23 January 1995

The Lawyer

  • A difficult balancing act

    24-Jan-1995

    Chris Heaps explains why smaller practices are so often the focus of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau's attentionThe Solicitors Complaints Bureau (SCB) is often accused of devoting a disproportionate amount of its time and resources to the activities of sole practitioners, and some sole practitioners are convinced that the SCB discriminates against them.So far as the alleged discrimination is concerned, nothing could be further from the truth. The SCB, like ...

  • Allen & Overy develops Japan finance practice

    24-Jan-1995

    LEADING City firm Allen & Overy is expanding its finance law practice in the Asia-Pacific region with the appointment of capital markets specialist Andrew Ballheimer to its Tokyo office.Alex Pease, the partner in charge of the Tokyo office, which was established in 1988, says: "Andrew has considerable experience in both international and domestic capital markets for debt and equity ...

  • Berensons treads carefully with system upgrade

    24-Jan-1995

    Fennell Betson reportsKensington-based Berensons, the legal practice run by Conquest legal network chair Richard Berenson, has made a modest u12,000 investment in its IT system.The aim was to get better results from its existing system. Berenson says the firm did not want to spend heavily on IT as it was waiting to see the outcome of the debate on conveyancing. "This will require radical changes to our software and systems," he says.

  • Burnett-Hall branches out at Bristows

    24-Jan-1995

    MCKENNA & Co partner Richard Burnett-Hall has defected to Bristows Cooke & Carpmael, where he will establish an environmental law service to business clients and other law firms.Burnett-Hall, an environmental law expert, says he decided to move in order to go to a smaller firm where he could develop a specialist niche practice. He became a consultant with McKennas two years ago.One ...

  • CLA expands network into Africa

    24-Jan-1995

    COMMERCIAL Law Affiliates (CLA), the world's largest international law firm network, has increased its numbers with the addition of 10 more firms, including its first members in Africa.The African firms are based in Johannesburg, Capetown and Lagos. Minneapolis-based CLA now has 181 member firms in more than 60 countries on six continents. Its members are all medium-sized commercial practices.Leon Steinberg, CLA president, says: "It was never CLA's ...

  • Complaining of complaints

    24-Jan-1995

    There is mounting concern in the profession about the general distrust among solicitors and public of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau, and about the great unfairness to respondent solicitors in being denied resort to the Legal Services Ombudsman.Something has to be done about this. I am therefore intending to arrange a seminar on the subject. This will probably be held at The Law Society's hall one Friday afternoon at 3pm, fairly soon.Admission ...

  • Couderts appoints tax expert as it targets UK funds work

    24-Jan-1995

    US-BASED international firm Coudert Brothers has taken the first step in building a UK tax and funds practice by hiring Clifford Chance tax specialist James Benger.Articled at Clifford Turner (now Clifford Chance), Benger spent eight years with the firm before joining Couderts London office this month.He is concentrating on structuring on- and off-shore investment funds, ...

  • Deacons' partners declared bankrupt

    24-Jan-1995

    EIGHT equity partners of Deacon Goldrein Green (DGG) were made bankrupt last week and the firm was officially wound up, freeing liquidators to handle financial claims from the 200 former staff.The court hearing came just a week before the three-month deadline for claims under the Employment Protection Act.The Law Society confirms that the practising certificates of partners Richard Grimes, Christopher Broad, Alan Sprince and former senior partner Andrew Macfarlane ...

  • Experience not essential

    24-Jan-1995

    Roger Pearson on a tragic case of a young barrister's parachute accidentThe High Court ruling two weeks ago on the tragic death of barrister Tatiana Pond in a freak parachute accident, focuses on new areas of sporting liability.Pond died after an 8,000ft parachute drop ended with her landing on the plane from which she had jumped as it taxied back on the ground at Headcorn airfield in Kent.Mr Justice Alliott held Pond negligent and ...

