6 January 1997

The Lawyer

  • A&O takes on four more solicitors in Prague office

    7-Jan-1997

    UK firm Allen & Overy is to double its Czech law capacity with the recruitment of four lawyers in its Prague office.According London-based partner Alison Beardsley, the appointments are designed to increase the ratio of lawyers to partners in Prague, because of an increase in work across the board in banking and finance.Beardsley, who is responsible for the London end of ...

  • ATLA president slams tobacco companies' 'pittance' payout

    7-Jan-1997

    IN a scathing attack against the US tobacco industry settlement, the president of the American Trial Lawyer's Association (ATLA) has condemned the $360bn payout as a "pittance" and the agreement as a "sweet deal" for the companies involved.The historic deal was struck on 20 June between Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and British American Tobacco (BAT) and the attorney generals of US states, led by Michael Moore, the attorney general of Mississippi.If ratified ...

  • Bar condemns 'offensive' advert in Pach handbook

    7-Jan-1997

    AN ADVERT placed in the Pupillage Handbook by a leading set of chambers criticising the Bar's controversial pupillage clearing house scheme has infuriated the Bar Council.In the advert, 2 Hare Court says it is not taking part in the Pach scheme because it is concerned that, in its current form, "it does not serve the best interests of applicants".Bar Council chair Robert Owen, in a letter circulated to members of the Commercial Bar Association, describes ...

  • Binks Stern faces £3.8m payout

    7-Jan-1997

    The former senior partner of law firm Binks Stern was guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation when he wrote a letter for disgraced tycoon Roger Levitt that helped him receive a £2.5m loan.The court of appeal last week overturned a High Court ruling, which had originally cleared William Binks. It ordered his firm - now part of Morgan Bruce - to pay £3.8m to merchant bank Henry Ansbachers.Binks wrote to Ansbachers in 1990 at Levitt's request confirming ...

  • Blowing the whistle on Smearsgate

    7-Jan-1997

    Phillip Sycamore's Law Society presidential campaign shot itself in the foot last week following leaked minutes of a meeting of his supporters. WITH friends like Simon Baker, it seems, who needs enemies. Baker, a Law Society council member and chair of its education and training committee, has been nursing a long-cherished ambition to silence his political rival Martin Mears.Instead, the leaking of minutes drawn up by Baker implicating Sycamore in an alleged dirty tricks ...

  • Bring on 'super SIB'

    7-Jan-1997

    While the Treasury reviews the regulation of financial services, legal groups are watching and waiting, ready to influence the shape of the predicted 'super SIB".As the Government puts together its review of the regulatory structures for financial services providers, law firms are preparing to put forward their side of the story.Financial services legal providers are worried by the prospect of change. Indeed, the concerns expressed by Nicholas ...

  • Call to help Kenyan lawyers

    7-Jan-1997

    Local law societies in England and Wales are being encouraged to form links with lawyers in Kenya as part of a new initiative to prevent human rights abuses of lawyers by the Kenyan authorities.The call to forge links is contained in a report on human rights abuses in Kenya drawn up by the Law Society's human rights working party. The group was invited to the country by the Law Society of Kenya to investigate claims that lawyers there are being subjected to harassment, ...

  • Cambridge practice falls foul of EOC over job ad

    7-Jan-1997

    A recruitment advertisement placed by a Cambridge firm highlighting the fact that most of its staff are female has been queried by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).The advert, placed in the Cambridge Evening News by two-partner firm Milsom & Lentin, states: "Tired of working for the big boys? Do you want to be busy and well paid in a small, mainly female firm...?"The EOC wrote to the practice claiming that the advert appeared to breach the 1975 Sex Discrimination ...

  • Censuring the media's lack of censorship

    7-Jan-1997

    The High Court must decide whether two newspapers' stories were likely to influence a jury's decision, reports Roger Pearson. Judgment is pending in a contempt of court case involving the Manchester Evening News and the Daily Mail.The Attorney General, John Morris, has accused the newspapers of contempt for publishing stories about a Salford home help who was accused of stealing from the elderly woman she was caring for.After the elderly ...

