31 August 1998

The Lawyer

  • Accountants still have a lot to learn

    6-Sep-1998

    The breakdown of the Arthur Andersen/Wilde Sapte deal may be ominous for Wilde Sapte but it is also bad news for Arthur Andersen.While the main focus is undoubtedly on the plight of Wilde Sapte, which has been jilted so publicly at the altar, questions must also be asked about Arthur Andersen's role.The Big Six firm, which has gathered lawyers around it with a sure-footedness which left other accountancy firms limping in at the finish, ...

  • Almagamate by the book

    6-Sep-1998

    When merger is on the cards, Anne-Marie Piper says trustees need to focus on careful planning and expert legal advice to make the process as smooth as possible. Anne-Marie Piper is head of the charities group at Paisner & Co.Charity mergers have a lot in common with love and marriage - often the path to the merger of two or more charities is a bumpy one and the union itself will almost inevitably take longer to plan and cost more than the parties anticipate at the outset.

  • Barristers splinter from top criminal set

    6-Sep-1998

    Leading criminal set 3 Gray's Inn Square has been hit by the departure of its third most senior tenant, who has left with the senior clerk to form an as yet unnamed breakaway set.Former Bar Council member Nadine Radford and senior clerk Graham Islin left Rock Tansey QC's set two weeks ago, with junior Michael Gledhill.A second QC from Tansey's chambers, William Taylor, and another junior are also understood to be considering joining them in their ...

  • Chadbournes loss

    6-Sep-1998

    Chadbourne & Parke is to lose employment practice co-heads Mark Brossman and Ronald Richman to US rivals Schulte Roth & Zabel. They cited client conflicts of interest as the reason for leaving. Chadbourne's London office has also lost five English lawyers.

  • Charity review is a review too far

    6-Sep-1998

    Hubert Picarda QC says that rather than wasting money on consulting "Joe Public', the Charity Commission should ensure that their plans are legally sound The Charity Commission's review of the Charities Register has provoked loud protests in legal circles and a preliminary paper has been criticised by the Charity Law Association. The commissioners have now issued a consultation document setting out a consultation period from 28 April to 30 September.As ...

  • Commercial Bar

    6-Sep-1998

    In the commercial Bar feature (The Lawyer, 26 May), recommended junior from 17 Bedford Row, Hashim Reza was incorrectly named as Hasheem Boreezen.

  • Couderts hires Holman Fenwick litigator

    6-Sep-1998

    COUDERT BROTHERS has taken litigation partner Bridget Wheeler from Holman Fenwick & Willan and so ended a six-month search for a head of litigation for its London office.Couderts' London managing partner Philip Burroughs said that Wheeler's appointment "was just the start of us developing a significant litigation capability".Until now, the firm had only one litigation partner specialising in property litigation.Wheeler, who specialises in ...

  • Couderts Moscow partner defects to Clifford Chance

    6-Sep-1998

    Clifford Chance has pulled off a major coup in Moscow by hiring the managing partner of US rivals Coudert Brothers' Moscow office.Bruce Bean, a US qualified international corporate lawyer, will join Clifford Chance's five partner and 51-lawyer office as a partner.He will bring a high-profile US and Russian energy industry-orientated practice to the firm - an area ...

  • Counting the cost of Mills' free rein at the CPS

    6-Sep-1998

    The Glidewell report on the CPS recommends dismantling virtually all the key changes implemented by DPP Dame Barbara Mills QC. With a service so manifestly beset by bureaucracy and demoralisation, John Malpas asks why the shake-up has been so long in coming.IN TRUE stiff upper lip fashion, Dame Barbara Mills QC was given a glorious sendoff in parliament on the day Sir Iain Glidewell's damning report on the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was published."I ...

  • Credit where it's due

    6-Sep-1998

    Business knowledge is key to the work of the forensic accountant, says Mark Ling. Mark Ling is a partner at the London office of chartered accountants Cooper Lancaster Brewers.The principal role of the forensic accountant is to provide the instructing solicitor with distinct, admissible evidence from what is likely to be regarded by non-experts as an unintelligible mass of figures and financial papers.Few documents contain more figures than bank statements - ...

