24 February 1997

The Lawyer

  • 'Ridiculous' limited liability proposals slated by experts

    25-Feb-1997

    Government proposals for limited liability legislation do not go nearly far enough to satisfy most law firms, according to the experts.Ronnie Fox, senior partner of Fox Williams, described the proposals as "ridiculous".Some of the Big Six accountancy practices have already expressed their intention to register as limited liability partnerships (LLPs) in Jersey, but big City ...

  • Barristers' immunity tested

    25-Feb-1997

    THE PRINCIPLE of barristers' immunity from prosecution is to be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.Solicitors for Mohammed Patel have confirmed they will go to the court in a bid to open the way for barristers to be legally challenged for their performance in court.Patel, a former banking official, claims he was wrongly convicted and jailed for tipping off a drugs suspect back in 1987 because of a negligent defence by Ghulam Yazdani. The barrister ...

  • Before disaster strikes...

    25-Feb-1997

    In today's technological world, information has to be delivered swiftly and efficiently. And although systems crashes, stolen computers and natural disasters may be unavoidable, plenty can be done to ensure the security of data.First, if security is to work, the entire staff has to be committed to the security policy, from senior partner downwards. A clear IT security culture should be in place, with regular audits, an asset register ...

  • Business fraud will grow, say auditors

    25-Feb-1997

    Almost nine out of 10 auditors expect corporate fraud to increase over the next five years because of lower standards of personal ethics, downsizing and the pressure on individuals to perform.A survey published this week found that 26 per cent of respondents to a survey of readers of Accountancy Age magazine expected fraud to grow through a reliance on computers, while 68 per cent identified misrepresentation of results to be the area of fraud that would have the greatest ...

  • City firm calls in stress busters

    25-Feb-1997

    City firm DJ Freeman is offering its staff a new confidential counselling service, as a means of combating stress.The service is being run by Counselling in Companies, an external independent organisation. It offers staff and their spouses a telephone advice service and up to five free counselling sessions. The service is confidential and details will not be passed on to the firm.Jonathan Lewis, chief executive at DJ Freeman, said the introduction of the scheme ...

  • Clause would have blocked Bridgewater Three appeal

    25-Feb-1997

    The Bridgewater Three may not have been freed after 18 years in prison, if a provision 'sneaked' into the 1996 Criminal Procedures and Investigation Act had existed when they were convicted.Clause 5.8 of the Code of Practice, which was formulated by the Home Secretary Michael Howard in December last year, was introduced without a parliamentary debate.It states that relevant material in a case following a conviction at a trial on indictment should be ...

  • Client power

    25-Feb-1997

    With law firms competing ever more aggressively for corp- orate business, there are still those within the profession who are surprised to learn that the level of technology in their offices or chambers is perceived as a crucial differentiator.There are certain practices which are advanced enough to use video conferencing or voice recognition software, while a growing number use groupware or case management systems and link these applications to clever phone systems - and ...

  • Commons committee slams legal aid tests

    25-Feb-1997

    The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons has criticised the lack of judicial accountability for criminal legal aid means testing, saying that magistrates' courts have no incentive to get means assessments right.Taking evidence from Sir Thomas Legg, permanent secretary at the Lord Chancellor's Department last week, the committee expressed concern at the National Audit Office's refusal to grant the LCD an audit certificate for criminal legal aid ...

  • Compulsory mediation hits Canadian litigants

    25-Feb-1997

    LITIGANTS in the Canadian state of Ontario will have to undergo compulsory mediation before they can take their cases to the courts under plans unveiled by Charles Harnick, the state's attorney general.Harnick announced his decision to introduce compulsory mediation in all non-family civil law suits on 31 January.Describing the plan as "a turning point in the history of Ontario's justice", he said it would be introduced in Toronto by mid-1997 and across ...

  • Conference will hear plans to halt fall in conveyancing fees

    25-Feb-1997

    CONCRETE proposals to end the downward spiral of fees for conveyancers will be unveiled at a conference on solicitors' property centres, according to the solicitor organising it.Michael Garson, a partner at Richmond firm Philip Hodges & Co, is expecting around 70 solicitors to attend the Defending the Residential Conveyancing Market conference, which is being held at Richmond Hotel on Tuesday.Delegates will discuss how to counter the threat posed by estate ...

