28 April 1997

The Lawyer

  • 'Do not stand' advice mounts around Mears

    29-Apr-1997

    Pressure is mounting on Martin Mears to stand down from the Law Society elections after an open letter from council member David McIntosh, published in The Lawyer this week, called on him to "stop hankering after another go at the presidency".McIntosh, senior partner at Davies Arnold Cooper, said he bore Mears no hostility but warned that a bid for re-election could undermine the profession's interests. He advised Mears to support the Sycamore, Mathews and Sayer ticket.

  • A capital opportunity

    29-Apr-1997

    Even if the opinion polls are only half right, we are now only a few days away from a Labour government. In its ranks will be a Minister of State at the Lord Chancellor's Department who will be charged with implementing the party's pledge to allow multi-disciplinary partnerships. But should we see this as a threat or an opportunity?For the profession to start its relationship with a new government in an atmosphere of hostility is not very sensible. For the legal ...

  • Bar Council ditches its strategy think tank

    29-Apr-1997

    The Bar Council has disbanded a think tank that was set up four years ago to coordinate its long-term strategic thinking.Under the shake-up, the planning committee has been abolished and its functions brought under the umbrella of the Bar Council's most senior committee, the general management committee (GMC).The planning committee was set up in 1993 following a report by the then treasurer Martin Bowley QC, who argued that the GMC was a reactive ...

  • Best prepared will win a claim

    29-Apr-1997

    What often makes the difference in a loss of profits claim is the extent to which actions are planned just after the event that led to it - the plaintiff who prepares well and early stands the best chance of a favourable judgment. Bringing an expert witness - a forensic accountant for instance - in at this stage could pay dividends in court.For this reason, the plaintiff should nominate a senior person to take overall responsibility for the claim. This person should ensure ...

  • Case for the single expert

    29-Apr-1997

    In his report Access to Justice, Lord Woolf referred to a number of cases when discussing the duties of expert witnesses. One was Whitehouse v Jordan (1981), in which Lord Wilberforce said: "It is necessary that expert evidence presented to the court should be and should be seen to be the independent product of the expert uninfluenced as to form or content by the exigencies of the litigation."A rather different emphasis on the role of the expert witness appeared in the High ...

  • Downside of flying high

    29-Apr-1997

    In "Flying Carrot Class" (The Lawyer, 22 April), Farrol Kahn makes the confusing assertion that "most passengers are unaware that cabin altitude is an average of 8,000 feet which represents 25 per cent less oxygen by pressure". With respect, most passengers believe the captain when he announces that the aircraft is flying at an altitude comfortably exceeding 30,000 feet.What Mr Kahn means is that, during the flight, ...

  • Ede Charlton brings in Herbert Smith's Bacon

    29-Apr-1997

    Property specialist Professor Nigel Bacon has left the Hong Kong office of Herbert Smith to join Arthur Andersen's fledgling Hong Kong firm, Ede Charlton & Co.Bacon has worked in Hong Kong for 15 years, training with Herbert Smith and then returning after a stint with DW Ling & Co to establish the firm's property and conveyancing practice in 1987. He joins Ede Charlton as a consultant.Bacon is a visiting professor at the City Polytechnic University ...

  • Election 97: Centres show middle way

    29-Apr-1997

    The jury is still out on the future of legal aid, but whichever political party holds the reins of power after May 1, it is clear that there must be a major overhaul of the current system.For the last five years, the cost of legal aid has doubled annually. When the Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay made public his White Paper on legal aid reform last year, it was disclosed that legal aid would cost the UK £100m each year for the next three years.One of the most ...

  • Election 97: Lawyers in the lobby?

    29-Apr-1997

    The campaign for this year's general election has been dirty, with allegations of sleaze, corruption and hypocrisy its most constant feature. And although most legal organisations have kept a low public profile over the past few weeks, the profession has not escaped totally unscathed.In a public snipe at Tory MP Neil Hamilton, the anti-sleaze candidate Martin Bell recently commented: "We have the people, he has the lawyers. Judge that for yourselves."Richard ...

