29 March 1999

The Lawyer

  • 24 Old Buildings head in negligence case

    29-Mar-1999

    The head of chambers at leading Chancery set 24 Old Buildings, Colin Brodie QC, is being sued for negligence.He is being sued for damages in respect of advice given in a property dispute compromise.The writ, issued by Olswang, alleges the advice either given, or omitted to be given, in respect of the effect of the compromise was negligent.Hugh Wodehouse, manager of the ...

  • 29/03/1999

    29-Mar-1999

    Cases from LAWTEL's PI Quantum Database. Contact Nick Conway on 0171 970 4803.Melton v Morgan (1999) QBD (Butterfield J) 8 MarchPlaintiff: Female, divorced, 45 years old at date of accident; 51 years old at date of trial.Incident: The plaintiff discovered a pea-sized lump in her right breast. The defendant examined her in May 1993 but conducted no further tests, advising nothing more be done. She returned two months ...

  • 29/03/1999

    29-Mar-1999

    Buckingham County Council is seeking High Court orders restraining Maurice Randall, Alan Greenwood, Greenwood Recycling and Guardcustom from dumping waste material or processed waste on land at Westhorpe Farm in Little Marlow. The council is also seeking orders to ban them from siting a crushing or screening plant to process waste on the site - except in a specified area - and to stop them from dumping material into a nearby lake - except naturally occurring excavated material ...

  • All change for railway expert

    29-Mar-1999

    DENTON Hall head of railway law is leaving to take up the government-appointed post of rail regulator.Tom Winsor, who is also a partner at Dentons' energy and infrastructure group, is expected to take a significant drop in salary when he takes over the u165,000 a year post on 5 July with a five-year contract.Winsor, who was appointed by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, has long been associated with the privatised railways.He acted as chief ...

  • Barristers fears grow on eve of CFA deluge

    29-Mar-1999

    NUMBER 1 Serjeants' Inn has taken on more than 100 personal injury cases on a conditional fee basis, but senior clerk Clark Chessis last week told The Lawyer the existing system is seriously flawed.His concerns are shared by many at the Bar, who believe they are being pushed into Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) with little evidence that they are fair to clients.The Government last summer extended CFAs to all civil proceedings except family matters, hailing ...

  • Barristers form global lobby to protect rights of children

    29-Mar-1999

    High-profile barristers have joined forces to form an international lobbying group for children.Supported by 10 silks - including Cherie Booth QC and former Bar Council chairman Peter Goldsmith QC - and several barristers, the Bar Committee on the Rights of the Child will campaign around the world."We want the voice of the Bar on behalf of the child internationally to now be heard," says the committee's chair, Jeremy

  • Bond Pearce pre-litigation unit targets insurers

    29-Mar-1999

    SOUTH OF England firm Bond Pearce has set up a dedicated pre-litigation unit for its top-end insurance clients.The unit will be headed by partners Bettina Rigg and Neil Trayhurn.Trayhurn says: "We bel-ieve that our pre-litigation unit is the first of its kind in the UK."Senior claims specialist Daren Pemberton says: "We foresaw Woolf would cha-nge things radically."

  • Call for pay-per-view ombudsman

    29-Mar-1999

    An ombudsman should regulate pay-per-view television, says the solicitor planning legal action in the wake of the heavyweight boxing title fight fiasco.Stephen Alexander, a partner at six-month-old London firm Class Law, is representing television viewers and ringside fans infuriated by the drawn fight between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield.Commentators have accused promoters of a "fix" in the contest which most neutrals felt Lewis, the British boxer, had ...

  • Case of the week

    29-Mar-1999

    If ever there was a case for reform of the House of Lords, Home Secretary Jack Straw has found it. Straw had doubtless been fervently hoping that the Law Lords would quietly dispose of the small matter of having to decide whether to extradite former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet to Spain on human rights charges. Instead they voted by 6-1 to effectively put the ball back in his court and he will now have to make a political decision on what to do with Pinochet. Of course ...

