25 January 1999

The Lawyer

  • 'Stop whingeing and get your house in order', says Woolf

    25-Jan-1999

    THE Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, has hit out at critics of his civil justice reforms and told the legal profession to "put its house in order" in an exclusive interview with The Lawyer.The Government is due to publish the rulebook this week, which will outline radically different procedural rules and practice directions due to be launched on 26 April.In the interview he dismisses critics who say the delays in producing the rulebook, implementing new case ...

  • Alstrom seeks award from BA

    25-Jan-1999

    A dispute over the contract for installation of a cargo handling system at Heathrow Airport is heading for the High Court. British Airways is being sued by Alstrom UK and Alstrom Automation for alleged breach of contract. Alstrom claim it was contracted to design, supervise and install the system at Heathrow, but that BA repudiated its contract. It seeks a declaration that BA has wrongfully repudiated its contract, a reasonable sum for work carried out, and damages ...

  • Bar calls for legal aid watchdog

    25-Jan-1999

    The Chairman of the Bar Council has called for an independent watchdog to oversee the "monolithic" new legal aid system and ensure that access to justice is maintained across the country.Dan Brennan QC tells The Lawyer: "My concern is that in this new legal aid system there doesn't appear to be any independent person with the role of ensuring the system is actually working the way the Government intends it to and in the consumer interest."The watchdog, he ...

  • Bar Council accused of shirking women's issues

    25-Jan-1999

    The Association of Women Barristers (AWB) is calling for a separate voice on the Bar Council.Chairwoman Jacqueline Perry says that 22 per cent of the independent bar are women, and when current intake is split evenly between men and women they ought to be properly represented.Perry stresses that this is not an issue of women being discriminated against, but of women's issues being ignored.She says that there are certain lifestyle issues that ...

  • Boys in blue tip the scales

    25-Jan-1999

    High profile or celebrity criminal court cases are increasingly subject to trial by media, as press, radio and TV reporters make public every lurid detail of each case.But while criticism is heaped, sometimes with just cause, on journalists for overstepping the mark in how they report cases, little attention is focused on where their information comes from.Defence lawyers who have fallen foul of this practice often blame the police for leaking the information ...

  • Britain goes litigation-mad

    25-Jan-1999

    BRITAIN is becoming so litigious, it is set to overtake the US as the compensation capital of the world, according to the Centre for Policy Studies.It says the increase is partly due to growing claims by police officers, nurses, teachers, and other public servants, which costs the public purse #1.8bn per year.The Sunday Times

  • Calm in face of real uncertainty

    25-Jan-1999

    David Fenwick, partner and head, LinklatersStirling Leech, partner, Clyde & CoAndrew Ballheimer, partner, Allen & OveryTHEY have an awful lot of coffee ...

  • Camerons settles £3m case

    25-Jan-1999

    A High Court action in which Cameron Markby (which has since merged to form Cameron Markby Hewitt and more recently Cameron McKenna), was accused of negligence in respect of a £3m land deal 10 years ago has settled on undisclosed terms.Copenhagen-based Den Danske Bank claims that Cameron Markby should have realised that a £3.75m valuation of the 9.7-acres of land sold for development in Paignton, Devon, was excessive, and that the firm should have warned the ...

  • Carr swerves to avoid the barrage of publicity

    25-Jan-1999

    Christopher Carr QC is the master of understatement.

  • CC fears further exits as Moscow lawyer leaves

    25-Jan-1999

    The departure of a senior Russian capital markets lawyer from Clifford Chance's Moscow office has sparked concerns that other staff may be about to leave.Clifford Chance is believed to have left other Moscow staff in the dark about the reasons for Tim Kibatullin's departure.John Holmes, partner at the firm's Moscow office, says: "One lawyer has left and another ...

  • CFAs threaten family mediation

    25-Jan-1999

    Mediators are warning that the introduction of conditional fees into matrimonial cases will drive couples away from mediation and into court, despite government protests to the contrary.David Hodson, vice-chairman of the UK College of Mediators and Solicitors Family Law Association and national committee member, says that the law change will discourage some cases from coming to mediation - in direct contravention of government policy and the spirit of the Family Law Act ...

