25 May 1998

The Lawyer

  • Accountancy firms face prosecution in Portugal

    26-May-1998

    Portugal's attorney general, Cunha Rodrigues, is deciding whether to prosecute Ernst & Young, Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand over allegations that they advised on Portuguese law.Dr Soares Machado, president of the Lisbon Bar Association, said that the Bar had lodged a complaint against all three with Rodrigues.Two years ago, he said, Ernst & Young filed an action in the Lisbon court against two clients that had not paid the fees owed for legal advice ...

  • Adjudicating the competition

    26-May-1998

    The Irish Competition Authority is in its formative years, but is now starting to flex its enforcement muscles, writes Vincent Power. Vincent Power is a partner and head of competition law at A&L Goodbody.Last year was interesting in terms of competition regulation. The European Union (EU) competition system continued to carefully control competitive conduct but, more significantly, the Irish system began to mature.The European Commission (EC) has controlled ...

  • Ashursts banking star quits in mystery move

    26-May-1998

    Stephen Mostyn-Williams, the high-profile head of banking at Ashurst Morris Crisp, mysteriously resigned from the firm last week and went home immediately without working any notice.Ashursts issued a terse agreed statement saying that he had "resigned to pursue other interests".In the statement, Mostyn-Williams hinted that he may be either going in-house, setting up his own niche ...

  • Bevan Ashford keeps PFI team

    26-May-1998

    Bevan Ashford claims its battle for the hearts and minds of nine PFI associates and assistants who were approached by Masons has been won.As revealed by The Lawyer on 21 April, the firm's two PFI partners, leader Iain Fairburn and Cathryn Vickers, resigned to join Masons in Bristol. Masons also approached four associates and five assistants - virtually the rest of the team.Bevan Ashford said last week: "We can confirm that the battle has been won - with ...

  • Business Bar melting pot

    26-May-1998

    Philip Hoser looks at the identities of the chancery and commercial sets, and suggests that there can be only one business Bar. Philip Hoser is a barrister at Serle Court Chambers.The 1980s and 1990s have seen a gradual transformation of much of the chancery Bar - and a stealthy encroachment by it on areas of practice previously the sole domain of mainstream commercial chambers.Recently, the commercial sets have been fighting back. But it may be too ...

  • Capitalise on the markets

    26-May-1998

    A listing on European stock market Easdaq could be a fast track to growth for Irish companies, writes Gerard Halpenny. Gerard Halpenny is a partner at William Fry.In the past three years a number of Irish companies, particularly those in the field of technology, have gone public by way of initial public offerings (IPOs) on the Nasdaq market in New York.Nasdaq offers Irish companies ...

  • CFA Insurer loses underwriter

    26-May-1998

    Litigation Protection, one of the few companies which sell insurance for conditional fee arrangements, is losing its contract with its sole underwriter, Isle of Man Assurance.The move follows the departure of two of the three staff at the company, run and majority-owned by Brian Raincock.Three out of the five staff at sister conveyancing indemnity company Legal & Contingency have also left in the past month and Raincock last week sold that company to a management ...

  • Charterer maintains course over contract

    26-May-1998

    The Appeal Court is set to decide whether a charterer was entitled to invoke its cancellation clause, reports Roger Pearson.Judgment is now pending in a case of considerable significance in the shipping world. It centres on the rights of charterers to cancel charterparties.A finding by Mr Justice Mance in the High Court on 18 April last year, that an arbitrator was wrong in ruling that a charterer had lawfully cancelled a charterparty and was not in ...

  • Child abuse aid cuts

    26-May-1998

    I refer to your article "Child abuse lawyers form group to campaign against legal aid cuts" (The Lawyer, 12 May).NAPAC - the newly formed National Association for People Abused in Childhood - fully supports the formation of this group and hopes that it can co-operate with ACAL in the near future. It would also support relaxing the statute of limitation for child abuse cases beyond three years.Peter Saunders,Chair, ...

  • Coats' chief in property wrangle

    26-May-1998

    Sir David Alliance, chairman of Coats Viyella, is heading for the High Court with a claim in respect of a property transaction. He is suing Regent Holdings, of Nauru in the Central Pacific, over a property in Acacia Road, London NW8. When the case comes on Alliance will seek an inquiry into the open market value of the property. He will also seeks specific performance of a contract for the sale and purchase of the property between him and Regent Holdings, ...

