24 March 1997

The Lawyer

  • A confident future

    25-Mar-1997

    Jersey has hit the headlines for mostly the wrong reasons of late, but its financial and legal companies are now rallying round to reinforce the positive aspects of the island. The disquiet began because some argued that the financial services sector had become disproportionately important to the island's economy. The moves to push limited liability partnership (LLP) laws through, for example, became caught up in domestic political disputes. Perhaps the ...

  • A Lord Chancellor equal to the fight

    25-Mar-1997

    After 10 years at the helm the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, is to step down at the General Election in May. And what an eventful 10 years it has been. Law reform has taken on a new meaning with Lord Mackay.Lord Woolf says Lord Mackay has earned a place in the history books - and he should know. The Lord Chancellor gave him instructions to go out and overhaul the civil justice system. The result has been one of the most far-reaching legal reforms of recent years.

  • Bar Council acts to avoid court listing

    25-Mar-1997

    The Bar Council has broadened the competition for its online court listing service with the appointment of a second supplier to run the service.The move follows concerns that the existing supplier of information, CNS, should not be allowed to monopolise the service, after a second listings company, CLLIX, ceased operating.Now, following a consultation exercise with chambers, the IT consultancy Hamilton Rogers has been chosen for its Court Line service, which ...

  • Cases pending in the QBD

    25-Mar-1997

    Cases pending in the Queens Bench Division include: Earl & anor v News Group Newspapers (not before 24 March); Colchester Oyster Fishery v Purslow (not before 8 April); Joseph & ors v Commissioner of Police (not before 8 April); Pallen v Commissioner of Police (not before 14 April); Glaum v Commissioner of Police (not before 14 April); Cowan v Commissioner of Police (not before 14 April).

  • Caution required on valuations

    25-Mar-1997

    Claims relating to negligent property valuation now form an increasing percentage of business at the High Court and a recent case has been closely watched by those in property circles. Lawyers see the judgment in the case as a warning to lenders when they give instructions to value a property.The case - Hambros Leasing v Weatherall Green & Smith - concerned a valuation in 1989 of the Londonderry Hotel in London's Park Lane.Brent Walker was negotiating to ...

  • Changes do the business

    25-Mar-1997

    Several changes to company law in Guernsey will provide new opportunities for those using the island as a centre for international business. Incorporation in Guernsey is effected by registering the company's memorandum and articles of association with the States of Guernsey Greffe (public records office) following an application to the Royal Court to form a company. The companies are incorporated under the provisions of the Companies (Guernsey) Law 1994.Changes ...

  • Charges law slammed by Irish solicitor

    25-Mar-1997

    An Irish sole practitioner has put out a call to his profession to challenge an "unworkable piece of legislation" requiring solicitors to disclose their costs in advance.Richard O'Hanrahan's campaign against section 68 of the 1994 Solicitors Act was launched in the letters page of the Irish Law Society Gazette.Section 68 calls for solicitors to provide actual charges, estimates or, failing that, the basis of charges incurred in court the first time ...

  • Charity's commercial edge

    25-Mar-1997

    The perception that trusts are relevant only to private client practitioners is outdated and fails to take account of the role of trusts in areas such as off-balance-sheet financing, securitisations and many other commercial arrangements. This article seeks to highlight some of the most common commercial uses of charitable trusts, and discuss the issues involved.The role of the SPVSpecial (or single) purpose vehicles (SPVs) frequently participate ...

  • Clifford Chance takes Windows-based route

    25-Mar-1997

    Clifford Chance is embarking on a multi-million-pound project to update its information technology.From June to early next year it will replace the Wordperfect word processing system on all its PCs with the latest Microsoft Windows-based systems.It has also begun trials of a new practice management system with which it intends to replace its existing set-up, which was developed ...

  • Clifford Chance:a case of merger most foul

    25-Mar-1997

    Ten years on people still talk of the merger that gave birth to Clifford Chance as the archetypal merger. It was, they say, the one big merger that really worked.But Geoffrey Howe, who was elected managing partner of Clifford Chance 18 months after the deal and had to unite the two firms and develop their international strategy, made clear that it was by no means trauma free.

