Anonymity refused for LAB appeal firm

A London firm battling the withdrawal of its Legal Aid Board (LAB) franchise has failed to retain its anonymity.

Three appeal judges, headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, have ruled that if Kaim Todner wants to pursue its challenge it must be identified.

The two-partner London firm was granted leave to challenge the LAB's decision in the High Court by Mr Justice Kay last june but he refused its application for anonymity.

Lord Woolf said last week that it was a general rule that parties and witnesses to legal proceedings had to “accept the embarrassment and damage to their reputation” when they became involved in litigation.

Edmund Lawson QC, for the firm, had argued that the profession should receive special treatment from the courts because of the duty it owed the courts and the importance of its reputation.

Woolf said: “It cannot be reasonable for the legal profession to seek preferential treatment… If the appellants had not raised the issue of anonymity… it is not likely that their proceedings would have resulted in any publicity, at least until the substantive hearing.”