3 June 1996

The Lawyer

  • 'Double jeopardy' is ruled a foul

    8-Jun-1996

    WRITSA Court of Appeal ruling has exposed a risk which practitioners, particularly those involved in family law, should take note of.The judgment makes clear that once a person has been committed to prison for failure to obey a mandatory injunction within the time stipulated in the order, that person cannot be re-committed to prison again on the basis of the same order.In effect, the breach of the time-limited mandatory injunction ...

  • A&O pulls out of Budapest office

    8-Jun-1996

    ALLEN & Overy is to split with its Hungarian partner in Budapest amid bitter recriminations from the Hungarian side.The City firm and Hungarian two-partner practice Deri & Co, with six fee earners in total, are to separate their offices and have ended their exclusivity referral contract after four years.Bela Deri, Deri & Co's senior partner, said Allen & Overy based ...

  • Access to justice. Settlement is the name of the game

    8-Jun-1996

    Rarely can a report which is more than 300 pages long and hopes to cater for so many different interest groups have met with such initial widespread support.By seeking out the views of a wide range of groups, associations, firms and individuals, Lord Woolf and his team have been able to neutralise many concerns in advance.There are individual aspects of the Access to Justice report which will not meet with support, but Lord Woolf cannot please everyone and the ...

  • Are we pricing ourselves out?

    8-Jun-1996

    Discussions over the question of a standard retainer meander on between the Law Society and the team representing the interests of the top six lenders.We are told that agreement has almost been reached which may mean an end to silly instructions. We are promised again that lenders will be forced to start paying for the legal services that conveyancers currently supply to them free of charge.A figure of £100 has been mentioned around the market for some ...

  • Barrister faces writ for negligence

    8-Jun-1996

    Barrister Lord Phillimore is being sued for more than £340,000 in a negligence action brought by two former clients.Roy and Maureen Boswell have issued a writ claiming damages from Phillimore, who practises at Ian Karsten QC's chambers in Queen Elizabeth Building.The writ says Phillimore acted for the couple when they were suing Romford Finance and Development Co and Atlantis One over a land deal.The Boswells agreed to settle their claim ...

  • Bond Pearce partner makes the grade

    8-Jun-1996

    Commercial firm Bond Pearce has elected Nigel Theyer as senior partner.A commercial property specialist and president of the Plymouth law society, Theyer joined the firm as a trainee in 1975. He takes over the position in autumn, succeeding Jonathan Trafford who retires from the South West firm next spring.Theyer said he intended to remain based in Plymouth but would be actively ...

  • Brisbane firms agree September merger

    8-Jun-1996

    Australia's Sydney-based Allen Allen & Hemsley is to swallow up Brisbane firm Feez Ruthning, adding 30 partners to its 60 partners in Sydney and creating a firm with 440 lawyers altogether.The two firms are part of the Allens Arthur Robinson Group - an association of five Australian law firms which jointly owns several overseas offices, including one in London.Both practices also share their largest client, Westpac Banking Corporation.Howard ...

  • Carelessness can cost cash

    8-Jun-1996

    The Solicitors Indemnity Rules 1996 which come into effect at the beginning of September could lead to some solicitors paying double for their indemnity cover.For the first time the new rules provide for low-claims discounts and claims loading. Practices which have a good claims record will benefit; those with a poor record may be subject, through the calculation of a loss ratio, to a maximum 100 per cent loading in any indemnity year.This means that indemnity ...

  • Co-operation not litigation

    8-Jun-1996

    I read with sadness the article regarding the year 2000 "time-bomb" in the 30 July issue of The Lawyer.While other markets are discussing with software companies and designers the solution to this problem, the legal fraternity seems to be promoting litigation.Yes, of course there is a problem. Without modification software will become chronologically confused but will not, as stated in the article, crash.Most professional ...

  • Courts labour under conflict of demands

    8-Jun-1996

    MAGISTRATES courts are battling with conflicting government demands to speed up justice on the one hand and administer stricter means tests on the other, justices clerks have claimed.The Justice's Clerks Society says clerks are working to tighten up their procedures to test legal aid applications following the latest in a procession of critical reports from the National Audit Office on the quality of means testing.But the association says pressures to cut ...

