28 December 1998

The Lawyer

  • Alarm over commercial rival to Forensic Science Service

    3-Jan-1999

    CRIMINAL lawyers are sceptical about using a company accredited as the first commercial supplier of crime-scene DNA profiles to the police.Forensic Alliance, which will have access to the National DNA Database, is a direct competitor to the Home Office's Forensic Science Service (FSS).It has stressed that its scientific resources, accredited by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), are also at the disposal of the legal profession.But ...

  • Alexander Harris hires Pritchard two

    2-Jan-1999

    LEADING clinical negligence firm Alexander Harris has recruited two prominent partners from rival Pritchard Englefield to head its new London office.The new office is due to open this week. However, Pritchards is declining to tell Alexander Harris when it will release Grainne Barton, partner in charge of clinical negligence, and Katherine Pedler, clinical negligence specialist partner. Both still have six month's notice to serve.Alexander Harris senior partner ...

  • AMO claims 2.4 per cent offer derisory

    3-Jan-1999

    THE likelihood of industr ial action in magistrates courts has increased following what unions have branded a derisory and divisive pay offer.The Association of Magisterial Officers (AMO), the trade union for court staff, says it will consult its 6,000 members over the 2.4 per cent pay offer.According to AMO, it is the lowest offer made to public sector workers this year. The union demanded six per cent, plus a £600 lump-sum.AMO general secretary ...

  • and plans German office

    3-Jan-1999

    McDermott Will & Emery is to open an office in Germany.William Charnley, partner in charge at the firm's London office, says the matter is "under active consideration", and the office should be open by the end of the year.McDermotts already does a large amount of German work out of its New York office - where it has two German-qualified partners.Charnley ...

  • Anger as Government presses ahead with fast-track justice

    2-Jan-1999

    The Government is pressing ahead with fast-track justice nationwide despite the fact that pilot schemes remain only half complete.The speed with which new procedures are being brought in has infuriated defence lawyers, and angered the Law Society. They predict potential chaos as magistrates, solicitor's court clerks and the police struggle to get to grips with the new procedures involved in fast-track cases.The six-month pilot schemes do not finish until ...

  • Ashursts seals William Hill sale in record time

    3-Jan-1999

    Ashurst Morris Crisp has completed its fastest ever deal in 48 hours, to advise on the sale of bookmaker William Hill.A partner-heavy team of seven, lead by Ashursts' head of private equity group Charlie Geffen, was notified of the sale to venture capitalist groups Cinven and CVC Capital Partners on 18 February.Geffen denies that any prior knowledge of the business had allowed ...

  • Baker & McKenzie boosts Mid-East role

    3-Jan-1999

    BAKER & McKenzie is increasing its presence in the Middle East by opening an office in Bahrain.It will be the first firm to have operations in the two main financial centres of the Gulf region - Manama in Bahrain and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.The new office will be headed by John Xefos, currently managing partner of the Riyadh office. Xefos will be assisted by English banking partner Ian Siddell and two US banking lawyers."Bahrain represents significant ...

  • Barrett summons one day out

    3-Jan-1999

    Barrett Homes has won the right to challenge a decision by Bexley Justices giving the green light for it to be prosecuted for making allegedly false and misleading statements over a property price list. Barretts claim the summons on 19 June 1998 was laid over a year after the discovery of the alleged offence. It claims the Trading Standards Officers had all the necessary information to issue a summons by 19 June 1997, a year within the time limit for issue of proceedings. It claims ...

  • Berrymans leaves Hall Clark in tatters

    2-Jan-1999

    City firm Berrymans Lace Mawer has taken on the senior partner and three others from London-based Hall Clark - leaving the smaller firm facing closure and 11 lawyers out of work.Beryl Whight joins Berrymans, which also has offices in Liverpool and Manchester, as a consultant. She is accompanied by partner Andrew Pieri and two assistants.The bulk of the Hall Clark practice ...

  • Birmingham duo launch specialist tax MDP

    2-Jan-1999

    A LONG-serving partner and an associate at Birmingham-based Morton Fisher are leaving the firm to set up a multi- disciplinary practice (MDP) specialising in providing financial services.Alan Meal, partner and departmental head of the business division at Morton Fisher, and associate Gareth Fatchett, both resigned at the end of last year.They are planning to set up a niche law firm in May, and offer both security and packaged financial services to clients and ...

  • Block contracts block justice

    2-Jan-1999

    Lord Andrew Phillips tucks into his breakfast at the Waldorf Hotel. "It's not access to justice, it's exit from justice," he says.It is 8am on a Tuesday morning and Lord Phillips has a busy day ahead of him. He is a practising solicitor who has to be at the Inland Revenue by 9am. In the afternoon, he is off to the House of Lords, where he is taking the fight to the Government over the Access to Justice Bill, dubbed the greatest legal reform of the century.

  • Booth elected chancellor

    2-Jan-1999

    CHERIE Booth QC has been installed as chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. She claimed: "We need education, education, education," in her inaugural speech.The Herald

  • Branding is more than skin deep

    2-Jan-1999

    It is unfortunate that Sean Brierley (City Column, 11 January) has misrepresented the contribution that marketing provides to legal and other professional firms. He assumes that "marketing" and "branding" are virtually synonymous, which they are not, and goes on to portray marketing people as brand obsessive and akin to ad people, constantly chasing new business armed with pots of money for logo identity and promotions, unconcerned with client ...

  • Call for pause for surgeons

    2-Jan-1999

    SHERIFF Albert Sheehan is calling for surgeons to consider stopping work for the day if a patient dies on the operating table, claiming the "harrowing experiences" could affect their ability to operate safely on later patients in their list. Sheriff Sheehan made the recommendation following a fatal accident inquiry at Falkirk last week. The Herald

  • Caribbean executions put on hold

    2-Jan-1999

    English lawyers working for free have helped win a stay of execution for condemned prisoners in Jamaica and Trinidad.Three prisoners - represented by Allen & Overy, among others - were last week due to hang in Jamaica, despite contrary recommendations by the Human Rights Committee.They won a reprieve, however, after Law Society president Michael Mathews faxed an eleventh-hour ...

  • Carter-Ruck in fee crisis

    2-Jan-1999

    LEADING libel lawyer Peter Carter-Ruck of Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners is facing a bill of tens of thousands of pounds for legal fees after failing to resolve a dispute with his own partners. The dispute arose when 84-year-old Carter-Ruck found his name listed as "founder and consultant", not "senior partner", on the firm's letterheads, and his name removed from the firm's website references to the libel victories for MPs Neil Hamilton and Gerald Howarth.After ...

  • Case of the week

    3-Jan-1999

    British entrepreneur James Dyson, inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, became embroiled in a filthy fight with competitors and was found guilty of "aggressive and untruthful" advertising by a French court. The court accused Dyson of exaggerating the benefits of baglessness and unfairly portraying his competitors. The court said Dyson used "abnormal" dust in TV adverts showing how conventional cleaners left behind pollen, germs, beetle excrement ...

  • Chequered history of the OSS

    3-Jan-1999

    THE OFFICE for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) has had a troubled history. It formed in 1996 as a replacement for the much-maligned Solicitors' Complaints Bureau (SCB). Critics called the OSS: "The same leopard with the same spots."The OSS receives about 40,000-plus complaints a year and has a backlog of 5,000 case files.There is a delay of 26 weeks from when complaints are first referred to the OSS. The Law Society admits this is "totally unacceptable".

  • City firms cash in on German middle-tier flotation boom

    3-Jan-1999

    UK practices with German- bases are cashing in on capital markets work as the English passion for flotations spreads to Germany.Casper Lawson, a partner at Linklaters & Alliance in Frankfurt, says the firm has received 12 instructions in the past three weeks from companies hoping to float - a phenomenal amount for German markets.The race onto the stock exchange has picked up ...

  • Coker denies discrimination suit is politically motivated

    3-Jan-1999

    TWO solicitors who are taking the Lord Chancellor to an industrial tribunal for sex and race discrimination have hit out at his claims that their action is politically motivated.Jane Coker and Martha Osamor are bringing the case over the appointment of Garry Hart as Lord Irvine's special adviser.Coker of north London law firm Jane Coker & Partners says: "It is scandalous to call it politically motivated. That is just not the case."Irvine appointed ...