  • City firm plans US marriage

    7-Jan-1997

    The 13-partner City practice Hobson Audley Hopkins & Wood is this week finalising negotiations to join 150-partner mid-western US firm Feagre & Benson to form the country's second major UK/US multinational partnership.In an arrangement similar to that created three years ago when City firm Titmuss Sainer & Webb allied with US firm Dechert Price & Rhoades, the two practices will keep their ...

  • Comply with us

    7-Jan-1997

    A major revelation at Asim's agm was the joint discussions with the Law Society over regulation, reports Mary Heaney.At ASIM's recent annual general meeting, the Law Society and Asim were shown to be working together in order to agree standard documentation for compliance.Stuart Bushell, head of investment business regulation at the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS), told delegates, in a question and answer session, that both ...

  • Council lines up behind Sycamore

    7-Jan-1997

    PHILLIP Sycamore's colleagues on the Law Society's ruling council have reacted with sympathy towards the leaking of a document appearing to implicate him in a dirty tricks campaign against his presidential rival Martin Mears.A survey of 20 members of the council revealed that most accept that Sycamore's campaign group, which was at the centre of a storm of adverse publicity last week, is an inevitable product of a politicised Law Society.They also ...

  • Course in Cyberlaw gets flood of interest

    7-Jan-1997

    LAW students at Leeds University and local practitioners have swamped college staff with requests for details of the UK's first ever Cyberlaw course, due to run at Leeds Law Faculty in February.The course, the first to focus exclusively on the Internet, will run as an option as part of a law degree, but the university is also inviting legal practitioners to take part. It is now seeking Law Society accreditation so solicitors can receive Continuing ...

  • Denton Hall adds Spanish firm to international group

    7-Jan-1997

    Denton Hall has formed an association with the Spanish firm Bufete Lupicinio Rodriguez, expanding the membership of its Denton International Group of Law Firms to seven.Under the arrangement, the Madrid practice will retain independence, but trade internationally under the banner of Denton International.However, the two sides are not ruling out the possibility of a future merger between the firms within the network.James Dallas, chair of Denton Hall, ...

  • Eversheds' £7m Elite system ready for work

    7-Jan-1997

    Elizabeth Davidson reportsCITY firm Eversheds' London, Jersey and Brussels offices "went live" for the first time last week with the Elite practice management system, in what is believed to be the biggest installation of its kind in the world.Eversheds is to invest £7m in the project over a five-year period and, last Monday, introduced ...

  • Fees shambles mars Hong Kong party

    7-Jan-1997

    Hong Kong lawyers are in confusion over the future of scale fees after a pre-handover legislative council meeting described as "a shambles".Lawyers downed tools for three days of celebrations to mark the handover of the colony to China, but there is widespread unease about the legal profession's future.The scale fees system generates a large amount of income for lawyers on the island which had become known as a developers' paradise.Last ...

  • Financial Services. A marriage of convenience

    7-Jan-1997

    Alliance with a private bank strengthens existing and potential client relationships, argues Simon Lough. Simon Lough is director at Cripps Harries Hall in London.Cripps Harries Hall has recently formed an alliance with Citibank International which is believed to be the first of its kind between a law firm and a bank. Citibank will provide banking services to the firm's ...

  • Financing

    7-Jan-1997

    Lovell White Durrant and Clayton Utz acted for Societe Generale Asia and SocGen Asia Securitisation, the arrangers of a HK$778m (£65m) securitisation of Hong Kong Telecom Group employee mortgages - the first Hong Kong securitisation to have a AAA rating guaranteed by an insurance company.

  • Flotations

    7-Jan-1997

    Simmons & Simmons acted for the General Electric Pension Trust on its £40.2m rights issue for Pillar Property Investments, advised by Norton Rose. Freshfields advised BZW, the financial adviser, and Kleinwort Benson, the broker of the issue.