  • Dear incoming DPP...

    6-Sep-1998

    Christopher Frazer has some advice for the next Director of Public Prosecutions. Christopher Frazer is a practising barrister at Harcourt Chambers, London and Oxford.In 1993, the Centre for Policy Studies published a pamphlet of mine regarding the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In 1997, the Labour Party also published a pamphlet about the CPS.Labour's analysis of the CPS corresponded with mine - often with such similarity that an acknowledgement would ...

  • Dentons wins challenge to take-or-pay contract

    6-Sep-1998

    DENTON Hall has claimed victory in the House of Lords for its client Total Gas Marketing in the first successful challenge of a take-or-pay gas contract since the price of gas dropped in late 1994.Gas purchasers who in the early 1990s signed long-term take-or-pay contracts have found themselves tied to buying gas at a higher price than the current market price. As a result, said Dentons' partner Liz Tout, there has been a strong commercial incentive for purchasers to ...

  • Dibbs unrest spurs IT head into talks with Arnheims

    6-Sep-1998

    Dibb Lupton Alsop's head of IT, David Barrett, is understood to be in talks to take his core IT team to another firm - believed to be Price Waterhouse's law firm Arnheim & Co.As The Lawyer revealed last month, the firm's London office has already lost three partners, two associates and four assistants in the corporate department this year. Most of the London insolvency team defected to Linklaters

  • Dispute over use of flats

    6-Sep-1998

    Alleged breaches of planning consent in relation to occupancy of two leasehold flats in Chelsea is to go to the House of Lords. Kensington and Chelsea Council claim that Lawrie Plantation Services has allowed employees to use the flats for short-stay visits to London and in doing so has breached conditions prohibiting use of the properties as temporary sleeping accommodation. The High Court and Court of Appeal both rejected those claims but now leave has been granted for an appeal to ...

  • Dropout rate: the cause

    6-Sep-1998

    Having read your recent article and letters concerning the dropout rate of trainee solicitors, may I offer an observation.How many of those who drop out really wanted a career in the legal profession? How many of them showed commitment to the law by studying it at A level or as a first degree?Is not the problem the fault of a profession that accepts trainees from any university discipline? Would it not be better for the profession to concentrate on students ...

  • Emerson's Astec bid prompts plan to ban "creeping' takeovers

    6-Sep-1998

    THE RULES of the Takeover Panel look set to be changed following the controversial Emerson Electric attempt to take over Astec - despite the fact that the panel had no jurisdiction over the deal.A source at the panel told The Lawyer that the proposed changes to the rule on "creeping shareholdings" were a direct result of concerns raised by the minority investors involved in the Astec saga.However, because Astec is based in Hong Kong, the Takeover Code did not ...

  • Employment White Paper means more work for lawyers

    6-Sep-1998

    EMPLOYMENT lawyers have predicted a big rise in contested employment hearings if proposals contained in the Government's "Fairness at Work" white paper published last week become law.Andrew Leaitherland, an employment lawyer at Davies Arnold Cooper's Manchester office, said that a number of the changes had been expected. However, he added that "few thought it would happen this quickly".The White Paper, expected ...

  • European bank cuts panel for advice in East to cut costs

    6-Sep-1998

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), is cutting the number of firms it uses for English and local law advice on financing projects in Eastern Europe and Russia.Until recently, the 20 or so in-house lawyers at the EBRD had not co-ordinated the way in which they chose firms. In an effort to cut costs and build up relationships, the bank is tendering for a panel of seven or eight firms for the next two years.Interested firms had until last ...

  • Expert solution for dispute resolution

    6-Sep-1998

    Michael T Barford and Fergus A Falk explain how using expert accountants in completion accounts disputes can bypass the need for expensive court proceedings. Michael T Barford and Fergus A Falk are partners in the forensic services department at Deloitte & Touche.At a time when the costs of litigation are continuing to rise, businesses are looking for alternative methods of dispute resolution which allow disputes to be resolved more quickly and cheaply.One method ...

