HAMPSHIRE LEGAL SUMMER 2016
JOURNAL OF THE HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY www.hampshirelawsociety.co.uk
Inside this issue: › Conveyancing › Risk and Compliance › Cyber Security
ANDY MILES DISCUSSES CYBER SECURITY (See Page 26) HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY ANNUAL DINNER AND AWARDS 2016 (See Pages 9-11)
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PUBLISHED July 2016
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RISK & COMPLIANCE
HAPPENINGS IN HAMPSHIRE
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PRESIDENT’S REVIEW SUMMER 2016 At the Annual Dinner in May 2016, I had the pleasure of climbing the indoor climbing wall with Kevin Keegan. Your Society continues to go from “strength-to-strength”. The 250 people in attendance at our Annual Dinner on Thursday 19th May 2016 is testament to the vigour of the HILS Committee and HILS sponsors in pushing our Society onwards. The evening was a great success. Kevin Keegan’s speech was especially well received. It has been busy again since the last magazine. I have had the pleasure of presenting a paper to the national Law Society “President and Secretaries Conference” on 6th May 2016. I attended the Dorset Law Society Annual Dinner on Friday 20th May 2016 which was an excellent evening and was honoured to be invited to the inauguration of the new national Law Society President – Robert Bourns recently on Tuesday 14th July 2016. As well as representing your Society at these events (and more besides) the main HILS Committee continue to meet and promote HILS. Please do engage with us. There is a certain strength and
power in numbers and if we can pass the 1,000 member mark by the end of 2016, we will be “knocking on the door” of “The Big Five” (the big five law societies, excluding the City of London, are: Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Bristol). Watch this space, as it could be “The Big Six” soon. I hope to see many of you at the HILS Conference on Thursday 8th September 2016 at Southampton Football Club. This represents excellent value to members and the programme is relevant to anyone in practice. Further detail is contained within this magazine. Please do encourage those people, those firms and those in-house lawyers to engage with our Society and become members. Together we can be stronger yet. Matthew Robbins President
Matthew Robbins, President
REGULATION, COMPLIANCE AND BEST PRACTICE
Thursday 8 September 2016 Time: 9am to 5pm Venue: Southampton Football Club, Britannia Road, Southampton SO14 5FP Topics Covered will include: • Avoiding Complaints • Solicitors Regulation Changes • Anti-Money Laundering • Protecting your firm from cyber attacks Changes • Preventing Negligence Claims Speakers include: • Robert Bourns, President of the Law Society of England and Wales • Kathryn Stone, Chief Legal Ombudsman, LeO • Paul Marsh, Board Member of the SRA Board • Ann Charlton of Law Care Register with Nicola for more information and a Booking Form Fee to include lunch, refreshments and course documentation Members £99.00 Non members £120.00
CPD programme 2016-17
The programme for the next 12 months is currently under development and will be sent out to all members shortly You recently received a CPD survey via email, please complete and return as soon as possible as this assists with our planning to ensure we deliver what you want where you want it.
HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY
AGM ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
SAVE THE DATE! TUESDAY 29TH NOVEMBER 2016
HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY CONTACTS
The following is an up-to-date list of committee membersâ€™ names and addresses and the sub committees to which they belong: PRESIDENT
LAW SOCIETY COUNCIL MEMBERS
Matthew Robbins Jasper Vincent 44 Queensway Southampton SO14 3GT DX 2005 Southampton Tel: 023 8063 3225 Mobile: 07812 082604 Email: email@example.com
Razi Shah (North Hampshire)
Russell Evans Resolve UK Summerlands House Botley Road, Curdridge Southampton SO32 2DS Tel: 01489 797073 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DEPUTY VICE PRESIDENT Kristina Colmer Dutton Gregory, 8 Carlton Crescent, Soton SO15 2EY Tel: 02380 221344 Email: email@example.com
HONORARY SECRETARY Rod Hursthouse 10 Hudson Close, Liphook Hampshire GU30 7UW Tel: 01252 622122 Fax: 01252 774409 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HONORARY TREASURER Miss R Foley (Rebecca) Gledhill Solicitors 1a Powis Square Brighton BN1 3HH DX 2205 Portsmouth Tel: 01273 719083 Mobile: 07766 880460 Email: email@example.com
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Ian Robinson Churchers Bolitho Way 13-18 Kings Terrace Portsmouth PO5 3AL DX 2205 Portsmouth Tel: 023 9288 2001 Fax: 023 9286 2831 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heppenstalls 75 High Street Lymington SO41 9YY DX 34053 Lymington Tel: 01590 689500 Email: email@example.com
Appleby Shaw Trinity House 15a Trinity Place Windsor SL4 3AS DX 3830 Windsor Tel: 01753 860606 Fax: 01753 860620 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Nick Gurney-Champion (Residential conveyancing) Gurney-Champion & Co Champion House 104 Victoria Rd North Southsea PO5 1QE DX 117953 Portsmouth Central Tel: 023 9282 1100 Fax: 023 9282 0447 Email: email@example.com
ADMINISTRATOR Nicola Jennings 92 Chessel Crescent Bitterne Southampton SO19 4BS DX 52766 Bitterne Tel: 023 8044 7022 Fax: 023 8044 7022 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OFFICER Alison Plenderleith 47 Salisbury Rd Fordingbridge SP6 1EH Tel: 07429 523183 Email: email@example.com
COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND SUB COMMITTEES EDUCATION & TRAINING Anthony Harris (Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org Kristina Colmer Katharine West Alison Plenderleith Nicola Jennings Joe Robertson
LITIGATION & DISPUTES RESOLUTION Russell Evans (Chair) email@example.com Wendy Hewstone (Co-opted) Steven Wood (Co-opted) Katharine West
MEMBERSHIP Charlotte Bromley (Chair) Cbromley@cbwsolicitors.co.uk Roderick Hursthouse Alison Plenderleith Deglan Rowe
NON CONTENTIOUS Nick Gurney Champion (Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org Matthew Robbins Simon Whipple A Seddon (Co-opted)
REGULATORY Adrienne Edgerley Harris (Chair) Adrienneedgerleyharris@gmail.com Roderick Hursthouse Nick Eve
SOCIAL Emilie Holland email@example.com Sarah Hallett (Co-opted) Charlotte Bromley Mo Aldridge
COMPLAINTS Russell Evans (Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
PR Joe Robertson
PUBLICITY Mo Aldridge (Chair) email@example.com Katharine West Kristina Colmer Alison Plenderleith Nicola Jennings
OTHER COMMITTEE MEMBERS David Ankcorn Sue Carter Mike Russell-Smith
Happenings in Hampshire
LAW SOCIETY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY: 13TH - 14TH JULY Council's July meeting saw a busy programme of reports and papers. It lasted one-and-a-half days, and, in line with tradition, was followed by the Annual General Meeting of the Law Society, at which Robert Bourns took office as President, Joe Egan as Vice President, and Christina Blacklaws as Deputy Vice President. Jonathan Smithers stood down as President, and gave a comprehensive report on his many activities, particularly in relation to the rule of law, access to justice, technology and the law, and business and human rights. One major decision taken by Council was to set the level of the Net Funding Requirement (NFR) - effectively, the amount to be recovered from the profession which funds the SRA and the Law Society, as well as the Legal Ombudsman and the Legal Services Board. Council was pleased to be able to agree a Practising Certificate fee for individuals of ÂŁ290, ÂŁ30 lower than in 2015-16. Overall levels of fees paid by law firms have also reduced. Another topic discussed at Council was the ongoing review of the governance of the Law Society, to which we have welcomed contributions from those who have responded to our dedicated email address, and on which further development work will be happening over the summer.
Promoting the profession - market and regulatory change There has been a lot going on in the wider environment, including the succession of Theresa May MP as Prime Minister, and Liz Truss MP as Lord Chancellor (the first woman to hold this office). Brexit will obviously be a major issue for the Law Society and the profession as a whole over the coming months. Council heard of plans to support members during this time of unprecedented change to ensure that England and Wales remains a centre of excellence and jurisdiction of choice. The Law Society has offered expertise to government through our expert committees and our access to networks across the EU and globally. A staff task force, alongside a task and finish group of elected and appointed members and other experts, will work on these issues. The Chief Executive reported that she gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee on regulation of the legal services sector, alongside Paul Philip and representatives of the Bar Council and Bar Standards Board. The Law Society welcomed the conclusion of the Competition and Markets Authority study on the supply of legal services that a full market investigation was not required, though recommendations on a number of matters - including regulation, transparency of pricing, and service quality - would have an impact on the profession. It was noted that there was still no date fixed for the issue of the consultation on separating legal regulators from their professional bodies. The Chief Executive also commented on the SRA's consultation on a new handbook and accounts rules. She noted that the proposals raise significant issues about the protection of buyers of legal services: solicitors employed by unregulated entities who provide advice to the public may not be able to provide advice that is legally privileged, will not be subject to the same conflict rules and will not be required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance or be able to hold client monies. This risks creating in effect a 'two-tier' profession which has potentially serious implications, and the Law Society is engaging with members across the country to seek views to inform our response to the consultation.
Representing and supporting the profession The Chief Executive updated Council on the various ways in which we are engaging with and seeking to influence key decision makers on the Brexit agenda, including building on many contacts made as a result of the Law Society's EU report and economic analysis. Council was reminded of the ongoing work to ensure that threats to legal professional privilege are robustly countered, particularly in the Investigatory Powers Bill. It was updated on the work the Law Society is doing, together with others, in response to the proposed reforms to the treatment of clinical negligence and personal injury claims; this has included targeted contacts with MPs and peers. Council also heard about the Society's influence in raising concerns about the proposed privatisation of the Land Registry. The Chief Executive reported on a wide range of activity and events. These included the in-house division conference and a well-attended GC350 event, several roundtables and consultation meetings on proposed pro bono initiatives, and a recent conference on technology in law: 'Robots and Lawyers - Partnership of the Future'. The recent re-launch of the updated Clinical Negligence Accreditation was also noted. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion The Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee presented the committee's annual report to Council. Among other things, this drew attention to the Diversity and Inclusion Charter to which 462 law firms are now signed up; a range of events engaging with members including speed networking and tailored forums for City firms; and the Diversity Access Scheme which gives financial support to talented LPC students who would otherwise be unable to continue their studies.
Happenings in Hampshire
TRETHOWANS NOMINATED FOR TRIO OF AWARDS A multi-million pound deal and a legacy of achieving outstanding results for its clients has seen law firm Trethowans shortlisted for three prestigious awards. Law Firm of the Year The solicitors firm has been named a finalist in the Law Firm of the Year at the Solent Deals Awards. It also acted on two transactions which are nominated for Deal of the Year (Under £25m) and Management Team of the Year categories. The event recognises outstanding deals, banks, law firms and private equity firms and celebrates their outstanding work from the last year.
Management Team of the Year for Lakesmere Led by Nick Gent, the corporate team advised the management team in relation to their buy-out of Lakesmere Group Limited. Headquartered in Winchester, Lakesmere Group is a leading international building envelope and major façade specialist. The group has grown significantly since incorporation in 1993 and has continued plans for expansion under its new executive management team ownership.
Deal of the Year (under £25m) for aap3 MBO
It has also been shortlisted as a company for Law Firm of the Year. The recognition comes as Trethowans celebrates 150 years in business. During that time it has supported thousands of individuals, businesses, public sector organisations and charities and achieved significant growth. The company now employs over 200 people who work across its three offices in Southampton, Salisbury and Poole. Mike Watson, head of Trethowans’ corporate team, said: “We are delighted to have been nominated for the Law Firm of the Year award. Trethowans has seen substantial growth across all areas of the business over the last few years. The corporate team alone has grown from 4 people to 14 in the last 6 years and tripled its turnover during this period. Being nominated for this award is great recognition for the progress that we have made as a team.” Trethowans will find out if it has won at a glitzy awards ceremony at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, on June 9.
