29 January 1996

The Lawyer

  • 'Generous' US counsel wins prize

    4-Feb-1996

    THE US lawyer who supplied documents crucial to UK compensation claims for asbestos-related diseases has received a Freedom of Information Award.Michael O'Connor, a vice-president and senior lawyer of the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York, was presented with his award by Labour leader Tony Blair last week.It was given in recognition of his efforts to help UK lawyers in the asbestos hearings which went to court last week.A spokesman for the Campaign ...

  • 'Magic' family lawyers arrive to boost Withers divorce work

    4-Feb-1996

    CITY firm Withers has increased its share of "Magic Circle" divorce lawyers with the arrival of Gill Doran and James Harcus from Gordon Dadds.Withers now boasts five Fellows of the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which it believes is the highest of any law firm in the world, and five members of the elite "Magic Circle" group for practitioners working at the top end of matrimonial work.

  • A ccess to justice. Justice for the ordinary man

    4-Feb-1996

    Since the Law Society's pro bono working party published its report, Solicitors Serving Society, in May 1994, there has been a significant increase in the number of references in the legal Press to pro bono activity by solicitors' firms.Examples of such work include Clifford Chance, under the 'Business in the Community' initiative, waiving fees worth tens of thousands ...

  • Ackner won't let Mackay off hook

    4-Feb-1996

    LORD Ackner is pressing for an explanation from the Lord Chancellor for the "continuing delays" in reaching a decision over rights of audience for employed solicitors.The former Law Lord, who is a staunch opponent of higher court rights for in-house lawyers, has now tabled three parliamentary questions on the thorny issue.His third question, tabled last week, follows non-committal answers by the Lord Chancellor to his two earlier questions when Lord Mackay neither ...

  • American litigators fight their corner over civil rights

    30-Jan-1996

    MARTIN Luther King's dream for civil rights was among the main topics considered by more than 1,000 US litigators at the American Bar Association's 20th Section of Litigation meeting in Miami.A panel discussion, 'Holding fast to the dream - a symposium on civil rights', provoked a thoughtful analysis of 30 years of civil rights issues.Members of the panel included Columbia University Professor Jack Greenberg, the US Department of Justice's ...

  • Appeal judgment on asbestos case imminent

    4-Feb-1996

    LAWYERS who won a landmark victory for victims of asbestos-related disease are waiting for a decision from the Court of Appeal this week.Engineering company T&N, once the world's biggest manufacturer of asbestos products, is appealing against a decision made last October awarding damages to two victims of asbestos-related disease.This was the first time damages were awarded for asbestos claims to someone who had not worked in a plant.As children ...

  • Arab lawyers event

    4-Feb-1996

    The first meeting of the newly-formed Arab Lawyers Association will be chaired by Judge Eugene Cotran, who has agreed to become a patron of the association. The association aims to form a professional and social link between Arab lawyers who practise and study law in the UK, encouraging networking and the exchange of professional and academic ideas. It also hopes to promote involvement of Arab lawyers in Anglo-Arab transactions and cases. The meeting is on 2 April at the Law Society ...

  • Arbitration bill. 21st Century arbitration

    4-Feb-1996

    A new Arbitration Bill is presently before Parliament and will hopefully become law during 1996. Not only does the Bill consolidate all previous relevant legislation - the Arbitration Acts of 1950, 1975 and 1979 - but also strengthens the powers of arbitrators.These increased powers should enable arbitrators to force the pace of arbitration without requiring as much court intervention. Another of the stated aims of the new Bill is to rewrite the law of arbitration in clear, ...

  • Art for Art's sake

    30-Jan-1996

    A picture of sperm and chromosomes is an unusual and unlikely work of art to be found on display in a professional office, especially a City law firm.In fact law firms appear to be helping to reverse the rule noted by the late Lord Pearce "that artists do not live in the purple, they live mainly in the red".One firm, Collyer-Bristow, in Holborn, London, has a professionally-designed art gallery run by an in-house 'art panel' and a curator. The next ...

  • Balm pushes mediation to frontline for legal disputes

    30-Jan-1996

    MEMBERS of the British Association of Lawyer Mediators (Balm) are to gather for their first meeting this week.And civil law reformer Lord Woolf, patron of the new association, has been lined up to speak at the launch on Friday, to be held at the Law Society.Balm was formed to promote the idea of mediation and the role of lawyers in mediation.The association's founders believe that mediation will provide a non-adversarial way of resolving disputes ...

  • Bar claims 'success story' of China

    4-Feb-1996

    THE BAR Council is applauding China's "encouraging progress" towards a reformed criminal justice system at a time when Amnesty International is holding its world-wide "China - No one is safe" campaign.Bar Council leaders have made a series of visits to China and have been urging the Chinese authorities to adopt the safeguards and protections contained in the English legal system.The Bar welcomes China's move to consider abolishing administrative detention ...

  • Barbara Hewson sees a battle ahead after Factortame III.

    4-Feb-1996

    Barbara Hewson is a barrister at 12 Gray's Inn Square.On 5 March, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in two article 177 references, Brasserie du Pecheur SA v Federal Republic of Germany (case C-46/93) and R v Secretary of State for Transport (case C-48/93, known as Factortame III). In both cases damages were being sought from member states who had legislated in a manner incompatible with community law.The ECJ was asked to clarify the ...

  • Brief

    30-Jan-1996

    VIRTUOSO violinist Damian Falkowski has given up his full-time career in the performing arts to pursue a living which still relies on a great deal of performance.The musician, who played regularly for the London Symphony Orchestra, has signed up as a tenant at London-based set Barnards Inn Chambers.He spent 15 years as a freelance violinist before turning his hand to law. And the property specialist says there are many similarities between the two professions.