  • Collision compensation case

    2-Jan-1999

    The House of Lords currently considering whether to give the go-ahead for an appeal in a case centring on a collision between two vessels in the Straits of Singapore. The owners of the Herceg Novi are seeking to challenge an appeal court ruling last July, which over-turned an earlier Admiralty Court decision that proceedings brought by them in respect of the collision should be stayed, pending the outcome of parallel proceedings in the courts of Singapore. The case raises ...

  • Column:Now is the time to take action

    3-Jan-1999

    Peter Herbert says Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon should resign in the wake of the Lawrence Inquiry. Peter Herbert is a barrister at 14 Tooks Court and chair at the Society of Black Lawyers.METROPOLITAN Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon's position is untenable. He now reluctantly accepts there is "institutionalised" racism in the force, as defined by the inquiry. Previously he admitted only to "unwitting" racism. Condon should either ...

  • Councils failing their tenants

    2-Jan-1999

    Your 18 January edition carried an article, "A system in disrepair" in which various council chiefs and lawyers complained that solicitors specialising in tenant housing disrepair work enable their clients to unfairly jump the repairs queue.Our local newspaper recently reported the case of a tenant who has had to live in sub-standard housing for eight years - the last three years of which were in conditions unfit for human habitation, according to the ...

  • Crime practices in eleventh-hour franchise race

    2-Jan-1999

    TWO OF the highest-profile firms dealing in white collar crime are racing to put in applications for legal aid franchises.Without the franchises, law firms will not be allowed to bid for legal aid work under exclusive contracting to be introduced in 2000.The London offices of Burton Copeland and Kingsley Napley have yet to obtain criminal legal aid franchises.Although ...

  • Crown prosecutors threaten action over 'discrimination'

    2-Jan-1999

    Furious Crown Prosecution Service lawyers are considering legal action after being passed up for promotion.The lawyers, mainly middle-ranking prosecutors, say they were discriminated against in the process to find 42 chief crown prosecutors.The CPS is accused of using performance markings in sifting internal candidates, while external applicants were judged on their application forms alone.One CPS source says: "People are very bitter they have not ...

  • David Dickinson

    2-Jan-1999

    David Dickinson is just getting into his stride as the public face of Simmons & Simmons. He is due to take over from Alan Morris as managing director in April. Sean Farrell talks to a lawyer who's got his work cut out

  • Deal gets Meek touch

    3-Jan-1999

    Corporate partner Charles Meek led a Macfarlanes team in one of the largest and most complex venture capital led buy-outs in recent times.The deal involved Safetynet, the fast-growing disaster recovery business, valuing the business at u85m."The complex part was in putting together four different deals for four vendor groups - all of which had quite different objectives - and ...

  • Denton Hall pulls out of the US

    3-Jan-1999

    Denton Hall is closing its New York office after only one year, leaving it without a US presence.Virginia Glastonbury, dep-uty managing partner of Denton Hall, says: "The reason for the closure is we are doing so much of the work in our London office that there is no point in having someone there, particularly with the use of e-mail and video conferencing."But a source claims that the office is closing because, of all Denton Hall's international operations, ...

  • Denton Hall to open in Dubai

    3-Jan-1999

    CITY firm Denton Hall will next week open an office in Dubai.Michael Doble, managing partner for Denton Hall's Middle East practice, says: "It is extremely exciting for us to have been granted the first of what we hope, and expect, will be three licences.""The focus of work continues to be energy, telecoms and banking, with a developing privatisation sector. We are looking to recruit lawyers with the right expertise and background in those practice areas ...

  • Diageo's in-house lawyer quits

    3-Jan-1999

    The top in-house lawyer at drink and leisure conglomerate Diageo has quit, The Lawyer can reveal.Dr Ken Mildwaters has resigned as general counsel and group legal director, and will leave the company at the end of June.Diageo was formed in 1997 following the merger of leisure giants Guinness and Grand Metropolitan.Mildwaters, who joined Guinness from Theodore Goddard in 1993, is, according to Diageo, planning to spend more time in "his role as a visiting ...

  • Dibbs pays the price of its 'kick ass' culture

    2-Jan-1999

    IF YOU can never think of a witty remark with which to inscribe a leaving card, spare a thought for those left at Dibb Lupton Alsop, whose collective comic inspiration must be running a little low.Last Friday the drinks were bought in honour of partner Alan Fisher, head of insurance in the London office, who is going to Elbourne Mitchell as an engineering risk specialist after three years with Dibbs.Managing partner Nigel Knowles' view on Fisher's departure ...

  • Dibbs' London insurance head quits for Elbornes

    2-Jan-1999

    The head of Dibb Lupton Alsop's London insurance office has left the firm.Alan Fisher, who has been with Dibbs for three years and was formerly with Davies Arnold Cooper, will join City firm Elborne Mitchell as a partner.Andrew Pincott, senior partner at Elborne Mitchell, says the firm is welcoming Fisher for his specialist expertise: "Alan is quite well known for doing major work with a scientific slant. He was retained on the Heathrow tunnel case, for ...

  • Digest

    3-Jan-1999

    Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, New York's largest law firm, is taking on top antitrust partners in Europe for its Brussels office. James Venit is moving from rival US firm Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, where he was Brussels senior partner. Venit acted for AOL on its $140bn (£92.8bn) merger with Time Warner. At Skaddens he will work alongside head of the EC competition ...

  • Digest

    2-Jan-1999

    AMOROUS emails could land office Romeos and Juliets in court. UK companies are cracking down on staff who send libellous or sexually explicit messages on their employers' email systems, by implementing tough guidelines. Fox Williams partner Jane Mann says: "Companies are drawing up codes because without them, their chances of escaping prosecution for wrongfully dismissing guilty staff are slim." ...

  • Door opens to trainees at Law Soc

    2-Jan-1999

    A recent Law Society council resignation has reopened the possibility of the Trainee Solicitors Group (TSG) gaining representation. A TSG member intends to stand in the forthcoming by-election.Robert Roscoe, who resigned his City of Westminster seat in December last year, leaves the door open for Charles Fraser, assistant solicitor at Witham Weld and member of the TSG, to run in the by-election, the results of which will be announced later this month.The TSG ...

  • Electronic tagging starts

    2-Jan-1999

    ABOUT 57 prisoners in England and Wales were released last week as part of the world's biggest electronic tagging experiment. The Home Office expects 30,000 prisoners to end their sentences at home under the scheme.The Express

  • Employed bar enraged by defeat of rights plan

    2-Jan-1999

    Employed barristers say they are outraged at the House of Lords' rejection of the Government's plan to extend their rights of audience to the higher courts.The Bar Association for Commerce Finance and Industry says it is amazed and dismayed by the claim, made by Lords Ackner and Hutchinson, that in-house lawyers cannot be trusted to have high court rights of audience.Bacfi chairman Susan Ward says: "What is shocking to us is that this unfounded claim ...

  • Employment solicitors slam government tactics

    2-Jan-1999

    THE GOVERNMENT'S trend towards using more non-statutory regulations and codes is "undemocratic" says leading employment lawyer Barry Mordsley.Though the Fairness at Work Bill, released last week, has been welcomed by employment lawyers for granting concessions to both employers and employees alike, concerns have also been expressed at the way the law is being changed.Mordsley says that dealing with aspects of the new Bill - such as unfair dismissal, time ...

  • Eurobond tax could threaten City

    2-Jan-1999

    Cliff Dammers, secretary general, International Primary Markets AssociationBoyan Wells, managing partner, Allen & OverySimon Firth, partner, LinklatersA curious spot of Euro-meddling in the billion-dollar eurobond market is threatening a calamity ...

  • Eversheds merger talks fail to bridge the gap

    2-Jan-1999

    Last week The Lawyer revealed that merger talks between Eversheds and Bristol firm Veale Wasbrough had collapsed.The reasons given for the breakdown were somewhat non-committal. Veale Wasbrough's chairman Derek Bellew said: "It was decided that the merger would not meet the strategic objectives of either firm and we will not be pursuing further discussions." Eversheds' managing ...

