliwell Landau.The Lawyer understands that Hammond Suddards is also about to finalise an agreement with three partners at DAC.Garretts is recruiting four members of DAC's team specialising in major projects and PFI, including its head partner Hamid ...

  • RMC Group

    2-Aug-1999

    The management at UK building company RMC Group must be glad that 1998 isbehind them.

  • Scots slam fixed fees in criminal cases

    2-Aug-1999

    Scottish lawyers have attacked the Scottish Office's changes to fixed fees for criminal legal aid, saying the payments do not make provision for complex cases.The fixed payment system for legal aid in summary cases - originally proposed in a Scottish Office's consultation paper in October - was increased after responses to the paper were received. For example, the fee for hearing a case in district courts for the first day has increased by £25 bringing it ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    3-Aug-1999

    US lawyer Michael Bidart is considering suing Richard Huber, the chief executive officer of Connecticut healthcare company Aetna, after Huber referred to him as a "skilful, ambulance-chasing lawyer". Huber made the comments after losing a case and being ordered to pay US$120m to one of Bidart's clients. Bidart says ambulance-chasing is "tantamount to unethical conduct. It's definitely actionable as libel per se." However, in 1996 English ...

  • Separated at birth..?

    3-Aug-1999

    I SUPPOSE you've noticed how much Colonel Gaddafi looks like the Queen? The Lawyer, 22 February, page 19.Andrew Barrow, Travers Smith Braithwaite

  • Shameless plug of the week

    3-Aug-1999

    Rising political genius and plucky representative for Hendon, Andrew Dismore MP, cunningly referred Lord Chancellor's Department Minister of State Geoff Hoon to The Lawyer during House of Commons question time. Dismore asked Hoon to react to an article on the cost of administering the QC system, published in The Lawyer on 15 February.

  • Shopping for justice

    3-Aug-1999

    Got a Lithuanian client whose libel action could be damaged by one particular witness? No problem. Just ship the entire case over to England, have it heard by one of the most prestigious justice systems in the world, and conveniently leave the problematic witness behind.Alternatively, plaintiffs who are afraid that they will not get much for their troubles in the personal injury courts of Wolverhampton could try Los Angeles, where damages awards tend to be larger.

  • Sidley & Austin opens in Hong Kong after gaining licence

    3-Aug-1999

    Sidley & Austin is finally opening up in Hong Kong after the local law society granted three lawyers licences to practise after a year-long delay.The firm now plans to expand further in the region and has applied to the Chinese government for a licence to open in Shanghai. A response is expected "early this year". Sidleys' already has offices in Singapore and Japan.The new office will deal with matters involving US and UK law, focusing on project finance, ...

  • SIF chiefs' saving vote sparks outrage

    3-Aug-1999

    Opponents of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) are furious that four directors of the mutual fund were allowed crucial votes that ensured the monopoly's survival.Four council members from firms on the SIF panel stayed away from the meeting after advice from counsel.But all four SIF directors - chairman Peter Williamson, George Staple, Angus Andrew and Paul Venton - were allowed to vote. All voted to retain SIF.The managing partner of one major ...

  • SIF debacle threatens Law Society's future

    3-Aug-1999

    At first people got angry. Then they started to laugh. Now they are getting hysterical and turning to the law to try and get their own way. The row over the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) has had more twists, turns, victims and villains than a John Grisham novel. We only wish it was even half as glamorous.There has been an abundance of chest-beating, histrionics and machinations - we even had the bizarre situation of City representative and SIF director George ...

  • Smacking ban protest

    2-Aug-1999

    TWENTY Christian head teachers are appealing to the European Court of Human Rights against the Government ban on smacking, on the grounds it infringes "religious and parental" rights.The Mirror

  • SmithKline Beecham

    3-Aug-1999

    Neither Thomas Beecham, who launched his Beecham's laxative pills way back in 1842, nor John K Smith, who opened his first drugstore in Philadelphia several years before, could have imagined the huge empire their businesses would become.