  • Clifford Chance poaches Italian rival's top partner

    29-Mar-1999

    Clifford Chance is setting up a dedicated team to advise Italian banking and financial institutions after signing a partner from top Italian firm Chiomenti Studio Legale.Alberto Del Din, senior partner in the securitisat ion and structured finance department at the Italian firm, is expected to start on 1 May.Nick Wrigley, managing partner at the Milan office of Grimaldi ...

  • Complaints against barristers increase, reveals new report

    29-Mar-1999

    THE NUMBER of complaints against barristers has risen by 15 per cent in the past year.The annual report of the complaints commissioner, Michael Scott, shows complaints against barristers have shot up from 551 to 631.The report also shows the number of complaints made by the Bar Council against barristers has doubled from 57 to 113.Scott says: “The bulk of this reflects the drive against barristers’ failure to pay insurance premiums.”Indemnity ...

  • Consultancy report slams ombudsman complaint system

    29-Mar-1999

    MOST people who have their complaints investigated by the Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman (OLSO) are dissatisfied with the service they get, a damning new report reveals.The research, commissioned by Legal Services Ombudsman Ann Abraham, says that "delay is inherent in the current system and so is dissatisfaction".The OLSO service is also perceived as lacking the personal touch and proactive communication.Consumers wishing to complain about ...

  • Councils to judge the judiciary

    29-Mar-1999

    Neil Addison says UK judges' appointments and disciplinary procedures should be compared and adjusted to Canadian rather than US law. Neil Addison is a barrister in Cathedral Chambers, Newcastle.Following the "Hoffmann Affair" the issue of how judges are appointed and disciplined is again under discussion. The incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law has also brought into question whether the present procedures, ...

  • Dibbs asked to advise Latvian govt on EU entry

    29-Mar-1999

    Dibb Lupton Alsop has been chosen to advise the Latvian parliament as part of the country's preparation to join the EU.Associate Mike Pullen, of Dibbs' Brussels office, will offer guidance on the compatibility of the country's public procurement law with the EU's public procurement directives.Dibbs has also advised the Lithuanian government in the past and has acted on EU funded legal projects in eastern Europe.Pullen describes ...

  • Eversheds' senior banking partner leaves for Pinsents

    29-Mar-1999

    Eversheds has lost one of its senior equity partners - its former head of banking - to Pinsent Curtis, just weeks after the firm's head of tax resigned.Rhodri Davies will head an eight-strong banking team at Pinsents, working closely with Susan Paton, head of the finance department.He spent two years as joint head of Eversheds banking department, alongside David Halliday.

  • Fraser Younson

    29-Mar-1999

    One of the gurus of employment law in the City, Fraser Younson is setting up his own department at McDermotts. Sean Farrell examines the details.

  • Free time to prop up the system?

    29-Mar-1999

    I read with tired dismay your editorial (The Lawyer, 15 March).In previous editions I read of lawyers who would gladly take a reduction in pay for the chance to have a life outside work. So now you're telling us that what little free time we do have we should spend propping up the "justice" system.Access to justice for all, regardless of wealth, is one of the foundations of a liberal democracy. It is the duty of the state to ensure ...

  • Gold slams City profits

    29-Mar-1999

    RENOWNED solicitor Tony Gold has used his retirement speech to launch a scathing attack on City lawyers, who, he says, are behaving increasingly like ruthless businessmen obsessed by profits.Gold, founding partner of London firm Anthony Gold Lerman & Muirhead, says he is dismayed at the stratospheric salaries earned by commercial solicitors.He says the very best should earn no more than £250,000 a year, while most partners should earn about £100,000 ...

  • Halifax shakes up its panel

    29-Mar-1999

    Halifax Building Society has reorganised its legal panel to include Shoosmiths & Harrison while dropping Dibb Lupton Alsop from repossession work.However, Dibbs has picked up the remortgaging portfolio which, it claims, is worth more than the one it has lost.Midlands firm Shoosmiths and two-partner practice Charles Caplan, based in Mayfair, London, took the repossession deal ...

  • Has hourly billing gone past its sell-by date?