  • Destination HK

    8-Jun-1996

    Freshfields is boosting its Far East practice with the transfer of a Frankfurt partner, Lucille Barale, to the Hong Kong office next month. Barale speaks Mandarin and is a China specialist. She has worked in Frankfurt for three years, handling German and other European clients investing in China. From next month she will do the same work in Hong Kong. Another Freshfields partner is likely to join the Hong Kong practice from London in the near future.

  • Double blow for Lovells as four partners make tracks

    8-Jun-1996

    LOVELL White Durrant has lost Tokyo partner Robert Lee, while in London it has emerged that several more high-profile London partners are departing.Lee is leaving to set up his own practice in Tokyo dealing mainly with Japanese clients.He joined the firm from his 15-lawyer Hong Kong practice Robert Lee & Fong more than two years ago with three other fee earners.He had been working from Lovells' Tokyo office for the past year.David ...

  • Ex-champion's share deal goes sour

    8-Jun-1996

    Motor racing driver Nigel Mansell is facing allegations of insider share dealing in a case now pending in the High Court's Chancery Division.Mansell and his wife Rosanne are suing for return of money alleged to have been paid by them to a golfing friend, Anthony Collard, in a share transaction.Collard, who it is claimed used the money as a deposit on a £650,000 farm in South Devon and to pay off debts, has since committed suicide.

  • Exchange lawyers in line for EC funds

    8-Jun-1996

    The European Commission is proposing making £7.1 million (ECU8.8 million) available to groups of lawyers who want to go on foreign exchanges or seminars.Patrick Oliver, of the Law Society's Brussels office, said: "This is a lot of money which could help English solicitors strengthen their ties with their continental colleagues."The money would be available to any groups of lawyers from different members states who wanted to learn about each other's ...

  • Fair play for private investors

    8-Jun-1996

    The DTI recently issued its consultation document Shareholder Communications at the Annual General Meeting to which the company law committee of the Law Society has published a response.The report considers whether AGMs provide an appropriate forum for individuals who want to have their views heard and whether the meetings ensure the effective stewardship of a company. It also explores options for legislative reform.Most companies have private meetings with their ...

  • Fertility clinics could face legal action over embryos

    8-Jun-1996

    Hundreds of embryos could be destroyed illegally if the case of one human embryo, the destruction of which has been temporarily restrained, results in a victory, warns the Allied Lawyers Response Team (ALeRT), the personal injury lawyers' network.ALeRT's head Graham Ross has urged fertility clinics to suspend the destruction programme of all embryos until the case has been concluded, to prevent unnecessary legal claims.He secured the three-week emergency ...

  • Financings

    8-Jun-1996

    Herbert Smith acted for National Provident Institution on the launch of an issue by its wholly-owned subsidiary NPI Finance of £100 million nominal of undated subordinated bonds.

  • Firm unveils hi-tech research

    8-Jun-1996

    Alison Laferla reportsCity firm Wilde Sapte is hoping to gain the competitive edge over its rivals by developing a computer application to improve legal research.The system, called Know-How, will allow users to scan CD-Roms, the Internet and internal documents from one interface using a single search command.It will run off a relational database and a full text search index.All staff at Wilde Sapte currently have access ...

  • Firm's writ loses it showbiz client

    8-Jun-1996

    West End firm Seddons has settled a claim for more than £50,000 in unpaid fees against one of its former clients, Derek Block, the London showbiz agent.However, Block was unimpressed by the firm's action and has said he will no longer be giving it his work.Seddons issued a High Court writ at the end of last month claiming £51,111 plus interest from Block and alleging payment had not been forthcoming despite requests.The writ said ...

  • Freshfields scoops leading US lawyer

    8-Jun-1996

    Freshfields has poached a top lawyer from US firm Shearman & Sterling's London office.Tom Joyce, a partner at Shearman & Sterling for 24 years and an ex-managing partner of its London office, joins the firm next month to set up a US securities law team.Joyce said he was approached by Freshfields senior partner Anthony Salz.He described the offer as ...