  • City bullish despite poor profit figures

    25-Jan-1999

    City firms are preparing for an economic slowdown following gloomy economic figures released today.According to Ernst & Young, company profit warnings were up by 46 per cent in the final quarter of 1998.Tony Williams, managing partner at Clifford Chance, says: "There is some concern in the UK about the second half of 1999."But, the figures could mean extra business ...

  • Civil servant judges put employment law at risk

    25-Jan-1999

    When the Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act 1998 comes into force later this year, claims by employees will increasingly be hammered out under a more casual regime of dispute resolution.However, employment lawyers fear that, under the new legislation - designed to speed up and reduce the cost of employment disputes - crucial judicial decisions are going to be made by civil servants not lawyers.According to the Act, legal officers, who do not have to be ...

  • Dibbs suffers partner exodus

    25-Jan-1999

    Dibb Lupton Alsop is suffering a partner exodus with its head of insolvency in Manchester the latest to quit, as the firm struggles to make its merger gel.The departure of insolvency lawyer, Peter Manning, who resigned last week, comes amid claims that the firm has lost up to 20 partners in the last six months.Dibbs furiously refutes this, saying that only half that number have left.Sources within the firm are blaming the exodus on a "settling down" ...

  • Digest

    25-Jan-1999

    A case being heard by magistrates in Andover, Hampshire, could see action being taken against a world famous circus animal trainer. Mary Chipperfield is accused of thrashing a camel with a stick,hitting an elephant with a spade and beating a young chimpanzee until it screamed. The prosecution has put forward video evidence from the charity Animal Defenders. The case continues.The Independent

  • Eversheds Bristol merger plan collapses

    25-Jan-1999

    Merger talks between Eversheds and Bristol firm Veale Wasbrough have collapsed.The breakdown in the talks is a blow to Eversheds' ambitions to rival leading Bristol firms such as Osborne Clarke, Bevan Ashford and Burges ...

  • Eversheds to advise councils in-house

    25-Jan-1999

    Eversheds has signed partnership agreements with Lancashire and Nottinghamshire county councils and is in the process of making a similar arrangement with Buckinghamshire. It is also in talks with around a dozen other councils.The agreement will provide the councils' in-house legal team with specialist legal support, including training sessions, secondment and use of Eversheds' ...

  • Ex-Burnetts partner sets up corporate practice in Carlisle

    25-Jan-1999

    CUMBRIA has gained its first specialist corporate/ commercial practice.Baines Wilson, based in Carlisle, is specialising in corporate finance, information technology and intellectual property work.Founder John Wilson, a native Cumbrian, was a partner at Burnetts in Carl-isle before setting up Baines Wilson.He says there is a market for commercial legal services in Cumbria, but that "most of the better work has left the county because this market hasn't ...

  • Ex-Herbert Smith partners to join niche shipping practice Curtis Davis Garrard

    25-Jan-1999

    FORMER Herbert Smith shipping partners Charles Baker and Mike Allen are joining specialist shipping, offshore and energy firm Curtis Davis Garrard.Baker and Allen were asked to resign at the end of last year (The Lawyer 8 December), when Herbert Smith decided to close its shipping department.The City-based firm closed the department to concentrate on litigation, consolidating its corporate practice and increasing the size of its international arbitration service.

  • Fifth annual Lawyer awards

    25-Jan-1999

    THE FIFTH annual awards ceremony of The Lawyer is to be held on 25 June at Grosvenor House.This year's panel of judges includes leading figures from the legal profession such as Clifford Chance managing partner Tony Williams, Slaughter and May partner Patrick Balfour, Shell UK's legal ...

  • Fight press bigotry against lawyers

    25-Jan-1999

    Recently the media have been comparing lawyers to insectoid vermin. Robert Sayer says the profession should stand up and defend itself.SOLICITORS are "as sexy as a bucket of cockroaches" (Daily Telegraph 16 January). "Legal aid pays lawyers as they do the work, in effect giving lawyers interest free-loans" (Stephen Orchard, Radio 4, 15 January).For pure offensiveness there is little to equal being compared with a ...

