26 May 1997

The Lawyer

  • A makeover for the takeover

    27-May-1997

    On 15 April 1997, the Irish government introduced the first of what will be a series of statutory instruments required to bring into force the Irish Takeover Panel Act, 1997. The Act provides for the establishment of such a body, which will have responsibility for monitoring and supervising takeovers and substantial share acquisitions in Irish public companies.Once the Irish Takeover Panel becomes operational, the London Takeover Panel will cease to have any involvement ...

  • A world of PFI opportunity

    27-May-1997

    Few developments in recent years have excited as much interest among commercial lawyers in Northern Ireland as the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).Originally launched in 1992 by the Conservative government in an effort to harness private sector capital and skills in public sector infrastructure projects, the initiative came relatively late to Northern Ireland. However, there is every indication that it will survive the change of government, albeit with a change of emphasis.

  • All aboard the libel train

    27-May-1997

    Defamation cases seem to be on the increase in Northern Ireland, with a number of high-profile cases in the news recently. The latest came in a court action concluded only days before the General Election, where Robert McCartney QC, member of parliament for North Down, received an £80,000 settlement following an action against The Irish Times.He claimed an article published in the paper may have damaged his electoral chances. He won the cash settlement and within days ...

  • Allen & Overy rebuild in Hungary following split

    27-May-1997

    City firm Allen & Overy is building up its own Hungarian law capability in Budapest following the acrimonious breakup last year of the firm's exclusive arrangement with local practice Deri & Co.The appointment of Eva Hegedus, who comes from the Budapest office of German firm Beiten Burkhardt ...

  • Andersens appeals Dutch MDPs ban

    27-May-1997

    Arthur Andersen is gearing up for a High Court challenge in Holland against a ban on multidisciplinary partnerships.Arthur Andersen, which has its own law firm, Wouters, in Holland, and Price Waterhouse, which wants to establish its own law firm, lost the first round of their legal battles with the Dutch Bar in the district court of Amsterdam earlier this year.Both firms have now lodged separate appeals to The Hague, the site of the highest court in Holland.

  • Bar Council firmly in the black despite rise in costs

    27-May-1997

    The Bar Council has been left with a £250,000 budget surplus for the 1996 financial year despite a huge increase in its costs.Treasurer Michael Blair QC writes in the council's 1996 annual report that it was a year of financial good fortune with a budget underspend of £194,705 and unrealised investment gains of £55,214.The budget had to increase by 35 per cent to £4.4m to meet new responsibilities for regulating education ...

  • Bar looks to the 21st century

    27-May-1997

    After several years in the doldrums, the morale of Ireland's 1,100 barristers is finally lifting. For most of the past decade they have been besieged by the twin-pronged assaults of hostile media coverage and internal chaos.For example, a 1993 internal survey showed that the average yearly income throughout the profession was £17,000. Yet despite this, a near-frenzied Irish media ran an often vitriolic campaign against a profession which ...

  • Bar to Labour:Keep up the good work

    27-May-1997

    Robert Owen QC welcomes the Government's proposals concerning human rights, youth crime and reform of the CPS, but says that some areas need further consideration. Robert Owen QC is chairman of the Bar Council. First and foremost I am delighted to see that the commitment in the Labour Party manifesto to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law has been put into effect immediately.A Home Office Bill will be laid before Parliament ...

  • Bean heads group

    27-May-1997

    Bruce Bean, the recently installed managing partner at Coudert Brothers' Moscow office, will serve on the Investor Protection Working Group of the US-Russia Capital Markets Forum. The forum was set up in order to assist the Russian government in identifying reform requirements for the development of Russian capital markets. It consists of four working groups: capital market infrastructure, collective investment funds, taxation and accounting and investor protection. The forum initiative ...

  • Brief

    27-May-1997

    Freshfields' Giles Clifford and Zoe Lowe from Ewart Price were the fastest male and female solicitors respectively in the 137-strong Wilde Sapte City of London Road Race last week. Money raised will go to the Helen Clelland Appeal.The pair were the first male and female solicitors across the line in the three and a half mile race. The fastest barristers were Alistair Lindsay, of 4 Raymond Buildings, and Alda Cable, of Clyde and Co. The overall winner was ...