  • Financings

    24-Jan-1995

    MY Holdings was advised by Clifford Chance on its u24m rights issue

  • Financings

    24-Jan-1995

    Chesterton International was advised by Osborne Clarke on its rights issue

  • Financings

    24-Jan-1995

    Ascot Holdings was advised by Paisner & Co in its recommended financial restructuring involving a placing and open offer to raise u27.3m. Financial adviser Samuel Montagu & Co was advised by Travers Smith Braithwaite.

  • Financings

    24-Jan-1995

    BCE Holdings was advised by Wallace & Partners in an u11m placing to fund acquisitions.

  • Finding strength in numbers

    24-Jan-1995

    Livestock litigation seems to be in vogue with the current beef scare. But cattle are not the only animals at the centre of court action - ostriches are also legal flavour of the month.The fate of the beleaguered Ostrich Farming Corporation (OFC) is now to be decided by a High Court judge after it resisted moves to wind it up in the Companies Court.An application by the DTI to dissolve the Mansfield-based company was put on ice by agreement after OFC counsel ...

  • Flotations

    24-Jan-1995

    Churchill China was advised by Addleshaws Sons & Latham on its u29.7m London Stock Exchange listing.

  • Flotations

    24-Jan-1995

    Boscombe Property's directors and certain new investors were advised by Berwin Leighton and its shareholders by Lewis Silkin on its introduction to the Official List. At the time of the introduction Boscombe acquired Newcrest Property Services

  • Freshfields' conference winner

    24-Jan-1995

    Fennell Betson reportsFreshfields took over four years and examined 17 systems before choosing the video conferencing system it has installed in London and six European offices."We had a good look around and chose the Sony system after a three-month trial," says the firm's communications manager David Enders.The City firm is believed to be the first of the big UK international firms to take this step. Enders says the aim is to ...

  • Garretts sets up office in Birmingham

    24-Jan-1995

    Garrett & Co's growth continues with confirmation of its move into Birmingham.Managing partner Julia Chain says: "We have Midlands-based clients and it makes sense to serve them locally with local resources."The announcement that the Arthur Andersen-associated firm is recruiting in the area follows its decision to open an office in Manchester.Chain denies reports that the firm has found it difficult to recruit talent in the north west. She says ...

  • Gatting bowls libel claim

    24-Jan-1995

    Former England cricket captain Mike Gatting is heading for the High Court with libel complaints over a biography of fellow cricketer Imran Khan. Gatting claims passages in the book, called 'Imran Khan' could be taken as indicating he was racially prejudiced and says they also cast a slur on his sense of sportsmanship, honour and decency. As well as libel damages he is asking for a court order banning further publication of the words of which he complains. Charles ...

  • GOING IT ALONE

    24-Jan-1995

    Ten years ago it would have been impossible to have set up a successful practice on your own without a full time secretary/receptionist (and the accompanying burdens of Paye and national insurance), a minimum of two offices and probably also a small conference room for meetings.However, recent technological developments and the introduction of the serviced office mean that you can now set up an efficient practice without this expense.Because of increased specialisation, ...

  • Green light for equality measures

    24-Jan-1995

    THE LORD Chancellor and senior judges have approved a package of anti-discrimination measures passed by the Law Society in October 1993.The measures, which include a new practice rule, a revised code of practice, and a model anti-discrimination policy, have been awaiting approval by Lord Mackay, four senior judges and the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education. They become operational on 18 July.The new rules outlaw discrimination on the ...

  • He who pays the piper calls the tune

    24-Jan-1995

    The refrain of the new legal aid tune consists of the phrases "block funding" and "cash limiting"- learn these words.The practice geared up to this new world will be franchised, contracted to a local Legal Aid Board office, and will operate to monitor quality standards. It may work with or refer work to other agencies, or indeed may expand its expertise to handle a range of dispute resolution services.With cash limiting will ...

  • Howard does U-turn on prisoner visits to lawyers

    24-Jan-1995

    HOME Secretary Michael Howard has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn on prison policy after a threat of judicial review by Leeds firm Simpson Curtis.The Home Office has agreed to reverse a blanket ban, introduced just two months ago, which prevented all prisoners from visiting their legal advisers.The rule was designed to cut the amount of temporary leave for convicted prisoners by 40 per cent. But criminal lawyers have complained that the Home Secretary's ...