  • Flotations & Financing

    25-Jan-1999

    Finance partner David Roberts of Garretts assisted by Matthew Dobson and John Allison acted for Bearing Power International on its recommended £6.3m offer from Mining and Allied Investments, advised by Gouldens.

  • Flotations & Financing

    25-Jan-1999

    Philip Lamb, assisted by Alok Gangola at Lewis Silkin advised Britannic Group in connection with its placing and open offer of approximately 25 million new ordinary shares to raise over £4m.

  • Foreign lawyers allowed to practise in NSW after test

    25-Jan-1999

    The New South Wales Legal Practitioner's Admission Board has approved changes which will allow foreign lawyers to practise in the state.All foreign applicants will still need to study Australian constitutional law and legal ethics, but their legal experience will exempt them from other exams.Under current rules, English solicitors seeking admission must sit up to 15 examinations, and solicitors qualifying via the Common Professional Examination route are ...

  • Funding Code will 'curb actions against police'

    25-Jan-1999

    Corrupt police officers will "get away with it" under the Legal Aid Board's (LAB) new Funding Code, according to Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) chair Richard Miller.The Funding Code caps the LAB's budget and says legal aid should only be available where damages worth three times the likely costs of the case are expected. However, Miller says civil actions against the police typically have high costs and low basic damages and will be "adver-sely affected" ...

  • Goodwill payment hunt

    25-Jan-1999

    The long-running farce SIF and the Law Society - a tale of two twits" continues its hugely unsuccessful run, just off London's West End.In the latest hilarious instalment the Law Society tells practitioner Michael Dalton to make a "goodwill payment" to SIF, or face losing his practising certificate.Much confusion and hilarity follows, when 70,000 other solicitors in England and Wales follow the precedent and make "goodwill" ...

  • Govt watchdog accused of 'persecuting' client

    25-Jan-1999

    A Birmingham lawyer has accused the Government's environment watchdog of persecuting UK businesses following the collapse of a criminal prosecution against an oil company.The actions of the Government's Environment Agency were branded "oppressive and manifestly unfair" and "an abuse of process" by a Crown Court judge.Judge Tonking called the decision to prosecute oil-recycling company Petrus Oils an "affront to public conscience". He ordered the quango ...

  • Housing lawyers slam Funding Code

    25-Jan-1999

    The Legal Aid Board's approach to housing repair claims is "fundamentally misconceived" and contrary to the Government's wishes, says the Housing Law Practitioners Association (HPLA).The Legal Aid Board's new Funding Code appears to accept the local authorities' claim that money spent on legal costs means less money will be spent on other areas of housing, as reported in The Lawyer last week.HLPA Chairman Wendy Backhouse says that the LAB's ...

  • How to drum up business

    25-Jan-1999

    Solicitor Jens Hills, of London firm Jens Hills & Co, is forging a career representing sacked drummers.Hills is representing ex-Oasis drummer Tony McCarroll in a High Court battle for #10m "lost earnings" from Oasis. He previously acted for sacked Beatles drummer Pete Best.News of the World

  • How to mix work and pleasure

    25-Jan-1999

    The Dawn Fraser rounded Darling Point, as wind-surfers and early morning sailors made way for Sydney's favourite form of public transport - the River Cat.Circular Quay came into view, and with it my new office on the 28th floor of the AMP Centre. I had traded a view of St Paul's Cathedral for one of the Opera House, the Botanical Gardens and the harbour stretching out to sea beneath a bright blue sky. Temperatures edging toward the high teens signalled mid-winter. ...

  • HSBC Holdings

    25-Jan-1999

    HSBC Group has a worldwide range of businesses around the world, from UK retail banking, to investment and private banking, treasury and capital markets, fund management, insurance and securities custody. The dozen or more key businesses include Midland Bank, Hong Kong Bank, HSBC Investment Bank, HSBC Bamerindus (Brazil), Marine Midland (US), and the British Bank of the Middle East.

  • Ian Coles

    25-Jan-1999

    Ian Coles is a lawyer from over here who is doing rather well over there - over here. He has recently become managing partner of Mayer Brown & Platt, making him only the second English lawyer to head a US firm's London office. Sean Farrell reports.

