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The City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society

REPORT The

Summer 2017

JONATHON BRAY

Is financial services regulation in your blind spot? Page 22

Inside this issue:

■ Probate ■ Technology ■ Mediation ■ Conveyancing


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Contents

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The City of Westminster & Holborn Law Society

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ADVERTISING AND FEATURES EDITOR Anna Woodhams DESIGN AND PRODUCTION MANAGER John Barry ACCOUNTS DIRECTOR Joanne Casey MEDIA NO. 1500 PUBLISHEDMAY 2017 © Benham Publishing Ltd. LEGAL NOTICE © Benham Publishing. None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. Benham Publishing would like to point out that all editorial comment and articles are the responsibility of the originators and may or may not reflect the opinions of Benham Media. No responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracies that may occur, correct at time of going to press. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

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The City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society welcomes all persons eligible for membership regardless of Sex, Race, Religion, Age, Disability or Sexual Orientation. DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are the views of the individual writers and not the society unless specifically stated to be otherwise. All statements as to the law are for discussion between members and should not be relied upon as an accurate statement of the law, are of a general nature and do not constitute advice in any particular case or circumstance. Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified Legal Advice.

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COVER INFORMATION

Cover image: Jonathon Bray, Jonathon Bray Legal Services Limited.

COPY DEADLINES Autumn

16th July 2017

Winter

16th October 2017

Spring

18th January 2018

Members wishing to submit material please contact the Editor, Ivan Ho, before copy deadline.

Email:

ih@hunters-solicitors.co.uk

Anyone else wishing to advertise or submit editorial for publication in the Report please contact Anna Woodhams before copy deadline.

Email: Tel:

anna@benhampublishing.com 0151 236 4141

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THE PRESIDENT’S COLUMN CWHLS MEMBER’S REPORT LOCAL ISSUES NEWS EVENT MANAGEMENT WINE COLUMN PROBATE PROPERTY FINANCE SPOTLIGHT MEDIATION TECHNOLOGY LEGACIES CONVEYANCING BOOK REVIEW

President:

Hon Secretary:

Hon Treasurer:

Editor:

Administrator:

Nicholas Le Riche NicholasLERICHE@bdb-law.co.uk 020 7783 3560 Jonathan Cornthwaite jcornthwaite@wedlakebell.com 020 7395 3122 Bruce Clarke bruce.clarke@lbmw.com 020 7222 5381 Ivan Ho ih@hunters-solicitors.co.uk 020 7412 0050 Susie Hust, 1 The Sanctuary, London SW1P 3JT admin@cwhls.org.uk 020 7960 7115

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Introduction

THE PRESIDENT’S COLUMN With Spring well and truly here now, we have a number of interesting and entertaining events coming up in the coming months.

First of all, Katherine Holland QC and Richard Langham, both of Landmark Chambers, will deliver the Nigel Mayhew memorial lecture on Thursday 27 April at 6pm, which will take place at the offices of Bircham Dyson Bell. Eschewing the temptation to talk about Brexit and Trump, Katharine and Richard will address two interesting recent decisions of the Supreme Court which, in very different ways, consider the implications of long usage of land.

We are also really pleased to be able to confirm that the annual Legal Charities’ Garden Party will take place on 6 July in the beautiful Middle Temple Gardens. The theme for the Garden Party is in the process of being finalised so any imaginative suggestions will be gratefully received! Finally, preparations are now well under way for the National Conference of Local Law Societies which COWHLS will be hosting on the 9 and 10 November. The National Conference will take place at the prestigious Grange Hotel in St Pauls and there will be a gala dinner on the evening of 10 November which will feature, amongst other entertainment, an after dinner speech by the reliably amusing former ITN Political Editor and Strictly Come Dancing star, John Sergeant. Tickets for both the National Conference and gala dinner can now be purchased from the Event Brite website (www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/national-local-law-societiesconference-2017-tickets-31322979876).

NICHOLAS LE RICHE PRESIDENT

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CWHLS Member's Report

Joint Chairs of CWHLS International Committee, Jeffrey Forrest and Professor Sara Chandler, having returned from the international delegation visit to Colombia in September, set off for Luxembourg for the FBE Congress from 13th to 15th October.

There are many aspects of the deals that the UK needs to negotiate over the next two years which affect solicitors. It has been an interesting period for Londoners and for solicitors in Holborn and Westminster in particular. Not many people know that a CWHLS member, David Greene of Edwin Coe, was part of the team that defended the decision on BREXIT and parliamentary sovereignty in the Supreme Court, and on 24th January heard the news that the team had been successful. The Prime Minister signed the Art 50 letter and it was delivered triggering the next step. Withdrawal from the EU has implications for our London firms where European lawyers are working, and also for solicitors qualified in England & Wales who are working in firms on the continent of Europe. We need to know what the future will be for solicitors working permanently or temporarily in Europe. CWHLS has a useful data base of lawyers working in firms in several European cities so they can be contacted when needed. Our work is cross border, and not confined to the UK. Clouds over Europe The possibility of nationalist and populist parties, with xenophobic agendas, gaining parliamentary power sufficient to trigger more exit referenda places further risk to the European community of legal professionals. In France, the National Front Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen fields about 24% in opinion polls, but the party has only 2 out of 577 MPs. In Germany, Frauke Petry of the Alternative for Germany party has 13% in opinion polls and no MPs, and the elections will be in September 2017. Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom PVV in the Netherlands has 12 out of 150 MPs, and the current poll rating is 31%. The Freedom Party in Austria, leader Heinz-Christian Strache has the highest poll ratings at 34% and has 38 out of 183 MPs. In Italy there are two parties campaigning to leave: the Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo, which has 91 out of 630 MPs and 28% rating in the polls, and the Northern League which has 15 out of 630 MPs, leader Matteo Salvini has 14% in the poll ratings. The Italian elections are in May 2018. Greece, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Hungary all have parties campaigning for exit referenda. I am indebted to Jonathan Watson’s helpful article in the IBA’s magazine Global Insight February /March 2017 for the information on European parties. London: What have the EU and climate change got in common? Londoners have been increasingly concerned because of pollution trapped over the city, another cloud over Europe. Parents of children suffering from asthma attacks have been particularly worried. Schools have raised their concerns publicly. I remember the first time my eldest son, then aged 7, was having severe breathing difficulties, and his situation became so extreme we drove to the nearest hospital. He was rapidly diagnosed with asthma and assisted. It was a extremely anxious time for his parents and I can imagine the fears of other parents faced with the impact of pollution on their children. The Mayor of London is attempting to restrict pollutants and improve air quality in the capital. The latest attempt to rein in the use of diesel is one of the measures. In November 2016 ClientEarth, an organisation based in London, won its High Court case against the UK Government over its failure to tackle illegal air pollution across the UK. The Court ruled that the Environment Secretary had failed to take measures that would bring the UK into compliance with the law “as soon as possible”. The Government’s planned 2020 compliance for some cities, and 2025 for London, had

