The Law Society, which can finally see a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel following the appointment of Keith Vaz as Parliamentary Secretary of the Lord Chancellor's Department. Relations between the society and the Lord Chancellor hit an all-time low following the society's advertising campaign against the Access to Justice Bill. The society may now have an ally since Vaz's wife Maria Fernandes is a member of the Law Society council. (see page 8)
Mistresses, who may be given the same legal rights as spouses when the Law Commission produces a report into the law on non-married couples later this year. The commission is expected to give mistresses rights to property and money, and to give co-habitees the same rights as spouses, allowing them to claim for maintenance and pension rights.
Criminals. Fingerprint evidence has been found to be fallible. A detective constable has proved in the Scottish High Court that a thumbprint found at the scene of a crime was not hers – defeating the evidence of four forensic experts.
Suntans. Apparently so many barristers and solicitors have jetted off to Bermuda that the local authorities have had to build a new courthouse in an old Salvation Army hall to accomodate them. Hordes of leading London commercial silks and juniors, plus swarms of solicitors, have gone to Bermuda to act in two lengthy trials, one involving the German Thyssen dynasty and the other a now liquidated Lloyd's of London insurance company.
Fathers. The campaign for paid parental leave is gathering momentum. Cherie Booth QC has backed the campaign, telling those attending the Woman Lawyer Forum: "We need to encourage men to take parental leave… and one way to do that is to make it paid." Ms Booth may note, however, that proposals currently being considered by her husband only allow for unpaid leave.