OMNIBUS THE CLAPHAM The journal of the SOUTH LONDON LAW SOCIETY
Hide and seek with justice
■ Free wills month ■ Conveyancing ■ GDPR ■ News
Inside this issue:
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INTRODUCTION NEWS EVENTS JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION 14 ARTICLES 20 FREE WILLS MONTH 22 WILLS AND PROBATE
24 CONVEYANCING FOCUS 27 FORENSICS 28 GDPR 29 SOFTWARE 3O ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING 33 ARTICLES 34 BOOK REVIEWS
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President’s Review Welcome all to the spring edition of Clapham Omnibus While many New Year resolutions will have fallen by the wayside, the society’s resolve to continue representing the interests of all South London lawyers remains as strong as ever. The year has already got off to a futuristic start with an event for students and solicitors held at corporate member London South Bank University on artificial intelligence and its potential effect on future legal careers. We were fortunate to be joined by the Vice President of the Law Society, Christina Blacklaws, who gave an inspiring talk appreciated by all in attendance. Looking ahead, there are a number of issues with which SLLS will continue to engage. We remain very concerned about proposed changes to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Handbook, and the detrimental effect these might have on our members and the clients we serve. There is real potential for solicitors to be put in a position of conflict between their professional obligations and the requirements of their employers, while consumers may face confusion and a lack of redress when instructing a solicitor from a non-regulated entity who may not be insured. Other areas of focus for us this year will be the SRA’s new proposed assessment (the Solicitors Qualifying Examination, SQE) and the impact of court closures. Regular readers will recall that the society expressed a number of concerns when responding to the SRA’s consultation on the SQE issue in late 2016/early 2017. Little has been done to address those concerns and there remains a real risk of the profession becoming de-professionalised. Likewise, court closures are creating a further barrier to access to justice. Giles Peaker from corporate member firm Anthony Gold has written an excellent piece on the aftermath of the closure of Lambeth County Court in these pages. A consultation on the closure of Wandsworth County Court and Blackfriars Crown Court is also underway, and members are strongly encouraged to respond.
Looking further afield than South London, the society is keen to continue its support of the Federation of European Bars (FBE), of which a former SLLS president, Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon), is currently president. The FBE offers a great opportunity to network with and learn from our colleagues across European jurisdictions. And although there remains a great deal of uncertainty about what will happen following the UK’s planned departure from the EU, maintaining relationships across European borders will be essential. Finally, this will be my last President’s Review. After serving as president for a little over three years, the time has come for me to allow someone else to take the helm, and so I will be stepping down at the society’s AGM on 21 June. It has been an honour and privilege to serve the society and I look forward to sharing in its future success, as I will remain involved in the committee and in close contact with the society. Which brings me to one very final point of housekeeping, and that is about keeping in touch. As you will know, the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect this May. The South London Law Society would hate to lose touch with you, so we would be grateful if you would complete the form opposite and return it by post, or email your consent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Without either of these, we will no longer be able to communicate with you. Best wishes, GARETH LEDSHAM President South London Law Society
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COUNCIL REPORT: February 2018 The Law Society Council met on 7 February in the Council Chamber at Chancery Lane for the first time in a year, because of repair and restoration work to the roof of the building. Law Society governance reforms During the meeting, Council passed further amendments to the General Regulations to bring an end to the existing four Law Society boards, and replace them with one main board, along with two supporting subcommittees – one to deal with legal affairs and regulatory issues, and one to deal with membership and finance. These reforms are intended to make Council more agile and able to represent the members interests in a more cohesive way. Whether they will or not, only time will tell. The inaugural meetings of the new board and committees will be in February and March. There will be a strategic planning meeting for all council members in April to set an agenda for improved and effective membership representation. Some of the issues that will be dealt with are set out below.
I also expect the SRA to resume its campaign to reduce the compulsory insurance limit to £500,000. However, I think the profession has an unlikely ally in the Consumer Panel of the Legal Services Board, which has clearly recognised that this would substantially reduce the protection to clients. As our regulator, the SRA unfortunately seems to have as its mission the de-professionalisation and destruction of our profession. Its vision is to have cheap and unregulated ‘lawyers’ offering legal services to answer the problem of unmet legal need. It has no real concept of professional ethics or altruism, and sees legal services as the equivalent of selling tins of baked beans. We must continue to fight this insidious agenda, and as your council member I intend to do so to the best of my abilities.
Help for solicitors
The Law Society continues to have regular meetings with ministers and officials, and has made submissions to two of the key Select Committees of Parliament. It has also had individual meetings with backbench MPs and peers with briefings on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
Remember that the following services are available to you:
Legal aid As you probably know, the Law Society has campaigned for the reintroduction of legal aid for early advice. This campaign has attracted substantial media coverage and support from all parties, including the Labour frontbench, to reintroduce legal aid in family law cases. The society has also been working closely with the Ministry of Justice to broaden the range of evidence that can be used in domestic abuse cases, and ensure that victims of abuse can access legal aid. Regulation The Legal Services Board is consulting on the Internal Governance Rules between approved regulators – the Law Society and the frontline regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The SRA makes no secret of its desire to have full independence from the Law Society. But this would require primary legislation, as the Legal Services Act clearly states that the Law Society is the approved regulator for solicitors. I see it as a major part of my role to oversee and attempt to curtail some of the wilder excesses of the SRA. Unfortunately, the SRA only pays lip service to its consultations – the most recent being the consultation on price transparency. The society responded to the consultation with consumer research that suggested simply making more information available regarding the cost of legal services would not be enough to improve client choice. I confidently expect the SRA to completely ignore any research that contradicts its direction of travel.
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Practice Advice Service This service provides advice from experienced solicitors on legal practice issues, including conveyancing, costs, probate, Law Society policy and practice notes. 020 7320 5675 or email@example.com Lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Lawyerline This helpline provides advice on client care and complaints handling. 020 7320 5720 or firstname.lastname@example.org Lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Pastoral care helpline This helpline provides personal, financial, professional and employment advice. 020 7320 5795 Lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Solicitors Assistance Scheme This service offers help in all areas of practice, including professional, regulatory and employment issues. 020 7117 8811 or email@example.com or visit thesas.org.uk If there are any issues that you wish me to take up with the Law Society Council, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
David Taylor Law Society Council Member, Partner at Hanne & Co and former President of South London Law Society
020 8394 6492 email@example.com
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Web Address: southlondonlawsociety.co.uk
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Artificial intelligence and the law Tim Hill reports on an insightful and inspiring talk given to aspiring lawyers by the Law Society’s Vice President Christina Blacklaws
fter a day-long meeting of the Law Society Council, the society’s Vice President, Christina Blacklaws, visited London South Bank University (LSBU) to give a talk supported by the South London Law Society. While the council comprises some of the most established and august members of the profession, the audience at LSBU was mostly law students – the aspiring legal professionals of the future. And they were meeting to discuss a very future topic: artificial intelligence (AI).
The impact of technology, including AI, on the law and on lawyers is very much a topic on the council’s radar. So Christina began by explaining a bit about the Law Society to those less familiar with it. As a membership body representing more than 170,000 solicitors across England and Wales, the society’s vision is to be valued and trusted as a vital partner to represent, promote and support solicitors, while also upholding the rule of law, legal independence, ethical values and the principle of justice for all. The society represents solicitors by speaking out for justice on legal issues, and promotes the value of using a solicitor both at home and abroad. It also supports solicitors to develop their expertise and their businesses, whether they work in-house, in firms or for themselves. This includes supporting equality, diversity and inclusion in the profession, and working to ensure that the best students can become lawyers, regardless of their background. There is also a dedicated Junior Lawyers Division, which represents students and young lawyers at the start of their careers. Christina invited the audience to get involved. Turning to the UK’s legal services sector as a whole, Christina outlined the real and consistent contribution it was making to the economy: a turnover of almost £26 billion; export of £34.7 billion worth of legal services and direct employment of 380,000 people in 9,000 firms. She emphasised the diversity of the profession and the diversity in the way that law was being practised, with growing numbers of solicitors now working in-house or opting for a career in the judiciary.
The impact of AI on legal careers Christina then moved on to talk about the impact of AI and machine learning, which can already be seen within the justice system, the practice of law and the wider public policy. AI and machine learning will undoubtedly continue to improve the efficiency of processes in firms, including legal research, document management, and risk and compliance. In fact, some legal work involves tasks that can be much better performed by computer algorithms and mechanisms than by the human mind, because the margin of error is narrower, the work is done quicker and the training required is minimal.