  • Combar takes the initiative

    26-May-1998

    Combar is introducing marketing and education initiatives in order to dispel the ivory tower image, writes Linda Tsang. Linda Tsang is a freelance journalist.The Commercial Bar Association now has over 900 members from 47 sets. Combar chairman Ian Glick QC of One Essex Court comments: "As we move into the next century, this area is one that a lot of lawyers generally want to get into."There is likely to be more commercial legal work and those at the commercial ...

  • Commercial cream of the crop

    26-May-1998

    When selecting a dream team, some players are always first to be picked. But what of their support? Mike Yuille reports. Mike Yuille is a freelance journalist.In a solicitor's fantasy counsel team, some names are bound to be first choice. Of these, the most frequently mentioned is Jonathan Sumption QC of Brick Court Chambers. For "sheer brilliance of mind, commercial nous, and steely nerves in court", Sumption takes first prize - even if clients do choke over his fees.

  • CPS union calls for Crown Court boycott

    26-May-1998

    The CPS lawyers' union has urged prosecutors with newly acquired rights of audience to boycott the Crown Courts, because of a pay dispute with the management.The CPS section of the Association of First Division Civil Servants (FDA) issued the advice last week, when it accused the management of unilaterally breaking off pay talks.A staff circular issued by Kevin Goodwin, the convener of the FDA's CPS section, said a boycott would "bring the department ...

  • Customs drops charges in butter fraud case

    26-May-1998

    Customs & Excise has dropped all criminal charges in the largest ever European fraud case, apparently blaming the investigator formerly in charge of the case.But the lawyer defending the charges, Neil Gerrard, of Dibb Lupton Alsop, said: "I believe there are other reasons which they just haven't told us yet."Gerrard and his counsel Antony Shaw QC were due to apply for his costs at a hearing at the Old Bailey last Friday. Customs insists that it did have ...

  • Data service puts property on the map

    26-May-1998

    An ambitious computer-based project in Bristol should make life easier for all conveyancing solicitors, reports Bob Smith. Bob Smith is head of the NLIS Group at HM Land Registry.Land and property account for more than 20 per cent of the UK’s gross domestic product. Improving the management of these resources through the creation of a National Land Information Service (NLIS) will produce significant benefits for the nation and for individuals.King William I recognised ...

  • EC provides cash for international criminal court

    26-May-1998

    The European Commission is donating ECU390,000 - around £266,000 - towards the establishment of an international criminal court at a Rome conference in July.The money will go the charity No Peace Without Justice which has been fighting for the adoption of the court.Commissioner Hans van den Broek said: "Societies shattered by the nightmare of war can not resume normality unless the guilty are brought to justice. We have seen this in Yugoslavia, in Rwanda ...

  • Edwards goes on attack over Bar's "arrogance'

    26-May-1998

    Leading criminal law solicitor Tony Edwards has attacked barristers for their "arrogance" and "verbosity".The attack came during a call for the introduction of new standards for advocacy at the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates' (SAHCA) first annual conference.Edwards, senior partner of London firm TV Edwards & Co, told the conference in Coventry earlier this month that, while block contracting pilots imposed quality standards on many ...

  • Entering a joint venture into the unknown

    26-May-1998

    Shaun Pye looks at the Biddle report on conditional fee arrangements and the BarIt is the end of the Bar as we know it. So says the report prepared by City firm Biddle on the effect of government plans to extend conditional fee arrangements (CFAs).The hefty 150-page and 13-appendix report was prepared by David Lancaster, head of litigation at Biddle, and Susan Biddle over the past two months. Lancaster, who claims intimate knowledge of the Bar's ...

  • Euro division

    26-May-1998

    Investors must understand the implications of the euro before they can reap the benefit, say John Cronin and Fergus Gillen. John Cronin and Fergus Gillen are solicitors at McCann FitzGerald.On 1 January 1999, Ireland will be one of the 11 member states that will substitute its existing currency for the euro, thus participating in stage three of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).Two council regulations establish the European legal framework for the ...

  • Euro filibuster

    26-May-1998

    Luxembourg has delayed the implementation of the European Rights of Establishment Directive, adopted by the Council of Ministers in December and due to come into force in the year 2000, by filing an action to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in an attempt to annul the directive. Patrick Oliver, spokesperson at the joint office of the Law Societies of England, Wales and Scotland in Brussels, said the motion for annulment was made on the grounds that the directive should have been ...