  • From US to China

    8-Jun-1996

    New York firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison has poached China specialist Gordon Chang from Baker & McKenzie's San Diego office. Chang will be based in the practice's Beijing office. As a partner at Baker & McKenzie he focused on financial advisory work, particularly in the Shanghai area, and worked in Hong Kong for 10 years. Chang moved back to the US and San Diego to follow ...

  • Hammond Suddards adds to Lloyd's team

    8-Jun-1996

    Hammond Suddards has further expanded its Lloyd's of London office with the recruitment of six new fee earners, including two partners poached from rival firms.The two are Nigel Blacklock, formerly with Elborne Mitchell and a former Lloyd's syndicate claims manager, and Steven Reynolds, a professional indemnity specialist from Berwin Leighton, who also becomes a partner at Hammond Suddards.The expansion follows Hammond Suddards' acquisition of ...

  • In brief: City recruit for Liberty pro bono panel

    8-Jun-1996

    City firm Kingsley Napley has joined the Liberty pro bono panel, bringing the number of member firms to nine. The panel of City firms, set up in 1994, takes test case referrals from human rights organisation Liberty. Other members include Allen & Overy,

  • In brief: Construction expert goes to Berrymans

    8-Jun-1996

    Victoria Russell has joined City firm Berrymans as a partner in the construction department. She was previously with Freedman Church where she was a partner for 11 years. Russell is experienced in advising employers, contractors and specialist sub-contractors on law, practice and procedure and is currently training to be a mediator and secretary of the Society of Construction Law.

  • In brief: Crown Estate Solicitor for Scotland

    8-Jun-1996

    Malcolm Strang Steel, of Edinburgh firm W&J Burness, has been appointed Crown Estate Solicitor for Scotland. Strang Steel, who won the single appointment in a tendering process, will be responsible for commercial and rural property, marine and fish farming interests and litigation on behalf of the estate. A spokesman for the estate said Strang-Steel won the tender because he had a good understanding of the estate's requirements. Former Crown Estate Solicitor Duncan Clark, of

  • In brief: Home buyer insurance scheme

    8-Jun-1996

    A Scottish solicitor has launched an insurance scheme for home buyers which he hopes will change the way the public buy legal services. The Home Buyer Legal Protection scheme of Raymond Connor, of Edinburgh firm Connor Malcolm, is underwritten by EuropAssistance and ensures that for a payment of £37.50, home buyers will have £25,000 of legal cover for up to three years against any mistakes or breaches of contracts by those involved in the house buying process.

  • In brief: Jonathan Bond

    8-Jun-1996

    In last week's story "Firms retain trainees as market picks up", Allen & Overy graduate recruitment manager Jonathan Bond should have been quoted as saying demand for qualifying solicitors was highest in the corporate, banking and international capital markets areas, not the corporate, property and international capital sectors as printed.

  • In brief: McKennas cleans up on sewage lobbying

    8-Jun-1996

    After lobbying the Department of the Environment on behalf of a number of leading industrial and manufacturing industries since 1994, City firm McKenna & Co claims it was instrumental in forcing a government U-turn over sewage licensing regulations. Sewage plants no longer have to apply for waste management licences if they are already subject to other regulations. Pamela Castle, head of the environment practice, said: "We are happy to have played a significant role in what proved to ...

  • In brief: Privity of contract law reform proposed

    8-Jun-1996

    The Law Commission has recommended reform of the "privity of contract" rule under which a third party to a contract has no right to enforce it. In its report on contracts for the benefit of third parties, published last week, the commission argues the present law is unfair to third parties, prevents effect being given to the intentions of contracting parties and is out of step with most European Union legal systems. In a draft Bill, the commission proposes amending the law so that contracting ..