  • Election 97: Legal candidates

    29-Apr-1997

    "Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book."As the General Election arrives, more than 150 lawyers have taken former US president Ronald Reagan's advice and are heading for the hustings.Of the 151 candidates from the legal profession who are standing for Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru, 72 are solicitors and 79 are barristers. Given that the main parties ...

  • Election 97: Manoeuvres on the inside track

    29-Apr-1997

    Lawyers who are MPs, or who sit in the Lords, play a prominent and obvious role in drawing up their party's policies. But their practising counterparts outside Parliament have an almost equal role, and there are many important ways they can help their party.Ashurst Morris Crisp's head of banking Stephen Mostyn-Williams is a classic example. An Islington neighbour and family friend ...

  • Election 97: The Contenders

    29-Apr-1997

    The Key PlayerLord Irvine of LairgA virtual certainty to be the next Lord Chancellor if Labour triumphs, Lairg has the respect of the legal community.Lord Irvine was pupil master to Tony Blair and his future wife Cherie in 1976-77. A talented QC and head of 11 King's Bench Walk, he has never hid the fact he has an open line to Tony Blair's political ear.Married to the former wife of Labour chief whip Donald Dewar, Lord Irvine ...

  • Ernst & Young sued over Law Society of Upper Canada's massive indemnity deficit

    29-Apr-1997

    Ernst & Young is one of five firms being sued in Canada by the Law Society of Upper Canada over alleged mistakes in the calculation of the profession's spiralling indemnity insurance deficit.The society, which covers the province of Ontario, is claiming C$110m (£48m) following the alleged miscalculation of the deficit being carried by the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company (LPIC).It claimed that in 1991 the deficit was calculated at less ...

  • Eversheds announces a five-year plan

    29-Apr-1997

    Eversheds is about to unveil to its 287 partners a five-year strategy that will include a streamlined management structure and new profit-sharing.Chair Keith James would not reveal the details, but it is understood one option could be the merger of the current seven regional profit-sharing centres into one.There is speculation that if this happens the number of equity partners ...

  • Ex-Castle Chambers clerk to take barristers out of chambers and into cut-price service

    29-Apr-1997

    Exeter barristers' clerk Jan Wood is pioneering a unique cut-price chambers-free service under which she will retain barristers, rather than being employed by them.Aiming to create a broad-based set, Wood will initially be looking to take on 10 barristers whom she will retain at her own discretion.Wood, who was senior clerk for four years at the now disbanding Castle Chambers, will become freelance from 12 May and act for independent barristers in the Western ...

  • Financing

    29-Apr-1997

    Bracher Rawlins acted for cable TV home-shopping provider Virtual Precincts on taking a total of £500

  • Financing

    29-Apr-1997

    Wilde Sapte acted for Finnish Export Credit on the provision of a $11.5m (£18.6m) floating loan rate facility to Brazilian pulp and paper company Aracruz Cellulose to finance the purchase of a recovery boiler from a Finnish manufacturer.

  • Finers settles with £8m pay-out at eleventh hour

    29-Apr-1997

    West End firm Finers has agreed to pay more than £8m in an out-of-court settlement of a negligence claim by a former client, South Australian Asset Management Corporation.The company - formerly the State Bank of South Australia - claimed that when it made a series of commercial property loans to another Finers client, the firm failed to point out discrepancies between the property valuations for the bank and the actual purchase price of the properties.The ...

  • Firm falls at property venture hurdle

    29-Apr-1997

    A disciplinary tribunal has heard how a property centre and financial services venture by Tamworth firm Rutherfords failed with substantial losses.Five partners in the firm were fined a total of £9,000 for failing to provide clients with adequate financial protection.The London tribunal heard how Rutherfords had opened the property shop under the management of a chartered surveyor in a bid to beat off conveyancing competition from Birmingham solicitors.