More broadly, the uses of algorithms in different industries are generating legal questions across fields as diverse as data, security and liability. Technologists, policymakers and lawyers are increasing asking themselves questions, such as how AI will change working environments, whether a new legal field – AI law – is slowly emerging, and whether there is a need for new ethical and governance frameworks. Microsoft, for example, has recently suggested that a new breed of specialist AI lawyer will emerge within the next 20 years. By 2038, the software giant predicts that “not only will there be AI lawyers practising AI law, but these lawyers, and virtually all others, will rely on AI itself to assist them with their practice.” Christina emphasised that the Law Society will play its part in addressing the challenges of AI and the law, and announced that shortly after she becomes president in July 2018, the society will launch a Technology and Law Policy Forum. The objective of the forum will be to harness the society’s convening power by offering a neutral platform for academics, policymakers, lawyers and technologists to address pressing legal and ethical challenges of technology. The first theme the forum will address is the intersection between law and human rights, exploring whether the current human rights framework (which dates largely from the 1940s) is still fit for purpose and what human rights law should look like in the context of rapid technological change. Although there are challenges ahead, Christina is sure that with a concerted and collaborative effort, AI can benefit the legal sector, and that aspiring lawyers will be able to play a crucial role in ensuring that it’s bound by the rule of law. She concluded the talk by saying that if members of the audience decide to become solicitors, they’ll be taking the first steps into a great profession. A law degree is a toolbox that opens endless opportunities which can lead in unimagined directions. She wished her audience every success.
Timothy Hill Technology policy adviser at the Law Society
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Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon)
Changing as we watch President of the FBE, Professor Sara Chandler, reports on the success of the London congress on climate change and lawyers As a member of the Federation of European Bars (FBE), the South London Law Society is invited to conferences and events all over Europe. In November 2017, it was London’s turn to host the 50th FBE Congress, and the chosen topic was ‘Climate change and lawyers’.
The declaration points to climate change, the acceleration of the loss of biodiversity, and degradation of land and oceans as violations of human rights and a threat to the present and future generations. You can read the full declaration online by searching for ‘Declaration of humankind rights’ at fbe.org
We are all increasingly familiar with the consequences of environmental damage and climate change caused by human activity. Listening to the conference speakers, I realised how drastic our impact is, and how the lives of indigenous people all over the world are at threat as their environment is destroyed.
Not only did we hear from these very high-profile panel speakers, but we were also privileged to hear from the litigators involved in the ClientEarth case against the UK government, and from European lawyers practising in France, Spain, Italy and Poland, who are advising on environmental law. Later, Sir Henry Brooke, a retired Court of Appeal judge who sadly passed away in January this year, chaired a panel of lawyers who have worked with indigenous people in protecting their rights.
The congress was launched by the presidents of four international organisations: the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, the Union International des Avocats, the Union Ibero Americano des Abogados, and the Association of European Lawyers. As president of the FBE, I welcomed them and then handed over to the first panel, chaired by Dominique Attias, the Vice-Bâtonnière of the Paris Bar, and featuring: Corinne Lepage, former Minister for Environment in the Hollande Government and MEP; Risteard da Paor, Associate at White & Case in Paris; and Noemí Blázquez, Counsel at Uría Menéndez in Barcelona. Corinne Lepage presented the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Humankind, which cites the responsibility of our generation to future generations to uphold the right to a safe and sustainable environment, and to do what we can to protect the environment in our time. The declaration was launched in Paris in November 2015, immediately before the Paris United Nations Climate Change Conference, which was attended by representatives from across the world.
Having worked hard all day, in the evening we enjoyed a fantastic gala dinner, entertained by light jugglers, singing waiters, and political journalist and broadcaster John Sergeant, who gave us a humorous and topical after-dinner speech. On Saturday 11 November, the FBE General Assembly progressed support for lawyers in Poland, and added Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria to the members who have expressed their concerns about the situation for lawyers and access to justice in their countries. The next international invitations are Mediterranean Assizes of the FBE on 12-14 April in Ragusa, Italy, and the FBE Congress in Bologna on 17-19 May. All are very welcome. To find out more, please contract email@example.com
Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon) Former President of South London Law Society and President of the Federation of European Bars (FBE)
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Human rights update Tuesday 20 March 2018 at 6:30pm With Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, Bindman & Partners; Joel Bennathan QC, Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers; and Imran Khan QC, Solicitor at Imran Khan & Partners. Keyworth Centre, London South Bank University To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Junior Lawyers Division: Crazy Busy Talk Thursday 14 June 2018 With motivational speaker, author and life coach Zena Everett. To find out more, email email@example.com
Junior Lawyers Division: Annual Summer Drinks Soiree Thursday 6 September 2018 Sponsored by Outer Temple Chambers. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org
SAVE THE DATE!
South London Law Society AGM Thursday 21 June 2018 Anthony Gold Solicitors, London Bridge
South London Law Society Annual Dinner Thursday 1 November 2018 The Kia Oval, London
LAW SOCIETY EVENTS AT CHANCERY LANE, LONDON 16 Apr 2018 17 Apr 2018 17 Apr 2018 17 Apr 2018 18 Apr 2018 18 Apr 2018 24 Apr 2018 25 Apr 2018 25 Apr 2018 26 Apr 2018 28 Apr 2018 10 May 2018 17 May 2018 12 Jun 2018 13 Jun 2018 14 Jun 2018 To see all events, visit
Deregulation – what can solicitors learn from professionals in other markets? Making the right choices at retirement FULLY BOOKED Get Data Protection Ready: Down to the wire Advocacy and the Vulnerable Training FULLY BOOKED Private Client Section: IHT and Death – A tax update Mitigating risk for in-house lawyers Retraining: an introduction to wills, probate and trusts Civil Litigation Section Spring conference – changing for the better Anti-money laundering workshops Law Management Section annual conference 2018: the law firm of the future Junior Lawyers Division annual conference and ball 2018 Doing legal business between Malaysia and the UK Competition Section annual conference 2018 Advocacy and the Vulnerable Training FULLY BOOKED In-house Division annual conference 2018 – Day one In-house Division annual conference 2018 – Day two
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Bridging the gap Vanessa Asante on the new Gender Pay Gap regulations for employers
n a move intended to address gender pay imbalances in the workplace, on 6 April 2017 the government brought into force legislation which requires large employers with 250 or more employees to annually publish their gender pay gap figures.
For example, Easyjet explained that their gender pay gap is due to their pilots being predominantly male, on average salaries of £92,400, while their cabin crew is predominantly female, earning on average £24,800.
The pay differentials upon which employers are required to report are:
An issue often cited as being a barrier to women advancing into senior positions is that they generally take on a greater share of caring responsibilities, often needing to take time out of their careers to look after children or relatives. Furthermore, many women who do return to work after a period of maternity leave do so on a lower paid part-time basis, while some are unable to return to work altogether because of a lack of flexible working arrangements or affordable child care. This can put constraints on their career progression and earning potential.
● the average gender pay gap ● the average gender pay gap for bonuses ● the proportion of male and female employees who received a bonus ● the proportion of men and women in each of four different pay bands.
What is the gender pay gap? The gender pay gap indicates the average difference in pay between men and women across the whole of an organisation. This is not to be confused with equal pay, which requires that men and women performing comparable roles should be equally remunerated.
The current picture According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2017 men earned on average 18.4% more than women. Although this has reduced from a difference of 27.5% in 1997, the current figure remains concerning and it’s hoped that this new legislation will help to narrow the gap by creating greater transparency around the issue and encouraging employers to take action to address their pay differences. Of the 800 employers who have published data so far, Easyjet at 51.7% and Virgin Money plc at 32.5% are among those with the most significant mean gender pay gaps. It doesn’t get any better when looking at bonuses either, as women’s were at least 43% lower than men’s at both organisations.
What causes these disparities? It’s often found that organisations with a large gender pay gap have a far greater proportion of men than women in higher paid, senior positions. Men are regularly dominant in well remunerated senior and leadership positions in the organisational hierarchy, such as managerial, executive and directorship roles, while women disproportionately occupy lower skilled, lower paid and more subordinate positions such as administrative roles. 12 THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS
Discrimination can also be a factor in perpetuating gender pay gaps. For example, there may be a culture whereby women are regularly overlooked for promotion or where a higher value is placed on men’s work than women’s.
What can employers do to reduce their gender pay gaps? The new legislation allows employers to provide a narrative statement along with their published gender pay gap data to explain the reasons behind any pay gaps identified. They can also provide their long-term action plan for tackling it, and in future years report on any successes in narrowing their pay gaps. There are a number of steps employers can take to reduce their pay gaps, including: ● Revising their pay review processes to ensure a consistent approach to pay increases ● Carrying out equal pay audits to eliminate differences in pay where men and women are doing equal work ● Examining their flexible working policies and promoting diverse ways of working, such as part-time working, compressed hours, job sharing and working from home. This should be encouraged among both male and female staff members, but particularly among women in senior positions ● Making it more attractive for men to undertake a greater share of the caring responsibilities by enhancing paternity leave and encouraging shared parental leave to alleviate the impact of parenthood on women’s career progression
JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION ● Educating employees and management of the existence of such policies ● Providing support with childcare, such as a childcare voucher scheme, to increase the retention of women returning from maternity leave ● Introducing unconscious bias training for management to minimise the effects of gender bias on their decision-making when it comes to matters such as recruitment, pay and promotions ● Putting in place mentoring and sponsorship programmes which aim to match capable female employees with a senior mentor who can inspire, coach and advocate their career progression within the organisation ● Set clear, measurable targets for female representation at senior levels so that progress can be monitored.