  • Financing

    6-Sep-1998

    Rollit Farrel & Bladon advised Kingston Communications (Hull) on its £85m financing, arranged by Robert Fleming & Co and a consortium of lending banks, advised by Norton Rose.

  • Firms face fallout after Indian bomb test

    6-Sep-1998

    US sanctions imposed on India in response to the country's recent nuclear tests could cost the country around $350bn and hit the telecom and power sectors hardest, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy's Singapore office says in a report.Law firms advising on Indian projects, such as Ashurst Morris Crisp - which recently sent out a new partner to Delhi -

  • Forthcoming jury actions

    6-Sep-1998

    Scheduled jury actions in the Queen's Bench Division include: Nightingale v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (15 June); Marston v News Group Newspapers (15 June); Gladding v Channel Four Television Corporation (6 July); Singh v Sidney Mitchell (20 July).

  • Great Scott? Not quite, but showing promise

    6-Sep-1998

    Veronica Cowan on the Bar Council lay complaints commissioner's first year in office. Veronica Cowan is a barrister and freelance journalist.The public might perceive Michael Scott CB, CBE, DSO as typical of an appointment by the Bar Council.The Bar's lay complaints commissioner is the public school-educated son of a colonel. He boasts manners and gravitas, and has had a distinguished Army career, including service in the Falklands, ...

  • Herbert Smith prize

    6-Sep-1998

    Herbert Smith's international energy practice has been voted the best in the UK by the Petroleum Economist Energy Finance 1998 poll. The firm came second worldwide, after US law firm Vinson & Elkins.

  • In brief: Barristers receive double-barrelled fee blast

    6-Sep-1998

    Barristers came under renewed attack last week over the size of their fees. First it was revealed that the House of Lords had blocked the payment of fees to four QCs until an inquiry is held into the level of barristers' fees in criminal legally-aided appeals. Then Mr Justice Lightman, in a speech to the Chancery Bar Association, said that there was an "element of truth" to the public's view that the granting of silk constituted a licence to print money. (See story opposite).

  • In brief: Birmingham chambers named St Philip's

    6-Sep-1998

    The new Birmingham chambers created by the merger of Priory Chambers and 7 Fountain Court has been christened St Philip's Chambers. Head of the 80-barrister chambers is Rex Tedd QC (pictured left with his deputies Pat Deeley and John Randall QC).

  • In brief: Collyer-Bristow compensates with takeover

    6-Sep-1998

    Collyer-Bristow has quickly covered the loss of three partners from its matrimonial department by taking over niche family law practice S Rutter & Co. Leading matrimonial lawyer Geoffrey Rutter is taking three assistants and a trainee to the firm. The move coincides with the opening last week of niche matrimonial firm, Levison Meltzer Pigott, headed by three former Collyer-Bristow partners - Jeremy Levison, Claire Meltzer and Simon Pigott.

  • In brief: Eversheds offers telephone conveyancing

    6-Sep-1998

    Eversheds has become the third law firm to link up with an estate agent, Hambro Countrywide, to offer a seven-day conveyancing telephone service. Eversheds has invested about £1m in the Manchester business, Home 2 Home, due to launch this month under the management of partner Morag Joyce. Similar services are provided by Northampton law firm

  • In brief: Green light for De Montfort-Bristol Uni LPC

    6-Sep-1998

    The Law Society validation panel has given the green light to De Montfort University to offer its legal practice course (LPC) in Bristol in association with Bristol University from September this year. Last month The Lawyer reported that nine lecturers on Bristol's current course had defected to the University of the West of England.

  • In brief: ICS abandons £51m mortgage scam action

    6-Sep-1998

    The Investors Compensation Scheme (ICS) has abandoned its legal action against 200 law firms for their involvement in a mortgage scandal which resulted in the ICS having to pay £51m compensation to investors - after settling its dispute with the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) on mutually satisfactory terms.