  • Immigration firms get block contracts to redress shortfall

    25-Jan-1999

    The Government is planning short-term legal aid block contracts to immigration firms to make up a shortfall in the sector.Under proposals in the Access to Justice Bill, only firms which currently have a legal aid franchise will be awarded a block contract.But more than 80 per cent of immigration work is carried out by firms without a franchise, according to Legal Aid Board statistics.This week, government minister Lord Falconer told the House of Lords ...

  • In brief: Alistair Liddle

    25-Jan-1999

    Alistair Liddle, runaway solicitor from Moray, is under investigation by the DSS who suspect him of claiming benefit while working on a Cornish chicken farm under the pseudonym "Robert Fox". Police discovered Liddle a year after his disappearance. He vanished the day he was due to meet with Law Society officials investigating alleged financial irregularities in his solo practice.

  • In brief: Bedfordshire Magistrates Court Committee

    25-Jan-1999

    Bedfordshire Magistrates Court Committee's proposal to close four local courts is to be reconsidered following an appeal by a member of Bedfordshire County Council. The decision taken on 15 December to consolidate Ampthill and Biggleswade magistrates courts with Bedford, and join Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard local courts with Luton, is now referred to the Lord Chancellors Department.

  • In brief: Cripps Harries Hall

    25-Jan-1999

    Cripps Harries Hall is the first of the top 100 law firms to achieve the professional quality assurance standard Lexcel, indicating compliance with the Law Society's Practice Management Standards. Jonathan Denny, managing partner, says: "By gaining the accreditation as a firm we have achieved confirmation of reaching a high standard of quality."

  • In brief: Dibb Lupton Alsop

    25-Jan-1999

    Dibb Lupton Alsop acted for boxing promoter Frank Warren in negotiating a #7.2m settlement in his dispute with US boxing promoter Don King. Warren's four-year partnership with King has been dissolved, and the agreement settles all claims and allegations against Warren. Dibbs' litigation team was led by Daren Allen.

  • In brief: Louise Woodward

    25-Jan-1999

    Louise Woodward, the British au pair whose murder trial was televised live to a viewing audience of millions in the United States, will go public to oppose the lifting of a ban on television cameras in British courts. Woodward, 20, who was convicted of the manslaughter of 18-month-old Matthew Eapen, will address a gathering of lawyers and journalists at a Cameras in the Courtroom debate at the Southampton Institute next month.

  • In brief: Mayer Brown & Platt

    25-Jan-1999

    Mayer Brown & Platt advised financiers of the buy-out and corporate reorganisation of Peregrine's Philippines securities business. Peregrine, the Asian-based securities house, was declared insolvent last year as a result of the Asian crisis. Mayers could not disclose the size of the deal at time of going to press.

  • In brief: The National Lottery

    25-Jan-1999

    The National Lottery has granted #250,000 to National Family Mediation (NFM) which will be spent on improving support services to mediators working at the divorce-face. An NFM spokesman says the two-year grant will be focused on offering mediation sessions in areas where services are currently limited, providing more training for staff and employing more regional co-ordinators, as NFM gears up for the new Family Law Act measures which come into force in 2000.

  • In brief: Wilde Sapte

    25-Jan-1999

    Wilde Sapte has closed a major PFI and DBFO deal in two months. The firm has been advising the Welsh Office on the design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) of the 19.25 mile A55 extension across Anglesey, due to be open to traffic in 2001. The £170m deal has taken just over two months to complete - from the choice of a preferred bidder to financial closure - or at a rate of about three miles per day. Cameron McKenna advised UK Highways A55 Limited, the consortium building and ...

  • Irvine and Archer in Titanic Lords clash

    25-Jan-1999

    Lord Archer of Sandwell said Lord Irvine's determination to introduce conditional fees into personal injury (PI) cases was comparable to the stubborn insistence by the Titanic's builders that the ship was unsinkable, when the two clashed over the Access to Justice Bill in the House of Lords last week.Conflict of opinion over Lord Irvine's controversial proposals to reform personal injury cases came to the fore on the first day of committee hearings in the ...