  • Council moves

    25-Mar-1997

    M Milton Keynes Council has appointed Mark Jones as head of legal and property services. Jones will join the council in April from Barnet Council where he was chief litigation solicitor. Meanwhile Melinda Davies, who is principal solicitor at Welwyn Hatfield Council, has been promoted to head of legal services. Davies, who previously worked at Hertfordshire Council, has taken over the top job from John Anderson, who retired late last year.

  • Courts send mixed message to fire brigades on liability

    25-Mar-1997

    Local authorities responsible for fire fighting operations could face legal challenges from disgruntled property owners and higher insurance premiums following a ground-breaking Court of Appeal decision.In a series of three cases the Appeal Court ruled that fire brigades could be held liable for negligence.But in a bizarre twist, under the court's rulings, fire fighters who refuse to attend a fire will continue to have legal protection under common ...

  • CPS lawyers draw up ethical standards code

    25-Mar-1997

    THE CPS lawyers’ union has drawn up an internal code of ethics for the service to prevent its members from breaking their own professional rules.The CPS section of the Association of First Division Civil Servants (FDA) is planning to present the code, which is so far only in draft form, to Dame Barbara Mills QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions.They will call on her to officially adopt it, and appoint an ombudsman to deliberate on complaints from lawyers when ...

  • DAC calls in Mathieson to spearhead media side

    25-Mar-1997

    A leading defamation specialist, Keith Mathieson, has left Oswald Hickson Collier to build up the media practice at Davies Arnold Cooper.He joins the commercial litigation department as a partner and has brought his assistant solicitor Kirsty Watt with him.Mathieson advises mainly on libel, copyright, passing off, confidentiality and contempt of court. He is believed to be bringing a number of major media clients with him.He is also joining the firm ...

  • Dart system throws a law firm double

    25-Mar-1997

    Two legal aid firms, Sheffield-based John Howell & Co and David Gray & Co in Newcastle, have taken on the Dart practice management system. Both firms are running the Microsoft NT4 platform, incorporating Office 97 facilities. The Dart system, which is now in its third year, has around 180 law firm users.

  • Death penalty. Death row lottery

    25-Mar-1997

    At its mid-year meeting last month the American Bar Association (ABA) called for a moratorium on executions.The ABA is not known for its opposition to capital punishment. But, as one New York attorney put it, it is important that "lawyers, those closest to the system, stand up and say it's in shambles".They are right. One striking example recently is the case of Joseph O'Dell, a Virginia death row inmate, on whose behalf the Supreme Court unusually ...

  • Defining moments of customary law

    25-Mar-1997

    The power of the judiciary to develop and modify the common or customary law of Guernsey was recently considered by the Guernsey Court of Appeal in a decision that may have wide-reaching implications throughout the Channel Islands.The court has always been able to develop the customary law, and this decision defines the circumstances in which it may do so by reference to some "aids to navigation across an uncertainly charted sea".Guernsey law has its origins ...

  • Delays frustrate FSC

    25-Mar-1997

    Jersey is soon to establish a self-standing commission to supervise and help develop the island's finance industry. Approval for the Financial Services Commission (FSC) was given by the States, Jersey's legislative body, in October 1995 and draft legislation is awaited. The original target date for the introduction of the new body was 1 January 1998, but the considerable programme of financial services legislation on which Jersey has embarked in recent years has ...

  • Demolition blues

    25-Mar-1997

    A case which some might see as adding insult to injury is on its way to the High Court. Roger Daniel of Oxford was given a seven-day ultimatum by South Shropshire District Council to make a house he owned in Ludlow safe. When he failed to meet the deadline the council moved in and demolished the property. Now it is taking Daniel to the High Court and suing him for £90,056 - the cost of the demolition work.

  • Employee rights in the balance

    25-Mar-1997

    The Acquired Rights directive (ARD) was introduced in order to protect employees when corporate restructuring or insolvency led to the transfer of businesses to new employers. Case law then extended its application to a change of service contractors.But when is a business transferred and not simply terminated? The Spijkers case (1986) established that the criterion involved in whether an entity retains its identity is judged on the facts, particularly by reference to ...

