CLAPHAM OMNIBUS the journal of the South London Law Society Spring Issue 2017 - www.southlondonlawsociety.co.uk
Inside this issue:
■ Legacies ■ Technology ■ Conveyancing ■ Probate
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Contents 5 PUBLISHER Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House 16 Crosby Road North Crosby Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 email: email@example.com web: www.benhampublishing.com
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MEDIA No. 1503 PUBLISHED March 2017 © Benham Publishing Ltd LEGAL NOTICE © Benham Publishing. None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. Benham Publishing would like to point out that all editorial comment and articles are the responsibility of the originators and may or may not reflect the opinions of Benham Publishing. No responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracies that may occur, correct at time of going to press.
Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us. DISCLAIMER The South London Law Society welcomes all persons eligible for membership regardless of Sex, Race, Religion, Age or Sexual Orientation. All views expressed in this publication are the views of the individual writers and not the society unless specifically stated to be otherwise. All statements as to the law are for discussion between member and should not be relied upon as an accurate statement of the law, are of a general nature and do not constitute advice in any particular case or circumstance. Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified Legal Advice.
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16 ARTICLES COVER IMAGE
31 CYBER SECURITY 33 BOOK REVIEW
View of the Shard, London
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President’s Review Welcome to the Spring edition of the Clapham Omnibus and a slightly belated Happy New Year to all our readers. Since our last edition we have had a busy few months, and you can find out about much of our activity in the following pages. At the end of October, a delegation of the South London Law Society attended the congress of the Federation of European Bars (FBE) in Luxembourg, in the splendid surroundings of the Court of Justice of the European Union. During the congress, a twinning agreement was signed with the Luxembourg bar and the Society became members of the Federation. We consider it important that, whatever the outcome of the Government’s negotiations following the trigger of Article 50, we remain open to our European neighbours and continue to share our collective values and experiences for the benefit of all our clients. This year, our very own Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon) will be taking the mantle of President of the FBE and a congress is to be held in London in November of this year. This will be an excellent opportunity for members to learn more about the work of the FBE and to network with colleagues from across Europe. Further details including how to book a place will be circulated shortly. In November we once again hosted the Society’s annual dinner at the Kia Oval. I was delighted to see so many different firms represented and to receive such positive feedback from attendees. My thanks to Robert Bourns, President of the Law Society, for giving up his time to be our guest speaker. I am sure all in attendance will agree his speech was both inspiring and thoughtprovoking. My thanks also to my committee for all their hard work to make the event in success. January also saw a busy start to the year for the Society. I attended a meeting with Neil Buckley, the CEO of the Legal Services Board. The LSB is keen to canvass the views of local law societies about proposed changes in the regulatory
COPY DEADLINES Summer 2017 Autumn 2017
12th July 2017 11th October 2017
landscape. I expressed the Society’s concerns about changes which would have the result of ‘de-professionalising the profession. Specifically I raised the Society’s concerns about the proposed changes by the SRA to the Handbook and the risks that this creates. This includes risks to clients (for example in relation to an erosion of legal professional privilege, and in terms of differences in levels of consumer protection owing to certain solicitors no longer being required to hold adequate PI cover) and also to solicitors themselves. Indeed, the Society is genuinely concerned the changes will result in two-tier profession. I also raised concerns about the proposed changes to the requirements for entry to the profession. These are both matters on which the Society provided consultation responses last year. The LSB is keen to remain to keep in touch with the Society and we will be providing updates on these matters in the journal in due course. If any member does have a specific issue they would like the Society to raise with the LSB, then please let me know. Finally, the Society is looking to collaborate more closely with sole practitioners of which I am aware a great number practise in South London. We have been contacted by the London regional section of the Sole Practitioners Group who have invited us to meet with them to discuss closer cooperation. I am hopeful this will lead to a beneficial cooperation which will enable us to serve our members better. Best wishes, GARETH LEDSHAM President South London Law Society
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COUNCIL REPORT: FEBRUARY 2017 David Taylor Council Member. Partner in Hanne & Co, Clapham Junction. Graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury in 1976 with a degree in Social Policy & Administration. He then joined the Citizens Advice Bureaux service, working in Sheffield & London, specialising in welfare benefits and employment. He was the manager of Battersea CAB for 10 years.
The Chief Executive and governance reforms. Most of you will have seen articles in the legal press in regard to the resignation of the Chief Executive of the Law Society. Unfortunately Council members were asked to go into purdah about this resignation and as a result of this the line put forward by the ex-Chief Executive has been to a large extent accepted without argument. As your council member I have to say that the idea that Council was not embracing change is completely false. However, some of us were unhappy about what we perceived as a reduction in the democratic processes of Council and the promotion of a centralising managerial ideology. Law Society Council is a strange beast. It is not a commercial entity but we have responsibility for commercial projects within the Society. Under the Legal Services Act we are still the approved regulator but have failed since the inception of the Solicitors Regulation Authority
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He joined Hanne & Co in 1988 and was admitted as a solicitor in 1994. His practice is in employment, commercial and regulatory law. He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers and the Industrial Law Society. He is an accredited mediator through the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution. He was president of South London Law Society from 2003 to 2006.
to have any kind of meaningful oversight of the regulatory process; the SRA continually obfuscating and operating a very opaque organisation. Some of the reforms proposed to the Society would undermine the ability of Council to represent the members in our perpetual struggle against the government and the SRA. The SRA continue, in my opinion, to undermine the status of solicitors and the value in our brand, sacrificing both on the altar of liberalising legal services They spend an inordinate amount of our money gallivanting around the country and abroad promoting themselves rather than sticking to the simple matter of regulating the profession. Any attempt by the Society to rein in their grandiose agenda is met with a complaint that we are attempting to undermine their regulatory capability. The greatest threat to the solicitors’ profession is the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We therefore need a strong membership organisation with the participation of all practitioners. We do not need a diminution the democratic process. Brexit The society is attempting to wrestle with the thorny problem of Brexit and we have identified the following priorities: • Continued mutual access for lawyers to practise law and base themselves in the UK and EU member states, and for their clients to have legal professional privilege • Maintain mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments and respect for choice of jurisdictions clauses across the EU • Maintain collaboration in policing, security and criminal justice • Ensure that legal certainty is maintained throughout the process of withdrawal • Ensure that the Government works effectively with the legal services sector to continue to promote England and Wales as the governing law of contracts, the jurisdiction of choice and London as the preferred seat of arbitration. The Society has made submissions to the Department for Exiting the EU and Ministry of Justice at the end of 2016. We released a shorter public version of this submission in January 2017 – Brexit and the law. Since the referendum the Law Society has been asked for specific information on trade in legal services and we have provided it to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ministry of Justice, Department for Exiting the EU and Department for International Trade. The Society continues to engage with government ministers, the Civil Service regarding the effect of exit on legal services. The triggering of article 50 is, of course, only the start of the negotiations and the Society will involve itself as fully as possible to protect the interests of the profession and the rule of law.
SOUTH LONDON LAW SOCIETY TWINS!
Sat around the table on the 13 October 2016 were South Londoners Gareth Ledsham, Robert Hush, and Andy Unger with the Batonnier of the Luxembourg Bar. Bi-lateral negotiations had taken place weeks before and the high level treaty or Memorandum of Understanding between our two associations was signed at the well-attended event in a top venue, Restaurant Le Sud. We had the benefit of the roof garden and could look out over the cliff side, the old city and the gorge alongside the Alzette and Petrusse rivers. The twinning agreement document is a straightforward friendship agreement and not on the same level as the international treaties now being contemplated in the Brexit negotiations. FranĂ§ois Prum, Batonnier of the Ordre des Avocats du Barreau du Luxembourg, signed for Luxembourg, alongside the South London Law Society office holders, and Charles Kaufold, President of the International Committee of the Luxembourg Bar. Our two organisations have agreed to twin in order to create bonds of friendship and opportunities to enjoy our two cities, with the following activities: The exchange of information and experience; The organisation of training seminars; and the organisation of networking and social events.
mechanism can be used to determine whether a national rule or practice is compatible with EU law. The Court ensures compliance where a national Government does not comply with EU law or it can cancel EU legal acts if they think an EU act violates the treaties or fundamental rights. The Government of a Member State, the Council of the EU, the European Commission or, (in some cases) the European Parliament, can ask the Court to annul an EU act. Individuals may request the Court to set aside an EU act that affects them directly. EU governments, EU institutions and (under certain conditions) individuals or companies can refer cases to the Court. Any citizen or company whose interests have been damaged by any act or omission of the EU or of its staff can a case before court. Brexit was on the agenda as well. Delegates from all over Europe heard from Philip Moser of Essex Court chambers who explained the legal steps necessary in order to trigger withdrawal from the European Union. During the Forum of Presidents and Bar Leaders, Gareth Ledsham, South London Law Society President, spoke about our commitment as Europeans, and his speech was very well received by the delegates.
A month later, on 16 November, at the South London Law Society Annual Dinner at the Kia Oval, we welcomed the President of the International Committee of the Luxembourg Bar, Charles Kaufhold. The twinning agreement was ratified by members of the South London Law Society Committee, and endorsed by Robert Bourns, President of the Law Society of England & Wales. Social events are always popular, and a good opportunity for networking and making contacts with Luxembourg lawyers who can assist with cross jurisdictional matters. Other events will be organised during this year. It is hoped that the London South Bank University law students will be visiting the Court in Luxembourg in the next six months.
The Luxembourg Bar organised a gala dinner at The NeimĂŤnster Abbey Cultural Exchange Centre. The Abbey is located in the heart of the old quarters, in a Unesco world heritage site. Located in a spectacular setting, this group of buildings, which have come through four centuries of turbulent history, was restored in 2004. is now dedicated to cultural projects. It was an interesting place to have dinner. The only flaw in the evening was arriving by coach, parked half way up a cliff, in the pouring rain. However, once indoors, delegates had a warm and pleasant evening.