  • Spandau Ballet latest band in royalties tiff

    3-Aug-1999

    Four members of the 1980's pop sensation are waging war against a fifth member for royalties. Roger Pearson reports.FORMER pop icons Spandau Ballet are now waiting to hear the outcome of a bitter wrangle over royalties.Judgment has been reserved in the acrimonious Chancery Division action, in which three ex-members of the 1980's chart-topping band have asked Mr Justice Park to rule that another former group member, guitarist and ...

  • Square Mile

    2-Aug-1999

    WILL 1999 be the year of City law firm mergers? I think not. To begin with, lawyers hate change. Some of the recent rejected merger attempts demonstrate the point. While merger was strongly backed by "management", the partners just would not vote for change. This was not based on strategy, it was simply a "no" vote for change.The better question is the strategic one. Not will, but should 1999 be the year of City law firm mergers? Again, ...

  • Stalker on the internet

    2-Aug-1999

    LOS ANGELES prosecutors have brought the first case of "cyber-stalking", or harassment by computer.The prosecution is against a spurned security guard who posted advertisements on the internet in his victim's name - claiming she was "into rape fantasy and gang-bang fantasy" - including her address, phone number and instructions on how to bypass her burglar alarm.This is the first case to be brought under a new law introduced last month.His victim ...

  • Stone Buildings and 3 Paper agree to merge

    3-Aug-1999

    Specialist chancery set 9 Stone Buildings is merging with the dissolving chambers of Isaac Jacob, 3 Paper Buildings.Seven barristers and the senior clerk will be joining 9 Stone Buildings on 22 March.Jacob says: "This is a merger, not a closure."Michael Ashe QC, who will continue as head of chambers at 9 Stone Buildings, says the decision was taken two weeks ago to invite 3 Paper Buildings' chancery barristers to join what will become a 23-member ...

  • Streamlining trend takes over City

    2-Aug-1999

    DAVIES Arnold Coopers' decision to axe its Manchester corporate practice is the latest in a series of hard-headed measures by firms looking to streamline and concentrate on their core practice areas.Last week Simmons & Simmons announced it was relocating its entire seven-strong immigration team to Kingsley Napley - in an amicable arrangement, having decided to shed practices that ...

  • Swelling chambers rush for premises

    2-Aug-1999

    THANET House, the former premises of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal, has become the latest target for barristers chambers which face a growing accommodation crisis.One Essex Court and Fountain Court have both looked at Thanet House, which has a price tag of around £10m.Middle Temple seems the most likely buyer, as One Essex Court has rejected the possibility of taking on the lease directly from the developers.Many sets are struggling to house ...

  • Table of Acts finished after 20 years' work

    3-Aug-1999

    A CHRONOLOGICAL table of every private and personal Act passed by Parliament in the past 460 years has finally been completed after 20 years.The 450-page table - a joint project by the English and Scottish Law Commissions - lists 11,000 Acts passed between 1539 and 1997.The Acts range from the banal - allowing the town of New Deal to have a water supply - to the bizarre, most notably one allowing two people called John to be divorced.Of the divorce ...

  • Thaine in £2.7bn deal

    2-Aug-1999

    Colin Thaine is leading a team at Wilde Sapte advising Halifax on the US$4.3bn (£2.7bn) financing of 75 Airbus aircraft for US aircraft operating lessor International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).Finance for the project comes from French lead manager Societe Generale, German lead managers Commerzbank and Hypo Vereinsbank and parallel lender KFW. Of the final price, 85 per cent was supported by English, French and German export credit agencies.The finance ...

  • The insolvency lawyer versus the athlete

    2-Aug-1999

    When head of Edge Ellison's insolvency practice John Sullivan picked up the baton for a broke British Athletics Federation in 1997 he did not expect to be fighting an athlete's claims in the House of Lords. Claire Smith reports.

  • The Lawyer Awards 1999

    3-Aug-1999

    Linda Tsang examines the achievements of individual barristers and chambers that impressed the judges last year, and takes a look ahead to the new Litigation Team of the Year award.Litigation team of the YearWITH the Woolf reforms approaching rapidly over the horizon, litigation lawyers have never been so busy, and this award for litigation team of the year has been introduced to recognise their contribution to legal practice.