Led by Lucy Grey, the corporate team advised the management team of aap3 Limited in relation to their management buy out from the existing shareholders. aap3 is an IT services and recruitment company, based at Southampton Science Park, Hampshire but operating in over 30 countries across Europe, the US and the Middle East. aap3 is a specialist in managed IT services, network engineering services, video services and support, flexible resourcing, and permanent and contract IT recruitment.
OBITUARY OF JOHN BROWNING GRIFFIN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY 21 November 1934 – 19 June 2016
It is with both sadness and pride that I write this Obituary of my friend and colleague – John Griffin. Sadness that John has died. Pride that I could count him as a friend. More than most I have plenty to thank John for: thank you for training me (even if a little unconventional) and for introducing me to my wife – even if that introduction was in “The Imperial Crypt” at St. Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough of Emperor Napoleon III of France! This Obituary is quasi-Trinitarian, in that I am indebted to contributions from Andrew Caplen and Malcolm Harper; both of whom, like me, were articled to John.
• A 140 mile canoe trip along the Grand Union canal from London to Birmingham. This latter exploit fell to me, with John’s support, to claim (on my behalf) the title of first solicitor to arrive at the annual conference by canoe. As you will all know, the canoeing seat of articles (now a training contract) is an important part of being a lawyer. No less important was Malcolm Harper’s mechanical engineering seat, where Malcolm spent much time under the bonnet of John’s Sherpa mini-bus.
When I started life as an Articled Clerk, John “joined me up” with HILS. In those days there was a vocational desire amongst many firms to engage and support their local law society; as well as the “SBA – the Solicitors Charity”. John was a champion of both in equal measure.
One of John’s greatest achievements in the legal sphere was establishing the first ever Duty Solicitor Scheme in England. This was established many years before the Police and Criminal Evidence Act which ultimately paved the way for the statutory duty solicitor schemes. John’s scheme was used as the model. Those under arrest at the police station have much to thank John for.
He was determined that HILS would show its support for the profession’s own charity – the SBA and organised variously (among numerous adventures):
So, I end this Obituary by saying to John “Thank you”. Thank you from all those in this Society. Thank you from the legal profession. Thank you from the SBA. And thank you from me.
• A cycle ride to Paris on a triplet (John & Mary Griffin & Andrew Caplen).
Matthew Robbins - Solicitor & President of HILS. (articled to John)
• A London cab ride to Paris.
Malcolm Harper - Solicitor & Consultant with Abels Solicitors. (articled to John)
• A parachute jump to the national Law Society conference (some of you may remember that Nick Gurney-Champion’s first parachute did not open and he had to deploy his reserve)
Andrew Caplen - Solicitor, former President of HILS & former President (articled to John) of The Law Society of England & Wales.
Happenings in Hampshire
MOORE BLATCH ANNOUNCES 12 FIRM-WIDE PROMOTIONS INCLUDING 4 PARTNERS
Moore Blatch solicitors, which has offices in Southampton, London, Richmond and Lymington, has announced 12 firm-wide promotions. There are 4 partner promotions, including 2 new partners and 8 newly appointed associates. Claire Anderson from the Southampton office, who is a licenced conveyancer specialising in residential property, has been promoted to equity partner. John Archer from Moore Blatch’s London office, who specialises in real estate investment and development, transactions and debt restructurings as part of the commercial property team has also been promoted to equity partner. David Bright from the commercial and corporate team and Fiona Heald, head of court of protection have both been promoted to partner. David, who is based in Southampton, specialises in mergers and acquisitions, business affairs, joint ventures, company restructuring and partnership matters. Fiona Heald, from Moore Blatch’s Lymington office specialises in court of protection, wills, lasting powers of attorney and care fees.
WELCOME SOPHIE KEENE TO LAMB BROOKS SOLICITORS Lamb Brooks, based in Basingstoke, are pleased to welcome Sophie Keene to the team. Sophie has joined the Employment team as a solicitor advising on all aspects of employment law. “I am very excited to join Lamb Brooks. It is an established and friendly firm with an excellent reputation. I have already received a warm welcome and I am looking forward to meeting more of the clients with whom I’ll be working.” Sophie trained at a law firm in Southampton and qualified into their employment team before coming to join Lamb Brooks. “I am absolutely delighted that Sophie has joined our team. She is friendly and enthusiastic, and a perfect fit for Lamb Brooks. The experience she gained at her previous firm will stand her in good stead to service our clients.” said Elizabeth Whitehead, Head of employment.
All 8 of the new associate level promotions are based in Moore Blatch’s Southampton offices and include: Sarah Jordan, who specialises in rural and farming law; Emma Bartlett, specialist in land development; Katy Barber from the family team; Amy Cameron, who specialises in serious injury and regulatory including health & safety; James Glasper and Caroline Buckingham, both specialising in serious injury; Denise Deakin, a barrister specialising in clinical negligence; and Thomas Clark, from the corporate and commercial team. Moore Blatch, which is on track for its strongest year ever, is one of the largest law firms in the South of England with offices in Southampton, Lymington, Richmond and London, and employs 280 people. Damian Horan, senior partner at Moore Blatch said about these promotions: “We are dedicated to rewarding staff at all levels for their continued excellent legal advice and support to clients. These promotions are indicative of the exceptional staff we have across all our locations and teams, and I congratulate all those who have been promoted.”
Solicitors Add To List Of Good Deeds With Midnight Walk Staff from Trethowans in Salisbury are preparing to lace up their trainers and go nocturnal in the name of charity. A team of 11 employees from the law firm are taking part in The Midnight Walk as part of the company’s mission to perform 150 good deeds in its 150th year. The Midnight Walk takes place annually and sees hundreds of people walk the streets of Salisbury under the cover of darkness in a bid to raise money for the Salisbury Hospice Charity. Trethowans has taken part for the last two years and will be making it a hat trick on Saturday, May 16 as employees from its private client, employment, family and residential property teams walk the route. Team member Samantha Horsfield, a solicitor from the law firm’s residential property team, said: “We’re on a mission to undertake 150 good deeds in the local community to celebrate our 150th year and we couldn’t think of a better cause to support than the Salisbury Hospice Charity. It’s provided vital support to local families over the years and we’re delighted to be able to do something to help raise money so it can continue its essential work.” To find out more about the charity and the event visit http://www.salisburyhospicecharity.org.uk/
Happenings in Hampshire
SHENTONS CELEBRATING AT THE EVENT
SHENTONS ACCEPTING THE AWARD WITH GUEST SPEAKER PENNY MALLORY
Dementia Friendly Business of the Year Award Following the training of their staff and redesigning their offices, Shentons have been awarded this prestigious Business award for their commitment to helping those with Dementia in Hampshire.
One of the oldest firms in Winchester; Shentons solicitors and mediators, are delighted to welcome two new partners; Zoe Minton and Chloe Jay. Zoe is a family law solicitor assisting clients in all aspects of family law including injunctions, divorce, children matters, care proceedings and financial aspects of separation. Zoe has developed her experience and expertise with the firm over the past 8 years and her introduction to the partnership will enable her to develop her role and expertise. Chloe practises criminal law and has a ‘higher rights’ certification enabling her to represent clients in all levels of court proceedings including the Crown Court and appeal courts. Chloe joined the firm in 2012 and will head the criminal department as a specialist in court advocacy. Zoe and Chloe will join the current partners Shaun Underhill, Elisabeth Pollard and Jayne Llewelyn. Shaun Underhill says “We are delighted that Zoe and Chloe are joining the partnership and we welcome their energy and enthusiasm in exciting times for the firm”. After in excess of 40 years at Shentons Robert Kerr, who was the senior partner of the firm, will be retiring on 30TH June 2016. He will continue in a consultancy capacity to the practice.
PRESIDENT UP THE WALL Hampshire Law Society President Matthew Robbins demonstrates his climbing skills on the climbing wall at the Recent Annual Dinner held at Posrtsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Happenings in Hampshire
KNIGHT’S DAY AS KATE HEADS OFFICE TEAM Experienced lawyer Kate Knight has been promoted to Associate by expanding law firm Biscoes and now heads up the company’s Gosport office. Kate, who has worked in the field of family law for more than 30 years, leads a team of five at Biscoes’ High Street premises. She said: “I am delighted to be heading up such an excellent team and looking forward to continuing the outstanding work done on behalf of clients from this busy Gosport base. “Biscoes has a reputation for providing high quality professional legal advice and client care and it is my demanding responsibility to ensure this carries on seamlessly.” She said all of Biscoes’ vast range of expertise – from employment and immigration law to conveyancing and insolvency matters – was available on the spot in Gosport with the firm’s lawyers based in five other offices able to meet clients there. Biscoes Managing Director Alison Lee said: “This promotion is thoroughly deserved. Kate is an exceptional solicitor with a fine eye for detail and I have no doubt she will bring a great depth of knowledge to her new role.” Kate has worked in a solicitors’ office since the age of 20, qualifying as a legal executive in 1989, and was admitted as a solicitor in 1992. She has been with Biscoes for 11 years. She has worked in family law for more 30 years, more recently specialising in children, and has particular expertise in private law disputes over children and in care proceedings where she represents both child and adult parties
HERE TO HELP: Kate Knight, who leads the Gosport office of Biscoes, front, with, from left, Louise Roberts, Jen Derrick, Rachel Lees and Gary Morgan
Kate, who has three children aged 17 to 20, has been a member of the campaigning national family law network Resolution for many years and is also a member of the Law Society Children Panel. Her team includes solicitor Gary Morgan and support staff Jen Derrick, Louise Roberts and Rachel Lees. Gary, who has 20 years’ experience in all areas of family law work, specialises in divorce, financial matters and private law children applications. Biscoes, which has 100 staff and was awarded Hampshire Law Society Firm of the Year (Small) 2016 in May, is headquartered in Portsmouth and also has offices in Portchester, Wickham, Waterlooville and Petersfield. Biscoes, which traces its roots back 162 years, merged with highlyregarded commercial specialist Graeme Quar & Co in April as the firm continues to expand. The firm is a member of a number of professional associations, including the Law Society, Hampshire Law Society, The Notaries Society, the Charity Law Association, Portsmouth Property Association and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.
HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY A N N U A L
D I N N E R
We would like to thank all the firms and individuals for entering the awards and are delighted to announce the winners and runners up as follows: SOLICITOR OF THE YEAR Winner: Mark Tooley, Larcomes Runner Up: Neeru Hutchinson, Appleby Shaw
FIRM OF THE YEAR (Small) Winner: Biscoes Runner Up: Eric Robinson
JUNIOR SOLICITOR OF THE YEAR Winner: Sarah Hallett, Churchers Bolitho Way Runner Up: Victoria Whelan, Dutton Gregory
SOLICITOR'S BANK OF THE YEAR Winner: Barclays Runner Up: Lloyds
FIRM OF THE YEAR (Large) Winner: Dutton Gregory Runner Up: Clarke Willmott
SOLICITORS ACCOUNTANCY FIRM OF THE YEAR Winner: Smith Williamson Runner Up: Johnson Wood Roach
LARGE FIRM OF THE YEAR: Tony Brown, JLT; Kristina Colmer, Dutton Gregory (Winner), Kevin Keegan
SMALL FIRM OF THE YEAR: Jane Hodge, Tim Gamester, David Burrell, Alison Lee , Briscoes (WINNER) and Kevin Keegan.
HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY A N N U A L
D I N N E R
250 guests attended the Hampshire Law Society Annual Dinner and awards ceremony held at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Tuesday 19 May. Top table guests of the President Matthew Robbins, included Councillor David Fuller, The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, guest speaker Kevin Keegan, representatives from Hampshire Fire and Rescue and Hampshire Constabulary and officers from neighbouring law societies. Guests gathered for drinks at the adventure play zone, Action Stations, where some swapped their dinner jackets for safety harnesses and tried the skills on the climbing wall.
Solicitor of the year was scooped by Mark Tooley of Larcomes. Smith & Williamson won Solicitors Accountancy firm of the year and Barclays triumphed in the banking category.