The Luxembourg Congress was held in The Court of Justice of the European Union CJEU), and was launched by the President of the Court: Judge Koen Lenaerts and addressed by Juliane Kokott, General Counsel at the CJEU. We heard about practice at the Court from advocates from several nations, and including Polish lawyer Darius Gibasiewich.
There will be other opportunities for members to visit Luxembourg, and in addition there are two FBE Congresses in 2017. The first is in June (from 1 to 3 June) in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and the second is in London (from 9 to 11 November). The London Congress will be the 50th Congress of the FBE, with plenty to celebrate, and South Londoner Sara Chandler will be President of the FBE.
Julianne Kokott gave delegates an introduction to the work of the Court and its functions. Member States should ensure the correct application of EU law, but the courts in different countries might give a different interpretation. If a national court is in doubt as to the interpretation or validity of an EU law, it may ask the Court of Justice. The same
Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon) is Past President of the South London Law Society.
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for Tomorrow Proposals Both SLLS and the Law Division at LSBU have responded to these proposals arguing that they are likely to have a number of negative impacts on the quality of training and equality of access to the profession.
We accept the SRA’s responsibility to ensure consistent and high standards of competence at the point of qualification. However, we doubt that these proposals will ensure as high standards of competence as the current qualification regime. Nonetheless they are likely to be realised and we await a final announcement from the SRA in the summer. The full detail of the proposals can be found at http://www.sra.org.uk/sra/policy/training-for-tomorrow.page. In summary, they abandon the requirements for a qualifying law degree, the legal practice course and a training contract. These are replaced by the requirement for a degree (or equivalent), not necessarily in law, and passing two centrally set assessments – the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Stages 1 and 2. Intending solicitors must also undertake qualifying work experience supervised by a solicitor, although the solicitor’s role is limited to ensuring they have an opportunity to learn from experience. The SRA expect many candidates will take SQE stage 1 before their work-based experience, and SQE stage 2 at the end of their work experience but at least some of the work based experience could be taken before SQE Stage 1.
Overview of the SQE SQE Stage 1 6 x Functioning Legal Knowledge Assessments (3 hours, 120 questions each): Principles of Professional Conduct, Public and Administrative law, and the Legal Systems of England and Wales Dispute Resolution in Contract or Tort Property Law and Practice Commercial and Corporate Law and Practice Wills and the Administration of Estates and Trusts Criminal Law and Practice. The SQE stage 1 would use computer- based, objective testing and all of the assessments would include unflagged ethical questions. 1 x Practical Legal Skills Assessment: Legal Research and Writing.
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SQE Stage 2 2 x 5 Practical Legal Skills Assessments: Client Interviewing Advocacy/Persuasive Oral Communication Case and Matter Analysis Legal Research and Written Advice Legal Drafting. All five assessments must be taken and passed in the same two practice contexts of the candidate’s choice, making a total of ten assessments. The practice contexts are: Criminal Practice; Dispute Resolution; Property; Wills and the Administration of Estates and Trusts; Commercial and Corporate Practice.
Concerns The proposals bundle up the legal knowledge required to pass a qualifying law degree with the procedure required to pass the LPC into the SQE Stage 1 and then test skills in the SQE Stage 2. The net effect is, potentially, to reduce the breadth and depth of legal knowledge required to become a Solicitor. The SQE Stage 1 comprises online multiple choice questions – 120 questions per 3 hour paper and appears to focus on straightforward legal issues set in the context of legal practice / procedure. Solicitors are no longer to be trusted to sign off their trainees as competent; instead their skills are tested by further centrally set one to one skills assessments in the SQE Stage 2. SQE 1 does not appear to assess or require the development of the higher intellectual skills as currently required by a qualifying law degree (see the QAA Law benchmark): In particular, it t does not appear to address: • viii ability to recognise ambiguity and deal with uncertainty in law • ix ability to produce a synthesis of relevant doctrinal and policy issues, presentation of a reasoned choice between alternative
News solutions and critical judgement of the merits of particular arguments The depth and breadth of legal knowledge required of candidates is that of 'functioning legal knowledge'. This means that a candidate should be able to: • identify relevant core legal principles or rules – whether derived from cases, statutes or regulatory sources • apply them appropriately and effectively to client-based and ethical problems and situations encountered in practice. Candidates are not required to recall specific case names or cite statutory or other regulatory authorities except where specified. Candidates are required to demonstrate an ability to navigate their way round the Civil Procedure Rules so as to be able to identify relevant provisions and apply them to the conduct of a civil dispute. The effect is likely to encourage students to focus on the application of straightforward principles of law in everyday practice situations without sufficient regard to complexity and ambiguity as required by the QAA Law Benchmark. Students qualifying without having taken a law degree will be less prepared for practice at the highest standard of competence and students who qualify with a law degree are likely to have engaged in additional time and expense. This is likely to impact on professional standards or diversity or both. It is not clear that legal complexity and ambiguity can be assessed by questions that take an average of 90 seconds to answer (Para 52) This problem is compounded by the fact that the SQE 2, which is taken at the point of qualification, does not purport (despite some ambiguity) to assess legal knowledge at all. •The assessments are set in a range of practice contexts to provide a platform for the assessment of competence. They assess the core competences required for effective practice, including ethical and professional conduct, but do not assess legal knowledge. • Primary legal resources will be provided to candidates. Although the stage 2 assessments are assessing skills, the candidate cannot be competent in a skill area if they misconceive the law. If candidates are not able to correctly identify and apply legal principles or ethical considerations, they will fail the assessment.
Nor will either stage of the SQE necessarily assess candidates in the context of the law they intend to practice (Family Law, Employment Law, etc.) and which they may wish to practice in the period of their Qualifying Legal Experience. Finally, the benefits of qualifying legal experience are undermined by the proposal to delay the assessment of skills until afterwards. The proposals give no consideration to how and when skills will be taught, learnt and developed and only require the practice supervisor to • to sign a declaration that a candidate had had the opportunity to develop the competences in the Statement of Solicitor Competence through the required period of workplace experience. We think that supervisors should have a responsibility for the development of the trainee solicitor’s professional skills in terms of structure, supervision and feedback, not just for providing an opportunity to develop competence and to ensure their competence for their role. The difference is the provision of legal work experience beyond the trainee’s competence in a structured and supervised way that develops their competence. (Paras 100, 115 & 116). We think it particularly worrying that the SRA are separately considering the removal of the requirement of 3 years Post Qualification Experience before a Solicitor can become a sole practitioner (Para 14) For the reasons given above, we are concerned that the depth and breadth of legal knowledge, the intellectual skills, the value of qualifying legal work experience and the level of professional practice skills required to pass the SQE will be less than required at present. We do not share the SRA’s confidence that the proposed SQE will bear the weight they intend to place upon it and we have still not seen any example assessments and model answers to help assess their proposals. However, as said at the beginning, it appears very likely that these proposals will be acted upon despite their almost wholly negative reception and we must prepare for them.
Associate Professor Andy Unger Head of the Law Division, LSBU
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The South London Law Society
ANNUAL DINNER The Annual Dinner was very well attended before Christmas in the Oval. We saw the highest number of new firms attending for the first time which was wonderful. Date for the 2017 dinner is set for 19th October. If you are interested in coming please email the President. A selection of photographs from the nightâ€Ś
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South London Probate Network On 7th December members of the South London Probate Network gathered in a venue at Borough Market to network and discuss probate matters. The South London Law Society encourages such gatherings as it is an opportunity to discuss best
practise and other key movements for the local area. If you are interested in attending future Probate events, please contact the editor who can add you to our distribution list.
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Thursday 19th October Annual Dinner Following the tremendous success of last yearâ€™s dinner, we will be returning to the Kia Oval again in October. There will be a three course meal with a notable speaker from the legal community.
LAW SOCIETY EVENTS EVENT
'I want her job' -
08:00 - 10:00
18:15 - 21:00
08:30 - 17:40
17:30 - 20:30
17:00 - 19:00
15:00 - 17:00
18:00 - 20:15
Encouraging more diversity among the Law Society's Council, committees and Divisions:
17:30 - 20:30
Advanced criminal advocacy:
09:00 - 17:00
Discover the full potential of LinkedIn:
17:30 - 19:45
Capital markets in the 21st century:
08:30 - 19:00
Risk and Compliance annual conference 2017:
09:00 - 17:00
17:15 - 20:30
17:00 - 20:00
Celebrating International Women's Day 2017:
Women, Doing It Differently Celebrating International Women's Day 2017:
Private Client Section: Cross border conference 2017 Overcoming barriers in cross border estates:
In-house Division workshop - Top tips for enhancing performance: Boost your gravitas and personal presence:
Making Litigation Pay: How do litigators 'win' for clients without incurring court fees? - London:
Anti-money laundering workshops 2017 London:
Competition Section seminar: mergers updates:
Learn how this tool can power up your business profile, boost your commercial and career opportunities and attract new clients:
shaping the future of compliance:
In-house Division seminar: The implications of Brexit for in-house lawyers:
The Modern Slavery Act: one year on:
For more information on attending these events please visit the Law Society website
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Specialist opportunities for lawyers With expertise in Crime and Litigation, International Criminal Law and Procedure, International Commercial Law, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution and International Human Rights and Development, LSBU is a popular choice for London lawyers, looking to specialise.