  • Evans warns of threat to Woolf plans

    25-Mar-1997

    The new president of the Association of District Judges has warned that the radical proposals to reform the civil justice system are under threat.District Judge Godfrey Evans, who sits at the Cardiff Civil Justice Centre and is an assistant recorder on the Wales and Chester Circuit, was elected by the association's 340 members at its annual meeting. He succeeds Dick Greenslade.He has said he is anxious that Lord Woolf's reforms should not be neglected.

  • Financing and restructuring

    25-Mar-1997

    Travers Smith Braithwaite advised Barnes Trust Television on a £12m financing of its £9m purchase of Pearson Television's Teddington studios business. It advised Barnes on a bank loan and Gresham Trust on taking an equity stake in Barnes. Edmonds Bowen & Co advised Barnes on the purchase

  • Financing and restructuring

    25-Mar-1997

    Norton Rose acted for US developer AES on the £112.5m development and financing of a 230MW power station in Barry

  • Financing and restructuring

    25-Mar-1997

    Herbert Smith acted for Yorkshire Water on its pioneering capital reorganisation designed to return around £150m to shareholders. Other companies are expected to follow its lead.

  • Flotations

    25-Mar-1997

    SJ Berwin advised venture capital trust Murray VCT2 on its £35m share offer by subscription. Ashurst Morris Crisp acted for issue sponsor Merrill Lynch.

  • Flotations

    25-Mar-1997

    Bevan Ashford advised gemstone explorer Cambridge Mineral Resources on its £3.5m listing on AIM.

  • Flotations

    25-Mar-1997

    Rickerby Watterson acted for automotive engineering company Howle Holdings on its £1m listing by placing on the London Stock Exchange.

  • Four quit Skadden Arps to set up China alliance

    25-Mar-1997

    Texas firm Vinson & Elkins has entered into a "visiting lawyer relationship" with Beijing-based Chinese firm King & Woods, via four lawyers who have deserted fellow US practice Skadden Arps Meagher & Flom's Beijing office.Handel Lee leads the team from Skadden Arps and has joined Vinsons as a partner. He was the firm's former chief representative in Beijing.

  • Gift for a new generation

    25-Mar-1997

    Many parents, grandparents and other relatives who are in the financial position to make gifts to succeeding generations are reluctant do so because of the family risks involved. These may include assets intended for minors falling under the unwanted control of their parents, assets falling into the hands of the immature, irresponsible or even predators. Or it may be that members of the next generation are anticipated but unborn. As a result, such individuals may fail to ...

  • Girling calls for solicitors' chambers

    25-Mar-1997

    A Law Society survey which found that 71 per cent of sole practitioners see themselves as specialists has prompted president Tony Girling to call on them to follow the lead set by barristers and band together in chambers-type arrangements.In an interview in this week's edition of The Lawyer (see page 11) Girling argues that sole practitioners should work together in a single building, sharing overheads but not forming a partnership."You'll have a building ...

  • Hands off the CPS

    25-Mar-1997

    At present only qualified lawyers, namely solicitors and barristers working for the CPS, can make a decision as to whether a criminal prosecution should proceed and then prosecute those cases in court.At a time when there is heightened and grave concern about miscarriages of justice, the Review of Delay in the Criminal Justice System (The Lawyer, 4 March) published by the Home Office astonishingly recommends that these tasks could be performed by lay ...

  • Ilex expands course range

    25-Mar-1997

    The Institute of Legal Executives (Ilex) is boosting its range of qualifications with a series of courses at university and A-level.The chief executive, Ray Ball, told Ilex's annual conference that the institute had new challenges ahead, including national vocational qualifications in legal practice from next year.The institute has also contacted 75 universities with law departments as part of a major new project.Ball said: "Our aim is to embed ...

  • In brief: Election puts paid to bugging amendment

    25-Mar-1997

    The Police Bill will not be amended to protect solicitors from being bugged because of the rush to clear the Parliamentary decks before the General Election, which also saw Michael Howard's controversial Crime Sentences Bill severely weakened. The move follows Labour's decision to withdrew a Law Society-supported clause to the Police Bill which would have placed conversations between solicitor and client in police cells and prisons under the same protection as those on private ...

  • In brief: Elly is appointed member of Aclec

    25-Mar-1997

    Former Law Society president Charles Elly (right) has been appointed a member of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct (Aclec). Elly's appointment runs for three years from April. Last week Aclec published largely positive advice on an application by the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents for extended litigation rights in the High Court.