After drinks they went over the road to Boathouse 7 where the threecourse dinner and awards ceremony took place.
All the winners collected their award from former England, Liverpool, Newcastle and Southampton footballer Kevin Keegan, who was the guest speaker.
DUTTON Gregory took Hampshire Incorporated Law Society’s ‘Large Law Firm of the Year’ award. In addition one of Dutton Gregory’s clinical negligence team, Victoria Whelan, was runner-up for Junior Solicitor of the Year. Victoria said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been recognised amongst a group of my peers and would like to thank Dutton Gregory for all their support.” The best small firm was Biscoes which traces its roots back 162 years, employs 100 staff at six offices in Portsmouth, Gosport, Portchester, Wickham, Waterlooville and Petersfield.
As well as handing out the awards Kevin Keegan spoke about his varied career in football and later signed England and Newcastle shirts which he had donated to a charity auction. The evening raised just under £2,000 which will be split equally between the Solicitors Benevolent Association and the Flutterby Fund, a charity which aim is to improve the lives of physically and mentally impaired children from low income families. Sponsors for the event were Landmark, Independent Financial Solutions, JLT, Brighter Law Solutions, College Chambers and Think Marble.
Managing director Alison Lee said: “I am very proud of this achievement – it is the icing on the cake during a big year of expansion for Biscoes, including our merger with Graeme Quar & Co.”
SOLICITOR OF THE YEAR: Andy Miles, CEO Think Marble, Mark Tooley, Larcomes (Winner) Kevin Keegan
JUNIOR SOLICITOR OF THE YEAR: David Stamp, Independent Financial Solutions; Sarah Hallett, Churchers Bolitho Way (Winner) and Kevin Keegan.
SOLICITOR’S ACCOUNTANCY FIRM OF THE YEAR: Kevin Keegan, Rebecca Combes, Smith and Williamson (Winner) and Steve Johnson, Landmark
SOLICITORS BANK OF THE YEAR: Kevin Keegan, Stuart Bulpitt, David Goodings, College Chambers
HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY A N N U A L
D I N N E R
SAVE THE DATE! THURSDAY 25TH MAY 2017
HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY A N N U A L
D I N N E R
Clarke & Son Solicitors raises £3,000 for Ark Cancer Centre at Charity Golf Day, Thursday 19th May At the start of the year staff at Clarke & Son nominated the Ark Cancer Centre Charity as Charity of the Year for a second year running as it is a charity that is close to everyone’s heart. ----We were very keen to surpass our previous year’s total raised by the staff so what better way to start the year than a charity golf day. We are pleased to say our first Clarke & Son Charity golf day ended as a great success. We were slightly worried the day before as the winds picked up and the rain came lashing down. However when we arrived at Weybrook Park Golf Club the sun was out and there wasn’t an umbrella in sight. We wanted to include as many people as possible so we had a main event golf day for teams of four as well as a ‘Hackers & Slashers’ event for the non-golfers. This was then followed by a delicious barbeque as well as a raffle and auction. A total of 64 players took part in the main event. The golf course was in excellent condition and the staff at Weybrook Park G.C really looked after us. The conditions were not easy but there was some excellent golf played. We had a nearest the pin competition which took place on the 3rd hole which was won by Chris Lockley of Clarke & Son! The longest drive competition on the 15th hole was won my Jamie Pinchon with a truly massive hit! Scoring 88 pts and winners of the event were Kraft Recruitment and their team of Ryan Atkins, Kristian Foster, Ketih Hall and Dave Lovegrove - an impressive score on a testing day. The Hackers & Slashers event was a chance for non-golfers to get some professional tuition and then test it in a fun on-course
competition. The award for the Most Improved golfer went to Suzanne Steed. This proved popular and we hope to be able to build on this for next year. Throughout the day we were selling raffle tickets and this combined with the entry fees allowed us to raise £3000. This surpassed our expectations and we are so very grateful to everyone that took part. This would not have been possible without all the kind donations of raffle prizes and auction prizes. Claire Redhead, Partner at Clarke & Son said: “We are delighted that the golf day was such a success and to have raised such a fantastic sum of money for such a worthwhile cause and a charity close to our hearts. We would not have been able to do this without the support of many local businesses and clients, who we thank for their support and generosity. We look forward to planning and hosting again next year!” Mark Jones, director of fundraising and communications at Ark Cancer Centre Charity, said: “The charity is grateful to everyone at Clarke & Son for their hard work in organising the golf day. It was a great success, and thank you also to the many people from a wide range of local companies who took time out of their busy schedules to support this event in such a generous way.” Finally a huge thanks to all that entered. Without you this event would not have been possible. We are already looking ahead to next year’s golf day which we hope to make an annual event.
Phillips Solicitors sign up for Basingstoke Half Marathon 2019 Paris Smith Sponsor Langley Cricket Club
As plans for the 2016 Basingstoke Half marathon take shape, headline sponsors Phillips Solicitors have signed up as headline sponsors for a further 3 years, securing the future of the event until 2019.
Paris Smith is an established Southampton and Winchester based law firm of solicitors approaching its 200th anniversary. The firm is a recognised leader in the provision of advice to the wide range of business and private clients in the central southern region and has a number of Salisbury based partners.
“Phillips has been proudly associated with the Basingstoke Half Marathon since it began in 2011. We have watched it grow in reputation locally and further afield and we are delighted to be able to continue our association with it into the future. There is such a great feeling of community pride around the race and it is an excellent example of how running can bring people of all ages and abilities together.” said Jonathan Pender, Director at Phillips Solicitor.
On a sports front the firm has long been a proud sponsor of Hampshire Cricket Club and Southampton Football Club on the one hand and a number of junior sports teams on the other. Supporting Langley's CC is no different we are delighted to add our logo to the team's helmets, hopefully reinforcing the safety of players at all times. Huw Miles, Finance Partner: "Paris Smith support a range of sports and are pleased to now be sponsoring the Langley's team. We pride ourselves on supporting all levels of sport from professional to junior teams. We wish Langleys continued success for the future."
“Phillips have been an incredible support to the Basingstoke Half marathon over the years and we are very pleased that they have reaffirmed their confidence in Destination Basingstoke. The race has become such an important and well supported event for the area, and its growing reputation means it plays an important part in putting Basingstoke on the map.” added Felicity Edwards managing director of Destination Basingstoke the race organisers. The 2016 race will take place on Sunday 2nd.
Why conveyancers must employ enjoyable technology Recently I found a fascinating book full of very interesting statistics. Did you know that every day the amount of data created grows by 2.5 quintillion bytes? That’s 18 zero’s! Or did you know that less than 0.5% of all available data is ever analysed and used? Referring to information of this magnitude the buzzword ‘big data’ is often used, which is simply a term to describe structured and unstructured data. However, I’m more interested in how this growth of data affects law firms. ccording to the book ‘The Human Face of Big Data’, the average A person now processes more data in a single day than they did
Nowadays we are used to technology in our personal lives that help us easily organise, analyse, store and access information. This begs the question, ‘why can’t the clever technology that I use in my personal life, be available in my work life?’, and as a busy legal professional, I hope this resonates with you.
throughout a whole lifetime in the Middle Ages. The majority of this data is, of course, driven by the internet and the sharing of information and creation of content associated with it. So, with the sheer volume of data Did you know and amount of stimuli we process day-to-day, what impact does this have on our lives? that every day the On a daily basis employees, colleagues and peers are consuming incredible amounts of information in both personal and professional capacities, between which, the lines are often blurred. So while we’re taking time to process and analyse the multitude of data during our working day, it’s leaving us with less time to manage operational or administrative tasks.
Commonly raised data challenges in the conveyancing industry include filing matters, reconciling disbursements, and rekeying information for SDLT submissions or AP1 transfers. Now, the good news is that while the issues around the volume and management of information are present, there is simple, intuitive technology built to evolve how conveyancers manage their matters in the most efficient way possible. Choosing to use these systems means less logins and passwords to remember, eliminates the issue of lost disbursements, re-keying errors, and houses all information related to your matters in a central system, providing one source of truth. Opting for the right technology for your firm gives time back to you and your staff, creates efficiencies and minimises risk - why would you work any other way?
amount of data created grows by 2.5 quintillion bytes? That’s 18 zero’s! 000000000000 000000
Working in the conveyancing sector, there is a huge input and output of information generated throughout the process. All this resulting information then needs to be organised, analysed and stored in a way that is easy to access. That’s not easy when we’re constantly processing and filtering data, so choosing a system that can help do this efficiently is imperative. Furthermore, as client expectations continue to increase, so too does the demand for a faster and more economical service, placing additional pressure upon the conveyancer.
By making the change to simple, enjoyable technology, you can change the way you work, store and analyse information related to your matters, and thus, take the headache out of the conveyancing process. n By Scott Bozinis, CEO InfoTrack
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The Hidden Legacy of UK Mineral Extraction When you hear the words ‘mining in the UK’ your mind may be drawn to ‘Poldark’ and the extensive tin and copper mining industry that criss-crossed West Devon and Cornwall or the vast underground network of coal mines that spans large parts of England and Wales, fresh in the memories of families and communities alike. hat you may not know is that the UK is peppered with local and W regional scale mineral extraction that has shaped the country we live in today. There have been over 35 minerals extracted from beneath our nation’s surface, with underground mining in the UK dating as far back as Neolithic times, 5000 years ago, when localised flint extraction occurred across the chalk plateau of Norfolk. Mining and mineral extraction touches every corner of every county in the UK, with mine shafts, shallow underground workings and surface quarries littering our landscape, often lost and forgotten beneath agricultural land. However, due to an increasing population and industrial growth, residential and commercial property has slowly leaked out from the city centres, with little attention paid to the problems that may exist beneath the ground. There are a growing number of shaft and mine working collapses each year and in areas of the country that were never associated, at least to the unaware, with mining. There have been over 37 mining-related sinkholes in the UK in the last 12 months and only 3 of those have been in Cornwall and only 6 of those have been related to coal mining. Hampshire and the South Coast is not commonly associated with mineral extraction but some of the oldest mine workings in Europe are found there. Chalk and flint mineral resources are known to have been exploited since the Stone Age, with over 3500 recorded chalk pits and 63 recorded chalk mines littering the region. Sandstone, brick clay, ironstone, sand and gravel and hydrocarbons have historically and are still presently extracted across much of the county, with over 100 active mineral planning permissions within 15km of Southampton alone. As the lender and insurance powerhouse begin to understand and act on the risks presented by non-coal mining, it is more important than ever to ensure all parties involved within the property/land purchase and development process are informed of all mineral extraction hazards, everywhere. A service exclusively provided by Terrafirma. Little evidence remains of our country’s once rich mining heritage, hidden beneath our growing residential and commercial developments, waiting patiently and silently. This a lost but very real threat and one that finally deserves recognition in the conveyancing process. For more information on Terrafirma mineral extraction searches and certificates of risk please contact PSG. PSG have three local offices covering Hampshire and the surrounding areas, to find your local PSG office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.psgconnect.co.uk or Telephone: 0845 1212 355
MAKE RESIDENTIAL CONVEYANCING PROFITABLE. The orderly transfer of the ownership of land is one of the cornerstones of our society. For most people, purchasing a home is the largest investment they will make in their lives. Due to the lack of familiarity with the process and the real and perceived risks, buyers rely on their trusted solicitor to represent them.
However, as conveyancing has commoditised the conveyancer
needs to do more work for less money and as a result many small law firms are surrendering conveyancing work to conveyancing ‘shops’. This needn’t be the case.
Through the introduction of great technology you can make residential conveyancing profitable. A sophisticated case management software system will allow your firm to: Access a library of ‘automated’ and up to date conveyancing legal forms and precedents; Also allowing you to incorporate your own correspondence into the software so that you and your staff produce every document, for every matter, in the same way. This standardisation will bring quality and efficiency. Benefit from integrated searching; Order all your searches and have results returned directly to and from the matter and the cost of the search debited against the matter ledger, turn transactions around faster; provide your clients with detailed costs relating to the searches and dramatically reduce the cost of the administrative work. Ordering all your property searches including the Land Registry, AP1's and SDLT from one provider will completely automate the conveyancing process.