  • Bringing clarity to causation

    4-Feb-1996

    Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, sometimes nicknamed "Yuppie Flu'', has at last won legal recognition as a condition that warrants compensation in a ruling which will give hope to sufferers.A recent decision of the Appeal Court reinstated a December 1992 High Court ruling in which 53-year-old Ronald Page was awarded £162,153 for ME. Page claimed he had a relapse after a 1987 road crash which forced him to give up his career as a teacher

  • Celebration in modern art for law practice's centenary

    4-Feb-1996

    Simmons & Simmons is celebrating the past by making an investment in the future.The firm, which celebrates its centenary this year, has assembled a collection of works created in the 1990s by London-based artists.Stuart Evans, a corporate finance partner at Simmons & Simmons, worked with art dealer Thomas Dane to assemble the collection, called 'Made in London'. He is confident that the artists, who include Mat Collishaw, Nicholas May and Fiona Rae, ...

  • Charter mark for Scottish property deals

    4-Feb-1996

    A SCHEME to boost the quality of conveyancing in Scotland could see the creation of officially approved "chartered conveyancers".The Law Society of Scotland has embarked on a project to devise a conveyancing quality standard for firms to use as a marketing tool.The aim is to encourage firms to provide an expert service in return for a commercially useful charter mark.One suggestion is that solicitors who conform to the standards should be entitled ...

  • CIT foresees dangers of public access to tax records

    30-Jan-1996

    Government proposals to allow public access to the VAT Register should prevent commercial exploitation of taxpayers' information, warned the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIT) last week.And while there appears to be no strong argument for such a move, the government must also consider issues relating to taxpayers' privacy before opening up the registers, said the CIT, whose members include lawyers and accountants."It is noted that a number of representations ...

  • City firms beef up offices in Thailand and Hong Kong

    30-Jan-1996

    TWO City firms have bolstered their Asian presence with new strategies in Hong Kong and Thailand.Clifford Chance last week opened an office in Bangkok to advise major financial institutions, investment houses and multinational corporations with existing business or proposed business in Thailand.It will be run at first by seven lawyers, five of whom are Thai and come from ...

  • Clerical Medical take-over sets life assurance pattern

    4-Feb-1996

    THE £800 million Halifax take-over of Clerical Medical is likely to herald a rash of life assurance "demutualisations", according to the lawyers who helped forge the deal.Large teams of lawyers from City firms Lovell White Durrant and Linklaters & Paines worked on the take-over agreement which was announced in a blaze of publicity last week.And both sides agree the demutualisation, ...

  • Clients 'increasingly concerned' about Immigration Bill proposals

    30-Jan-1996

    THE BUSINESS community is being caught unawares by unworkable immigration reforms which will place a heavy burden on companies, says a leading immigration lawyer.Cameron Markby Hewitt partner Julia Onslow-Cole, who heads the firm's immigration group, said her business clients are increasingly concerned about the Asylum and Immigration Bill, currently at committee stage in Parliament.And she predicted a steady increase in enquiries from clients as they realise ...

  • Consortia continue fight to handle 'Gulf War' action

    4-Feb-1996

    THE TWO consortia fighting it out to help hundreds of Gulf War Syndrome sufferers sue the Government for negligence have renewed their battle to win the contract to handle the action.Tendering for the generic legal aid contract to run the multi-party action has started afresh after a landmark High Court decision to quash the board's first attempt to reach a decision last September.The Legal Aid Board had threatened to appeal against Mr Justice Ognall's ...

  • Court jails 'trusted' lawyer for multi-million pound fraud

    30-Jan-1996

    THE PUBLIC'S faith in the solicitors' profession took another blow last week when Charles Julian Deacon was sentenced to nine years in prison for his part in a series of multi-million pound advance fee frauds.His co-defendant James Fuller was sentenced to seven years.Deacon's conviction, on six counts of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of obtaining property by deception, came only weeks after Graham Durnford Ford admitted guilt on 10 specimen ...

  • Czech link for Canadian practive

    4-Feb-1996

    CANADIAN firm Strikeman Elliott has established an exclusive association with Prague firm Calfa Bartosik a Partneri.The managing partner of Strikeman Elliott's London office, Calin Rovinescu, said as part of the association two Canadian lawyers would be based in the Czech firm's office.He added that Strikeman Elliott had been dealing with a number of Czech firms since 1992."It is good, from our perspective, to have one source of information ...

  • Dates decided for pensions test cases

    4-Feb-1996

    The timetable for the personal pensions mis-sale litigation, which started last summer, has recently been decided by the judge at the Bristol Mercantile Court.The case involved more than 100 plaintiffs who claim bad financial advice prompted them to buy personal pension schemes when allegedly superior occupational schemes were available. The action had been delayed by an unsuccessful attempt, led by five of the major pension scheme providers, for a stay of the litigation ...

  • Death row/ombudsmen. Alternative dispute resolution

    30-Jan-1996

    The client puts the home buyer's survey before her solicitor. "I had this done two years ago when I bought my current property," she explains. "It didn't show any serious damp problems. But I commissioned another survey which revealed serious rising damp and wet rot. The second team of surveyors said this should have been picked up and that repairs would cost an estimated £3,000. What do I do?"If that sounds familiar, it's because it was one of the four ...

  • Death row/ombudsmen. Rough justice for an innocent abroad?

    30-Jan-1996

    No one will ever know for sure whether businessman Krishna Maharaj killed father and son Derrick and Duane Moo Young. What does seem certain is that the system which condemned him to death for their murders was rendered unfair by the prosecution's failure to disclose relevant evidence.Unless the Florida Supreme Court intervenes to order a new hearing, Maharaj will become the first UK citizen to die in the electric chair at the Florida State Prison, an hour's drive ...

  • Denmark calling

    30-Jan-1996

    I note attempts are being made by the Bar to allow on-line access to UK statute law and statutory material (The Lawyer 9 January, 'Bar calls for on-line statute law'). A big problem is, of course, the question of Crown copyright.On the continent, statute law is public material, the thinking being that citizens should have access to the law. There are no copyright considerations.Since the 1980s, Denmark's Ministry of ...

  • Dive into the financial pool

    30-Jan-1996

    I refer to the letter in The Lawyer 23 January which expresses concern about solicitors becoming involved in giving financial advice ('Not ready for finance advice').While I would agree with some of what the writer says with regard to the need for control, experience and expertise, I do feel it is necessary to put the other side of the story.Many major firms have been involved in giving financial advice for a long time. And my own firm, ...