  • Bristol warns LPC freeze may force course closure

    27-May-1997

    BRISTOL University may be forced to close down its Legal Practice Course (LPC) in the wake of the Law Society's decision to freeze the number of LPC places until 2000.A complete withdrawal from LPC provision is the most drastic of a number of options being considered by the university following the society's decision, announced last month, to impose a moratorium on the licensing of new LPC places.The option was contained in an internal paper drawn up ...

  • Caution on the road to peace

    27-May-1997

    As the good times roll south of the border, there is a more cautious outlook from Northern Irish lawyers. Despite the fact that they are enjoying one of their busiest times in years, there is little evidence of bullishness, and the shadow of the faltering peace process haunts the business environment."There is a question mark over the continuation of the current growth," says Ken Rutherford, a partner at C&H Jefferson. "The peace talks have not been a success and a recent ...

  • Chambers beckon to retiring judge

    27-May-1997

    Retiring judge Gerald Butler QC has taken the unusual step of returning to his old chambers to practise, after spotting a gap in the legal market for media and entertainment arbitration.Butler left One Essex Court to sit on the bench in 1982, becoming Presiding Judge at Southwark Crown Court for 13 years before retiring three weeks ago. Now, aged 66, Butler has decided to return to chambers.As well as offering an arbitration service he will also take up an as-yet ...

  • City pair act as catalysts in ICI mega-deal

    27-May-1997

    Twenty-three lawyers from Freshfields - including 11 partners - and around 20 from Slaughter and May helped engineer ICI's massive £4.9bn cash acquisition of Unilever's four speciality chemicals businesses, National Starch, Quest, Unichema and Crosfield.Unilever had initially put the four businesses up for open auction in February. The company's chief counsel, ...

  • Cornish partners head for Price Waterhouse

    27-May-1997

    Leading commodities lawyer Martin Cornish - revealed to be joining Price Waterhouse's law firm Arnheim & Co by The Lawyer last week - is bringing two partners, four fee earners and two support staff with him from his practice.The only remaining partner in MW Cornish & Co, Peter Astleford, is joining Titmuss Sainer Dechert with assistant Catherine Ercilla. They will be setting up a new ...

  • CPS lawyers in higher courts next year

    27-May-1997

    CPS lawyers are likely to be prosecuting in Crown Courts by February.

  • Does Mills have a future as the DPP?

    27-May-1997

    IT IS hard to see how the Director of Public Prosecutions, Dame Barbara Mills QC, can continue in her post. In typical new Labour fashion, the new Attorney General, John Morris QC, has arrived at his job clearly determined to ring the changes. A senior judge will be appointed soon to conduct a wholesale review of the service.In the meantime, a key internal reform instituted by Mills shortly after she became DPP, the reduction of the Crown ...

  • EU to cut red tape on free movement

    27-May-1997

    A SPECIAL EU ministers working group has reached agreement on proposals to sweep away the restrictions governing lawyers' rights of establishment within the union.The agreement, hammered out by a Council of Ministers working group, promises to bring to an end two decades of argument surrounding the freer movement of lawyers in the union.The group was set up to scrutinise a draft EU directive on rights of establishment and had been deadlocked for some time ...

  • Expert sails forth

    27-May-1997

    Experienced shipping specialist Charles Allen has left Clifford Chance to join the office of rival firm Simmons & Simmons in Hong Kong. Allen, who leaves Clifford Chance as an assistant after 16 years with the firm, has practised in most areas of contentious shipping, marine insurance and international trade.He leaves Clifford Chance's Hong Kong office after two years there, but ...

  • Financing

    27-May-1997

    Nabarro Nathanson advised Millwall Football Club

  • Financing

    27-May-1997

    Norton Rose advised Russian brewer SUN Brewing on its $30m (£18.7m) financing. Its parent company STI sold put and call options on SUN shares to Merrill Lynch and other international investors. Linklaters & Paines advised Merrill Lynch and Debevoise Plimpton advised STI.

  • Financing

    27-May-1997

    Linklaters & Paines advised British Aerospace on its FFr 2.7bn (£300m) financing of French company Lagardere's acquisition of Thomson. Clifford Chance advised Lagardere.