  • Hammonds hit by Gale blow

    7-Jan-1997

    Leading insolvency lawyer Stephen Gale is negotiating to leave Hammond Suddards after 11 years as a partner, to help Herbert Smith build up a corporate recovery unit.Gale, currently head of the firm's 34-lawyer corporate recovery team, moved from Masons in Hong Kong in 1986 to help Hammonds' insolvency partner Chris Jones build up the practice to its current size.He said: "I'm leaving simply because I want a change. I felt that now I'm in ...

  • Harrow promotion

    7-Jan-1997

    The London Borough of Harrow has appointed Gerald Balabanoff as borough secretary and solicitor to council. Balabanoff's previous post, as property services solicitor at Harrow, has been filled by Nigel Hewitson, from the council's development department.

  • Hillsborough damages claim

    7-Jan-1997

    The House of Lords has now given leave for the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire to appeal a decision that four members of his force who claimed damages over mental trauma they claim they suffered as a result of their involvement in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster in April 1989 were entitled to compensation for mental shock.

  • Honour among professional colleagues?

    7-Jan-1997

    Two of the main players in the war of words over an alleged "dirty tricks" campaign planned for this year's Law Society presidential election put forward their side of the story. Many a word is said in jest, but sometimes it reveals true intentions, says Martin Mears.During this election campaign I have concentrated on issues. My opponents, on the other hand, have stressed the importance of "personalities". It was, ...

  • IBA's first international forum for barristers in New Delhi

    7-Jan-1997

    Barristers worldwide look set to have an international forum within the International Bar Association (IBA).The initiative, headed by Bar Council chair Robert Owen QC and Malcolm Wallis SC, who is chair of the South Africa Bar, has been prompted by the fact there are no specific meetings at the IBA for the referral bar.It was recently discussed at the IBA's 50th anniversary celebrations in New York. About 10 barristers from a selection of referral bars, ...

  • In brief: Bird Semple partner moves to MacRoberts

    7-Jan-1997

    Glasgow firm Bird Semple has lost its second department head this year following leading construction partner Lindy Patterson's decision to move to MacRoberts. Patterson (right) takes her team of two lawyers from the Edinburgh office of Bird Semple to Edinburgh-based MacRoberts, where she will take the role of partner alongside a team of five other construction lawyers. Patterson has been replaced ...

  • In brief: Dundas & Wilson demerger criticised

    7-Jan-1997

    Edinburgh firm Brodies has publicly criticised rival firm Dundas & Wilson's decision to demerge from its private client department. Its statement suggests that Dundas & Wilson, which is in merger talks with the Andersens legal network, was forced into a demerger because of the talks. Brodies' statement ...

  • In brief: Law Soc heralds end of legal aid crisis

    7-Jan-1997

    The legal aid funding crisis is officially over, according to the Law Society. The society has seized on figures published in the Legal Aid Board's annual report which show spending is within budget for the fourth year running. Law Society vice president Phillip Sycamore said: "There is clearly no longer any need for panic measures that would irretrievably damage legal aid." However, legal aid critics have remained sceptical. Austin Mitchell, chair of the Campaign for a National ...

  • IN brief: MP reaffirms Labour sentencing pledges

    7-Jan-1997

    Geoffrey Hoon MP, Parliamentary Secretary at the Lord Chancellor's Department, has reaffirmed the Government's pledge to halve the time taken between arresting and sentencing persistent young offenders. At present, the average delay stands at more than four months. Addressing a meeting of the Magistrates Courts Consultative Council in London last week, Hoon also promised to deliver on pledges to replace widespread repeat cautions with a single final warning and to bring together ...

  • In brief: West end practice Keene Marsland folds

    7-Jan-1997

    Two-partner West End firm Keene Marsland closed last week with the move of one of its partners to London media and entertainment specialists Harbottle & Lewis. Bob Mitchell, who this week joins Harbottle & Lewis as a senior associate in the sports law department, said the split with his partner John Deane was amicable, after the two decided to go their separate ways. Deane was unavailable for ...

  • Kevin Pettican on High Court powers to grant interim relief.