  • Courts IT bug leads to training upheaval

    25-Feb-1997

    The £25m scheme to computerise all county courts in England and Wales by the end of the year has been delayed, disrupting a very tight Court Service schedule for staff training.The case management system Caseman is designed to issue court documents automatically and will replace the existing system of manual record-keeping. It has been piloted in six county courts and the first stage of the project was due to be installed across the country this week. But, as yet, ...

  • Cross county trade routes set fair after High Court scrutiny

    25-Feb-1997

    The High Court has recently brought a little more certainty to the wavering world of local authority cross-boundary tendering and supply.On 18 December 1996, Mr Justice Owen, in R v Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation ex parte British Educational Suppliers, confirmed the lawfulness of a wide range of trading activities carried out across England by a local government purchasing association.Yorkshire Purchasing Association (YPO) (a local authority ...

  • Donns away win against US Army in Atlanta case

    25-Feb-1997

    Manchester law firm Donns has played a part in the first successful action for compensation brought by a British soldier against the US military.The case, which took place in Atlanta, saw a Donns partner, under the unusual title of English Co-Counsel, sitting on the counsel bench.Partner Hilary Meredith was acting on behalf of the Whitley family from York, whose son, a Lieutenant in the British Army, was killed in 1993, in a coach accident in Atlanta.

  • Employment law/management. Coming up roses for workers?

    25-Feb-1997

    There is little doubt that a Labour government would change employment law. But how radical and swift are the alterations likely to be, asks Danielle Kingdon? Danielle Kingdon is an associate at Osborne Clarke's employment unit in London. The Labour Party has produced a framework document concerned with employment rights called Building Prosperity - Flexibility, Efficiency ...

  • EmploymentLaw/Management. Damage limitation exercise

    25-Feb-1997

    Courtroom dramas aside, more lawyers in general, and in-house counsel in particular, are becoming involved in crises as advisers.The combination of increasing regulation, proactive consumers and product liability intensifies the need for organisations to have workable crisis management schemes and to know how to use them.Horror stories of the damage caused by an inability to handle problems abound. Dick Jennings, formerly of Guinness and Roundtree and now of ...

  • End of the millennium blues

    25-Feb-1997

    If you have just received instructions on a matter likely to continue into the new millennium, you may find your system will not register dates and hence operate correctly after the end of 1999. This is because the year 2000 IT problem is rooted in the dating methods used by computer systems.Until recently, computers were constrained in respect of the space they had available to store programs and data. This meant that programmers went to great lengths to be succinct and ...

  • Flotations

    25-Feb-1997

    Berwin Leighton advised IT services company Avesco on raising £7.1m via a two for seven placing and open offer. Nabarro Nathanson acted for brokers Collins Stewart & Co.

  • Flotations

    25-Feb-1997

    Brough Skerrett acted for Tea Plantations Investment Trust on its £6m private placing. Lawrence Graham acted for English Trust

  • Flotations

    25-Feb-1997

    Baker & McKenzie is advising car rental company Avis Europe on a global share offering with a US tranche

  • Food for thought

    25-Feb-1997

    The Law Lords have given leave for SP Anastasiou (Pissouri) to challenge decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal in which declarations were granted that, pursuant to European Directives, it was illegal to allow the importation into the UK of produce originating from north of the UN buffer zone in Cyprus unless accompanied by phytosanitary certificates issued in the Republic of Cyprus. Anastasiou, an exporter of citrus products in the Republic of Cyprus, accuses ...

  • Freshfields number one firm for 1996 acquisitions

    25-Feb-1997

    Simmons & Simmons, Freshfields and Herbert Smith were the winners last year in private company acquisitions, according to Acquisitions Monthly.Freshfields has succeeded in ousting Slaughter and May from the number one slot in the league table. Slaughters moves from number one, where it had been for three years running, to number two. At number three is Herbert Smith, which was in ...