    29-Mar-1999

    The legal market's own variation on the old Henry Ford Model-T maxim of, "any colour so long as it is black", or "any method of billing as long as it is hourly" is showing signs of ageing.SJ Berwin's announcement that it is to offer clients fixed fees for all IP litigation cases is the first significant move by a large private practice to offer structured ...

  • Havens fear taxing times

    29-Mar-1999

    As Britain ponders whether to join a single European currency, a small island in the north Irish Sea is threatening to sever its links with Britain and go it alone.The Isle of Man is trembling at suggestions of pan-European tax harmonisation and a single currency and has started to draw up a contingency plan for independence.While Jersey and Guernsey have issued statements ensuring everyone has a clear understanding of their constitutional status with the UK ...

  • High Court ruling opens way for Web libel suits

    29-Mar-1999

    The High Court has ruled that for the first time an internet service provider (ISP) is responsible for defamatory material posted on its sites.The historic judgment seriously threatens the existing concept of freedom of information on which the internet is based.It is thought to be the first definitive ruling by an English High Court judge on internet libel.Demon Internet, the largest provider of internet services in the UK, is being sued by Dr Laurence ...

  • In brief: Boodle Hatfield

    29-Mar-1999

    Boodle Hatfield has elected Richard Moyse as its new senior partner, replacing Peter Scoble. The 29-partner firm has offices in Oxford and London and has a specialism in tax and financial planning. Moyse, a partner for 25 years at the firm, is head of the tax department.

  • In brief: Cameron McKenna

    29-Mar-1999

    Cameron McKenna is in secret negotiations to take over a niche immigration firm. It aims to add to its business immigration practice after recently winning three major new multinational clients. Camerons is also adding staff to the immigration and nationality group including solicitor Kim Vowden, from Speechly Bircham, and barrister Mariko Nakamura.

  • In brief: Clyde & Co

    29-Mar-1999

    Clyde & Co's head of energy has had his attempt to rescue debt-ridden Premier Oil rejected by the board. Despite the blow, Peter Felter says his rescue team will continue in its campaign to implement a new board.

  • In brief: French firm De Pardieu Brocas Maffei

    29-Mar-1999

    French firm De Pardieu Brocas Maffei has benefited from the split in rival practice Moquet Borde. It has gained about 20 lawyers, including several partners from the beleaguered firm to strengthen its competition, mergers and acquisitions and telecommunications departments.

  • In brief: Freshfields

    29-Mar-1999

    Freshfields is acting as co-adviser to Olivetti's financial advisers as the company raises funds for its hostile takeover bid for Telecom Italia. The firm is working alongside Clifford Chance, providing corporate advice to Mediobanca, Lehman Brothers, Donaldson Lufkin & Jeanrette and Chase Manhattan.

  • In brief: Garretts

    29-Mar-1999

    Garretts has expanded its IT team courtesy of Masons' Leeds office. Derek Neve has been appointed senior manager in the commercial technology department after two years at Masons advising on IT and private finance initiative issues.

  • In brief: Ince & Co

    29-Mar-1999

    Ince & Co has taken on a Titmuss Sainer Dechert partner to boost its Corporate Business group. Corporate and regulatory insurance specialist Reg Morton will be working with David Coup and Nick Gould in the group which also handles financial services work. The firm says it has seen considerable growth in the demand for ...

  • In brief: The Environmental Law Foundation

    29-Mar-1999

    The Environmental Law Foundation has been awarded a £47,706 grant from Bridge House Estates Trust to support its advice and referral service. The grant follows a recent award of £144,202 from the National Lottery Charities Board. Both sums will fund outreach environmental projects in British cities. The foundation is also launching its own legacy scheme as part of Make a Will Week to encourage clients to consider environmental protection when drawing up their wills.

  • In brief: The Government

    29-Mar-1999

    The Government has launched a consultation paper proposing to allow married couples in Scotland to divorce in one year. At present, divorces can go through by mutual consent after two years, or five if one spouse dissents. The paper also proposes couples should undertake counselling or mediation, similar to that required in England and Wales, before they can file for divorce.