Why study at LSBU? • A local Southwark campus with excellent transport links • Full-time and part-time course delivery offered • LLMs delivered by experienced academics and guest leading practitioners including Imran Khan, Solicitor, Joel Bennathan QC and Roger Smith, former Director of Justice • An excellent scholarship package for postgraduate students email@example.com | 0800 923 8888
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Junior Lawyers Division
THE JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION
Annual Round–Up Well, what a busy year 2016 was for the South London Junior Lawyers Division. The current Committee, of whom Mala Palmer (of Russell Cooke) is chair and I am Vice-chair really are an impressively proactive and capable bunch and we are extremely grateful to them all for their help over the past year. So, whilst you were idly following the news in what turned out to be an extraordinarily uneventful year(!), we were beavering away on a fantastic range of events for our members. Our first event of the year took place in February and was a debate between Leanne Maund, the then JLD Chair, and Julie Brannan, from the SRA, on the proposed changes to the training requirements for solicitors. The SRA’s proposals to introduce a Solicitors Qualifying Exam (‘SQE’) in replacement of the current system of training has been fiercely opposed and this process has just completed its second consultation period, where now a number of the proposals have been tempered following the first consultation. Maund and Brannan hotly debated the need for and the practical feasibility of the new proposed system. Some excellent questions were asked by audience members eliciting some less than satisfactory responses from Brannan, particularly on the likely cost of the new proposed exam. This was a brilliant opportunity for South London junior lawyers to debate the issues with Brannan and indeed, since the first consultation was completed, the SRA have amended their proposals significantly. Far greater detail about the consultation and consultation responses can be found on the Junior Lawyers Division website. This debate was reported widely in the legal press. In March, we organised a pub quiz in March at the George Inn on Borough High Street (a great pub), jointly organised with the South London Law Society. After rapidly resolving a near on calamity at the start of the evening, a bar with no bar-staff to operate it, Steve Whittaker (of the South London Law Society Committee and Anthony Gold) and I performed a duo as joint quiz masters. A team from Anthony Gold were victorious. Next up was our ‘Progression into Partnership’ event in June, which was kindly sponsored by Wesleyan. The purpose of this talk was to provide aspiring lawyers and newly qualified solicitors with tips about how to achieve partnership and an insight into the practical realities of being a partner in a law firm including the impact that this has on your working and personal life. Our panel was made up of partner speakers: Rita Gupta, specialising in family law at Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers; Andrew Brookes, specialising in housing law at Anthony Gold; Rita Bhargava specialising in private client at Russell Cooke and Dominic Fairclough, specialising in personal injury and clinical negligence also at Russell Cooke. We received some great tips about how to impress partners, including not only high billing figures but the importance of making a great impression across the firm and the
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significant benefit of engaging in CSR projects and pro bono work. The panel spoke candidly about the realities of being a partner including difficulties in obtaining partnership, the benefits of being your own boss, the extra risk of being your own boss, the extra responsibilities, the additional admin(!), the challenges of learning quickly how to be a business expert and balancing family and working life. Drinks, canapes and networking followed the event. We are most indebted to our speakers who were all impressive, informative and inspiring and who made this event a great success. Finally, our annual summer drinks party, hosted by Russell Cooke and sponsored by 7 Bedford Row. Always a success, our summer drinks party is a chance to network with and get to know other junior lawyers and for enjoying drinks and canapés in the late summer sun. If you are interested in becoming a member of the South London Junior Lawyers Division, for which membership is free, and want to hear about our upcoming events, please email me at If you are interested in becoming a member of the South London Junior Lawyers Division, for which membership is free, and want to hear about our upcoming events, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on twitter @southlondonjld Our website is https://southlondonjld.wordpress.com/
Junior Lawyers Division
Robert Bourns speaks at London South Bank University 16th February 2017 London South Bank University had the privilege to welcome Robert Bourns, the President of the Law Society of England and Wales this February to speak about the profession, the work of the Law Society and current issues facing the profession. Robert Bourns, originally from Bristol, is an employment lawyer and former managing and senior partner at TLT LLP. Having worked for the firm since 2000, he has a track record in helping to expand TLT, a firm voted in Europe’s top 50 most innovative law firms for four consecutive years by the Financial Times and recognised as among the best managed national firms. He first became a council member of the Law Society in 2011 and not surprisingly, he was appointed as the President in July 2016. There are almost 180,000 solicitors on the roll in England and Wales according to the SRA’s figures from January 2017, and therefore, taking on the presidential role is no small task. However, Robert’s experience, enthusiasm and passion for growing and managing a business was undoubtedly an influence in his appointment, and his commitment to the profession has certainly shone through his speech. Gareth Ledsham, the President of the South London Law Society, was also present at the talk and offered his insights on the issues raised. Robert believes the profession to be special because of the value it adds to the society as a whole in the administration of justice. Even though some would disparage it, the job of the Law Society, as he put it, ‘is fairly simple, to promote the profession’. He highlights the higher duty practitioners have in the administration of justice and upholding the rule of law whilst advising clients, which is sometimes ‘unpalatable for them’, and that consequently, their interests are independent from the interest of the clients. It is extremely important, he feels, that this independence is, therefore, recognised as well as the independence of the judiciary. Without confidence in other legal professionals to act professionally, ‘the administration of justice becomes fundamentally undermined’. Naturally, the promotion of professional standards is paramount to the work of the Law Society. He emphasised that legal work is intrinsic to preserving the rule of law by ensuring the appropriate administration of justice and it is imperative to maintain the integrity of the legal system whilst acting in the public interest. Although there has been an increasing drive to diversify the profession in recent years to reflect the society we live in, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Robert pointed out that the profession is ‘powerfully and fabulously diverse’ and the more diverse it is, having people from different backgrounds with different perspectives, the stronger it will become. However, all legal professionals must have one thing in common and that is sharing values to uphold the rule of law. The Law Society has several divisions to promote social mobility, such as the Junior Lawyer Division, Women Lawyers Division, LGBT Lawyers Division to name a few. He describes these divisions as ‘Incredibly powerful’ and that he returns from meetings with them ‘energised and enthused for the profession and its future’. The dynamic environment keeps the profession challenged and requires the development of new practice areas. Robert points out areas such as business coupled with human rights that commercial clients are currently ‘grappling with’, offers opportunities to practitioners develop new services for clients. He tells us about meeting a practitioner specialised in internet law and his attempts to recruit people ‘who have an understanding of the breadth of the subject’, which brings us to the role of the Law Society in this aspect. As a representative body, it must enable people to realise the opportunities that are available to them. For example, 25% of lawyers work in-house, where training contracts are increasingly on offer. It is predicted that by 2020 35% of solicitors will be in an in-house environment, such as corporate, local government and the charity, third sector. The Law Society is there to provide support for aspiring lawyers. Beyond this, in relation to the ‘day-to-day’, the Law Society is currently trying to ensure access to justice. It has been engaged in responding to the PI small claims consultation and is concerned about issue fees, ‘LASPO’, and legal aid rates in relation to their impact on access to justice as well as on practitioners. Recent consultations have seemed to show a trend of ‘limiting and circumscribing’ access to justice for specifically ‘just about managing’ people. A tariff system is set to be put in place as an extension of combat immunity which denies personal access to the court service for compensation and belittles the importance of independent advice. Furthermore, an ‘invidious consultation’ is about to take place, which will see either an 8.75% cut to be imposed on criminal defence lawyers or, alternatively, a cut on a smaller proportion within the criminal
defence practice population. Robert emphasised how these savings would be relatively small given the huge sums that are spent elsewhere. However, the impact on practitioners and the capacity of the system to provide access and advice is likely to be very dire. Other issues currently being dealt with are reforms to infrastructure; court closures, changes to procedures and dealing with fixed recoverable costs. Following Brexit, the Law Society is busy promoting the law of England and Wales at every opportunity and have been asked by the Lord Chancellor to provide a document expressing the optimism and opportunities that can be exploited, to be available by May. Informing government of the issues around an exit of Europe are ongoing, however, some leverage has been made in terms of infrastructure; recognition of service of documents, judgments and a European arrest warrant. Primary concerns now are practice rights and recognition to be able to, as solicitors of England and Wales, provide advice within the EU, particularly in relation to professional privilege and whether this is dependent on membership of the EU. Gareth Leadsham highlighted, that links with foreign lawyers and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) are maintained and by collaborating with them to make sure they are aware that the UK is open for business and come to an understanding of how we would recognise EU lawyers and vice versa. He pointed to the recent twinning of South London Law Society with the Luxembourg Bar as an example of this. Domestically, there are concerns regarding the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. Robert endorsed London South Bank University’s response to this, regarding the extent, reality and appropriateness of the testing and extent of the curriculum. Whether this would mean students would be taught to a test rather than encouraging engagement in the law is worrying and the evidence of the need for adjustments is questionable. There are also concerns about the impact on standing following this; Robert was very aware of how difficult it is to obtain a training contract and acknowledged the importance of hands on, quality experience, such as that provided by London South Bank University’s Legal Advice Clinic. A lot of work has been done with extending the community of those engaged in providing pro-bono advice and support to those who need it. This has been extended to include law clinics, centres and the Citizens Advice Bureau, sometimes operating out of universities, staffed by students and overseen by academic staff and practitioners all over England and Wales. The Law Society is very keen to promote this work and recognise the value of the experience gained in these environments. The Competition Markets Authority (CMA) reviewed the legal services market published last year. The CMA found that whilst the market could be improved, it was nonetheless competitive, room for improvement lies in transparency to inform the consumer on price. It seems that the most apparent concern was ‘public legal education’. Members of the public who are not habitual users of legal services are ill informed of their rights, responsibilities and remedies and how these can be obtained. It was pointed out that they do not understand the difference between regulated and unregulated providers, reserved and unreserved activities, and consequently, they do not understand the nature of protection in place by using regulated solicitors, including the ability to offer them legal professional privilege. Public legal education, in context of some of the recent reforms being pushed through and what is being proposed by our regulatory authority, is part of the overarching access to justice strategy. If there is additional transparency, the public will be able to make an informed judgment about who, when and whether they instruct legal professionals. These are areas that need to be worked on, especially in relation to, as mentioned above, why legal services are important and valuable to the client and the wider society. Robert encourages us to get involved in the various societies and help ensure that the Law Society represents the interests of the members of this ‘very proud profession’ because of the important work that is being undertaken in the public interest.