  • Irvine makes historic U-turn

    25-Jan-1999

    THE LORD Chancellor has made a historic climbdown over criticisms about his new powers in the Access to Justice Bill.Lord Irvine's surprise concessions came on the first day of the Bill's committee hearings in the Lords. He accepted most of the recommendations of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation which recently attacked his "almost untrammelled powers" under the Bill (reported in The Lawyer 18 January).Over 300 amendments to ...

  • Irvine's days numbered say bookies

    25-Jan-1999

    Lawyers praying for the downfall of their nemesis, the Lord Chancellor, can now put money on him losing his job.City Index has come up with a points system evaluating the political survival of Labour Cabinet members.In a complicated betting system, the message is clear - Lord Irvine is not considered a hot survival prospect.Each Cabinet position has a different points tally. Irvine rates 35 points. If he falls out of favour politically, his points ...

  • Judge throws out ghost tale

    25-Jan-1999

    JUDGE Peter Stretton QC has assumed an altogether new role as an exorcist.In a case involving "misrepresentational fraud" in the sale of a Staffordshire cottage haunted by a murdered milkmaid, the plaintiffs (below) told of walls seeping with water, creaking floorboards, visions of a bound and gagged naked woman and a 19th century figure in flowing dress gliding across the room.Judge Stretton, however, took a mere 10 minutes to dismiss the claims as "impossible", ...

  • Justifying #1m to stakeholders

    25-Jan-1999

    I REFER to your report on a US law firm seeking a partner for its London office and apparently willing to offer drawings at the #1m level (The Lawyer, 11 January).Given the office overheads that go into generating fees to provide for an income at that level, the successful applicant will have to maintain average charge-out rates and number of chargeable hours at hitherto unattainable heights. Alternatively, a veritable army of assistants will be required to ...

  • Ladbroke sues for #9.5m loan

    25-Jan-1999

    Ladbroke Group Properties, which is part of Ladbroke Group, is suing three Jersey companies for repayment of loans of more than #9.5m. It claims that it agreed to lend three companies - Brompton Holdings, Monteagle Holdings (Jersey) and Remlap Holdings - up to #10m, so that they in turn could lend the money to two other companies, for property purchases, including part of London's Savoy Hotel. However, Ladbroke Group claim the agreement has been ...

  • Law Lords to hear Fulham FC v residents

    25-Jan-1999

    Local residents are taking their objections to Fulham FC's development plans to the House of Lords, reports Roger Pearson.A major legal battle aimed at blocking development plans for Fulham FC's famous Craven Cottage Ground is now to be fought in the House of Lords.The Law Lords have given leave for protestors against a #7m development plan for the site to argue that planning consent for the project should never have been granted.

  • Law Soc inaction on SIF is 'damaging profession'

    25-Jan-1999

    The Law Society is yet again delaying a final decision over the future of professional indemnity, leaving the fate of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund hanging in the balance.Council members voted at a meeting last week to delay - until the first week of March - a decision on proposals to dismantle SIF and implement a master policy alongside an approved open-market scheme.The move follows criticism by council members that the late entry of the master policy proposal, ...

  • Law Soc threatens Dalton's licence

    25-Jan-1999

    The Law Society is threatening to revoke Michael Dalton's licence if he does not make a "goodwill payment" to the society.Dalton, the Portsmouth solicitor who is seeking a judicial review of his SIF bill, says the Law Society is demanding that he and four of his staff pay their contribution, or risk being barred from practising.He accuses the society of back-tracking on an agreement not to revoke his practising certificate because he refuses to pay his Solicitors' ...

  • Law Society sounds death knell for mutual fund

    25-Jan-1999

    Until recently, the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) must have considered itself to be in a strong position to continue providing indemnity cover to the legal profession.Despite the barrage of criticism over blunders that led to its £454m shortfall, the Law Society expressed no intention of getting rid of the mutual fund.When pressed to reform the system, the Law Society came up with two limited options: either keep SIF, or opt for SIF alongside an open ...

  • Lawyer free to practise after prison

    25-Jan-1999

    A solicitor serving three years for firearms offences is free to practise after his release following the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal's failure to strike him off.James McIntyre, of Linlithgow, who was jailed after being found with two .22 pistols and ammunition, is to be censured based on the findings of Scottish law officials.McIntyre was in court on 20 January after appearing at the tribunal a week before in connection with legal aid claims, ...