  • Flotations

    29-Apr-1997

    Pinsent Curtis acted for Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance

  • Flotations

    29-Apr-1997

    Titmuss Sainer Dechert acted for the parent of the National Merchant Bank of Zimbabwe

  • Forthcoming case: Sexual harassment in the new Russia.

    29-Apr-1997

    The Immigration Appeal Tribunal is to consider the predicament of a gay Russian who claims that if he is forced to return to his own country he will face persecution at the hands of anti-gays. The 26-year-old came to the UK on a six-month visitor's visa in 1991 and has remained here since.The Russian claims that, although homosexuality is no longer a crime in Russia, gays are persecuted and killed by gangs of youths known as "Remont". He has told ...

  • French study Woolf

    29-Apr-1997

    Cameron Markby Hewitt acted as host to a delegation of four French senators which was in the UK to study Lord Woolf's Access to Justice report. The French are interested in Woolf's recommendations and in alternative dispute resolution, following a similar report, Quels Moyens Pour Quelle Justice?, last year from the French Senate's Law Commission, which came up with 36 recommendations of its own. The delegation, which was invited by James Burnett-Hitchcock, Camerons' ...

  • Gay rights law suits will increase, says Stonewall

    29-Apr-1997

    Gays and lesbians will create a new "growth industry" within law and the legal profession, which must think of ways to deal with the demand, a conference for gay and lesbian lawyers heard.Angela Mason, director of the campaign group Stonewall, told the London conference "Making the Difference", which was held on 19 April, that litigation and the courts were now increasingly being used by gays and lesbians to fight for equal rights.Martin Bowley QC, chair of the ...

  • Gorna's chambers disintegrates as former members start afresh

    29-Apr-1997

    John Malpas reportsA NEW set of chambers is opening up in Exeter following the break-up of Christina Gorna's Castle Chambers set.Gorna founded Castle Chambers in 1990, but announced earlier this month that she was standing down as head of chambers in order to concentrate on her national career.Now four members of the set have clubbed together to form their own chambers - Rougemont Chambers. The move, along with the decision of Castle ...

  • In brief: Lawrence Graham launches in the Ukraine

    29-Apr-1997

    Britain's longest-established legal firm, Lawrence Graham, has announced the appointment of a new senior partner and the opening of a new office in the Ukraine. Martyn Gowar, currently the firm's head of tax and financial management, will take over from Gavin Purser as senior partner. Gowar said the firm would continue with the strategy developed over the last year to concentrate on insurance, ...

  • In brief: LCD says no to equality working party

    29-Apr-1997

    A request for a working party to look into the levels of ethnic minority representation and the incidence of sex discrimination among magistrates has been refused by the Lord Chancellor's Department, despite statistics that show that two-thirds of women employed by the LCD were in low-paid clerical and administrative jobs. Rosie Eagleson, general secretary of the Association of Magisterial Officers, who called on Laurence Oates, head of the magistrates' courts group at the ...

  • In brief: Leeds practice liable to Building Society

    29-Apr-1997

    The Court of Appeal has ruled that Leeds firm Ian Brill & Co, which acted for a man who sold his house without his wife's knowledge, is liable to the Bristol & West Building Society for breach of warranty of authority. Lords Justice Staughton, Waller and Waite upheld a Leeds District Registry decision. The ruling is significant, because it shows that solicitors may still be liable, even if people are masquerading as others, said Simon Pizzey of Bristol firm Veale Wasbrough, who ...

  • In brief: Litigation firm opens four-partner office

    29-Apr-1997

    Kennedys, an insurance and reinsurance litigation firm, has opened a four-partner City office in Mark Lane. Newly-elected senior partner Nick Thomas commented on the benefits of "more central meeting facilities and a 'drop-off point' where files can be copied and returned without delay".

  • In brief: New firm born of Giroux and Stibbe Simont

    29-Apr-1997

    French firms Giroux Buhagiar & Associes and Stibbe Simont Monahan Duhot are set to merge, forming a new firm Stibbe Simont Monahan Duhot & Giroux. The new firm will be based in Stibbe Simont's existing office with 23 Giroux lawyers joining Stibbe Simont's 70 Paris-based lawyers.