  • Home Office recognises EU loophole

    25-Feb-1997

    CAMERON Markby Hewitt immigration specialist Julia Onslow-Cole has forced the Home Office to concede that there is a legal loophole which allows employers within the EU to hire foreign workers without work permits.Onslow-Cole exploited the loophole to help her UK banking client hire an Indian software specialist working leg- ally in Germany without having to wait the four to eight weeks it usually takes to obtain a work permit.The Home Office has conceded that ...

  • Hong Kong not phased by new immigration rules

    25-Feb-1997

    UK LAW firms based in Hong Kong are not unduly worried by the new immigration rules which will come into force in the run up to the colony's handover to China.The Hong Kong government has announced that from 1 April the visa requirements for UK citizens will be brought into line with those of other foreign nationals working in Hong Kong.The move will mean that UK lawyers will have to reveal special skills, experience or knowledge which are not readily available ...

  • Howard's political posturing over justice

    25-Feb-1997

    Rather than trying to score points over Jack Straw, Bruce Houlder thinks it's time Home Secretary Michael Howard took a far more responsible approach towards jury trialsThe Home Secretary's reforming zeal appears all too often to be motivated by considerations which have little to do with justice, but all to do with being seen to be prepared to do more about Law and Order than Jack Straw.His record is not impressive. A period of careful reflection ...

  • In brief: Forced Caesarean case postponement

    25-Feb-1997

    A case challenging judges' powers to order forced Caesareans has been adjourned until March. At the Family Division of the High Court last week, Mr Justice Stuart-White said another judge more experienced in judicial reviews should take his place and a hearing has tentatively been set for 14 March. The case has been taken by a 'Miss S', a single mother who claims she was detained in hospital against her will and forced to undergo a Caesarean under the Mental Health Act. ...

  • In brief: Inter Varsity Debate won by Gray's Inn

    25-Feb-1997

    Gray's Inn A-team has won the annual European Inter Varsity Debate after successfully opposing the motion that "the European race had got off to a false start". A judging panel, including Cherie Booth QC, Jeremy Lever QC and Emma Nicholson MP, chose the Gray's Inn team over opposition from the Inner Temple and UCLA. Sponsored by Clifford Chance, the debates are in their fourth year and ...

  • In brief: Music specialist Quatrini joins Mishcons

    25-Feb-1997

    Mishcon de Reya has appointed US music lawyer Jay Quatrini to boost its music law practice. Quatrini, who had been in partnership in Manhattan firm Quatrini Fox is to join Mishcons' non-contentious media department. He will be acting for a wide range of transatlantic clients, including record companies, managers, producers and publishers. Mishcons' five-strong non-contentious media team ...

  • In brief: Race campaigner Higgins dies suddenly

    25-Feb-1997

    Grace Higgins, who successfully fought for a better deal for black and Asian bar students, died after an epileptic fit last month. In 1992, Higgins successfully pressurised the Bar Council and Council of Legal Education into remedying restrictive practises which she felt were contributing to black and Asian people failing their Bar finals. She brought a case against the CLE which contributed to the ending of its monopoly over the Bar Exams. The Society of Black Lawyers of England & ...

  • In brief: Scottish deals led by Maclay Murray Spens

    25-Feb-1997

    Maclay Murray & Spens tops a Scottish law firm league table for number of deals. The firm handled 90 deals, while second-placed Dickson Minto handled 78, Dundas & Wilson did 66 and fourth-placed McGrigor Donald ...

  • In brief: Solicitor's writ accuses Barclays of libel

    25-Feb-1997

    A solicitor has issued a High Court writ against Barclays Bank claiming damages for libel or breach of contract after the bank allegedly wrongfully bounced his cheques. Personal injury specialist Michael Friend, a sole practitioner, is claiming damages of up to £50,000 from the bank after four cheques totalling £33,374.04, which he issued from his office, were allegedly dishonoured by the bank. The writ alleges Friend was defamed when the bank wrote 'Refer To Drawer' ...

