The wizardness of Oz

The wizardness of Oz

City law firms are clamouring to head down under to find themselves a raft of new associates, but unsuspecting Aussies may find themselves reversing the journey of their forefathers, complete with ball and chain.

Berwin Leighton Paisner projects head John Simpson, an Aussie himself, set off for the sun-kissed beaches and tropical climes of Australia last week, and one could only admire the Herbert Smith team that flew in to build referral relationships with Aussie firms while simultaneously poaching their staff. Linklaters has also set off on a similar expedition in recent times, recruiting for its Asian offices.

With a high quota of antipodean staff itself, The Lawyer realises the wonderful talent, charm and charisma available in Oz. But with a late winter bite in the UK and an average Sydney temperature of 24°C, it certainly is a tough gig for our sunlight-starved City lawyers. Expect recruiting drives on Bondi Beach – and do you think the timing might have something to do with the English scramble for Ashes tickets?

Woolf bares his teeth

What is it with retired judges? They step down, move on to a role as an arbitrator or a consultant, and suddenly become all outspoken. It happened to Sir Hugh Laddie and now the former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf has caught the bug.

Woolf is famous for his radical reforms of the justice system, designed to cut costs and slash the length of cases. Now, speaking at a Barlow Lyde & Gilbert lecture last week, he has criticised his former colleagues for not being tough enough in managing the length of proceedings and, at the High Court level, of being too scared of the Court of Appeal and House of Lords. He also warned that, unless something is done, the reputation and heritage of the English justice system will be destroyed.

Bold words. It will now be up to the new Lord Chief Justice, the über-savvy Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, to decide whether or not to act on them.

Arsenal’s Cole to clean up with rags

Apparently you can now be sued for something you haven’t said, all because people on the internet decided to spread some rumours about your rumours.

Teacher Stern Selby’s Graham Shear is the go-to lawyer for footballers who find themselves (unwittingly, of course) at the centre of a sex scandal. As you may have read elsewhere, he has launched libel and breach of privacy proceedings on behalf of Arsenal footballer Ashley Cole, thereby confirming the rumours but denying the truth of them at the same time.

Shear argues that “the newspapers knew there was no basis to name Ashley, but arranged the articles and pictures in such a way that readers would identify him”.

It was the bloggers and internet sites that actually did name Cole, but it was the News of the World and The Sun wot got sued. Bad news for newspaper lawyers.