  • In brief: Randall quits Law Society after 10 years

    29-Apr-1997

    John Randall, director of professional standards at the Law Society, has announced he is leaving the society where he worked for 10 years, to take up an appointment as chief executive of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Tony Girling, Law Society president, paid tribute to the way Randall "raised standards" within the profession.See John Randall's article on page 6

  • In brief: Shoosmiths & Harrison pick up Pickin

    29-Apr-1997

    Andrew Pickin, former head of Eversheds' East Midlands commercial department, has joined Shoosmiths & Harrison as a partner. Pickin, who specialises in commercial contract work, will be based in the firm's Nottingham office.

  • In brief: Theodore Goddard appoints new heads

    29-Apr-1997

    City firm Theodore Goddard's partners have elected corporate lawyer Peter Kavanagh as managing partner and entertainment specialist Paddy Grafton Green as senior partner. Corporate partner Kavanagh, at 38, is believed to be one of the youngest managing partners of a City firm. The firm has also appointed Graham Wilson, former managing director of United News & Media, as non-executive chairman of a new policy committee responsible for the firm's strategy.

  • Issues:Election 97

    29-Apr-1997

    The Tories have pledged to push through the sections of the Crime Sentences Bill that fell victim to the tight parliamentary schedule before the election. These include automatic minimum sentences for third-time convicted burglars.Having opened boot-camps to curb juvenile crime, they will also introduce Parental Control Orders. The manifesto states these "might include a requirement [for parents] to keep their children in at night, taking their children to and from school, ...

  • IT skills widespread among law students

    29-Apr-1997

    NEW research suggests almost three quarters of students starting law degrees now have some IT skills, and more than a quarter of law firms have spent £100,000 or more on IT.The paper written by Leeds University Law Faculty's David Wall, and Jennifer Johnstone of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, concludes that "widespread cultural resistance" to IT is a myth.But lack of training and difficulty in managing the introduction ...

  • Japanese review

    29-Apr-1997

    The Japanese Ministry of Justice is conducting a review of its policy with respect to foreign law firms. According to Jonathan Goldsmith, the director of the Law Society's international directorate, the exercise is being taken as part of a move towards liberalisation. He said that Japan was facing a big bang similar to that in the City in 1986. He added that David Keating, council member and chair of the International Committee, and Law Society president Tony Girling would be in ...

  • Lawyers back Labour Party

    29-Apr-1997

    LAWYERS are standing four-square behind Labour in the run up to this week's General Election, according to an opinion poll commissioned by The Lawyer.The random telephone poll of 100 solicitors in England and Wales, which shows the Labour Party enjoying a commanding 23 per cent lead over the Tories, puts Labour on 55 per cent, the Tories on 32 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 8 per cent.It also shows strong endorsement for a range of Labour manifesto ...

  • Legal aid neglects solicitors' fees, claims leading lawyer

    29-Apr-1997

    TOO much legal aid money is spent on unregulated expert witness fees and disbursements and not enough on solicitor’s fees, a prominent solicitor has argued.Judith Goodman, of Goodman Ray solicitors, backed by Tony Edwards, senior partner of TV Edwards & Co, and others, urged colleagues attending a Legal Aid Practitioners Group conference held in Harrogate on 19 April to campaign for a “more equitable fee structure”.She called for the regulation of QCs’ fees ...

  • Legal aid solicitor to launch software for franchised firms

    29-Apr-1997

    Liz Davidson reportsA LEGAL aid solicitor, who devised his case management software to cater specifically for franchised firms, has now gone into business selling it.Cleveland solicitor Keith Wilson, of Redcar firm Wilson MacDonald, joined forces with computer consultants Chris Proud and John Benson to devise Fransys, a system designed to make life easier for the legal aid franchising lawyer.Last June, the group formed ...