  • Flotation

    26-May-1998

    Cobbetts and Clifford Chance acted for clothing retailer Matalan on its £200m flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Ashurst Morris Crisp advised underwriter SBC Warburg Dillon Read.

  • Flotation

    26-May-1998

    Edited by Robert Lindsay. Details of deals should be sent to Philip Hoult. Please include all other law firms acting on deals and the value

  • Gas pipe claim for British Steel

    26-May-1998

    British Steel is to be sued in the High Court for more than £200m. The claim by BHP Petroleum, BHP Petroleum Great Britain, Lasmo (UK), Monument Resources, Monument Exploration & Production, Monument (Liverpool Bay) Petroleum and Powergen North Sea is in respect of a North Sea gas pipe which is said to have cracked within weeks of installation.

  • Getting the profession behind the pro bono cause

    26-May-1998

    The UK's first conference devoted to pro bono work will be held next month. Only stigma and hang ups have delayed it this far, writes John MalpasENGLAND'S most senior full-time judge is not regarded as someone who indulges in hyperbole.So when he describes an event as "one of the most encouraging developments in our legal life for many years", you would expect the profession to sit up and take note.It will have its chance to do exactly that ...

  • Good Friday for the profession

    26-May-1998

    Conor Quigley explains the Good Friday Agreement and its implications for the profession throughout Ireland and beyond. Conor Quigley is a barrister at Brick Court Chambers.Lawyers will find much of interest in the Good Friday Agreement concerning a constitutional settlement for Northern Ireland. Legal ripples from the agreement will spread throughout Ireland, of course, but no doubt they will also have some impact on lawyers in Britain, in particular those with Irish dealings.

  • Halting the ambulance chaser

    26-May-1998

    Ken Murphy examines the motives behind the Irish government's ban on solicitors advertising for personal injury clients. Ken Murphy is director general of the Law Society of Ireland. Ken Murphy is director general of the Law Society of Ireland.The Irish government will very shortly introduce legislation to ban all advertising by solicitors which refers to possible claims for damages for personal injuries.In addition, any advertising by solicitors in an "inappropriate ...

  • Health care rights

    26-May-1998

    The Council of Europe, the umbrella organisation containing the European Court of Human Rights, publishes The human rights, ethical and moral dimensions of health care, in June. It aims to be a guide to the rights of patients, patients' families, doctors, nurses and carers, through precedents set in 120 case studies.

  • Highly-rated in the regions

    26-May-1998

    Commercial Bar work may be scarce in the regions but some circuits still make a name for themselves, says Mike YuilleIf the regional commercial Bar has one drawback, it is that it is not in London.Circuits around the UK have thriving criminal and family practices based on an ever-present (or even ever-increasing) local client base - which often prefers to be arrested or divorced closer to home.Commercial clients, however, often prefer the London courts ...

  • Hot property

    26-May-1998

    Irish law firms are a hotbed of activity with most sectors showing growth from M&A work to property development"The whole area of corporate and commercial law is quite electric at the moment. Apart from the high-profile deals, there is a constant flow of other work - joint ventures, inward investment and huge developments in areas such as computers and telecoms and financial services," says Anthony Collins of Eugene F Collins.Mergers and acquisition work continues ...

  • If successful, Nelsons' campaign will run across Yorkshire

    26-May-1998

    NINE-partner Leeds firm Nelson & Co has launched a hard-hitting advertising campaign, direct mailing over 50,000 homes in Leeds in a bid to attract personal injury work.It hopes for a response rate of between 2 and 7 per cent, and if the scheme proves to be a success then millions of homes across Yorkshire will be targeted.The firm has also advertised on buses and in doctors' surgeries - and negotiations are under way with hospitals.Previous ...

  • In brief: British Aerospace adviser flies to Oasis

    26-May-1998

    The senior legal adviser to British Aerospace Asset Management Paul Briggs has moved to Abu Dhabi-based Oasis International Leasing Company as general counsel. He has been replaced as senior legal adviser by Philip Perrotta who joined British Aerospace in 1996 from Clifford Chance's Frankfurt office. The asset management arm manages British Aerospace's 95 jetliners and 350 turboprop airliners.

  • In brief: CJD victims' families win right to sue for £1m

    26-May-1998

    The families of eight people who contracted CJD from a contaminated human growth hormone have won the right to sue the Government for compensation of more than £1m. One of the mothers, Maureen Newman, said she would not have been able to fight the case without legal aid.