Tipping the balance
Importantly, the legislation demands that gender pay gap data be published on the employer’s website, as well as being publicly available on a dedicated government website for a period of three years. From a recruitment perspective, talented future employees may be put off from applying to employers with large pay gaps, while a lack of action may cause discontent among current employees, damaging morale and productivity. Individual female employees will be more likely to challenge the amount they are being paid and this data could potentially be used as supporting evidence for tribunal claims where the reason for the gap is suspected to be discriminatory pay practices. Given the reputational risk, it seems that the costs of doing nothing to address the gender pay imbalance may be far too great.
Vanessa Asante Trainee solicitor at Hanne & Co
The reasons behind pay gaps are varied and complex. However, there can be significant benefits to employers in making efforts to reduce this. Greater diversity, particularly at the senior management level, can bring about new perspectives and ideas, which drive innovation and can in turn generate further growth in a business.
THE JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION Some new faces and new events to look forward to at the South London JLD This winter, while you were hibernating, the South London Junior Lawyers Division Committee were busy hosting events and planning for the year ahead. In November, we held a Costs Seminar at Anthony Gold, sponsored and hosted by Nicholas Lee of Paragon Costs. This was an extremely informative, relevant and timely event, and we hope to invite Paragon back to do another talk at some point in the future. A few months later, in February, we held our first event for students in collaboration with the Student Law Society at London South Bank
University. Four of our committee members formed a panel for an informal talk on getting into the legal profession, each giving a short introduction before answering the students’ questions and offering useful tips and tricks in how to secure a job or training contract. Due to coursework deadlines, the turnout was lower than expected – but it meant we were able to answer more questions on a one-to-one basis. The feedback was very positive and we’re hoping to repeat this event at the start of each academic year. If you would like to organise a similar event at your university, please get in touch with us at email@example.com Committee At the beginning of the year, we said goodbye to our sponsorship representative Lois Tackie-Obie. Thank you Lois for all your hard work. We also welcomed onto the committee Laura Christodoulou, a paralegal at Anthony Gold, and Billy Yu Lok Ng, a trainee at Carter Solicitors. We’re excited about our new committee and our upcoming events, and will be in touch again soon with more information. Watch this space. If you’re interested in joining the South London JLD, membership is free. SImply email Akilah at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @SouthLondonJLD
Louise Taylor Solicitor at Anthony Gold
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Crazy Busy Talk Thursday 14 June 2018 Motivational speaker, author and life coach Zena Everett joins us for a second year running to explore how to manage and cope with a busy life and workload. For those of you that attended Zena’s talk on ‘The Science of Confidence’ last year, you’ll know that this is one not to be missed. Keep an eye on your email and our Twitter account in the coming weeks for more details on how to book. Website: southlondonjld.wordpress.com
Annual Summer Drinks Soiree Thursday 6 September 2018 We will be hosting our annual drinks once again in the first week of September. This event will be sponsored by Outer Temple Chambers and is an opportunity to network with other junior lawyers and barristers from South London. This is a purely social affair, with drinks and canapés to celebrate all of your hard work over the past year and to welcome new trainees to the South London JLD.
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Hide and seek with justice Giles Peaker on the dire ramifications of court closures
ccess to justice is one thing. Actually being able to find it another. This is the sorry, sad, truly pathetic tale of the closure of Lambeth County Court (LCC).
Otherwise, it said, deal with Stratford Housing Centre at a Magistrates Court in East London, or if urgent, try Clerkenwell & Shoreditch CC in, well, Clerkenwell, the other side of the river.
In late 2015, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) announced that LCC was one of many courts that it proposed to close. Following a ‘consultation’ – in which the MoJ based its travel time estimates on people driving their own cars, like all central London tenants do – the closure was confirmed on 11 February 2016. The court was to close in late July 2017
How on earth, we wondered, were possession defendants supposed to make sense of this? How would they know where to go? People were already getting documents with various different hearing venues. But, silly us. Silly, naive us. It turned out that this was to be simplicity itself compared to what HMCTS had up its sleeve.
So, some 15 months to plan and organise the transfer of LCC work then. Ample, surely? What, we all wondered, was going to happen to the court’s possession cases and, in particular, the possession lists? The first proposal was that everything would go to Wandsworth County Court – an epic trip by public transport. Then it turned out it would be too expensive to get Wandsworth in a state to cope with the load. And both Lambeth and Southwark councils and MPs made furious noises about the distance involved for both claimant and defendant. (Now Wandsworth is slated for closure too.) Then the possession cases were to go to Camberwell Green Magistrates Court. But the MoJ/HMCTS then decided to close that court too. Limbo. For months. Vague rumours of one of the Crown Courts in Southwark being used for the possession list came and went. A delusional suggestion of using Southwark Council premises as a pop-up courtroom was circulated. Closure loomed. I mean really loomed. A day before the court was due to close, it was announced it would remain open another month. Yes, really, a day before. Not even the staff knew. And then, when the month was up? Well, the court did close at the end of September 2017. A letter went out to (some) courtusers at the very end of September saying that possession lists would still be heard at LCC, but there wouldn’t be any staff and it wouldn't be open otherwise.
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Next, we were told, the possession lists would be heard at Inner London Crown Court (ILCC). When would that start? HMCTS wasn’t entirely sure, though some cases were already listed as being heard there. And then this was what the duty scheme people were told:
Inner London Crown Court LCC will stay open as hearing centre until 24 November 2017. After that, all rent arrears possession cases will be heard at ILCC. Cases listed to be heard before 24 November at ILCC will now be heard at LCC. Notices of the change of venue will be sent out. Please note this part is up in the air. Post 24 November, you will receive documents saying go to ‘Hearing venue A’, but this may change at short notice and we will need to send further amended notices. It is highly recommended that you check the address on any court notice carefully.
New cases New possession cases will be issued from Stratford. Anything under 30 minutes will be heard at the hearing centre (be it LCC or ILCC). Anything over 30 minutes at Clerkenwell & Shoreditch (C&S). Injunctions and applications to commit will be heard at Gee Street (C&S).
Applications to suspend warrants Applications to suspend warrants should be made at the Stratford Housing Centre, but will be heard at LCC/ILCC. If you go to Clerkenwell to issue, your application to suspend will be issued but may be heard at Clerkenwell.
Existing Lambeth cases In possession cases that are initially heard at Lambeth but become defended, Defences etc should be sent to Clerkenwell. They can be sent to Stratford but will be sent on to Clerkenwell. Stratford will deal with all undefended possession matters and all possession matters that remain within 30-minute hearing timeframe. Anything heard at Stratford and subsequently transferred parties will be informed, so they know where to send any further documents. Correspondence sent to LCC will be forwarded to Stratford.
Official court name The official court name is Clerkenwell & Shoreditch sitting at Lambeth CC. The (INC) is just for Possession Claim Online (PCOL) to differentiate between the two Clerkenwell & Shoreditch courts. The address is Stratford Housing Centre. I'm not inexperienced, but I'm still not sure I've quite made sense of this. What the hell a possession defendant in person is supposed to make of it, I have no idea. They have to go to Stratford to apply for a stay of eviction? How are they supposed to know this? And then, somehow (stays usually being very, very urgent) that application will be heard at ILCC or maybe at LCC (where there are no staff), but subject to last-minute, change-ofvenue notices. Defendants receiving short-notice, change-of-venue notices for possession hearings? No prospect of that going wrong. At all. Could it possibly get worse? Why yes, yes it did. Courtesy of Cambridge House came this redacted copy possession claim, presumably issued in Stratford, with named court as Camberwell & Shoreditch. But where was the possession hearing to be held? Why yes, it’s at ‘County Court at Clerkenwell & Shoreditch (INC)’. But wait, the address is Sessions House, Newington Causeway. Which is ILCC. How the hell is a defendant in person supposed to know what ‘Clerkenwell & Shoreditch (INC)’ is? What confusion will this spread? How many will turn up hopefully at Gee Street (where C&S CC actually is)? How many will turn up at Sessions House only to find 'Inner London Crown Court' and leave bewildered?
HMCTS were directing defendants to attend a court that doesn’t exist, even virtually. Of all the dark ironies of our failing court system, that might be one of the darkest yet. I would laugh, I would. This astonishing saga of ineptitude, delay, panic and confusion would be a farce. Except it isn’t funny. People will lose their homes because of this. Defendants will miss hearings and get possession orders which could have been avoided or suspended. Defendants will fail to be able to make stay of warrant applications, which would have had prospects, and be evicted in consequence. Claimants will face set-aside applications on the basis of a wholly understandable failure to attend the possession hearing, and delay and costs as a result. This is the sheer ineptitude of HMCTS messing with people’s lives. It is not just a failure of access to justice, it is hiding it away. They had two years to sort this. Two whole years.