Communicate efficiently with your client; With fixed fee work, unnecessary phone calls eat into your profit margins, avoid concerned calls by keeping your client well informed. A good system allows you to: • Locate matter correspondence in an instant and with ease; • Integrate your email with your case management software allowing you to send and receive emails directly from the matter; • Send your client a ‘pack’ of documents, create a composite pdf of those documents, in the correct order, so that it is easy for your client to understand. Market your conveyancing services; The market is intensely competitive. Most people do their research online before making a purchasing decision, even if they have received a recommendation. If you don’t have a great website that clearly sets out the services you offer and the value that your firm will add to the process, then you are losing work to the firms that do. In conclusion, most buyers prefer to deal with their local trusted lawyer for their conveyancing needs. As a small law firm owner profitability comes with building your conveyancing practice and the best way to do this is through utilising the best technology available. Learn more about building a healthy conveyancing practice. Download your free whitepaper from https://www.leap.co.uk/whitepapers/ n By Peter Baverstock, CEO LEAP UK
AVOIDING THE MINEFIELD OF LAND CONTAMINATION Don’t be caught out by the new statutory guidance on land contamination. Thames Water Property Searches can advise you how to protect your client from unforeseen environmental liabilities.
L ocal authorities now have new guidance on how they decide whether land is contaminated or not. The Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance 2012 has replaced the previous statutory guidance issued under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, although legislation remains unchanged (click here (http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/practicenotes/contaminated-land/) to view The Law Society Practice Note dated 13 April 2016). Both Industrial and commercial activity may result in land contamination, which if not properly dealt with, could pose a risk to the public health or the environment. Land is only treated as ‘contaminated land’ for legal purposes if it poses an unacceptable risk but can be a significant issue in a small number of transactions and, if not identified correctly, environmental liabilities may arise. Seeking specialist assistance is essential. We have a range of thorough and reliable property searches (both residential and commercial) that can identify any potential risks and help you protect your client, for example; Envirosearch Residential, Homebuyers, Sitecheck Assess and Site Solutions to name a few.
WORK WITH US We are the ideal business partner for conveyancers. All your searches are taken care of quickly and reliably. What’s more, additional support is there when you need it, making your professional life simpler. Our main features: •One stop shop: The searches you need with helpful recommendations • Search Gods: Specialist advice from our qualified search experts. • Partners: We will use our extensive trusted network to advise you on how to make your processes run more efficiently n If you would like to find out more about our products or would simply like some advice, please do not hesitate to contact our customer experience team on 0845 070 9148 or visit: www.thameswater-propertysearches.co.uk
Spotlight on Conveyancing
BIG INTERVIEW WITH
CEO of InfoTrack 1. How did you come to be CEO of InfoTrack? I studied technology and began with InfoTrack as chief technology officer seven years ago. The role was well-suited given my parents were land title officers, so the foundations were already set. The opportunity to replicate the success of Australia in the UK was too good to turn down which is why I took the CEO role here when it was offered to me.
2. What void are you filling in the UK conveyancing market? Conveyancers no longer need a search provider, they need a service provider who will challenge the normal working processes and truly evolve them. At present, they often visit up to 6 or 7 different websites for pre and post completion. By doing so, they are also regularly rekeying information which can lead to mistakes. Our platform incorporates all these tasks which means that long winded forms such as AP1’s and SDLT’s are pre-populated, thus reducing errors and increasing speed. This is a concept that has not been offered before in the UK, and we are disrupting the market to provide technology that adapts to the conveyancer and their needs.
3. You’ve experienced impressive growth in your first year in the UK market, what is the secret to your rapidly expanding client base? InfoTrack are a young technology business focussed on innovation. We understand conveyancers want to improve efficiency within their business and they’ve long sought solutions to alleviate the arduous processes and forms behind conveyancing. The technology we provide to our users is simple and, just as importantly, enjoyable to use as it consolidates the process into a single platform making the tasks easier. Having grown from zero to over 300 active clients in just under 12 months cannot be put down to luck – it’s a direct result of providing technology that conveyancers need.
4. You talk a lot about technology as being “enjoyable”, should that apply to law firms? Absolutely. Staff in law firms are now demanding the same quality of technology they use in their personal lives. They’ve been using that technology for more than a decade and many are managing their lives almost entirely via a tablet or a phone. Why should that be any different in the workplace? They expect the beginning, middle and end of the conveyancing process to be consolidated using simple, smart technology – especially when they are using it every single day.
5. How could the property buying process (residential and commercial) be improved? The reality is we know the home buying process is unlikely to change any time soon, even if the Department of Business Innovation and Skills is currently issuing a ‘call for evidence’. As conveyancers are busy with day-to-day conveyancing tasks, it’s difficult for them to find time to analyse how to better service their clients. We recognise it’s important to give our users this time back so they are better equipped to turn their focus to relationship building and managing home buyer expectations of what’s involved in the process.
6. What role does price pay in the legal market? How are consumers choosing their legal provider? Actually, research finds that 54% per cent of home buyers obtain just one quote to proceed with a conveyancer, and a further 39% obtain two or three quotes, so we know it’s essential to provide quotes quickly. Responding to potential clients as swiftly as possible is crucial here, as is ensuring they feel the process is transparent and clearly communicated throughout – that way price is negligible when buying a home, provided they have a good experience. To support conveyancers, InfoTrack has an inbuilt Quoting Tool that allows conveyancers to instantly generate a quote with ease, including all relevant fees giving them a competitive edge in the market.
7. What makes InfoTrack a great place to work? Passion, determination and focus. I actively encourage staff to be an integral part in building the company, rather than simply working for the company. Staff are trusted and we work in an environment with transparency across company information. We also work hard to ensure that staff are in a happy workplace with freedom and flexibility, which generates a great culture. We’re a young, relaxed business with an open plan office allowing departments to interact and understand the business across all levels. Having a team of motivated innovators means we are agile and allows us to continually adapt.
8. What does the next year look like? It’s an interesting question further to the UK’s decision to leave Europe. The housing market is likely to be a little turbulent for a while, which will potentially impact the volume of instructions. If this is the case, it will be a tough year which means it’s very important for conveyancers to be using enjoyable technology that helps them conduct instructions – from beginning to end. Those conveyancers who are efficient and understand the importance of technology to help them deliver will be able to ride out the storm. We’ll continue to evolve the market with a range of new products and services that will challenge the whole landscape of traditional conveyancing practices.
Solicitorâ€™s accountancy firm of year accolade for South Coast office of Smith & Williamson ON THE BALL- SMITH & WILLIAMSON'S SOUTH COAST OFFICE HAS TRIUMPHED AT THE HAMPSHIRE INCORPORATED LAW SOCIETY (HILS) ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY.
PICTURED: Smith & Williamson's Rebecca Combes collects the award for Solicitor's Acountancy Firm of the Year from guest speaker Kevin Keegan, left, the former England, Liverpool, Newcastle and Southampton soccer star. Steve Johnson from Landmark Information Group.
Beating competition from a strong shortlist, the 50-strong practice in Southampton was named Solicitor's Accountancy Firm of the Year in the black-tie event at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Rebecca Combes, partner and head of business tax at the South Coast office of the accountancy, investment management and tax group, collected the glass trophy from guest speaker Kevin Keegan, the former England, Liverpool, Newcastle and Southampton soccer star. Firms and individuals within the Hampshire legal sector nominated candidates across six categories in the HILS awards - large and small legal firms, best solicitor, best junior solicitor, best bank and best accountant working for a legal firm. Entries were judged by an experienced panel of judges, comprising leading figures from law, business and academia. Rebecca said: "Smith & Williamson met rigorous judging criteria to win the award, which we're thrilled with and stands testament to the hard work and expertise of all the team at our South Coast office. "The judges' decison-making process looked, from the law industry's perspective, at how we fulfil requirements, initiate new ideas and utilise technology. We are also credited with innovation in transactional work, including regulatory/compliance issues, excellence in leadership and efficient management of external advisers." HILS is the long-established law profession network group in Hampshire. Its main role of the society is to support the profession by offering training, organising social events and representing membersâ€™ interests.
Tesco Law is Dead! by Gregory van Dyk Watson, Managing Director of Isokon Limited
Fear of Tesco Law Many lawyers had believed that they would be at risk of losing the bulk of their probate business to a national company, who might invade their marketplace with huge capital investment and a massive media campaign. They referred to this imaginary phenomenon as Tesco Law. The evidence is that this has not manifested itself.
Your reputation is fundamental The competitor is not Tesco Law, nor the online advert offering a cut price service, nor the teenage son who believes he can do the work just as competently at zero cost. Your reputation is fundamental to securing the work, without which your Will Bank can quickly become a wasted resource.
Profitability requires more than knowledge of the law
Requirement is for a probate accounting system
Many law firms regard probate work as a legal matter, as opposed to a process. Clearly an overriding knowledge of the law is fundamental to estate administration, but it is insufficient to ensure the profitability of your probate department.
For the process to be effective, it is axiomatic that a probate accounting system is required to handle the financial details of an estate, where data is entered once only.
Most of us trust the law firm holding dad’s will
Probate/Estate Administration is primarily a process
The facts are that Tesco Law was a chimera. It was never a serious contender for probate work. Most of us will still call our known and trusted law firm when we experience a death in the family. It is after all where Dad’s, Mum’s or Grandad’s will has been safeguarded over the years.
The basics are relatively straightforward prove the will, identify and value the assets and liabilities, assess the tax, collect the money and pay the beneficiaries. Of course, this is a gross oversimplification. But the fact remains that probate work is primarily a process.
The goal is to achieve a 70% Gross Profit Margin
Accounting and Case Management defeat Tesco Law
The real challenge to the law firm is the law firm itself - to deliver a quality service while keeping costs down. On the surface these appear to be divergent objectives. The goal of the modern efficient law firm should be to achieve a Gross Profit Margin (GPM) of 50% at the very least. And ideally closer to 70%. This is being achieved by a number of probate departments.
Competent software consists of an all embracing accounting engine designed to cope with the full variety of assets and liabilities (other than in the most basic estates) together with an integrated case management system with workflows, a calendar of reminder tasks, and a mailmerge facility to extract the data from the accounting database. The two need to work hand in hand with each other. One without the other will not succeed.
Profitability via the efficient use of technology The only way to reach these levels of profitability is through efficient use of technology. Almost all articles about probate estate administration deal with the legal issues, with no regard to the actual organisation of the work - the very area in which your profit or loss is determined.
Consequently estate accounts and IHT forms can be produced with the proverbial click of a mouse. Any firm that is not properly organised around well developed competent software is in competition with itself.
Devolving the work equals profitability This technology will enable you to devolve much of the routine work to the lesser qualified members of the team paralegals and secretaries. Properly trained and supervised, they will be able to input financial data and generate letters and documents. Alternatively, the work can be done just as easily by fee earners without the need for support staff.
It is a tried and tested business model This business model is proven, and it works. And the cost savings are significant. The time saved will enable the more qualified members of the private client team to devote more time to supervision and client care. n
For further information please contact: Gregory van Dyk Watson, Managing Director of Isokon Limited. Email: email@example.com or call 020 7482 6555. Alternatively visit www.isokon.com Isokon was founded by Gregory van Dyk Watson in 1999. The company has invested 44,000 man hours in development of the product over the last 17 years. Isokon is currently the leading supplier of software for Probate and Private Client work. It is used by 40% of law firms who do private client work. Isokon is used by more than 2,000 individual users for the most complex estates, as well as basic estates. Isokon is based on an accounting database engine with an integrated Isokon case management component.
Risk and Compliance
Consumer Credit and CPDThe New Compliance Regimes 2016 sees two important new issues for solicitor to consider in their compliance with the SRA’s rules. The final resolution of the long running consumer credit issue and the need for all firms to transition to the new CPD structure.