  • Insurers entangled in big battle over small print

    29-Mar-1999

    Last week Royal & SunAlliance Insurance announced the launch of its new "pursuit" policy, together with the claim that it was unique within the market.It is an after-the-event insurance policy for commercial matters linked to conditional fee agreements. The joint holders of the policy, the solicitor and his client pay a premium only if they win the case.For the client and solicitor it sounds like the ideal product. Both can start legal action knowing that there ...

  • Is it all over for the tax havens of Britain?

    29-Mar-1999

    Gareth Fatchett believes that Britain's offshore islands have had their day...Gareth Fatchett is head of financial services at Morton Fisher and will become a partner of offshore specialists Armstrong Neal in May.The word "offshore" in legal circles usually sends most lawyers running. The small number of advisers who involve themselves in this area of law soon realise that, quite literally, there is a whole world out there.The globalisation of ...

  • IT briefs leave Bird Semple for Masons

    29-Mar-1999

    UK FIRM Masons has poa-ched two IT lawyers from Bird Semple.John Salmon is to become a partner at Masons. Salmon is regarded as the architect of the TechMedia group set up less than a year ago to focus on the technology, media and new media sectors. John Mackenzie will remain an associate.A source at a rival Scottish practice says: "The Bird Semple TechMedia group has effectively defected to Masons."Masons has a strong reputation in construction and ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    29-Mar-1999

    Bad lawyers, with the Legal Services Ombudsman to be given extra powers to investigate complaints against solicitors. The ombudsman would be given powers to set targets, cut delays and monitor whether lawyers were meeting targets.Journalists. Every tabloid's favourite legal whipping boy, Anthony Julius, resigned as a trustee from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Julius, the Mishcon De Reya golden boy who handled Di's ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    29-Mar-1999

    Fast driving lawyers. In what is a victory for every lawyer with a half decent car and no consideration of their fellow road users, a Cardiff jury found that a businessman who was driving his u73,000 sports car at 140mph was not guilty of dangerous driving. His lawyer Nicholas Jones said: "This was not dangerous driving. Even if Mr Tyre was driving at 140mph that is not dangerous either. It is a case of an experienced driver in a car in very good condition, not drunk ...

  • Jersey aims to keep it clean

    29-Mar-1999

    Jersey came under the spotlight recently when Sergei Dubinin, the former chairman of the Russian Central Bank, said that up to $50bn (u31.25bn) of foreign exchange reserves were "hidden" in one of the island's offshore companies. The move, according to reports, was to prevent these Russian assets being frozen by foreign creditors.Dubinin's statement comes against a backdrop of the Russian government defaulting on $40bn in rouble-denominated treasury debt after ...

  • Jersey giant Mourants opens in London to build client links

    29-Mar-1999

    The Channel Islands' largest firm Mourant du Feu & Jeune is opening a London office.Mourants will be the first Jersey firm to establish an office in the capital. The office will practise Jersey law and will concentrate on corporate and finance work.Mourants' managing partner, Richard Jeune, says the office will make the firm more accessible to its clients among the City's financial institutions and top law firms."A lot of the work we ...

  • Judges face greater risk

    29-Mar-1999

    Although the murder of Northern Ireland solicitor Rosemary Nelson was a disgrace which underlines the need for decommissioning by terrorist groups, I was appalled by your editorial "Brave lawyers standing up for the rule of law" (22 March), in which you make a number of serious and uncorroborated allegations against the RUC.Let me remind you that the people who murdered Mrs Nelson were not, as you insinuate, the RUC, but terrorist thugs.

  • Law Soc moots new figurehead position

    29-Mar-1999

    THE LAW Society is poised to create the powerful new post of a director general.Council members are studying the governing bodies of other professions - such as dentists, doctors, accountants and architects - in an attempt to develop a new structure.President Michael Mathews says: "This is carrying on the process of restructuring that started at the end of last year."We will have to make some decisions fairly soon. We could be seeing a director general ...