By Katriya Ross and Tünde Kubitsch
TheClapham ClaphamOmnibus Omnibus 15 The
What happens to the family pets after divorce? Many people think of their pet – whether it be a dog, cat or a rabbit– as part of the family. This is why “custody” of a pet can form part of family financial proceedings and negotiations. In England and Wales, the legal treatment of a pet is as personal property, just like cars, jewellery and other personal belongings.
• Who does the animal have a strong bond with – who feeds the animal!
The property test involves considerations including:-
• Which claimant is able to give more time to the animal?
• Who paid for the pet?
An expert in animal law at Northumbria Law School has recently called for change in how decisions about the custody of pets are made in divorce proceedings. In her recent paper she called for a more flexible approach that includes aspects of the animal’s welfare.
• The Certificate of Registration. • Who paid for animal insurance? • Who paid for the vet? • Who paid for food, litter and supplies? Although pets are treated as property, people often have strong emotional bonds with their pets and think of them more like children. This can lead to long and expensive arguments over ownership during divorce proceedings. It may also explain why there are few reported cases in England and Wales. By contrast, other countries adopt a “best interest” test towards family pets. There are several reported cases in the US and Israel, and Switzerland has even amended the Civil Code to clarify this matter. Alaska is the first state in the US to empower judges to take into account the “well being of the animal” by amending its divorce law. The courts must address the interests of companion animals when deciding upon future ownership and are allowed to award joint ownership of such pets. Going further, companion animals can even be included in domestic violence protective orders and the court may also order that the abusive owner pays financial support for a pet in the care of the human victim of such abuse. The rationale behind the new law is that animals are completely different from other types of property and require more judicial consideration as a consequence. The “best interest” test is one that family lawyers are familiar with as it is normally applied to disputes concerning children. The following factors could be important:• Living arrangements. If one party keeps the family home then the pet will have familiar surroundings. • Where will the children live – presumably with the family dog?
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To avoid disputes over pets which can be extremely bitter and costly, couples are increasingly including provisions for their pets within prenuptial agreements. For expert advice on any aspect of your divorce, separation please contact the Family and Relationships department at Anthony Gold Solicitors (email@example.com) or by telephone on 020 7940 4060.
Media training for legal marketers Unless you work in a law firm with a separate PR function (which I don’t!) you are expected to generate press coverage for various cases and announcements out of thin air. My previous training of dealing with the press has been write a press release and send it out, end of story. Yesterday I went to media training organised by MD Communications. Of course there’s a lot to getting press coverage but being able to write a good press release a basic skill. I’ve put together a few short notes which every legal marketer should know…
How to write a press release Sometimes I wish I was an accountant, so that there was set formulas that I could follow rather than working in a fluid role than marketing. I found this way of structuring a press release really simple and a sensible way to go about it.
Basically here’s the structure:
Headline First Paragraph Second Paragraph-
this should be your main quote
Second ParagraphNote to Editors
Don’t bother, jounalists like to be able to think for themselves and usually like to write their own headline anyway- save it for your subject line. Punny headlines are a thing of the past now the SEO has become so important The 5Ws. This should be a short 25 word paragraph summarising: - Who the press release is about - Where (so the location of the story/ firm) - What’s actually happened - When (Pretty self-explanatory) - Why; this is the important one, why should a journalist care about your story? Basically this is what’s known as ‘the top line’ This should be from someone senior in the firm and they must say something interesting and if possible a bit controversial. Don’t just repeat what you said in paragraph 1 and this should reinforce your ‘Why’ point. More Information about what has happened. This includes a bit about your firm and the contact details for more information. If you are putting a Partner down here who is notorious for not pivking up the phone then maybe put your details instead.
Why do it this way? Journalists get tonnes of emails every day so they aren’t going to read through every press release they have so if you send them a long press release that isn’t very concise, it’s likely that they will end up deleting the email. Looking at the structure above, most journalists could use the first paragraph and quote of the above structure for a story which is your goal so don’t go overboard. What other useful things I learned 1. Tailor your press release to the publication - If you are writing for a local publication, then make sure you write the location name in your first paragraph to spark the journalists interest - If it’s a trade press then think about their angle and how it would be relevant for their readers 2. Embargos - Don’t bother with these — what’s the point really unless it’s client sensitive or when you really need one
3. Pictures - Include at least one picture of something interesting (perhaps avoid a head shot of the partner) - People love pictures and SEO has shown us people engage with them more - If you are sending one make sure it is a high resolution and a good shot Overall, make things easier for journalists. You need them; they don’t need you. Call them up to see if they are interested and follow up with a well written press release which gets across what you are trying to say without waffling. Find out their deadlines in advance and avoid sending anything on press day. There you go, easy stuff. And there was me thinking I should be an accountant
Eileen Donaghey Editor, The Clapham Omnibus
- I didn’t know that some journalists don’t pay attention to embargoes and go ahead and use the information anyway. It’s not a legal contract
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A HISTORY OF PIONEERING CANCER TREATMENT Since it launched, The Institute of Cancer Research’s (ICR) free Will scheme has raised over £8m in legacy gifts, which have helped us make some of the most important discoveries in the history of cancer research. Help us continue our 100 years of ground-breaking research. From identifying cancer-causing chemicals in cigarette smoke, to the vitally important link between DNA damage and cancer, we’ve always been committed to improving treatment and prevention through our scientific research. Thanks to the research taking place at our labs in Chelsea and Sutton, we now understand more about the biology and genetics of cancer than ever before. This means we can diagnose patients earlier and target their treatment more effectively. As such, the proportion of patients surviving cancer has doubled since the 1970s. But we envisage a world where people can live their lives free of cancer as a life-threatening disease. We have bold plans to make this a reality. We’re using cutting-edge microscope technology to look in exquisite detail at the fundamental biology of cancer cells; we have plans to build a new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery to help us discover more and better treatments, and tackle the challenge of drug resistance; and we’re investing
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR If you or anyone in your firm would be interested in writing an article for the next issue please do get in touch. I’d like to personally encourage you as a South London lawyer to be involved with the magazine and the society as much as possible. If you have an idea for an article, or have some news you would like to share, please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Eileen Donaghey, editor
SOUTH LONDON LAW SOCIETY www.southlondonlawsociety.co.uk
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in exciting new treatment approaches such as immunotherapy. Legacy donations are a vitally important source of funding for the ICR and past legacies have helped us to make some of our most significant discoveries. At the ICR we offer a Will for Free scheme, enabling people aged 60 and over to make a basic Will or update an existing one – and the ICR will cover the cost. Almost 400 solicitors across the south and east of England have partnered with the ICR on our Will for Free scheme, and together they helped secure almost £2.5million in legacy pledges in the last financial year. The importance of these pledges cannot be overstated; knowing that we can rely on future funds from legacy gifts allows us to embark on major research initiatives and invest long-term in finding the solutions to defeat cancer. To find out more about the ICR and our Will for Free scheme, please visit our website icr.ac.uk/legacy or call Marcia on 020 7153 5387 or email email@example.com. “Having been a researcher at the ICR for almost 20 years, I have seen it go from strength to strength. I am proud of the impact its research has had, and will continue to have in the future. I decided to leave a legacy to the ICR in my Will because I want their vital work to continue.” Professor Robin Weiss FRS Former Director of Research at the ICR.
Canine Care Card Some dog owners worry what might happen to their dog if they were to pass away first, leaving their beloved four-legged friend without an owner. Thankfully, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, offers the Canine Care Card, a special free service that aims to give owners peace of mind, knowing that the charity will look after their dog if the worst should happen. Not only does this offer reassurance to dog owners, it also helps to ease the minds of friends and family during what is already a distressing time. Over the past 12 months, Dogs Trust has taken in a whole host of dogs across its 20 rehoming centres in the UK as part of the Canine Care Card scheme and helped them settle into happy new homes. One of these such dogs is ten-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Buddy who was taken in by Dogs Trust Glasgow when his owner sadly passed away. When he first arrived at the rehoming centre, Buddy was understandably missing his home comforts and hoping to find love again with a new owner. Thankfully, the team at Dogs Trust Glasgow were able to provide the adorable boy with a home away from home while he awaited his furry-tale ending. Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog down, and works hard to match every dog with a responsible, loving home. After being lovingly cared for by staff at Dogs Trust Glasgow, Buddy is now starting life with a new family, who have even registered themselves on the Canine Care Card scheme.
Sarah and Buddy the dog.
Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO says, “Thanks to Dogs Trust’s Canine Card Card scheme, dogs in need of a new home are given a lifeline meaning that Buddy and many dogs like him are able to get a second chance at happiness and bring joy to a new family. If you decide to become a Canine Care Card holder, we will issue you with a wallet-sized card. It acts in a similar way to an organ donor card and notifies people of your wishes for your dogs, should anything happen to you. Dogs Trust also strongly recommends that you mention the care of your dog in your Will. That way, there can be no confusion about your wishes.”
Who’ll keep him happy when your client’s gone? We will – as long as your client has a Canine Care Card. It’s a FREE service from Dogs Trust that guarantees a bereaved dog a home for life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 20 rehoming centres, located around the UK. One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll want to make provision for their faithful friend. And now you can help them at absolutely no cost. So contact us today for your FREE pack of Canine Care Card leaflets - and make a dog-lover happy.