CONSUMER CREDIT The changes to consumer credit have resulted from the ending of the blanket approval previously granted to the Law Society. The SRA had a temporary exemption while they decided how to proceed. Initially it looked as though the SRA would decline to regulate solicitors at all for consumer credit work, leaving all firms who needed to offer credit to seek direct permission from the FCA. In the end, however, pressure and good sense has prevailed and the SRA has decided to offer a form of regulation. In the meantime the legal position has changed as well and the rules around short instalment credit have been relaxed slightly. This form of credit has always been exempt from regulation. This means that any credit arrangements which: • Are agreed before the debt is incurred; • Are for not more than 12 months; • Involve 12 or less repayments; • Are for a fixed sum; • Are for our services; • Involve no charge or interest at all; and • Are not secured on land. Will be outside the ambit of consumer credit. However, the view of the SRA is that this exemption only applies where the credit is agreed prior to the debt falling due. Therefore, where a bill has already been rendered and payment by instalments is then offered this exemption will not apply. It would be sensible therefore for firms to ensure that where they might be prepared to offer instalments that they ensure this is discussed in advance with the client.
A further relaxation has been created for legal work which only tangentially involves credit. This includes debt advice work and the pursuance of consumer credit debt. Where the above exemptions do not apply or the firm wants to offer a more complete credit option with fees or interest being charged then they will need to take charge of the Exempt Professional Firms regime. This is the system which has caused so much consternation as it must be regulated by the SRA under licence from the FCA. The SRA has taken this responsibility on and the regime is not in place. There is no substantial addition to the rulebook but the SRA has issued guidance highlighting how the already existing key outcomes and principles link to the consumer credit regime and how they might be complied with. Key things that need to be done to ensure that compliance is being achieved is for the solicitor to: • Ensure the client understands the arrangement and its consequences for them; • Consider the appropriateness of the arrangement proposed for our client; • Provide the client with sufficient information to allow them to assess and understand the arrangement themselves; • Assess the credit worthiness and ability to pay of the client; • Monitor the arrangement throughout its lifetime. This will require a short statement of the client’s needs, a consideration of other arrangements, a clear statement of the credit deal on offer, a process to assess the ability of the client to fund the arrangement, and ongoing monitoring to make sure that they are paying on time and have no further problems.
Lawyers have long been familiar with the need to do 16 hours of CPD courses each year. One of the weaknesses of this system has been that in some case the training being done is not particularly relevant to the individual lawyer’s practice and the drive to do the set number of hours becomes more important than actually obtaining relevant updates and extending knowledge. The new regime has no specific number of hours and no requirement that training be obtained from approved providers. From the CPD year beginning in November 2016 all lawyers must self-assess against the range of basic competencies set down by the SRA and their individual practice needs. They must then undertake appropriate training to fill identified gaps. In theory, therefore, a lawyer who knew everything necessary for their work area, was totally up to date, and had no skill shortages could do no training at all and meet the requirements. Such a lawyer, however, is likely to be very rare. More realistically, a senior conveyancer who had kept up to date and had all the necessary skills might only need a half day of legal updating. By contrast a junior litigator might need to carry out 30-40 hours of training in CPR updates, specific legal areas, and core skills. The need will depend entirely on the individual and their
requirements. By the same token, simply continuing to do 16 hours of training will not be acceptable because there will have been no assessment of training need and the 16 hours carried out may not be suitable. While there will not be any specific checks made all solicitor must make a declaration that they have carried out an assessment each year and fulfilled its findings. If you come to the attention of the SRA for some other reason they have made clear that they will be looking at training records as part of any other investigation. n By David Smith, Partner and Head of Compliance at Anthony Gold DON’T FORGET TO ATTEND THE HAMPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY CONFERENCE
REGULATION, COMPLIANCE AND BEST PRACTICE
Thursday 8 September 2016 Time: 9am to 5pm Venue: Southampton Football Club, Britannia Road, Southampton SO14 5FP Members £99.00 Non-Members £120.00
Register with Nicola for more information and a Booking Form Fee to include lunch, refreshments and course documentation
Risk and Compliance
Being Authorised by the FCA You’re authorised! What next? Nicola Crump of Signature Compliance gives an overview of what it means to be a newly authorised firm operating in the consumer credit market and provides guidance on what firms should be focussing on in respect of evidencing their compliance. Responsibility for regulating the consumer credit sector transferred to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in April 2014. In the Financial Conduct Authority’s Data Bulletin Supplement in April 2016 it is noted that by the end of December 2015, 32,070 firms had applied for authorisation, this figure includes both new applications and firms with interim permission who were previously licenced by the OFT. According to the FCA’s data, by the end of December 2015 27,093 applications were determined with 95% of these resulting in a firm being authorised (25,645 applications were approved, 40 applications were refused and 1,408 were withdrawn by firms).
Whistleblowing, Complaint Handling, TCF and Financial Promotions. Management information should, together with a suitable compliance monitoring plan, serve as a key control tool against which the firm’s systems can be assessed. More specifically analysis of this information will help firms evidence that it is delivering the right outcomes for consumers. Firms may use a TCF dashboard as part of their periodic management or board meetings to review relevant management information. However, where firms do review such information, firms should ensure that any actions raised are recorded and tracked through to action. The FCA is not likely to be satisfied that a firm’s systems and controls are adequate unless those systems and controls provide for the proper implementation resulting actions and a procedure for documenting the same.
For those firms who embarked upon the application process having interim permission, they will have noticed already the difference between the OFT and FCA, with the FCA having a broader range of powers and more resources than it is important for every firm to revisit the OFT. The FCA’s application process, particularly for ‘full permission’ is lengthy, complex and demonstrates the regulator’s appetite for firms to adequately demonstrate its ability and willingness to meet the Handbook rules, including but not limited to the high-level principles and the threshold conditions.
A firm should use its risk register to drive its compliance monitoring plan, focusing on the higher risk areas such its Regulatory Business as: new business/sales, complaint handling, creditworthiness and affordability assessments and Plan to ensure any collecting payments in arrears. A robust monitoring changes since the date framework should consist of three lines of defence: with of application have a check, a check on the checker and finally someone been noted and the ensuring the check on the checker was properly regulatory impact undertaken.
For those 25,000 plus firms now authorised, what is next? Firms would certainly be foolish to think that once they are authorised, the focus upon compliance within their firm should in any way lessen. In fact, this is when the hard work begins. First, it is important for every firm to revisit its Regulatory Business Plan to ensure any changes since the date of application have been noted and the regulatory impact considered. Firms should also continue to develop their compliance framework, ensuring they have adequate systems and controls in place which accurately reflect the nature, scale and complexity of the firm’s business model and the risk the regulated activity may pose to consumers. In so doing, firms should scrutinise systems and review their compliance policies, compliance procedures and staff training to ensure their compliance framework is fit for purpose and that firms’ systems and controls more generally are adequate and appropriate. Risk assessments and risk registers often serve as helpful tools which can assist in the identification, monitoring and assessment of the firm’s systems and controls. Ordinarily, those operating in the consumer credit sector should have key policies in place, which, subject to the business model and type of regulated activity, will include: Data Protection, Responsible Lending, Creditworthiness and Affordability, Collection of Payments, Privacy and Data Sharing, Financial Crime, Vulnerable Customers,
Once authorised, firms will also have to meet the FCA’s regulatory requirements on Approved Persons, controllers of the firm, regulatory sales reporting and complaints reporting. For debt management firms there are additional requirements relating to prudential resources and client money. Further, following authorisation, the FCA will undertake ‘Supervision’ of firms which is based around three pillars of activity: • Pillar 1 – Proactive firm supervision • Pillar 2 – Event-driven, reactive supervision • Pillar 3 – Issues and products supervision (known as ‘thematic’ work) Regulatory compliance can be overwhelming for some firms, but with a clear plan in place, an embedded commitment to treating customer’s fairly and documentary evidence of compliance through systems and controls, firms should be able to operate compliantly and competently within the FCA’s regulatory space. n By Nicola Crump, Signature Compliance
DON’T REGRET THAT BUY - TO - LET! As the dust settles on the recent Budget announcements and attention turns to June’s EU Referendum we could be forgiven for being distracted by such important issues and overlooking a significant change in tax legislation stemming from last year’s budget and effective from 6th April 2017. rom next year the rules that allow landlords to offset all of their mortgage interest costs against their tax bill will be changed. When George Osborne announced the changes the implication was that they would hit only higher-earning landlords and it is true that every mortgaged landlord who pays higher or additional rate tax will indeed pay significantly more under the new regime. But some basicrate taxpayers will also pay more tax because the change will force them into the higher-rate bracket. In fact, contrary to the Chancellor’s suggestion, the only buy-to-let investors who will not be hit are those wealthy enough to buy property in cash and with no need for a mortgage.
At the heart of the new rules is landlords’ future inability to deduct their mortgage interest costs from their rental income. In other words, tax will be applied to all of the rent received, rather than what is left of the rent after the mortgage interest has been paid. The following example assumes the landlord is paying tax at the higher rate of 40%.
TODAY The buy-to-let generates income of £25,000 a year and the interestonly mortgage costs £15,000 a year. Tax is due on the difference, or profit, so is payable on £10,000. That means HMRC receives £4,000 and the landlord gets £6,000.
In 2020 Tax is now due on the full rental income of £25,000, less a tax credit equivalent to basic rate tax on the interest. In other words, the landlord pays 40% tax on £25,000 (i.e. £10,000), less the 20% credit (20% of £15,000 being £3,000). This means HMRC now receives £7,000 and the landlord receives £3,000. Put another way, his tax bill has increased by 75% and his net rental income has halved!
SO WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS? All landlords with mortgages need to consider the implications and take professional advice. Options include disposing of the property, although this may crystallise a hefty capital gains tax liability, or, where the property is jointly held, using a declaration of beneficial interest in joint property (HMRC Form 17) to tell the tax office that the landlords want to be taxed on their actual shares of the income rather than on a 50/50 basis. Form 17 says that landlords can use it subject to their being married, holding the property jointly in unequal shares and being entitled to an income split along the same lines. This would suggest that for tax purposes joint landlords might ask to split the rental income on, for example, a 1% / 99% basis. The evidence they must provide when submitting Form 17 to HMRC is either a declaration of trust stating their unequal shares or a copy of the Land Registry entry showing the 99% / 1% split. Assuming that the current split is an equal 50/50 it will be necessary for the landlords’ lawyer to draw up a declaration of trust or change the Land Registry entry before April 2017 when the new rules come into effect. Beware however that if you transfer a property to a spouse there is no automatic stamp duty relief. Because stamp duty is based on “consideration” it is possible to transfer a property to a spouse with no stamp duty land tax being payable. But because “consideration” includes any assumption of liability to pay a mortgage, stamp duty may become payable where there is a mortgage attached to the property and the new owner assumes responsibility for it.
Steven Vallery Business Development Director S4 Financial Limited Contact: 01276 34932 Important Information This article is for general information only and is not intended to be advice to any specific person. You are recommended to seek professional advice before taking or refraining from taking any action on the basis of the contents. The FCA does not regulate tax advice so it is outside the investment protection rules of the Financial Services and Markets Act and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This newsletter represents our understanding of law and HMRC practice as at 8th April 2016.
Why Cyber Security Matters Cyber security is rarely out of the news and this won’t change in the near future. In our own research amongst SMEs, we found that 76% of companies are concerned about cyber security, with 17% having experienced a cyber attack.
rom a lawyer’s perspective the issues are twofold: • the legal steps to help prevent the issue arising in the first place; and • explaining to clients why their particular business might be adversely impacted, even though it’s not a high-profile business.