  • Law Soc plans to cut OSS funds

    29-Mar-1999

    The Law Society has announced plans to slash by a third the £9m budget of the beleaguered OSS in 2001.As it announced the plans it also pledged to tackle guilty firms and improve the procedure for complaints resolution.A managing partner of a top five firm says: "There's a general acknowledgement that the OSS is not doing a good job. If its resources are cut even further, it's not looking very optimistic.""For the man on the street, ...

  • Law Society in £45,000 Disney spend

    29-Mar-1999

    THE LAW Society is spending tens of thousands of pounds to send council members and their spouses to its annual conference in Disneyland Paris.The final bill could be as high as £45,000, admits the society. Sources claim the figure could be nearer £90,000.This year's conference has been revamped and rebranded as the Solicitors' Law Festival in an attempt to make it more popular. The three days in October will cost £350, which includes ...

  • Law Society rejects bid to shave practising fee by £5

    29-Mar-1999

    THE LAW Society council has rejected calls to reduce the practising certificate fee.Members voted overwhelmingly against a proposal to amend budget plans that would have seen the fee fall by £5 to £425 a year.The proposed cut would have seen Law Society revenue reduced by about £400,000.Members decided to hold back £1.5m for the strategic priorities development fund rather than reduce the fee.The council has also ...

  • Legal laughing stocks

    29-Mar-1999

    Flamboyant boxing promoter Don King is a fan of the British legal system.After he won a court victory against fellow promoter Frank Warren, the shock-haired king of hype offered enthusiastic praise for our justice system.So one wonders what he will make of London firm Class Law representing English boxing fans seeking compensation over the title fight fiasco between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield.Like us he'll probably laugh.

  • Macfarlanes picks up DAC head of IT

    29-Mar-1999

    Davies Arnold Cooper has lost another of its senior lawyers with the departure of its head of IT to Macfarlanes.Maurice Millen has been at Davies Arnold Cooper's London office for three years and will join Macfarlanes in May to replace Peter Crane who is to become a consultant.Millen says his move is not connected to DAC's recent spate of redundancies. He says: "I ...

  • Married to the job

    29-Mar-1999

    Virginia Glastonbury is a firm woman. As Chris Fogarty finds, Denton Hall is less of a job and more of a working love affair for one of the City's handful of female managing partners. But can she turn her passion into profit?

  • Midlands firm seeks judicial review of Government for its failure in Yemen

    29-Mar-1999

    A BIRMINGHAM firm is taking the Government to judicial review over eight British citizens facing trial in Yemen.Natalia Garcia, a civil liberties lawyer at nine-partner Tyndallwoods, says: "A legal aid application is currently being lodged as a matter of urgency, and the next stage will be to instruct counsel on the merits of the case."Garcia believes the Government will have a case to answer on the basis of its inaction on behalf of the Britons, who are being ...

  • Monckton manager returns to Nortons

    29-Mar-1999

    MILLY Ayliffe, practice manager at leading competition and commercial set Monckton Chambers, is leaving to return to being a solicitor.Ayliffe, who has been instrumental in transforming the set into a leading niche practice, is to go back to Norton Rose as a senior assistant lawyer in the asset finance department.Head of chambers John Swift QC says: "Milly has enabled chambers ...

  • Morgan Cole chairman hands over reins

    29-Mar-1999

    MORGAN Cole chairman John Bowen, who steered his firm through the merger last year, is to step down.Morgan Bruce, Bowen's former firm, merged with Cole & Cole in November as part of a bid to dominate the M4 corridor.He is handing over his co-chairmanship to Guy Clarke, former managing partner at Morgan Bruce.Bowen's new position will be as consultant for the next five years.Bowen explains: "We decided at the time of the merger ...

  • New Denton Hall chief plans support shake-up

    29-Mar-1999

    Denton Hall's newly elected UK managing partner is making her mark by introducing sweeping ref-orms to the firm's support services.Virginia Glastonbury, deputy managing partner to managing partner Jon-athan Tatten, who decided not to stand for re-election, says: "There will be a total review across the board."Those support services likely to come under the spotlight include IT, marketing and documentation.Glastonbury says: "Profitability ...