  • In brief: Firms still in the merger mood

    25-Mar-1997

    Nearly half of the 30 lawyer delegates at a conference on law firm mergers last week said their practices were involved in merger talks. Another third said they were open to merger offers and only just under a quarter said they were not interested. The 23 firms that attended "Merger Most Foul", organised by management consultant Paddy Gormley, ranged from the likes of Coudert Brothers, Nabarro Nathanson, ...

  • In brief: LAB's representatives threat is thwarted

    25-Mar-1997

    A north London firm, Hickman Rose, has succeeded in its action to stop the Legal Aid Board's (LAB) plan to suspend the use of non-solicitor representatives on the City of London duty solicitor scheme. The practice had applied in June 1996 for a judicial review of a decision by the London regional duty solicitor's committee to change its rules regarding representatives. It was proposed that they should not work unsocial hours. On the eve of the court hearing, the committee ...

  • In brief: Lawyers to appeal over Caesarean case

    25-Mar-1997

    Solicitors for a woman detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act and forced to have a Caesarean are to appeal a High Court decision that she waited too long to challenge the legality of her detention. Leigh Day & Co solicitor Richard Stein, who is representing the woman known only as Ms S, said an appeal was lodged last Thursday after Mr Justice Popplewell ruled the original application was made four months after the three-month deadline.

  • In brief: Social services reprieve for council

    25-Mar-1997

    The House of Lords has ruled that councils can take into account resources when allocating social services. Gloucestershire County Council and Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell had appealed an Court of appeal decision that once care was agreed it had to be provided no matter how short of money a council was.

  • In brief: Use your telephone vote

    25-Mar-1997

    VOTES are already flooding in by post for the prestigious The Lawyer/HIFAL Personality of the Year Award. Now The Lawyer has set up a 24-hour telephone voting hotline. Last year the former Law Society president Martin Mears was the profession's choice. This year the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, Cherie Booth QC, Law Society president Tony Girling, Robert Owen QC and the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, must all stand a strong chance of scooping the award, to be presented at a ...

  • Isle speaks with more authority

    25-Mar-1997

    The Isle of Man is not complacent about its reputation as a financial services centre. The private sector, the legislature and the regulatory authorities are all conscious that, to maintain its position in the offshore world, it must continually develop its legislation to enhance its products and services. Recent legislative changes reflect this.A significant legislative development was the creation, in January, of the Isle of Man Insurance and Pensions Authority. In addition ...

  • Jargon busting

    25-Mar-1997

    I read your editorial in the 11 March issue with great interest. In it you urge high street lawyers to take "a long, hard look at their practices".I would respectfully suggest that a good starting point for most high street lawyers might be for them to drastically alter how they communicate with their clients. People do not need to be bombarded with complex, jargon-ridden letters in order to be convinced they are getting value for money. Lawyers should ...

  • Jeune cleared over his part in LLP law

    25-Mar-1997

    THE FORMER senior partner of a leading Jersey law firm has been cleared of improper conduct over his role in the drawing up of the island's controversial limited liability partnership (LLP) law.Reg Jeune, a prominent Jersey politician, was accused of improperly fast tracking the new law by a fellow member of the Jersey parliament - the States of Jersey - when it emerged that his old firm had lobbied for its swift adoption.The controversy surrounded Jeune's ...

  • Juries not necessary, says new SFO head

    25-Mar-1997

    Juries in fraud cases do not bring about justice, according to the next director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Rosalind Wright."If you really want to see justice done, I don't think juries in fraud are the way to achieve it." she told The Lawyer in one of the most outspoken criticisms so far of juries by a senior prosecutor.Wright, currently head of prosecutions at the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA), added: "Although one never knows, I suspect ...

  • Labour City seminar plan falls flat

    25-Mar-1997

    AN AMBITIOUS Labour Party initiative to raise £100,000 from a series of seminars for City lawyers featuring members of its front bench had to be cancelled due to lack of interest.The initiative was officially launched last December by the Society of Labour Lawyers and was designed to drum up funds and enthusiasm for Labour from within the City, where, it was claimed, attitudes to Labour had thawed.The plan was to stage a series of seminars hosted by front-bench ...