  • Lesson in geography

    29-Apr-1997

    I was amused by the The Tulkinghorn piece "Hit in the Balkans" (22 April). While it is clearly recognised that the success of Estonia, following its new independence, is matched only by that of Czechoslovakia and Hungary, Estonia, as one of the leading Baltic States, has no expansionist designs in the Balkan region.John BeevorBretherton Price Elgoods

  • Linklaters & Paines to lose tax practitioner to the Bar

    29-Apr-1997

    Leading tax lawyer Malcolm Gammie is leaving Linklaters & Paines to join the Bar and work part-time for the Institute for Fiscal Studies.Gammie, a tax partner with the City firm, is chairman of the institute's executive committee and a past president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation. He will leave Linklaters at the end of July to begin a pupillage at the chambers of Anthony Grabiner ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 29/04/97

    29-Apr-1997

    Mark Harwood Williams, admitted 1977, struck off 1995, practising at material times as R H Speechley Owen & Co, London NW10, Walford & Co, London NW2, and Carruthers & Co, London WC2H. Tribunal ordered that Law Society directions in September 1994 relating to inadequate professional service on part of Williams be treated for purposes of enforcement as if orders of High Court and ordered Williams to pay £1,198 costs.

  • Litigation Personal Injury 29/04/97

    29-Apr-1997

    Harris v Mears - QBD 10 April 1997Claimant: Gemma Harris, 1Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: Claimant seven-years-old when insurance underwriter father, who was bringing her up as a single parent, was killed in motorway accident. Father was 31 at the time of his death and had a promising career with a major insurance company. Claim against driver of vehicle in which claimant's father was travelling. Court told that had dead man, ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 29/04/97

    29-Apr-1997

    Solicitors' duty to client to whom they lent moneySwindle & ors v Harrison & anor (1997)Court: CA (Evans LJ, Hobhouse LJ and Mummery LJ) 25/3/97Summary: Client's claim against solicitors for breach of fiduciary duty upheld, but no damages awarded as breach was not cause of client's loss.

  • Litigation Writs 29/04/97

    29-Apr-1997

    A young child who suffered a brain haemorrhage and other injuries after her mother was refused a blood test during pregnancy is suing for compensation. Bianca Von Stempel, is suing Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's Special Health Authority and Hounslow and Spelthorne Health Authority, through her parents Alexander and Claire Von Stempel, for damages. The writ says Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's Special Health Authority refused her mother's request for ...

  • Lloyd's reinsurance claim

    29-Apr-1997

    The Law Lords have given leave for an appeal by Lloyd's syndicate member, Colin Baker, on behalf of himself and other members of Syndicate 947, against rulings in respect of their bid to recover sums said to be owed to syndicate members. Baker and his fellow members sued Black Sea and Baltic General Insurance which, in 1957, agreed to act as the syndicate's "fire and casualty" reinsurers under a continuous contract of reinsurance. In November ...

  • Macfarlane's shuts Tokyo office after partner leaves

    29-Apr-1997

    Macfarlanes has been forced to close its Tokyo office. The firm claimed that it could not find a replacement for resident partner Julian Howard, who returns to London after a five-year stint.Senior partner Vanni Treves said the move comes at a time when the office was enjoying its busiest year since opening in 1992. However, he said there would be "no diminution" of the firm's Japanese ...

  • Martin reveals plans for Fountain Court

    29-Apr-1997

    The first chambers director of Fountain Court said drawing up a business plan would be his first major assignment when he joins the leading commercial set next month.As predicted by The Lawyer on 1 April, Ric Martin, the current partnership secretary at law firm Masons, is Fountain Court's choice to fill its new practice management role.Martin, who takes up the post on 6 May, will enjoy the official title of "chambers director" ...

  • Martin, please don't stand for president

    29-Apr-1997

    I address this open letter to you through the columns of The Lawyer in circumstances where, although you are willing to publish it in the next edition of Caterpillar, the magazine you edit, it would come out after you had decided whether or not to run for presidency of the Law Society.Despite your repeated assertion that I support the "old guard" at Chancery Lane, you have caused me no personal offence for I can see your sense of humour shining through.Indeed, ...