  • Eversheds' partner quits for Hammonds

    2-Jan-1999

    EVERSHEDS' employment department has lost its head partner, Catherine Prest, to Hammond Suddards.Prest was the head of the employment department at the Leeds office. She will be one of two employment partners operating at Hammonds' Leeds office.Sue Nickson, national head of employment, says: "Catherine is a major player who will make a huge contribution...we look forward to working with her."An

  • Ex-Shakespeares consultant probed by fraud squad

    2-Jan-1999

    A former consultant from Birmingham-based Shakespeares is under investigation by West Midlands Police Fraud Squad on suspicion of theft.John Vernon, who worked at the firm for over 30 years, has also had civil proceedings brought against him by Shakespeares after the firm identified a number of accounting irregularities within a limited number of clients accounts under Vernon's responsibility.A judgment was obtained and a substantial interim payment order ...

  • Firm's appeal court damages claim against Midland fails

    3-Jan-1999

    A LAW firm that accused Midland Bank of breach of contract for failing to inform it of a new account offering better returns, has failed in its damages claim.Suriya & Taylor, based in Ilford, Essex, brought a test case against the bank, claiming it lost £33,000 because it was not told in May 1994 about the new clients' premium deposit account.In challenging a High Court judge's dismissal in July 1997 of Suriya & Taylor's breach of contract ...

  • Firms face overload as white-collar crime soars

    3-Jan-1999

    FIRMS acting in fraud cases are reporting a heavier case load as new statistics reveal an explosion in white-collar crime.Major UK fraud has more than doubled since 1997, accor-ding to figures released by KPMG Forensic Accounting.In 1998 there were 60 serious cases, each over £100,000 and costing a total of £279m.Ian Burton, partner at Burton Copeland, says his firm has taken on a significant amount of extra work over the past 18 months.

  • Flawed genius rises again

    2-Jan-1999

    The high-flying Irish solicitor Elio Malocco relished his days in court. Some of his cases made front-page news - in Britain as well as Ireland - making him a media star. Handsome, urbane and articulate, he was sought after by camera crews and reporters alike.Malocco was once one of the best-known faces in the Irish legal profession, a regular on TV news programmes and in gossip columns. And as if that was not enough, his wife Jane was a de Valera - a member of Ireland's ...

  • Flotations & Financing

    2-Jan-1999

    Barbara Stephenson of Norton Rose is advising Dagenham Motors on the £28.9m recommended cash offer made by Goldman Sachs on behalf of Polar Motor Investments, advised by Raymond Cohen at Linklaters.

  • Flotations & Financing

    2-Jan-1999

    Ashurst Morris Crisp partner Philip Broke led the team acting for Close Brothers - financial advisers to Hozelock Group - on the £85.1m recommended public-to-private offer for Hozelock, advised by Eversheds.

  • Flotations & Financing

    3-Jan-1999

    Hammond Suddards acted for the bank syndicate providing a £105m multi-currency loan facility to finance an acquisition by auto depot chain Kwik-Fit Holdings of continental rival Speedy Europe SA Group. Karen Jarvis, Hammond's Manchester-based banking partner, led the team. Halliwell Landau advised Kwik-Fit Holdings.

  • Flotations & Financing

    3-Jan-1999

    Pinsent Curtis acted for merchant bank Close Brothers in raising up to £30m for two business ventures under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). One, the Television Production Company, will produce programmes for worldwide distribution. The other, Traditional Free Houses, plans to acquire a portfolio of freehold pubs. The teams in both cases were led by corporate partner, Geraint Lloyd, assisted by Richard Ziegler and Georgie Hawkins.

  • From llama farmer to trail-blazing lawyer

    2-Jan-1999

    SOLICITORS Indemnity Fund (SIF) campaigner Michael Dalton is used to going the distance. As a marathon runner he is proud of his powers of endurance and his ability to keep going when things gets tough.That is just as well. Dalton, a commercial property specialist from Portsmouth, is engaged in a David and Goliath-style battle against SIF, which looks set to run and run. Cherie Booth QC, who is representing Dalton, adds an element of glamour to his struggle.Dalton ...

  • Funding Code is not pro-police

    2-Jan-1999

    YOUR ARTICLE "Funding Code will 'curb actions against the police'" (The Lawyer, last week) fails to mention two critical points. The Funding Code: A New Approach to Funding Civil Cases is a consultation document. Secondly, the code specifically states on page six that some cases, including actions against the police, may require their own criteria.The point of the document is to stimulate constructive discussion.

  • Further delay may pay dividends

    3-Jan-1999

    WE WERE interested to read the piece "ECJ employment ruling is a 'fudge'" (The Lawyer, 15 February) concerning the recent decision of the European Court of Justice on Nicole Seymour-Smith's unfair dismissal claim.While further delay is unhelpful to employers facing claims that have been stayed by the tribunals, there is a possible benefit to applicants that does not appear to have been noted.Under the Employment Relations Bill ...

  • Getting IT together

    3-Jan-1999

    The rapid growth of convergence technologies means IT law firms can no longer have a one dimensional practice. Anne McGrath reports.The 1990s have seen a quantum leap in the practise of information technology law as lawyers race to keep up with the burgeoning technology.IT law - or "computer law" as it was first, known - developed in the early 1980s with the advent of the personal computer. It was only in the late 80s and early 90s, ...

  • Glick joins CIC Video as Universal pulls plug

    3-Jan-1999

    Prominent in-house lawyer Steven Glick has found his new job transformed before even taking up his post.Glick has left his job as general counsel for Ladbroke Group and is due to begin work this week as general counsel and senior vice president of business affairs at CIC Video International.But Universal Studios has pulled out of CIC, its long-standing joint venture with Paramount.CIC distributed the studios' films worldwide, excluding the US ...

  • Government LLP plans will hamper UK firms

    3-Jan-1999

    Many would be forgiven for thinking that the enormous number of large and medium-sized UK firms opening offices, taking over firms and switching partners in major European and Asian cities indicates some kind of global British takeover.But before we all get carried away with national pride, Denton Hall has brought us back down to earth with a bump.The firm's decision to pull out of the US after only a year, leaving it without a presence in ...

  • Hammond Suddards woos Dibbs' insolvency partner

    3-Jan-1999

    Hammond Suddards has hired an insolvency partner from rival Dibb Lupton Alsop's Manchester office.John Alderton is quitting Dibbs following the impending departure of department head Peter Manning to Simmons & Simmons' London office. Manning resigned in January.The number of partners at Dibbs' Manchester insolvency department will drop from three to one, leaving just Dermot Preston.Alderton says: "There is a tremendous opportunity at ...

  • Hart tells City firms:'do more for charity'

    3-Jan-1999

    CITY lawyers should spend their professional twilight years working in the public interest, rather than earn ing even more money, says the Lord Chancellor's special adviser.Garry Hart, former senior partner at City firm Herbert Smith, took an 80 per cent pay cut to become Lord Irvine's special adviser. His salary dropped from about £350,000 to £73,000.In an exclusive interview, Hart tells The Lawyer: "Before professionals become completely ...

  • Hays DX feels the heat as 25 firms take action

    3-Jan-1999

    AN INCREASING number of law firms are investigating their invoices from legal postal service Hays DX amid allegations of over-charging.There is widespread concern after The Lawyer exclusively revealed that David Ballard, director of cost-reduction specialist BCR Associates, found savings for law firms on almost 100 occasions over the past five years.A Hays spokeswoman says: "We haven't been made aware of any problems with our lawyers."At least ...

  • Herbert Smith eyes up Canal Plus-BSkyB tie

    3-Jan-1999

    Herbert Smith is riding high on Rupert Murdoch's potential thrust into Europe, as speculation increases over a merger between British Sky Broadcasting and French-based Canal Plus.The firm, corporate legal adviser to BSkyB, refuses to comment on any involvement in the potential merger, which would create a company with a combined market capitalisation of about $23.3bn (u14.6bn).A spokesperson for the television giant declined to comment on the talks.

  • High rise boom short-lived

    2-Jan-1999

    A FRANTIC construction boom in London is keeping City firms busy with a flurry of redevelopment work. However, there are concerns that this boom may be short-lived.City firm Gouldens has recently advised on a u200m redevelopment scheme for Paternoster Square.Craig Shuttleworth, partner at Gouldens says: "We are very busy in the construction department and there is definitely an increase in work."A recession was looming only a few months ago, with ...

  • High street faces its Waterloo

    2-Jan-1999

    If war breaks out between solicitors, estate agents and mortgage lenders, who will be left standing when the smoke clears? Fenella Quinn reports from the front line.Competition in the domestic conveyancing market has never been tougher, prompting an all-out war between solicitors, estate agents and mortgage lenders.Countrywide Conveyancing Direct (CCD) - formerly Hambro Countrywide Conveyancing (HCC) - the estate agent-turned conveyancing operation, is well on ...