  • Legal advice gets wired

    25-Mar-1997

    A London lawyer is pioneering an interactive legal service on the Internet.Michael Kaye, senior partner at Tottenham-based Kaye Tesler & Co, is supplying basic legal services to Internet users, ranging from advice on criminal matters to grants of probate.And, because he is anticipating that so many other firms will want to follow his example, he is setting up a computer consultancy to create similar systems for other lawyers.

  • LGG celebrates 50th anniversary in style

    25-Mar-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsTwenty-seven former chairs of the Local Government Group (LGG) will be among the 320 guests attending a dinner to celebrate the organisation's 50th year.The black tie dinner will be the highlight of a four-day LGG conference at Churchill College, Cambridge University, starting on 10 April."We have 270 delegates, which is the maximum we can take," said course director and former chair of the LGG ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 25/03/97

    25-Mar-1997

    Eric Ashley Bell, 47, admitted 1988, practising at material times with Graham and Bell Partnership and then as a sole practitioner as Eric A Bell & Co, Bedlington, fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs. Allegations substantiated that he delayed or alternatively failed to act with reasonable expedition in affairs of clients; failed or alternatively failed with reasonable expedition to answer letters from clients, other solicitors ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 25/03/97

    25-Mar-1997

    Sheppard v Matthew Hall (1992) - QBD, 3 March 1997Claimant: James Sheppard, 6Incident: Industrial injuryInjuries: Claimant developed an incurable form of lung cancer and blames his condition on exposure to asbestos dust in the 1940s and 1950sAward: £110,000 (agreed damages)Plaintiff's counsel: Frank BurtonPlaintiff's solicitor:

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 25/03/97

    25-Mar-1997

    Fire brigades not liable if they fail to turn up at fire(1) Capital and Counties v Hampshire County Council & ors (2) Digital Equipment Co v Hampshire County Council & ors (3) The Church of Latter Day Saints (Great Britain) v West Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority (4) John Munroe (Acrylics) v London Fire Brigade and Civil Defence Authority & ors (1997)CA (Stuart-Smith LJ, Potter LJ and Judge LJ) 14/3/97Summary: A fire brigade owes no ...

  • Litigation Writs 25/03/97

    25-Mar-1997

    A Beaconsfield man who was badly injured in a road accident which also killed his wife is now claiming damages in the High Court. The writ issued by Anthony Lamont says he and his wife, Robyn Lamont, and Ross Sheppard were waiting to cross the A355 Amersham Road at Beaconsfield when the accident happened on 15 May 1994. It says the driver being sued, Philip Calam, drove his Vauxhall Nova out of a side road into the path of a Volvo on the main road, causing the ...

  • Look before you leap

    25-Mar-1997

    Deciding whether to use offshore trustees can be difficult, but having decided in their favour many other questions then present themselves. For example, there is no shortage of possible jurisdictions or service providers - but which should you use? In choosing a jurisdiction the following are perhaps the principal considerations.Taxation - the jurisdiction must provide the necessary fiscal advantages. Legislation - the jurisdiction must ...

  • Lord Chancellor of ideas bows out on principle>

    25-Mar-1997

    Principled, radical, thoughtful, charming, but courageous and with a hard core.The adjectives have been flowing about the Lord Chancellor since he announced his retirement from his post last week.Lord Mackay of Clashfern is adhering to one of his own principles relating to the judiciary and stepping down before he reaches 70.His decision ends the longest continuous service of a Lord Chancellor this century. It also ends a term of far-sighted policies ...

  • Lose Wild West image or lose out, City lawyer tells Russians

    25-Mar-1997

    Russians have been warned by the British Russian Law Association to take steps to lose their "Wild West" image in order to reassure overseas business interests that have been discouraged from inward investment.Christopher Davis, head of due diligence at City firm Davis & Co, told 140 delegates at a conference on Inward Direct Investment at the Moscow State University that the key problems discouraging investors were an ever-changing legal system, high levels of crime, an ...

  • Lovells challenges insurance settlement by US regulator

    25-Mar-1997

    Lovell White Durrant is gearing up for a court battle with the Massachusetts' insurance regulator next month following her proposals to settle multi-million-dollar environmental claims between General Electric (GE) and its captive insurer Emlico.Lovells, representing some of the 400 reinsurers who may have to stump up the money, said the regulator, Linda Ruthardt, had excluded the reinsurers from a deal made with GE, Emlico and its liquidator, Coopers & Lybrand.