  • In brief: Weightmans noises off over partner's Phd

    25-Feb-1997

    Weightmans senior litigation partner Tony Prichard has taken his research into personal injury litigation a step further, after being awarded a Doctorate in Philosophy by Liverpool University. He spent four years working nights and weekends to complete his thesis on noise-related deafness in lorry drivers. Lorry driving is one of the more recent areas to attract claims for noise-induced hearing loss. ...

  • In practice, choice is difficult

    25-Feb-1997

    Have you ever taken a child to a toy shop and asked them to choose what they want?If you have, you will know that the exercise usually ends in tears. And the experience of choosing which practice management system to buy for your firm has the potential to end in the same way. So how should you go about it?The consultants will tell you that you should begin by analysing your needs for the future, and if possible, have an IT strategy for your firm.But ...

  • Jonah goes overboard

    25-Feb-1997

    A certain past president of the Law Society, writing under the pen-name 'Jonah', recently criticised me for daring to suggest on prime-time TV that some solicitors might be reluctant to publish their charging rates for fear of being prevented from "stinging" their less commercially-minded clients.The core of the criticism seems to be that, as an elected member of the Society's council, I should not be making such suggestions outside ...

  • Law Soc council probe on Mason membership

    25-Feb-1997

    All 75 members of the Law Society Council are to be asked whether or not they are Freemasons for a report to the Home Affairs Select Committee.Derek Sands, chair of the Law Society's courts and legal services committee, and Robert Roscoe, chair of the Criminal Law Committee, agreed to undertake the survey when they were giving evidence to the select committee last week. The committee is investigating masonic influence in the police and judiciary.The Law ...

  • Lawyers get in on the acting

    25-Feb-1997

    Given that one of Shakespeare's more quoted lines is: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," it seems generous of the Bar Theatrical Society to put on Hamlet.Yet this timeless saga of madness, murder and the need for alternative dispute resolution is the latest in a proud tradition of Shakespearean productions dating back to the society's formation in the 1950s.As you would expect of a Society that has Dame Diana Rigg among its patrons, ...

  • Legal aid top 20 infuriates Bar

    25-Feb-1997

    The Bar has reacted angrily to a new set of league tables of the top 20 recipients of legal aid, claiming the figures are "guestimates" which paint a wholly distorted picture of their true income.Four "Top Twenty" lists, detailing the highest amounts received by firms and barristers in the year 1995/96 for crown court work and from the legal aid fund - for civil legal aid and criminal magistrates' legal aid - show an elite group of QCs earning up to £400,000.

  • Legal team nails down dock privatisation deal

    25-Feb-1997

    Norton Rose and its M5 Group partner Bond Pearce are celebrating the end of two-and-a-half year long negotiations for the £40.3m privatisation of Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, along with a controversial contract to build docks for Trident submarines.The firms acted jointly for the consortium buying ...

  • Limbering up for the race to the presidency

    25-Feb-1997

    Pity Law Society president Tony Girling. He is only halfway through his 12-month term, and already contenders for his job are coming forward, lobbying calls are being made, letter knives sharpened and plots hatched.It has been speculated incorrectly that Robert Sayer leaked his intention to stand for president to The Lawyer last week - in fact, he had hoped keep the plan secret until nearer the July election, or at least until he had finalised who his deputies would be.

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 25/02/97

    25-Feb-1997

    David John King, 51, admitted 1972, and Bruce Thacker-Shaw Bebington, 51, admitted 1973, practising at material time in partnership as Kings, Birmingham, struck off and ordered to pay £3,976 costs, and fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £1,325 costs respectively. Allegations substantiated that both failed to keep proper accounts, wrongly drew money from client account, wrongly used client funds for ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 25/02/97

    25-Feb-1997

    Burton v Chaussures Ravel - QB 10 February 1997Claimant: Valerie Burton, 5Incident: Chemical injuryInjuries: Claimant admitted to hospital for emergency heart treatment as result of exposure to aerosol adhesive spray while she was working as shoe shop window-dresser. Agreed damages included element of compensation for 'profound shock' suffered as result of claimant's fear of hospitals. She alleged cause of her illness was exposure to a spray ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 25/02/97

    25-Feb-1997

    Claims for solicitors' professional negligenceNM Rothschild & Sons Ltd & ors v Berenson & ors (1997)Summary: Claim in negligence by banks for economic loss against solicitors acting for a customer of the banks and not for the banks.