    7-Jan-1997

    Kevin Pettican is a barrister at Warner Cranston. The Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 (Interim Relief) Order 1987, which came into force on 1 April this year, significantly extends the power of the High Court to grant interim relief in support of proceedings taking place in another jurisdiction.Prior to the order, the High Court could only grant interim relief in support of foreign proceedings where the principal proceedings were taking place in ...

  • LAB penalty plans could cost taxpayer in long term

    7-Jan-1997

    PROPOSALS to pay solicitors less when high-cost legal aid cases are unsuccessful could ultimately cost the country more, the Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) has warned.In its report When the Price is High, published last Wednesday, the Legal Aid Board proposes to penalise solicitors who are unsuccessful in multiparty actions or other cases where costs rise above £50,000,LAPG vice-chair Richard Miller said the proposals might dissuade solicitors from ...

  • Law Lords decide child case

    7-Jan-1997

    The House of Lords is to decide in a case involving a child taken by its grandmother and aunt to Ireland following the death of its mother who was an Irish citizen. The father fought the removal in the High Court claiming it was unlawful but his application for a declaration to that effect was dismissed. The Court of Appeal, headed by Lady Justice Butler-Sloss, overturned that decision, allowing an appeal by the father and declaring that removal of the child was unlawful ...

  • Law Soc sits on survey results

    7-Jan-1997

    THE results of a controversial Law Society survey asking solicitors whether they want the rules on referral payments tightened up has been kept under wraps by the society for more than three months.Law Society staff received 1,000 replies at the beginning of April from a consultation on the Solicitors' Introduction and Referral Code. It was carried out among all 4,500 firms in England and Wales in January.But the society is refusing to disclose the results ...

  • Lawtel boosts online service

    7-Jan-1997

    THE ONLINE law reporting service Lawtel claims it now provides better coverage of recent decisions than any other source.Its new service involves a team of barristers summarising ex tempore or non-written judgments taken from High Court and Court of Appeal cases by Lawtel transcribers which are then placed on-screen the following morning.The service is one of a package of initiatives announced by Lawtel, including the supply of daily updates by e-mail directly ...

  • Linklaters strengthens IP department in Hong Kong

    7-Jan-1997

    Linklaters & Paines has strengthened its Hong Kong intellectual property (IP) practice with the addition of it first locally-qualified partner to the group.Rebecca Lo, who leaves local Hong Kong firm Hastings & Co where she was a partner, will be the firm's second specialist IP partner in Hong Kong alongside department head Tom Hope.Lo is admitted to practice as a solicitor ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 01/07/97

    7-Jan-1997

    Avril Rosemary Munson, 59, admitted 1983, and Jeremy Michael Cooke, 37, admitted 1988, practising at material time as Stevensons, struck off and suspended for five years respectively. Allegations substantiated they acted in a manner that was fraudulent, deceitful and contrary to their positions as solicitors, failed to comply with professional undertakings. Allegation also substantiated against Munson that she obtained loan from clients without ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 01/07/97

    7-Jan-1997

    Jolley v London Borough of Sutton - QBD 14 May 1997Claimant: Justin Jolley, 2Incident: Plaintiff crushedInjuries: Plaintiff, at age of 14, was working beneath a wooden boat on local authority car park. Boat had been abandoned and standing on car park for two years. Plaintiff had attempted to restore it. He was lying beneath boat when it collapsed on top of him, breaking his back. As a result he will never walk again. Judge ruled that local ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 01/07/97

    7-Jan-1997

    Investors Compensation Scheme claim form appeal(1) Investors Compensation Scheme v West Bromwich Building Society (2) Investors Compensation Scheme v Hopkins & Son (3) Alford & ors v West Bromwich Building Society (4) Armitage v West Bromwich Building Society (1997)Court: HL (Lords Goff, Lloyd, Hoffmann, Hope and Clyde) 19/6/9Summary: The true meaning of the Investors Compensation Scheme claim form concerning the assignment of claims by the investors ...

  • Litigation Writs 01/07/97

    7-Jan-1997

    A drummer who fell eight feet from a dark stage into the orchestra pit below, has launched a claim for damages of up to £100,000 against the local authority he blames for the accident. Alan Coulter, 49, who was with the Barbara Dickson Band at the time of the accident, at York's Barbican Theatre in December 1994, claims that he may never be able to resume his career as a drummer. His writ says that it happened as he walked on stage in total darkness. ...