  • Dos and don'ts

    30-Jan-1996

    There is basic, common-sense advice from both professional art consultants and the lawyers who have the job of finding the right piece of art to buy.One partner says, as a rule of thumb, that good pieces need space - don't crowd the walls.There are several other pieces of advice:take plenty of time in making your choice;do not necessarily buy the first piece that you see;one good source of art is shows by graduates, where ...

  • Duncan Lamont champions the cause of press court reports.

    30-Jan-1996

    Duncan Lamont is a media lawyer at Biddle & Co.Sir Robert Peel summed up the establishment view of the public's right to know in the last century. He said: "Public opinion is compounded of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong-feeling, right-feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs." Little has changed, at least in some quarters.The law of contempt tries to strike a balance between the right to freedom of reporting ...

  • Ex-Cabinet minister takes partnership at Beachcroft Stanleys

    30-Jan-1996

    CONSERVATIVE MP David Hunt, who was dropped from the Cabinet after last July's reshuffle, has become senior partner at City firm Beachcroft Stanleys.Hunt, the only solicitor to serve in the Cabinet since the 1970s, returns to Beachcrofts after five years. He became a partner with Stanley Wasbrough & Co in Bristol in 1970.The firm moved to London, where Beachcroft Stanleys was formed through a merger in 1988.Hunt said he wants the firm to concentrate ...

  • Face up to professional pressure

    30-Jan-1996

    An Industrial Society survey recently found workplace stress to be a serious problem in 90 per cent of organisations, leading to rising absenteeism, poor productivity, and low morale. These are the damaging effects of workplace stress and the legal profession is not immune to them.Every aspect of life is a potential source of stress. Not necessarily a bad thing, since moderate amounts of it are beneficial. It is only stress - competing demands on time ...

  • Fee system 'goes against spirit of Act'

    30-Jan-1996

    A NEW standard fee system for Crown Court trials is heavily barrister-biased and goes against the spirit of the Courts and Legal Services Act, according to a senior Law Society official.The warning comes from David Hartley, of the Law Society's legal practice directorate, who is negotiating with the Lord Chancellor's Department over the planned new graduated fees payment system.The scheme, which is expected to be introduced in April, is cost neutral ...

  • Fighting for human rights

    4-Feb-1996

    In the opening pages of Nelson Mandela's autobiography there is a credit to UK lawyer, Iqbal Meer, of Meer Care & Desai.Handling the South African president's best seller Long Walk to Freedom has been a career highlight for Meer, whose life-long passion to defend human rights in his home country has been continually thwarted.Another highlight was his recent appointment as the South African High Commission's legal adviser in the UK.Meer's ...

  • Financings

    30-Jan-1996

    Frere Cholmeley Bischoff acted for new investment trust Finsbury Technology Trust

  • Financings

    4-Feb-1996

    Simmons & Simmons acted for General Cable in a £160 million debt financing, £92 million finance lease facility and related letter of credit facility, each made available to its subsidiary, The Cable Corporation (TCC). The £160 million syndicated loan facility was arranged by NatWest Markets and advised by Linklaters & Paines. The £92 million finance lease was arranged ...

  • Financings

    30-Jan-1996

    Norton Rose advised Foreign & Colonial Emerging Markets on the launch of its Taiwan Investment Company

  • Firm joins ranks of mediators

    4-Feb-1996

    LONDON law firm Anthony Goldman has started offering mediation services to its clients in the run up to the introduction of the Family Law Bill.The practice, which has recently appointed family law solicitor and qualified mediator Kim Beatson as a partner in its family law team, rejects the idea that mediation will see the demise of lawyers.Beatson, formerly head of the family department at Russe

  • Firm may sue tabloid over drugs claim

    4-Feb-1996

    THE UK's largest law firm Clifford Chance is considering taking legal action against The News The World over a story alleging a solicitor had been arrested for possession of cocaine after a police raid on the firm's London offices.The story, which appeared in 24 March edition of the tabloid newspaper, has been described by Clifford Chance as "grossly defamatory" of the firm ...

  • Flotation

    30-Jan-1996

    Eversheds advised Century Inns on its London Stock Exchange flotation. Dibb Lupton Broomhead acted for sponsor Rothschilds. The placing and intermediary offer was worth £24 million and market capitalisation was expected to rise to £47 million.

  • Flotations

    4-Feb-1996

    SJ Berwin & Co acted for both Furlong Homes Group and Shore Capital and Corporate in the placing by Share Capital of 100

  • Flotations

    4-Feb-1996

    Herbert Smith acted for Hartlepool-based Stadium Group in its flotation. Pinsent Curtis advised NatWest Markets Corporate Finance

  • Forte's loss proves Lovells' success

    30-Jan-1996

    LOVELL White Durrant's reputation for hostile bid work will be further enhanced by its client Granada's successful £3.9 billion bid for Forte.A merger of Forte's in-house functions could also spell a job change for its legal director David Stevens, appointed to the newly-created post less than a year ago. Granada sources suggest the job of Forte legal director may be threatened by the mergers.The fierce two-month battle for Forte, thought ...

  • Goodman Phillips & Vineberg acts for Diamond Fields in ground-breaking deal

    4-Feb-1996

    Top 10 Canadian firm Goodman Phillips & Vineberg (GP&V) claims to be handling the two largest acquisitions Canada has seen this year, including the single largest take-over in Canadian history.The two deals, which involve five mining companies, have a combined value of over Can$6 billion.Both deals are being led by a securities partner from GP&V's Toronto office, Steve Halperin.Halperin is representing Diamond Field Resources, which is the target ...

  • Group puts case for threatened receivers

    30-Jan-1996

    NICHOLSON Graham & Jones partner Andrew Besser is legal adviser to a new group pressing the case for non administrative receivers, currently unprotected by insolvency legislation.The Non-Administrative Receivers Association (Nara) will represent those receivers who handle insolvency of property assets under fixed charges and are not regarded by law as administrative receivers.These professionals, who can be accountants, surveyors and in some cases lawyers, were ...