  • Lawyers discover LEA withheld report on failing school

    25-Jan-1999

    Lawyers discovered a local education authority had withheld a damning report about a failing school by tracking it down on the internet.A special needs tribunal decided a 14-year-old boy, suffering from Tourette's Syndrome, should go to a school chosen by his local education authority (LEA) in North Somerset.The boy's parents had wanted him to go to a private school, costing £50,000 a year, instead. They had visited the LEA's preferred choice ...

  • Leading family partner joins Withers

    25-Jan-1999

    Leading family law practitioner Mark Harper is set to leave Anthony Gold Lerman & Muirhead, where he is currently head of the family department.Harper, pictured right, has been a partner at Anthony Gold for the past 12 years and has built up a substantial client base.He is leaving to join City-based firm Withers.It is not clear whether a restrictive covenant was contained in the partnership agreement, but he says: "Ultimately it's up to the clients ...

  • Legal Widow

    25-Jan-1999

    Sandwiches aren't food," Subjudice announced at the breakfast table this morning, which is a bit of a blow for her, because she'll be lunching off a bag of crisps and an apple until Easter, and I will get black looks at the school gate for bringing an anorexic child with a bad complexion into the world.

  • Leigh Day asbestos case comes to UK

    25-Jan-1999

    Leigh Day & Co has lodged High Court compensation claims on behalf of more than 1,500 South Africans who were exposed to asbestos while working for a UK-based company.The action follows a landmark Lords ruling refusing the company, Cape, leave to appeal against an earlier ruling allowing the case to be brought in the UK.Leigh Day has set up a base in South Africa because of the number of asbestos cases it is handling.Partner Richard Meeran, who is ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 25/01/99

    25-Jan-1999

    Cases from LAWTEL's PI Quantum Database. Contact Nick Conway on 0171 970 4803.Mabb v Ministry of Defence (1999) QBD (Nicholas Chambers QC) 18 January 1999Plaintiff: Male, single, 21 years old at date of accident; 29 years old at date of trial.Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: The plaintiff was travelling as a front seat passenger in a vehicle owned by the MoD. He had been accompanying two soldiers to a ...

  • Litigation Writs 25/01/9

    25-Jan-1999

    A rent collector who believed he would inherit his home when the owners died, is now suing administrators of the estate for the property. Peter Garvey is seeking a High Court declaration that the administrators of the estate of the late Marjorie West, hold the house on trust for him. He is also seeking an order to make them transfer the freehold of the property into his name. The writ says that Garvey worked part time for property owners Ralph and Marjorie West as a rent collector,

  • Magistrate quits in fear

    25-Jan-1999

    A MAGISTRATE has resigned because he fears physical attack from defendants or their hangers-on.Alan King, chairman of the West Norfolk bench, says open intimidation of prosecution solicitors and witnesses, and contempt for the authority of Justices of the Peace, is rife in courtrooms.King says the police at Norfolk's magistrates' courts have been replaced by security firm Group 4 guards who only have powers to restrain prisoners in the dock, as a result ...

  • Marketing for customer care

    25-Jan-1999

    IT IS astonishing that you believe the marketing professionals in UK law firms simply rely upon "the power of the brand" (The Lawyer, 11 January), as if they were selling washing powder, or that they have never considered the value of the existing clients.Enlightened marketing activity is about long-term relationship building, customer care, market segmentation, service delivery and adding value to the client-firm relationship. Apart ...

  • Miners record compensation win showcases Woolf reforms

    25-Jan-1999

    Irwin Mitchell's record victory for miners suffering from Vibration White Finger is believed to be the first post-litigation compensation scheme to be approved by a UK court.In an example of case management which is likely to become the norm under the Woolf reforms - the judge led negotiations after the final appeal - a detailed compensation scheme had been agreed between the Department of Trade and Industry and the miners' lawyers.At £500m, the ...

  • Nabarros partner defects

    25-Jan-1999

    Nabarro Nathanson has been hit by the departure of its top energy partner, Mark Saunders, to US firm Dewey Ballantine.Saunders, who headed Nabarros' energy group, is joining the New York-based international law firm in the next few months.He says: "Deweys is expanding in England and has a policy to recruit and grow its overseas offices."He says that the parting ...