THE THREAT The potential impact of cyber-security issues on the SME can be seen from the Court of Appeal’s reversal in March 2015 of a decade of case law which had prevented claims for compensation under the Data Protection Act 1998 for emotional distress caused by the breach of data security rules. Until the decision in Google Inc. v Vidal-Hall, the English Courts had interpreted the law as meaning that compensation was only available where a Claimant had suffered some sort of financial loss as a result of a data protection breach: typically, this was associated with financial services companies where a fraudster might access personal finance information from the accidental disclosure of financial data. This had the consequence that most breaches of the Act, which normally only relate to the emotional distress could not be the subject of a claim, as there was no financial loss suffered.
• staff/employee education on security risks; • guidance on the regulatory/legal regime in place. A key consideration which is often neglected is ‘people security’. Whilst companies can have the very best tech in place and invest heavily in new systems, the fact is that around a third of data security issues are people-based, ie caused by human error or carelessness. In 2014, a cyber-claims study found that 34% of claims for data loss was down to lapses in “people security”, with 11% of the dataset being rogue employees; 10% for lost or stolen laptop devices; and 13% for staff mistakes (this was the highest cause after hacking!).
This has all changed now as the Court of Appeal decided that data protection law should be interpreted more widely as meaning that compensation should not be limited to cases where financial loss can be shown, as that was not the intention of the original EU legislation. The decision in Google Inc. v Vidal-Hall is likely to have a number of potentially wide-ranging implications, of which many of your SME clients holding customer data should be aware, in particular, the likelihood that there will be more claims for compensation now that there is no requirement to show financial loss. Although the Court of Appeal commented that it was likely that individual awards of compensation would be relatively modest (so far they have been in the low thousands of pounds), there could be a growth of class actions in which a large number of individuals have suffered emotional distress or invasion of privacy, leading to larger overall damages awards. In addition to the increased risk of claims of compensation as a result of a cybersecurity breach, the accompanying reputational damage and loss of trust are likely to hit SME businesses even harder as, for many, this is one of their key trading propositions. It would be unfair to say that we expect our telecoms provider to mess up occasionally, but we really don’t expect the same of SME businesses where there’s a more personal relationship with its clients.
THE LEGAL ACTION LIST Legally, your client needs to show that every reasonable care has been taken to prevent a loss of data or cyber-security breach. Our recommendation is that in order to ensure that they can demonstrate they are complying with data protection rules, your clients should ensure that they take all appropriate measures, which include: • having clear data protection/cyber security/privacy policies in place; • actively monitoring the policies to ensure that they are being followed in practice; • having a sound IT infrastructure in place; • carrying out a cyber-security risk assessment tailored to the business; • incident management – how to respond to a breach;
Organisations must make sure they have robust policies covering cyber / data security, data protection and IT and communications, which are communicated to employees, together with an explanation of the role that well-trained staff can play in minimising the risk of cyber security breaches. Your clients need to explain clearly to staff how they will monitor compliance with the policies, the sanctions imposed for any breach of the policy and the procedure through which those sanctions will be enforced. The key is that employees must understand that they are required to comply with these policies and that a breach of any of the policies is an HR issue that could ultimately lead to dismissal.
THE FUTURE The pace of legal regulation in relation to data protection/cyber security is hotting up with the recent passing of the General Data Protection Regulation by the EU. From early 2018, your clients will: • generally need to notify national authorities and affected individuals in the event of a data breach; and • be subject to massively increased fines (potentially E20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover. So, time to take cyber security seriously. n By John Warchus and Katherine Maxwell, Moore Blatch
Are you Covered by Your IT Managed Service Provider? There’s been a sharp increase in news stories from law publications around cyber security. Between Friday afternoon scams, rising reports of data breaches and - dare we say it - major headline news such as Panama, cyber security is rarely out of the media spotlight.
dding to this is the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), who regularly highlights in both their blog, website and other communications just how easy and probable it is in today’s digital environment to suffer a cyber breach. In 2015 such cyber breaches racked up a bill of £34bn to UK companies (before any consideration of the priceless cost of reputational damage). Fifty percent of these breaches were caused by inadvertent human error. The UK was the most targeted country in Europe for attacks and frighteningly 1 in 20 emails sent resulted in a successful breach. On top of digesting the above mentioned dangers, today’s law firms also have to consider tightening regulation around data, the protection of huge amounts of sensitive information and the impending advance of cyber criminals growing in sophistication. It’s a lot to take on. Unfortunately though, law firms are a lucrative target and very much worth the trouble for cyber criminals. “Doesn’t cyber security fall under my managed service provider’s remit?”
Am I Covered by my Managed Service Provider (MSP)? The answer is unfortunately, probably not. Managed Service Providers adhere to, and have a good level of security, but they are not security specialists. Nor should they be; managing complex infrastructure, software, hosting, development, support, updates and all things IT is a different role entirely to cyber security. Cyber security is comprehensive and complex - it needs a specialist.
● Regular system tests/penetration tests to stay in line with known vulnerabilities and trends ● Advice on processes, policies and accreditations needed to support protective technology (technology is 1/3 of the cyber solution) ●Training to raise the risk awareness of your support staff and partners ● Monthly and quarterly reporting of traffic going in and out of your IT network ● Alerts if anyone attempts to steal data or other digital assets ● Security planning ● Crisis management ● 24/7/365 Rapid-response service
Cyber Essentials Cyber Essentials is a Government run scheme put in place because 80% of cyber-attacks are preventable. It’s also a great place to start in protecting your practice. Some salient data points our own forensics team have gathered whilst implementing Cyber Essentials into law practices in the last 12 months include the following: ● On average Law firms tend to fail 40% of basic cyber security controls ● Out of the basic security control failures we found 55% were under the direct remit of the Managed Service Provider.
It’s a bit like marking your own homework.
One cannot be given both the responsibility of directing the movie and being the critic, or cooking the food and judging its quality.
You are probably not protected from breaches through your MSP and ignorance is no longer bliss - you will be scrutinised should you suffer a breach not only by the regulator, but by your clients.
The Consequences of Suffering a Breach If you suffer a security breach you’ll potentially have to pay a fine to the ICO (In 2014 173 law firms were investigated) in addition to costs associated with administration, loss in revenue and general business disruption. The costs of a breach range, according to the 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey, from £75k at the lower end for SMEs to over £3m for larger firms. And with regard to the probability of suffering a breach, 90% of large organisations and 74% of SMEs suffered one in 2015.
Not only are you not probably covered by your MSP, indemnity insurance rarely covers cyber breaches either as it is designed for third party protection and in the case of a data breach, the third party may have no idea their data has been breached in order to warrant a claim. Risk management and a combined approach is our primary advice here.
What to Expect from a Cyber Security Specialist Security specialists take a holistic approach derived from globally tested methodologies and hold best practice security accreditations. Technology operates as the enabler of cyber security but you need the right governance in place and you need your users, i.e. your employees, to follow the procedures and policies in place too. The below list aims to highlight some of the differences in the roles of cyber security and IT managed services by showing what a cyber security specialist will deliver for your practice: ● Forensic capabilities - an example of this in action would be to ascertain why an accounts team received a fake email from the MD requesting a transfer of funds or a fake email from your bank asking to provide account credentials
ThinkMarble ThinkMarble are cyber security specialists for the legal sector. We deliver enterprise class cyber security at an affordable price. You can identify potential threats to your practice and whether you are covered by your IT provider/department with our free, no obligation cyber assessment. n https://www.thinkmarble.co.uk/. By Andy Miles, CEO of ThinkMarble
NEW RELEASES Clio, the world’s leading cloud-based legal practice management provider, has released four new integrations this year to assist their users in the UK and Europe to run their legal practices more efficiently.
F rom client intake, to intellectual property agreements, and tracking every billable second, these new integrations allow legal professionals do more with their practice within Clio, further emphasising the company’s vision to not only assist law firms in their day-to-day practice management needs but to significantly simplify their operations and help them grow their practice. Derek Fitzpatrick, General Manager for Clio EMEA, had this to say: “As Clio’s customer base in the UK and Europe grows our integration strategy helps to connect them with some amazing software designed for the specific needs of their practice. Previously many of these integrations had only been available to our North American users so we’re delighted to be able to work so closely with our platform partners to make them available for our users in Europe.”
In addition to these integrations Clio has also added a Matter budgets feature, which allows users to set a budget for any new cases they open, once a user-defined percentage of the budget has been reached Clio will notify you via email. UK and European law firms can now combine Clio with 14 other online services directly and hundreds of others using Clio’s API, making Clio the most integrated legal software available, letting users choose the tools they’re most comfortable with. These new integrations and improvements further empower Clio customers to do more with their practice and put technology to work for them. To learn more about Clio’s integrated suite of solutions, visit www.clio.co.uk
These new integrations include partnerships with the following:
ALT LEGAL Alt Legal is the fastest and easiest way to prepare, file, and manage intellectual property. Developed by lawyers and paralegals, it’s trusted by global law firms, boutique firms, and corporate legal departments to handle thousands of filings daily. With this integration, customers can sync their IP filings, client information, and billing with the rest of their practice in Clio.
HALO NBI Halo NBI is a client intake app that allows lawyers to process new clients and matters quickly, efficiently, and accurately. Halo NBI mitigates Customer Due Diligence risks by performing conflict, antimoney laundering, and identity checks along with risk assessments of each new client entered into Clio. Halo NBI also integrates with Hubspot, the leading inbound marketing platform, and InfoTrack, the search platform of choice for many conveyancing solicitors.
CHROMETA Chrometa captures every minute of your day for you. From computer-based time like email and web research, to smartphone calls, it’s all captured passively for you with Chrometa’s time trackers. Time entries can then be connected to your Clio matters and exported back into Clio for billing.
CLOCKTIMIZER Clocktimizer creates powerful visual reports that are easy to understand, providing you with one-page insights into your matters and clients on the basis of your time tracking data. Compare fees across matters to create fee quotes and make data-driven decisions with the Clocktimizer drilldown tool.
CYBER SECURITY AND THE LEGAL INDUSTRY C
yber Security is the latest buzz word in the technology world. Broken down, it’s a set of malicious practices by criminals that have been occurring for a long time, now given a title to group them together and methods and technologies aiming to dramatically reduce their impact. Cyber-crime is not just a business issue, it is an issue for anyone who has a device that connects to the internet, has an email account, or a telephone or mobile phone. The strongest and weakest point within a business when it comes to Cyber Security is the human element. Processes, software and hardware can be put in place, but this can all unravel quickly if somebody clicks on something or gives out information to somebody they shouldn’t have. It only takes one person to compromise your security.
Cyber and Information Security is part of the board agenda at every month, it is presented at quarterly all staff business meetings and is refreshed individually for staff weekly. Clients are made aware that there is a set process for transferring monies through certain channels. Details have to be agreed in advance in person and any changes have to be undertaken through official channels. We are also producing an information document that informs clients of the dangers of Cyber Criminal fraudulent methods.
It only takes one person to compromise your security.
Phillips Solicitors are about to achieve the Cyber Essential accreditation, which is a requirement for the government to consider doing business with you and shows to your clients and business partners our commitment to Cyber-crime and information security is taken with the upmost importance.
With the backing of Phillips Solicitors board of directors Cyber Security defence has been embraced by the business. You need the backing of senior management to be able to reach a point where you can achieve a high level of competency and security, ensuring potential criminal activity is stopped as quickly as it can start.
For further information there are a number of helpful websites listed below: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud https://www.cyberstreetwise.com/cyberessentials/#downloads https://staysafeonline.org/
At Phillips Solicitors we ensure all staff have taken Security Awareness Training (SAT). This helps them to identify phishing and malicious attachments in email, which make up for 78% of Cyber-attacks on businesses, identify fraudulent phone calls and be sensitive to scammers.
By Mike Worth, IT Manager
PLANNING TO FAIL As I said in the 7th edition of the Environmental Law Handbook (Law Society, 2011) “the desirability of undertaking searches in relation to planning uses and applications in the neighbourhood is enhanced with the availability of search reports which provide this information.”
oth people who read that passage will have picked up on the fact that I was trying to be subtle and veiled in my message that planning searches were fast becoming an essential part of the conveyancer’s information-gathering duties at the outset of a property transaction. Some clients – indeed some practitioners – still fail to appreciate that the standard local search asks about planning applications on only the target property, and not in the wider neighbouring locality. For years there have been search products that do ask exactly such questions of the local authority and, although they can be a turgid read, the information they give would – in the main – be of huge importance to both clients and lenders alike.