  • Lloyd's wins in US, but war still rages

    7-Jan-1997

    Lloyd's of London won an important battle last week when the US Supreme Court refused to revive a law suit challenging its massive reconstruction and renewal settlement. But it is still far from total victory.A group of US Names - known as the Allen group - is refusing to settle. Last August, it obtained an injunction from the District Court in Richmond, Virginia, requiring more information from Lloyd's and allowing the group more time before it had to settle.

  • McKennas sets up East European pensions unit

    7-Jan-1997

    Cameron McKenna has launched its first joint major international initiative since its merger with the creation of a pensions and employee benefit practice to deal with central & eastern Europe.The new unit will be made up of five lawyers who will operate across Cameron McKenna's six central and eastern European offices.It has been created in anticipation of the introduction of major changes to pension law in Poland and Hungary.Before the merger ...

  • Mills offers olive branch to the CPS trade union

    7-Jan-1997

    Dame Barbara Mills QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has called for a truce with the lawyer's union at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which she accuses of undermining the service.Speaking to The Lawyer in her first major interview since the General Election, Mills urges the CPS section of the Association of First Division Civil Servants to put a stop to its "antagonistic" approach to senior management."This kind of outspoken criticism does the ...

  • Mills:I'm no quitter

    7-Jan-1997

    Barbara Mills

  • New Burnley head

    7-Jan-1997

    Freda Sharkey has been appointed as head of legal services with Burnley Borough Council. Sharkey, 40, was previously principal assistant legal officer with Ashfield District Council. Before this she held the post of solicitor at Chelmsford Borough Council.

  • New rules will not alter PFI liability

    7-Jan-1997

    Chris Fogarty reportsCouncil officers could still be financially liable for commercial ventures that fail, despite legislation which aims to clarify Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals, Nabarro Nathanson partner and local government expert Ray Ambrose has warned.Recently, the courts have found several council officers personally liable for their part in PFI ventures ...

  • No damages award after breach of duty

    7-Jan-1997

    A House of Lords ruling protecting councils from having to pay damages if they breach their statutory housing duties could affect other local authority services, according to the solicitor who won the case.London Borough of Camden senior housing solicitor Scott Dorling, who masterminded the council's appeal, said that although last month's ruling only concerned housing, there was scope in the judgment for all welfare services offered by councils ...

  • One country, two systems

    7-Jan-1997

    Today, Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule. Henry Sherman looks at how political change is likely to affect the legal system. Henry Sherman is a partner at Cameron McKenna and is resident in Hong Kong."Hong Kong is China. The foreigner is always an intruder, often tolerated, sometimes liked, often distrusted, seldom accepted." So said Richard Hughes, journalist and author, in Borrowed Place, Borrowed Time, 30 years ago.It is true that the British Colonial ...

  • Personal injury group chooses talk over politics

    7-Jan-1997

    A NEW pan-European group for personal injury lawyers has agreed to become a talking shop rather than a pressure group lobbying for reform.At its inaugural conference in Amsterdam last month, the Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (Peopil) decided to allow lawyers acting for both defendants and plaintiffs into the group.The decision prevents the group from acting as a political force - as in the case of the plaintiff-only Association of Personal ...

  • Personal publicity for publicity's sake

    7-Jan-1997

    Negative campaigning is nothing new. Robert Sayer thinks Martin Mears doth protest too much.Over the past week Martin Mears has whipped up a media storm over an alleged "dirty tricks" campaign. As I was one of the alleged victims of those "dirty tricks", I have made it my business to find out exactly what happened.The allegation is based on a meeting held by supporters of Phillip Sycamore and Michael Mathews back in February, ...

  • Practice shares out pensions cases

    7-Jan-1997

    Bristol firm Ringrose Wharton & Co is handing some of its pensions miss-selling cases to Shacklocks of Mansfield and Nottingham to enable it to keep to the strict timetable set by the Bristol Mercantile Court, where an expert pensions judge is handling all the cases in the UK. The practice is acting for many of the hundreds of individuals and unions around the country who are suing insurance companies because they were mis-sold personal pensions. The bulk of Ringrose Whartons' ...