020 7837 0006
Or write to: Freepost RTJA-SRXG-AZUL, Dogs Trust, Clarissa Baldwin House, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ (no stamp required) Please quote “333339”. All information will be treated as strictly confidential. This service is currently only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & the Isle of Man
www.dogstrust.org.uk Registered Charity Numbers: 227523 & SC037843
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How modern n legal professiionals work o iManage Work k 10 is the best-in-class document management solution that puts p documents and emaiils at your fingertips, quickly and se ecurely on any device. • Designed by lawyers for lawyers to makke you more productive • Work smarter e with AI-enhanc AI enhanced features e • Mobile-frien ndly design—work from anywhere • iManage Clo oud—get started fast, migratte easily Ta akee a quick viideo tour of all the new feeaturees of Wo o 10: imanage.com/Work ork k10-SLLS
The South London Law Society cordially invites you to its
ANNUAL DINNER Guest Speaker:
Robert Bourns, tbc President of the Law Society At The
KIA OVAL Kennington, LONDON SE11 5SS date: THURSDAY 19th OCTOBER 2017 time: 6.30pm-7pm dress code: Lounge Suit
For tickets please contact Andrew Pavlovic, Treasurer: █ Andrew.Pavlovic@russell-cooke.co.uk █ 020 8394 6573
GENEALOGISTS AND INTERNATIONAL PROBATE RESEARCHERS Phone: 020 7832 1430
I am a Solicitor
Looking ffor or Missing Beneficiaries Missing Beneficiary Insurance Certificates Will Search Missing W Wiill Insurance Industry Regulation International Bankrruptcy Search Asset Search Share V Vaaluations, Tra Transffers and Sales Probate Property Assistance
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Digital Transformation and the Workplace Law firms are undergoing a digital transformation that is forcing them to change the way they do business. As a result, the way work is being done has changed. Legal professionals are becoming increasingly mobile and are no longer confined to a single place or device. Collaboration, untethered mobility and rapid communication are becoming the cornerstone of productivity and client satisfaction. Law firms and corporate legal departments are responding to this shift by ensuring they have all the tools and resources needed for their lawyers to be productive and efficient. In addition to delivering these assets, firms are also finding they need to ensure systems are always on and available while protecting their users from external threats and attacks. The New Professional: Mobile, tech savvy, demanding change in applications and tools The increased mobility of today’s legal workforce and the consumerisation of IT are reshaping what today’s lawyers need and expect from their employers to do their jobs. New professionals are not defined by their age, but instead by their intimate familiarity with technology and their expectation for a frictionless work experience across all devices. The new professional uses multiple screens: phone, tablet and PC – and has the expectation that information and communications are equally accessible from each. As expectations continue to rise around their ability to access email and edit documents on any device, more and more firms are providing solutions that emulate identical user experience no matter the device or document. Most importantly, new professionals use technology in their personal lives, downloading apps, getting directions, sending packages, and hailing transportation. They are intimately familiar with what technology can do, and know now how to get critical work functions accomplished – such as document editing, sharing and collaboration – without 100% reliance on the tools provided by their employers. The New Client: Higher expectations, more stringent security and governance of their information One of the biggest drivers of change stems from increasingly high expectations from clients. The new client demands quicker responses, more value for their money, an overall better customer experience and the most stringent security and governance over their information. While the client has always been in the driver’s seat, these demands are increasing pressures on legal firms trying to adapt to the transformations they are already experiencing. These new clients are also the ones driving many of the changes with the new professional. Given recent news about law firm data breaches, and the changing nature of cyber-threats, the new client is also becoming increasingly sensitive to where – and how – their
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information is being stored. Client security audits and surveys are getting longer every year, and the amount of energy expended to ensure that each client’s information is managed in accordance with its specific wishes in terms of location, cloud or no cloud, retention post close, etc. – becomes overbearing to manage across the number of offices and matters. The New Law Firm: Adapting to client demands Twenty years ago, paper was king for most firms. Today, digital platforms such as chat tools, text messaging, file shares, new data formats like One Note, images and videos are used by professionals to collaborate and store information – adding complexity and chaos to the workflow process. This change, combined with increased communication between technologies, is impacting how professionals deliver great client work. The ‘new firm’ recognises the need to adapt to new client demands and changes in market conditions to remain competitive. The new firm continuously improves itself to meet the expectations of its professionals by improving their productivity, as well as adopting tools and processes that evolve the business model beyond the billable hour – ultimately increasing agility and flexibility and producing more efficient work. With today’s new ways of working, it is now more important than ever for firms to drive new business models enabled by technology that increase productivity amongst their professionals – enabling them to communicate in a secure and controlled manner that does not put valuable information at risk. by Geoff Hornsby General Manager EMEA, iManage For more information visit www.imanage.com.
Ten considerations when starting your own law firm Peter Baverstock of LEAP, the leading cloud based legal software solution for small law firms, outlines areas to consider when starting your own firm.
The continuing advancement of cloud technology and new ownership regulations mean it has never been easier to start a law firm. Mobility, simpler and lower cost technology and widespread acceptance of remote working are motivating legal entrepreneurs wanting to start their own practice. What to practice
Your brand should be determined by your choice of what area of law to concentrate on. Choosing the area of law that interests you most is one of the keys to future success. It is better to narrow your services and build your expertise. Specialisation is attractive, but risky; for example, conveyancing is notoriously subject to economic cycles.
When starting your firm there is so much to consider. Here’s a brief checklist: Law Society requirements, Professional indemnity insurance, bank, website, letterhead, practice management software, computer infrastructure, legal cashier. You need to be able to: communicate with your clients, create documents, record your time, disburse money for your clients, manage client money and designated account money, bill clients, keep books without needing the skills of a cashier and keep all the accounting records relating to employment and the general running of a business including your nominal ledger and VAT. A good case management solution is invaluable as it will provide a platform to meet all the above requirements.
How to attract clients Clients will not arrive without effort. Fortunately, technology is aiding the acquisition of new clients. A website with good Search Engine Optimisation will give you a competitive advantage over more established competitors. If you use social media like LinkedIn or Facebook, you can quickly turn your network into a potential source of leads by declaring your new status. Network, network, network high street firms generally find that the majority of their work comes from people in their local area. It is important to attend business events to meet other local business people. A strong referral network in your local area will help create a regular stream of work.
Where to practice A few years ago, the obvious answer to this question would have been that you needed a physical office with all the related costs. However, technology has changed everything, in particular cloud software now allows you to practice anywhere at any time and keep initial costs to a minimum. We have become accustomed to working remotely and without spending hours commuting, so becoming more productive.
Buying a practice Many small law firms are currently owned by ‘baby boomers’, lawyers approaching retirement who have not made a succession plan and have no exit strategy. Often they have a significant clientele and it may cost less to purchase one of these firms than building your own client list from scratch.
Making your plan You need a strategy and a business plan. You need the right person/people to support you. You need to be able to execute your strategy and have the cash-flow to do so. Plan in terms of time. Where do you want to be in three months, two years, five years?
How much investment do you need?
Software options Today, cloud software offers the ability to run a successful law firm from anywhere and from any device (even from somebody else’s device via a web browser). You could be in your office, at home, on a beach, on a train or plane. Cloud software will provide you with: lower infrastructure costs, no need for servers nor costly data storage devices, accessibility from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection, a mobile workforce with staff having more flexible hours and a better work/life balance. Cloud software gives you the ability to work while not connected to the internet with full synchronisation when you reconnect.
Technology infrastructure It is important that you choose a technology supplier that is familiar with the needs of small law firms. It is often also possible for you to lease your IT infrastructure so that you have predictable and affordable monthly payments.
Compliance Compliance shouldn’t be a burden to you but a natural consequence of running your firm well. You need to be admitted to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and to have Professional Indemnity Insurance. Once practising you need to comply with your COLP and COFA obligations. Hopefully you will now have the confidence to take your first steps to becoming a small law firm owner.
Calculate how much money you need to cover cash-flow. Funding is available, even for start-ups. Keep your start-up costs low by investing in good systems and being organised. What is your costing model? Fixed Fee, Time Based Billing or both?