Postscript This was originally published as a blog post on Nearly Legal on 24 October 2017. Since then, Lambeth possession cases have all been transferred to Clerkenwell & Shoreditch CC. The court was, at least at first, still sending out notices of hearing with the LCC address. HMCTS justified the transfer on the basis that the Tube journey from Kennington to Barbican took 20 minutes (not mentioning the 20-minute walk from Barbican), because that is, of course, the route that people would take.
Giles Peaker Partner at Anthony Gold and editor of the Nearly Legal Housing Law and Comment blog nearlylegal.co.uk
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Developing mental peak performance The key to thriving under pressure is to learn more about you, says Joyce Wilson
s the author Jodi Picoult writes, “The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.” But why do some people seem to sail through challenges and busy times so easily? And why can we sometimes cope well and other times not?
Developing mental peak performance is about overcoming the stressful and challenging experiences that impact on our job productivity, and our ability to remain focussed, deal with multiple demands, and stay calm and healthy. To achieve peak performance, we need to develop our ‘personal resilience’ – or as some people call it, ‘mental toughness’. But how do we do that? How do we recognise that we need to work on our performance? On the diagram opposite, you’ll find some typical symptoms of how people feel when they are at peak performance and when their performance is not where they would like it to be. (Yerkes-Dodson Law, if you wish to read more around this.) The ideal peak performance is obtained at the optimum stress level for the individual, and everyone has differing abilities and responses to what they see as stressful. Therefore, it’s important that we learn to understand what might affect how we cope. Some items that may apply pressure include:
Use your unique strengths What do you enjoy doing and what are you good at? What’s easy to do for you compared to others? Realistic self-insight into your own character strengths and vulnerabilities is the basis for understanding your capabilities and limits when dealing with challenges. Remember that your character strengths are life-long, whereas job strengths are specific and change with circumstances. Developing and using your character strengths has the potential to create personal excellence, while developing and correcting your weaknesses to a minimum level of competence will help avoid failure. Using your character strengths is also uplifting and helps to build confidence.
Maintain perspective Remember that although it might not seem like it, it is possible to maintain perspective in situations where you’re under greater pressure than normal. Focus on ‘Bounce back’: B Bad times don’t last and things do get better. O Other people can only help if you share with them. U Unhelpful thinking only makes you feel worse.
● new priorities
N Nobody is perfect – not you, not your friends, not your family, not anybody!
● changed initiatives
C Concentrate on the good things in life, no matter how small.
● new technologies
E Everybody suffers, and everybody feels pain and experiences setbacks; they are a normal part of life.
● volume of work ● the need to get things right first time ● too many deadlines ● new line manager ● external factors Everyone, I’m sure, could add to this list. But which things have the greatest impact on you? And how do you support yourself to cope with these on top of the many day-to-day tasks and information we’re constantly being bombarded with?
Connect to your purpose I can hear some of you saying, “Really, why bother?” But a strong sense of purpose and meaning in life is the bedrock from which coping, supporting yourself and renewal after adversity is made possible. In times of challenge, with a clear sense of purpose you’re much more likely to persevere than give up. 16 THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS
B Blame fairly – negative events are often a combination of things you did, things others did and plain bad luck. A Accept what you can’t change and try to change what you can. C Catastrophising makes things worse – don’t fall prey to believing in the worst interpretation. K Keep things in perspective. Even the worst moment is but one moment in life.
Be realistically optimistic An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualising what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear. And remember to treat yourself fairly: it’s very easy to beat yourself up when things are not going as well as you would like. A simple exercise is to think about how
Credit: Dr Andrea Dinardo drandreadinardo.com
Reach out to others you would treat a friend. Take a piece of paper, a pen, and answer the following questions honestly: 1. Think about times when a close friend feels really bad about themself or is struggling in some way. How would you respond to them? Write down what you typically do, what you say, and the tone you would use when talking to them. 2. Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself? Write down what you typically do, what you say, and the tone you use to talk to yourself. Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently? 3. Finally, write down how you think things might change if you respond to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when they are suffering.
Remember to get support from others, whether it’s friends, family or colleagues. A strong social network decreases stress, provides you with a sense of belonging and gives your life the deeper meaning it needs. Carve out time to develop these relationships, as they will support you during more challenging times.
“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.” Jodi Picoult
Remember to take care of your own needs as well as others.
Be open-minded and flexible Game-ready leaders have the ability to absorb the unexpected and remain supple and non-defensive. They maintain humour even when the situation becomes tough. If something isn’t going well or doesn't turn out as expected, they look for new ways to solve the problem. Just like a footballer or any other team player, you may have to decide quickly on a different way to get the ball down the field. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. You can’t get stronger if you stay in your comfort zone at all times. Learning to be comfortable with uncomfortable situations will help you to learn from the situation instead of escaping from it.
In the end, you are the best gauge of yourself. Increasing your awareness of your performance – attitude, levels of concentration, motivation etc – in different situations and under different levels of pressure is a great start. You’ll start to learn how you naturally react to various scenarios, and whether the pressure works for you or against you. Then you can then begin to adapt to certain situations to suit you or avoid them altogether. Remember that you’re always in control.
If you need any additional support through challenging and busy times, remember that there are professionals you can speak to as well as friends, family and colleagues: Mind – 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 LawCare helpline – 0800 279 6888 or email@example.com
Joyce Wilson Human Resources Manager at Anthony Gold
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The Law Society’s Excellence Awards are back for 2018 The Excellence Awards are back for 2018 and are going to be the biggest and best yet. They showcase excellence demonstrated by outstanding firms and individuals across the legal profession in England and Wales. Does peer recognition matter to you too? “I was absolutely delighted to win the award. It was particularly well received being a criminal practitioner, because we certainly don’t do things to receive personal recognition but are driven by our desire to see that justice is done.” Zoe Gascoyne, Quinn Melville Solicitors – Winner, Solicitor of the Year – Private Practice 2017
Don’t miss out This year your chances of recognition have increased as several new categories have been introduced, including Law Firm of the Year for Small, Medium and Large firms, as well as Sole Practitioner of the Year. The new awards are specifically designed to champion the best and brightest firms of all shapes and sizes.
“It meant a lot to win the Excellence Award in Pro Bono – for us it’s a useful way of communication both externally and internally about the impact of our work.” Paul Yates, Head of Pro Bono, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP – Winner, Excellence in Pro Bono 2017
You have until Friday 25 May 2018 to enter this year's Law Society Excellence Awards, which will take place on Wednesday 17 October 2018 at the exclusive Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane.
“Us smaller firms have an equal chance…excellence isn’t necessarily connected with big firms but with the quality of what you do.” Hugh Adrian Scott Jones, Managing Partner, Hugh Jones Solicitors – Highly Commended, Excellence in Private Client Practice 2017
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR The Clapham Omnibus is your magazine, so please do get involved. If you’d like to write an article or have some news to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Samantha Whitaker editor
SOUTH LONDON LAW SOCIETY southlondonlawsociety.co.uk
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Check out some fascinating case studies from some 2017 success stories and see how the recognition has impacted their firms, visit: lawsociety.org.uk/excellence-awards You can submit your nomination before Friday 25 May 2018 here: lawsociety.org.uk/excellence-awards
Thames Water Property Searches Residential CPD: Register today to attend Thames Water Property Searches are hosting a free informative and interactive legal Commercial CPD on Thursday 21 June at the Metro Bank Holborn in London. The full day (9am until 4pm) event incorporates a range of topics from leading industry organisations and speakers including: • Jan Boothroyd - Authoritative Data, National Land Information Service (NLIS) and an update on Local Authority searches – Land Data • Paul Addison - How to avoid being sued for £2 million, providing an insightful talk about the planning system and how location and development risks can be exposed before purchase – DevAssist • Mark Taylor - Providing key information and details to inform internal decision making processes on which report best suits you as a firm, based upon the sensitivity of the transaction type, and the clients you provide services for – Argyll Environmental • Hannah Mackinlay - Afternoon workshop session focusing on Environmental considerations, Drainage and Water infrastructure, Easements and Highway robbery – Propertylaw.guru Register today to secure your place. Each CPD event is open to two fee earners per firm. Our 2018 CPD event dates are: Wednesday 19 September 2018 – Residential CPD Thursday 15 November 2018 – Commercial CPD Get in touch by calling us on 0845 070 9148 or emailing email@example.com to register and secure your place.
Thames Water Property Searches
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FREE WILLS MONTH
Free Wills Month is an opportunity for both solicitors and the public Ten national charities are working together to promote Free Wills Month during March. The promotion is an opportunity for people to have their Will written free of charge by a local solicitor and at the same time to leave a lasting legacy. or solicitors, the promotion is a fantastic opportunity to acquire new clients at no cost. The promotion involves a lot of local advertising, which includes participating solicitorsâ€™ details, paid for by the organisers. Solicitors average 25 new clients, though some set a lower limit while others regard it as an excellent way to add to their client list and take as many appointments as they can manage.