  • IBA demand access to justice drive in Pakistan

    2-Jan-1999

    The International Bar Association (IBA) is calling on lawyers in Pakistan to take action in the battle to improve access to justice and demanding judges to "stop meddling in politics".In a report released on Friday, the IBA targets many areas that it believes require urgent action, including terrorism, children and wo-men's issues, legal aid and the judiciary.Chief executive officer Paul Hodinott says that while legislative provisions for legal aid are better ...

  • In brief: A revolutionary pilot scheme

    3-Jan-1999

    A revolutionary pilot scheme to allow lawyers to perform conveyancing searches online - in a fraction of the usual time - is set to go nationwide within a year after landing a £4m government grant. National Land Information Service chief Peter Sizer says some of the money will be used to develop the National Land & Property Gazetteer - a national property database. It will allow lawyers to locate a property anywhere in the country, access a map of the relevant areas and electronically ...

  • In brief: Clifford Chance

    2-Jan-1999

    Clifford Chance is believed to be in merger discussions with New York banking firm Roger & Wells, according to last Tuesday's Evening Standard. Its story claimed that Chance's 271 partners discussed the move at a recent partnership meeting, but did not take a vote.

  • In brief: Guy Stobart

    3-Jan-1999

    Guy Stobart is stepping down after four years as managing partner at Bristol-based Burges Salmon. Paul Haggett, a litigation partner, will take over the role in the next month. Stobart says he will remain at Burges Salmon, which has doubled in size in the last five years, and continue to practise as finance partner in the firm.

  • In brief: Herbert Smith

    3-Jan-1999

    Herbert Smith has been appointed to advise leading UK property investor Hammerson in a £800m deal to build a Birmingham shopping mall. Hammerson formed an alliance with Henderson Investors, advised by Nicholson Graham & Jones, and Land Securities, advised by Nabarro Nathanson to fund the deal. Birmingham's Bull Ring will be pulled down and a shopping centre erected in its place following the ...

  • In brief: Holman Fenwick & Willan

    3-Jan-1999

    Holman Fenwick & Willan, the marine and insurance law firm, has hired Stuart Corner to head its new marketing department. Practice development partner Michael Donithorn says: "Stuart will be helping us to implement our strategy of developing our key markets: shipping, insurance, energy, international trade and commercial litigation. His understanding of the insurance and marine markets, as well as marketing, made him our first choice."

  • In brief: Keeble Hawson Moorhouse's

    3-Jan-1999

    Keeble Hawson Moorhouse's High Court case to test the Working Time Regulations is at a "finely balanced" stage, with Mr Justice Poole's ruling expected this week. The case taken up by mining union Nacods against RJB Mining will establish whether workers can be made to work more than 48 hours a week and whether the court can enforce such regulations. Keeble lawyer Martin Harvey says: "Both sides put very powerful arguments." Nacods is unlikely to win its injunction.

  • In brief: Linklaters & Paines

    2-Jan-1999

    Linklaters & Paines has helped Waterloo Real Estate to victory in the notorious Knightsbridge Wall case after it was dismissed from the Court of Appeal. Waterloo was declared owner of the seven-metre stretch of wall through adverse possession since the 1950s. The decision now enables the company to continue with the construction of the Normandie Hotel. Appellant Prudential Assurance, which owns the ...

  • In brief: SIF contributions

    3-Jan-1999

    SIF contributions last year paid by the legal profession amounted to u281,013,000 - an £85,558,000 hike on 1997, according to the monopoly's annual accounts. The fund has managed to reduce its shortfall from u432.6m to u359.2m. But the the annual report reveals £74.3m in projected interest payments, which pushes that total up to £433,505,000.

  • In brief: Smith Llewellyn

    2-Jan-1999

    Smith Llewellyn, based in Swansea, is acting for three people who have won legal aid to launch a case against the makers of the anti-acne drug Roaccutane, which they say drove them into a deep depression. The firm says a further nine legal aid applications have been submitted and 15 more clients are poised to join the fight for compensation against the manufacturer, Roche Products.

  • In brief: The Environmental Law Foundation

    2-Jan-1999

    The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) has been awarded £140,000 of National Lottery funding over the next three years. The charity runs a referral service to provide access to legal expertise.

  • In brief: The Law Society

    2-Jan-1999

    The Law Society has brought a criminal prosecution against a man who falsely claimed to be a solicitor, for the first time in 10 years. James Chalmers Park was fined £3,000 by Harrow Magistrates Courts and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs to the Law Society after he was found guilty of six counts of breaching the Solicitors Act 1974.

  • In brief: The Legal Aid Board

    2-Jan-1999

    The Legal Aid Board is due to launch its multi-party action panel today. Only law firms showing a designated level of experience, expertise and adequate resources in dealing with group actions will be admitted.

  • In brief: The Lord Chancellor

    2-Jan-1999

    The Lord Chancellor has appointed four new full-time immigration adjudicators. Barristers Major General Michael Clarke and Patricia Farrall, and solicitors Richard Chalkley and Nathan Goldstein will all take up their new positions before the end of March.

  • In brief: The Solicitors Property Centre

    2-Jan-1999

    The Solicitors Property Centre has yet again delayed the opening of its first shop. Registration fees of up to £750 were handed over by 700 firms in 1997 but their plans to open at the beginning of 1998 came to nothing. Its flagship collapsed in September and further shops were rescheduled for the following January. The firm now plans to open its first branch in Swansea in April and follow up with a Preston opening in May.

  • In brief: Two senior clerks

    3-Jan-1999

    Two senior clerks, Michael Martin of Cloisters and Tony Day of 12 King's Bench Walk, are taking legal advice following splits with their respective chambers. Michael Martin is currently "on leave" from chambers, while Day has formally agreed to part company with his set on 31 March. Head of chambers at 12 King's Bench Walk, Timothy Stow QC, said at the time of the split "we have done nothing wrong".

  • In brief: White & Case partner John Riggs

    3-Jan-1999

    White & Case partner John Riggs, the only non-French member serving on the Paris Bar Council, has been awarded the Ordre de Merite. The award is made in recognition of his career as a lawyer in France and his contribution to Franco-US relations, especially in the legal field. Riggs was elected to serve a three-year term on the Paris Bar Council in 1997.

  • In brief: Wragge & Co

    2-Jan-1999

    Wragge & Co is leading a nationwide campaign to stop pirate copies of Beanie Babies coming into the UK. Recently 1,000 fakes were seized at Birmingham Airport and destroyed. The Birmingham-based firm's intellectual property team is working for the collectable toy's creator, Ty Inc, and claims that some of the counterfeits are badly made and could prove hazardous to children.

  • Increase in divorce payout

    3-Jan-1999

    Divorced farmer, Martin White has been allowed to challenge a Court of Appeal ruling on a High Court order that he pay his ex-wife u1.5m instead of u800,000. White and his wife Pamela are both farmers and farmed in equal shares when they married. After they divorced, Family Division judge Mr Justice Holman ordered White to pay u800,000 to his wife and that on receipt of that sum she should transfer all her legal estate to him. However, in the appeal court, ...

  • In-house lawyer star beats jail for assault

    3-Jan-1999

    A LAWYER who pushed his lover onto a live rail at Leicester Square tube station has avoided a jail sentence. He was ordered by a judge to attend anger management classes.Greig Morrison, 31, who works in the legal department of the Really Useful Group, "kicked or shoved" David Leonard off the platform after a row on 30 July, Southwark Crown Court heard.Northern Line passengers watched in horror as Leonard convulsed face down on the track for up to a minute. Morrison ...

  • In-house threat to Law Soc

    2-Jan-1999

    IN-HOUSE lawyers may be forced to break away from the Law Society unless it supports the sector, warns the chairman of the society's commerce and industry group.Paul Gilbert will tell the group's annual dinner that in-house lawyers, under pressure from budget-conscious companies, are starting to give up their practising certificates.Gilbert, head of legal services at Cheltenham & Gloucester, says in-house lawyers may be forced to form their own body ...