The cautionary tale of Bird and Bird is enlightening here. The firm had conducted a planning search on behalf of a client but thereafter failed to point out to the client the implications of a planning consent for a school nearby which adversely affected their client’s intended use. The client successfully sued the firm for £1.8m. In Orientfield Holdings Ltd v Bird & Bird LLP  the High Court held that a solicitor had acted negligently in failing to warn the client about plans to build two schools in the same street as the client’s new property.
Planning searches were fast becoming an essential part of the conveyancer’s informationWho would not want to know that planning consent had gathering duties at been given for a school, a nightclub, high-density housing, a fireworks factory, a windfarm, a high-speed rail link or a the outset of a fracking licence in the area around their new home? property transaction. Further, with the many recent changes to planning policy, applications which may have failed in earlier years may now be granted – with even higher densities – creating more local aggravation. I have been advising my consultancy clients for some years to include planning search products as part of the standard search pack. Objections about the cost (£30-40 or so) are dwarfed by the legitimate expectations of the client that their property lawyers will look after their wider interests in the conveyancing transaction and alert them to matters that might affect their use and enjoyment of their property in the years ahead. As the Government expands its housebuilding programme and the possibility of regular moves of house becomes more difficult the possibility of future development is a risk that perhaps needs to be considered. Reports of the develop-ability of land are taken into account, as well as existing planning applications, land-banking and future changes in planning policy.
The firm obtained a Plansearch Plus report which disclosed the plans to build the schools. The firm did not later mention the matter to the client in their report on the title. The High Court held that where a solicitor has information that may affect a client’s decision-making process, he has a duty to inform the client of that information.
This case should be taken as a huge warning to all practising solicitors and conveyancers to make sure that all information which has been discovered is passed on to clients before exchange. The case also illustrates the importance of making comprehensive enquiries, investigating searches and then preparing a thorough report for the client.
There are also anecdotal instances where a firm was sued but escaped liability because they had (though they were unaware of the fact) undertaken a Plansearch and passed it to the client with a cover letter saying, “Here are your search reports. Please read them in case there are matters referred to that might affect your property. Please contact us if you have any queries.” Is it now time to follow suit? By Trevor Hellawell
A NEW TORT OF
In PJS v News Group Newspapers’ Ltd  UKSC 26 PJS successfully applied to the Supreme Court for the continuance of an interlocutory injunction preventing News Group Newspapers (NGM) from publishing, in England and Wales, a newspaper story identifying PJS as a famous celebrity who had engaged sexual activity involving two other people when he was in a civil partnership with YMA (who he married in 2014).
This was despite the fact the identity of PJS and his sexual activity are readily available on the internet and a hard copy of the story had been published in a Scottish newspaper. The Supreme Court allowed the injunction to remain in place by a 4:1 majority. The majority were Lord Mance, Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale and Lord Reed. The dissenter was Lord Toulson. PJS could not pursue a remedy based on a right to respect for his private life in article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is because section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 states that It is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right but NGM, as part of the commercial press, is not a ‘public authority’. In addition there is no statute to be interpreted in a compatible way with the Convention as required by section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998. However, the Convention remains relevant because the Supreme Court is a public authority and it is obliged to develop domestic law in a way which is compatible with Convention rights. This is known as indirect horizontal effect.
to intrusion as newspapers have greater impact and creditability than internet. This points to a tort of invasion of privacy based on intrusion. In his dissent Lord Toulson states that the story is so porous that an injunction is pointless and there is no difference in publication on the internet and in the print media at & . The injunction is not permanent and can only be made permanent after a trial. Section 12(3) of the Human Rights Act 1998 states that no interim injunction is to be granted so as to restrain publication before trial unless the court is satisfied that the applicant is likely to establish that publication should not be allowed. A permanent injunction is needed to prevent the tort of invasion of privacy and the Supreme Court majority obviously believes that PJS is likely to establish that at trial.
If NGM published the story there would be no breach of PJS’s article 8 rights by NGM because it is not a public authority but publication could constitute the tort of invasion of privacy by NGM. The purpose of injunction will be to prevent the tort but the trial court as a public authority will have to balance PJS’s right to So the question So the question to ask is what existing wrong would be respect for his private and family life against NGN’s right to ask is what committed if the story was published? The two possible to freedom of expression under article 10 when deciding existing wrong wrongs (or torts) are (i) breach of confidence or (ii) to make the injunction permanent. Section 12 (4) of the would be misuse of private information. These were held to Human Rights Act 1998 provides that the court must separate torts in Vidal-Hall & Others v Google Inc  have particular regard to the importance of article 10 and committed if EWHC 13. But Lord Mance (who gave the leading requires the court to take into consideration whether the the story was judgment) appears to create new law when he says at story is likely to be available to the public, the public published? : interest in publication and any privacy code such as the ISPO code which came into force in January. But section ‘Every case must be considered on its particular facts. But the 12 does not give greater weight to article 10 as ’each right has equal starting point is that (i) there is not, without more, any public interest potential force in principle, and the question is which way the balance in a legal sense in the disclosure or publication of purely private falls in the light of the specific facts and considerations in a particular sexual encounters, even though they involve adultery or more than case’ per Lord Neuberger at . In view of the majority decision in one person at the same time, (ii) any such disclosure or publication the Supreme Court, at trial the balance is very likely to come down in will on the face of it constitute the tort of invasion of privacy, (iii) favour PJS’s article 8 rights because of the intrusion that would be repetition of such a disclosure or publication on further occasions is caused by a print publication (not only to PJS but also to YMA and capable of constituting a further tort of invasion of privacy, even in their children) so that a permanent injunction will be required to relation to persons to whom disclosure or publication was previously prevent the tort of invasion of privacy by NGM. made - especially if it occurs in a different medium.’ Not surprisingly the Supreme Court decision has caused a storm in This creates new law as before this case there was no tort of invasion the print mass media: ‘Arrogant judges and cowardly politicians must of privacy known to the law. This cannot be stated with complete not threaten free speech’ Daily Telegraph 20 May 2016. If the confidence as when Lord Mance is discussing what damages would Supreme Court has got the balance wrong and the law is an ass it be available for the wrong he refers to misuse of private information will be for Parliament to amend section 12 to make it clear greater at . Lord Neuberger (who agreed with Lord Mance) refers to an weight must be given to article 10 rights. individual’s rights in respect of confidentiality and intrusion and whilst By Simon Parsons, the injunction could not preserve the confidentiality of the identity of Formerly Associate Professor of Law at Southampton Solent University. PJS (and of his spouse YMA and children) it could prevent intrusion or harassment at  & . Publishing the story in print could lead
Are you prepared for the ever increasing risk posed by cyber crime? Cyber related losses are increasing and are now of some considerable concern to both law firms and their Insurers. These are some of the most common types of claim that we see: Friday afternoon fraud - So called because the fraudsters tend to make their move on a Friday (although not exclusively) as they know that this is a busy day for completions and firms will routinely be transferring large amounts of client money and will be working to tight deadlines so may not follow their risk management procedures as robustly or be as vigilant. Typically the fraudster will have gained access to genuine banking transactions of the firm. They then contact the firm purporting to be from the firm's bank wanting to discuss fraudulent activity on the account. Using the genuine transactions to convince the firm that they are the bank they are then able to persuade firms to release enough information to allow the fraudster to take control of the on-line banking system and are then able to transfer money out of the firms client account. Email account hacking - In this scenario the fraudster has hacked the vendors solicitors email account and is able to monitor the progress of the transaction and at the critical moment sends to the purchasers solicitor an email advising of a change of bank account details. The solicitor acting for the purchaser then sends the completion funds to this new account (which is controlled by the fraudsters) believing it to be the vendors solicitors client account. Another similar scenario is that a firms email account is hacked and then the fraudster emails clients of the firm advising the client that the firms bank account has changed requesting monies to be sent to this new account.
Managing your Cyber Risks You should carry out a review of the cyber risks that you business might face, including a review of your data protection processes. Most firms have business continuity plans but do these include consideration of cyber risks? They should. Train all principals and staff in cyber risk awareness. A good starting point is the free on line training module provided by the Law Society. Ensure that your operating systems are protected with up to date anti-virus, anti spam, anti-spyware and firewall software. Consider using encrypted email for sensitive and confidential data. It would be a good idea not to use email at all for confirmation of bank details and you should make your clients aware that you will never email them details of a change of bank account. If bank account details are received by email introduce a system by which these can be verified prior to transferring any money. Avoid using insecure Wi-Fi connections and consider using virtual private network (VPN) software for remotely connecting to your network. Should you have any questions in relation to coverage of cyber/fraud claims under a PII policy then please contact us at JLT or visit our website for more details www.jltsolicitorspi.com Joel Harding Associate, JLT Specialty Ltd
Cyber Ransom - The hackers introduce malware into the firms system which shuts the system down. The firm is then contacted with a ransom demand demanding payment of large sums to allow the firm to regain access to its own systems.
Conveyancing: Simplify Your Searches We all know that a property is the most expensive purchase anyone is likely to make. It therefore pays to ensure that it not only meets the lifestyle needs, but that buyers are fully armed with as much information as possible relating to the property and its surrounding environment – and potential risks – so they enter a transaction 100% aware of what they are buying. While homebuyers typically take time to research and locate a home that ticks as many ‘boxes’ as possible, for a price they can afford, many buyers continue to rely on their legal practitioner as their final ‘eyes and ears’ when it comes to assessing the environmental risk due diligence of the home. According to a YouGov survey commissioned by Landmark at the end of 2015, it found that over a fifth of UK homeowners (22%) said they relied on the guidance provided by the solicitor when receiving environmental search reports (in order to summarise the key findings and interpret the risks present in the property they are about to buy). On top of this, a separate YouGov study commissioned by the Know Your Flood Risk campaign in 2015 found however that only 20% of people actually check their potential for flooding before moving into a new home (despite the regular news regarding the impact of flooding within our region). With the continued reliance on conveyancers, it is vital that the right searches are recommended to clients, to ensure the most thorough research is carried out for each client. But, with so many available, where should you start? To simplify the search process, Landmark introduced a new search called RiskView Residential. It presents the findings previously provided in four separate reports in one single order: • Flood Risk • Contaminated Land • Ground Hazards, and • Energy & Infrastructure.
Not only does it present the findings in a PDF report, but also includes an interactive online ‘map viewer’ as standard; the first of its kind. Similar to the Google Earth experience, it offers the chance for clients to ‘zoom in’ on the location of the property and click on potential risks located on or nearby the plot to find out more information. On top of this, a new digital ‘bundle’ also includes planning due diligence. By automatically including Plansearch Plus data, clients can also assess local planning applications, land use designations, housing and neighbourhood demographics and rights of way, and spot any that might affect their overall purchasing decision. By combining the data into one order, it makes it far easier for solicitors and buyers to assess what or where any risks may be present (and what action to take as a result), enabling legal practices to offer total peace of mind to clients. This is particularly important in today’s day-and-age, as if a homebuyer doesn’t believe the information was made available or explained to them at the outset (and they later have an issue) there is the risk that they may pursue a legal negligence case against their solicitor. To avoid such risks, it pays to offer as much environmental, location and property information within the conveyancing process as possible. This approach not only speeds up transaction processing, but saves more time and closes a compliance gap by removing the need to identify a different suite of reports for each and every transaction. For more information visit www.landmark.co.uk or call 0844 844 9966. By Alison Parsons, Regional Business Development Manager, Landmark Information Group www.landmark.co.uk
‘A thing that is accepted as true without proof’ Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner for the Metropolitan police, has announced that the Met. may now move away from their existing policy with regard to sex crimes. Up to this point they have assumed that anyone complaining of a sex crime is telling the truth. To assume makes an ‘ass of u and me’ as they say and with good reason. If you accept that people can lie then why on earth would we assume that sexual allegations are a special case where people never lie?
matter. After 17 hours in custody, 10 months waiting whilst suspended from work… you can imagine how he felt. In that case the complaint was made 4 months after sex took place and so there was no forensic evidence available to help clarify the truth. In this way the case was similar to the historic allegations that we frequently see in the press. With these cases there is usually no ‘independent’ evidence such as forensics, CCTV or mobile phone data and convictions must be founded upon the testimony of witnesses alone.