  • Hampton sets up own advocacy practice

    30-Jan-1996

    THE LEADER of the solicitor advocates' group has left his firm's partnership to set up an independent practice in association with the practice.Paul Hampton, chair of the Solicitors Advocates Association, says his decision to break away from London firm Piper Smith & Basham will give him the flexibility he needs to prosper as a solicitor advocate.Hampton, who has rights of audience for both criminal and civil work, had been a partner with the firm for ...

  • High hopes for on-line list of UK solicitors

    4-Feb-1996

    A DIRECTORY of solicitors working in the UK is now on the Internet

  • In brief: ABTA lawyer moves to private practice

    30-Jan-1996

    A member of the legal team of the Association of British Travels Agents has joined the specialist travel and leisure law unit at City practice Nicholson Graham & Jones. The firm says the appointment of Fergus Collins is the first time an ABTA lawyer has moved to private practice. Collins said of his move: "One of the areas where I am most keen to draw on my ABTA experience, and something I know my former colleagues are also keen for me to focus on, is in helping clients prevent needless ...

  • In brief: City of London Law Soc supports Mears

    4-Feb-1996

    The City of London Law Society has spoken out in support of Law Society president Martin Mears' right to pursue his agenda. The City society's president, Stuart Beare, said it was concerned about the problems being faced by law firms up and down the country. He said: "Whether or not one agrees with the president's policies for addressing these issues, we believe that he is entitled to have them discussed in an open and constructive way."

  • In brief: Collyer-Bristow adds to matrimonial dept

    4-Feb-1996

    London firm Collyer-Bristow has invited Alan Marco, head of matrimony at nearby firm Baileys Shaw & Gillett's, to join its own matrimonial department. Marco will join the firm this week as a partner. He has 30 years legal experience and also sits as a deputy district judge at the Principal Registry at Somerset House.

  • In brief: Competition law reform paper welcomed

    4-Feb-1996

    Director General of Fair Trading John Bridgeman has welcomed the Government's Green Paper on competition law reform, saying legislation on cartels was the "most deficient part of the UK's competition laws". The consultation paper, Tackling cartels and the abuse of market power: implementing the Government's policy for competition law reform, was issued by the Department of Trade and Industry last week. Bridgeman said: "The elimination of bid-rigging, price-fixing and ...

  • In brief: Dibbs strengthens IP team

    30-Jan-1996

    Dibb Lupton Broomhead has boosted its intellectual property group with the appointment of five new staff. Registered trademark agent Alan Fiddes, former head of the Linklaters & Paines' trade mark unit, joined the firm's London office earlier this month with four of his team. He became head of the Dibbs' unit. The team is made up of another trade mark agent, Georgina Evans, and three ...

  • In brief: Hertford university hosts law conference

    30-Jan-1996

    The University of Hertfordshire's department of law is co-hosting a major international conference with the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges' Association. The Lord Chief Justice will address the conference on the media and the judiciary. Called 'Images of justice - differing perceptions', the event will be held from 14 to 17 April in St Albans, the Cathedral town where the university has recently moved its law department. The department enjoyed a strong turn-out ...

  • In brief: Judges criticised after landmark ruling

    4-Feb-1996

    English judges have come under attack for valuing property rights before human rights after the European Court of Human Rights' ruling that upheld journalists' rights to protect their sources. The criticism has come from Geoffrey Robertson QC, who defended Bill Goodwin, a journalist with The Engineer, who was fined £5,000 for protecting a source. "This decision shows starkly how English lawyers are trained by English law to put property rights before human rights," said ...

  • In brief: London lawyer heads for Bosnia

    4-Feb-1996

    Partner at London firm Watson Farley & Williams Nick Towle has been appointed to assist the reconstruction of Bosnia's telecommunications sector. He is believed to be the first English lawyer in private practice to have visited Bosnia since the peace agreement last December. Towle is joining a team of consultants appointed by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. ...

  • In brief: Pilot schemes for dispute resolution

    4-Feb-1996

    The Patents County Court in London is to run two alternative dispute resolution pilot schemes lasting for two years. Judge Peter Ford, who heads the court, intends to introduce the schemes this summer. They are aimed at providing a low-cost way of handling disputes about patent, design, copyright and other intellectual property matters. Judge Ford said: "Only about 10 per cent of our cases actually go to trial. Experience shows that 15 per cent of our cases are settled during the preliminary ...

  • In brief: Property appointment at McKenna & Co

    30-Jan-1996

    City firm McKenna & Co has appointed Robin Nott from Herbert Smith as an intellectual property partner. Nott was a partner at Herbert Smith for 15 years and is qualified as both a solicitor and a patent agent. McKennas reputation for intellectual property goes back to the origins of the firm, whose founder Theodore McKenna was a patent and trademark agent as well as a solicitor.

  • In brief: Reynolds secretary wins top award

    30-Jan-1996

    Reynolds Porter Chamberlain secretary Julie-Anne Lotter has won the London Legal Secretary of the Year award, run by London Law Appointments and endorsed by The Lawyer. Lotter, who has been with the firm for 18 months, was one of 10 finalists to attend the presentation held at the Cafe Royal last week. She wins a holiday in Los Angeles. Second prize went to Marion Stiff from Lovell ...

  • In brief: SJ Berwin & Co plays host to Labour MP

    4-Feb-1996

    S J Berwin & Co welcomed Labour shadow cabinet member Margaret Beckett to its offices last Wednesday for a presentation to senior executives from the construction industry. The meeting forms part of an initiative by the Labour Party to establish closer links with industry. A spokeswoman for the firm said Beckett, shadow secretary for state and industry, chose the firm because of its "very strong" links with the construction industry. Lord Clinton-Davis, who chaired the evening, leads ...

  • In brief: Trowers takes on managing partner

    30-Jan-1996

    Ralph Picken, who specialises in private sector funding for housing associations, has been named the new managing partner at London firm Trowers & Hamlins. He takes over this week from Don Moorhouse, who, after five years in the post, returns to his previous position as head of litigation. Picken spent five years in the firm's Oman office running the banking and general commercial practice. ...