  • Flotations

    27-May-1997

    Garretts acted for Soccer Investments

  • Flotations

    27-May-1997

    Olswang acted for Newmark Technology Group on its £800

  • Freshfields takes on US securities specialist

    27-May-1997

    Solicitors and law clerks in the Irish Chief State Solicitor's Office have taken industrial action in the wake of a hard-hitting management consultant's report which found a "chronic shortage" of staff and resources.The protest, which involves some 40 solicitors and a similar number of law clerks, has taken the form of a "work to rule". The protest is sanctioned and backed by the civil service union Impact.The solicitors are demanding that 15 extra ...

  • Fruits of the boom

    27-May-1997

    Irish law firms are enjoying the fruits of the country's current economic boom with the top players reporting frenetic activity at all levels."We are all so busy we don't know what's happening. It's extraordinary," says Dillon Eustace partner David Dillon.The increase in activity has been experienced right across the board, according to The Lawyer's recent survey of Irish firms, with most of the top practices reporting average increases ...

  • Hitches hold back new investment companies

    27-May-1997

    Trust managers may be hesitating to convert their funds into the newly-permitted Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) because of administrative difficulties, according to Clifford Chance investment partner James Barlow.The Government introduced legislation to allow UK OEICs in January this year and the first one, Global Asset Management, was set up only last month. But this was a ...

  • In brief: Attorney General makes appointments

    27-May-1997

    Attorney General John Morris QC has appointed 6 King's Bench Walk barrister Nigel Sweeney to represent the Government in cases at the Central Criminal Court. Sweeney will succeed David Calvert-Smith QC as First Senior Treasury Counsel, as tradition dictates he steps down on taking silk. William Boyce and John Kelsey-Fry become Senior Treasury Counsel while 3 Hare Court barrister Brian Altman and 2 Harcourt Buildings' Aftab Jafferjee are appointed as junior treasury Counsel.

  • In brief: Gateshead courts need update, says report

    27-May-1997

    Staff in magistrates' courts in the Gateshead area are working in poor, cramped conditions, according to a Magistrates' Courts Service Inspectorate report. It warns that spending priorities need to be identified in a bid to improve the facilities offered to staff, professional users and the public. But the inspectors who monitored the court's performance late last year added that staff needed to reduce lengthy waiting times for all court users and improve the poor performance ...

  • In brief: Hammond Suddards shifts London offices

    27-May-1997

    Hammond Suddards is to move from its 35,000 square feet City offices at Moor House, London Wall, London, to 70,000 square feet at 7 Devonshire Square, near Liverpool Street Station. Senior partner John Heller said since moving into Moor House five years ago, total staff had grown to 220 and double the space was needed.

  • In brief: Headhunter's AIM launch is a good move

    27-May-1997

    Longbridge International has become the first legal headhunter to launch on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), enjoying success with a growth of 18 per cent on the offer price in the first two weeks.

  • In brief: Hill Dickinson sets up abuse advice unit

    27-May-1997

    Commercial legal specialist Hill Dickinson has launched an abuse advice unit to assist children and adults suffering from physical and/or sexual abuse.The six-strong team is made up of lawyers who advise NHS trusts, charities and local authorities. The team will be headed by Jason Spencer who said increasing public and media awareness of abuse issues have seen the workload grow to such a degree ...

  • In brief: Law Society settles pay dispute

    27-May-1997

    Law Society investigative staff who staged a one-day strike last month have voted 31 to 8 to accept a new offer from management which is believed to include performance-related pay increases of about £6,000, phased in over several years. Harminder Singh, the MSF union official representing the staff, said that the Law Society had invited the union to continue negotiating with management in order to work out the criteria to be used to enable staff to achieve the maximum pay.

  • In brief: Leeds Law Soc elects Baker as president

    27-May-1997

    Walker Morris property partner Alan Baker has been elected as president of the Leeds Law Society. He will take over the post from Ian Goldman. Baker said that he aimed to create a greater awareness of the work of the society and wanted to increase its impact as a pressure group.