  • McKennas is first UK firm to open second office in Poland

    29-Apr-1997

    Mckenna & Co has announced the opening of its second office in Poland. The office in Gdansk makes McKennas the first English firm to have two offices in Poland, according to Robert Windmill, head of the firm's Central European practice.The move coincides with McKenna's involvement in the £900m A1 motorway project through the Gdansk Transport Consortium.The new branch will initially be staffed by two "experienced" Polish lawyers: Mariusz Gasiewski, ...

  • McKennas sets UK precedent by advising US electricity companies on competition

    29-Apr-1997

    McKenna & Co has become the first UK law firm to advise on introducing electricity competition to a US state.A 13-strong team from McKennas' offices in London, Washington, and Hong Kong, which was headed by Fiona Woolf, spent 10 weeks in a specially rented office in San Francisco advising on the intro- duction of competition into California's $23bn (£36.8bn) electricity industry.Project partner Mark Bartholomew said the team had drawn on its experience ...

  • Negotiations put strike action by Law Society staff on hold

    29-Apr-1997

    Accountants and monitoring unit staff from the Law Society have called off further industrial action pending negotiations with management this Thursday and Friday.Last Monday, 28 of the 43 MSF union members in the investigation accountants and monitoring unit went on a one-day strike over pay. It was the first strike in the Law Society's history. They had planned to continue disruption by working to rule if the Law Society still refused to discuss their grievance - ...

  • Northern Bar Masonic Lodge has most judges

    29-Apr-1997

    The Northern Bar Masonic Lodge, which covers the Northern Circuit of Liverpool, Manchester and Preston, contains the highest number of practising barristers and sitting judges - 33 and 10 respectively - out of the five lodges associated with the Bar, according to statistics released recently by the Home Affairs Committee.Previous figures from the committee showed that a quarter (16 out of 64) of the judges on the North Eastern Circuit - covering Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Middlesborough, ...

  • Package offers small firms cut-price access to Internet

    29-Apr-1997

    A NEW software tool could herald cheaper access to the Internet for small law firms.Midcore Software claimed that with its new MidPoint Internet access and modem-sharing package, which was launched in the UK this week, a number of firms could pool their resources to keep on top of changing technology. The product was launched in the US last month."It does not matter whether there are two or 100 firms sharing the resource, the principle behind ...

  • Peter Herbert on accusations of playing the race card.

    29-Apr-1997

    Peter Herbert is a barrister at 14 Gray's Inn Square, chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, former member of the Judicial Studies Board, and a part-time Immigration Adjudicator.A new offence was created by a member of the judiciary at Southwark this month when Judge Christopher Hardy accused a 21-year-old black nursery nurse of deciding to "cynically and dishonestly play the race card hoping to seek politically correct sympathy from the jury".

  • Population explosion

    29-Apr-1997

    Might it not be a kindness for Tony Girling to encourage the five former leaders of the Trainee Solicitors Group to continue with their proposals to warn students off a career in the solicitors profession?The two main political parties, Hambros, the Legal Aid Board and now, the OFT, are doing their utmost in this direction.In 40 years, the number of solicitors has quadrupled, while the population of England and Wales has hardly increased ...

  • Property

    29-Apr-1997

    Paisner & Co acted for Allied London Properties on the £10.2m cash and share sale of Hagley House, Birmingham, to Newport Holdings. Pritchard Englefield advised Newport.

  • Property

    29-Apr-1997

    Morgan Bruce acted for the University of Wales College of Medicine on its leasing of a planned £3m four-storey heart research centre from the University Hospital Wales NHS Trust for 99 years.

  • Property

    29-Apr-1997

    Clifford Chance acted for Credit Lyonnais in its £31.5m purchase of the freehold of its Broadwalk House offices, part of London's Broadgate development, from British Railways Property Board, represented by Berwin Leighton.