  • Litigation Writs 25/02/97

    25-Feb-1997

    A Lewes teacher of blind children who was seriously injured when she picked up a disabled girl she was helping into a minibus has launched a compensation claim against the Royal National Institute for the Blind. As a result of back and neck injuries she received in the incident Elizabeth Jeffrey, 25, claims she is now disabled and has lost her job. The writ says the incident leading to her injuries happened on 6 March 1995 at the Sunshine House School, East Grinstead. ...

  • Look and learn before leaping

    25-Feb-1997

    The breathtaking pace of development in information technology available to lawyers brings enormous opportunities for small firms.Improvements in the speed with which documents can be drafted and turned around, in the availability of legal and marketing information, and in communication with clients, domestic and international, have been dramatic. But these opportunities also bring dangers, especially for small firms.Technophobe partners ...

  • Manches & Co and TSD booked by WH Smith

    25-Feb-1997

    Manches & Co and Titmuss Sainer Dechert have won an estimated £750,000-a-year in property work from WH Smith after the book retailer held a beauty parade and ousted two of its former advisers: Bircham & Co and retail property niche firm Nathan Silman.It is understood Denton Hall and Charles Russell ...

  • McKenna's lawyer gets US movie role

    25-Feb-1997

    The Movie Picture Association of America, which represents the political, copyright and public relations interests of major studios worldwide, has selected Peter Valert, a lawyer with the Prague office of McKennas, as its official Czech representative.The MPA wishes to have stronger links with the Czech Republic following a visit by MPA president Jack Valenti in October 1996.Valert will play a key role in facilitating these links.He had spent the ...

  • Mears & Sayer in shock split

    25-Feb-1997

    A rift has opened up between the former Law Society presidential team of Martin Mears and Robert Sayer, and it looks increasingly likely that the former comrades-in-arms will stand against each other in the 1997 election.Just days ago Mears was confirming that he would stand as Sayer's vice president in the July elections. However, The Lawyer has learnt of a split between the two men, apparently fuelled by Sayer's supporters who want Solicitors Association president ...

  • Media - trial by tabloid. Murder it wrote

    25-Feb-1997

    Ronald Thwaites QC, of 10 King's Bench Walk, a member of the Defence Counsel in the trial of those charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence, condemns the Mail."It has no record of campaigning on civil liberties issues, so this is indicative of an attempt to increase circulation. It can only be in a better position to comment on the case than anyone else if it has fresh evidence; the legal system requires fuel, that fuel is evidence, and in this case the evidence ...

  • Media's bright lights shine for Hepworth

    25-Feb-1997

    Leading libel lawyer Brian Hepworth and his assistant are leaving Goodman Derrick to set up their own media practice with prominent film and TV IP lawyer Michael Henry.Hepworth joined Goodmans only 18 months ago from Mishcon de Reya. He said: “I noticed as soon as I joined Goodmans that it was ...

  • Middle East firms prepare legal guide

    25-Feb-1997

    LAW firms which conduct work in the Middle East are compiling a directory to raise their profile in the region.The directory is being drawn up by the 20 law firm members of the Middle East Association, a group made up of businesses and professions working in the region.It will be circulated to British embassies, business groups and many of the major companies and will provide details of all the law practices in the group and their specialist areas.The ...

  • Money isn't everything

    25-Feb-1997

    One issue that I intend to cover in my keynote address at this ninth Information Systems for Lawyers Conference is, perhaps, the most fraught of all in the complex world of the management and introduction of IT. I refer to the development of what is often called a 'cost/benefit analysis'.The underlying motivation here is both clear and sound - that any costs of investment in IT should be unambiguously identified and then considered critically in light of the anticipated ...

  • Net gain: a link to profit by

    25-Feb-1997

    Today more than ever before, as practices grow and spread geographically, there is a need to communicate, not just internally but also with clients and external bodies.At the technological heart of the communication demands of your practice is network computing, whether it be a local area network, an intranet or the Internet.The Internet is a global network which is now estimated to consist of around 10 million computers (supporting some ...