  • In brief: Book early for Law Society roadshow

    24-Jan-1995

    The Law Society has advised that to guarantee a place at any of its roadshows, solicitors wishing to attend should book in advance by writing to the Law Society's Conference Office. The next roadshow is in Truro on 27 January.

  • In brief: Chris Latter

    24-Jan-1995

    Lawyers and staff at City firm Berwin Leighton are mourning the loss of corporate partner Chris Latter who died on 13 January. The firm says the partner, who was 43, had been ill since Christmas following a major operation in the autumn. Latter joined the firm in 1986 and the firm says he will be sadly missed.

  • In brief: Clyde & Co settles harassment claim

    24-Jan-1995

    City law firm Clyde & Co has agreed to pay a u20,000 out-of-court settlement to its former marketing manager, following claims she was sexually harassed by a partner. The firm settled with Julie-Anne Wildman who alleges she was harassed by her former lover, married senior litigation partner Christopher Gooding, after she ended their affair. Wildman says she approached Clyde & Co partners and its head ...

  • In brief: Construction industry safety shake-up

    24-Jan-1995

    Professionals associated with the construction industry may be unprepared for the new health and safety regime which will come into force in March. The new regulations, which impose duties on all those involved in construction work, have just been laid before Parliament. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1995 will implement aspects of an EC Directive aimed at minimising the risks to all involved in carrying out such work and for subsequent users of a building.

  • In brief: Fletcher Memorial Lecture

    24-Jan-1995

    The Solicitors European Group is holding its annual Lord Fletcher Memorial Lecture at the Law Society next month. Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC will speak on Human Rights - Towards the Year 2000 in the Society Hall at 6.30pm on 16 February. The lecture is open to all members of the legal profession, trainee solicitors, Bar students, legal executives and guests.

  • In brief: Hants firm sets up one-stop shop

    24-Jan-1995

    Hampshire-based firm Nash & Vann is setting up a one-stop centre for legal and financial services with its appointment of independent financial adviser Chris Waller. Although the firm has an existing association with stockbrokers James Capel & Co for share management, compliance partner Tim Read says: "I believe that solicitors are uniquely well-placed to offer their clients advice in financial matters."

  • In brief: Harper Daniel Wedd splits

    24-Jan-1995

    Sussex firm Harper Daniel Wedd has split up. Partners Steve Wedd and Leona Daniel have formed a new firm Wedd, Daniel based in Brighton. Alistair Harper has formed Harper & Co based in Haywards Heath. Wedd says the partnership was dissolved following differences of opinion about how it should be run.

  • In brief: Judges retire gracefully

    24-Jan-1995

    Lord Justice Mann has retired as a Lord Justice of Appeal effective 10 January. He became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1988. Judge Bates QC has retired from the Circuit Bench on the Western Circuit. He became a Circuit Judge in 1989, having sat as a Recorder since 1981. QC Maurice Kay, who took silk and was appointed a recorder in 1988, has been appointed a Justice of the High Court, assigned to the Queen's Bench Division. West Yorkshire solicitor Christopher Darnton has been appointed ...

  • In brief: Pannone & Partners

    24-Jan-1995

    In our last issue we reported that the practice formerly carried on under the name Pannone & Partners had split. The two practices, Pannone & Partners in Manchester and Pannone Pritchard Englefield in London have written saying that since the article referred to there being a "difference in profit" between the two practices and suggested the London office was "the breakaway practice" this inferred that this was the more profitable of the two. We are happy to confirm that no such inference ...

  • In brief: Union chief wins election case

    24-Jan-1995

    Harris Rosenblatt & Kramer has advised on a successful High Court action on behalf of Doug Douglas, the newly elected president of the Graphical, Paper and Media Union. Douglas took the union to court when it backed an attempt to set aside its election ballot result. The Commissioner for the Rights of Trade Union Members paid Douglas' costs.

  • Laserform joins in to form user group

    24-Jan-1995

    Fennell Betson reportsThe Laserform users group being set up will be a lobby group as much as a traditional users' body, predicts James Mackintosh, former chair of the Society for Computers & Law.Mackintosh recently chaired a meeting at the Law Society in London which was organised by the supplier of computer generated forms to establish a group. It was attended by more than 100 users. Also represented were Companies House, the Land Registry, ...