  • New partner numbers down at Freshfields

    29-Mar-1999

    Freshfields has dropped the number of annual partner promotions by a third and has continued to shun London lawyers in favour of its overseas offices.Last year the firm made up 17 of its lawyers to partner level, while this year the number is down to 11.Only four in the London office have joined the list with the other seven coming from Bangkok, Beijing, Brussels, Hong Kong, Paris, Singapore and Washington. In 1998, the majority of partners came from London, ...

  • Newsmaker Profile:Man who saved Maxwell from jail gets a Ferrari

    29-Mar-1999

    Where do you stand with a lawyer who is a self-proclaimed enthusiast at handling the media?When Keith Oliver speaks with such beguiling honesty about his passion for his work and his enormous respect for his clients, is it from the heart or from somewhere altogether more practical?Oliver, a partner at one of the country’s top white collar crime firms, Peters & Peters, is acting for Adrian Ezra, one of the so-called Flaming Ferraris, who is suing Credit Suisse ...

  • Next week's news

    29-Mar-1999

    Expect to hear the popping of corks and gnashing of teeth to be emanating from the Inns of Court as barristers find out who has made the silks list this year.

  • Norton Rose targets Western Europe after Czech firm deal

    29-Mar-1999

    Norton Rose is eyeing Western Europe as the next target for continental expansion after signing a joint venture deal with leading Czech firm Balcar Polansky & Spol.Norton Rose's director of marketing and strategy, Tim Pashley, says the firm's expansion plans will focus on Western Europe after it signed the deal last week.The Czech joint venture, Balcar Polansky Norton ...

  • Oyster farmer seeks damages on appeal

    29-Mar-1999

    Roger Pearson reports on a Cornish oyster farmer granted a second chance to sue Plymouth Council for loss of earnings.A CORNISH oyster farmer has won the right to mount a second damages claim against Plymouth City Council over the loss of oysters he claims were worth u43,000.He says they died as a result of the council's indecision in stipulating how they were to be treated once harvested.The Appeal Court judges in London have ...

  • Partners on the move...

    29-Mar-1999

    Phillip Wood and David Sterrett are to become partners with London firm Maxwell Batley on the 31 March. Wood, now the firm's specialist in employment law will become head of the cross-departmental employment unit. He joined Maxwell Batley in 1991. Sterrett, who joined the firm last year has been moved to extend the firm's private client services. He is currently a specialist in matrimonial law.Tony Kilbride has moved from Beaumont & Son where he was ...

  • Property

    29-Mar-1999

    Wilde Sapte acted for property investor City & West End in its £20m acquisition of Film House in London's Soho. The Wilde Sapte team was led by partner Stan Gniadkowski (pictured right). Partner Allan Hudson of Devonshires acted for the vendor, Langborn.

  • Property

    29-Mar-1999

    Hammond Suddards acted for the Mirror Group in the sale of its former head office in Holborn for £31m and £9m in debt. Property partner Gary Watson led the Hammond Suddards team which included partners Tony Poole and Mark Simpson. Ashurst Morris Crisp acted for the purchaser with a team led by partners Martin Wright and David Kershaw.

  • Quote of the week

    29-Mar-1999

    "It appears Nixon is either running a bar in Spain or has enrolled as a student in Aberystwyth" - A spokesman from the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors speculating as to the whereabouts of Carlisle-based solicitor, Garry Nixon, after his practice was shut down this month.

  • Rise in OSS activity sees record number of forced closures

    29-Mar-1999

    The Office for the Supervision of Solicitors has shut down a record number of firms this month.It has closed 18 practices in March alone. This compares with just six in February and a total of 11 in the three months preceding that.The OSS says it will only intervene when "things go seriously wrong and it is deemed in the public interest to shut the operation down with immediate effect".A spokesman says: "This month has been a record by a wide margin.