  • In brief: Entwistle to head UK Chambers of Commerce

    26-May-1998

    John Entwistle, consultant at northwest firm Davies Wallis Foyster, was elected president of the British Chambers of Commerce in London last week. Entwistle was chairman of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce between 1992 and 1994, and is chairman of several private property companies.

  • In brief: Finers recruits and promotes partners

    26-May-1998

    David Battiscombe has joined Finers from Speechly Bircham, where he was a senior property partner. Finers has also promoted property assistant Julian Hindmarsh to partner.

  • In brief: Hardwick & Company and Stallards merge

    26-May-1998

    City corporate finance niche firms Hardwick & Company and Stallards are merging to form 11-partner Hardwick Stallards. Stallards, which has a representative shipping office in Barbados, is moving from its premises in Chiswell Street to Hardwick's new offices in Jewry Street, EC3. Managing partner of the merged firm Simon Hardwick said the firm's specialism in advising entrepreneur-managed businesses would now better "reflect the growth of some of our larger clients".

  • In brief: Herbert Smith advises accountancy giants

    26-May-1998

    Herbert Smith advised both Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand in connection with their application for merger clearance from the EC commission, which was finally granted last week. Pictured from left to right, Herbert Smith's team included Francesco Lammana, James Wynn-Evans, Patricia Carville, Elizabeth McKnight (partner) and Stephen Wisking. Richard Fleck (partner) and Alan Gogbashian also acted.

  • In brief: JHC Forum system

    26-May-1998

    JHC has asked us to point out that the IT system being used by Ashurst Morris Crisp is a predecessor to its Forum system, recent versions of which are millennium compliant.

  • In brief: Law Soc assured over crime and disorder

    26-May-1998

    The Law Society has welcomed assurances from Home Office minister Alun Michael that its concerns about the Crime & Disorder Bill will be addressed. In particular, the society is pleased that the Government is considering introducing a new two-stage process for granting legal aid for defendants facing indictable only charges, which will mean that they receive legal aid quickly.

  • In brief: Mark Everiss, DJ Freeman

    26-May-1998

    Mark Everiss of DJ Freeman specialises in insurance and reinsurance dispute resolution and not tax law, as was stated in last week's issue of The Lawyer.

  • In brief: SJ Berwin recruits eight new partners

    26-May-1998

    SJ Berwin has appointed eight new partners: Jonathan Djanogly in the corporate department; Tim Brittain; Edward Page and Tom O'Grady in property; Mark Brumwell in planning; Mark Hainsworth in tax; Moira Protani in charities; and Jacqueline Hurt in commercial.

  • Irish Bar Council wins legal aid fight

    26-May-1998

    The Irish Bar Council has won a doubling of criminal legal aid after years of negotiations.The new scales have been agreed with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Department of Justice, which administers legal aid fees for defence teams, so they cover both prosecution and defence counsel.Bar Council secretary Fergal Foley said negotiations had been going on since the early 1990s, since fees for criminal work had been "totally out of proportion" ...

  • Is NI on track for fast track?

    26-May-1998

    Craig Dunford compares and contrasts how closely Northern Irish reforms will follow the Woolf report for England and Wales. Craig Dunford is a solicitor at John McKee & Son.As civil justice in England and Wales contemplates a future shaped by the Woolf Report, practitioners here in Northern Ireland are now wondering what the Lord Chancellor might have in store for us.In February this year, Lord Irvine delivered the keynote address to the annual conference of ...

  • Is the law a class act?

    26-May-1998

    Michael James is a barrister at Enterprise Chambers. Lawyers cannot stop worrying about class distinction, says Michael James.Cherie Booth's call last year for the Bar to be more open to working class applicants came a few days after one television comedian described her learned friends as "posh tosspots with wigs".Is class still an issue in the legal profession? In the nineteenth century, solicitors had to enter country houses by the ...

  • Jail for solicitors who stole £925,000

    26-May-1998

    Three Kent solicitors were jailed for a total of 10 years last week after being convicted of stealing £925,000 of their clients' money to fund a champagne lifestyle.Former North Kent Coroner Lionel Skingley, who admitted the charges, received three years, while his partners Robert Hammond and Geoffrey Hufton each received sentences of three and a half years.His Honour Judge Pontius, sitting at Knightsbridge Crown Court, said there had been "a flagrant ...