  • Lathams' partner resigns after admitting false expenses claims

    24-Jan-1995

    LEADING US firm Latham & Watkins is making further investigations after its head of project finance resigned, following his admission that he submitted false information to obtain expenses.San Francisco-based partner Timothy Flato - who earned almost $700,000 in 1993 - resigned at the start of the year after confirming the findings of an internal audit which showed discrepancies ...

  • Law Soc examines grass roots setup

    24-Jan-1995

    A LAW Society Commission has been set up this month to carry out the first major review of the workings of all 127 local law societies in England and Wales.The commission will examine the role and function of local law societies, including the 12 regional law societies, with a view to 'raising their status and profile with their own members, and to strengthen their partnership with the Law Society generally'.Society President Charles Elly outlined his ...

  • Law Soc may foot u50,000 bill

    24-Jan-1995

    THE LAW Society could face a u50,000 bill after the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal threw out a misconduct case against an assistant solicitor.The tribunal took the unusual step of ordering the society to pay costs after accepting a submission of no case to answer during the hearing.Michael Carroll, of Wilson & Co, was cleared after a four-day hearing of misleading his clients and misleading his former employer Enrico Lombardi, of Pegden & Dubow.Arnold ...

  • Lawyer argues courts martial system unfair

    24-Jan-1995

    LINCOLN lawyer Gilbert Blades, who is challenging the courts martial system, has been questioning its fairness for the last 20 years.Blades has carved out a niche in defending servicemen and women, and has now presented a dossier of cases to the European Commission of Human Rights.He is arguing on behalf of Royal Air Force and Army personnel that the system is unjust. It discriminates against the accused because both the appeal process and the standards of proof ...

  • Like-minded women see birth of own network

    24-Jan-1995

    A NEW association promoting the interests of young women across the legal profession has been launched following strong interest in its formation.Inaugural meetings of Young Women Lawyers (YWL) will be held in Leeds and London next month, and group organisers - Rowley Ashworth solicitor Sam James and barrister Suzanne McKie - are looking for regional organisers in the Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield areas.James says the group, which will have its base in London, ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 24/01/95

    24-Jan-1995

    NISHITH DADUBHAI PATEL, admitted 1984, practised initially in partnership as Chawla Sanghvi Patel, and latterly as sole practitioner in Wembley, fined u7,000 and ordered to pay u3,215 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed to account adequately to a client, failed to reply to Solicitors Complaints Bureau correspondence promptly, was guilty of inordinate and inexcusable delay in conduct of professional business, failed to reply promptly ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 24/01/95

    24-Jan-1995

    Negligence by permitting intoxication leading to deathBarrett v Ministry of Defence (1995) (CA 21/12/94) (Neill LJ, Beldam LJ, Saville LJ)Appeal by Ministry of Defence against decision of Judge Phelan on the ground that it was in breach of duty to the deceased and for a re-assessment of apportionment of liability.

  • Litigation Writs 24/01/95

    24-Jan-1995

    Yacht builders Malcolm and Glenda Taylor of Woolston, Hampshire are seeking damages following a fire at their business premises in March last year. They are suing Chalemead of Sholing, Southampton, following the fire which they say started at premises at Woolston where Chalemead runs an engineering business. Buildings, yachts, tools, equipment and materials were damaged in the blaze.Writ issued by Fancy & Jackson, Camberley, Surrey. ...

  • Masons builds solid US alliance

    24-Jan-1995

    LONDON construction firm Masons has formed an association with Philadelphia-based practice Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, creating one of the world's top construction, engineering and project finance capabilities.The firms will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis, working on projects in both the UK and the US, as well the Far East and former Soviet countries.Masons senior partner John Bishop says it is enthusiastic about the agreement, which follows the recent ...