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eConveyancing starts to take shape
an interview with Adam Bullion, General Manager of Marketing & Product at InfoTrack Why is changing technology important? It has become clear that advances in technology, such as the advent of the internet and the smartphone have changed human behaviour. From our professional lives, where we work longer hours due to remote technology, to the behaviour in our personal lives, where we expect to have access to information instantly and be able to perform many tasks wherever we are, whenever. Consumer behaviour also has changed, and ecommerce has become king, so we no longer need to ever leave our homes to buy goods. These daily efficiencies are also expected by staff, and as a business owner it is our duty to implement the appropriate technology to meet these changing needs, particularly when, regardless of technological advances, many business processes remain stagnant. In terms of the conveyancing process where do you foresee the potential for change? I believe that the conveyancing industry is a legal sector that is overdue for change. Aside from searches, many parts of the process have already become electronic and are hosted online, such as the submission process for the SDLT and AP1 forms. However, no provider has taken advantage of this ability, until now. At InfoTrack, we look at the most cumbersome and form heavy sections of conveyancing and turn these into electronic versions that are easier to complete and enjoyable to use. Upon review, we identified the contract pack as the next segment of the process where administrative processes can be reduced and optimised. With this in mind, we have created eCOS (electronic Contract of Sale) which combats the time consuming process of copying information into a contract, as well as dealing with the slow and unsecured way in which these documents (including the TA6 and TA10) are handled. eCOS is a fully electronic process that conveyancers can take now advantage of and be seen by their clients as truly forward thinking. Tell us more about eCOS, what does this do? We created eCOS (electronic Contract of Sale) to be a paperless solution that gives conveyancers the ability to compile the full contract pack electronically, including the TA6, TA10, contract, title and plan. Our smart eCOS portal also allows the contract pack to be easily sent and received by both the conveyancer and the client within InfoTrack, so you can rely on it being a fast, paper-free and completely secure process that requires no printing scanning, posting or faxing. These contract packs can also be signed
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electronically by all parties involved, using the latest in e-signature technology. At InfoTrack, our mission to build the end to end conveyancing process online is being enacted one process at a time, and eCOS is the next step. Are electronic signatures acceptable forms of signing legal documents? With a growth rate of over 53% annually, e-signatures are rapidly being adopted in many industries and at different levels of transactions. The Law Society recently released a practice note on the use of electronic signatures in law, and with secure, stringent measures put in to maintain the highest level of security, electronic signatures are highly regarded and are an efficient way of signing documents. The technology we use is by DocuSign, the global industry leader in e-signing. Would you offer any advice to conveyancers looking to adopt new technology? InfoTrack aspires to create technology that is not only incredibly efficient and simple to use, but also makes day-to-day processes more enjoyable. I believe that good technology should be a joy to use, as well as providing clear operational benefit. So when adopting new technology for your firm, I always suggest that a series of questions are asked; does it add value to the customer? Does it reduce operating costs? Is it relevant? Will it help us excel in our core competencies? Will it reduce cost/improve quality/provide a set of functions that did not exist before? Those technologies that will be most valuable should respond â€˜yesâ€™ to all those questions. â– By Adam Bullion, Head of Marketing
TWPS adds new RiskView Commercial report to its search portfolio We are delighted to inform customers that Landmark’s innovative RiskView Commercial report is now available from Thames Water Property Searches. Developed in consultation with experienced legal practitioners, RiskView Commercial is the first ‘all-in-one’ commercial environmental search to provide analysis on four key risks: contaminated land, flooding, ground stability as well as energy and infrastructure – with the information presented in an easy-toread report. In another exciting first, the findings can also be viewed online. The state-of-the-art map-viewer presents the information in a highly visual and easy-to-navigate way bringing commercial conveyancing due diligence into the digital age.
• clients themselves will be able to access the findings online helping with the buying/leasing process. The report analyses a comprehensive range of risks including all forms of flooding; proximity of energy or infrastructure developments, such as wind farms, Crossrail or HS2; land contamination risks such as those present from former industry; plus ground stability issues such as radon, land movement and more.
• all environmental due diligence will be completed at a fixed cost
Importantly, the comprehensive risk assessment also highlights any results that may require further action or investigation supplemented with clear advice and recommendations from expert environmental consultants, Argyll Environmental.
• the report reduces practice risk as there’s no need for a manual alert driven process
The RiskView Commercial ‘four-in-one’ report is priced at £250 exc VAT
• the all-in-one format reduces document reviewing time, as well as reducing time and money on printing and post
To find out more about how RiskView Commercial can benefit your business call us on 0845 070 9148 or visit www.thameswater-propertysearches.co.uk
We believe that this comprehensive new product will be extremely beneficial to conveyancing firms in a number of ways, namely:
• the report summary helps conveyancers deliver a clear and consistent message to clients
Don’t get lo ost iin a maze of of confusion
Get straight to th he point...
Comprehensive e Title Insurance Polic cies made simple with w GCS Instant Isssue
www.gcs-title.co.uk | 01435 0 868050 | firstname.lastname@example.org Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutio ons Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conductt Authority. Registered in England an nd Wales No. 3623950
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The industry is changingA new approach to genealogical research Recent media coverage has seen a number of high profile cases reported which have highlighted how clients have paid more than they should have for legal services. At Title Research we understand that this means that we need to adapt This has resulted in growing pressure on legal firms to make their client the way in which we offer our services as well, which is why we have proposition as transparent as possible and, where possible, to offer listened to feedback from our clients and have introduced a new fixed fee services on a fixed fee basis. pricing structure to deliver even better value for money. One such case saw the Legal Ombudsman rule that a solicitor should We now offer fixed fees to locate missing beneficiaries and refund £34,000 of the £37,000 fee that their client signed under That’s why we reconstruct family trees – not only in England and Wales, but a contingency fee agreement (CFA). The Ombudsman ruled believe that any also in overseas jurisdictions as well. If we are unable to locate a that the client had not been properly advised about the terms service we offer missing beneficiary, we will provide a quote for insurance to and effects of the CFA when signing a contract relating to work should be protect against future claims. In the unlikely event that we can’t in a probate dispute case. priced fairly, do this, we will waive our research fees completely so you won’t After a small amount of work had been completed and paid transparently pay anything. for, the client could not afford to pay any more upfront fees and wherever Tom Curran, Chief Executive at Title Research said: having been told that the litigation could cost up to £35,000. possible, on a She then agreed to pay the firm 20% of any damages that they fixed fee basis. “Unfortunately, cases of unclear fees and overcharging are still all too common and something which we would like to see reclaimed on her behalf. eradicated altogether from the legal sector. Following a settlement, the client was billed £37,608, which was That’s why we believe that any service we offer should be priced fairly, deducted from her inheritance, leaving her with £25,000. The transparently and wherever possible, on a fixed fee basis. We will never Ombudsman said that there was no evidence of the ‘significant activity’ charge contingency fees like many of our competitors as we feel this required to justify the firm’s charges in relation to the case. Although this is an extreme case, reports of clients being overcharged as approach is unethical and unfair to the client. Title Research always offers its services based on a price that is agreed a result of firms not fully explaining their pricing structure are on the increase. This is one of the key drivers behind why clients are increasingly before any work is undertaken – we believe this offers a clear solution and the best value for all involved.” looking to firms to provide fixed fee services. For more information on Title Research’s services, visit www.titleresearch.com or call 0345 87 27 600.
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THE ASSOCIATION OF PROBATE RESEARCHERS (APR) TAKES THE FIRST STEPS TO REGULATION IN THE HEIR HUNTING INDUSTRY
The Association of Probate Researchers (APR) was formed in response to the lack of regulation in the Probate Research (Heir Hunting) industry. Neil is a partner at Fraser and Fraser, the research firm who have featured most prominently on BBC One’s Heir Hunters programme for 10 consecutive series. After several years of looking at ways to promote regulation, Neil is delighted to announce that APR (which was incorporated in June 2016) is now a recognised body under the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR). APR’s new status is set to benefit its members, allowing them to hold a PPR practising certificate whilst they follow APR and PPR guidelines. The probate research industry is unregulated and APR was set up as a voluntary, self-regulatory body which aims to raise standards and to offer protection to beneficiaries from hobby genealogists and enthusiast amateurs. APR protects consumers (beneficiaries) from firms and individuals who believe that, after having watched the TV series, they can become probate researchers with very little or no legal training and experience. In the past few years there have been several cases of fraudsters posing as Heir Hunters resulting in millions of pounds being stolen from members of the public. This is just the tip of the iceberg. PPR was launched in 2015 by the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) and the Institute of Paralegals (IoP). The PPR was set up in direct response to the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) in order to regulate paralegals and only recognise those who provide the highest of standards. APR is the fourth body to be recognised by the PPR and the only body for Probate Researchers or Heir Hunters.
Commenting on this development, APR Chair Neil Fraser said: “APR is the only Recognised Body for Probate Researchers that has access to a compensation scheme and an independent complaints procedure. We are proud to be working alongside the PPR to enhance the status of Professional Paralegals. Our members will at last be able to have their professional status recognised, this is only the beginning in order to justly regulate the industry, but it is a huge first step. “Beneficiaries can be comforted by the fact that our individual paralegal practitioners are regulated and backed by a compensatory scheme, an industry first.” Rita Leat, Managing Director of the PPR added: “We are delighted that APR is now a Recognised Body under the PPR. The probate research profession have been among some of the unsung heroes offering legal services and we welcome them as Professional Paralegal Practitioners. The PPR is the voluntary regulatory body for all legal service providers who work in the unregulated sector. It provides a robust but proportionate set of regulatory standards with a compensatory scheme available to consumers when things go wrong.” The APR is in talks with several of the leading firms in the industry and hope to announce more members in near future.
All APR members sign up to the professional ethics and code of conduct. Members benefit from: Inclusion on the Register held by the PPR; the ability to apply for Paralegal Practising Certificates which provide regulation that until now has been missing from the industry. The APR has an independent compensation scheme, which has been setup to promote regulation, protect fellow members of the legal industry, and more importantly reassures the general public and beneficiaries that they can turn to an authoritative body if they have been taken advantage of.
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Ilott v Mitson The role of insurance
The landscape surrounding the legal framework that currently applies to disappointed beneficiaries is potentially about to change. A landmark judgement from the Supreme Court in the Ilott v Mitson case is expected to clarify the position with regard to the application and scope of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 (the Act). In anticipation of this decision there has been a noticeable increase in the number of Personal Representatives seeking cover for potential claims under the Act.
they were treated as the deceased’s child or were being maintained by them? Insurers might decide to exclude claims by them from the policy or if cover is required for such claims, extensive underwriting would need to take place and if the insurer is comfortable with the risk, it will have implications on the level of premium.