  • In brief: Solicitor General lunches in Liverpool

    8-Jun-1996

    The Solicitor General was among recent visitors to Alsop Wilkinson's Liverpool office. Sir Derek Spencer (fourth right) attended an informal lunch with the firm's managing partner, Michael Pinfold (fifth right), senior partners and leading members of Merseyside's business community last week. "We welcomed the opportunity to introduce the Solicitor General to some well-known members of the local business community," said Pinfold.

  • Informed decisions

    8-Jun-1996

    The growth in the number and the magnitude of professional indemnity claims made against solicitors in the US has prompted fears that UK law practices will soon be hit by the same trend of ever-increasing litigation.Law practices that buy only the amount of excess professional indemnity cover they think they can get away with are exposing themselves to the risk of severe financial loss in the event of a successful claim by a client.Consequently, a carefully designed ...

  • Irish law accused of gangland links

    8-Jun-1996

    The legal profession in the Irish Republic has come under unprecedented attack following the public outcry over the recent murder of investigative journalist Veronica Guerin.Guerin was shot dead by a gunman in Dublin, reportedly on the orders of the city's drug barons and crime bosses who she was investigating.Now solicitors and barristers have been accused by politicians and the media of having lucrative professional relationships with Dublin's criminals, ...

  • Keeping tabs on directors' renumeration

    8-Jun-1996

    In its July 1995 report on directors' remuneration, the Greenbury study group asked the London Stock Exchange to introduce listing rules to implement a number of the group's recommendations.This is being done by the exchange in three parts. The first batch of rules was published in October 1995 and these were supplemented in June 1996. The remaining recommendations are expected to be implemented by listing rule changes later this year.As a result of ...

  • Law Society on hunt for publicity and policy gurus

    8-Jun-1996

    TWO key policy making and publicity supremos are wanted by the Law Society to help it revitalise its flagging image.The new posts of director of policy and director of communications will be advertised in the autumn by the society at competitive salaries.And although several existing officials will by vying for the posts, it is hoped heavyweights from outside the society will be tempted to apply.With legal aid and civil justice reforms in the pipeline ...

  • Law Society slates IR tax rewrite plan

    8-Jun-1996

    Inland Revenue plans to rewrite the whole of English tax law have been attacked by revenue experts at the Law Society.The Government has launched a three-month period of consultation on the scheme, which will involve a team of 40 lawyers and other tax specialists. The team will spend five years rewriting nearly 7,000 pages of legislation, at a cost of £5 million a year.But the Law Society's revenue law committee says reform of the current "production ...

  • LCD sides with society in fees row

    8-Jun-1996

    THE LORD Chancellor's Department has contradicted two leading counsels' opinions amid confusion over the scope of conditional fees.A debate has ensued over whether conditional fees can be used by clients wishing to sue personal injury lawyers for professional negligence. The Law Society argues such claims are covered by the law, a stance refuted by the Bar Council which sought the opinion of two leading counsel.The council argues that if a personal ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 06/08/96

    8-Jun-1996

    Basil Pearson Mellon, 70, admitted 1951, practised in partnership as Basil P Mellon & Co, Gateshead and Newcastle, struck off and ordered to pay £4,949 costs. Allegations substantiated he used client funds for his own purposes and had been jailed for offences of dishonesty. Tribunal told investigation accountant's report revealed cash shortage on Mellon's client account of £117,690. Mellon later convicted by Teeside Crown Court ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 06/08/96

    8-Jun-1996

    Smith v John Dee - QBD 8 July 1996Claimant: William Smith, 6Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: Claimant injured when his pick up truck was in collision with lorry; sustained severely wrenched neck and trapped nerve rootsAward: £49,200 (agreed damages)Judge: Mr J Griffiths-Williams QC (sitting as deputy High Court judge)Plaintiff's solicitor: AE Wyeth & CoPlaintiff's counsel: Edward ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 06/08/96

    8-Jun-1996

    Lords take their medicine. The House of Lords is considering whether to give leave for an appeal which would focus on the rights of courts to review decisions of the Medicines Control Agency (MCA). The case involves Upjohn, which is seeking to reinstate licences revoked by the MCA in 1993 on safety grounds. Following a favourable report to the EU Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products, Upjohn unsuccessfully asked the High Court to refer the question of reinstatement ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 06/08/96

    8-Jun-1996

    Non-disclosure of police reports in appeal healingR v Secretary Of State for the Home Department, ex parte Paul Alexander Cleeland (1996).DC (Auld LJ and Ebsworth J) 25/7/96.Summary: Disclosure of all the evidential material upon which reports on the police conduct of a murder investigation were based held to be sufficient to enable the person convicted to present his case for a reference under s.17 Criminal Appeal Act 1968 without the necessity ...