  • McKennas pilots LawNet link for one-stop shopping

    24-Jan-1995

    CITY-BASED McKenna & Co is set to launch a national link-up with scores of regional firms.Details are soon to be released about a new association with the 70 member firms of Lawnet.McKennas has acted in a consultancy role for firms in the network for some time, but the new link-up will be on a more formal footing.Partner Jon Vivian stresses the "novel development" is not a merger, but it will facilitate one-stop legal shopping for clients. "This is ...

  • Mutual support

    24-Jan-1995

    Do sole practitioners have a future? My short answer is "Yes", but with qualifications.The first is that the profession is becoming an increasingly crowded place. This puts pressure on all those in firms to justify their position by achieving billing targets.Some have almost certainly decided to take up sole practice rather than continue with partner pressures of this kind. Those who will succeed are those who are willing to adapt and very probably to specialise.

  • Natwest poaches Slaughters' partner

    24-Jan-1995

    Slaughter and May head of banking Christopher Fitzgerald is joining National Westminster Bank as general counsel. He succeeds Nicholas Wilson, who is retiring in April this year.Fitzgerald has been a Slaughters partner for 19 years and, as a member of the firm's partnership board, shares executive responsibility for its financial function.His replacement at Slaughters ...

  • New front opens in pensions war

    24-Jan-1995

    Legal warfare over compensation for up to one million people who were mis-sold personal pensions is hotting up this week, with a series of actions and a High Court challenge by the pensions industry to overturn guidance from the Securities and Investments Board (SIB).The pensions industry's attempt to judicially review SIB guidance could delay what it regards as onerous and illegal pressure by the SIB to force independent financial advisers (IFAs) to review all their ...

  • NEWLY-ELECTED chair of Women in Property for 1995, Judith Gershon, intends to help build a better future for women professionals in the property field.

    24-Jan-1995

    Gershon, a commercial property specialist at Eversheds Birmingham, will host the association’s national conference in the city this autumn.She emphasises that the association’s 500-plus membership encompasses most property-related disciplines.She says: “Far from being a group of ardent feminists intent on using the association for political or sexist purposes, it provides a forum ...

  • No lawyer is an island

    24-Jan-1995

    Tim Miller reports on the increasing number of sole practitioners who meet kindred spirits in legal networksThe joys of working alone - independence, flexibility, and control. But lawyers know that life as a sole practitioner comes at a cost.Overheads cannot be shared, support staff are thin on the ground and office politics may be replaced by feelings of professional isolation.Sole practitioners, however, are a hardy bunch unlikely to let a few practical ...

  • OR Court to pick own experts

    24-Jan-1995

    OFFICIAL Referee (OR) Court lawyers could lose the right to call their own expert witnesses if proposals by OR judges to have their own court-appointed experts are accepted by the Government.The OR judges, who hear high-value technical cases in construction, engineering and environmental law, anticipate disagreement among lawyers over their proposals but argue that their ideas will benefit litigants by cutting the time and cost of high-value litigation.Judge ...

  • Passport to European insurance

    24-Jan-1995

    Lovell White Durrant has led a breakthrough for international insurance business in its advising of insurance company Yasuda Kasai in the first portfolio transfer involving six continental offices.Yasuda Kasai is a UK-based subsidiary of Kasuda Kasai Fire and Marine Insurance Company, Japan's second-biggest insurer.The portfolio transfer is one of several options contained in last year's Third Insurance Directive for expanding its business without needing ...

  • Penningtons lends a hand to the NBA

    24-Jan-1995

    CITY firm Penningtons has helped to ensure that the Net Book Agreement (NBA) will survive in Europe.The European Court of Justice last week reversed the European Commission decision in 1988 which prevented UKpublishers from setting minimum prices for UK books that were sold in other European Union states.The Booksellers Association, which was represented by Penningtons, ...

  • Plea for wills information

    24-Jan-1995

    The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) is urging the establishment of a Central Wills Registry where all wills, irrespective of how they are drawn up, will be registered and checked for validity.ILEX is seeking examples of cases where a Central Wills Registry would have made certain that the deceased's wishes were indeed carried out.Are any readers aware of cases where:* There was some doubt that the will proved for probate was indeed ...