  • Punders in last gasp entry to Hong Kong

    29-Apr-1997

    German firm Punder Volhard Weber & Axster has taken an eleventh-hour decision to open a Hong Kong office before the 1 July handover of the colony to China, following a strategic review of its international practice.The firm already has a Beijing office, which it established in 1985, and now runs it as a joint office with other members of the Punder Group, an association of six European firms, which the firm heads. According to a spokesman for the firm, the new office is ...

  • Reporting on Woolf

    29-Apr-1997

    Lord Woolf's final report was published in July last year. In it he set himself the task of mapping out what he describes as a new landscape for civil litigation.Crucial to this was a range of proposals for expert witnesses, whose present regime Lord Woolf sees as substantially responsible for the present high costs of civil litigation.In his words: "It was a basic contention of my interim report that two of the major generators of unnecessary cost in civil ...

  • Roger Pearson looks at a win for a small East London merchandiser that allows him to use the name, face and signature of Elvis

    29-Apr-1997

    Elvis may be long dead, but his name lives on - and profitably. Souvenirs bearing "The King's" name are still in huge demand among fans across the world, both young and old.Now his name has been at the centre of a fierce legal battle in the High Court's Chancery Division, which has resulted in a sign-post ruling for the merchandising industry.Stephen Whybrow, IP partner with McKenna & Co, and counsel Richard Meade, ...

  • Sayer calls for council meetings over the Internet

    29-Apr-1997

    Members of the Law Society's ruling council could soon be conducting their meetings at home using the Internet, under a scheme being mooted by deputy treasurer Robert Sayer.Sayer wants council members to be linked through a centralised bulletin board and, eventually, to conduct smaller meetings via the information superhighway instead of travelling into London."Every committee will be able to work 24-hours-a-day," said Sayer of the proposed system. He said ...

  • Settling in with experts

    29-Apr-1997

    With the publicity surrounding personal injury suits, from the tobacco cases to claims arising out of the Hillsborough football ground disaster, it is no surprise that lawyers specialising in this area have been doing their own meticulous research before choosing an expert witness.According to a survey of PI lawyers carried out by The Lawyer and accountants Levy Gee, the most important criterion for selecting an accountant was the expert witness experience of the firm or ...

  • Sexual inequalities still prevalent in profession

    29-Apr-1997

    A SURVEY of law firms shows that the long march towards sexual equality is still marked by "deplorable" attitudes and is moving at a snail's pace, according to the the Young Women Lawyers group.Unequal pay, inadequate promotion, and an "astonishing" attitude to parental leave still hamper women and men's careers, is the group's analysis of the findings of its survey of the largest 200 law firms.The group's chair, Clare McGlynn, has even questioned ...

  • Simmons recruits

    29-Apr-1997

    The Paris office of City firm Simmons & Simmons has expanded its corporate practice with the appointment of Jaques de Taisne, who joins as a partner from 1 May. De Taisne leaves De Pardeu Brocas Maffei & Associes, the French member of the Punder Group, where he was a partner. His specialist areas of corporate law are mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, project finance and cross-border transactions. He also practices banking law and litigation. De Taisne's appointment is part ...

  • Spoilt for choice

    29-Apr-1997

    Six months after its launch, the Expert Witness Institute has received nearly 400 applications for individual membership and is well on the way to its first year target of 500.The Law Society and Bar Council are among the six professional bodies to have joined to date, along with three corporate organisations. The institute has written to the top 20 solicitors' firms asking if they would like to become founding sponsors for a one-off £2,500.Sir Michael ...

  • Stacking the odds against the defence

    29-Apr-1997

    With the coming into force, on 1 April 1997, of the disclosure provisions of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996, the prosecution's common law duty of disclosure, developed and expounded in a series of recent cases following the landmark decision in R v Ward (1993, 96 CAR), is henceforth abolished for all purposes other than in public interest immunity claims.In a typically resonant judgment in R v Brown (W) (1995, 1 ...