  • In brief: Scottish complaints system under fire

    27-May-1997

    The Scottish advocates' complaints system has been slammed as unfair and outdated by the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman. In his annual report, ombudsman Garry Watson says the Faculty of Advocates' complaints procedure compared unfavourably with the one recently launched by the Bar Council in England and Wales. Watson said there was a need for more lay representation on its complaints committee and it should have greater powers.

  • In brief: Swifter youth justice, urges Lord Irvine

    27-May-1997

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg QC, has urged magistrates to dispense swift justice to young offenders. He has identified what he believes is an adjournment culture in the youth court with the parties not expecting their cases to be disposed of or even progressed at the initial hearing. "Speed is essential in confronting young people with what they have done and the consequences which flow from that behaviour," Lord Irvine wrote in a letter to 382 magistrates who chair the ...

  • Innovations on show at Solex

    27-May-1997

    MORE than 6,000 visitors from the legal profession are expected to attend The Solicitors and Legal Office Exhibition, due to be opened by Geoffrey Howe, managing partner of Clifford Chance, at London's Barbican next week.The three-day exhibition, which opens on 3 June, aims to promote technological innovation in the legal world.Last year, ...

  • Inns of Court revolution hits Middle Temple

    27-May-1997

    MIDDLE Temple is in the throes of a major review to prepare it for the 21st century.The treasurer of the Inn, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, has asked a selection of senior benchers, including Lord Alexander of Weedon, the chair of NatWest Bank, to draw up a series of policy papers.They will be incorporated into a proposed reform package which will go before the Inn's parliament in November.The Inns of Court are in the middle of a period of unprecedented ...

  • Insurance stalwart to call it quits

    27-May-1997

    Fifty-year-old Covent Garden-based insurance litigation practice Alistair Thomson & Partners is understood to be planning to dissolve in September with all five equity partners going their separate ways.Michael Lent is believed to be going to Hammond Suddards, Martin Butterworth to Davies Arnold Cooper and practice development manager David Hartfield to be setting up on his own.It is believed 34-years-qualified senior partner Alistair Simpson may retire but the ...

  • Insurer offers protection on contaminated land

    27-May-1997

    Legal insurer Legal & Contingency has launched the UK's first contaminated land insurance as a result of a growing demand from lawyers whose clients are worried about buying or selling such land.The company is offering policies for developers, investors, building societies and home buyers.Managing director Brian Raincock said the launch had been spurred by the implementation of the Environment Act 1995 which makes owners or occupiers of contaminated land ...

  • Irish govt lawyers work to rule over chronic shortages

    27-May-1997

    Freshfields has recruited a second leading US securities partner to join the firm's US securities practice.Don Guiney, from US firm Hale & Dorr, joined Freshfields last week to further strengthen the firm's capability in its burgeoning US securities practice, which now has 10 US lawyers in London.Last July, when the group was established, it was hoped that an initial team of "five or six" lawyers would be assembled to work with the firm's UK solicitors.

  • IT man for FFW

    27-May-1997

    Solicitors Field Fisher Waterhouse have hired 10 King's Bench Walk barrister Nick Lockett. Lockett, who appeared in the first domain name case to reach the High Court, will join the firm's IT/Internet practice. Called to the Bar in 1993, Lockett has advised the BBC, and the Financial Times on the legal implications of the Internet.

  • It's competition time

    27-May-1997

    Late last year Ireland's newly-constituted Competition Authority conducted its first "dawn raid" at the Dublin premises of Opel Ireland. The authority was investigating a complaint that the company's up-front advertising campaign, which promised that every Opel dealer would offer the same low price on certain new Opel cars, contravened the Competition Act.Soon after the raid Opel modified its pricing, and the authority did not pursue its investigation. However, ...

  • Ivory Coast repays

    27-May-1997

    The Republic of Cote D'Ivoire has signed a debt restructuring deal worth US$6.8bn, with its foreign creditors who were represented by a team of lawyers from White & Case's Paris office. Paris-based partners John Riggs and Paul Biensan acted on the deal, assisted by two associates, Mark Richards and Anne Ledcrer. The team advised the creditors' steering committee on what has been described ...

  • James Hunt seeks bigger share of Leicester work

    27-May-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsThe Chambers of James Hunt QC has opened an annexe in central Leicester in a bid to break into the traditionally tight-knit legal community there.The move has brought a cool reaction from within Leicester chambers, with one clerk saying he could not see why the London set had bothered to open up in the city.But the set's practice manager Peter Bennett said the opening of the annexe was prompted by a growing workload ...