IS IT ALL ABOUT BREXIT? Most written about topic in the legal world currently? Britain’s exit from the European Union. Why does that matter to CWHLS members? Pic: The Hague

been chosen because that was the date when ministers thought they would face European Commission fines, not which they considered “as soon as possible.” This was the second case which ClientEarth brought against the UK government. In April 2015, ClientEarth won a Supreme Court ruling against the government which ordered ministers to come up with a plan to bring air pollution down within legal limits as soon as possible. Those plans were so poor that ClientEarth took the government back to the High Court in a Judicial Review. In the 2016 judgement, the Court ruled that the government’s 2015 Air Quality Plan failed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling or relevant EU Directives and said that the government had erred in law by fixing compliance dates based on over optimistic modelling of pollution levels. The cornerstone of international climate change policy is the commitment to global emissions reductions. Twenty years ago in 1996 in a meeting of the Council of the EU two degrees centigrade reduction was recommended and has remained the target ever since. There has never been agreement on how the reduction can be achieved. When discussing reductions in the UK it is generally argued that the UK should do so in order to comply with EU policy. In 1996 the UK representative at the Council of the EU meeting the Rt Hon John Gummer MP, who was then Secretary of State for the Environment and a very influential advocate on climate change policy. John Gummer is now Chair of the Committee on Climate Change at Westminster, a committee set up under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Domestic policy on climate change provides the framework for policies to roll back the march of climate change. What does that mean for solicitors, beyond personal responsibility? There is an increasing role and CWHLS is hosting a climate change conference on 10th November 2017 in London as part of the Federation of European Bars (FBE) Autumn congress. CWHLS will not only host the FBE 50th Congress, in its 25th Anniversary year, but at the same time is hosting the National Conference of Local Law Societies. There is much to discuss next November; CWHLS members should save the date right away. I attended the Opening of the Legal Year ceremony in Milan a few weeks ago, in my role as Vice President of the FBE. At the CWHLS annual gala dinner in 2016, we were joined by 30 lawyers from Milan, who enjoyed a three day visit to London, hosted by CWHLS. I was delighted to meet up with many of the group in Milan. Several CWHLS members were part of the team which took our Italian guests on visits to the Supreme Court, Parliament, Middle and Inner Temple, the Royal Courts of Justice and Kings College. Thanks again to Arthur Weir, Adam Maberly, Jeffrey Forrest and Laura McKoy for making that visit so successful. We look forward to welcoming lawyers from Milan next November, along with around 100 lawyers from all over Europe. CWHLS members who are keen to get involved should contact me on sarachandler.lawsociety@gmail.com From 1st to 3rd June this year, the FBE will hold its Spring Congress in The Hague at the International Criminal Court. The theme of the Congress is “The Lawyer in dialogue with the International Criminal Court”. CWHLS members will be really welcome, and please see www.fbe.org for more information.

Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon) CWHLS International Committee.

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Local Issues

Report of the Professional Matters Sub-Committee April 2017

We are concerned that Law Society Council members are inhibited in what they can report to their constituency members and local law societies. Currently there is a proliferation of so-called pink papers which Council members are required to keep confidential. In our view the Law Society Council should be pressed to adopt a policy of allowing open debate as the general rule. Pink papers should only be resorted to where the need to maintain confidentiality was properly explained and justified. Normally it would be obvious when sensitive issues that need to be kept confidential are being discussed. Even where there is such a need, it will not always be more than a short term need. We are also concerned at the decision in the case of Dreamvar (UK) Ltd v Mishcon de Reya & Others. In that case Mishcon (despite being found to have acted honestly and nonnegligently) was held to be liable to its client for breach of trust for paying money intended for completion of its client’s purchase of a London property to a fraudster tenant who had duped its

client into believing he was the owner. Apparently an attempt to sue the vendor’s solicitor for breach of warranty of authority failed (although those solicitors should have been in a better position to establish their client’s identity than was Mishcon). Deputy High Court Judge David Railton QC said Mishcon had insurance to cover the loss suffered in full, and was in a better position than the client to face the consequences. It seems that there will be an appeal, and that the Law Society may intervene. We will also be watching the Legal Ombudsman Service’s proposals to extend its remit to considering complaints against non-solicitor entities providing legal services without apparently requiring those other entities to pay for this. As mentioned in my last report, the Competition and Markets Authority also proposes extending the ombudsman scheme to non-regulated entities. It would be quite wrong for solicitors to have to pay for a service to clients of non-solicitor entities. We have also noted a recent decision of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which made it apparent that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) had made late allegations of dishonesty which in the end were not pursued at the hearing. This had greatly added to the costs, and escalated a not very serious matter out of all proportion. We have both anecdotal evidence and direct evidence from members involved in this field that the SRA quite often alleges dishonesty in addition to less serious allegations but in the end does not pursue the dishonesty allegations because it does not have the necessary evidence to do so. This suggests that the SRA does not apply the strict rules as to alleging dishonesty that apply in civil proceedings. In our view it should be bound to apply similar rules. aylmer.julian@btinternet.com.