  • Litigation Writs 06/08/96

    8-Jun-1996

    A sacked head teacher who claims his former employers offered him £17,500 in an out-of-court settlement but then refused to pay is now suing for the money. Christopher Hampson, of Bury, Lancashire, has issued a High Court claim for the money and interest from David Vickery, chair of the governing body of St James' Church of England School in Bolton. The writ says Hampson was dismissed on 21 April last year, and on 12 July 1995 that year applied ...

  • Liverpool practice appears on Bar Council credit blacklist

    8-Jun-1996

    High profile Merseyside firm J Keith Park & Co has made a brief appearance on the Bar Council black list of firms which have consistently failed to pay counsels' fees.The practice, which made its name representing victims of cash card fraud and the 1992 Hoover promotion, was put on the list for over two weeks. It is believed four sets of chambers reported it behind on payments.The list, the Withdrawal of Credit Scheme, orders barristers not to accept instructions ...

  • No claims become a bonus

    8-Jun-1996

    Some time in 1997 the former partners of accountancy firm Binder Ham- lyn will discover whether they have to pay a £105 million professional negligence claim.Law firms are following the case closely as it makes its way from the High Court to the Court of Appeal - bad news for Binder Hamlyn is bad news for the other professions.Accountants argue that the current situation regarding professional indemnity is untenable. The Institute of Chartered Accountants ...

  • OJ's attorney set to be key speaker at London event

    8-Jun-1996

    OJ SIMPSON'S controversial defence attorney Robert Shapiro will be coming to London in October to speak about justice, the advantages of a written Bill of Rights and the way he used "reasonable doubt" to get Simpson acquitted.In a talk arranged by the Graeme Wood Law Consultancy, which runs courses for English lawyers wanting to take the New York and California State Bar examinations, Shapiro will talk on The Search For Justice, the title of his book recounting the ...

  • Property

    8-Jun-1996

    Masons acted for the Department of Social Security on the £150 million Newcastle Estate Development Project, a PFI project, to provide new government office accommodation.

  • Property

    8-Jun-1996

    Kingsford Stacey acted for Halifax Building Society, which has exchanged contracts for the acquisition of premises in Canary Wharf. Kearns & Co acted for the landlord Cabot Place.

  • Questionable geography

    8-Jun-1996

    If Dibb Lupton Broomhead shared the misapprehension of your reporter (The Lawyer 23 July) that Dupont was a Swiss-owned company, and not American-owned as it is, then this might partly explain why Eversheds won the business.Geneva is, of course, the firm's Europe and Africa headquarters.Mark PavanMAPA Management Consultants

  • Richards Butler keeps up its Brazil search

    8-Jun-1996

    FIVE months on, Richards Butler is still looking for lawyers to help set up a Brazilian office.The Lawyer revealed back in March that the firm was looking to beef up its presence in Sao Paulo by sending up to three lawyers to the city this year to join partner Stephen O'Sullivan.But David Boutcher, who liaises with O'Sullivan from the London office, said: "We are seeing some people this week, but it is proving quite difficult to get the right sort of ...

  • Sayer takes up reigns of Law Society finance rejig

    8-Jun-1996

    Unsuccessful vice-presidential candidate Robert Sayer looks set to be appointed Law Society deputy treasurer after new president Tony Girling invited him to take the post.Assuming his appointment is ratified at September's ***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

  • SCB is no 'masquerade'

    8-Jun-1996

    I think it is a bit strong for you to describe the Solicitors Complaints Bureau as an institution which "masquerades" as an independent complaints handling body (The Lawyer 23 July).I have been the partner in our practice dealing with complaints over the past six years and on occasion have had to deal with the SCB.In my experience they bend over backwards to assist the lay applicant (which I find quite proper) and, while some delay may, for ...

