The Law Society, which looks likely to lose its self-regulatory powers following a severely critical report on the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) by legal services ombudsman Ann Abraham. Complaints against the profession are now running at an all-time high of one for every 2.4 practising solicitors. According to Abraham's report, "It is, it seems, impossible for some solicitors not to react to a complaint made about them as though it were a piece of litigation to be defended."
Justice of the peace Judith Smith, who was convicted of harassment, criminal damage and wasting 173 hours of police time. Smith, who has now resigned, waged a hate campaign against her ex-lover and his new girlfriend. Smith told police she was the victim of harassment and had received a toy gun, a dead rat and a box of maggots through the post.
Barings Bank creditors, reported to be furious at suggestions that Nick Leeson, the trader who single-handedly brought down the bank after amassing liabilities of #850m, could be allowed to profit from the story. Leeson, who is suffering from cancer, has returned from Singapore with his solicitor, Kingsley Napley partner Stephen Pollard, and is requesting the Press Complaints Commission make an exception to the rule that criminals cannot profit from newspapers for stories about their crimes. Ernst & Young, the accountants for Barings creditors, is pursuing a #1bn law suit against PricewaterhouseCoopers, which audited Barings.
Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone, who faces severe criticism for allegedly breaking free competition laws in a European Union Commission report issued last week. The report says Formula One broke the rules by handing exclusive television rights to its promoter, Ecclestone. The commission is now considering fining Ecclestone hundreds of millions of pounds if he does not loosen his ties with Formula One. Ecclestone embarrassed Tony Blair two years ago when it was revealed he donated #1m to the Labour Party shortly before the government declared Formula One exempt from tobacco sponsorship bans. (see page 12)
Macclesfield Town central defender and future Justice of the Peace Efetobore Sodje, who was told to remove his black leather bandana or leave the court on his first appearance at Macclesfield magistrates court, where he wanted to watch proceedings from the public gallery. Sodje left. However, the bandana is worn by order of Sodje's mother, Elizabeth, the matriarch of the Sodje clan, from the Urhobo tribe in Nigeria.