Julian Aylmer

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The Report


Local Issues

London Internet Exchange votes against ‘Snooper’s Charter’ with gag order - Who will be next to oppose? The London Internet Exchange (LINX) has taken steps to implement gagging orders on its directors to override the Investigatory Powers Act New research shows that three quarters of the UK public were completely unaware that the Act had been passed Corporate fraud solicitors Rahman Ravelli publishes guide on police surveillance in the UK and comments on the confusion surrounding the LINX debate The UK’s largest net peering network, the London Internet Exchange, has rejected proposals made by the recent Investigatory Powers Act, which requires them to hand customer data over to intelligence agencies. What this means for the passing of the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ is uncertain. Its members, which include high-profilers such as Google and Netflix, are sure to be keen for a decision to be reached. After stating that a frank discussion needs to be made, Adrian Kennard who runs the small ISP, Andrews & Arnold, said that “do any of us [LINX members] want to be part of an organisation that would secretly snoop on its members? I would not.” It appears that LINX is in the minority in their opposition; as research conducted by serious crime solicitors, Rahman Ravelli, has revealed that three quarters (76%) of people in the UK were completely unaware of the Act and the ramifications.

Aziz Rahman, Senior Partner at Rahman Ravelli, believes that there needs to be better communication across the board about what the new Act means: “Our research shows a real lack of awareness across the board regarding the Investigatory Powers Act and what it means for our human rights. The situation with LINX has only served to confuse things further. “LINX has since released a statement claiming that the news reports have misrepresented the situation and, in ways, overexaggerated it. “This said, I think we would all like to know where the situation stands. The Investigatory Powers Act is a drastic change for surveillance in the UK, and given that LINX are the provider of many of our most-visited sites, it affects us directly. “It begs the question, of course - given that such a high-profile body as LINX has expressed compliance issues, who will be next to follow suit?” If you would like to read more about the Investigatory Powers Act and police surveillance in the UK, you can find Rahman Ravelli’s latest article at http://www.rahmanravelli.co.uk/articles/police-surveillanceand-human-rights/

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Local Issues

Lester Aldridge is the first UK law firm to offer Medallion Signature Guarantees Leading local law firm, Lester Aldridge, is pleased to announce it is the first law firm in the UK to be authorised to act as guarantors under the US Medallion Signature Guarantee STAMP programme.

To complement the firm’s specialist services in assisting executors and beneficiaries around the world with administering estate assets located in North America, Lester Aldridge has now extended its offering and is an authorised guarantor to handle Medallion Signature Guarantee applications, without having to refer any part of the process to a third party. When an individual with shares in North America passes away, a Medallion Signature Guarantee is usually required by transfer agents to guarantee the authority of the person signing the transfer forms. The Medallion Signature Guarantee is a barcoded stamp, which also provides a certification that the signature being guaranteed is genuine. It is a statutory requirement when managing the sale or transfer of shares and mutual funds in North America. The Medallion acts to limit the liability and loss by safeguarding against forged signatures. Oliver Phipps, Partner and Head of the International Private Client team at Lester Aldridge commented: “We are delighted to be enrolled as a provider of Medallion Signature Guarantees and pleased to be the first law firm in the UK to provide this service.� “Medallion Guarantees are often not easy to obtain if you are a resident outside of the USA, however, my team can offer all the advice and expertise needed to ensure a smooth transaction under one roof, during what can often be a difficult time.� Lester Aldridge is a regulated firm of solicitors with offices in Bournemouth, Southampton and London. Its expert team is able to assist with all aspects of North America estate administration, including the completion of applications for federal estate tax clearance certificates. For further assistance with estate assets in North America, including Medallion Signature Guarantee applications, contact Lester Aldridge’s International Private Client team on 01202 786161 or email info@LA-law.com. Providing outstanding legal advice, Lester Aldridge has core practice areas in real estate, litigation, private client and commercial services, which it delivers nationally and

internationally through its global alliance with MSI, a network of professional service firms. For more information on the trusted legal advice Lester Aldridge offers businesses and individuals, visit: www.lesteraldridge.com

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C G P The

Legal Charities Garden Party Lawyers Helping Lawyers Hosted by The City of Westminster & Holborn Law Society

6 July 2017 6pm – 8pm

Middle Temple Gardens Enjoy an evening in the beautiful surroundings of Middle Temple Gardens – networking, catching up with old friends and perhaps meeting new ones!

Entire proceeds go to the Legal Charities: SBA - The Solicitors’ Charity The Barristers’ Benevolent Association Institute of Barristers’ Clerks’ Benevolent Fund CILEx Benevolent Fund LawCare

Kindly sponsored by:

For tickets go to: tinyurl.com/mrdvlr2


Local Issues

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The City of Westminster & Holborn Law Society www.cwhls.org.uk

The City of Westminster & Holborn Law Society are pleased to invite you to the 2017 National Conference.

Protection Under Section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 Unknown creditors can pose a particular challenge for trustees of an estate. When a trust is wound up, the trustees are tasked with disbursing funds in three categories: • to any outstanding creditors • their own reasonable administration costs, and finally • to those who are beneficiaries under the terms of the trust. However, there may be creditors of whom the trustees are not aware. How are the trustees protected in the event of a claim?

Insurance Some trustees rely on credit liability contingency insurance, which is readily available in the insurance markets. It provides protection should any beneficiaries make a successful claim to assets which ought to have been paid to them from the trust, had the trustees known of them, and their rightful claim. However, there may be reasons why securing such insurance is not feasible and, where insurance can be secured, the costs involved may be so high as to be prohibitive.

Section 27 protection

P R O G R A M M E 9th November

Welcome drinks in the Sky Bar, with fantastic views over St Pauls and the City of London. 10th November The Conference programme Welcome address from The Law Society President : Joe Egan Risk Management and what your PI Insurers want to hear How to reach those hard to get to places : Reaching our to your members, whatever the geography of your bailliwick How do other professions manage it ? Accompanying persons Guided tours of London, including a boat trip Gala Dinner Guest speaker John Sergeant

We are filming the conference to enable delegates to disseminate presentations to its members. We have also negotiated preferential rates at The Grange. Booking details : www.eventbrite.co.uk

Section 27 provides that the trustees may give notice by advertisement in the Gazette and in a newspaper of their intention to make a distribution, requiring any person with a claim to send to the trustees or personal representatives, within two months, particulars of his claim in respect of the property or any part thereof to which the notice relates. After the two month period the trustees can safely press ahead with disbursing the assets of the trust, taking into consideration only the claims of creditors of which they have had notice.