  • Staying on the ball in the box

    29-Apr-1997

    Expert witnesses have been much in the news recently. Their role has been analysed, and emphasis placed on the education and training they need to enable them to fulfil their role in litigation. Experts are regularly exhorted to independence of mind, and receive many tips on how to present their evidence.But what is it actually like being in the witness box? After all, most of those offering advice are lawyers: inevitably they are approaching this question as observers rather ...

  • Stephensons in Greek linkup

    29-Apr-1997

    City firm Stephenson Harwood has entered into an association with a Greek firm, in a move designed to improve access for clients whose interests lie in Greece, the Balkans and Eastern Europe.The arrangement is with Athens-based Elias SP Paraskevas Attorneys at Law 1933, which has more than 20 lawyers. It will concentrate on corporate finance, banking and capital markets, infrastructure, ...

  • The law and artistic merit

    29-Apr-1997

    In January 1995, Morison J gave judgment in De Balkany v Christie Manson & Woods Ltd after hearing seven experts debate, on historic and scientific grounds, whether a painting was or was not the work of Austrian artist Egon Schiele. The case, which was decided in favour of the plaintiff when the painting was determined to be an original, is not unique.One only has to watch television on a Sunday afternoon to learn that the world of fine art attracts expert opinion like no ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: John Abramson

    29-Apr-1997

    John Abramson was born in Johannesburg on 9 August 1961. He lives in Essex and is an associate at Warner Cranston. He is also chairman of the Whittington Committee of the City of London Solicitors' Company. What was your first job?Gopher in a recording studio.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£75 per week as a vacation student in a City firm.What would you have done if ...

  • The lottery of libel

    29-Apr-1997

    It seems there is more than one national lottery. Libel damages awarded over the last 10 years range from 1p to £1.48m. They remain as unpredictable as ever, despite legislative and judicial attempts to bring them into line with personal injury awards.It has been suggested that the use of expert witnesses may stabilise libel awards, but would this really be the case?The first attempt to achieve a level of consistency was made by Section 8 of the Courts ...

  • Too many expert opinions

    29-Apr-1997

    A witness's opinion is only admissible with leave from the court, and such leave should only be given if necessary "to furnish the court with scientific information which is likely to be outside the experience and knowledge of a judge [or jury]". (R v Turner (Terence (1975) cited with approval by Wilberforce LJ in R v Jordan 1977).But increasingly we have been ready to accept that any matters of complexity are "likely to be outside the experience of the judge". There ...

  • Two more lawyers quit Mishcon de Reya

    29-Apr-1997

    In a double blow to Mishcon de Reya, its commercial partner Paul Millett is leaving to join Finers, while its part-time banking consultant and former partner Stephen Davis is moving to Stephenson Harwood.Millett, who is still negotiating his departure date, said he could not comment on the reasons ...

  • US practice hunts for English talent

    29-Apr-1997

    US firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP opened a London office last week and signalled its intention to recruit English lawyers. Linklaters & Paines former senior partner John Edwards has joined the firm.Edwards, who retired from Linklaters' late last year, had headed the firm's European Business Unit, and will be senior adviser at Akin Gump's new office, which is located ...

  • Wake-up call to the high street practice

    29-Apr-1997

    The concept of Solicitors Property Centres is one which has been discussed for years. And on the strength of the last few months, it looks set to stay firmly on the legal agenda.A meeting of 250 solicitors in Surrey recently showed that, despite the importance of the issue, there is a startling ignorance about the SPC scheme within the profession. Many high street lawyers know very little about the subject, or simply, it seems, do not wish to ...

  • Zander slams Woolf

    29-Apr-1997

    Lord Woolf’s proposed reforms of the civil justice system are doomed to failure and, far from improving civil justice, will make things significantly worse, according to a leading legal academic.Speaking at the Chancery Bar Association’s spring lecture on Monday, Michael Zander QC, professor of law at the London School of Economics, delivered a scathing attack on Lord Woolf’s report Access to Justice, in a speech he said was directed principally at the new Lord Chancellor.