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Barry Lewis

    2-Aug-1999

    Barry Lewis was born in London in 1940. He is a partner at Edward Lewis, London.What was your first job?Solicitors articled clerk, closely followed by labourer at Chicago Worlds Fair 1960.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?u2,000 a year.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?Business.What was your most satisfying ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Tessa Shellens

    3-Aug-1999

    Tessa Shellens was born in Porthcawl in 1949. She is a partner at Bevan Ashford in Cardiff. Anyone wishing to take part in The Lawyer Inquiry should contact Jemma Pearson on: 0171-970 4614.What subject(s) did you fail at school?Needlework.What was your first job?Selling dress material. Unfortunately, I was very ignorant about dressmaking, so I wasn't very good.What was your ...

  • The word of God is law

    2-Aug-1999

    While many Americans vilified Kenneth Starr as an over-zealous witch hunter, faculty members at Pepperdine University School of Law, California, courted him to be their dean.Students and professors at Pepperdine, who come from the same Christian legal world as Starr, say he would have been a perfect choice to carry out the school's religious mission: incorporating the values of Jesus Christ into the law. Starr had even taught there in summers past.As it ...

  • This week:

    3-Aug-1999

    The City Fraud Conference at London's Cafe Royal on 10 March will examine the prevention, investigation and regulation of City frauds, including the best way to lay contingency plans and sentencing issues. Money laundering firms are urged to attend.

  • Top chambers hits out after 'cronyism' claim

    2-Aug-1999

    Lord Irvine's former chambers, 11 King's Bench Walk, is hitting back against allegations of "cronyism".The accusations were sparked by a Tory MP after it emerged that the bulk of legal work commissioned by the Lord Chancellor's Department since Irvine took the helm has gone to his former set. Since May 1997, 11 King's Bench Walk has received £36,687, whereas only five other sets received more than £10,000.Joint head of chambers ...

  • Trowers & Hamlins raises Oman stakes

    3-Aug-1999

    CITY firm Trowers & Hamlins is moving to bigger offices in Oman as competition in the Gulf hots up.The move comes as Baker & McKenzie announced plans to open an office in Bahrain, as exclusively revealed last week in The Lawyer, and Denton Hall this week opened for business in Dubai.

  • TV football trial could cost £40m in fees

    3-Aug-1999

    THE combined legal bill for the investigation into television football rights could run to as much as £40m, according to lawyers involved in the action.As the three-month trial passes the half-way mark, lawyers involved say estimates of huge legal costs, from "well into the £20m-mark, and up to £40m, are credible".The premiership's costs are reported to be more than £7.5m, and the Office of Fair Trading's more than £6m.

  • US law firms hike hourly client fees

    3-Aug-1999

    A survey of US law firms has shown that, for the first time in 25 years, the hourly billing rate has risen across all sections of the profession.While the average US billing rate still falls far behind the sums charged by the New York giants, it has gone past the average rate of £125 an hour for the first time, with a rise of 6 per cent for partners.The survey, conducted by US legal consultants AWP, also shows that partners of 10 years bring in the greatest ...

  • Viagra lookalike in a bottle

    2-Aug-1999

    Plans for the launch of a new sex-enhancing drink called Viagrene in the UK are to be challenged in the High Court. Viagra manufacturers Pfizer has already been granted a temporary order banning Helsinki-based Eurofood-Link from launching the drink in the UK for the time being. The launch was originally set for last week. The new, blue coloured drink comes in a red-capped bottle and is said to contain natural herbal extracts, including an aphrodisiac, but to be non pharmaceutical.

  • Video plans dangerous say lawyers

    3-Aug-1999

    LAWYERS have voiced concern that the use of videoconferencing to examine witnesses at trial and conduct prison interviews will be abused.Solicitors involved in the pilot scheme at three prisons - in Bristol, Manchester and Swindon - say there is a serious risk of conferences being monitored.Andrew Catzen, a partner at Moss & Co, says clients are often not prepared to disclose sensitive information when giving instructions via a videoconference.It ...