Many charities depend on gifts left in Wills for up to half of their funding. The Free Wills Month promotion aims to encourage those aged 55+ to have their Will written or updated (though in the case of couples making mirror Wills, it is sufficient if one has reached 55).
obligation to include a gift, though the great majority of people using the promotion choose to do so. The Free Wills Month charities work exclusively with solicitors who are in good standing with the Law Society and who are regulated by the SRA. The Free Wills Month charities in the March 2018 campaign are Age UK, Arthritis Research UK, The Blue Cross, British Heart Foundation, Guide Dogs, Marie Curie, MIND, NSPCC, the RNLI, The Salvation Army and Stroke Association.
Recruitment of solicitors for Free Wills Month March is scheduled to be completed by the end of January when Free Wills Month is a great opportunity for attention turns to the October campaign. The promotion people to consider leaving a gift to one 1or 30/11/2017 16:07 runs from Thursday 1 March to Friday 30 March inclusive. more of the charities. There is no
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Appointments have to be made during March, though the actual appointments can take place any time afterwards to suit clients and solicitors. Solicitors interested in taking part in Free Wills Month should visit the campaign website at freewillsmonth.org.uk or call 0345 686 4309.
FREE WILLS MONTH
Building a future where no one has to cope with a mental health problem alone In any given year, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem, yet fewer than half of those with a diagnosed mental health problem tell their current employer. e live in a society where mental health problems are driving some people to despair and exposing them to prejudice. About half of all long-term sick leave in the UK is due to stress, depression and anxiety. Almost 1 in 3 people in England have experienced mental health issues while in employment, but only 1 in 4 employees in the UK said they would be likely to talk to their manager if they were experiencing a mental health problem.
The statistics are staggering, but Mind is here to help anyone who feels they have nowhere else to turn. We are the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We are at the forefront of a change in the way that society is thinking about mental health. We’re striving to improve experiences and outcomes across every part of the mental health journey, whether that’s staying well, giving people choice, improving services, or breaking down barriers for those who can’t
access support. We can only continue our vital work thanks to public support, including gifts in wills. March 2018 is Free Wills Month in London and Mind is part of the consortium of charities involved this year. Clients using the offer are under no obligation to make a gift to any charity, but we hope that many will see this as a chance to support our work. Did you know that three times as many people would leave a charitable legacy if their solicitor reminded them to consider this opportunity? Solicitors promoting their clients to consider giving to charities in this way has proven to double the value of their donations too*. When speaking to your clients, please ask them if there are any causes they feel passionate about. And if they share our vision of a world where no one has to cope with a mental health problem alone, please ask if they would consider making a gift to Mind.
*Behavioural Insights Team Cabinet Office 2013
IGNORANCE IS NO DEFENCE
DevAssist investigates locations for development risks that could impact a property. We are an accredited CPD provider on development and planning. Our products:
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THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS 21
WILLS AND PROBATE
Lola... Lola is a loveable staffie from Manchester who, like many dogs across the UK, had a loving owner who took her for walks, played her favourite games, and gave her all the love and attention she needed. But at just 5 years old her world was turned upside down when her owner unexpectedly passed away, and Lola suddenly found herself all alone with no other family to take care of her. Fortunately Lola’s owner had made provisions for her with Dogs Trust, by registering on the Canine Care Card Scheme. Dogs Trust had promised to mily with her new fa take care of Lola should the worst happen, which is how Lola heading home she came into the care of Dogs Trust Manchester. Your client simply returns a form to Dogs Trust and we issue them with a wallet-sized card, which acts in a similar way to an organ donor card and Naturally the staff were smitten with Lola’s huge smile and lovely notifies people of their wishes for their dog. temperament, and made sure she settled in well after the loss of her beloved owner. However it didn’t take long before a new family came along and Once their dog arrives at one of our rehoming centres, they will be examined swept Lola off her feet. Mikala came to Dogs Trust looking for a canine by our expert vets and cared for by our dedicated, trained staff. We will companion who she could take away with the family in her campervan. On endeavour to find them a new owner whose lifestyle and experience match meeting Lola for the first time, she said: “When I said 'Hi' she wagged her tail their needs. If for any reason they cannot be rehomed, rest assured Dogs even faster, so I suppose she chose us first, and who could resist her Trust never puts down a healthy dog, so we will look after them for the rest of beautiful face? We took her for a walk and she was really good with me, their lives. my husband and our daughter so it was decision made.” Request a Canine Care Card registration form now and help your client gain One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll the peace of mind, knowing their dog will be cared for should anything want to make provisions for their faithful friend. And now you can help them happen to them, by calling 020 7837 0006 or email email@example.com at absolutely no cost by requesting a pack of Canine Care Card forms today. and quote code 333740.
22 THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS
WILLS AND PROBATE
A family’s unexpected discovery changes the way the estate is distributed Where do you turn when a person has died without a valid Will and the family cannot tell you all the information needed to administer the deceased’s estate? Even when the family believe they can, do you execute the administration process, relying solely on the family testimony available at that point? Invest countless hours in trying to establish the family and piece together a family tree? Or do you enlist a specialist to check the facts, because they might just uncover information that could change the facts of the case altogether? Elsie Wright’s case illustrates why instructing a professional genealogist to verify facts is always best practice. Elsie Wright was born in 1930 in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, and she married George Strong in 1966. Elsie and George never had any children and she passed away in a nursing home in 2012, two years after the death of her husband, without leaving a Will. With no children, Elsie’s two nephews, David and Robert, believed themselves to be the sole heirs entitled to their aunt’s estate. Their mother Helen, Elsie’s only sibling, had passed away many years ago. With such a simple family history, the solicitor assumed that the estate administration would be a straightforward matter, but, having a thorough approach to his work, he pursued clarification using Fraser and Fraser’s Family Tree Checker service. This service involves reviewing the existing documents, certificates and family tree, and checking the details against the available transcribed databases to provide an expert genealogical opinion on its accuracy. In this case, the story had only just begun. By 1960s standards, Elsie was an old bride at the age of 36, and this sparked the interest of our Case Manager. Further research delved into Elsie’s past and uncovered an unexpected discovery. Elsie was previously married at age 23, and that marriage had resulted in the birth of a son named David.
This was a revelation that could potentially change the way Elsie’s estate would be distributed. It was previously understood that Elsie had no children and her estate would be shared between her two nephews. The discovery led the search for heirs in a new direction. Our research proved that Elsie divorced her first husband, but what became of the child continued to be a mystery. Elsie’s son appeared to have lived with her for the first year of his life but then no record of him could be found. He had not been formally adopted, and this would mean that, having legally remained Elsie’s son, he would retain the right to inherit her entire estate. The search continued and revealed a well-kept family secret that would change the nephews’ entitlements to the estate. Although David had been raised by Elsie’s older sister Helen, he was not her biological child. The woman he knew as Aunt Elsie was, in fact, his biological and legal mother. Following Elsie’s divorce, and given the societal pressures of the time, Elsie had given her son David to be raised by her older sister, Helen. After careful research and expert handling, a case that was brought to us with seemingly clear beginnings could now be rightfully distributed. Family secrets, informal adoption, multiple marriages and a lack of research expertise can all play their part in making research more complex than it originally seems. Fraser and Fraser’s Family Tree Checker service gives you the chance to discuss the complexities of the case with us. We check for inconsistencies, gaps and question marks so that we can advise you on the best way forward.