How can TMP Reynell help? We have been experts in Estate and Trustee statutory advertising since it began, so you can be sure we’ll make the whole process of arranging the publication of section 27 advertisements as simple, fast and cost effective as possible. Our online ordering system makes the process very easy. Just go to http://www.tmpreynell.co.uk/order-online/, register, submit the simple form and we’ll do the rest. What will happen next? • We’ll process your order and set your adverts • We’ll account for the requisite claims period of two months and one day • We’ll email you to let you know when your advert will appear, how much it will cost and the claims expiry date • We will always send a PDF of your adverts once they have appeared, along with our invoice • Need a quote? Just state this on your order and we’ll get back to you with prices

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Statutory Advertising Services Trustee Act

Insolvency

Licensing

International

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Local Issues

Does the Law Society matter any more? Many times these pages have illuminated a litany of concerns about the particular problems facing one or other sections of our profession. Whether as practitioners in areas where producing viable returns was increasingly challenging or as proprietors of businesses struggling for economies of scale within the thrust for market consolidation, we have taken a pounding over recent years if not decades. Whole ways of traditional professional life have faced change and in many case have been and gone. And frequently in the background there have been the refrain what is the Law Society doing about this, the Law Society is useless, what is the point of being a member of the Law Society? But now new issues emerge to take precedence over the worries of the past in a way that may shake our profession to the core and from which we will emerge into a truly different world. And for once the refrain is thank goodness for the Law Society; the Law Society is making good points and has got its act together! But these new challenges threaten not just the profession but potentially the very existence of our representative body and the solicitors' profession such that we need not just to slap the back and mouth hoorah but actually get involved in a way many of us have never considered before.

gathering pace. If they achieve their goal we risk losing by far the greater part of our resources and will have to look to the profession for support. In recognition of this potential the Law Society has been working hard on repositioning and developing a "value proposition" to members focussed on delivering key benefits to Solicitor Lawyers and their businesses around three core objectives. These are: helping us develop our careers and expand our businesses whoever they are; promoting solicitors including highlighting our ethical standards and the added value from using solicitors; speaking out in defence of our core values including importance of the rule of law and of justice and as the prime commentator on legal issues, a bold and important position statement.

However we need to get behind the Law Society in this fight back, we need to get engaged. To help us it has launched the “My Law Society” initiative. So far less than 10% of us have signed up but services we currently receive free such as practice notes will soon be They are the title Solicitor and the Law Society as we know it. Our available only to those who have signed up. They will still detractors classify these under the banner of no longer be free but we must sign up. For some perceived higher relevant. Both face what could be extinction and in What is value services, firms and practitioners may have to make many ways the problems are self-inflicted. other appropriate financial contributions. the point of The first is our USP, our brand, the very word solicitor is A new world and a new approach but we will see the being a falling into disuse. Most solicitors now call themselves benefit. We must, for if we don’t what we stand for may be lawyers in all but the most formal of situations. Many member of lost with consequences not just for us but for those we law firms refer to themselves as law firms or just as serve. the Law Lawyers. The only identification with the word solicitor is The Law Society and what its Council do and decide does Society? often in the small print. We need to rethink the wisdom matter to us as Solicitor Lawyers and now is the time for of this and fast. In our jurisdiction almost anyone can every one of us to engage effectively with the new call themselves a lawyer with the result that in some sectors we now revamped Society. We are a £25.7 bn business sector and just one compete with almost everyone. There is almost no legal work where we have any sense of an exclusive right to practise and our regulator of many examples of what we do is the work being done by the Law Society to overcome the identified downsides of Brexit. These include would prefer there were none. Yet in many other jurisdictions protecting cross border practicing rights and ensuring effective cross including that from which the modern use of lawyer largely hales the border working legal mechanisms are preserved as well as mutual opposite is true. We will not change that but we can take our name recognition of legal processes. back and we should all of us do it and now. Calling ourselves Solicitor Lawyers might be a simple and effective start. But we must give that rebirth some punch too by taking back control of education and training or at least of setting and testing standards. And we must set the bar high. Whist qualification must be accessible to all, what it means to be a Solicitor Lawyer must be and must be perceived externally as something which is a professional standard well above the rest. A strong statement of our ability to deliver exactly what clients want. And we must have zero tolerance of transgressors who let clients down.

And it will also be a more effective and representative Council in the future. At the May Council meeting we will look at and hopefully implement the first of a number of new governance proposals initiating the new Main Board and the terms of reference approved by Council last year. This will enable us to enhance management decision making and ensure oversight and effective implementation of new policy and strategy. And then we will look at Council itself. Council needs to be far more representative of the profession as it now is and will be as well as more efficient in delivering its contribution.

The second threat is rooted in the reality that our regulators do not seem to share our vision that society needs a strong, independent, diverse and effective profession. They seem to prefer us weak, regulatorily handcuffed, with indifferent educational standards and most relevantly, prefer us to be fundless.

So yes the Law Society matters and it is doing better and though it still has to improve it is getting better and for all the reasons above we need to give it real support not just for us but for our clients and public interest too.

The SRA's progressive campaign for full independence and token acknowledgement of our statutory regulatory responsibility is

Fraser Whitehead

12 The Report


Local Issues

Over 10,000 will walk for justice in London on 22nd May Over 10,000 people, the majority of them lawyers, will walk to raise funds for free legal advice services in London and the South East on the 22nd May. The annual London Legal Walk has attracted the support of the whole of the legal profession who are fundraising to enable colleagues in Law Centres, Citizens Advice Bureaux and advice agencies to continue to help vulnerable people access vital free legal advice. Last year’s walk raised £740,000 and organisers aim to do better this year. The people that the advice centres help include families facing homelessness, elderly people requiring community care, trafficked women and children, disabled people, refugees, people who are facing unemployment and those with mental health problems. These vulnerable people have suffered most during the recession. Meanwhile, cuts in civil legal aid and council grants have made access to free legal advice in the capital much scarcer. Legal Aid firms in the high street have diminished rapidly, some advice centres have closed and most others have had to severely reduce casework staff. Lawyers from all parts of the profession recognise the need for legal help for the vulnerable and come together to raise funds. The most senior judges walk side by side with law students; corporate lawyers and QCs with high street solicitors and caseworkers working in frontline advice centres. Many in-house lawyers from multinational companies will be walking.

