News in brief

One of the UK's biggest insurance litigation firms, Berrymans Lace Mawer is calling for insurers to resist Law Commission recommendations that the category of dependants under the Fatal Accident Act be widened. The firm claims the new dependency test will cause a raft of small claims for trivialities such as lifts to work, thus reducing the damages received by the main dependants.

The Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD) has hit back at claims that it is considering scrapping the lay magistracy. It admits it has set up a research project to assess whether the current balance between the use of lay magistracy and Stipendiaries is correct but insists that the Government is committed to the principle of the lay magistracy.

A Legislative Review Committee is in the process of deciding whether to abolish or rename Queen's Counsel (QC) in South Australia. The committee is also exploring the role of the judiciary in appointing Silks. Unlike the UK's Law Society has begun a campaign to scrap QCs, the Law Society of South Australia wants the title retained.

Nearly all of the Judiciary Committee of the New York Women's Bar Association has resigned in protest over the public withdrawal of its ratings of judicial candidates. Thirteen out of the 15-person committee have walked out, claiming that the association's review of the qualifications of judicial candidates should be independent of outside influence.