  • Jeremy Carver explains Clifford Chance's role in the Northern Ireland peace process advising UUP leader David Trimble

    26-May-1998

    Since The Lawyer (21 April) revealed that I had advised David Trimble and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), on aspects of the Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998, I have received varied responses.Other lawyers express pleasure that a lawyer might have played a part in constructing peace - but are curious as to what in fact I could have done. Non-lawyers wonder how on earth a lawyer could contribute to what is a profoundly political and sectarian conflict.It was ...

  • Juniors: backbone of the Bar

    26-May-1998

    Matheu Swallow enquires.Tomorrow's silks are proving themselves as the juniors of today, but will the number of juniors dwindle?Good junior barristers form the backbone of the commercial Bar, and the best are quickly recognised by top firms."A good silk is often only as good as the junior he's leading," says one wise old chambers clerk.But good juniors may become an endangered species. Many of the biggest ...

  • Knight & Sons wins German contract

    26-May-1998

    North-West firm Knight & Sons has won a four-way beauty parade held by the UK subsidiary of German industrial lubricant company Fuchs.Fuchs UK operates in Hanley, Staffordshire and Belper, Derbyshire.Twenty-partner Knight & Sons is based in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire and has recently opened a Manchester office.Fuchs UK managing director Michael Kost explained: "We wanted all our legal work to be handled by one firm. We needed a first class ...

  • Law Soc aims to help firms boost profitability with best practice advice

    26-May-1998

    An initiative aimed at helping firms to improve their profitability by using up-to-date practice management systems was launched by the Law Society last week.A 65-page booklet - Cashflow and improved financial management: A self-help guide for solicitors - is being sent out free to all firms with fewer than 10 partners (approximately 9,500 practices).The booklet, largely written by consultant Andrew Otterburn, gives benchmark figures for small firms on, for example, ...

  • Law Society's big joke on small firms

    26-May-1998

    Dugald Sproull is senior partner at Sproulls Solicitors in Cornwall. Dugald Sproull speaks out on behalf of the high street firm, and gives out a warning that, unless the cries for the plight of the smaller practice are heard, it may become a dying breed.I suspect there is a secret agenda to put the small high street solicitor out of business. If there is not, then the Law Society has a strange way of showing us any support.For a start, ...

  • Lawyers will pay the price

    26-May-1998

    Lawyers see the introduction of conditional fee agreements as a government cost-cutting exercise that could damage the honour and integrity of their profession, says Orla Cole. Orla Cole is an assistant in the litigation department at O'Reilly Stewart.Conditional fee agreements (CFAs) have not been introduced to date in Northern Ireland but there can be no doubt that legislation is being considered to align the system with the rest of the UK.One possible ...

  • Let the solicitor be the judge

    26-May-1998

    Solicitors could soon be appointed judges in the higher courts - if new proposals are approved, reports Eileen McCabe. Eileen McCabe is a freelance journalist.Barristers in Ireland are bracing themselves for yet another attack on one of their preserves by their solicitor colleagues. The Republic's Minister of Justice John O'Donoghue will shortly receive a report on the sensitive issue of judicial appointments - more specifically whether solicitors should be appointed ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 26/5/98

    26-May-1998

    Vasantha Karalliedde, solicitor's clerk, 58, of Alleyn Park, SE21, employed by Mangalagama & Co, Edgware, and responsible for conduct of professional business of firm's clients, including conduct of litigation matters, banned from 6 January 1998 from further employment by a solicitor without written permission of Law Society and ordered to pay costs of £1,920. Allegations substantiated that he falsely described himself ...

  • Litigation Litigator's View

    26-May-1998

    Philip Banks-Welsh on the extent of directors' personal liabilities. Philip Banks-welsh is a partner at Trethowan Woodford.The House of Lords recently overturned a Court of Appeal decision which had imposed personal liability on a company director for the negligent misstatements made by a limited company. The long-awaited decision is seen by many as being one of the most important company law decisions of this century.The case, which involved action ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 26/5/98

    26-May-1998

    Hutton v Dyfed Health Authority - QBD 7 April 1998Claimant: Simon Hutton (widower of deceased) on behalf of himself and his familyIncident: Medical negligenceInjuries: Rose Hutton, 35, was six to eight weeks pregnant when she died from a pulmonary embolism on 6 January 1991. She had been to Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, the day before her death but had been discharged after a provisional diagnosis that she was suffering from ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 26/5/98