  • Keeping ahead of the marchers

    27-May-1997

    The complexity of providing legal solutions to the highly contentious parades issue in Northern Ireland is one which is fast dawning on the new Labour government.Northern Ireland Secretary of State Mo Mowlam got her first real taste of the problems surrounding the parades issue last weekend with the re-routeing of an Apprentice Boys parade away from the nationalist village of Dunloy in County Antrim. Nationalists and loyalists complained that the police had acted in bad ...

  • LAB acts on block contracts stalemate

    27-May-1997

    THE Legal Aid Board is to write directly to 145 firms scheduled to take part in the green form block contract pilot this week in a bid to break the deadlock over the scheme.The letters will make offers on each firm's individual payment arrangements, and will be followed "shortly" by revised contracts, according to a LAB spokeswoman.Last month the Law Society Council officially advised the law firms not to take part in the pilot partly because solicitors ...

  • Legal education at a crossroads, says Sherr

    27-May-1997

    THE law degree is a “lost sheep” and legal education “is at the crossroads and may have lost its way”, according to Professor Avrom Sherr, of London’s Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.Sherr used his inaugural lecture as Woolf Professor of Legal Education as a platform to call for a new approach to legal education.In his lecture, delivered earlier this month, he said a shake-up was needed because training for the legal profession had become a “minority interest” ...

  • Leslie Michaelson

    27-May-1997

    May I please add to your report of the death of Leslie Michaelson (The Lawyer, 20 May 1997) by paying tribute to the enormous amount of pro bono work he did in addition to his own very busy practice.This Law Centre and its clients frequently had the benefit of free advice from Leslie. He was always prepared to look at difficult cases for us, particularly where legal aid was not available, and to advise on points of law and procedure, able to suggest imaginative ...

  • Let's level the playing field

    27-May-1997

    Northern Ireland (population 1.5 million) is similar to a very large, rural English county with one medium-sized centre (Belfast, population 350,000). And the problems facing its legal practitioners are similar to those faced by their provincial English counterparts with much premium legal work going to London and a proliferation of small high street firms (75 per cent have either one or two partners). The threat posed by the accountants' in-house legal firms and the Hambros conveyancing ..

  • Lithuanian privatisation job down to final two

    27-May-1997

    Clifford Chance and Simmons & Simmons are on the Lithuanian government's shortlist to advise on the privatisation of Lithuanian Telecom.Clifford Chance is advising French investment bank Banque Paribas and Simmons & simmons is advising NatWest Markets. Both Paribas and NatWest are on the shortlist to become lead financial advisers to the privatisation, drawn up by the Lithuanian ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 27/05/97

    27-May-1997

    Mehalai Sivalingam, 38, admitted 1990 and Neil Harget, 43, admitted 1992, practising at material times in partnership as Russell Clayton & Co, Wembley, fined £1,000 each and ordered to pay £1,796 costs each. Allegations substantiated they failed to keep properly written accounts and wrongly used client money for their own purposes. Tribunal said cash shortages had been speedily repaid, no clients had suffered any loss and ...

  • Litigation Litigator's View

    27-May-1997

    James Wilders on protection for plaintiffs over costs orders. James Wilders is a partner at Dickinson Dees A defendant may make an application for security of costs to ensure that if he defeats a claim brought against him he will have a fund available in England and Wales against which he can enforce any order for costs made in his favour.Such an application may ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 27/05/97

    27-May-1997

    Kemp v Croydon Health Authority - QBD 23 April 1997Claimant: Sam Kemp, Incident: Medical negligenceInjuries: Claimant's mother, Juliette Kemp, 29, carried no rhesus antibodies in her blood. First children of women with such a condition are normally born healthy but an injection is necessary after the first birth to ensure subsequent children are born healthy. No injection was given in this case with result that the claimant has been left ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 27/05/97

    27-May-1997

    Council liable for injuries sustained by falling branchChapman v Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council (1997)QBD (Viscount Colville Of Culross QC (16/5/97)Summary: An action to determine liability for injuries arising out of an accident where a branch fell off a tree and hit a van.The plaintiff was employed as a van driver when his van was struck by a branch from a tree during a high wind. The wind was measured between gale force ...