  • Property

    7-Jan-1997

    Norton Rose advised the Royal Bank of Scotland on lending $60m and £25m to Chelsfield to help pay for its acquisition of the Westbury Hotel, Bond Street, London and the Hotel Westbury, Madison Avenue, New York. Shearman & Sterling advised in New York, and

  • Show's over, let's go to work

    7-Jan-1997

    Hong Kong's new Chinese dawn is seen as a wake-up call to do business rather than a signal to panic, says Mark Selway. Mark Selway is a freelance journalist.For many among Hong Kong's legal community, the handover to China presents little excitement. They are simply waiting for the dust to settle so that they can begin capitalising on the extra business that many lawyers are predicting will be generated by being hooked up directly to one of the world's ...

  • Storm brewing in Law Soc teacup

    7-Jan-1997

    Solicitors are no doubt fed up with the current election campaigns. Yet again, Chancery Lane's attempts at democracy have caused a furore - instead of hearing the issues, solicitors find themselves turned off the whole process.However, the profession would be well-advised to take note of what is really going on. At a time when firms are to be asked to pay for the Solicitors Indemnity Fund debacle, the election contenders are arguing over leaked minutes. ...

  • Taking on girl power in court

    7-Jan-1997

    Roger Pearson looks at how the Spice Girls have so far failed in their bid to prevent an Italian company using their photographs. The Spice Girls are currently involved, directly and indirectly, in two pieces of litigation at the High Court.As reported on this page (The Lawyer, 10 June), solicitor Ian Clifford has launched an action claiming he gave up his job at the Simkins Partnership to devote his time to managing Richard Stannard and Matthew Rowbottom, ...

  • The candidate, his aide and the PR agency

    7-Jan-1997

    Why did a former prime minister's adviser agree to help a potential president?

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Chris Arnheim

    7-Jan-1997

    Chris Arnheim was born in Edgware in London. He lives in Bromley is the founder of Arnheim & Co.What was your first job?Ground crew for the SAS (Scandinavian Airlines).What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£5,350 as a Freshfields trainee in 1982.What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Become an accountant.Which law could ...

  • The technology to compete

    7-Jan-1997

    Client management systems can open up a host of online services to make firms more competitive, says Ian Muirhead. Ian Muirhead is head of Sifa.The march of IT has not passed the financial services sector by. Using in-house client management systems and hooking up to the latest online services, solicitors can more than hold their own in the wider financial market.Keeping detailed client data is crucial in many fields of work, but it ...

  • Vetting may deny small firms role in PFI system

    7-Jan-1997

    Small law firms are likely to be ousted from Private Finance Initiative (PFI) work following the Government's announcement that advisers will have to be vetted by a new Treasury taskforce to be established this week.Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson is setting up the taskforce today, to replace the semi-independent PFI panel and to approve the financial viability and suitability of PFI projects before they are put to tender. The taskforce will also have to find a ...

  • Women lawyers to push Lord Irvine over judicial selection

    7-Jan-1997

    Women barristers are to meet the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, to put pressure on him to set up Labour's long-planned independent judicial appointments commission, just as Lord Irvine appeared to back away from the commitment.The proposal to include lay people in the process of appointing judges through an independent judicial appointments commission has been a long-standing Labour pledge. But Lord Irvine shied away from a complete commitment to it in a parliamentary ...

  • Wood defects to Rowe & Maw

    7-Jan-1997

    Leading patent lawyer Ian Wood and his two assistants are leaving Hobson Audley Hopkins & Wood this week for Rowe & Maw, just 15 months after they joined the firm following a merger.Wood, the only partner at the 14-partner firm who concentrated on "hard" IP work, such as patents, was a name partner at Hopkins & Wood when it merged with Hobson Audley in March last year. He denied that his move had anything to do with Hobson Audley's planned alliance with US firm Feagre ...