GENEALOGISTS AND INTERNATIONAL PROBATE RESEARCHERS Phone: 020 7832 1430
I am a Solicitor
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Guiding and supporting specialist property lawyers with tailored regulation The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) was established in 1985 to foster competition and innovation in the conveyancing market. We regulated specialist conveyancers and probate lawyers.
n doing so, we have always looked to be a proactive regulator in anticipating and monitoring the issues that affect the licensed conveyancing community. We work closely with all our licence holders and we listen to what they say, helping them to achieve the right outcomes for consumers. Today, we are still helping legal businesses to thrive by finding new ways to meet changing customer expectation. Our aim is to support firms to achieve compliance and to accommodate different ways of working wherever we can. The CLC regulates firms of all types and sizes, and has always looked to promote high regulatory standards. For example, each CLC Practice is allocated a Regulatory Supervision Manager (RSM) whose role is to guide them in all regulatory and compliance issues. We always advise firms looking to transfer to CLC regulation to discuss their plans with us at an early stage, so that we can give them guidance about the best way to take their application forward and help them understand whether CLC regulation is right for their firm. This is just as important for established firms looking to move between regulators as it is for start-ups just entering the market. We are working with an increasing number of firms considering a transfer into CLC regulation, especially now that the requirement for a firm
TAILORED REGULATION OF SPECIALIST LAWYERS PROTECTING THE CONSUMER SUPPORTING INNOVATION, COMPETITION AND GROWTH
transferring to another regulator to take out run-off professional indemnity insurance cover has been removed. It is clear from our discussions with those we currently regulate – as well as lawyers considering transferring their practices into CLC regulation – that our model of specialist regulation is hugely appreciated, with three quarters of licensed conveyancers stating that the CLC provides value for money and supports them in developing their businesses. For example, in 2017 we increased online protection for CLC firms and their clients by establishing a secure badge scheme, which significantly reduces the risk of impersonation online through cloned or copied websites. Over the last 30 years, the CLC’s regulation of specialist conveyancing and probate lawyers has delivered high standards of consumer protection and supported innovation in the delivery of legal services. If you are thinking of becoming a CLC-regulated Practice then please visit: clc-uk.org/lawyers/switching-to-clc-regulation/ or, should you wish to outline your practice’s requirements, whatever your business model, then we will be more than happy to meet with you, or to discuss your proposals over the telephone. For an initial contact please email Licensing@clcuk.org To find out more about CLC regulation then please visit: conveyancer.org.uk/Regulation-by-CLC.aspx where you will find more helpful information, including how to qualify as a CLC Lawyer: conveyancer.org.uk/trainee-lawyer.aspx.
IT’S TIME TO THINK ABOUT THAT MOVE
To find out more about how your practice could benefit from transferring to the CLC, contact us on the details below.
www.clc-uk.org/Changing-Regulators or call 020 7250 8465 24 THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS
(I¿FLHQW2QOLQH/HJDO,QGHPQLW\,QVXUDQFH Today’s conveyancing demands instant results. With Ci Self-Issue Insurance it’s about a simple ordering platform with immediate cover at affordable premiums.
To order now visit www.conveyancinginsurance.co.uk Conveyancing Insurance (Ci) Self-Issue is a portfolio of insurance products provided by Legal & Contingency Limited Legal & Contingency Limited – 60 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 4AD – DX: 843 London/City Tel: +44 (0) 20 7397 4343 – Fax: +44 (0) 20 7397 4344 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Legal & Contingency Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Registration No. 312376 Registered Office: 60 Fenchurch Street, London, United Kingdom, EC3M 4AD – Registered in England & Wales, No. 3511606
Calling all conveyancers Future Climate Info’s residential environmental reports available now We are pleased to inform our conveyancer customers that Future Climate Info’s innovative suite of residential environmental reports are available from Thames Water Property Searches. he fully compliant reports analyse key data on contaminated land, flood and ground stability, as well as energy and infrastructure. We are confident that our customers will find the reports excellent value for money and beneficial to their practice. For instance: Risks and recommendations are clearly summarised Important information is clearly and concisely presented on the first page. Not just problems, but solutions as well Where risks are identified, Future Climate Info (FCI) has teamed up with industry experts to offer affordable, next-step solutions. Each report is on average 10 pages FCI reports interrogate all key data sets but only present the most relevant information. FCI is regulated by RICS and the reports are fully compliant with Law Society guidance (and Practice Notes) in screening for Environmental and Flood. Furthermore, clients are fully protected. Passed residential searches come with contaminated land remediation protection up to £100,000 for 6 years, while reports are backed by £10 million Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Geoff Offen, Managing Director of Future Climate Info, comments: “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with Thames Water Property Searches and contributing to the comprehensive range of searches which they provide to conveyancers. FCI strive to offer better value for clients and to remove risk, solve problems and consign conveyancer’s frustrations to the past so they can move property transactions forward with confidence.” How to order Our customer experience team has been thoroughly trained to advise conveyancer customers about which FCI products are best for their clients. The reports are divided into Essential, Standard and Premium, with standardised data modules to ensure consistency across each report as well as Flood or Energy & Infrastructure reports available as stand-alone products. To speak to our Customer Experience Team about FCI’s new products call: 0845 070 9148 or visit: thameswater-propertysearches.co.uk today.
Is the government creating a tax trap for themselves in future years by decreasing the pension limits to just £10,000 pa for high earners? From April 2016 high earners (i.e. those earning over £210,000) are restricted in the amount that they may pay into a pension, and as a consequence the ability to build large pension funds for use in retirement has diminished materially. At the same time the amount that an individual may pay into an ISA has increased to £20,000 pa. So for a couple the amount that may be saved tax free annually has increased to £40,000 pa. It is easy to see that over a period of 20 years or so it is possible to save significant funds into the ISA portfolio. If we assumed a couple making maximum ISA contributions for 20 years with a growth rate on the funds of 5% pa then such a scenario would create an ISA portfolio of £1,388,000 at the point of retirement. If we assumed a 5% annual drawdown on these funds in retirement then the couple would be able to draw an income of £69,400 pa with no liability to income tax. In effect with basic state pension included for each of the couple at £11,000 pa then they would be able to enjoy an income of £91,400 pa without any liability to tax at all for the remainder of their lives. This would in effect mean that the government would miss out on additional tax revenue of circa £20,560 per year ad infinitum. Obviously this scenario over simplifies the position that might be faced in reality, but it is easy to see that with the population getting older the government should be looking to gain additional tax take from the increasing number of retirees. The new scenario with ISAs overtaking pensions as the retirement savings route of choice for high earners may leave this requirement lacking in the future. It may well be that the additional pensions built up through auto enrolment for lower earners provides for some additional tax revenue in the future, but looking at the tax distribution accounts for the UK in 2016 it
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is clear that the top 0.5% of earners in the UK currently pay some 28% of all income tax revenue. Surely it cannot be the government’s intention for these same people to pay little or no tax in their retirement when a low earner who might have built up a modest pension paying them £10,000 per year on top of their state pensions benefits might have to pay £2,000 tax per year in retirement? The famous controversy from 2007 where it was widely reported that private equity bosses were paying less tax than their cleaner springs to mind. Whatever the intention of government, one might suggest that the short term increase in the tax receipts from high earners is necessary for the country’s finances today? Inevitably pension legislation will change again in the future but for now the potential tax trap for the government remains. In any event, the current ISA shelter of £40,000 per year for a couple is very attractive, and assuming that an individual is able to afford it, then maximum benefit should be taken while it lasts. ISA allowances are currently £20,000 pa for an individual, regardless of circumstances. There are four types of ISA account: a cash ISA, a stocks and shares ISA, an innovative finance ISA and a Lifetime ISA. You may contribute to one or all of these ISA accounts in any tax year, although you may only pay £4,000 pa into the Lifetime ISA account in any one tax year and you must meet the eligibility criteria.
Tim Mckechnie, Investment Director, S4 Financial Limited
How hair testing can help build a history of substance use Hair tests are a reliable, fast and cost-effective way of proving drug or alcohol use.
hey’re highly accurate, with a long detection window and almost impossible to cheat. Hair tests can give rich information about the nature of, and conditions for, substance use by an individual. 1. Patterns of substance use When a person stops using drugs or alcohol, the levels of the substance in their hair drop very quickly. For this reason, it’s possible to pinpoint when a donor significantly increased or decreased their consumption levels. Laboratories typically test for changes in consumption across month-long periods. Traces of drugs or alcohol can also remain present in hair for up to four months after a person stopped using a substance. This is because hair exists in either a growing or resting phase. ‘Resting’ hairs are dead but still attached to the scalp – and can therefore test positive for substances that are not present in the growing hairs around them. 2. Concentration of substances Contrary to reports by some hair test laboratories, it is not possible to judge how much of a drug an individual used. Partly, this is because our bodies metabolise target substances at different rates. Moreover, drugs vary in their purity, in turn depositing greater or lesser concentrations of the substance in hair. Such obstacles don’t exist for alcohol. The Society of Hair-Testing agrees that hair samples with less than 7 picograms per milligram of alcohol suggest the donor has abstained from using alcohol. Readings of more than 30 pg/mg indicate that the donor uses alcohol at chronic levels. As such, hair tests offer a reliable indication of how much alcohol a person consumed in a given time period.
3. Types of substance use It is possible for hairs to test positive for cocaine or cannabis even if the donor has not used the drugs. Hairs can be contaminated on their external surfaces when a person is near another using a drug because the molecules of the substance are in the air. The testing laboratory can prevent this from affecting the donor’s test result by washing the hairs to remove external contamination. Washed hairs that still contain drug metabolites are evidence that the donor’s body has processed the drug – and, therefore, that the donor used the drug themselves. Understanding the limits Hair tests can help family lawyers understand the circumstances and nature of a person’s substance use – including patterns around use, the amount of alcohol they drank and whether or not they took substances themselves. The individual commissioning the hair test must tell their laboratory which of the three types of contextual information above they need from their hair test. Professionals must understand the limitations around these three insights to make successful evidence-based decisions – which could have impactful real-world consequences for the individuals and families involved.