“Free legal advice services change people’s lives, providing them with expert help in their hour of need. LLST work with the charities we fund to ensure every pound raised goes as far as it can to help the most vulnerable. Thank you to everyone who has supported the walk thus far, and please do continue to sponsor your friends, colleagues, family members and clients to help us break the fundraising record!” The walk starts and ends in Carey Street, WC2A - behind the Royal Courts of Justice. The walkers set off between 4.30 and 7pm - lead walkers will be available for photographs between 5.00 and 6.00pm (and all together at 5.15pm). The London Legal Walk is sponsored and supported by the Law Society. For more information, visit www.llst.org.uk or contact:

Bob Nightingale 01372 810466 bob@llst.org.uk

Vicky Ling, Chief Executive of the Trust says “We are thrilled that the legal profession have again risen to the challenge and will be turning out in even greater numbers than before.

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News

SRA announces new solicitors assessment to guarantee high standards The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will be introducing an independent assessment, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), to make sure all solicitors meet consistent, high standards at the point of entry to the profession. The SQE will replace the current system of qualification, where multiple courses and examinations mean that neither the public nor law firms can have full confidence that qualifying solicitors are all meeting the same high standards. Almost four out of five members of the public say they would have more confidence in solicitors if they passed the same final examination (see Notes to Editors). As well as building trust and confidence, the SQE should also help widen access to the profession. It will help validate different routes to qualification, including ‘earn as you learn’ pathways such as apprenticeships. The SQE structure will also get rid of the current problem where many would-be solicitors have to take the ‘Legal Practice Course (LPC) gamble’ by paying large up-front costs, often up to £15,000, with no guarantee of a training contract or becoming a solicitor. The new assessment will introduce a more flexible approach to a period of work-based experience, addressing the training contract bottleneck.

a fair opportunity to qualify. And it will meet public expectations that all solicitors take the same exam and meet the same high professional standards. Views on the SQE are wide ranging. The depth of feedback has been invaluable in helping us shape our proposals. We want that to continue. By working closely with everyone we will create a modern, world class assessment.” The new qualification will have four elements. In order to qualify as a solicitor, candidates will need to: • have passed SQE stages 1 and 2 to demonstrate they have the right knowledge and skills • have been awarded a degree or an equivalent qualification, or have gained equivalent experience • have completed at least two years of qualifying legal work experience

The decision comes after 18 months of extensive engagement. The SRA has spoken to almost 9,000 people, and had more than 500 responses to its two consultations. It has responded by making changes to its initial proposals, including making a degree or equivalent, and a two-year period of work experience, necessary for qualification.

After full implementation, candidates who have already started working towards qualifying to be a solicitor will have the choice of which route to follow – the existing route or the SQE – for a number of years. The SRA will consult on these transitional arrangements later this year.

As well as the public, support for the principle of an independent assessment has come from groups such as the Law Society, Legal Services Consumer Panel and Junior Lawyers Division. But there has also been resistance to the SQE from some organisations,including training providers.

It will also soon begin the process of appointing an assessment organisation for the SQE. Once appointed, the SRA will work with the assessment organisation, and the rest of the sector, on the detail of the SQE. It is encouraging anyone who wants to be involved to let it know at t4t@sra.org.uk

The most consistent feedback across different groups is that more work is needed to get the detail of the assessment right. The SRA will work closely with experts – from academics to law firms – on the design, testing and delivery of the SQE. It has also pushed back the implementation date until, at the earliest, September 2020 to do this, and to give everyone sufficient time to prepare.

A summary of the responses to the consultation and the SRA’s decision on next steps is available here: www.sra.org.uk/sra/consultations/solicitors-qualifyingexamination.page

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: "We all need to be able to trust that those who enter the profession are fit to practise. The current system cannot provide that confidence. The new SQE will provide assurance that all those who qualify, regardless of pathway or background, meet the consistent high standards we set on behalf of the public. It will help law firms recruit the best talent, while still giving them flexibility to tailor training to their businesses’ needs. It will help the best education providers to show just how qgood they are, and give candidates, from all backgrounds,

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• be of satisfactory character and suitability.


News

SBA The Solicitors’ Charity publishes data on its beneficiaries for the first time SBA The Solicitors’ Charity has today (date) published its first overview of the personal and professional characteristics of some of the people it supported during 2016. The report looked at a sample group of 167 individual solicitors, former solicitors and their family members: • 59% were already in receipt of SBA funding, usually as part of an annually assessed award. However, 41% were approaching SBA for help for the first time, a substantial increase in the numbers seeking help for personal financial hardship and support with career transition.

• 52% of the solicitor beneficiaries were either sole practitioners or had worked for small firms. 20% were from larger or City firms. SBA’s most senior solicitor beneficiary was admitted in 1948. The most recent applied to SBA for help within five months of their admission ceremony.

• The majority of these new applicants (97%) were all current or former solicitors and their average age was 49. The average age for all SBA beneficiaries was 56, with a gender split of 52% female: 48% male. The youngest SBA beneficiary was 29, the eldest, 101.

• At the start of 2016, criminal and personal injury practitioners were in a clear majority when SBA asked about former practice area. By the end of 2016, the dominance of these groups had been reduced by an increase in requests from colleagues working in property, civil litigation, family and housing law.

• 17% identified as black, Asian and minority ethnic. Figures split fairly evenly between Asian lawyers (8%) and African, AfricanCaribbean & Black British lawyers (7%), with ‘Other’ at 2%. • 19% of beneficiaries lived in London and a further 15% in the South East. Figures contrast with the Law Society’s Annual Statistics Report (2015), which shows practising solicitors in London and the South East as 40.2% and 9.6% respectively. Regions outside London and the South East were strongly represented for SBA, particularly the South West (17%), North West (14%) and Eastern (10%). • 69% had health issues, the single most prevalent of which was poor mental health. There was also a noticeable incidence in the number of people dealing with a sudden diagnosis of cancer (12%).

“While it’s critically important to maintain the absolute confidentiality of everyone who approaches SBA The Solicitors’ Charity, it’s also clear that we hold a unique set of data about the people who need our help,” explains Tim Martin, SBA’s Chief Executive. “Over time, we will be able to monitor and measure any changes in trends and this will enable SBA to continue to meet existing needs as well as identify emerging issues.” To find out more, visit www.sba.org.uk or telephone in confidence on 020 8675 6440.