    26-May-1998

    Confidential knowledge when insuring third party(1) Gerling-Konzern General Insurance Co (2) Deutscher Lloyd Versicherungen v(1) Polygram Holdings Inc(2) Metropolitan Entertainment Inc: (1) Copenhagen Reinsurance Co UK Ltd(2) Chiyoda Fire & Marine Insurance (Europe) Ltd(3) Colonia Versicherung v (1) Polygram Holdings Inc(2) Metropolitan Entertainment Inc (1998)QBD Commercial Court (Tuckey J) 14/5/98

  • Litigation Writs 26/5/98

    26-May-1998

    Two young children who were hurt in a car crash in which their mother and another woman were killed are suing for compensation. Widower Christopher Holland and his two children, Emily and Oliver, have issued a High Court writ against Alec Roberts, executor of the estate of the late Hilda Roberts, blaming her for the accident. The accident happened as Phillipa Holland drove her two children, then aged four and three, along the A43 at Duddington. The writ ...

  • Loeff Claeys Verbeke opens in London

    26-May-1998

    Benelux firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke plans to open a London office by 1 September.Sietze Hepkema, the firm's spokesperson, said the office, to be based in the City and staffed by two partners and four associates, would be "independent" of six-year alliance partner Allen & Overy.But Hepkema said there were no plans for the office to practise English law and that the decision ...

  • Meeting the EU challenge

    26-May-1998

    A new handbook for the Bar sets out to help lawyers with European Union law, says Nicholas Green QC. Nicholas Green QC is a barrister at Brick Court Chambers.European law represents an enormous challenge for all lawyers. But many lawyers have only a half-knowledge of aspects of EU law relevant to their practices, while some exhibit an almost total lack of knowledge about EU law, even where it touches their everyday professional lives.Many practitioners consider ...

  • Moscow specialist

    26-May-1998

    US firm LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & Macrae has appointed Russian corporate and financial transaction specialist Mark Borghesani to its 20-lawyer Moscow office as senior counsel. He moves from French/US firm Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn.

  • Musicians win on illicit CDs

    26-May-1998

    Roger Pearson looks at The Beatles' fight to ban sale of an unauthorised recording of one of their early Hamburg performancesThe recent High Court battle by the remaining members of the Beatles and John Lennon's wife Yoko Ono to prevent an Essex company from marketing a CD of one of the "Fab Four's" early performances at a German nightclub made national news.But beyond the more obvious headline-grabbing aspects of the case, the action ...

  • Naming and shaming

    26-May-1998

    Martin Bowley QC thinks that the Government should put its own legal team in order before attacking other lawyers. Martin Bowley QC is barrister at 36 Bedford Row.It is difficult to decide whether the Lord Chancellor Department's (LCD's) recent attempt to "name and shame" lawyers and firms who have received substantial sums from the Legal Aid Fund was more disreputable for its intellectual dishonesty or for its political cynicism.The Lord Chancellor ...

  • NI Law Soc refuses to aid women lawyers

    26-May-1998

    The Northern Ireland Law Society has refused to help women pay for research on discrimination in the profession - despite anecdotal evidence of its presence.The Lawyer's latest NI statistics reveal that only 14 per cent of partners in law firms are women and half the firms have no women partners at all. But women account for half of newly-qualified solicitors.The 200 members of the NI Association of Women Solicitors (AWS) will bear half of the £3000 ...

  • PI pilot rebuke

    26-May-1998

    In his address to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers' Spring Conference, the Lord Chancellor praised the important work, central to the civil justice reforms, being done in partnership by those with traditionally opposing interests. What a shame that you have sought to undermine that work. Your piece on the PI pilot (The Lawyer, 12 May) bore little relationship to the facts. To redress the balance we would like to point out the following:The ...

  • Redefining the principles of corruption

    26-May-1998

    Stephen Silber QC reveals the reasoning behind the Law Commission's proposals for a modern statute to replace existing corruption law. Stephen Silber QC is a law commissioner.Everybody agrees that everything possible should be done in order to try to stamp out corruption because it strikes at the root of all aspects of life in a democracy.Unfortunately, the English law of corruption has many defects. It is drawn from at least 12 statutes, including many ...

  • Reform on the road to peace

    26-May-1998

    A review of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland is central to a lasting peace settlement, reports Fiona Doherty. Fiona Doherty is a barrister.The recent history of Northern Ireland has spawned a legacy of distrust and injustice on all sides. In this context there can be no more urgent mission than the review and reform of current legal and political structures.The "Good Friday" agreement reached at the multi-party talks has the potential to contribute ...