  • Solicitor sues LAB over alleged abuse of power

    8-Jun-1996

    A London solicitor is seeking damages from the Legal Aid Board for alleged deliberate abuse of power.Hilda Amoo-Gottfried, of Amoo-Gottfried & Co, is suing for damages following her deselection from a duty solicitor scheme in 1993.The deselection followed a procedural irregularity by the local duty solicitor scheme committee. A successful appeal to the national committee resulted in an order to the London number one regional committee to reinstate Amoo-Gottfried ...

  • The breaking down of global barriers

    8-Jun-1996

    The challenge of going global is one which all large firms have had to consider during the last decade.Approaches have differed from firm to firm. Some have opted to set up offices abroad, staffed by UK or local lawyers; others have gone down the association route. Few, however, have opted for merger with foreign firms because of perceived difficulties with culture, local Bar rules and any variety of other reasons.It is now becoming clear ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Mark Westaway

    8-Jun-1996

    Mark Westaway was born in London on 20 March 1952. He is a partner in the entertainment department at City firm Theodore Goddard. What was your first job?Getting in the coal.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£1,100 per annum.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Househusband or footballer.Which law could you live ...

  • Toby Redgrave on the approach to professional negligence.

    8-Jun-1996

    Toby Redgrave is a professional negligence litigator at Allison & Humphreys.In Saamco v York Montagu, the House of Lords has overturned the Court of Appeal's decision (in Banque Bruxelles Lambert SA v Eagle Star Insurance Company) that a mortgage lender, which would not have lent but for a negligent over-valuation of the property to be secured, could recover from the valuer all his foreseeable loss resulting from the transaction, including loss from ...

  • Trust cash up for grabs to fund rights initiatives

    8-Jun-1996

    A TRUST fund is offering to fund legal projects which boost public knowledge and understanding of the law as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations.The Hamlyn Trust has invited groups to apply for donations from its coffers, although it will not reveal the total amount of money it is prepared to donate. However, it says it is prepared to donate up to £12,000 to each successful applicant.Applications for funds are expected from law schools, firms and ...

  • US-style title insurance threatens solicitors' remortgaging business

    8-Jun-1996

    THE HEAD of a leading conveyancing firm has joined forces with an insurance company to announce title insurance plans which could deprive conveyancing solicitors of a large slice of their work.Brian Marson, of Bromley firm Marsons, has become a director of a UK subsidiary of US insurer First American Title Insurance Company.And the solicitor says he is in talks with several UK mortgage lenders over the insurance company’s plans for a bulk title issuing scheme ...

  • Witnesses' day in court needless, claims radical court think-tank

    8-Jun-1996

    A RADICAL plan for a dramatic cut-back on the amount of oral evidence given in court has been proposed by a Commercial Court working party.But the proposal "that the court should not normally allow witnesses of fact to be called to give evidence" has been met with horror by the Commercial Bar Association (Combar).Headed by Commercial Court judge Mr Justice Waller, the working party argues against the draft civil proceedings rules recently unveiled by Lord Woolf ...

  • Woolf knocks on technology's door

    8-Jun-1996

    The creation of an independent review body and the use of case-flow management systems were among recommendations for IT development in Lord Woolf's final Access to Justice report.A key proposal of Woolf's recommendations for "sensible investment in appropriate technology" is the creation of an independent strategy body to monitor the private contractor which will supply IT support to the Court Service as part of the much criticised Private Finance Initiative. ...

  • Woolf seizes the chance to answer back

    8-Jun-1996

    LORD Woolf was beaming as he brandished his glossy green report for the Press.For two years he had been closeted with academics, IT experts, consumer interest groups, lawyers and judges pondering what it should contain. Now it was all over and this was his chance to defend himself against the critics.His glowing introductory "changing the landscape" speech over, the questions began. "What about Apil's objections?" someone wanted to know, a reference to a ...