  • Litigation Writs 27/05/97

    27-May-1997

    Viscount Dilhorne, along with Julian Haviland, Etienne Boileau and Patrick Locke, owners of property at 4 Princes Street, London W1, has issued a writ against Capitalstart and Rossmoregate, owners of number 5 Princes Street. The Viscount claims the companies, who own property neighbouring his in central London, have threatened to burn down his building. The writ seeks an injunction restraining the companies from committing or attempting to commit ...

  • Merger fever infects Edges

    27-May-1997

    Rumours that Birmingham firm Edge & Ellison was about to merge with a national rival grew so intense last week that senior partner Digby Jones was forced to issue a memo to all staff saying he would be the first to tell them any news.Hot favourite as merger partner has for some time been Hammond Suddards but some sources claim Pinsent Curtis is in talks with Edge & Ellison, although management at both Pinsent Curtis and Edge & Ellison deny that there are any serious negotiations ...

  • Morris seizes CPS initiative

    27-May-1997

    The Attorney General, John Morris QC, has taken the highly unusual step of writing directly to CPS staff to explain his reform plans for the service.The letter signals the Government's determination to adopt a hands-on approach to the running of the service.Morris praises the Director of Public Prosecutions, Dame Barbara Mills QC, in his letter "for her constructive approach and co-operation" since Labour took office, but the letter points out that conviction ...

  • Northern firm accused of £1m legal aid scam

    27-May-1997

    A COURT heard last week how a North West solicitor and three members of his staff, who were allegedly involved in defrauding the Legal Aid Board out of more than £1m, operated what was in effect a production line for manufacturing bogus claims.In a process staff at the law firm's offices in Leigh and Bolton called "file building", thousands of files supposedly built up over a number of months were made up in one sitting at a word processor, Liverpool Crown Court ...

  • Northern Ireland

    27-May-1997

    The legal marketplace remained fairly static last year with few practices making major changes.Dublin firms Arthur Cox and A&L Goodbody settled into the Belfast marketplace, while Kennedys also got its feet under the table. The discreet presence of Travers Smith Braithwaite in Holywood was also noted.

  • Nortons switches head in Singapore

    27-May-1997

    A PERSONNEL shake-up at Norton Rose's Singapore office has seen a switch of managing partners and the addition of two new partners.Jamie Logie, who has been managing partner at the office since 1993, is handing over the reins to international asset finance specialist Paul Giles, who is travelling out to Singapore from London.The firm has also appointed one new partner from ...

  • Not all's fair in employment

    27-May-1997

    Religious and political discrimination in Nor-thern Ireland is regarded as a "fairly lucrative" business for lawyers. Well over £1m has been paid to successful complainants over the past five years, not including costs and legal fees. Yet only around 30 members of the legal profession currently specialise in fair employment cases."It's a dirty business but somebody has to do it," says one lawyer. Indeed, many members can make a fair reputation out of protecting ...

  • OSS Lawyer Line aims to cut number of complaints

    27-May-1997

    A NEW hotline has been launched to help smooth relations between lawyers and clients.Lawyer Line is due to be launched by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) on 28 May, to help solicitors who have had a complaint made against them resolve the matter quickly with their client.The phones will be manned by Rosemary Harris, an experienced case handler. She will advise solicitors in an attempt to reduce the 20,000-a-year complaints currently received ...

  • Panel explains the meaning of the Net

    27-May-1997

    OLSWANG and Simmons & Simmons staff staged a discussion panel on the legal repercussions of hotlinking and cacheing at the Internet World UK conference at the Olympia Conference Centre last week.Olswang partners Andrew Inglis and John Enser joined forces with Simmons & Simmons' Jeremy Morton to discuss the legal framework surrounding cacheing, a way of 'copying' web pages ...

  • Paralegals half-trained, finds study

    27-May-1997

    Paralegals are often ill-equipped to work in a modern legal practice, with many having received insufficient training from their firm, according to a Law Society study.Research by the society's Research and Policy Planning Unit found 37 per cent of an estimates 25,000 non-solicitor fee earners in England and Wales believe they are under-trained.The survey also found huge discrepancies in the amount of training each paralegal has received, with more than ...

