Dibb Lupton Alsop's former partner Paul Thomas, who is facing charges of aiding and abetting corruption in relation to a £1.2bn break-up bid for the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS), appeared in Bow Street Magistrates Court on Friday. He was bailed until 11 February when the case should transfer to Southwark Crown Court. The SFO alleges that CWS executives Allen Green and David Chambers received £1m as an inducement or “reward” for favouring food manufacturer Hobson after it won an important contract with CWS. Thomas, who left Dibbs last year, was advising Hobson at the time.

Lovells has recruited Shibeer Ahmed from Allen & Overy to work in its London-based project finance practice department. Ahmed has worked on a number of high-profile deals, including the Birecik and Marmara (Uni-Mar) BOT power projects in Turkey.

Walker Morris, the Leeds-based firm, has set up a human rights unit to advise public bodies on the forthcoming Human Rights Act which will be enacted in October.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has promoted deputy general counsel Andrew Whittaker to general counsel, following the retirement of current incumbent Michael Blair QC after three years in the role. Whittaker, who will take over in April, will report to FSA chairman Howard Davies.

Devereux Chambers, the employment law set, has taken on three new tenants. Clinical negligence/PI and professional negligence specialist Colin Mendoza joins from Doughty Street, employment practitioner Suzanne McKie from George Carman QC's set and Bruce Silvester from Lamb Building. To accommodate continuing expansion the set has also taken on additional premises in Temple.

Bass, the brewing giant, has introduced a new policy to stop legal advisers working more than 10 hours a day. Head of legal Richard Winter has put the restriction in the terms and conditions of engagement in two transactions – aiming to tackle the problem of stress among solicitors.

The Wilkes Partnership has poached commercial litigation partner Julia Lowe from rival Birmingham firm Cartwright & Lewis. Lowe will work with senior partner Nigel Wood as part of the practice's commercial litigation and corporate support team.

No 6 Park Square, a leading barristers' chambers in Leeds, has appointed matrimonial finance specialist Sheron Bedell-Pearce to its family law team. Bedell-Pearce is a practising mediator and was a founding member of One Garden Court Family Law Chambers in London.

Russell Jones & Walker has moved two of its departments into new premises in London's Gray's Inn Road. The litigation, business and private client group and the criminal and investigations department have 40 fee earners between them and plan to expand once they are in the new office.

Withers acted for a Hong Kong-based property group on the purchase of a £100m-plus 1.7 acre residential site in Knightsbridge. The team was headed by partner Penny Elliott. Lovells acted for the vendors, Prudential, led by property partner Bob Kidby.