By way of an abridged reminder, Melita Jackson died in 2004, leaving the majority of her estate (approximate value of £500,000) to three charities – RSPCA, RSPB and Blue Cross. Consequently, most policies provide cover more for the comfort She was estranged from her daughter, Heather Ilott, and had of the Personal Representatives ie where there are no known omitted her from her will (leaving two side letters explaining her potential claimants but where there is a desire to distribute the decision). Consequently, Mrs Ilott made a claim under the Act estate more expediently and not to wait for the time for making and received £50,000. A subsequent appeal by the charities claims under the Act to expire. Under the Act a quashed this award. Mrs Illot took the case to the potential claimant has six months from the date of Court of Appeal, which overturned the judgement The Supreme and awarded her the funds to purchase her Court’s ruling on the grant of representation to make their claim but also has an additional four months to serve papers property and a capital sum on top (approximately the appeal on the Personal Representatives, so it could be up £163,000 and £20,000 respectively). The Supreme against that to ten months before an estate becomes aware of Court’s ruling on the appeal against that decision decision is where any claim. It is worth noting that the Court has is where we have arrived at now. discretionary powers to permit applications after the we have arrived So where does this leave us in terms of possible six-month period, so the potential period may be in insurance solutions? As a rule, insurers are wary of at now. excess of the ten months. indemnifying estates where a known individual, in So how is the legal profession dealing with the the specified classes of potential claimants under situation? In many instances, it is difficult for a Personal the Act, has been omitted from a will. This is especially true if Representative, especially a professional one, to be certain that the individual omitted is a child of the deceased. While this was the case prior to the Ilott case, it has become even more difficult there are not individuals who would be entitled, or believe they should have been remembered, even if there is no suggestion of to secure cover since, in light of the outcome of the case and a potential claimant. As a result, some professional Personal given the intense media coverage surrounding it. Representatives in particular can be reluctant to allow funds to This is understandable, given that a policy will typically seek to be distributed within the ten month period. However, peace of protect the insured (normally the Personal Representatives but mind policies that allow early release of funds to beneficiaries can be extended to include the residuary beneficiaries as well) and remove the risk to Personal Representatives of personal from the moment a claim is received by the insurer, whether it liability in the event of a successful claim under the Act, after the has merit or not. As such, and as can be seen starkly in the Ilott distribution of the estate, can provide comfort and certainty in case, the time involved and costs of defending such a claim are uncertain times. not insignificant. While this is the first Inheritance Act claim to We eagerly await the Supreme Court ruling in the Ilott case and reach the Supreme Court, litigation and settlement costs can be its implications for Personal Representatives and their insurance financially onerous, especially after the distribution of the estate. options going forward. In light of the above, an insurer has to consider the approach in relation to the extent of cover a policy will provide. For example, Neil Kevan if a deceased had remarried and the new spouse had children Trust & Probate Underwriter, Legal & Contingency Limited from a former marriage, might they be entitled to claim because
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FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE FRIDAY FRAUDSTERS The digital world offers a seemingly unending stream of opportunities for criminals to enrich themselves at the expense of others. The legal profession, routinely dealing as it does with the most sensitive of financial affairs, is a tempting target for the scammers. One of the latest forms of internet crime to hit the headlines is conveyancing fraud – or so called “Friday Afternoon Fraud” - involving the fraudulent diversion of wire transfers into bank accounts under the control of scammers. Typically, the crooks strike just before a weekend or a bank holiday, hence the catchy sobriquet. The sums of money involved are substantial and the risks minimal. Little wonder that is one of the fastest growing online frauds. A typical case will involve the victim being contacted on the day of exchange, apparently by their solicitor, informing them of a change of bank details for the transfer of funds. The emails appear absolutely genuine, and include all the correct names and references. But in reality, the email is a fake; the fraudster has intercepted legitimate email exchanges and has been patiently monitoring activity, waiting for the right moment to interject false transfer information. Once money hits the criminal's account, it is instantly transferred to a network of other accounts all over the world, where Encryption is it effectively becomes untraceable.
product offers full end-to-end (e2e) encryption across not just messaging, but voice calls, video conferencing and file sharing. In developing VIPole, we took a completely different approach,” says Miller, “Starting from the basic concept of an encrypted team collaboration tool, rather than a personal messenger with encryption added as an afterthought.” Unlike most other apps, IT administrators can manage teams of users, with a high degree of control over how they can use the system. “For example,” says Miller, “We can give individuals the ability to read but not share certain files, or deny access from devices outside the corporate network”
The reason is that it’s not just emails that are vulnerable to unauthorised access. “Unencrypted data stored on mobile devices and even a company’s own server also represents a potential threat. Research has shown that 42% of all commercial data loss incidents involve a company’s own personnel, either acting maliciously or accidentally.” VIPole protects this data as well, and gives a administrators the power to remote wipe sensitive data from weapon devices that have been lost or stolen.
As is common in electronic crime, it is the humble against fraudsters, email that provides the entry point for the However one familiar feature that VIPole shares with other criminals. Emails are typically sent as plain text but only if it can popular apps is ease of use. Miller continues, “An effective across networks, making them easy to eavesdrop system must not complicate communications, and it must be properly once a network has been compromised. Private provide all the tools needed within a single e2e encrypted individuals are the least likely to be security-aware, implemented, platform. And, obviously, it has to have the ability to making them easy targets. Home WiFi networks effectively facilitate external communications with clients within a with poor security; “man-in-the-middle” attacks secure environment.” managed and trapping unwary users attempting to connect to Rather than relying on usernames and passwords, easily used. free WiFi hotspots in public spaces or malwarealgorithms ensure that messages remain secure, that the infected downloads are all used to listen out for sender and recipient are who they appear to be and that nobody else is key words and phrases that alert the crooks to potential property listening in to that conversation. End-to-end encryption ensures that transactions. nobody – not even the software provider - is able to break into The modern-day ubiquity of email was driven by its convenience, and conversation or create fake IDs or messages. “That,” comments many people now use instant messaging for exactly the same reason. Christopher Miller, “Stops the Friday Fraudsters dead in their tracks.” Popular apps such as WhatsApp are convenient and easy to use, and But what about the potential legal implications of sharing confidential as a bonus, many are increasingly using encryption techniques to client information over a public cloud service such as WhatsApp? VIPole prevent messages being intercepted. Encryption encodes network traffic has a simple solution; it offers an on-premise package that enables so that only sender and recipient can unscramble the original data. firms to run the service completely in-house on their own server to Given the apparent benefit, it may appear odd that the business world create their own private, strongly encrypted messaging eco-system. appears slow to catch on to this important development. However there Firms are able to connect clients to their secure system as easily as are reasons for this, as VIPole’s head of development, Christopher Miller sharing an email address, but without compromising security. The explains; VIPole client software is available as a free download for all platforms “Encryption is a powerful weapon against fraudsters, but only if it can be (iOS and Android, as well as Linux, Windows and Mac OSX), so anyone properly implemented, effectively managed and easily used. End-to-end can start using it without having to buy equipment or install complicated (e2e) encryption of traffic is the minimum requirement, but many software. messengers do not meet this standard. Of those that do claim to be Moving to encrypted communications brings another benefit for legal e2e, question marks remain over how confidential data transiting across professionals. With the greater publicity around conveyancing fraud third-party cloud servers actually is. For example, WhatsApp claims to creating anxiety in the market, the ability to guarantee secure be e2e encrypted, but admitted last year that it shares user data with communications with its clients and restore confidence, gives it an parent company Facebook to profile users for marketing purposes.” obvious marketing advantage, as well as closing the door firmly on the In 2013, VIPole, a UK-based software developer, set out to develop an criminal aspirations of the Friday Fraudsters. instant messaging system that combined ease of use with enterprisegrade security, collaboration and administration tools. The resulting
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A DV E RT I S I N G F E AT U R E
Are you running the risk of outliving your savings? In a world of low interest rates, ever-changing legislation and increasing life expectancy, Fiona Davies offers some useful guidance on retirement planning.
n April 2016, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) published statistics for the first full year since the Freedom and Choice pension reforms were introduced.
And while the figures showed that the majority of savers are taking a sensible approach, there were signs that a minority may be withdrawing too much from their pension fund. Moreover, that minority is doing so at rates that would see their money run out in a decade or less, if they are reliant on it as their main source of income. The reality is, those taking 10% or more regularly from their pension pot are likely to run out of money. And if they’re relying solely on the state pension to see them through their later years, they will have to accept that their standard of living is going to drop significantly. The State Pension provides a limited income (currently £155.65 for a single person, per week, based on a full NI record), which falls drastically short of what is really needed to fund
a comfortable lifestyle. So how do we avoid poverty in retirement? First, decide how large a fund you will need. One method is to multiply your target retirement income by 25. For example, if you think you’ll need £25,000 a year, aim for a fund of £625,000. Next, select the most appropriate investment vehicles to achieve your goal. Property, investment bonds and ISAs have all proved popular over recent years but don’t offer the same degree of tax breaks as a pension. If your retirement is imminent you will obviously want to maximise your income from the money available. Retirees opting for drawdown pensions should seek professional help to calculate how much money they can withdraw each year without running out. While selecting a balanced and well-diversified investment portfolio is critical, knowing how much money to take from a drawdown policy is arguably of greater importance.
FIONA DAVIES DipPFS Associate Partner Tel: 020 7495 1771 Mob: 07917 619005 Email: email@example.com Web: www.sjpp.co.uk/fionadavies Address: 11 Hamilton Place, Mayfair, London, W1J 7DR
Fiona Davies is inviting The Bill of Middlesex readers to discover the simple yet highly effective steps you can take to protect your wealth and stay in control - helping the right amount of it pass to the right people at the right time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or your complimentary guide to retirement planning.
For further information or to request your complimentary guide to retirement planning, please contact Fiona Davies of St. James’s Place Wealth Management. Fiona can be contacted by phone on 020 7495 1771 or by email on email@example.com. The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested. An investment in equities does not provide the security of capital associated with a deposit account with a bank or building society. The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.
The Partner represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products. The title ‘Partner’ is the marketing term used to describe St. James’s Place representatives. H2SJP25239 03/17
COMPARATIVE COMPETITION LAW Edited by John Duns, Arlen Duke and Brendan Sweeney Research Handbooks in Comparative Law; Series Editors: Francesco Parisi and Tom Ginsburg
ISBN: 978 1 84980 419 6 (book) 978 1 78536 257 6 (ebook) Available as an eBook This book is available electronically in the Elgaronline Law subject collection DOI 10 4337/9781849804196 www.e-elgar.com www.elgaronline.com
A WELCOME EXPLANATION OF THE INCREASING GLOBAL RECOGNITION OF COMPETITION LAW INTERNATIONALLY An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers For this excellent new handbook, we have described it to the publishers, Edward Elgar, in the following succinct way:
from the United States of America, Europe, Japan, India, China, South America, and Australia.