  • Rowe & Maw forms global trade body

    29-Mar-1999

    LAWYERS and trade economists are set to join forces in the City as Rowe & Maw launches an international trade group.The group will be headed by partner Philip Ruttley, who joined Rowe & Maw from Garretts in October.Ruttley says the group was formed in response to an increasingly global economy, and as a reaction to client needs. "The commercial im-pact of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is only now beginning to be realised, as demonstrated by the current bitter ...

  • Runway activists will not run

    29-Mar-1999

    The House of Lords is to be asked to consider an appeal by environment protestors against orders that they move out of tree houses, ropewalks and tunnels on National Trust land close to the proposed new runway at Manchester Airport. The Civil Aviation Authority wants to remove some trees and cut others to make the flight approach safe for aircraft when the new, u172m runway is built. Pending the application by the protestors to the Law Lords, the Court of Appeal has stayed ...

  • Scottish Legal Aid Board suspends senior

    29-Mar-1999

    A SENIOR member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) has been suspended.The person, who has not been identified, was suspended on full pay pending the outcome of an investigation into the SLAB's accounts assessment procedures.SLAB chairman Jean Couper says: "This issue is of utmost concern to the board and we have immediately instigated a rigorous investigation into the matter."A full report will be made to the board as soon as possible and ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    29-Mar-1999

    The Lord Chancellor stands accused of sexism, racism and cronyism over the appointment of his old buddy Garry Hart (pictured right) as his special adviser. South Croydon Employment Tribunal heard last week that Derry Irvine, a member of the all-male Garrick club, allegedly chose to live in a world dominated by white men and had "known only one black person for a long time". Immigration lawyer Jane Coker and legal adviser Martha Osamor are taking a sex and race ...

  • Shearman's Paris chief deserts to Hammonds

    29-Mar-1999

    FORMER Shearman & Sterling managing partner William Lee will this week join City firm Hammond Suddards.Lee, who managed the Paris office of the US firm, will take a consultative role in the corporate finance department as part of a strategic move to expand in the UK and internationally.He says: "Hammonds is a firm with enormous talent and ambition. I'm looking ...

  • Show evidence of RUC's guilt

    29-Mar-1999

    Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 970 4640, e-mail lawyer.edit@chiron.co.uk, DX44700 Soho Square.THE MURDER of Rosemary Nelson was wicked and tragic. It was unfortunate, therefore, that you should accuse the Royal Ulster Constabulary of harassment without providing evidence to support the allegation (The Lawyer, 22 March).Scores of RUC officers, prison officers ...

  • Simmons challenges French govt over coal price subsidies

    29-Mar-1999

    City firm Simmons & Simmons is attempting to force France to answer allegations that state subsidies were used to undercut the market price of coal.The firm, representing private coal company Thion & Cie, claims that state-owned coal company Groupe Charbonnages de France was involved in a potential misuse of an estimated £21m in state funds.A formal complaint has been submitted by Simmons & Simmons to the European Commission. It has issued a formal Letter ...

  • Six leading firms advising on Gucci power struggle

    29-Mar-1999

    At least six top Dutch and US law firms are advising in the battle to control Italian fashion house Gucci.Gucci's main lawyers are London-based partner Scott Simpson of US firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Peter Wakkie, corporate lawyer at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek - the Dutch member of

  • SJ Berwin makes fixed fees offer

    29-Mar-1999

    SJ BERWIN is launching a new fixed-fee service for IP litigation work, which it says is the first of its kind.Called ALFA - Agreed Litigation Fee Arrangement - the new system was created by intellectual property partner Ray Black, who heads up the department's litigation team.It will be used in contentious IP litigation, although Black says that other departments within the firm are interested in how it will work."ALFA is a two-part agreement ...

  • Sour grapes over vineyard

    29-Mar-1999

    A planning dispute is heading back to court on 14 June. A couple from Shropshire who run the "Roman Vineyard" at Wroxeter, on the site of an old Roman vineyard, are challenging the view of their local authority and the Environment Secretary that they need additional planning consent if they want to sell wine grown at their Shropshire vineyard. Last year, the High Court backed the view of the local authority and the Environment Secretary that they need additional ...