  • Pupillage move fuels race fears

    24-Jan-1995

    FEARS of indirect racial discrimination at the Bar have surfaced again.Black lawyer groups and the Bar Council's own race relations committee are concerned that a proposal to delay call to the Bar until after six month's pupillage will be unfair to ethnic minorities.The committee and others say the proposal could add to problems of discrimination already facing black graduates of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) course.They say it will ...

  • Robert Moss on the practical problems of EU trade agreements

    24-Jan-1995

    The GATT agreement and the lifting of trade restraints in the European Union is a major opportunity for UK companies to expand their export markets. However it has long been recognised that it is one thing to be able to sell goods abroad, it is another to be able to recover the price of those goods.To combat this problem there are now many treaties which provide for the enforcement of judgment of the courts of one country in another. The most notable are the Brussels ...

  • SCB complaints report offers 'no sacred cows'

    24-Jan-1995

    DIRECTOR of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau Veronica Lowe this week presents a radical report on the future of complaints-handling within the profession.The SCB's management team has set in motion 'Quo Vadis?' - a wide-ranging review to tackle the issue of how solicitors will deal with complaints into the next decade."There are no sacred cows," Lowe says.The director wants to see all issues covered including alternative approaches ...

  • Separate from the rest?

    24-Jan-1995

    Arnold Rosen believes that the Sole Practioners Group still has some way to go before it is able to achieve its goalsThe Sole Practitioners Group has the unenviable task of clubbing the unclubbable. Tim Miller examines the problems it facesThe Sole Practitioners Steering Group was founded by me with the support of 14 people, none of whom I knew before April 1991. It was an act of faith that sole practitioners could, if encouraged, play a part in the government ...

  • Ship dispute steams towards Lords

    24-Jan-1995

    Roger Pearson reports on limitation clauses in respect of shipping disputesA House of Lords appeal is to be mounted in a case which will probe the application of limitation clauses in respect of shipping disputes. The case centres on an arbitration decision that a ship's owners, although entitled to indemnity in respect of claims against them were not entitled to a pay-out because an amendment to their claim was 'time barred'.Triad Shipping ...

  • Solicitor advocates tackle wig issue head on

    24-Jan-1995

    SOLICITOR advocates meet the Lord Chancellor this week to put their case for wearing wigs.The Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and the Criminal Lawyers Solicitors Association are calling for court-room equality.But some senior members of the Bar remain opposed to any change which would erode barristers' distinctive dress.Lord Mackay issued a practice direction last summer maintaining the status quo, but agreed to continue ...

  • Taking instructions

    24-Jan-1995

    Barristers depend on solicitors for instructions, yet their understanding of why solicitors choose them is often limited. Given the threats faced by barristers, this lack of understanding is difficult to defend. Barristers need to know the reasons behind the decision to instruct.Exploring the reasons solicitors give for instructing barristers suggests that they are not always the obvious ones. Barristers think solicitors will be impressed by a successful track ...

  • Taking on the big boys

    24-Jan-1995

    Sarah Angell took the plunge to become a sole practitioner and hasn't looked backThe future of sole practice is bleak, or so I was told when contemplating setting up practice four years ago. "You are brave," people kept saying.However, this negative attitude made me more determined to achieve my goals. The classic comment was: "Oh well, as long as you don't expect to be the biggest and the best." This comment summed up the prevailing but mistaken attitude ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Roger Woolfe

    24-Jan-1995

    Roger Woolfe, appointed senior partner at London firm Collyer-Bristow at the end of last year, was born in Nottingham in 1946. He now lives "in the middle of nowhere", near Tenterden, Kent.What was your first job?Christmas temp with the Post office. Two hours delivering letters and 10 hours in the canteen clocking up overtime.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?u10 per week at Collyer-Bristow ...

  • Three-year-old expelled

    24-Jan-1995

    An early preliminary hearing seems likely in the High Court case of a three-year-old boy expelled from his Gloucestershire school after allegations he sexually molested a three-year-old girl at the school. The boy's parents are suing the management of the school for breach of contract claiming they were not given an opportunity to respond to allegations against their son. They want declarations that in expelling their son the school acted in breach of natural justice and that the ...