  • Partner hails electricity bounty

    25-Feb-1997

    Regional law firms can expect lucrative new work from alternative energy generators, according to energy partner Stephen Barnard of Herbert Smith, which represents the 12 Regional Electricity Companies (RECs) of England and Wales.Barnard acts for a jointly-owned REC company which has just signed contracts to buy power from 195 potential renewable power generators throughout the country. The contracts are the fourth and largest tender for renewable power contracts ordered ...

  • Pay up and pipe down or you're out

    25-Feb-1997

    NEW legislation being heralded as the way to evict noisy and nuisance neighbours on council estates quickly may have its biggest impact on those failing to pay their rent.The 1996 Housing Act means new tenants have to sign 12-month probationary, or introductory tenancies. This allows councils to go to court and evict tenants without proving the grounds for doing so, and has led to claims from council lawyers that tenants who are behind in their rent will bear the ...

  • Practices anticipate stability after death of China's leader

    25-Feb-1997

    Lawyers in Hong Kong and China are claiming that the death of Chinese leader Deng Xaioping will have little effect in China, or in the handover in July of Hong Kong.His death had been expected for some time, as it was well known he was suffering from Parkinson's disease, and lawyers claim this has eased any possible difficulties in the transitional period in China.Karen Brewer, international relations officer at the Law Society with special responsibility ...

  • Property

    25-Feb-1997

    McKenna & Co acted for Morgan Grenfell Property Asset Management in its £68.5m sale of properties from its Ventures Fund and Industrial Fund to Green Property (UK). Tim Westhead, initially at Stones Porter and subsequently at Olswang, acted for Green Property. Finance was provided to Green Property by HSBC, advised by No

  • Property

    25-Feb-1997

    Dibb Lupton Alsop acted for Coopers & Lybrand, the receivers of York-based Greenfield Group in its £16.2m sale of three hotels in Edinburgh, Hull and York to Jarvis Hotels, advised by Worsdell & Vintner.

  • Property

    25-Feb-1997

    Denton Hall advised the Equitable Life Assurance Society on its acquisition of a £90m 90 per cent long leasehold interest in the Grosvenor Precinct, Chester. Grosvenor, represented by Nabarro Nathanson, kept a 10 per cent interest as freeholders.

  • Property code well received reveals survey

    25-Feb-1997

    The majority of major property owners, surveyors and lawyers are willing to implement a code of practice for speeding up property sales, according to a survey drawn up by Clifford Chance property partner Teddy Bourne.Of the 70 responses received so far to the survey conducted by the Investment Property Forum, which is promoting the code, 67 owners and surveyors said they were willing ...

  • Quality award for Lewisham

    25-Feb-1997

    Lewisham Council's legal team has won a quality standard kite mark although it does not have a permanent head.The London council's legal department is one of just 12 in the UK to receive the British Standards Institute's ISO 9001 certificate for quality assurance. It spent 22 weeks working to achieve the certificate and says every aspect of its work has been assessed.But the team's achievement coincides with acting head Claer Lloyd-Jones' ...

  • Real life is reviewed in court

    25-Feb-1997

    The recent High Court battle by widow Diane Blood for the right to be artificially inseminated with the sperm of her late husband was odd even by the standards of Leigh Day & Co, a firm with a reputation for a case book that has many mentions of probing new fields.However, while the subject matter of the case was out of the ordinary, Leigh Day partner Richard Stein, who took it on late in the day, says that in many ways it typified judicial review and had much of what makes ...

  • Scots get no win, no fee cover

    25-Feb-1997

    The Law Society of Scotland has launched a new insurance scheme to cover no win, no fee compensation cases.The scheme is based on Accident Line Protect, which was launched by the Law Society of England and Wales in August 1995, but is a little more expensive.For a premium of £115, the Scottish scheme, Compensure, offers up to £100,000 cover to meet opponents' and other costs, such as expert witness fees, in unsuccessful cases.It covers ...