  • Partnerships bypass women in NI, survey finds

    27-May-1997

    Women in Northern Ireland law firms are not making it to partnership, a survey by The Lawyer has discovered (see page 34).Eleven of the the top 20 firms have no female partners while eight have one female partner each. Out of a total of 75 partners in the top 10 firms, only 11 are women. However, around half of the assistant solicitors are female (52 out of a total of 102 assistants in the top 10)."I'm not surprised at these figures," said Margaret Magennis, ...

  • Plowden Buildings calls in the cavalry

    27-May-1997

    Plowden Buildings has appointed a practice manager on the advice of its overstretched senior clerk Paul Hurst.The common law set practices in London and on the North East circuit and, according to Hurst, it was becoming increasingly difficult to both promote and clerk the chambers."My being out in Newcastle two or three days a week doesn't help when I've got to be in London taking calls," said Hurst.The set has appointed ...

  • Property

    27-May-1997

    Olswang acted in England and Cole & Co in Scotland for retail property company Capital and Regional Properties on its £147m acquisition of five shopping centres - three in England and two in Scotland - from clients of Grosvenor Asset Management, represented by Kanter Jules in England and Maclay Murray ...

  • Protection extended to prototypes

    27-May-1997

    Roger Pearson looks at a ruling which should help safeguard those producing copyright designs from prototype models. A recent decision by Sir John Knox in the Chancery Division has left many who work in intellectual property feeling relieved.Had the judge decided differently in the case, it could have caused considerable problems for anyone wanting to protect plans and designs produced before the commencement date of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, ...

  • Republic maintains its value

    27-May-1997

    The value of mergers and acquisitions work is hitting new heights although there has been a slight decrease in the number of deals of more than IR£5m in the past year. A survey carried out earlier this year by Finance magazine shows the value of transactions rocketing by 100 per cent to IR£4.1bn in 1996 from IR£2.1bn the previous year, although the number of deals in the same period declined from 74 to 72.The survey reveals that Arthur Cox was the leading ...

  • Republic of ireland

    27-May-1997

    Irish firms kept their heads down last year with few new practice developments. Instead they have been busy making money. "The level of profit of the top eight firms has mushroomed, says one leading partner. "A lot of partners are making London-style amounts."Firms such as A&L Goodbody are reckoned to have a turnover in the range of IR£18m with Arthur Cox's turnover estimated to be about IR£15m and Matheson Ormsby Prentice's approximately £11m.

  • Richard Grand Society is 'elitist' says top PI solicitor

    27-May-1997

    The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers' vice-president Ian Walker has attacked the newly-formed Richard Grand Society as "elitist" and "self-congratulatory.The new society for personal injury lawyers includes high-profile medical negligence specialist Rodger Pannone and is modelled on the US inner circle of Advocates.Members must show 10 years in practice and recovery of at least £5m in a minimum of five personal injury or medical negligence cases, ...

  • Routine matters

    27-May-1997

    Re 'Legal Aid Board attacked over "cuts through back door"' (The Lawyer, 20 May, page 1): the Legal Aid Board has not introduced changes to the way it determines what constitutes an advice and assistance or routine call.Should a conflict of opinion arise between the solicitor and the area office on assessment of the solicitor's claim for costs in respect of which rate a call merits, there is an appeal process available to have the ...

  • Self-regulation takes a back seat

    27-May-1997

    Will an all-powerful SIB solve the drawbacks of self-regulation? asks Robert Lindsay The Labour government's plan for a "super-Securities and Investments Board" to create one of the most powerful regulatory bodies in the world is not before time, according to the City's leading regulatory lawyers.Tim Herrington, financial services partner at Clifford Chance, ...

  • Smaller companies get a look in

    27-May-1997

    The Developing Companies Market (DCM) was launched in Ireland at the beginning of this year by the Irish Stock Exchange. Comparable to the alternative Investment market (AIM) in the UK, the DCM offers small-to-medium-sized companies the opportunity to obtain public quotations for their shares.The DCM follows in the footsteps of the AIM, which was launched by the London Stock Exchange in 1995. Since its beginnings the AIM has been regarded as relatively successful, with more ...