  • In brief: Law Soc changes contingency fee rules

    6-Sep-1998

    The Law Society Council voted last week to alter its practice rules to take account of the Court of Appeal case, Thai Trading v Taylor, where Lord Justice Millett ruled that solicitors could lawfully accept cases on a contingency fee basis, as long as there is no uplift. Although a petition requesting an appeal has been lodged with the House of Lords, the council ruled that contingency fee arrangements are allowed where statute or common law permits them.

  • In brief: Merger forms Dootson Eckersley Hope

    6-Sep-1998

    Lancashire firms Dootsons and Eckersley Hope have merged to form four-partner firm Dootson Eckersley Hope. Handling property, family, wills, probate and trust, litigation and company and commercial, it has offices in Lancashire, Warrington and Manchester.

  • In brief: Napier and McIntosh canvass online

    6-Sep-1998

    Law Society presidential and vice-presidential candidates Michael Napier and David McIntosh have posted online manifestoes at www.irwinmitchell.co.uk, and have invited debate by e-mail to NapierM@irwinmitchell.co.uk and dmcintosh@dac.co.uk.

  • In brief: New conditional fee med neg policy

    6-Sep-1998

    Legal insurer Amicus Legal has launched an insurance policy for solicitors handling medical negligence cases under conditional fee arrangements, covering the opponent's costs if the case is lost.

  • Japanese accolade

    6-Sep-1998

    Trainee solicitor Jason Daniel of Simmons & Simmons was one of 50 guests with connections with Japan who met the Emperor and Empress of Japan with Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street on 28 May. Daniel was recently awarded first prize in the 1998 Sir Peter Parker Awards for spoken business Japanese.

  • Judge attacks barristers without law degrees

    6-Sep-1998

    A HIGH Court judge has launched a fierce attack on the practice of letting barristers without law degrees "loose on the public" after taking an "elementary" conversion course and a one-year Bar course.Delivering the Chancery Bar Association's spring lecture - during which he also attacked the "extravagant" fees charged by some leading QCs - Mr Justice Lightman said the conversion route to qualification was like allowing "a person who studied O Level biology and had ...

  • Julie Midgley on the use of constructive knowledge. Julie Midgley is an associate at The Lewington Partnership.

    6-Sep-1998

    My client health authority's case Rosanna O'Driscoll v Dudley Heath Authority came before the Court of Appeal on 30 April 1998.The case is a reaffirmation of the principles of Spargo 1997, but has useful obiter comment on constructive knowledge which is helpful for health authorities which often have to face large but stale cerebral palsy claims.The facts are these: Rosanna, who was born in 1970, believed from the age of 15 that her cerebral ...

  • Law Society speaks out

    6-Sep-1998

    Is it too much to expect that, before The Lawyer speculates on what the Law Society might say in response to a story (2 June), it first contacts the society to find out what it would actually say?In our response to the Fabian Society pamphlet on the regulation of lawyers, we do not - as you imagine - defend self-regulation on the grounds that it gives us added influence with the Government.We defend self-regulation on the grounds that it works ...

  • LCD strikes back at QC

    6-Sep-1998

    Martin Bowley's article (The Lawyer, 26 May), accused the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD), of intellectual dishonesty, political cynicism and trying to distract attention from the Lord Chancellor's proposals for legal aid reform by publishing the names of lawyers and firms who have received sums from the Legal Aid Fund.We are talking about taxpayers' money. There is nothing new or wrong in the LCD stating how that money is spent ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 9/6/98

    6-Sep-1998

    Graham Leslie Albert Wheelband, conveyancing clerk for Blakemores, Birmingham, banned from working for any solicitor without the written consent of the Law Society and ordered to pay costs of £900. Allegations substantiated that he acted when a conflict of interest occurred. In particular, he acted for himself as purchaser while at same time acting for vendor and mortgagee and failed to notify his building society mortgagees with relevant facts. Tribunal expressed ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 9/6/98