  • Nicholas Underhill ponders the effect of the latest Tupe ruling.

    25-Mar-1997

    Nicholas Underhill QC is a member of Fountain Court Chambers.Employment practitioners have been treated over the past few years to a series of supposed landmark decisions on the meaning of the Acquired Rights Directive and the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations (Tupe). Some of the landmarks have, in retrospect, been distinctly obscure. Does last week's decision by the European Court in Suzen v Zehnacker Gebaudereinigung GmbH really deserve the chorus of ...

  • Nicholsons opens hotline to answer poll questions

    25-Mar-1997

    The elections unit at Nicholson Graham & Jones has launched a hotline for returning officers who encounter legal problems in the run-up to the General Election.It will deal with any query 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the week after polling day.A pager service will guarantee a return call within 1minutes.This is the first General Election for the unit, which was set up three years ago and is run by two partners and two assistants.

  • Of course, they didn't do it, you know

    25-Mar-1997

    Whenever I am in danger of getting carried away by the euphoria that surrounds the release of innocent people, I turn either to the leader column of The Sun or the correspondence columns of The Daily Telegraph.Not that I have any objection to being denounced in The Sun. True, it does generate a certain amount of hate mail from some of the sick people who read that publication, but I have always worked on the basis that it is better to be denounced than ignored.

  • Offshore platforms

    25-Mar-1997

    As trusts have developed to become a popular vehicle for a wide variety of uses, both solely and in conjunction with companies, an increasing number of financial institutions have extended their services to include the formation and administration of offshore trusts and companies.However, not every institution may wish - or indeed be able - to set up and staff its own offshore office to provide this specialised service. In such circumstances it may consider forming ...

  • OFT raps mobile phone companies

    25-Mar-1997

  • Ontario's 'robojustice' plan sparks political controversy

    25-Mar-1997

    Concerns in Ontario about an ambitious C$100m plan to computerise and re-engineer the province's entire justice system have been heightened by accusations that the regional government is pursuing a policy of "information control".Negotiations are under way between the provincial government and a consortium of companies led by IBM to sign a deal to launch the Integrated Justice Project, the world's largest legal automation system.But so far the government ...

  • Optional extras

    25-Mar-1997

    Shared-based employee benefits have their origins in the US where this form of motivation and reward for employees, both senior executive and company-wide, has been commonplace for some time. There is little doubt that there is now an equal interest in these structures in the UK and also, slowly, in continental Europe. The UK has legislated on a number of occasions to encourage the use of employee share option schemes (ESOPs) in the reward package of employees. There are, ...

  • Pannones' network nears completion

    25-Mar-1997

    Pannone & Partners is reaching the end of a major project to revamp its practice-wide IT systems.The Manchester firm began the overhaul last July and now all that remains is to attach its accounts and practice management systems to the main network.IT partner Gareth Jessop, who has led the operation, said that the firm had set out to put all its systems on a single computer network and to give everybody in the practice a screen."I've ...

  • Partner backs Tube crusade

    25-Mar-1997

    Nabarro Nathanson senior partner David Bramson has put his name to a letter to The Times from senior London businessmen calling for a "£1.2bn investment backlog" in the London Underground to be made good by government.Nabarros joined the London First campaign - a privately funded group of businesses to promote the city - two years ago.Nabarros spokesman Chris Hinze said: "We ...

  • Partners get fees ultimatum

    25-Mar-1997

    Two partners at an Uxbridge practice have been given a six-month ultimatum to pay £14,000 in barristers fees.The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard last week how Tony Foss and Clinton Worsfold, of Garner Foss & Worsfold, owed fees stretching back 10 years.Gerald Lynch, representing the Law Society, told the tribunal that the debt at one point reached £19,000 but this was reduced during the lengthy dispute between the firm and the Bar Council.

  • Perth-based merger creates largest law firm in Australia

    25-Mar-1997

    Leading Australian law firm Freehill Hollingdale & Page has announced a merger between its Perth office and Perth practice Parker & Parker, to make Freehills Australia's largest firm, with 180 partners.The move has prompted Parkers, a 27-partner firm, to leave the Allens Arthur Robinson Group, the alliance of Australian law firms which has a string of joint overseas offices.And although the move is described by both sides as a merger, the office will continue ...