Dr Lolita Tsanaclis Scientific Director of Cansford Labs Ltd, Cardiff cansfordlabs.co.uk
THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS 27
Are you GDPR ready?
James Castro-Edwards Partner and Head of Data Protection, Wedlake Bell LLP Expertise James advises domestic and multinational organisations on data protection issues. His experience includes managing global data protection compliance projects for multinationals, and advising domestic companies on complex data protection issues. He has also developed and delivered innovative data protection training programmes for multinational clients, including a data protection officers’ training course which was accredited by a European government. James leads the firm’s outsourced data protection officer service, ProDPO (http://prodpo.com). James frequently speaks on data protection and cyber security issues and is widely published, having written articles for a wide variety of titles including The Times and The Guardian, and wrote The Law Society textbook on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Background The use of personal data is regulated in England and Wales by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The DPA implements the provisions of European Directive 95/46/EC (Directive). The Directive, which came into force in 1995, has been the subject of significant reform, and will be superseded by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when its provisions take effect on 25 May 2018. The principles and concepts of the GDPR are similar to those of the Directive and the DPA, however, the GDPR includes significant new obligations for organisations and grants individuals a range of new rights. Impact of Brexit The GDPR has been law since 25 May 2016 but included a two year 'sunrise period' that will expire in May 2018, intended to allow organisations time to prepare. Unfortunately, this coincided with the EU Referendum and hence some confusion, with many organisations believing that the GDPR, as a European regulation, would not take effect in the UK. However, both the British government and the Information
28 THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS
Commissioner's Office have confirmed that the GDPR will become law. The result is that a significant proportion of the potential time to prepare for the GDPR has been lost. In the UK, the GDPR will be supplemented by the Data Protection Act 2017, the provisions of which are currently being finalised in parliament. Changes the GDPR will introduce The main changes that the GDPR will introduce include the following: • Scope: The GDPR will apply to a wider range of organisations than the DPA and Directive; not just ‘data controllers’ but also data processors acting on behalf of controllers, including in some circumstances, controllers and processors established entirely outside Europe. • Accountability: Organisations must not only comply with the GDPR, but must also be able to demonstrate their compliance to the data protection authority, for example, by way of policies, training and management. • Consent: The GDPR requirements around consent are significantly more stringent, outlawing many common practices, such as pre-ticked boxes and ‘bundled’ consent, frequently found in employment contracts and privacy notices. • Mandatory breach reporting: Organisations that suffer a data protection breach must report it to the data protection authority within 72 hours, and promptly notify affected data subjects if they face a high risk. • Mandatory Data Protection Officers (DPOs): Certain types of organisation must appoint a DPO, and voluntary appointment will often be advisable. • Privacy impact assessments: Organisations embarking on a new practice involving personal information must conduct a documented impact assessment and ensure the concepts of ‘privacy by design’ and ‘privacy by default’ are incorporated to new processes. • Penalties: The GDPR includes a range of penalties including fines of up to 4% worldwide annual turnover, or €20,000,000, whichever is greater. Data protection authorities are granted a broader range of powers, including the right to conduct compulsory data protection audits. Risks of non-compliance The high maximum fines the GDPR will introduce are explained above, however, the risks a non-compliant organisation faces are not limited to financial penalties. The GDPR grants data protection authorities a wide range of powers including the ability to conduct compulsory audits and to suspend organisations' use of personal information. In addition, the UK data protection authority plans to hire an additional 200 employees,
expanding its capacity by around 40%, in anticipation of the GDPR coming into force. In practice, this expansion will significantly increase its ability to enforce the new law. Organisations face an additional risk following a development in the common law, which enables individuals to claim for pure distress (i.e. no financial loss) where they are affected by misuse of private information. In what is believed to be the first of its kind, an award for damages on the basis of pure distress was made by an Edinburgh court early in 2017, and many commentators believe this paves the way for significant 'class action' type claims against organisations. How law firms should address the risk Law firms face a particular risk under the GDPR, as they typically hold a large volume of personal information about their clients. This may include sensitive information, where firms advise on matters such as personal finance, divorce, child custody, crime or medical negligence. A law firm that suffers a data protection breach concerning sensitive information would be regarded by the data protection authority as a serious matter. Law firms must be fully aware of the personal data they hold, whether about their clients or staff, and must take proactive steps to ensure such personal data is protected. A prudent initial step would be to conduct a data protection audit or review. Firms must have in place a data protection policy, including a data protection breach policy, and ensure their staff are appropriately trained. Any law firm that processes the ‘special categories of personal data’, which includes information about individuals’ health, is likely to need to appoint a DPO. DPOs must be independent, which precludes the Managing Partner, Head of HR, or Head of IT (for example). The GDPR imposes strict rules where controllers appoint ‘processors’, which process personal data on behalf of controllers (such as outsourced payroll providers, hosted software, or email marketing service providers). Failure to comply with these requirements may be regarded as a breach of the security requirements of the GDPR. There are now less than three months to prepare for the GDPR. Any firm that has not yet started to prepare should not delay further. As a first step, firms must identify the personal data they hold (for example, about their employees, clients, and their suppliers), and ensure it has been collected and used in accordance with the principles of the GDPR. The use of personal information is becoming an increasingly regulated activity, and failing to comply is an increasingly dangerous risk.
Clio and Klyant integrate to simplify compliance Legal professionals and bookkeepers can now benefit from the two leading legal cloudbased providers to accurately and efficiently manage client and firm financial records. lio, the world’s first and leading creator of cloud-based legal practice management software, announces a new integration with Klyant, a powerful cloud-based accounting software for law firms. Clio is the only practice management platform to partner with Klyant, giving legal professionals and bookkeepers the ability to easily reconcile bank accounts, print cheques, access financial and matter ledger reporting, and ensure their firm meets regulatory requirements in the UK and Ireland.
Klyant is the only standalone legal accounting system truly designed for the cloud that that enables simple compliance with SRA Accounts Rules, making this integration unique. “We are excited to be the first and only legal practice management platform to partner with Klyant. With this integration, legal professionals can confidently manage their accounting through an SRA compliant accounting platform,” said Jack Newton, CEO and Co-founder of Clio. “Klyant makes staying on top of firm financials efficient and effective.” With one click in the Klyant platform, customers can sync any new relevant data from Clio to Klyant. Bookkeepers are able to review and change any migrated transactions directly from the Clio transaction log in Klyant, a unique feature designed specifically for Clio and Klyant. Any updates made in either platform can be viewed in one Klyant review screen, dramatically improving bookkeeping efficiency.
With this integration, lawyers can provide bookkeepers with all the financial information they need while maintaining the privacy of their clients’ personal information. Legal bookkeepers can easily access client matter ledger cards and seamlessly sync clients, matters, invoices and transactions from Clio, right from the Klyant platform. The powerful configuration settings means that customers can select which financial data to sync, giving them full control over what information is shared. “We are delighted to partner with Clio and are very excited about the powerful functionality this fully integrated solution delivers to firms,” said John Gilmartin, CEO of Klyant. “Clio has set the pace for next-generation legal technology companies, and we look forward to continuing our work with their incredible team.” Clio customers with a Klyant account can choose to sync all available data types or a select few, including: ● Client name and primary contact details ● Matter name ● Matter/practice type ● Trust/client account transactions ● Approved bills ● Invoice payments Legal professionals can learn more about the benefits of Clio and Klyant’s integration at clio.com/uk/clio-klyant-integration or call 0800 433 2546.
Th hree days can sa ave a lifetime off hurt Critic cal decisions require the b best evidence, quickly! We provid de competitively priced UKAS-accredited hair test re esults within 3 days of receipt of the sample in our lab. Establish a clear pattern of drug or alcohol misuse sp panning the last 6 -12 months: • Which drugs d or what level of alcohol has been used and when? • What is the pattern of misuse – is it rising ng or falling? • Has drug ug use cha changed anged in the past wee eks or mo onths?
tel: +44 (0) 0) 29 2054 0567 ema ail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org visit: cansfordlabs.co.uk sfordlabs.co.uk
THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS 29
A passport is not enough Jonathon Bray
There is a huge problem with anti-money laundering (AML) regulation. The penalties, as we know, are incredibly serious. Yet very few people know exactly what their obligations are. e very often come across firms who, with the very best intentions, are breaching their AML duties. They simply take client ID as part of the file opening process. This is usually delegated by the main fee earner, who may not ever really look at it. Conveyancing departments, where the risk is high, are often the worst offenders.
The junior staff member diligently goes off and gets the usual documents: copy passport (sometimes certified, usually not) and a recent utility bill. “There,” they think, “AML checks done.” Except, of course, that is a dangerous assumption. You have collected some identity documents – so what? Do they tell you anything about the risk of money laundering in this particular transaction? Back to basics. A solicitor’s duty under the Money Laundering Regulations (MLRs) is all about assessing risk, then undertaking appropriate client due diligence. You cannot do the latter without having done the former. Otherwise you are just blindly collecting ID documents to tick a box.