  • Insolvency boost for Pannones

    2-Jan-1999

    Manchester-based Pannone & Partners is boosting its insolvency department with two new partners.Although Pannone's managing partner, Joy Kingsley, admits: "I could lie and say we went out looking for insolvency partners but we didn't. However, we are very pleased with both of them."Alex Megaw is joining from the Manchester office of Davies Wallis Foyster, while Daniel Izza is making the move down from Preston's

  • Insurers to cherry-pick low risk legal aid cases

    2-Jan-1999

    LEGAL insurers are warning that many cases approved for legal aid funding will be too risky for them to take on under Access to Justice Bill proposals, effectively denying many people their day in court.Under proposals laid out in the Bill, personal injury cases will not be eligible for legal aid and lawyers will have to fund cases through conditional fee agreements (CFAs). At present, both funding options are available.As recently as last week, the Lord Chancellor ...

  • It's been a bad week for

    3-Jan-1999

    Two cheese sandwiches, whose non-appearance at court halted an Old Bailey murder trial in its tracks, at an estimated cost of u18,000 to the taxpayer. Securicor officers said they had no time to provide sarnies because of manpower problems. Two men accused of murder said their dodgy stomachs prevented them eating the microwave meals provided by the court and refused to leave their cells until the sandwiches appeared. Other prisoners joined the sit-in protest. Eventually ...

  • It's been a good week for

    3-Jan-1999

    Amateur dramatics. A group of drama students are to perform in a musical about the Derek Bentley case, Let Him Have Justice. Bentley was hanged at the age of 19 for the murder of PC Sydney Miles, after allegedly shouting "Let him have it" during a rooftop showdown, and was pardoned last year. While the show is unlikely to be as jolly as Cats or Oklahoma, it has already gained vivacious support from Derek Bentley's niece, Maria Bentley-Dingwall, ...

  • Job was 'mistake' says ex-Eversheds tax head

    3-Jan-1999

    EVERSHEDS' head of tax Reg Nock has left after just eight months, branding his appointment "a mistake".The revelation is accompanied by mounting speculation that the firm is planning to merge with a Scottish firm.Nock joined Eversheds in June, having previously written legal tax publications at Deloitte & Touche. He left abruptly on 23 February.Nock is also a ...

  • Judges fail the truth test

    2-Jan-1999

    JUDGES came only fifth place in a British Medical Association survey of the most truthful people, below doctors, teachers, priests and professors, but above the police, politicians and journalists.The Mirror

  • Judith Mayhew

    3-Jan-1999

    Senior Wilde Sapte lawyer Judith Mayhew tells Sean Farrell why she's out to break law firms ruling dominance in the City.Wilde Sapte lawyer Judith Mayhew is set to emerge as the third candidate standing against Ken Livingstone and Jeffrey Archer in the elections for mMayor of London. She already works 18-hour days, combining her role as Wilde Sapte's director of training and employment law and chairmanship of the Corporation of London's policy and resources ...

  • LAB public interest case fund slammed

    2-Jan-1999

    The Legal Aid Board's (LAB) approach to funding public interest cases is potentially pitted with problems, claims the Public Law Project (PLP).The Lord Chancellor's idea of funding public interest cases - those likely to produce benefits for a significant number of people or which raise important legal issues - from a separate fund was dropped from the Access to Justice Bill.LAB claims public interest cases remain a priority and in its consultation ...

  • LAB staff face huge pay cuts

    2-Jan-1999

    THE Legal Aid Board (LAB) is threatening to slash pay among its senior staff, according to an internal report leaked to The Lawyer.The First Division Association (FDA) union is accusing the LAB of planning to freeze the salaries of existing staff until inflation decreases their value by 30 per cent, and of introducing lower salaries for incoming staff.It claims the cuts are an attempt to plug a £3m administrative budget deficit.The LAB is strongly ...

  • Law Soc body: 'scrap SIF'

    3-Jan-1999

    THE LAW Society's top advisory body is urging the council to scrap the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) and let lawyers insure through a master policy, or on the open market.The call by the Interim Executive Committee (IEC) will be made when the Law Society council meets to decide SIF's fate this week.The recommendation - cautiously welcomed by anti-SIF campaigners - marks a victory for SIF rebel, Michael Dalton, since the IEC's decision was influenced ...

  • Law Soc plans opposed

    2-Jan-1999

    Four of the UK's largest regional law societies are joining forces to appeal to the Law Society council over its plans to restructure a number of committees.Members of the Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham law societies agreed to send a letter about the Law Society's governance.Their concern follows a report by the society's reform working party that could result in many of the current 160 committees and sub committees being replaced ...

  • Law will spark case work flood

    2-Jan-1999

    A FLOOD of work is predicted for employment lawyers, tribunals and courts as the Fairness at Work Bill passes into law.David Widdowson, head of employment law at Bevan Ashford, says the increase in compensation for unfair dismissal from £12,000 to £50,000 would mean many more claims, especially from emplo yees at "the top end of the market".The Employment Law-yers' Association is pressing the Government to improve funding to under-resourced tribunals ...

  • Lawrence case defence lawyer brands inquiry a show trial

    3-Jan-1999

    One of the lawyers for a prime suspect in the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence has lambasted Sir William Macpherson's judicial inquiry into his death, claiming it was a show trial.In an exclusive interview with The Lawyer, Michael Holmes, the solicitor representing Gary Dobson - one of the five accused of killing Lawrence - also reveals that a senior police officer begged his client to become a crown witness.Holmes says he was repeatedly asked by ...

  • Lawrence Graham applies for practice licence in the Ukraine

    3-Jan-1999

    CITY FIRM Lawrence Graham has applied for a licence to practise in the Ukraine.The application has not been finalised but the firm already has an association with Maritime Business and Legal Services in Mariupol in the Ukraine.A Lawrence Graham lawyer based in the Ukraine has been working closely with the associated local firm over the past year.Lawrence Graham's ...

  • Lawyer defends public apology in kidnap case

    2-Jan-1999

    Solicitor Graeme White has defended his decision to issue a public apology on behalf of the man recently accused of kidnapping two school girls.White took the highly unusual step of reading out a statement to the press on the steps of Hastings Magistrates Court, East Sussex, following the first brief court appearance of his client Alan Hopkinson.Hopkinson faces 10 charges including two of kidnap, two of abduction, two of false imprisonment and four relating to ...

  • Lawyers reap £12m in fees for Terminal Five

    3-Jan-1999

    LAWYERS working on Brit-ain's longest running legal hearing have netted about £12m in fees.The inquiry into a fifth terminal at Heathrow Airport is due to finish this month after up to 30 lawyers appeared at the hearing which exceeded 504 days.Cameron McKenna, which is leading the fight on behalf of BAA to allow Terminal 5 to be built, is understood to have earned close to £3m in fees.Sources say BAA's barristers, Lord Silsoe ...

  • Lawyers steal IFAs' market

    3-Jan-1999

    SOLICITORS are carving out a significant piece of the fund management sector for themselves, threatening the market share of Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs).Association of Solicitor Investment Managers figures show the funds administered by its 50 members have doubled from £1.5bn in 1995 to £2.39bn in the last three years.With the typical management rate being around 1 per cent, the 50 firms have shared in a £23m windfall and are now being ...

  • Legal aid firms protest

    2-Jan-1999

    THE BIGGEST legal aid firms are staunchly opposed to the Government's plans for contracting their service, a new survey reveals.Their resistance is directed at the Access to Justice Bill currently being debated in the House of Lords.One of the main planks of the Bill is the contracting of legal aid. The Government sees it as an effective way to cut costs while improving the quality of legal aid work.But a survey conducted by the Legal Aid Practitioners ...

  • Legal assessment will be logistical nightmare claims senior partner

    2-Jan-1999

    THE ACCURATE assessment of legal aid needs - according to geographical areas in London - will be a logistical nightmare, says the senior partner of one of London's foremost legal aid practices.The London Regional Legal Services Committee (LRLSC) in its draft plan, divides London into bid zones - based on existing boroughs - and must identify the legal needs of each area in different categories, such as housing and immigration.The funding available for legal ...