  • In brief: Weekend date for Labour lawyers

    30-Jan-1996

    The Society of Labour Lawyers is holding a conference in Manchester this weekend, called 'Access to justice - can Labour do better?'. Keynote speaker will be the party's front bench spokesman on legal affairs, Paul Boateng, and other speakers include Steve Orchard, chief executive of the Legal Aid Board, and Legal Action Group director Roger Smith. The event, which will closely examine issues ranging from miscarriages of justice to immigration matters, will be held at ...

  • Indian solicitors take up UK scholarships

    4-Feb-1996

    TWELVE young Indian lawyers have started a 12-week visit to study law in England under the British Council's Chevening Scholarships scheme.The lawyers will sit a six-week course at the College of Law before being placed for six weeks with solicitors firms.Training manager with the British Council Lindsey Russell said £121,000 was committed to the lawyers' visit."The reason for funding the scheme is to attract future leaders and opinion ...

  • IP triumph for Ashursts team

    30-Jan-1996

    Ashurst Morris Crisp has won a major intellectual property battle on behalf of Neutrogena Corporation against L'Oreal (UK) over the brand name Neutralia.The case, thought to be worth millions of pounds to the litigants, led to L'Oreal (UK) being injuncted and having to junk large amounts of product.For Ashursts, it is the biggest IP case since its programme of departmental ...

  • IR reveals winners of estates contracts

    30-Jan-1996

    The Inland Revenue has awarded contracts for the provision of estate management legal services in England and Wales to law firms Pinsent Curtis and Vaudreys.The firms, which were chosen from 105 applications, will each cover four regions as part of the three-year contract running from 1 April this year.The contract relates to all property matters within the Inland Revenue estate including acquisitions and disposals as well as related property litigation advice.

  • Jane Betts, expect the unexpected

    4-Feb-1996

    Newly appointed Law Society secretary gemera; Jane Bettw has certainly got her work cut out for her.She joins a professional body at a time of unprecedented political imbalance and sustained quarrelling. A time when even paid officers, whose objectivity has always been relied upon, have been drawn into the fray.Chancery Lane needs a level-headed, firm secretary general to cope with the turmoil of its council.No council member or Law ...

  • Labour raps 'arrogance' of Tory snub to Woolf over PFI

    30-Jan-1996

    A CONSERVATIVE MP dismissed Lord Woolf's concerns about government plans to hand over the courts' information technology systems to the private sector "with breath-taking arrogance", according to the Labour Party.Michael Jack, financial secretary to the Treasury and the Minister responsible, was giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee's inquiry into the Government's project finance initiative (PFI) last week, alongside officials from his PFI ...

  • Law Soc claims LAB response to Green Paper is 'political'

    4-Feb-1996

    THE LEGAL Aid Board has been accused by the Law Society of abandoning its advisory role to promote a political agenda.In a "commentary" on the board's response to the Lord Chancellor's legal aid reform Green Paper, the society describes its emphasis on the need for expenditure control as a "political rather than technical assessment".Complaining that the board's paramount concern is expenditure control rather than the need to secure access to justice, ...

  • Law Soc faces grassroots rebellion

    4-Feb-1996

    A FRESH wave of grassroots anti-establishment protest is threatening to engulf the Law Society.The British Legal Association and Bournemouth conveyancing fees campaigner John Edge are leading separate campaigns to stage special general meetings in order to force their agendas onto Chancery Lane.The BLA, which has around 1,000 members, is about to circulate a petition calling for a special general meeting to secure the abolition of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau, ...

  • Lawyers battle on with Maxwell case

    30-Jan-1996

    TOP fraud lawyers at Simons Muirhead & Burton and Magrath & Co are now fully engaged in the Maxwell trial following the decision by Serious Fraud Office (SFO) director George Staple to proceed with certain counts in the case.Proceedings against Kevin Maxwell, Larry Trachtenberg, and former Maxwell employees Albert Fuller and Michael Stoney are to be pursued in relation to counts 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 of the original indictment.Anthony Burton, senior partner of Simons ...

  • Lawyers? Aren't they boring?

    4-Feb-1996

    As competition for legal business intensifies, marketing and public relations have risen to the top of the practice agenda. But in my experience, lawyers - in common with other professions - are poor at selling their services and getting their message across to the outside world.Blame for the profession's communication problem can be laid at a number of doors. The current reliance on information technology and a lack of emphasis on spoken communication in ...

  • LCD review to tackle appeal delays

    4-Feb-1996

    The Lord Chancellor has announced a review of the civil appellate procedure to deal with the increasing number of outstanding civil appeals.A Lord Chancellor's Department spokeswoman said measures put in place during the past year, which include a fixed time for oral arguments and more hurdles to clear for leave to appeal, had been inadequate.Lord Mackay said: "I consider the current level of delays in the Civil Division to be unacceptable and I do not believe ...

  • LCF launches attack on new Housing Bill

    30-Jan-1996

    THE GOVERNMENT'S new Housing Bill has been greeted with dismay by the Law Centres Federation (LCF).The Bill, which the Government says gives wider choice and better quality of life to home owners and tenants, has been criticised by the LCF as "damaging" many people's rights and security.The LCF's housing development project worker Matthew Waddington said: "We anticipate massive suffering among the people we serve from the changes on homeless people's ...

  • Legal action group appoints policy officer

    4-Feb-1996

    THE LEGAL Action group has appointed a former citizens advice bureau officer to its ranks.Vicki Chapman joins the legal pressure and educational group this month as its new policy officer, taking over from Anne Grosskurth who left for the Legal Aid Board last September.Chapman qualified as a solicitor in 1985, having taken her articles at Phillips & Bucks, now Eversheds, in Cardiff. ...

  • Legal duo aids US Senate in move to halt abuse of shareholder class actions

    30-Jan-1996

    TWO American law professors have helped the US Senate stop the legal race to the courthouse in shareholder class action suits.Professors Elliott J Weiss and John S Beckerman outlined in the Yale Law Journal how institutional investors could reduce agency costs in security class actions by appointing a "most adequate plaintiff".Their work was acknowledged in the recent passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which attempted to halt the abuse by ...