  • Square Mile

    29-Mar-1999

    I am a member of our Mutual Admiration Society. Why? As lawyers, our reputation is our most priceless asset. Our skill must always be of the highest quality. We must seek to give value for money. Important decisions should only be taken by clients after good sound legal advice. Our reputation is, however, underpinned by the security afforded to every user of legal services that if they have the misfortune to instruct a negligent or dishonest solicitor, then Solicitors ...

  • Stephensons boss quits for Greek job

    29-Mar-1999

    Stephenson Harwood's senior partner, David Slade, is due to step down this week to return to his Greek shipping practice and develop the client base.Slade will be based in the Piraeus office near Athens, where he will continue to expand the practice and build on work from the Croatian shipping industry.His replacement has not yet been chosen. Chief executive John ...

  • Suit leaves public bodies exposed

    29-Mar-1999

    A RECENT Court of Appeal decision could open the floodgates for claims against public bodies previously regarded as "time barred", according to lawyers acting in the case.The decision came in the case of Matra Communication SAS v the Home Office, which centred on the rights of the French company Matra to sue the Home Office.The claim is over the Home Office's handling of a contract, worth about £1.5bn over more than 15 years, ...

  • Summit merges in-house teams for Woolf

    29-Mar-1999

    MOTORING insurance company Summit at Lloyd's has integrated its in-house and claims-handling teams.The merged team - called Just Law - is to be launched on 26 April in response to the Woolf Reforms.Hazel Hammonds, principal solicitor at Summit, says that by merging the teams the firm will be able to respond more quickly to claims under the new rules, without having to refer work to outside lawyers."The Woolf Reforms mean that litigation starts ...

  • Terry Lee considers rugby referees' duty of care.

    29-Mar-1999

    Terry Lee of Evill & Coleman represented Smoldon.Rugby accident victim Ben Smoldon's £2m settlement breaks new ground as the first case to be brought against a rugby referee. It appears to extend the circumstances when a court will be prepared to find a match official liable of having breached his duty of care to players.The case, Smoldon v Whitworth & Nolan, arose after Smoldon, a hooker, broke his neck in a collapsed scrum during ...

  • The Firm

    29-Mar-1999

    Memo from Jack Pratchard, senior partner at The Firm, to all partners.Pratchard here. There I am, minding my own business, sipping my champagne at some poncey Linklaters' function held in an aquarium, when up rolls old Terry Kyle and bold as brass says: "So what's The Firm's long-term strategy then?"I've never ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Peter Stott was born in Littleborough in 1949. He is a partner and head of medical negligence at Stephensons in Wigan.

    29-Mar-1999

    What was your first job?Holiday labourer at a laundry (I lasted one morning).Full-time: a life assurance inspector.What was your first salary as a lawyer?Articles: u20 a week. Qualified: u6,000 a year.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?I have been a building society assistant manager. Otherwise, who knows?What was your most satisfying ...

  • Top chambers begin tenant poaching spree

    29-Mar-1999

    Top chambers are poaching highly rated practitioners from smaller sets in a bid to expand their practices.In London, Littleton Chambers has poached Andrew Stafford, a leading employment barrister who is joining from John Powell QC's 2 Crown Office Row.The set has also appointed Professor Jean-Yves de Cara - an international human rights expert and former referendaire to Lord Slynn at the European Court of Justice. Senior clerk David Douglas says the set ...

  • Unilever

    29-Mar-1999

    Tea drinkers will be pleased to know consumer giant Unilever has their interests at heart. Not only is tea a drinks category of “key importance” to the company in its drive for product “excellence”, but it is also the subject of considerable research using “computational fluid dynamics” to “investigate the tea infusion process”.

  • Will US firms clean up in telecoms?

    29-Mar-1999

    Colin Long, partner, OlswangLiz Hiester, partner, Clifford ChanceJames Chesterman, partner, Weil Gotshal & MangesBILLIONS of pounds are being invested ...