  • SAHCA unveils plan to ease route to advocacy for solicitors

    26-May-1998

    A plan to abolish the three-year wait before newly qualified solicitors can gain rights of audience in the higher courts has been put to the Law Society.Mark Humphries, vice-chair of the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates (SAHCA), is proposing that the Legal Practice Course (LPC), and Professional Skills Course (PSC), should be restructured to provide more advocacy training for potential solicitor-advocates.He told SAHCA's first annual ...

  • Scots victims of violence may get state paid lawyers

    26-May-1998

    A state-funded lawyer scheme for domestic violence victims could be introduced as part of sweeping reforms proposed by a Scottish Office consultation paper issued last week.The paper, Access to Justice Beyond the Year 2000, proposes setting up a scheme whereby low-income victims of violence seeking an interdict (the Scottish equivalent of an injunction) against an abusive partner can go to solicitors employed directly by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB).The ...

  • Secure investment

    26-May-1998

    The Irish government is wooing investors by offering attractive international securitisation programmes, report PAdraig o R'ordAin and Caroline Devlin. PAdraig o R'ordAin and Caroline Devlin are members of the Arthur Cox IFSC and corporate taxation groups.The use of securitisation programmes in Europe has begun to develop significantly in recent years reflecting the long-standing use of the technique in US markets.Ireland reacted to this development ...

  • SJ Berwin seeks permission to share fees with Frankfurt firm

    26-May-1998

    SJ Berwin is seeking to link its 30-lawyer private equity practice to eight-partner Frankfurt firm Knopf Tulloch & Partner under a single name, charging a single fee to clients.However, Knopf Tulloch, a spin-off from Arthur Andersen in 1990, is a multidisciplinary practice, and Law Society rules forbid law firms from fee-sharing with MDPs.Christopher Bramall, of the Law Society's ...

  • Star culture lives on at the Bar

    26-May-1998

    Despite the trend for City firms to handle a growing amount of advocacy-related work themselves, the role of the commercial Bar heavyweight remains undiminished.To describe the top silks in this broad area of law is to focus on superlatives. "They have got to be bright, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of commercial law, and a feel for what will work with a judge," says one lawyer.It is clear that solicitors are becoming more demanding ...

  • Thai Trading case may go to House of Lords

    26-May-1998

    A PETITION for leave to appeal in the Thai Trading v Taylor case has been lodged at the House of Lords - challenging the Court of Appeal's decision that contingency fee cases are no longer contrary to public policy.In the Appeal Court in February, Lord Justice Millett held that it is lawful for solicitors to take cases on a contingency fee basis as long as they do not charge an uplift fee - a situation previously seen as contrary to public policy.Up until ...

  • The battle for supremacy

    26-May-1998

    Competition between lawyers and accountants is hotting up as the Law Society of Ireland debates MDPs, says Mary HeaneyNext month the Law Society of Ireland Council is set to consider the controversial subject of multidisciplinary partnerships (MDPs). Whatever conclusion it arrives at, the betting is that MDPs, for better or for worse, are on the cards.And if the accountants make serious moves into the legal marketplace, some law firms are also looking to take ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Sarah Simpson

    26-May-1998

    Sarah Simpson was born in Staffordshire in 1973. She works as a trainee solicitor at Hammond Suddards, and spends time in its Leeds, London and Manchester offices.What was your first job?Pears baby.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£15,500 and a nice little house in Leeds.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Become a Bond girl.

  • Time for a breath of fresh air at the CPS

    26-May-1998

    IT IS ALMOST a year ago that The Lawyer controversially called on Dame Barbara Mills QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, to resign. At the time, we suggested that since a new government had been elected with a set of plans for the CPS that differed radically from her own she had little option but to step down.It has taken her a year to heed our advice. In her statement last week Mills said that since her contract comes to an end next April it made sense ...

  • Tokyo associates

    26-May-1998

    Allen & Overy has appointed two new senior associates to its Tokyo office. London-based Salim Nathoo has been promoted from associate and Alaana Lee joins the firm from Marubeni Corporation's in-house legal department.

  • Top 30 Northern Ireland law firms

    26-May-1998

    Northern Irish firms have not expanded at the rate of their Dublin colleagues, but the outlook is good provided that the new political accommodation goes according to plan.In terms of growth, Belfast firm Madden & Finucane has moved to the number one slot. The firm, which represented Sinn Fein in the recent political negotiations, is doing an increasing amount of judicial review work and opening new offices across Northern Ireland.Cleaver ...

