It's been a bad week for…

Leigh, Day & Co senior partner Martyn Day, who is representing lung cancer victims claiming compensation from tobacco companies Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher. High Court judge Mr Justice Wright ruled that smokers must bring claims within three years of diagnosis – effectively barring many of Day's 42 clients from continuing with the trial.

Free speech, after Lord Irvine stopped the legal press from attending a briefing about his Access to Justice proposals. In a bid to get his message past a "trivia-obsessed " press, Lord Irvine is booked to appear on TV's Can't Litigate Won't Litigate, The Woolfie and Bingham Show and the Jerry Springer special "Fat cat lawyer ate my baby".

Women taking legal action against the distributor of the contraceptive, Norplant. A decision by the Legal Aid Board to withdraw funding from the case, means the women, represented by Nottingham's Freeth Cartwright Hunt Dickens, have been forced to abandon their attempt to get compensation for alleged unpleasant side-effects.