  • Pioneers of partnership law

    25-Mar-1997

    The Liability Partnerships (Jersey) Law has now been registered and is expected to come into force later this year. Despite earlier indications that the Conservative government would not support the early introduction of equivalent legislation in the UK, the registration of the law appears to have prompted the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to bring forward proposals for a UK limited liability partnership law. Representatives of Jersey's Financial Services ...

  • Playing to a captive audience

    25-Mar-1997

    The new Guernsey director general of financial services, Peter Crook, is keen to see the island's financial sector develop."We have a committee that monitors proposals put forward and I think that, in a way, the captives industry is a good example," he says. "It has been a very strong growth area for us in recent times. Before that, we have done very well in developing the banking side. This has become an area of some change recently, as banks review their bases and ...

  • Practitioners condemn legal aid fee freeze as a 'slap in the face'

    25-Mar-1997

    Legal aid lawyers have condemned as deplorable the decision by the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) to freeze legal aid fees.A statement from the LCD last Friday said: "Having carefully considered the representations made by the Law Society and the Bar during this year's remuneration discussions there will not be any changes made to the current prescribed rates of remuneration or standard fees paid to lawyers undertaking legal aid work."Last year ...

  • Price Waterhouse allies with US law firm

    25-Mar-1997

    Accountancy firm Price Waterhouse has formed a strategic alliance with Washington-based niche tax practice Miller & Chevalier to become what Millers describes as the "closest thing to a multi-disciplinary practice you can currently have in the States".Although law firms and accountants have worked together in the area of tax, this link-up is seen as highly unusual because it is not for a specific project or for a limited period of time. In the US the climate is steadfastly ...

  • R&M poaches McGrigors pair

    25-Mar-1997

    Scottish firm McGrigor Donald has lost the star head of its banking group Neil Morrison to Rowe & Maw along with his senior assistant Naomi Owen.London-based Morrison was head of the McGrigors' banking group for five years. Before that he was head of SJ Berwin & Co's banking group.He said: "I decided when I was approached by Rowe & Maw that I would be more comfortable ...

  • Robot helps tackle the caseload

    25-Mar-1997

    The legal software house, Solicitec, is introducing a "robot" to its office case management system for law firms.The company says its Solcase Robot adds increased automation to existing workflow procedures. The concept, which aims to save time by means of built-in actions, already exists in other professions, such as banking.Managing director Neil Ewin said the robot could save a fee earner about half an hour a day by automatically ...

  • Scots vent anger over public fund to protect conveyancers

    25-Mar-1997

    Scottish solicitors have attacked the Government for paying a £40,000 indemnity insurance premium for licensed conveyancers in a bid to get the profession off the ground in Scotland.The funding is being offered by the Scottish Conveyancing and Executry Board, a newly launched non-departmental public body which has been given the job of overseeing the licensed conveyancing profession.The board, which was set up in 1991 and suspended for two years because ...

  • Smith Bernal establishes arm in Bermuda

    25-Mar-1997

    The London-based reporting company Smith Bernal International, which provided the transcription technology for the OJ Simpson trial, has set up an operation in Bermuda. The new arm will provide the same range of reporting services as the company's offices in London, Hong Kong and Philadelphia. Its chief executive, Graham Smith, said the company chose to open up in Bermuda because half the top 500 US companies had subsidiaries or affiliates registered on ...

  • SPCs: time for action

    25-Mar-1997

    Conveyancing solicitors should see the Hambro/Shoosmiths alliance both as a threat to the very existence of the high street solicitor network and as a great opportunity for the profession. Obviously other large organisations will follow Hambro and I have no doubt that within five years the public will become used to a "one-stop" moving service. It is simply a question of whether we lose conveyancing ...

  • Testing time ahead for UK links

    25-Mar-1997

    The relatively calm waters of the Channel Islands have been somewhat turbulent of late, the delicate nature of their relationship with the UK having been brought sharply into focus. It is a relationship - parasitic to some, symbiotic to others - from which Jersey and Guernsey have grown rich, particularly since the UK became a member of the European Union. Within the British Isles yet outside the UK, these self-governing finance centres have a foot in the EU door which enables ...