  • UK barrister claims two solicitors lied in affidavits

    26-May-1998

    AN ENGLISH barrister who is suing US corporation Exxon in a Florida court has accused two UK City solicitors of lying in affidavits they submitted to it.Barrister Michael Ford makes the allegation - against Guy Hardaker, from Holman Fenwick & Willan, and Patrick Sherrington, at Lovell White Durrant - in a motion filed in Southern Florida's district court.Hardaker and Sherrington, who are witnesses for the defendants, both declined to comment when contacted ...

  • Unifying the equality laws

    26-May-1998

    A proposal for an Equality Commission in Northern Ireland could have repercussions for the rest of the UK, says Fiona Cassidy. Fiona Cassidy is a partner at Jones & Cassidy.Northern Ireland was unique in UK terms in that it had no domestic legislation prohibiting race discrimination. This unacceptable gap in the legislative provisions for the promotion of human rights in Northern Ireland was rectified by the introduction of the Race Relations (NI) Order 1997. This mirrors, ...

  • Unique double for brothers in law

    26-May-1998

    In what the Lord Chancellor described as "a unique ceremony", two brothers - Rodney and Warwick McKinnon - were both sworn in as circuit judges in the House of Lords last week.Coincidentally, the pair were scheduled to be sworn in on the same day - Warwick at 11am last Tuesday and Rodney at 11.30. But when Lord Irvine realised the connection, and the fact that the guest lists were identical, give or take the odd clerk, he suggested they double up.The two come ...

  • Weil Gotshal nabbed CC star biller with shorter hours offer

    26-May-1998

    Star biller Michael Francies is leaving Clifford Chance for Weil Gotshal & Manges because he wants a break from the extraordinarily long hours he was working, it has emerged.Neither Clifford Chance nor Francies will comment about the details of his move, revealed in The Lawyer earlier this ...

  • What state the Internet?

    26-May-1998

    Despite the popularity of e-commerce, its regulation is ambiguous, writes David Flint. David Flint is the partner in charge of intellectual property at MacRoberts.Over the last few months, I have attempted to give clients an overview of some of the jurisdictional cases emanating from the US courts relating to the Internet.I would like to say that the position is ...

  • Who is Buggins now?

    26-May-1998

    If anything were meant to cause Michael Napier to crawl out of the woodwork it was Robert Sayer's letter to him and David McIntosh last week.It does not seem long ago that Mr Sayer and Mr Mears were on the outside, decrying the right of Buggins to succeed the Law Society presidency.Now notwithstanding that it is within the democratic rights of Mr McIntosh and/or Mr Napier to run for office, it becomes a matter of "public squabbling" for ...

  • Wightmans-Jackson plan fails

    26-May-1998

    A joint attempt by Liverpool's Weightmans and Teeside's Jacksons to create a national insurance firm has fallen apart in sudden acrimony.But the 100-plus partners of Beachcroft Stanleys, Wansboroughs Willey Hargrave and Vaudreys have all voted, in principle, to merge.Weightmans and Jacksons were in talks with London firm

  • Will Mears stand yet again?

    26-May-1998

    Former Law Society president Martin Mears is understood to be considering standing once again for the presidency in this summer's elections.If Mears does stand it will be his fourth successive contest following victory in 1995 and defeats by Tony Girling and Phillip Sycamore in the last two years.However, there is speculation that Mears is planning to stand for the vice-presidency against his political enemy Robert Sayer, allowing his old ally, David Keating, ...

  • Winds of change

    26-May-1998

    The Irish energy market is opening up to new investment. Kevin Hoy reports. Kevin Hoy is a partner at Mason Hayes & Curran.Ireland has had a state monopoly on electricity production for many years.But the opening up of the energy market throughout the European Union has meant that Ireland has had to rethink its approach, with the first private inroads being made in the alternative energy sector. There have been three Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) programmes. ...

  • Year of the specialist lawyer

    26-May-1998

    The recruitment of specialists is seen as crucial for long-term success in a transformed Irish market.How much longer can the Celtic Tiger roar? This question is increasingly being asked as Ireland continues to beat all economic predictions.But, with the top 25 law firms reporting activity up by an average of 20-30 per cent and making plans to recruit some 150 lawyers over the next year, there is little sign of any downturn.Indeed, many now believe ...