Don’t forget: - Customer due diligence (CDD) is an ongoing process, a one time event - The firm is also required to assess the overall financial crime risk it faces (based on its client base, practice areas, jurisdictions, internal processes etc), and that ‘firm-wide risk assessment’ must be made available to the SRA on demand. Very few firms have done this exercise. - You must have a system for identifying politically exposed people (PEPs) and checking sanctions lists. I don’t think we are far from a position where running clients through online checks are de facto compulsory. - Not all practice areas are covered by the MLRs, but all work is subject to the main money laundering legislation (Proceeds of Crime Act and Terrorism Act). Make sure you know the difference. - The Law Society published its new AML practice note in September. It should be required reading for all solicitors.
AML regulation is a cost of doing business. It is not going away. For the sake of self-preservation, make sure your firm’s processes What is meant by assessing risk? Well, it’s a big topic. But essentially it involves looking at the instructions in front of you and are not lulling you into a false sense of security. taking a view. Are there any clear ‘red flags’? Is there any reason why the risk level should be raised? Do you truly understand the instructions, the source of funds, the people involved and the flow jonathonbray.com of money? Does it pass the unscientific ‘sniff test’? Clearly, this must be a job for the main fee earner. And the assessment really should be written down in some way. Ideally incorporated into a repeatable process. Your risk assessment will then guide the level of client due diligence that is required. Higher risk matters are likely to involve a lot more digging before you can even start work. Low risk transactions may require very little – you might conclude that a passport and utility bill is sufficient.
30 THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS
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Does electronics fit the bill? Recovery of costs continues to be a key plank of the civil litigation landscape, despite many rule changes in recent years. or four years now the Rules Committee has been attempting to bring costs recovery into the modern world with the introduction of an electronic Bill of Costs. We now have a change of rules that makes the electronic bill mandatory. Despite a pilot scheme for some years there has been little take up from the legal profession. Based upon the results of a survey of Aestima’s clients, we found less than 5% of solicitors are familiar with the new bill format and do not know if their electronic time recording is compatible with the new bill!
The aim of the electronic bill is to reduce costs of the assessment process but, with the profession so unprepared, any savings are likely to accrue far in the future. We are also concerned that use of the new bill may carry risks of reducing costs recovery far below the current norm by ‘touch of a button’ bill production without full understanding of how it is compiled. Law Costs Consultants have been fearful that use of the new bill could bring about their demise as it could encourage an approach to costs based almost exclusively on IT skills, rather than on legal knowledge and judgment of expert professionals (as well as our technical know-how with the new bill template), all of which is crucial.
The abandonment of expert costs advice would carry other risks for receiving and paying parties. For example, to prepare a bill without extracting costs which haven’t been awarded or to include Solicitor and Own Client costs will cause the Costs Officer to be sceptical about the rest of the costs claimed, which may in turn result in a harsher assessment of costs. Lack of technical ability to manipulate the bill and discover incorrectly claimed costs could easily destroy a Solicitor/client relationship if unnecessarily high costs have to be paid following an adverse costs order. Now is the time to ensure you are planning for the future and are fully up to speed with the new developments. Good working practices will ensure your future in the market, maintain current client relationships and allow new relationships to emerge where others have not been progressive and forward thinking when it comes to the issue of legal costs. We would like to help you successfully meet these challenges.
Jill Paveley Law Costs Consultant, Aestima Law Costs Consultants aestima.co.uk Tel 01268 572320
To bee or not to bee? What could be more urban than tall building, busy streets and beekeeping – yes beekeeping. Once thought of as the preserve of country dwellers, urban beekeeping appears to be more and more popular. ot only individuals but some law firms have realised the benefits of having ‘bees in residence’. Hive rental and maintenance comes at a small price but speaks volumes for a law firm’s environmental and social responsibility values.
But don’t you need lots of space to keep bees? The hive has a footprint of less than 2 feet square, so there is room in even a ‘postage stamp’ sized garden. It does however need to be located in a secure place that is not in close proximity to, or accessible by, the public – office rooftops are ideal. The bees certainly don’t seem to mind where they live. Their basic requirements are food and water, which they will find for themselves. They will happily travel up to 3 miles on a foraging trip to find a source of nectar. With a multitude of gardens and open spaces, every town has a plentiful supply of food. Water is available from a pond or garden water feature or even a puddle. But what about all the expensive kit you need to buy? To get started you just need the hive, a hive tool and a bee suit. Most specialist equipment, like a honey extractor, you should be able to hire from your local beekeeping society – membership is highly recommended, as is a beginner’s course. Once you have completed the course, the swarm liaison officer will probably be able to supply you with a colony of bees – for free!
But I just don’t have the time. Bees need very little upkeep. Weekly inspections from March to June will take 30 minutes per hive (less time as you gain experience) and from late autumn the bees ‘cluster’ in the hive, which is like hibernation. During this time, the less you interfere with them the better. And the rewards - is it worth it? Apart from the best honey you have ever tasted, you will be helping bees to survive and thrive. They are under threat and without honey bees pollinating our crops, humans are toast! Most of all, you will be helping yourself. Nothing could be further from the daily grind of most urbanites and time spent watching bees is the perfect rest and relaxation activity. I know, I’ve been doing it for years. If you have the desire to keep bees but not the time or resources, why not engage a professional beekeeper to supply and manage your hives? If you would like to find out more about beekeeping or hive rental please get in touch.
Steve Lagden Beekeeper and Legal Costs Consultant, Aestima Law Costs Consultants Email email@example.com telephone 01268 572320 THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS 33
DISCIPLINARY AND REGULATORY PROCEEDINGS Ninth Edition By Gregory Treverton-Jones QC, Alison Foster QC, Saima Hanif, and 39 Essex Chambers
ISBN: 978 1 78473 384 1 LexisNexis lexisnexis.co.uk THE LAW RELATING TO PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT: THE DEFINITIVE TEXT – OUT NOW IN A NEW NINTH EDITION An appreciation by Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers and Reviews Editor, ‘The Barrister’ The law relating to the regulation of professionals forms the subject matter of this book, which provides a detailed and carefully researched explanation of the regulatory framework which governs the conduct of professional activities. Now in its ninth edition and published by LexisNexis, this distinguished work of reference refers to what the editors call the ‘myriad of rules and regulations’ which have evolved by political will in response to the perceived and obvious need to ‘maintain high standards among those delivering professional services’. The result is an ever-increasing body of case law and of decisions in this area as the jurisprudence which pertains to it continues to evolve. Particularly noteworthy is the range of professional services – and related activities covered. Just about every category of human endeavour you might think of is either mentioned, or examined in depth, from greyhound racing to, yes, legal services. It is worth reading through the almost minutely detailed table of contents to get an idea of the scope of the book which is divided logically over 17 chapters, into four parts. Part 1 deals with the powers of regulators, the nature of professional misconduct and the civil liability of regulatory bodies. Part 2 covers the disciplinary process, from the investigation though to the hearing itself, the tribunal’s decision and appeals and reviews. Part 3 examines specific regulatory regimes, including financial services, legal services, healthcare and numerous other professions, from accountants and architects to such bodies as the Rugby Football Union. Part 4 covers data protection and freedom of information. Jurisprudential issues ranging from personal morality to public policy continually emerge throughout, making this book even more interesting. 34 THE CLAPHAM OMNIBUS
For barristers and solicitors, the sections on financial services and legal services will prove the most interesting of the lot. Notable decisions on financial services, say the editors, are given special consideration. Also discussed is the conflicting case law in the sphere of solicitors’ regulation. A whiff of conflict also emerges under the category of reserved legal activities defined under the system of regulation created by the Legal Services Act 2007. Curiously, any activities not thus defined are not subject to regulation, the result of which is that ‘it is open to any member of the public to provide legal advice for reward,’ provided that the person providing such ‘advice’ (such as it is) is not passing himself, or herself off as a qualified lawyer. To say that all this is a source of resentment – and a sore point indeed – with hordes of qualified barristers and solicitors is probably an understatement. One can only suggest that the public interest would be better served if there was a change in the law in matters such as this. But as the editors remind us in the Preface, ‘limited progress has been made’ (despite government commitments) in simplifying the current regulatory framework, which they describe as ‘often byzantine’. Considering the sheer complexity of the regulations governing the conduct of professionals, it is fortunate that this longestablished legal text is designed for ease of use. It’s not surprising that it has become known as one of the most useful tools available to practitioners (and even non-practitioners) dealing with ‘disciplinary and regulatory proceedings’. The editors and contributors have endeavoured to state the law as at 31 August 2017.
South London Law Society Business Magazine with the Latest Legal Business News, Law Society News and Updates, Local Partnership News, Practi...
Published on Mar 9, 2018
South London Law Society Business Magazine with the Latest Legal Business News, Law Society News and Updates, Local Partnership News, Practi...