  • The ABC of SPVs

    25-Mar-1997

    There are many circumstances in which an SPV may provide a convenient legal structure for a financing arrangement. Favourable tax treatment may be achieved by SPVs being incorporated in and managed from some offshore jurisdictions. Limited liabilities companies are frequently incorporated in Jersey as SPVs for purposes such as raising money by issuing debt securities, structuring security arrangements ancillary to bank financing, making investments off-balance sheet, tax driven financing ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Philip Leach

    25-Mar-1997

    Philip Leach was born in Cheshire on 10 May 1966. He now lives in St Albans and is the legal officer at Liberty What was your first job?Pruning vines in a Kentish vineyard.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£15,000.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Become a National Park ranger.Which law could you live without?

  • The Lawyer tops legal reading list

    25-Mar-1997

    Nearly twice as many commercial solicitors read The Lawyer than any other specialist legal magazine, journal or newspaper, according to an independent survey.The survey of 1,500 solicitors practising in City, West End, regional and national law firms was carried out by the commercial barristers' chambers 11 Stone Buildings as part of a marketing exercise.Sixty-six per cent of the 400 lawyers who responded said they read The Lawyer, compared with the 38 per ...

  • Tony Girling/CPS. The bridge-mender general

    25-Mar-1997

    Law Society president Tony Girling is not sure if the 60,000-plus solicitors he works for are really interested in what he has been doing for the past eight months."A lot of the work I have been spending my time on is not the exciting stuff which your editor believes your readers are going to want to see," he says.But, sitting in his tiny but functional Chancery Lane office, Girling professes himself happy to have quietly tinkered with the Law Society's ...

  • Tony Girling/CPS. Why CPSD must stay independent

    25-Mar-1997

    The underlying principle when the CPS was established was, as I understand, that it should be an independent, professional service. This, I think, means that while relations between the police and the CPS should not be in any way adversarial, nor should the CPS be in the pocket of the police.I have some fear that the permanent presence of a prosecutor in the police station would blur the important distinction between their roles. It may be true that the proposed arrangement ...

  • Townspeople bristle over badger problem

    25-Mar-1997

    The battle of the badgers is heading for the High Court. Mr Justice Kay has given the green light for South Somerset District Council to mount a unique judicial review challenge to the Government's refusal to relocate a badger set in Yeovil which is said to be causing havoc for the creature's human neighbours.The badgers, around 15 of them, have set up home in a series of tunnels they have burrowed in the St Andrews Road area of Yeovil.However, ...

  • UK solicitors group links with Spanish equivalent

    25-Mar-1997

    The Nationwide Independent Solicitors Group (NIS), a network of 19 UK firms, has formed an association with Iurispan, a similar network of Spanish firms.The association will give NIS a point of contact in all the major Spanish locations.Graeme Kirk, senior partner of Bury St Edmunds-based firm Gross & Co and chairman of the NIS, said: "We are delighted to have formed our association with Iurispan. We will be able to offer advice to our clients in all aspects ...

  • Vocational hopefuls chosen

    25-Mar-1997

    Potential student barristers have been hearing whether they were lucky in their applications for the new bar vocational course at the College of Law.The college received about 1,800 applications for 120 places on the course, which starts in September.It is the first time an institution other than the Inns of Court School of Law has been allowed to train barristers.Five other institutions, BPP, Nottingham, Northumbria and the West of England and Cardiff, ...

  • Why litigation is booming

    25-Mar-1997

    Despite the development of the doctrine of constructive trust, and the endless controversy over its scope and meaning, litigation on express trusts in England is relatively rare. We still recite trust cases decided in the last century as key authorities, when the trust was a more common means of holding and administering family wealth. Any barrister or solicitor who claims to specialise in trust law is likely to spend most of his working life drafting trusts ...

  • Workers' pay time

    25-Mar-1997

    Many people often regard offshore trusts as the preserve of the super-rich who use such structures as part of their personal wealth management strategy. However, less well appreciated is that offshore trusts, with their inherent flexibility, are being increasingly used by a completely different type of client - expatriate employees of major corporations based in the UK. Growing competition for highly qualified staff, the globalisation of the workforce and a greater emphasis ...