  • Partners on the move

    25-Jan-1999

    Cheryl Ronaldson is leaving Clifford Chance to join the insurance group at Norton Rose. Ronaldson specialises in corporate and regulatory insurance and has experience working for Lloyd's on a variety of matters. She is the second partner to join the group this month, with Susan Dingwall leaving her post as ...

  • Pest litigation breeds like rabbits

    25-Jan-1999

    The refusal of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) to acknowledge the existence of a Rabbit Clearance Order goes some way to explaining why landowners - who estimate that rabbits cause about #100m worth of damage to their land every year - have reached the end of their tether.The Rabbit Clearance Order No 148, which was issued in June 1972 under the provisions of the Pests Act 1954, stipulates that occupiers of land in a rabbit clearance ...

  • Philip Paget on the effect of share transfers on employees

    25-Jan-1999

    Philip Paget is an employment partner at Keeble Hawson Moorhouse.A recent case in the Employment Appeal Tribunal has challenged a long-standing anomaly in employment protection legislation.Employees are protected by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (Tupe) regulations when their employer company changes identity, but not when control of the company transfers by a transfer of shares. Regulations refer specifically to ...

  • Pilot schemes show the way

    25-Jan-1999

    Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 578 7249, e-mail lawyer.edit@chiron.co.uk, DX44700 Soho Square.FAR FROM "fast-track justice hitting a brick wall" (The Lawyer, 24 November 1998), pilot schemes to speed up criminal justice have so far been very encouraging.These pilots have only been running since the beginning of October, but the reports that the steering ...

  • Pioneer case for barrister

    25-Jan-1999

    In a case which is believed to be the first of its kind, motorist Carl Josephs is suing West Midlands Police for racial harassment, claiming he was stopped 34 times in two years because he is black.Josephs' barrister, Peter Herbert of Michael Mansfield QC's chambers at 14 Tooks Court, told Birmingham High Court it was the first time anybody had ever sued the police for harassment.Josephs, who drives a red Metro car with two Jamaican flags and "One Love" ...

  • Police tip-offs to press slammed by lawyers

    25-Jan-1999

    Defence lawyers have called for legislation to govern the way the police deal with the media to stop leaks prejudicing high profile cases before they go to court.A recent series of police tip-offs to journalists about celebrities involved in high profile cases have infuriated defence lawyers who say their clients are being unfairly and unjustly treated."Police have enormous powers to investigate people, but there is no legislative code which governs the way they ...

  • Pregnant juror thrown out

    25-Jan-1999

    A PREGNANT juror who used her mobile phone to arrange child-minding with her mother while the jury was considering verdicts, was discharged by Judge Graham Neville at Exeter Crown Court.Judge Neville said: "The jury has to be sacrosanct."Daily Mail

  • Prisoners' lobby group pushes to increase funding for City-based mediation centres

    25-Jan-1999

    The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) is calling for increases in government funding to set up mediation centres throughout England and Wales.In a report published by NACRO entitled Reducing Conflict, Building Communities, the association states that in order to resolve cases, including neighbourhood conflicts, family breakdown and resolution between victims and offenders, mediation centres should be established in all major cities.

  • Property

    25-Jan-1999

    Commercial property partner Lawrence Radley at Warner Cranston, advised French electronics and telecommunications firm Sagem SA in purchasing self contained office premises from the Halifax.

  • Reforming zeal in Australia

    25-Jan-1999

    They may be at opposite ends of the world but, when it comes to law reform, Australia and England have strikingly similar agendas.Incorporation, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), deregulation of professional indemnity insurance and the increased politicisation of judges, are all hot topics for lawyers in both countries. The similarities extend to the smallest detail - last December the New South Wales Law Society published a report entitled Access to Justice.