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Event Management

YOUR ADVENTURE BEGINS...

Poole based Event Management Agency, Eventscape, has been organising events across the UK and Overseas since 2002. We create high end incentives and events, resulting in memorable experiences for our clients and partners. We organise Conferences & Board Meetings, Corporate Hospitality, Incentive & Reward programmes, Gala Dinners, Team Building and have our own Marine events division. With a wealth of countries, venues and activities available to the corporate market, the UK may logistically appeal but it is also worth considering overseas locations as sometimes these prove more cost effective. If your brief calls for a luxury one day incentive to ‘thank Partners’, contemplate chartering a private plane to France to taste Champagne in Reims, Fine Wines in Bordeaux or a gastronique delight in Paris… Consider a decadent evening of Champagne and fine dining prepared by a top Celebrity Chef on the Belmond British Pullman, whilst being whisked back in time to a more gracious age of travel. Golfing and Driving days can be magically enhanced…transport your guests to Lapland and let them try snowmobiling, Husky, Reindeer or Porsche driving or a very unusual game of golf on the frozen icescapes. Successful events may sometimes require interesting quirky elements to boost attendance. We can bring your next event to life, be it Annual Conference, Gala Dinner or Award Ceremony with lavish décor, fresh exciting performers and energisers. We offer a free venue finding service and the best hotel agency rates. Working closely with the stunning New Forest Hotel, Chewton Glen, this beautiful location provides a backdrop for Board meetings, which you may find are more productive held out of the office. We are proud of our new partnership with Somerley House as their preferred activity and event supplier. Look on our website www.eventscape.co.uk for ideas and dates for your diary for a quintessentially English summer: Henley Festival A unique black tie summer party set on the Banks of the River Thames to celebrate the very best of International and UK Music, Art, Food and Comedy 5th – 9th July 2017

16 The Report

Royal Ascot Not only a national institution for Horse Racing but a centre piece of the British social and sporting calendar 20th – 24th June 2017 The Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup The premier Polo tournament in the world at 22 goal level, played to decide the British Open Polo Championship at Cowdray Park. 23rd July 2017 Cowes Week The largest Sailing Regatta of its kind in the world. 29th July – 5th August 2017 MARINE EVENTS Our specialist Marine division organises luxury Powerboat and Yacht Charters from the Solent and Poole Harbour. Our Marine staff are professionally accredited and with a wealth of experience of water based charters, we are able to offer boats of varying size and budget to suit all requirements. We offer luxury packages from our selection of powerboats, as a platform for you to bond with your corporate clients to watch your chosen regatta or enjoy VIP hospitality. We will be hosting a fantastic demo afternoon on board a stunning Sunseeker Predator 56 Powerboat, please email us if you would like to attend on enquiries@eventscape.co.uk ■ Tel: 01202 853202


Wine Column

Buying Wine: A luxury open to us all There are few greater pleasures in life than being able to dip into a well looked after wine collection. To Collect

The Full Service

• Having a curated wine cellar can suit your needs be it for a special occasion or just for a glass of wine during the week • Wines become rarer as people enjoy them and therefore it is harder to find desirable mature wines. The surest way of securing the best wines is to buy them upon release and build your collection allowing it to mature • If you buy your wine young, it is often cheaper than buying mature wine • If you were to buy multiple cases of the same wine and sell a portion when the wine matures, it can in effect, fund what you drink

• Armit offers storage for your wine at Octavian cellars, the world’s best fine wine storage facility. It is a bonded warehouse, meaning you do not pay taxes on the wine until you take delivery of it. It ensures perfect provenance and traceability on all of your cases • If you decide to sell your wine, Armit Wines can offer the wine for sale on a broking basis. We offer it to existing clients at a fee of 10% upon sale. If it does not sell, there is no fee • We frequently hold dinners and tastings through the year. They range from more formal dinners with a winemaker, to informal and one on one • The least tangible but one of the most important aspects. You will be looked after by one account manager, offering a truly personalised experience. Your main point of contact for all queries, whether it is accounts, purchases, storage etc. will get the focus and attention it deserves.

Wine range Representing some of the best wines the world over. The Armit Wines range includes Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Gaja and Bruno Giacosa from Italy; Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Fourrier and Domaine Roumier from Burgundy; Chateau Lafleur from Pomerol, Bordeaux; Diamond Creek from California to name a few truly world class names!

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Probate

Protecting Property When somebody dies, the largest element that makes up their estate is usually their home. This is often their own property, filled with a lifetime of memories, keepsakes and belongings. After the owner’s death, this building and its contents take on a very different role and to an administrator. The property is viewed in more simple terms and is very often the estates most valuable asset. As you all know, it is the role of the estate administrator to ‘manage’ and ‘realise’ these assets, but there is so much more work involved in these two words than meets the eye. They bring a whole new set of challenges to manage. These include the largely unpredictable British weather and the evenings provide criminals with perfect opportunities for acts of burglary and vandalism. Insurance company Aviva shared their claims statistics for the ten years between 2002-2012, and reported a 150% increase in claims for malicious damage to homes during this period. More vulnerable empty properties such as probate properties are at even greater risk of damage from vandalism and weather. Empty properties such as these hit the headlines last year when an article in the Telegraph stated: ‘More than 700,000 residential properties in England are left unoccupied, according to the charity Empty Homes. These vacant properties are often managed by people taking responsibility for the estate or affairs of another person or while a property is awaiting sale. However, many wrongly assume that existing buildings and contents cover would provide adequate protection should something go wrong and as a result, hundreds of thousands of homes are currently uninsured’.