  • Lewis Silkin begins management rejig

    3-Jan-1999

    LONDON-based Lewis Silkin is conducting a management shake-up, creating the new post of managing partner and promoting key staff, says senior partner Roger Alexander.Under the old structure, Alexander was also lead partner of the 75-fee earner firm - a title that is now being dropped. "The title lead partner was intended to get away from the idea that I was managing partner," Alexander ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 1/2/99

    2-Jan-1999

    Arthur Stone v Mansfield Brewery (1999) - Chesterfield CC (HH Judge Pugsley) 14January 1999Plaintiff: Male, married, 51 years old at date of accident; 56 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff received damages for the traumatic amputation of a fingertip, after a door slammed shut on his right ring finger. Injuries: The plaintiff lost the tip of his finger and attempts to sew it back on failed. The fingertip became gangrenous ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 1/3/99

    3-Jan-1999

    Philip Judd v Mary Blain Shepley (1999) QBD (Rougier J) 15 February 1999Plaintiff: Male, minor, 16 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff suffered extensive injuries to his head and limbs caused as a result of a road traffic accident whereby the defendant drove her motorcar into the plaintiff knocking him off his bicycle.Injuries: The plaintiff sustained a fracture of the skull with an associated major head injury. He required ...

  • Litigation Writs 1/2/99

    2-Jan-1999

    The former manager of the Rolling Stones, Andrew Loog Oldham, is heading for a High Court showdown with record giant Virgin Records. He is suing Virgin for damages for alleged infringement of copyright. Oldham's writ seeks an injunction restraining Virgin from infringing his copyright in the song "The Last Time" made in 1963 and said to feature a performance by The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. He is also seeking an order that Virgin hand over all infringing ...

  • Litigation Writs 1/3/99

    3-Jan-1999

    Luton based electrical appliance giants, Zanussi and Electrolux Finance, face a claim for more than u100,000 over a fire which was allegedly caused by a defective washing machine. The claim has been launched by Ashok and Urmica Bhatt of Kenton, Middlesex, in respect of the fire which took place in November 1992.Writ issued by Vizards, London WC1.A widow is seeking rectification of a property transfer to exclude her step ...

  • Lord Irvine gives ground on public defenders system

    2-Jan-1999

    THE LORD Chancellor's plans to introduce a US-style public defender system has met with a barrage of criticisms from fellow Peers.The Lord Chancellor refuses to drop the idea of salaried defenders, but has bowed to pressure to include quality control measures and a conduct code for them in the Access to Justice Bill.He has also backed down over provisions which apparently limit a defendant's choice of representation, and agreed to place a duty on the ...

  • Lord Irvine's climbdown

    2-Jan-1999

    OVER the past two weeks, the Lord Chancellor has been forced to retreat on two major areas of reform. The first was the forced reduction of his powers, and the second was the removal of family law from no win-no fee agreements.As soon as Lord Irvine's proposals for conditional fees in divorce cases were revealed, The Lawyer was the first publication to point out the inherent stupidity of such a move and strong campaigning from the Solicitors Family Law ...

  • M&S caught without a licence

    2-Jan-1999

    A TEST case battle by retail giant Marks and Spencer (M&S) to ward off claims for payment in respect of distribution of newspaper extracts supplied to them by a cuttings agency has failed.In a legal action which will have major implications in copyright circles, the High Court has ruled that M&S should pay a Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) fee in respect to its unauthorised copying of newspaper cuttings.Laura Deacon of Herbert Smith, who played a major ...

  • Manchester sets to merge

    2-Jan-1999

    Protracted talks between two Manchester chambers have brought the sets to the verge of merging.It is understood that 21 tenant Manchester House Chambers and 26-tenant Queens Chambers, both general common law sets, have been in discussion for months.Head of chambers at Manchester House John Wishart says: "I'm a merger man because I believe that security for specialist groups, especially for criminal barristers, lies in that direction."A merger ...

  • McDermotts poaches Baker's Younson

    3-Jan-1999

    US FIRM McDermott Will & Emery has poached Baker & McKenzie's employment law guru Fraser Younson, as part of a hugely aggressive UK expansion plan.Younson, head of employment law at Baker & McKenzie, will join McDermotts in April to head the office's employment practice.

  • McGrigors gains team of five from Hendersons

    2-Jan-1999

    McGrigor Donald, Scotland's biggest independent firm, has poached a team of five solicitors from a rival practice.Edinburgh-based Henderson Boyd Jackson will lose two partners and three assistant solicitors.The team is headed by partner Hannah Sutter, who specialises in intellectual property, and PFI lawyer Phil Myrescough. They are taking with them assistants Ian Catto, Vikki Miller, and Stephen Trombala.Kirk Murdoch, managing partner at McGrigor ...

  • MDPs offer the chance to diversify

    2-Jan-1999

    With accountants rapidly encroaching on our work, MDPs provide a way to bring them on board and become more business-oriented, says Brian Marson. Brian Marson is senior partner at Marsons.AS LAWYERS around the globe react with glee to the challenge of multi-disciplinary partnerships (MDPs), a wealth of opportunities awaits UK law firms.Solicitors in Australia are seizing the initiative in response to the large number of accountancy ...

  • Media shuffle as eight swap firms

    2-Jan-1999

    Media and entertainment lawyers are on the move this week, with eight relocating to new firms.Davenport Lyons is the biggest winner, gaining two new partners - Richard Moxon and Stephen Digby - and a highly rated associate, Melanie Haddad.Digby, who will head up the intellectual property group, says Davenport Lyons wanted him to join because the firm recognised the growth ...

  • Miller acts on Tandy sell

    2-Jan-1999

    Edward Miller led the Warner Cranston corporate team advising InterTAN, the US-based international consumer electronics retailer, in the sale of its UK subsidiary, Tandy. The sale includes around 300 Tandy stores.The UK's largest independent mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse, advised by Olswang, has agreed to purchase InterTAN's loss-making subsidiary.Miller told ...

  • Miners lose as they win

    2-Jan-1999

    IRWIN Mitchell's record victory on behalf of Welsh ex-miners suffering work-related illnesses may be partially frustrated by DSS laws. The Government is awarding u500m to 40,000 ex-miners suffering from vibration white finger and is expected to award about u1.5bn to ex-miners suffering chest diseases.However, Manchester accountant Frenkel Topping says many of the miners who are now surviving on means-tested state benefits will lose out if their compensation boosts their ...

  • Nabarros made regional agency sole adviser

    3-Jan-1999

    NABARRO Nathanson has boosted its public sector profile by successfully securing the appointment as sole legal adviser to the South East Regional Development Agency (RDA).It is understood that Eversheds, which had previously acted for many RDAs including the South East, put in a tender for the appointment, but lost out to Nabarros.Eversheds' commercial property partner Stephen ...

  • New firm to back green campaigns

    2-Jan-1999

    TWO high-profile civil rights lawyers have launched a law firm with the objective of working for free as often as possible.EarthRights Solicitors, the brainchild of John Dunkley and ex-Leigh Day & Co solicitor Charlie Hopkins, is a public interest firm set up to help individuals, groups and green companies to use the law more effectively in their efforts to protect the environment.Dunkley, who had previously worked for the Law Centres Federation, says: "If there ...

  • Next week's news

    3-Jan-1999

    Britain's longest legal hearing, the Terminal 5 inquiry, is due to wind up after more than 504 days of evidence and arguments. Anyone who has been stuck at Heathrow waiting for a plane will have immediate sympathy for the lawyers who have been stuck there for nearly four years.

  • North west firms profit from surge in property work

    3-Jan-1999

    NORTH west firms are reaping the benefits of a surge in the commercial property market and are reacting by bolstering their practices with extra recruits.The Manchester offices of Addleshaw Booth & Co and Hammond Suddards are hiring lawyers, including a number of partners in the commercial property departments.And legal recruitment company Graham Gill & Young says it has seen a "marked increase" in the number of property-related vacancies.Liam Buckley, ...

  • Not all rethinks are a climbdown

    3-Jan-1999

    I refer to the leader column "Lord Irvine's climbdown" (The Lawyer, 1 February). Will you please stop using headlines that can only discourage the review of decisions that need to be changed?Either Lord Irvine was originally right, but circumstances have justified a change of decision - praise him on both counts - or he was originally wrong, but has corrected his decision - applaud the latter decision while criticising the former.On ...

  • Olivetti law firm chief in directorship link

    3-Jan-1999

    The senior partner of an Italian law firm which is advising Olivetti Group on its hostile billion-pound bid for Telecom Italia is a director of a company in which the computer giant has a substantial stake, The Lawyer can reveal.Sergio Erede, senior partner at Milan-based firm Erede & Associates, is on the board of directors for Wang Global, in which Olivetti holds an 18.5 per cent stake.An industry source confirms that the firm has been approached to advise ...