  • Liability row to High Court

    30-Jan-1996

    Liability for injuries received in a horrific fire at a ski resort hotel in Andorra is the subject of a High Court row. Three women, two of them South Africans who had to jump for their lives from a 40 foot high bedroom window, are suing Top Deck Ski, trading as Top Deck Travel Agencies, of 131-135 Earls Court Road, London SW5. They accuse the company of negligence for failing to ensure the hotel where the accident happened in December 1992 had adequate safety ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 02/04/96

    4-Feb-1996

    Adrian Keith Stickland, 46, admitted 1974, practising at material times in partnership as England Stickland Erdington, Birmingham, fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £636 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed or failed with reasonable expedition to respond to enquiry addressed to him by former client’s new solicitors and failed or failed with reasonable expedition to respond to Solicitors Complaints Bureau correspondence.John Frederick McGlashan, 42, admitted ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 30/01/96

    30-Jan-1996

    Andrew Craig Larman, 44, admitted 1981, practised at material time in partnership with Williams Mann, Bristol, struck off and ordered to pay £882 costs. Allegations substantiated he wrongly drew and used client money for own purposes and those of other clients and failed to keep properly written accounts. Total claims of around £27,000 expected to be made on Solicitors Indemnity Fund as a result.Haydn Birch, of South ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 02/04/96

    4-Feb-1996

    Seaman claims for Zeebrugge horror. The case of a seaman who says he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the horrors experienced in the search for bodies after the 1987 Zeebrugge ferry disaster is to go to the High Court.Although Ioan Harries, of Clwyd, Wales, did not issue his writ until six-and-a-half years after the disaster - more than double the statutory three year limit - deputy High Court judge Anthony Thompson QC has given ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 30/01/96

    30-Jan-1996

    Keeley v West Essex Health Authority - QBD 15 January 1996Claimant: Mark St JohnKeeley (suing through mother Pat Keeley)Accident: Medical negligence at birth resulting in cerebral palsyInjury: Forceps delivery failed; delay in delivery of plaintiff; second stage of labour allowed to last three hours 50 minutes despite lack of progress and diminishing contractions; plaintiff left with athetoid cerebral palsy and epilepsy; physically handicapped ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 02/04/96

    4-Feb-1996

    Contempt of court after transfer of actionAttorney General v (1) Sarah Jane Limbrick (2) Tim Kelsey (3) John Witherow (4) The Times Newspaper (1996).QBD (Garland J) 20/3/96.Summary: Where a county court action is transferred to the High Court, what particulars of the action may be inspected for the purposes of publication under RSC O.63 r.4 without involving a contempt of court.Application by the Attorney General to restrain the defendant ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 30/01/96

    30-Jan-1996

    Liability of mortgagor after indemnity policy paymentWoolwich Building Society v Iain Roland Brown (1995).QBD (Waller J) 13/12/95.Whether a mortgager with negative equity was entitled to be discharged from liability for a shortfall on sale of the mortgaged property by the mortgagee on payment by insurers under an indemnity guarantee which mortgager had paid for.Claim by the plaintiff building society against the defendant mortgager on ...

  • Litigation Writs 02/04/96

    4-Feb-1996

    Hampshire solicitors Hugh Harris-Evans, of Southampton, and Alexander Nicholls, of Chandlers Ford, are being sued for £124,000 and damages after forged cheques were paid into their client account. The Royal Bank of Scotland has issued a writ claiming the money and damages from Harris-Evans and Nicholls who trade as Francis Nicholls & Co, and have a client account at the bank's branch in High Street, Southampton. It says two cheques drawn ...

  • Litigation Writs 30/01/96

    30-Jan-1996

    A 56-year-old County Cork business executive who collapsed after his release from a London hospital following day care treatment is suing the health authority he blames. Donald Herliky has issued a High Court writ claiming damages from Kensington Chelsea and Westminster Health Authority. It says he was admitted to Westminster Hospital on 25 March 1992 for a routine cystoscopy as a day care case and received premedication before being given a general anaesthetic. After the treatment ...

  • Lord Wolf tops bill at LAPG event

    4-Feb-1996

    CIVIL Court reformer Lord Woolf and government minister Jonathan Evans head the speakers' line-up for this year's Legal Aid Practitioners Group conference.Legal Action Group director Roger Smith will join Woolf and Evans, minister at the LCD, at the event on 27 April.The stated aim of the conference is to "help practitioners steer a path through the shifting sands of reform in legal aid and civil justice".Both the planned reform of legal ...

  • Lords look at genetics

    4-Feb-1996

    The Law Lords are currently considering whether to hear appeals in the long running patent dispute between Chiron Corporation and others, and Organon Teknika, and Murex Diagnostics. The patent at the centre of the action concerns genetic engineering, recombinant DNA technology, the structure and behaviour of viruses in general and the hepatitis virus in particular. The application to the Lords is currently on hold to give an opportunity for objections to it to be ...

  • Lots in a name

    4-Feb-1996

    At least 14 of the top 500 US companies are reported to have lost the right to use their name on the Internet. And around 50 per cent of these companies have yet to register company names. Even the likes of Microsoft have been caught; a student in Utah operated an Internet site called "Windows95" without Microsoft's permission.Instances of name stealing on the Internet are increasing. As no two addresses can be identical, the first to register an Internet ...

  • Lovells pulls off property portfolio 'first'

    30-Jan-1996

    Lovell White Durrant has just completed one of the largest and most complex property deals during 1995 when it advised new company Albion Property Investments on its acquisition of a £100 million property portfolio."This is an industry first," said property partner Simon MacDonagh."Albion is a new company which on day one has £100 million of assets and a strong, positive cash flow."Albion bought its portfolio from Legal & General Assurance ...

  • Making the net work for you

    4-Feb-1996

    Publishing on the Net is growing at an enormous pace and could prove a valuable way of advertising your firm's services as well as saving money, reports Chris DavisIn Europe, companies spend an estimated 22.5 billion ECU each year on publishing. It is an area that can benefit immensely from using the information superhighway, with printing, shipping and design costs drastically reduced.The volume of publishing on the Internet is growing ...

  • Making the Net work for you

    4-Feb-1996

    So much nonsense has been written about the Internet over the past few months and so little practical information exists on how law firms can benefit from it that it is not always obvious where Information Superhighway hype ends and the serious commercial applications of the Internet begin.So what do the Internet and the Web offer today's lawyer?At one level, the Internet is just another resource in the law office technology re-engineering process. Just ...