  • SFLA is committed to franchising, says chair

    25-Feb-1997

    The Solicitors Family Law Association is committed to making a success of the franchising pilot for family mediation services, according to chair of the SFLA mediation committee Rosemary Carter.Responding to the publication of the Legal Aid Board's approach to the pilots last week, Carter said: "Although we have some reservations about the appropriateness of franchising such vital services, we are pleased that we have been assured the SFLA will be carefully consulted ...

  • Shaken system must be stirred into action

    25-Feb-1997

    At last the Bridgewater Three are on the verge of receiving justice after 18 years in prison. The case, which has caused unease for many years, was already the subject of one appeal in 1981, with another rejected by then Home Secretary Kenneth Clarke in 1993.This and other miscarriages of justice have shaken confidence in the criminal justice system. It is a timely reminder, when the Home Secretary Michael Howard is looking to vest more power in the police, ...

  • Sherr predicts Aids actions rise

    25-Feb-1997

    Cases of discrimination taken out by victims of HIV and Aids against employers are set to increase, according to Professor Avrom Sherr of London University's Institute of advanced legal studies.Sherr, who is coordinating an EU-sponsored survey into HIV and Aids discrimination, said that there had been few HIV-related discrimination cases so far but this was about to change.He said new combination drug therapy meant that people would be able to push aside ...

  • Spector returns to haunt his old song

    25-Feb-1997

    A High Court ruling is imminent on a case centring on one of pop music's evergreens, the 1950s hit To Know Him is to Love Him.After hearing CD recordings of the song in court, Mr Justice Ferris will soon give judgment in a dispute in which song writer Phil Spector is fighting to recover his copyright in the song which he claims he wrote in 1958 when he was 18.Spector is seeking a ruling that rights in the song have now reverted to him following ...

  • Stalking case to run on

    25-Feb-1997

    The definition of 'stalking" is to be probed by the Law Lords. They have granted leave for an appeal to them by Anthony Burstow who was convicted at Reading Crown Court under the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 of causing grievous bodily harm to a woman, and jailed for three years. The offence was labelled as stalking and the House of Lords will be asked to decide whether an offence of the type for which Burstow was convicted can be committed when no physical violence ...

  • The dinosaur runs and runs

    25-Feb-1997

    Paul Marsh's observations on property selling by solicitors (The Lawyer, 11 February) are intriguing.He refers to instances of two claims against the Compensation Fund within my constituency of Surrey. Is he seriously suggesting that grants paid out in these cases were in respect of claims against solicitors acting in their capacity as estate agents?Perhaps he could let me know. A glance at the latest annual report from SIF tells us quite categorically ...

  • The ins and outs of IT support

    25-Feb-1997

    The advent of the computer on every desk has brought benefits to those who are prepared to rise to the challenge and learn to use IT effectively. When the computer is working things are wonderful, but when it isn't, life is hell, and users need a sympathetic ear, and someone who can make it better.This makes the IT department into a technology counselling service, with certain key functions. It must provide support, technology management, ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Peter Bennett

    25-Feb-1997

    Peter Bennett was born in London on 23 July 1953. He is practice manager at 36 Bedford Row, the chambers of James Hunt QC. What was your first job?Paper boy.What was your first-ever salary?£3,200.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Management of law firms - which is what I do.Which law could you live without?

  • Tony Marks on rules with an objective

    25-Feb-1997

    For the first time in the history of Rules of Court, they have an objective. Rule 1.1 of the Draft Civil Proceedings Rules states that the overriding objective is "to enable the court to deal with cases justly" and the court "must apply the Rules so as to further the overriding objective". Whether this adds much to the existing judicial oath "to do justice" is debatable.Lord Woolf's Final Report states that the new rules are not designed ...

  • Wilde Sapte supports opera

    25-Feb-1997

    Wilde Sapte has dealt the final blow to objectors who called a rural opera a "noise nuisance".Environment Secretary John Gummer has granted the Garsington Opera Festival planning permission for seven years after a lengthy inquiry.The opera, run by Leonard Ingrams, brother of Bernard Ingrams and based at historic Garsington Manor in Oxfordshire, raised protests from some residents after its first festival in 1989. Ingrams was convicted of causing a "noise nuisance" ...