    6-Sep-1998

    Bryant v Wallis & anor - QBD 28 April 1998Claimant: Graham Bryant, 47 yearsIncident: Accident at workInjuries: Claimant suffered fractured skull and injuries to right shoulder and neck in fall in 1992 whilst working on roof. He had climbed onto the roof using a ladder but then lost his footing and fell, hitting his head on the concrete below. Depressive illness followed in wake of accidentAward: £130,000 agreed damages ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 9/6/98

    6-Sep-1998

    Employer had taken steps to reduce passive smoking riskSylvia Maria Sparrow v St Andrews Homes Ltd (1998)QBD (Holland J) 21/5/98The plaintiff was a nurse aged 60 who had been employed by the defendants. She alleged that in the course of her work, through passive exposure to cigarette smoke, an asthmatic condition was caused or materially contributed to by reason of the defendants negligence. The plaintiff had begun part-time work in a nursing ...

  • Litigation Writs 9/6/98

    6-Sep-1998

    RJB Mining (UK) is to claim damages in the High Court from two men it alleges have been trespassing on company land at Darton near Barnsley. Its writ is against Richard and Alwyn Mount of Barnsley and seeks declarations relating to rights of occupation of RJB's land to the north of Dayhouse Lane in Darton, along with orders for possession of the land, damages for trespass and a declaration that the men have no cautionable interest in the land or any part of it. It will ...

  • Making the most of a memory

    6-Sep-1998

    Setting up a successful memorial fund can be fraught with problems if it is not scrupulously planned, warns Francesca Quint. Francesca Quint is a barrister 11 Old Square. She specialises in charity law.Memorials can take many forms: from a simple headstone to a park bench in the deceased's favourite spot. But the essence of a memorial is to remember a particular human being, whose life, loves and interests will inevitably have encompassed many people and activities ...

  • Monitoring witnesses

    6-Sep-1998

    IN AN effort to improve the experience of witnesses in court, a monitoring exercise will be carried out in magistrates' courts and Crown Court centres in England and Wales.In June, practitioners representing clients in trials will be approached by court staff for details of the number of defence and prosecution witnesses they are expecting to attend to give evidence. Witness attendance and waiting times at court will also be monitored.Courts will be seeking ...

  • Newly-elected Ng vows to improve profession in HK

    6-Sep-1998

    Barrister Margaret Ng, newly-elected to Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo), said one of her first priorities would be to try to put Chinese state bodies back under the rule of Hong Kong statutes.She told The Lawyer last week that the administration had changed the law to make state bodies, such as the official news agency Xinhua, exempt from Hong Kong statues, without consulting the legal profession. She believed the move breached article 22 of the Basic Law governing ...

  • Patients have a right to decide

    6-Sep-1998

    Roger Pearson looks the increased rights of the patient to refuse life-saving treatment in light of the "S' Caesarean section appealA recent Court of Appeal decision is the latest in an increasing line of actions involving the rights of patients to dictate the way in which they are treated.The case surrounds the challenge of a woman, identified only by the initial "S", to legal moves which paved the way for doctors to manage the ...

  • Property

    6-Sep-1998

    Finers acted for Cygnet Properties and Leisure on its £3.2m purchase of properties from Terrington, advised by Denton Hall.

  • PW set to swoop on Wilde Sapte

    6-Sep-1998

    Price Waterhouse is ready to step in after Arthur Andersen's last minute withdrawal from an alliance with Wilde Sapte.The accountancy firm is understood to still be interested in Wilde Sapte after approaching it last year. At the time Wilde Sapte was deep in its talks with Andersens.Paul Downing, head of PW's European legal network, would only say Wilde Sapte management "had put together a strategy which everyone had bought into. It's a great shame ...

  • Rubbishing the defence of self-incrimination?

    6-Sep-1998

    The right to withhold information on the grounds of self-incrimination is to be debated in the House of Lords, reports Roger Pearson.The rights of waste disposal companies to refuse to answer questions which could lead to conviction for environmental offences are to be probed by the Law Lords.Green Environmental Industries is to appeal against rulings in which it was held it was not entitled to refuse to answer questions relating to unauthorised handling ...

  • Share issues

    6-Sep-1998

    Stringer Saul advised Probus Estates on its £8.5m placing and open offer. Hammond Suddards advised merchant bank Brown Shipley & Co.