“Comparative Competition Law provides a welcome scholarly examination of the key global issues that impact the way law and policy operate, as the proliferation of anti-trust regimes over the past 25 years has led to a global recognition of competition law."
Each of the contributors is to be congratulated on providing an interwoven patchwork synthesis of how current competition issues are dealt with today by examination of the contrasting views and approaches taken in recent years.
And this book is exactly that - a welcome new compilation of research views on international competition law which will be a book to treasure for legal academics, especially since the dramatic events in the summer of 2016!
We felt that the book examines, in a most useful academic style, all these differing approaches which have been taken in the different major jurisdictions covered.
The editors and contributors examine in excellent academic detail (to be expected of all Elgar publications) the key global issues which we face and the way law and policy operate as our international community becomes more integrated legally with the growth of the number of anti-trust regimes since the early 1990s. This research handbook on “Comparative Competition Law” was specially commissioned by Edward Elgar. The original chapters on descriptive material are taken from legal academics, researchers and commentators across the continents including contributions
And the title does so at a time when the original aims behind the creation of the European Union are facing a major new test for its future direction in the second decade of the 21st century as the fourth industrial revolution involving information technology develops and Britain prepares to leave membership of the EU which will, no doubt, influence much legal thinking for years to come. The publication date is stated as 2015 and the book is available in both print form and as an online version.
BEWIGGED AND BEWILDERED?
A GUIDE TO BECOMING A BARRISTER IN ENGLAND AND WALES, 3rd EDITION By Adam Kramer and Ian Higgins ISBN: 978 1 50990 536 2 HART PUBLISHING, BLOOMSBURY www.hartpub.co.uk
WHAT MODERN BARRISTERS DO AND HOW WE GET THERE TO DO THE JOB IN 2016: THE BEST AND MOST REALISTIC GUIDE AROUND An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers Let’s face it, the Bar of England and Wales can always welcome additional explanations of what we, as barristers, do and how we train and qualify! Of all the current books in the marketplace, “Bewigged and Bewildered” remains the top choice for its clarity of expression and relevant detail for the budding barrister in our view. We have reviewed this book before so we have “form” (or “previous”) in supporting the way Adam Kramer and his new colleague, Ian Higgins, have reviewed the current parlous state of barrister recruitment in 2016. And there is (as always during the whole of my career anyway) the regular dire warnings about what it is really like to be a practising barrister in 21st century… as it was in the last century when I was called: things have not changed as much as some would think! And today, it is probably just as hard or harder to get to practise and to continue to practise as a specialist advocate in a more complex legal setting. The authors say “these are turbulent times for the Bar”. How right they are. The times are turbulent now as indeed they were in the 1960s and 1970s when I started on the road to the Bar. The need to have access to independent means of support remains the same prerequisite for many. But, sadly, it’s actually more difficult today because of two factors: lack of legal aid and bad pay levels at the junior Criminal Bar which have created a crisis for the Young Bar because you cannot achieve the sort of training and experience which most of us enjoyed in the past. Kramer and Higgins say that there are these many hurdles to overcome although the rewards, “intellectual and lifestyle, quite apart from financial” are “well worth it”. And that is the key because it is about perseverance. So don’t be put off by any
preconceptions concerning the “type” of people who become barristers, or by not knowing the processes involved. The authors describe their excellent practical guide in the following way saying that “misunderstandings and jargon prevent many from seriously considering a career as a barrister in the belief that such a career is not for them or that they are not for it. Others know that they might want to become barristers but not how to go about it, or just want to know more about this somewhat mysterious profession”. They give us some of the answers. They clearly, but informally, explain the traditions, terminology and institutions of the Bar, and what it is actually like to be a barrister. With this aim, several barristers practising in different specialist fields describe in detail a typical week in their life which is invaluable as a pen portrait of what we do. Also, they give advice on how to be accepted into, fund and survive the various academic and other stages that precede qualification as a barrister, including work experience, Bar School and “pupillage” which is our name for the barrister's apprenticeship. The book goes on to explain how to transfer to the Bar, for the benefit of solicitors, overseas lawyers or those in a non-legal career. The authors say that the third edition is fully updated to take account of the most recent changes to the Bar, training for it, and the process of recruitment to it and it is the most fundamental purchase for any person wishes to practise as a modern barrister-at-law in the 21st century. Thank you, and as the authors say “Good luck!”
TheClapham ClaphamOmnibus Omnibus 33 The
“RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON EU LABOUR LAW” Edited by Alan Bogg, Cathryn Costello and A.C.K. Davies ISBN: 978 1 78347 111 9
Edward Elgar Publishing www.elgaronline.com
KEY ISSUES AND MAJOR TOPICS IN EUROPEAN UNION LABOUR LAW, CRITICALLY EXAMINED An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers This is one of the latest titles in Edward Elgar’s ‘Research Handbooks in European Law’ series – and a timely publication it is, especially for UK scholars and practitioners. It may – or may not – be a coincidence that in the few months since Britain’s historic Brexit decision, there have been spectacular instances of labour unrest, with, primarily transport unions conducting frequent strikes, thus inflicting considerable damage to the British economy in general and to that of London in particular. Happily for those now seeking rational perspectives on labour matters, the three editors of this book, all from Oxford University, have brought together the work of almost two dozen international scholars, all offering specialist expertise across a wide range of issues pertaining to this still relatively young and certainly complex discipline. The result, as the editors reassure us, is a ‘state of the art’ assessment of EU labour law in its many facets. The book’s two dozen or so articles are grouped under four headings: cross-cutting themes… individual employment law…. collective labour law… and equality. It is fair to say that each individual essay or article delivers thoughtful and insightful analysis of the topic it concerns. Of the many themes and analyses which permeate the book there are several which should generate immediate interest among UK readers. The first two chapters, for example, assess the relationship between EU labour law and national law. Also examined is the
relevance of EU labour law to other bodies of EU law, from human rights to the law of the internal market, with its worryingly inherent threat to the autonomy of Member States, which, understandably, has caused apprehension and disquiet in the UK. But what now after Brexit? The problem here is that the bulk of the book was written shortly before this seismic change occurred. So the obvious conclusion is that Brexit is still an unknown quantity and that therefore it’s too soon to tell. Assuming, however, that Brexit does go ahead, which now seems a certainty, the editors believe (at this early stage) that its effect on EU labour law is hard to predict. They do, however, allude to such consequences as ‘downward pressure’ on standards and wages and possibly some erosion of the European social model. The detailed discussions surrounding these concerns are indeed fascinating, which is why scholars and practitioners involved in cross-border labour issues will find this volume a stimulating and useful compilation of commentary and reference, bearing in mind that the UK will still be in the European Union until at least 2019, or beyond. Those doing background research in this area of law will especially appreciate the wealth of references contained in the extensive footnoting throughout. The publication date is cited as at 2016.
“CONTRACT FORMATION” Law and Practice 2nd Edition
By Michael Furmston and G J Tolhurst Contributor: Eliza Mik ISBN: 978 0 19872 403 2
Oxford University Press www.oup.com
“PERHAPS THE MOST LITIGATED AREA OF CONTRACT LAW”: FORMATION CLEARLY EXPLAINED AND CRITICALLY EXAMINED An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers What exactly – is a contract? When is it not a contract? What is an offer and when and when is it not? And can you explain the possible subtleties of an invitation to treat? As a practitioner, you will no doubt have the answers. But, as this important new book from Oxford University Press reveals, said answers may loom as much more complex than you might have thought at the outset of a case. As authors, Michael Furmston and Greg Tolhurst ably assisted by Eliza Mik, have warned, ‘practical problems about contract formation continue to trouble lawyers, professionals and the court.’ Pressing home the point, they cite the example of a case where, on undisputed facts, the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court came up with three different answers, of which all, naturally, have been incorporated in the text. For the law student as well as the experienced practitioner, contract formation is obviously the first step and the first line of enquiry in contract law. Often regarded as the easier and indeed most entertaining aspect of contract law, contract formation, as the authors remind us, is ‘perhaps the most litigated area of contract law’ and that, notably, the issue which occupies most of the court’s time is that of agreement. The requirements of agreement therefore emerge as the main concern of this book, which scrutinizes the topic of contract formation from the perspective of principle. Note that this is the second edition of what has become -- in the six years since the first edition was published -- the definitive work in this specific area of law. Particularly useful
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is the addition of the chapter on consideration. The rules governing the formation of contact law, say the authors, are easy to state, but difficult to apply, probably because typically, lawyers are not brought in at the early stages of contract formation. Although the book focuses on English law for English practitioners and discusses the leading English authorities, it also contains comparative case law, as the principles of contract formation are similar across many borders. Throughout its more than 450 pages, the book covers a vast range of topics and issues pertaining to contract formation, from the concept of agreement… to offers and invitations to treat… to termination and revocation… to offers and to acceptance. Also covered are online transactions, auctions and tenders, letters of intent, conditional contracts and much more besides. For practitioners in urgent need of advice and clarification on any number of matters relating to contract formation, the book is easy to navigate, with a detailed table of contents, useful index, numbered paragraphs throughout and the extensive footnoting. Also available are tables of cases, European Union legislation and national legislation, plus a table of international treaties, conventions and other instruments. Here then, is an authoritative text that excels as a work of reference – just the thing for embattled practitioners bemused by this surprisingly complex subject. The publication date is cited as at August 2016.
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