With the demands of your workload you would perhaps struggle to see how you might arrange them all yourself. This is another area, in addition to our more widely known research, where our experienced staff at Fraser & Fraser would work with you, providing you with a trusted partner to offer support throughout the lifecycle of your case. Things to consider: - Maintenance & Security - Empty Property Insurance - Property Valuations - Energy Performance Certificate - Probate sales - Property Clearance If you are administering an estate with which you require our assistance or are experiencing difficulties, contact one of our case managers now to discuss how we can help: legal@fraserandfraser.co.uk or 020 7832 1430

GENEALOGISTS AND INTERNATIONAL PROBATE RESEARCHERS Phone: 020 7832 1430

I am a Solicitor

Email: info@fraserandfraser.co.uk

Looking for for Missing Beneficiaries Missing Beneficiary Insurance Certificates Will Search Missing W Wiill Insurance Industry Regulation International Bankrruptcy Search Asset Search Share V Vaaluations, T Tra ransffers and Sales Probate Property Assistance



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Probate

PROBATE PURCHASERS With Tim Jackson What made you start a service specifically for purchasing probate properties? Since our inception in 2008 we have transacted over £60 million of property through SecureASale and a fair proportion of those homes have been in probate, purchased directly from executors or beneficiaries of the estate. The loss of a family member is often a very stressful time for all concerned and we wanted to differentiate our offering to ensure that we could provide the smoothest service possible in these circumstances. We are unique in the industry in that we only purchase with our own funds, not third party investors, which means that we can stand by our offers in full confidence. Where do you buy? We focus on London and the suburbs. By limiting our geographical catchment area, we can make decisions quickly and knowledgably in-house without the need for external valuation advice. This provides a level of certainty to our clients that our competitors generally struggle to match. How do probate purchases typically differ from the normal ‘quick sale’ model. Quite considerably in fact. There are a number of features common to probate sales that are often of equal importance to the vendor as the price. These include selling the house in its current condition, which is very often cluttered with old furniture, clothing, newspapers, you name it. Also, very often, time is not of the essence as probate can take weeks or months to be granted and the sale cannot complete until it does. However, in this situation vendors understandably want peace of mind that the offer will remain on the table until they are in a position to exchange contracts, which is something we offer.

We have purchased probate properties in as little as 48 hours at one end of the scale and with a 6 month completion at the other. Having the strong balance sheet we do allows us to ensure that cash flow is never an issue and because we offer a chain-free solution we can offer such flexibility. Why would a vendor sell to you rather than an end-user. In the current market, chain free purchasers are hard to come by. Many buy-to-let investors have been put off buying by the 3% Stamp Duty increase on second homes and the withdrawal of mortgage interest relief leaving owner occupiers as the main source of offers. Many probates are, by the very nature of the previous occupiers, family houses, something which rules out most first time buyers on cost alone. Older purchasers, who would be interested, usually have something to sell which means that the sale will be stuck in a chain. At what is often a stressful time for the beneficiaries of the estate, the simplicity and peace of mind that our service can offer is of paramount importance. How do you source your properties? We traditionally purchase probate properties via people contacting us through our website ProbatePurchasers.com and through estate agents on the open market. Increasingly however, we are being referred by solicitors to their clients as another option to consider. We have worked hard to cement our reputation as a reliable, straightforward purchaser and many solicitors who have acted on sales that we have been involved with recognise this. ProbatePurchasers.com is a new service from SecureASale Ltd, one of London’s longest established home-buying companies. Founded in 2008 by Tim Jackson and Eli Robinson, the firm prides itself on offering a straightforward, fast and reliable buying service and is a founder member of the National Association of Property Buyers and registered with The Property Ombudsman. How can solicitors or their clients contact you? Tel 020 7117 6660 / info@probatepurchasers.com

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Probate

Ilott v Mitson The role of insurance

The landscape surrounding the legal framework that currently applies to disappointed beneficiaries is potentially about to change. A landmark judgement from the Supreme Court in the Ilott v Mitson case is expected to clarify the position with regard to the application and scope of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 (the Act). In anticipation of this decision there has been a noticeable increase in the number of Personal Representatives seeking cover for potential claims under the Act.

they were treated as the deceased’s child or were being maintained by them? Insurers might decide to exclude claims by them from the policy or if cover is required for such claims, extensive underwriting would need to take place and if the insurer is comfortable with the risk, it will have implications on the level of premium.

By way of an abridged reminder, Melita Jackson died in 2004, leaving the majority of her estate (approximate value of £500,000) to three charities – RSPCA, RSPB and Blue Cross. Consequently, most policies provide cover more for the comfort She was estranged from her daughter, Heather Ilott, and had of the Personal Representatives ie where there are no known omitted her from her will (leaving two side letters explaining her potential claimants but where there is a desire to distribute the decision). Consequently, Mrs Ilott made a claim under the Act estate more expediently and not to wait for the time for making and received £50,000. A subsequent appeal by the charities claims under the Act to expire. Under the Act a quashed this award. Mrs Illot took the case to the potential claimant has six months from the date of Court of Appeal, which overturned the judgement The Supreme the grant of representation to make their claim but and awarded her the funds to purchase her Court’s ruling on also has an additional four months to serve papers property and a capital sum on top (approximately the appeal on the Personal Representatives, so it could be up £163,000 and £20,000 respectively). The Supreme against that to ten months before an estate becomes aware of Court’s ruling on the appeal against that decision decision is where any claim. It is worth noting that the Court has is where we have arrived at now. discretionary powers to permit applications after the we have arrived So where does this leave us in terms of possible six-month period, so the potential period may be in insurance solutions? As a rule, insurers are wary of at now. excess of the ten months. indemnifying estates where a known individual, in So how is the legal profession dealing with the the specified classes of potential claimants under situation? In many instances, it is difficult for a Personal the Act, has been omitted from a will. This is especially true if Representative, especially a professional one, to be certain that the individual omitted is a child of the deceased. While this was the case prior to the Ilott case, it has become even more difficult there are not individuals who would be entitled, or believe they should have been remembered, even if there is no suggestion of to secure cover since, in light of the outcome of the case and a potential claimant. As a result, some professional Personal given the intense media coverage surrounding it. Representatives in particular can be reluctant to allow funds to This is understandable, given that a policy will typically seek to be distributed within the ten month period. However, peace of protect the insured (normally the Personal Representatives but mind policies that allow early release of funds to beneficiaries can be extended to include the residuary beneficiaries as well) and remove the risk to Personal Representatives of personal from the moment a claim is received by the insurer, whether it liability in the event of a successful claim under the Act, after the has merit or not. As such, and as can be seen starkly in the Ilott distribution of the estate, can provide comfort and certainty in case, the time involved and costs of defending such a claim are uncertain times. not insignificant. While this is the first Inheritance Act claim to We eagerly await the Supreme Court ruling in the Ilott case and reach the Supreme Court, litigation and settlement costs can be its implications for Personal Representatives and their insurance financially onerous, especially after the distribution of the estate. options going forward. In light of the above, an insurer has to consider the approach in relation to the extent of cover a policy will provide. For example, Neil Kevan if a deceased had remarried and the new spouse had children Trust & Probate Underwriter, Legal & Contingency Limited from a former marriage, might they be entitled to claim because 20