  • Stage set for contract case

    27-May-1997

    Actress Angharad Cazenove is heading for a distinctly unshowbusiness-like role - in the courtroom. She is taking builder Liam Hicks, who she accuses of abandoning building work, to the High Court for alleged breach of contract. She claims that he owes her £5,000 for the uncompleted work and is suing him for repayment of the owed money, damages and interest. Reid Minty, based in Mayfair, is acting for Cazenove.

  • Staple to head up fraud unit at Clifford Chance

    27-May-1997

    In a reversal of the familiar poacher turned gamekeeper scenario, George Staple, the former head of the Serious Fraud Office, has been made head of Clifford Chance's new domestic and international fraud section.Staple was first made a partner at Clifford Chance 30 years ago but he left five years ago for his five-year term of office as director of the SFO.He said: "I'd ...

  • Testing time for anti-bullying policy

    27-May-1997

    A schoolboy has won his fight to have his school's stance on bullying reviewed by the courts, reports Roger Pearson. Bullying has become a matter for the courts, with a major case now pending at the High Court in which a school's position over the problem is to be challenged.It follows an incident in which a 10-year-old boy's arm was broken by fellow primary school pupil, also 10.The father of the victim claims that his son ended ...

  • The IFSC's tax advantage

    27-May-1997

    Prior to the birth of Dublin's International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in 1987, international banks, insurance companies and fund management companies would not have considered entering the Irish market. Now, 10 years later, almost 300 financial services companies are certified to operate in the centre.The IFSC has created huge amounts of work for the country's law firms. However, change looms on the horizon for the centre. One of the most important selling ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Stephen Charge

    27-May-1997

    Stephen Charge was born in London on 3 January 1962. He is a tax partner at Cameron McKenna. What was your first job?I had a Saturday job in a record shop in the mid 1970s. I got the sack for persistently playing 1960s soul music over the loudspeakers when the owner had ordered me to play the new Bay City Rollers album.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?I know it's traditional to say "When I started ...

  • The rights stuff

    27-May-1997

    The election of the new Labour government has raised hopes of renewed impetus in the search for peace in Northern Ireland.Human rights activists have long argued that issues of justice and equality must be at the heart of any political settlement in Northern Ireland, as they were at the genesis of the conflict. Indeed, this belief was reiterated recently on International Human Rights Day when the Committee on the Administration of Justice, Liberty, the Irish Council for ...

  • The rocky road to MDPs

    27-May-1997

    Although separated only by a relatively narrow stretch of water, a huge gulf exists between the legal services strategies of UK and Irish accounting firms.Over the past couple of years, the 'Big Six' accountancy firms in the UK have dipped their toes into the legal services market with three of them setting up independent legal practices at arm's length. In Dublin, however, such a move is further down the road.Recently, speculation has mounted ...

  • Westlaw Europe challenges Lexis

    27-May-1997

    Liz Davidson reportsUS legal publishing giant West Group is expanding into Europe with promises to provide an information service serving all the legal systems in Europe.UK lawyers will soon be able to tap into a research service which has the current working title of Westlaw-Sweet & Maxwell. This will provide legal information and up-to-date case law from all European countries together with a news service specifically aimed at lawyers.Westlaw Europe, ...

  • What a waste, says firm

    27-May-1997

    Judgment from Mr Justice Carnwath is now pending in a major battle over classification of imported waste materials. Waste recycling company Dockgrange, which is based in Kent, claims that its business has been "devastated" because of an Environment Agency decision to upgrade the procedures necessary for handling waste it imports from Europe. Dockgrange accuses the agency of misinterpreting EC regulation 259/93. It alleges that the interpretation of the regulation ...

  • Women push hard on door of equality

    27-May-1997

    Women solicitors in Northern Ireland are finally taking steps to address their status - or lack of it - in the profession. With four of the 10 largest firms having no women partners and the others having only a few, action is long overdue. Margaret Magennis says she decided to set up the Association of Women Solicitors last October after conversations with some of her female colleagues in the Queen's University law class of 1983.Much anecdotal evidence was coming through ...