  • Meat industry turns to lawyers in bid to win BSE compensation

    4-Feb-1996

    FOR the few lawyers in the UK who practise contentious farming law the latest BSE scare has brought a deluge of enquiries from those involved in the meat trade.Farmers, livestock auctioneers and food companies have already asked lawyers to seek legal aid to enable counsel to explore possible courses of action against the Government.Some lawyers are predicting a class action, suggesting that there are not enough specialists for individual farmers to take action. ...

  • Memo sparks Chancery Lane fury

    30-Jan-1996

    MARTIN Mears has pledged to launch an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the circulation of a "deeply damaging" internal memo to the press by Chancery Lane staff.The president's decision to hold a formal investigation confounds the desperate pleas by other Law Society leaders for Mears to call a halt to his public criticism of staff.In a separate development, The Lawyer has learned that Law Society treasurer Mike Howells mounted an investigation ...

  • Morgan Bruce takes on European specialist

    30-Jan-1996

    Cardiff firm Morgan Bruce has appointed a Professor of European Law as part of the expansion of its international law group.Rose D'Sa, head of a new European law unit at the University of Glamorgan, has joined Morgan Bruce as a European consultant.One of her first projects will be to identify new European laws and changes in legislation which are likely to have an impact on clients of Morgan Bruce.D'Sa said: "My aim is to help Morgan Bruce ...

  • New London firms bring more names on board

    30-Jan-1996

    TWO recently-formed law firms have strengthened their practices with the appointment of new lawyers.City-based Orchard, formed last March from a management buy-out of Berman's London office, has taken on a partner and a solicitor for its commercial property arm.Gordons, the niche commercial practice launched by three senior lawyers from Baker & McKenzie and

  • News

    4-Feb-1996

    LEADING lawyers who have observed human rights trials abroad are to speak at a special Law Society and Bar Council training day.Solicitors Geoffrey Bindman and Jane Deighton are among the speakers at the human rights event, to be held on 18 May.They will share their experiences and offer practical advice through talks and role plays. Bates Wells & Braithwaite ...

  • No time for lip service

    4-Feb-1996

    I read with concern your article on expert witnesses and note the comments on the Law Society checking procedure.As the person at the forefront of the checking procedure I am anxious you are aware of the intricacies and detail involved in this process.All experts in the Law Society Directory of Expert Witnesses, and its back-up service, the Law Society Expert Witness Helpline, have supplied two satisfactory references from practising solicitors ...

  • Oasis royalties battle

    4-Feb-1996

    Although Mr Justice Harman might have made a point recently of saying he had never heard of the chart topping group Oasis, the names of their members are set to loom large on High Court cause lists later this year. A major music industry battle over royalties is now pending between the group's former drummer, Andrew McCarroll, and other members of the group, Noel and Liam Gallagher, Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs and Paul 'Guigsy' McQuiggan. ...

  • Pending QBD jury actions

    30-Jan-1996

    Jury cases which are listed for hearing in the High Court's Queens Bench Division over the course of the next two months include: Wolfe v Morris & ors (not before 29 January); Botham v Niazi (not before 5 February); Lamb v Niazi (not before 5 February); Percy v Mirror Group Newspapers (fixed for 5 February); Adams v Express Newspapers (fixed for 19 February); Al Sabah v Simon & Schuster (fixed for 11 March); Spencer v Express Newspapers (fixed for 18 March).

  • Penningtons wins contract on Falklands oil exploration

    30-Jan-1996

    THE CONTRACT to advise on the opening up of one the world's largest virgin offshore territories to the oil industry has been won by Penningtons.The City firm beat off five other contenders for the right to advise the Falkland Islands government on the exploration and possible exploitation of 44,000 square miles of ocean.The island launched its licensing round in London ...

  • Please Sir, can I have some Moore?

    30-Jan-1996

    An Appeal Court decision is currently pending about the ownership of millions of pounds worth of art treasures by sculptor Henry Moore. The judgment will have wide ranging implications for artists over ownership of their work.The works at the centre of the dispute are housed at the artist's former home in Hertfordshire and Moore's daughter Mary is waging an ownership battle over them.Moore died in 1986 at the age of 88. But his daughter, who has ...

  • PROBLEMS with the Law

    30-Jan-1996

    Society's new computer system were described as a "crisis" by staff on the same day vice-president Robert Sayer was assured "teething problems" were being overcome, it has been revealed.In the internal email, seen by The Lawyer, director of professional standards and development John Randall said he was "extremely worried" about the new computer system.The memo, issued in mid-December, is in contrast to the assurances received by Sayer in a meeting of the ...

  • Property

    30-Jan-1996

    Stones Porter acted for GE Capital Green Property in its acquisition of a £32 million portfolio of industrial properties from Standard Life, made up of four industrial estates in London and one in Scotland. Nabbaro Nathanson acted for GE Capital and Herbert Smith for Standard Life.

  • Property

    30-Jan-1996

    Taylor Joynson Garrett acted for The Canada Life Assurance Company in its £4.6 million acquisition of a freehold investment property at Bury House, 31 Bury St, EC3. Paisner & Co advised vendor Ascot Holding.

  • Reflecting the right image

    30-Jan-1996

    Most chambers have pictures on their walls. This is not surprising since each interior is designed as, or has been deli- berately kept to resemble, a 19th century gentleman's sitting-room.Of these pictures, around half are antique prints in varying stages of decomposition. Some are quite striking, but many need reframing or even restoration. The remaining pieces of art are mostly recent watercolours or etchings, mainly architectural, with ...

  • Repetition, not deviation

    4-Feb-1996

    The piece about my appearance in the Court of Appeal ('First for sole advocate in civil appeal', The Lawyer 26 March) is inaccurate. It alleges I claimed to be the first solicitor advocate to have acted as a sole advocate in the civil division of the Court of Appeal.It then quotes Paul Hampton as saying that he could not say that I was the first. The fact was I did not claim I was the first solicitor. All I did was repeat what Paul Hampton had told me.