  • Sole practitioners group split on MDPs

    25-Jan-1999

    THE EXECUTIVE body of the Sole Practitioners' Group (SPG) is split over multidisciplinary partnerships (MDPs) with 50 per cent in favour and 40 per cent against the Law Society's plan to sweep aside its ban later this year.SPG chairman Montagu Martin is in favour of MDPs, saying it would be a "retrograde step" if the rules were not changed. His vice-chairman, Paul Boucher, who lost a financial director because of the ban, is also in favour.According ...

  • Square Mile

    25-Jan-1999

    Although on the surface all solicitors wishing to be seen as forward-thinking are thoroughly supportive of the principles of civil justice reform, there is a suspicion that, in some parts of the City, there is a caveat.Larger firms may think the reforms do not really affect them or their clients, because the real changes are for lower value, fast-track cases. Moreover, many of the new principles have already applied de facto in specialist jurisdictions ...

  • Students seek solicitors

    25-Jan-1999

    The National Union of Students says students, as fee-paying customers, can now hire solicitors to pursue complaints against academics.The Independent

  • Task force to draw up kite mark criteria for all legal services

    25-Jan-1999

    A task force made up of advice and funding groups such as the Legal Aid Board and Law Centres Federation is about to begin work on drawing up a kite mark standard for all legal services agenciesThe Lord Chancellor's Department's plan - which is outlined in the Government's White Paper, Modernising Justice - is to draw up quality criteria for advice and help bodies which will be universally accepted by funders of legal advice such as the Legal Services Commission, ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Maryly Lafollette

    25-Jan-1999

    Maryly La Follette was born in Berkeley, California in 1942. She is a partner at Charles Russell.What was your first job?High school teacher in California.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?About #7,000 pa.What would you have done if you hadn’t been a lawyer?I would like to have ...

  • Top UK mediators forge alliance to woo clients

    25-Jan-1999

    Seven of the UK's leading mediators have launched a mediation panel to generate work, rather than relying on recommendations from the Centre for Dispute Resolution (CEDR) or the Alternative Dispute Resolution Group (ADR).The Panel of Independent Mediators (PIM) members - Phillip Howell-Richardson, David Miles, Philip Naughton QC, Andrew Paton, Nicholas Pryor, David Shapiro, and Tony Willis - will stay independent, but by linking they hope to be more "visible" and attract ...

  • TSG to secure seat on Law Soc council

    25-Jan-1999

    The image of The Law Society as old and stuffy will be put to the test this week as the Trainee Solicitors' Group (TSG) campaigns for a designated seat on the council.The application for a seat goes before the CouncilMembership Committee on Wednesday and the TSG is confident of success.However, committee chairwoman Margaret Anstey has warned that the trainees will have to convince the society to either change its constitution, or remove another ...

  • Will Woolf's address halt legal Armageddon

    25-Jan-1999

    Lord Woolf's radical vision of the legal profession in the new millennium is still beset with problems, just nine weeks before his controversial reforms are to be launched.Practice directions are only being published this week, judges will not be fully trained in the procedures until October and the computers underpinning the reforms will not be ready by the 26 April launch date.This has brought much wailing and gnashing of teeth from lawyers who, ...

  • Willoughbys in court on race discrimination claim

    25-Jan-1999

    A former fee-earning employee has taken leading intellectual property practice, Willoughby & Partners, to a tribunal over allegations of racism.The race discrimination claim has been brought by an Afro-Caribbean trainee who claims he was forced out of the firm because of his colour."This sort of behaviour needs to be brought to account. There has to be a reason why Afro-Caribbean men in particular are under-represented in corporate and commercial law," he says.

  • Woolf bites back

    25-Jan-1999

    Amid growing fears that the most radical shake-up in the legal system is heading for disaster, the reforms architect, Lord Woolf, dismisses the legal profession's pessimism in this exclusive interview with Elizabeth Davidson, and tells lawyers to 'put their house in order'.

  • Youth courts pilot future in jeopardy

    25-Jan-1999

    The future of the youth courts pilot hangs in the balance as criminal solicitors' demand extra cash from the Legal Aid Board (LAB).The LAB is inviting all law firms currently taking part in the criminal law block contracting pilot to participate in its proposed youth courts pilot, and is offering a financial incentive to do so.But, leading criminal solicitor Tony Edwards, partner at TV Edwards & Co, claims the pilot is so late in starting that the incentive ...