  • Vive l'anglais simple

    2-Aug-1999

    What moaning minnies Crown Prosecution Service lawyers must be. The article, "Crown Prosecutors threaten action over discrimination" (The Lawyer, 1 February) states that lawyers passed over for interview for the new chief crown prosecutor jobs are threatening legal action. They feel discriminated against because internal performance markings were used in sifting through application forms.What did they expect? It is, of course, eminently sensible ...

  • Vive l'anglais simple

    2-Aug-1999

    Simple language in the profession is all the rage. Using the Queen's English instead of the tongue of some long-dead Roman emperor is eminently sensible.For a start our US legal friends working in London - whose former vice-president Dan Quayle once remarked remarked on a trip to Latin America that he wished he had learned to speak Latin - will be able to understand what is going on.It is a shame then that one of the most worthy initiative in the profession ...

  • Welsh lawyers give support for plan to break away from 'English' Law Society

    3-Aug-1999

    SEVENTEEN regional Welsh law societies are ready to sever links with Chancery Lane and form an independent Law Society of Wales.Umbrella group the Associated Law Societies of Wales (Aslow) is consulting the 2,000 solicitors in the principality on whether they want to reform the present Law Society structure, or break with England altogether.Although the consultation period runs until 15 March, The Lawyer understands from sources in Chancery Lane and Cardiff that ...

  • What went wrong in Russia?

    3-Aug-1999

    Lawyers in Moscow can do little to make up the huge losses suffered by their clients, as Russia's economic collapse looks set to go down in history as causing the largest single credit loss to the banking community - $100bn, according to London-based rating company Fitch IBCA.Last September, Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) announced it had written off more than $250m (u152m). It is a modest sum compared to banks such as Barclays and Dresdner, which have both reported ...

  • When partnership pitfalls are greater than the perks

    2-Aug-1999

    Do modern-day partners have any real say in the running of the firm? Fiona Callister looks at the reasons why the legal drones are going it alone.Carry out a straw poll on what thrusting young things fresh out of law school dream of, and for most of them the job title "partner" would come marginally ahead of the top-of-the-range convertible.To come to the end of your career still as an assistant would, to many, be tantamount to failure, but attaining ...

  • When partnership pitfalls are greater than the perks

    2-Aug-1999

    Carry out a straw poll on what thrusting young things fresh out of law school dream of, and for most of them the job title "partner" would come marginally ahead of the top-of-the-range convertible.To come to the end of your career still as an assistant would, to many, be tantamount to failure, but attaining partnership in a top firm may not be the holy grail that it once was.Perhaps what those fresh-faced articled clerks need to remember is that partnership is ...

  • Wilberforce lands Breams star players

    2-Aug-1999

    Wilberforce Chambers, the leading commercial chancery set, has netted three top property barristers from rival 4 Breams Buildings.Michael Barnes QC, John Furber QC and Jonathan Karas, who join the set later this month, are all landlord and tenant law specialists.The three bring a complementary specialism to Wilberforce Chambers, which is highly recommended in property litigation.The set now has 32 tenants, including 12 silks. Twenty five members already ...

  • Wilde Sapte lawyer beaten in Yemen

    3-Aug-1999

    WILDE Sapte lawyer Rashad Yaqoob, who was brutally beaten by secret police in Yemen, has told how he hid in toilets to evade deportation.Yaqoob, a human rights campaigner, is now back behind his desk at the City law firm after spending three weeks in Aden assisting the five British men accused of terrorist activities in Yemen.In an interview with The Lawyer, Yaqoob says he managed to evade the authorities at the airport by hiding in the lavatories - escaping ...

  • Will Diageo's next legal skipper alter course?

    3-Aug-1999

    IT IS all change at Diageo. The drinks giant has spent the last year-and-a-half consolidating following the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan (Grand Met) in 1997. It has sold a number of surplus US brands, its top directors are leaving, and the legal department is feeling the wind of change.As reported last week in The Lawyer, Diageo's no-nonsense general counsel, Ken Mildwaters, is to leave the company in June. His departure coincides with a fundamental restructuring ...