  • Richards Butler signs up new head of employment

    4-Feb-1996

    INTERNATIONAL law firm Richards Butler has appointed Georgina Keane of the employment unit at Titmuss Sainer Dechert to its own employment department.Keane's new role as head of the department, which has been created especially for her, will start on 1 May. She will be responsible for overseeing the work of the department working alongside senior partner Tim Archer and employment partner ...

  • Rumour mill of the North East

    30-Jan-1996

    The opening of the latest Harvey Nichols store in Leeds later this year may attract Absolutely Fabulous' Patsy and Edina, but has the city's affluence brought in work for lawyers?According to those both within and outside the legal profession, Leeds has managed to ride out the recession rather well. Some insiders say the local market has managed to weather the storm better than the South East, which may be one of its attractions.Another attraction for ...

  • Scots centres not 'cleared'

    4-Feb-1996

    Recent coverage of the Director General of Fair Trading's decision to refer Scottish solicitors' property centres to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission indicated that the Restrictive Practices Court had 'cleared' the centres.This is not the case. The court did not consider whether the restrictions in the agreements concerning the Aberdeen and Edinburgh centres were anti-competitive. The judge ruled the agreements were not registerable under the Restrictive ...

  • Search for the comfort factor

    30-Jan-1996

    In Newcastle, according to one observer, the legal hierarchy is set in stone. Everyone knows their place. Dickinson Dees is at the top, and everyone else follows.This may be a simplistic and superficial view; it means the initial perception is that all the other practices in Newcastle are tilting at Dickinsons.In reality, the other commercial firms like

  • Service with a smile

    4-Feb-1996

    Although businesses cannot afford to ignore the potential of the Net, they should ensure they are fully informed before they go on-line, says George BrandonThe Internet is still viewed with scepticism by many law firms, but they cannot afford to ignore it. A recent independent survey showed that more than 75 per cent of businesses contacted are convinced it will have a major impact on their industry.This statistic is supported by companies increasingly using ...

  • SFLA gains Government rethink over divorce rules

    30-Jan-1996

    THE GOVERNMENT has agreed to increase the "cooling-off" period for divorcing couples after a request was made by the Solicitors Family Law Association.The request, by SFLA chair Nigel Shepherd in a meeting with Jonathan Evans, junior Minister at the Lord Chancellor's Department, was for couples to be given up to two years to finalise divorce if they could not agree on arrangements within the initial 12-month cooling-off period.The original Bill said couples ...

  • Slaughters presses on with Coopers & Lybrand writ

    30-Jan-1996

    SLAUGHTER and May's multi-million pound action against former Barings auditors Coopers & Lybrand and Deloitte & Touche is set for a three to four-month trial after the issue of a writ last week.The suit is on behalf of administrators Ernst & Young.Slaughters litigation partner Deborah Finkler denied the suit was merely a holding action."As soon as we receive their service acknowledgement, they will receive substantial statement of claim," said ...

  • The cyberspace trading blues

    4-Feb-1996

    The fundamental problem with the Internet is the way it functions. Digital data can flow in seconds to anywhere in the world unaffected by laws framed by reference to territories and matter. Unfortunately, when it was established by academic and defence institutions in the 1960s, the protection of intellectual property rights and the regulation of contracts were not addressed.But everything was fine until big business discovered the potential for making a lot of ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Colin Troup

    30-Jan-1996

    A Proposed flagship Solicitors Property Centre (SPC) has collapsed and the opening date of the others has been postponed once again to next January.SPC plans to get groups of local solicitors to band together to sell property in 40 centres across England and Wales while it, as the parent company, takes on the marketing.But five firms on the Isle of Wight - Buckell & Drew, James Eldridge & Sons, Glanvilles, Walter Gray & Co and Robinson ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Michael Berrett

    4-Feb-1996

    Michael Berrett is a partner specialising in personal injury work at Newbury practice Charles Lucas & Marshall. Born in London in 1956, he now lives in Wantage, Oxfordshire. What was your first job?Choir boy.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£50 for taking a judgment at Bloomsbury County Court.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?

  • The non-lawyer who united Chancery Lane

    4-Feb-1996

    THE NEW head of the Law Society's bureaucracy has broken two of its long standing taboos before even setting foot in Chancery Lane.Jane Betts, who becomes secretary general on 1 August, is both the first woman and the first non-lawyer to hold the post.A further feature of her appointment, revealed last Thursday, is the rare moment of unity it has fostered at Chancery Lane.Warmly welcoming the appointment of the former secretary of the British ...

  • TJG builds on collapse of niche construction merger

    4-Feb-1996

    CITY firm Taylor Joynson Garrett (TJG) has scooped a team of top construction lawyers following the failed merger of niche construction firms Freedmans and Church & Church.Freedman Church was formed early last year, with mutual benefits expected from the united forces of Church & Church's international focus and Freedmans' strong UK client base.In a survey of law firms with construction departments conducted by The Lawyer in June last year, Freedman ...

  • Unichem bid puts Slaughters top of City pack for M&As

    30-Jan-1996

    Slaughter and May and Ashurst Morris Crisp are leading the City elite in the mergers and acquisition stakes so far this year, with respective roles in Unichem's £514.2 million bid for Lloyds Chemists.Robert Stern is heading the Slaughters team, with Mark Wippell leading for Ashursts.

  • When the personal touch works

    30-Jan-1996

    A recent High Court £1.425 million medical negligence settlement attracted little media attention but probably rates as one of the most moving cases of its kind to reach the courts.Holly Williams, the 14-year-old at the centre of the action, was left grievously disabled after suffering oxygen starvation at birth. She was initially still-born following a caesarian birth at Pembury Hospital, Tunbridge Wells.But Williams' general awareness, ...

  • Why be afraid of an open justice system?

    30-Jan-1996

    Making justice more accessible to all has to be the way of the future. New and imaginative thinking is called for on such an awesome project.However, there are signs that this is exactly what is happening. The whole legal aid debate is no longer black and white. Even Labour's Shadow Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, points out in a recent collection of essays by leading Labour lawyers that the best way to save money is not to exclude people from ...