  • Park Nelson merges with Rayfields

    2-Jan-1999

    LONDON specialist insurance practice Rayfields has merged with commercial law firm Park Nelson.Founding partner John Rayfield is to become a full-time consultant at Park Nelson, while David Herbert, David Reid and Frank Hallam will be partners. Another five fee earners are also moving across.John Kings, head of litigation at 15-partner Park Nelson, says: "This will provide an extended depth and resource to our existing insurance and construction-related practice."

  • Partners in name only

    2-Jan-1999

    At first sight the partner exodus at Simmons & Simmons and Dibb Lupton Alsop appear unrelated.Simmons has lost 15 partners in 13 months, largely due to the imposition of binding contracts forced on partners by previous managing partner Alan Morris, while Dibbs' partner exodus has been attributed to a tough management style in the pursuit of new clients.With US firms banging on the door and offering British partners £1m salaries, some ...

  • Partners in rush for Big Five

    2-Jan-1999

    THE BIG five firms are receiving an unprecedented number of applications from partners in medium-sized outfits who fear for their future as the market consolidates.Tony Williams, managing partner of Clifford Chance, says he expects 1999 to be "the year of the CV", with at least 100 approaches from partners at other firms."Two years ago, this was almost unheard of. You might ...

  • Partners on the move

    3-Jan-1999

    Taylor Joynson Garrett has expanded its commercial property department with the appointment of Adam Marks as a partner. Marks joins from West End firm Walsh Lawson, which will be formally taken over by Kingsley Napley at the end of March.Clarke Willmott & Clarke has gained planning ...

  • Partners on the move...

    2-Jan-1999

    Stephen Digby, head of intellectual property at Withers' takes up the same role at Davenport Lyons. Head of corporate finance, David Gebbie, has also left Withers, but his ultimate destination is unknown. The two departures appear to be unrelated.Ian Gaunt, ship finance partner at Sinclair Roche & Temperley, is leaving in April, but has not yet decided on his destination ...

  • Party loyalties influence judgement

    3-Jan-1999

    THE HIGH Court ruling on 16 February to uphold the decision to reject plans to modify Liverpool Football Club stadium has highlighted the issue that party loyalties should not play a decisive role in decisions relating to planning matters.The case, R v Local Commissioner for Administration in North and North East England ex parte Liverpool City Council, centred on approval of plans for the height of the stadium roof at Anfield Road to be raised to 15.8 metres to ...

  • Peter Carey looks at the new Data Protection Act 1998.

    3-Jan-1999

    Peter Carey is senior lecturer at Guildford College of Law.Any solicitor worth their salt must be equipped to advise clients on their radically altered responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998, which establishes a new regime for the processing of personal data.The new legislation, repealing the 1984 Act ushers in fundamental changes to the responsibilities of those who obtain, store and manipulate personal data.And while ...

  • Pressure forces Lord Irvine to drop CFAs in family law cases

    2-Jan-1999

    The Lord Chancellor has admitted he was out of step with government policy after backing down on his controversial plan to permit conditional fee agreements (CFAs) in family law cases.As the Access to Justice Bill was debated in the House of Lords last week, Lord Irvine bowed to widespread criticism that CFAs would encourage "lawyer-driven litigation in marital disputes" and create huge "practical difficulties" in deciding who had won or lost a divorce case.The ...

  • Prisoner to sue Home Office

    2-Jan-1999

    Another test case centring on liability of the Prison Service for the wellbeing of prisoners is now heading for the courts. Robert Hartshorn, who was jailed for murder in 1986, has been given the go-ahead to sue the Home Office for damages in respect of injuries he received when two fellow prisoners at Gartree Prison, Leicester, slashed his face with a razor, scarring him for life. Hartshorn accuses the prison authorities of negligence and says they failed to ...

  • Prisoners hit out at high-security transfer

    2-Jan-1999

    Two inmates who were transferred to a new 'hard core' prison claim they were treated unfairly. Roger Pearson reports.JUDGEMENT is now pending in the High Court in a test case in which two men claim they have been treated "unlawfully and unfairly", having being sent to a new prison unit designed to hold the hard core of Britain's most disruptive and dangerous prisoners.During the application before Mr Justice Turner for ...

  • Privatisation

    2-Jan-1999

    David Eisenberg led a White & Case team advising on the privatisation of Qatar Telecom by means of an initial public offering. The offering of 45 per cent of its shares was valued at US$742m (u455.2m) - the largest ever equity in the Gulf region and first privatisation in Qatar.

  • Property

    3-Jan-1999

    David Nunn led a property team at Simmons & Simmons which advised Reader's Digest in the disposal of its European headquarter's offices in Canary Wharf to German open ended fund, DIFA, for £59m in a sale and lease-back deal. DIFA was advised by a Linklaters team, led by James Knox and Jurgen Hubner of German firm, Gaedertz.

  • Property

    2-Jan-1999

    Claire Milton led the Berwin Leighton team on behalf of MWB Leisure Fund II in the £80m purchase of the Star City leisure park in Birmingham. Eversheds partner Nigel Watkins represented Star City.

  • Property

    2-Jan-1999

    Gary Watson of Hammond Suddards advised the Mirror Group in relation to the current redevelopment and letting of its building in Holborn, London. Mirror Group subsidiary, Alice Developments, has surrendered its former lease of the property and accepted a long-term lease from the Corporation of London, which was advised by Tony Brian of Clifford Chance.

  • Property

    3-Jan-1999

    Nabarro Nathanson acted for Greenwich NatWest on the disposal of five property-related businesses to the William Pears Group for £21m. The deal included the sale of around 400 houses and flats owned by the five former Business Expansion Scheme companies. Partner Jerome Misso led the Nabarro team, with property aspects handled by a team led by Gerard Tomnay. Martin John of Mackrell Turner Garrett ...

  • Quote of the week

    3-Jan-1999

    "Will you please stop using headlines that can only discourage the review of decisions that need to be changed." - Andrew Pinder from Pinders takes umbrage at a "Lord Irvine climbdown" headline that appeared in The Lawyer. Sadly, the original headline, "Lord Irvine's wise and judicious reconsideration, but not back-down, of earlier wise and judicious decision" didn't fit.

  • Range of criminal evidence act quesitoned

    3-Jan-1999

    Scottish police who required case evidence from England have been given leave to appeal. Roger Pearson reports.THE HOUSE of Lords is to investigate the restrictive impact of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) when authorities in Scotland seek to come south of the border in search of evidence.The case, which has imp-lications in respect of media freedom not to reveal sources of information, centres on a search warrant issued ...

  • Recession? What recession?

    2-Jan-1999

    The Far East has crashed, Brazil is teetering on the brink of economic disaster and in the UK, retail spending is in the doldrums. Yet commercial property lawyers say they are busier than ever. In fact, despite a slight cooling-off period in the latter stages of 1998, most predict steady growth this year.James Barnes, partner at Herbert Smith, explains: "The difference between this and the previous property-led recession is that the market itself seems quite strong. It's ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    3-Jan-1999

    Retired barrister John Triay failed to impress his wife, Maria, with a hat-trick after taking herbal, Viagra-style pills. Triay's wife claims he became a "sex superman" and performed an impromptu flamenco dance wearing nothing but a hat - not on his head - in front of her and her neighbour on the patio of their Costa del Sol apartment. Maria claims the 70 year-old man - form-erly affectionately referred to by her as "the hanging judge" - demanded ...

  • Should Opra have criminal powers?

    3-Jan-1999

    Helen Cox, head of pensions group, Clifford ChanceTim Cox, partner, Linklaters and AllianceAndrew White, partner, Rowe and MawTWO YEARS after the Pensions Act created the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra), the watchdog body is ...

  • Simmons loses team of seven

    2-Jan-1999

    SIMMONS & Simmons is closing its immigration department following the loss of its entire team to Kingsley Napley this week.The highly regarded team, which includes partner Hilary Belchak, four assistants and two secretaries, left Simmons & Simmons on Friday and began work at Kingsley Napley today (Monday).Belchak says her team wants to be a major part of a small firm, as ...

  • Single fathers given rights

    2-Jan-1999

    THE Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, is giving full parental rights to unmarried fathers if they register the baby's birth jointly with the mother. Currently, unmarried fathers have to obtain a court order or make a legal agreement with the mother to gain such rights.The Daily Mail

  • Small firms find clear route to convergence

    3-Jan-1999

    Life in the world of business law firms is like a three-lane motorway. In the fast lane you have the five UK juggernauts, in the slow lane you find small, specialist practices, and in the overcrowded middle lane there is a blood-bath in the making.A number of IT law firms have been launched in recent times. How far they will go remains to be seen, but this is as dynamic an area for law firms as it is in the world of business.Computers and communications are bringing ...