  • Share issues

    6-Sep-1998

    Garretts advised software developer Superscape VR on its £5m placing and open offer. Hammond Suddards acted for the sponsor

  • Sif must sort out premiums

    6-Sep-1998

    Is conveyancing more risky than other fields of work? Or is there a risk in the way it is carried out by bucket-shop firms wedded to a deadly combination of low fixed fees and dependence on a supply of work from local agents?Whether or not the former is the case, premiums based on the number of transactions carried out by a firm would provide a more equitable means of insurance.If the latter is the case, then premiums based on a firm's conveyancing ...

  • Solex showcases latest in legal IT

    6-Sep-1998

    Elizabeth Davidson takes a look at some of the highlights of this year's Solicitors and Legal Office Exhibition at the BarbicanCompanies launched a bumper number of products at this year's Solicitors' and legal office Exhibition (Solex) at London's Barbican Exhibition Centre last week.For legal professionals the show, which was sponsored by The Lawyer, offered an opportunity to buy, view or simply play with the latest technology ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Sameer Tapia

    6-Sep-1998

    Sameer Tapia was born in Bombay, India, in 1970. He is an advocate and an associate at Singhania & Co in London, a full-service international firm specialising in Indian law.What was your first job?Canvassing for an election campaign.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?Not worth remembering.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Joined politics.

  • The perfect match that never was

    6-Sep-1998

    The breakdown of the Arthur Andersen/Wilde Sapte merger is bad news for Wilde Sapte, but it is equally bad for Andersens, reports Robert Lindsay.Nick Prentice, head of tax at Arthur Andersen, broke the news to Wilde Sapte's managing partner Steve Blakeley and banking partner James Johnson at a face-to-face meeting at Andersens' offices on the Strand last Tuesday.The Wilde Sapte partners were dumbstruck. Blakeley knew the surprise departures of asset ...

  • The Simkins partnership loses fourth partner

    6-Sep-1998

    LEADING digital media specialist Laurence Kaye has left to join Paisner & Co, becoming the fourth partner to desert The Simkins Partnership in the last three months.Kaye has taken his 18-month qualified assistant Simon Harper with him and will become the third partner in Paisners' computer, media and IP group.Kaye said he was attracted to Paisners' "very broad range of resources," and cited the firm's expertise in venture capital, competition and ...

  • Top CPS mandarin departs as Glidewell report is published

    6-Sep-1998

    DAVID Nooney, the civil servant who was responsible for implementing many of the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) now-discredited organisational reforms, is leaving to join the Welsh Office.The director of corporate services' departure was announced on the day of the publication of Sir Iain Glidewell's review of the CPS, which calls for root and branch reform of the service under a radically different style of management.CPS prosecutors have interpreted ...

  • Trading can be a taxing task

    6-Sep-1998

    As donations fall, charities must look to other means of funding. But diversification can carry pitfalls, warns Helen Whymant. Helen Whymant is an assistant solicitor at Dickinson Dees.As the impact of the fall in donations to charities hits home, more charities are boosting their income by becoming involved in an array of trading activities. These range from charity shops to more complex ...

  • US firm Dorsey & Whitney expands HK and UK practices

    6-Sep-1998

    US firm Dorsey & Whitney has expanded its Hong Kong corporate practice, recruiting from the Hong Kong offices of Allen & Overy and Richards Butler.The arrival of A&O partner Neil Stender, a US law qualified specialist on direct investment in mainland China, and Richard Butler's Canadian law qualified associate Andrew Ning, an expert in Chinese business law, brings Dorsey's ...

  • Woolf Year 2000 ruling to force SIF contributions hike

    6-Sep-1998

    Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, has told the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) to insure firms against claims arising from the Millennium Bug - a move which could lead to a huge hike in SIF contributions.At a meeting last week with SIF chairman Peter Williamson and managing director Liz Mullins, he said it was in the public interest to cover claims arising from millennium compliance problems.SIF had been hoping to follow the example of commercial insurers, who ...