It reminds me of a police station investigation which I became involved in a few years back. A 25 year-old man was arrested for rape and I attended to advise him. His ex-girlfriend (who was just 18) had alleged that he had raped her on New Year’s Eve (it was now April.) He was in total shock and cried throughout the interview with me, explaining that they had been in a relationship and he couldn’t believe what she was To assume saying. He told me in painstaking detail about every occasion that they had met up and what had happened. He then repeated all of this in interview with the police, explaining that sex had taken place but it was entirely consensual. He was bailed whilst they carried out further investigations.
makes an ‘ass of u and me’ as they say and with good reason.
He called me a week or so after his arrest and said that he had managed to find a handwritten love letter from his ex dated 1st January thanking him for a ‘gorgeous night’. It seemed that we now had something to finally decide the matter; if the letter was from her, which could be verified by handwriting analysis, then it must surely be incompatible with her allegation, alternatively my client had deviously tried to falsify evidence and therefore was likely to be caught out. Having met my client I was entirely confident that the letter would prove to be genuine. We met with the police and gave it to them.
I recently dealt with a case in the Crown Court where everything had taken place in the 1970s.. Piecing together what had happened, and when, was exceptionally difficult and that was just for the police and the lawyers, let alone the defendant. With many sex crimes defendants are left trying to prove a negative, trying to prove that something did not happen. It can be almost impossible. For that reason the very greatest care must be taken and there is no place for assumption.
By Chloe Jay, Chloe Jay works for Shentons Solicitors and Mediators, a firm who specialise in appealing wrongful convictions and sentences.
It was approximately 10 months later that the matter was finally drawn to an end. Despite constant badgering from me the police did not seem to think that the letter was conclusive. The complainant had accepted that she wrote the letter and it related to the same night but apparently still maintained she had been raped. The police had given her a considerable amount of time to explain the letter with counselling but finally after 10 months they decided not to take any further action. It felt to me as if the concept that the allegation had been false was simply the last explanation they were willing to consider. In the meantime the police had notified my client’s employer and he had been suspended from work for almost a year. Frustratingly the police confirmed they would not be taking any action against the complainant and that was the end of the
Canine Care Card Some dog owners worry about what might happen if they were to pass away, leaving their beloved four-legged friend behind without an owner. Thankfully, Dogs Trust offers a fantastic free service that aims to give owners peace of mind, knowing that their dog will be loved and cared for if the worst should happen. The Canine Care Card service not only offers 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 given them lots of TLC whilst they waited to find their happy new homes. Two such dogs were Greyhound duo, Red and Sally, both seven, who arrived at Dogs Trust Basildon, after their owner sadly passed away. They were looking for a lovely big garden to sprint around in, and a snuggly sofa to stretch out their long legs in the evenings. Dogs Trust Basildon was able provide them with a comforting home-away-from-home, sofa and all, until they found their ‘furrytale’ ending with a loving new family. Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog down, and works hard to match every dog with a responsible, loving owner.
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 Red, Sally and many dogs like them 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 - which 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”.
Agricultural Legacies Law
AGRICULTURAL ROUNDUP Edward Peters, barrister of Falcon Chambers, looks at some recent developments in the field of agricultural law.
Agricultural occupancy conditions In Shortt v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 1192 the Court of Appeal considered the meaning of “dependents” in an agricultural occupancy condition. The condition was: "The occupation of the dwelling shall be limited to persons employed or last employed solely or mainly and locally in agriculture as defined by Section 290(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1971, or in forestry and the dependants (which shall be taken to include a widow or widower) of such persons." The owners of the dwelling, Mr & Mrs Shortt, claimed that they had been in breach of the condition at all material times, and were therefore immune from enforcement action and entitled to a certificate of lawful user. Mrs Shortt had farmed 22 ha. of land, but at a substantial loss. It was the income of Mr Shortt, a successful businessman, which had supported them and their children financially. The Court of Appeal rejected their claim, holding that the word “dependents” did not contain a requirement as to financial dependency on the agricultural worker, but was equally apt to cover a non-financial dependency such as exists within a family relationship.
drop in income of £18,000”; but concluded that the volatility in the farm gate price of milk was not sufficient to satisfy the test in s. 68(3)(b): “the future milk price was unknown, but that did not mean that it was reasonable to expect no profits for the next five years.”
Drafting of FBTs: recent revisions to the RICS’s precedents The RICS has a set of precedents for various forms of farm business tenancy agreements, and cropping & grazing licences. Recent legislative changes have led to the RICS Agricultural Tenancies Monitoring Group revising the precedents in various respects.
Bad Husbandry under Case C
Milk quota abolition. Following the 2015 abolition, specific provisions dealing with milk quota have been removed, and the dairy/non-dairy agreements merged; but some general references to ‘quotas’ have been retained, to encompass remaining quota schemes (beet quota will subsist until 2017) and any future ‘quotas’ which may be introduced.
In Chapman v Lumb (FTT (Ag Land), 5/11/2015) the landlords succeeded in their application for a certificate of bad husbandry under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (Schedule 3, part 2, para. 9). The Tribunal applied the tests set out in R (Davies) v Phillipps  EWHC 1395 (Admin) and Goldsmid v Hicks (SE/AT/1547), and concluded that the permanent pasture was not being maintained in good condition, that there was serious overstocking, & that necessary repairs and maintenance were not being carried out. The Tribunal concluded there was no realistic prospect of improvement, because the Respondent was “unhappily caught between a rock and a hard place, where because of the current parlous condition of the farm and mismanagement he cannot switch to a reduced stock system nor maintain his current system of farming going forward.”
The basic payment scheme. The provisions concerning subsidies and environmental regulations are drafted in an all-inclusive manner, with the aim of applying to all such schemes, even if they are altered or introduced during the term of the agreement. However, specific references to the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) have been replaced by references to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), and references to environmental schemes have been updated (including Glastir and the relaunched Countryside Stewardship scheme). The RPA has issued guidance regarding when land will be considered to be “at the disposal of the applicant” for the purposes of the BPS, and various consequential amendments have been made to the agreements: in particular, to the covenants to keep in good agricultural and environmental condition, and to the licensee’s positive obligations in the grazing & cropping licences.
Tax: hobby farming and the “reasonable expectation of profit” test
Dispute Resolution clauses. Dispute resolution clauses in tenancy agreements are topical: the Deregulation Act 2015 has widened the means by which disputes concerning 1986 Act tenancies can be resolved, and the court system places ever more emphasis on ADR. The agreements have therefore been revised to include updated and additional forms of dispute resolution clauses.
In Silvester v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (FTT (Tax), 5/11/2015) the Tribunal held that the restriction on loss relief for farming losses under s. 67 of the Income Tax Act 2007 was not limited to “hobby farming”, but included farming carried out on a commercial basis with an expectation of profit. The Tribunal also considered the correct approach to be taken when applying the “reasonable expectation of profit” test, and the meaning of “activities” in s. 68 of the ITA 2007. In Scambler v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (TC/2014/05306, FTT (Tax), 7/12/2015) the Tribunal held that the activities referred to in s. 68(3)(b) of the ITA 2007 were the activities carried on at the start of the loss period, not the year of the loss claim. The Tribunal noted the difficulties of applying the test in s. 68(3)(b) to a farming business, such as Mr Scambler’s dairy farm, “where such a significant component of the business’s profitability (the milk price) is outside the farmers’ control. … On his milk yield … each 1 penny decline in the milk price meant an annual
Repairs & insurance. The Agriculture (Model Clauses for Fixed Equipment) (England) Regulations 2015 introduced new Model Clauses concerning repairs and insurance under 1986 Act tenancies, following a process of extensive consultation. The agreements have therefore been revised to include the option of incorporating the new Model Clauses in place of the existing expressly drafted provisions concerning repairs and/or insurance. Edward Peters is a barrister at Falcon Chambers, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and the barrister member of the RICS Agricultural Tenancies Monitoring Group. He specialises in all aspects of real property and landlord and tenant law, including agriculture. http://www.falcon-chambers.com http://www.falcon-chambersarbitration.com
Neale Turk LLP, Hampshire Neale Turk LLP is a well-established, full service practice operating out of Fleet, Hampshire. We are keen to recruit two able and ambitious lawyers to play a key role in the firm’s continued growth and success. We offer a competitive salary based upon qualification and experience.
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY LAWYER Department: Location:
Commercial Property Fleet, Hampshire
Commercial Property Lawyer to promote and deliver services to our Commercial clients.
RESIDENTIAL CONVEYANCING SOLICITOR Department: Location:
Residential Conveyancing Fleet, Hampshire
Solicitor, Licensed Conveyancer, or Legal Executive with experience of running their own caseload to join our CQS accredited department. Excellent keyboard skills and experience of case management system preferred. Email CV and covering letter to: to firstname.lastname@example.org
LOCUM AVAILABLE FOR FAMILY/ MATRIMONIAL WORK: Miss Vivien Manfield, Solicitor, admitted 1981, Resolution Accredited Family Specialist January 2006 – January 2011, based in Winchester, has been doing locum assignments since 1993 and is available for full or part time assignments. Tel : 01962 853930 or email email@example.com for more information and c.v.
Letchers Solicitors DISPUTE RESOLUTION SOLICITOR Location: Salary:
Remote Working Commensurate with experience
Letchers Solicitors in Ringwood seek a Litigation Solicitor/FCILEX to assist the Head of Department in the Dispute Resolution Department of the firm. The workload involves mainly contract disputes, contentious probate, employment and Landlord and Tenant – the firm undertakes only a very small amount of PI work. Salary will be commensurate with experience but will include noncontributory Private Health. The position may well attract somebody who is prepared to work part-time. Remote working facilities can be offered to assist with regard to a flexible working arrangement.
CRIMINAL SOLICITOR Location: Salary:
Ringwood Commensurate with experience
Letchers Solicitors seek a Criminal Solicitor to cover in the first instance the maternity absence of the firm’s Criminal Litigation Partner. Letchers currently have LAA Contracts in both East Dorset and West Hampshire. It is essential that the successful applicant is a fully qualified Duty Solicitor who is able to undertake duties in both the contracted areas. The solicitor appointed will be based in the firm’s Ringwood Office. Initially, whoever is appointed will be covering a maternity absence of up to 12 months but depending upon how the role develops during the maternity absence, this could develop into a full-time position once Letchers’ Criminal Partner returns back from maternity leave. Salary commensurate with experience including Private Health cover, and share of out of hours Duty Solicitor payments. How to apply Please send your CV and covering letter addressing the skills and competencies required for the role to Joanna.firstname.lastname@example.org
MISSING WILLS: Mrs Audrey June Arnett
PAGE GULLIFORD AND GREGORY SOLICITORS PART TIME ASSISTANT to help in Probate and Family Department, some experience helpful but not necessary. Computer skills essential. Please apply to Fiona Coulter at Fiona@pagegulliford.co.uk
50 Summerson Lodge, Alverstone Road, Southsea, Hampshire PO4 8GS Dob 14/02/1928 Dod 17/05/2016
Mr Duncan Mitchell 44 Tintagel Way, Port Solent, Portsmouth PO6 4SS Dob 10/12/1932 Dod 27/05/2016
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Hampshire Law Societies Premium Legal Business Magazine with the Latest Legal Business News, Law Society News and Updates, Local Partnership...
Published on Jul 27, 2016
Hampshire Law Societies Premium Legal Business Magazine with the Latest Legal Business News, Law Society News and Updates, Local Partnership...