  • Spanish giant ties with Portuguese and South Americans in Ibero-American first

    2-Jan-1999

    CUATRECASAS, the largest independent Spanish firm, has formed an alliance with firms in Portugal and South America, with the aim of merging to form the first Ibero-American law firm.The other partners in the alliance are Goncalves Pereira, Castelo Branco in Portugal, Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice in Brazil, and Perez Alati, Grondona,Benites, and Arntsen & Martinez de Hoz of Argentina.The combined resources of the firms will total nearly 650 lawyers ...

  • Square Mile

    2-Jan-1999

    My firm has never been involved in merger talks, and therefore neither have I. But I have plenty of friends who have. Frankly, I feel sorry for them, and this is why.The fact is that the probability of a successful merger between substantial City firms, of comparable size and stature, is both small and diminishing.Note my qualifications, then look back 10 years. I am not talking about a firm absorbing a much smaller one - Lovell ...

  • Square Mile

    3-Jan-1999

    The Bill's stormy passage through the committee and report stages resulted in a number of key government defeats. Why? The Lord Chancellor is embarking on fundamental legal reform against a backdrop of severe Treasury restrictions on public expenditure by his department.City and commercial practices should not ignore this legislation. This Bill has enormous ramifications for the future of both civil and criminal justice, and the fact that City firms see little ...

  • Straw axes death penalty

    2-Jan-1999

    HOME Secretary Jack Straw has formally abolished the death penalty in peacetime - which still existed for treason and piracy with violence - by signing the sixth protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. Straw also signed a European convention aimed at tackling corruption, which includes criminalising the bribery of officials of international organisations.The Times

  • The Firm

    2-Jan-1999

    Memo

  • The Firm

    3-Jan-1999

    I know what you are thinking. We have the Hull office and a representative office in Palermo. So why expand into Europe? A few years ago I would have agreed, but times change. As Henderson says, a European base meets client demands for quality in depth.But more importantly, everyone else is opening up in Europe - well, except Slaughters, but they've always been a rum bunch.If we're not careful The Firm will get lumped in with ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Ben Daniels

    2-Jan-1999

    Ben Daniels was born in 1971 in Lincoln. He is a solicitor at Bevan Ashford in Bristol.What was your first job?Delivery driver.What was your first-ever salary as a lawyer?Less than that earned as a delivery driver.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?Lincoln City FC mascot - dressing up as the Lincoln imp and dancing on the touchline every time Lincoln got ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Jackie Hawken

    3-Jan-1999

    Jackie Hawken was born in Bristol in 1952. She is a senior solicitor and practice manager at Bristol City Council.What subject(s) did you fail at school?Quite a few. But it hasn't stopped me.What was your first job?Petrol pump attendant.What was your first salary as a lawyer?u12,000.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?

  • The Lawyer's highest ever circulation

    3-Jan-1999

    THE LAWYER is boosting its circulation again. For the first time in its history, the legal profession's only independent weekly newspaper will be sent to about 10,000 partners in firms with 10 or more partners.The move brings The Lawyer's circulation to 31,000. This includes 13,000 assistant solicitors with zero to six years PQE, 8,000 in-house lawyers who were added at the start of the year, plus the new partners.The entire controlled circulation of ...

  • The outsider moves Inn

    3-Jan-1999

    WITH a gleaming collar and matching nail varnish, Hilary Mundella cuts a bright and confident figure."They say the sun shines on the righteous," she beams, when caught by a ray of sunlight streaming through the window of the Berners Hotel, where we met for coffee.Yet in the conservative Inns of Court, will such a brightly coloured character be seen as darkening the tastefully decorated door of a barristers chambers?Today, Mundella becomes the new ...

  • Touch down after 504 days

    3-Jan-1999

    Room GO28 at the Renaissance Hotel, overlooking Heathrow Airport's constantly congested runways, is home to Britain's unlikeliest legal office.What once was a bath, is now a makeshift filing cabinet, the wash basin vanity unit serves a tiny tea-making area, and, where once weary travellers flopped down to sleep, sits the desk of Craig Pile.Pile, Hillingdon Council's Terminal 5 inquiry instructing solicitor, is squeezed into the barely converted ...

  • Trio unite to offer insurance litigation

    3-Jan-1999

    JACKSONS, Cartwrights and Hextall Erskine are forming a consortium to pool their insurance litigation services.Bill Goyder, managing partner of Stockton-on-Tees-based Jacksons, says the consortium is considering adding further members and an announcement will be made in "a short time-span".He comments: "It is best described as a strategic alliance. I am not aware of any other consortia of this nature."The collaboration centres on the Axxia IT system ...

  • Troubled OSS to face massive shake-up, leaked letter reveals

    3-Jan-1999

    THE LEGAL Services Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, is threatening to overhaul the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS), according to a letter leaked to The Lawyer.The withering attack on the OSS was sent to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith MP. Smith's constituent John Collins last week issued a writ against the Law Society for £100,000 damages for failing to investigate properly a complaint against a fraudulent solicitor.

  • UK colleges to fund Kiev academy

    3-Jan-1999

    THE COLLEGE of Law and Queen Mary and Westfield College have announced a scheme to re-build the foundations for legal education in the Ukraine.The two colleges have won a competitive tender for a three-year project, to be funded by the UK Government's Department for International Development.The support will boost the law faculty of Kiev-Mohyla Academy. The UK colleges will not only provide technical assistance, they will also assist the set-up of a legal ...

  • US govt says 'Lowry was our agent'

    3-Jan-1999

    A British law professor held by Portuguese authorities for the past two years has been revealed as a US undercover agent, helping to break an international banking fraud ring from his Lisbon prison cell.The Utah attorney general’s office has taken the unusual step of revealing David Lowry’s work for US law enforcement agencies.It has also defended the British lawyer’s integrity as he awaits sentence at the end of this week.Utah Lieutenant Doug Witney ...

  • US law firm teams up with Radcliffes

    2-Jan-1999

    AN OLD friendship between two South African ex-pats has brought US insurance law giant Cozen & O'Connor into a co-operation agreement with Westminster firm Radcliffes.As its first move towards establishing a London office, Cozens - which with 125 partners is the 20th biggest law firm in the US - is to share the office space of 36-partner Radcliffes.The idea came about when lawyer Stan Joffe went to work for the US firm and suggested that it might contact ...

  • Victim not villain, says suspect's lawyer

    3-Jan-1999

    For a man who does not like lawyers becoming personally attached to their cases, it seems odd that Michael Holmes chose to become embroiled in the most emotionally charged case of the decade.The murder of Stephen Lawrence at a South London bus stop one night in April 1993 merited little public attention at first.But, by the time one of the five accused, Gary Dobson, had ditched his lawyers and approached the Andrew Keenan & Co solicitor in 1994, the Lawrence ...

  • Walsall firm's appeal court victory halts flood of cases against lawyers

    2-Jan-1999

    A HIGH street law firm is celebrating a Court of Appeal victory in a case which threatened to open up solicitors to a barrage of costly litigation.The Walsall firm Cox McQueen was sued by Midland Bank following a mortgage scam. The bank had arranged for the solicitors' firm to witness the signature of a man's wife on a mortgage deed. The woman who signed the document, it later emerged, was not the man's wife.Philip Bellshaw, partner at the firm, ...

  • Will Birds' wings be clipped?

    3-Jan-1999

    Bird & Bird turned itself into a top-notch IT firm at breathtaking speed. But now that it has plans to expand its practice internationally, this small player needs to be aware of problems lurking on the horizon. By Anne McGrath.Size isn't everything - as the success of London firm Bird & Bird has consistently shown. At, or very near the top, in every ranking of leading ...

  • Willoughbys wins race claim

    2-Jan-1999

    Willoughby & Partners has defeated a claim of race discrimination against the firm by former fee-earning employee Jason Davis (The Lawyer last week).Davis, who is black, took the action, heard at Stratford Industrial Tribunal, because he believed he had been forced out of the firm.He says: "The decision is very bad for ethnic paralegals seeking training contracts."He claims that another paralegal, who is white, was given a training contract.