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Property

THE UNCERTAINTY OF OWNER’S POWERS SKELWITH (LEISURE) LTD V ARMSTRONG [2015] EWHC 2830 (CH) CECILY CRAMPIN

When I was at law school, I was taught that the Land Registration Act 2002 was an Act designed to provide certainty. What the register said was right. The misty world of equitable interests is excluded from the register. A property interest has one owner, to the outside world, and that owner can be identified from the Register. Conveyancing is thus made clear, and the economic value of property protected.

he or she possesses” (nemo dat quod non habet); this was not appealed. Thus s24 is not a statutory provision which gives more rights than there were before.

That description of the Act has always been too purest. In part that is simply by necessity, because of the registration gap. Without econveyancing, someone buying a property won’t have legal title until some time after completion. For this reason at least, it seems, sections 23 and 24 of the Act give rights to deal with the property not just to the registered proprietor or the registered chargeholder. The rights to exercise owner’s powers are given to any person entitled to be registered as the proprietor (s24). Someone in the registration gap should be able to act as if they have title.

Presumably the point would also apply to an equitable assignee of a registered freehold or leasehold interest. Indeed Norris J has applied like reasoning to Skelwith in Stodday Land Ltd v Pye [2016] EWHC 2454 (Ch). The equitable assignee could not serve a statutory notice to quit because the general law (the statute) did not make him the landlord. What about transfer? Presumably, the equitable assignee could only assign the registered freehold, under s23, if he could have done so under the general law. It’s not at all obvious that under the general law he would have any such power He could assign his rights, but. That does not seem to be the exercise of an owner’s power bringing with it the effects of the Act. The answer in Skelton seems to defeat the intention of filling in the registration gap.

What seems to follow is that more than one person can transfer a registered interest in the property. This is the suggestion in the judgment of Rimer LJ in Helman v Keepers and Governors of the School of John Lyon [2014] EWCA Civ 17: if the trustee in bankruptcy has not entered a restriction Perhaps the answer on the bankrupt’s title, then, notwithstanding the automatic vesting of the bankrupt’s property in the is that “nemo dat trustee, “a bankrupt might be able to dispose to a quod non habet” purchaser of the estate vested in his trustee”.

is no longer the

The principle “nemo dat quod non habet” is central to the problem of balancing certainty and the rights of the unregistered. It seems odd that simply because someone has registered title, they should be able to transfer property free of their encumbrances, or transfer the property at all even though they were registered fraudulently. Yet that is the effect of the 2002 Act. On the other hand, if one took too seriously the nemo dat principle, all of the equitable rights that make land ownership so uncertain would have to be considered in any piece of conveyancing.

A recent case about an equitable owner of a correct way to registered charge suggests that the effect of s24 is understand either more limited than that first glance suggests. The legal or equitable title. words of s23 - owner’s powers are powers to make a disposition of any kind permitted by the general law - appear from Skelwith (Leisure) Ltd v Armstrong [2015] EWHC 2830 (Ch) to limit owner’s Perhaps the answer is that “nemo dat quod non habet” is no longer powers not just by reference to the kinds of dispositions there could the correct way to understand either legal or equitable title. The be of the particular property interest, but by reference to the particular answer is priorities. The legal owner of property where the equitable interest of the person entitled to be registered. interest is owned entirely by some other, does not own less of the property. It is just that someone else has a series of rights. The In Skelwith, the mortgagee assigned the legal charge by deed, but exercise of those rights is subject to rules of priority. The legal owner that assignment was not completed by registration, though the can charge or sell in a way that may postpone the rights in equity. assignee was entitled to be registered. The equitable assignee The person entitled to be registered, exercising owner’s powers, contracted to sell the property. The question for Newey J was may do so as if the owner, save that the rights he creates whether it had any power to sell. He found the assignee did, but not because that power was given to the assignee under s24. It was only are at risk of losing priority. because the assignee had that power by reason of the general law. By CECILY CRAMPIN The equitable assignee could give good receipt for the mortgage Falcon Chambers money within the meaning of s106(1) of the Law of Property Act 1925, and could exercise the power of sale arising under s101, because the mortgage had been made by deed and the money was due. Thus the powers of an equitable owner do not simply equate with those of the registered owner by reason of s24. The reason is, as per the Court of Appeal in Mortgage Business plc v O’Shaughnessy [2012] 1 WLR 1521, “a person cannot grant a greater interest than The Report

21


Finance

Is financial services regulation in your blind spot? Jonathon Bray

The SRA recently announced that it will shortly be issuing a questionnaire on financial services conducted by solicitors*. “Questionnaire” is perhaps a kinder word than “review”. Or, in the worst cases, doing work they are not permitted to do under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) without being FCAregulated. And the SRA is right to be concerned. There are huge swathes of the profession that do not follow the specialist rules contained in the SRA Handbook. This might be because either they do not know they are there, or because they do not recognise that the work they do counts as “financial services” under FSMA. Neither is an excuse. The main areas that would otherwise sit under the FCA umbrella include financial services (e.g. financial advice), insurance mediation and consumer credit. Solicitors have the benefit of an exemption to being regulated by the FCA if their financial services work falls within narrowly defined criteria in Part XX of the FSMA. These are commonly known as the “Part 20 exemptions”. It means that most solicitors do not have to be dual regulated. There are a handful of law firms that choose to have FCA licences as well - typically because their work does not sit within the Part 20 exemptions. As a general rule of thumb, so long as the work is incidental to an underlying legal transaction, solicitors can undertake the work specified in the Part 20 exemption. The trade-off is that the specialist SRA rules must be followed. Specialist rules, the Financial Services (Scope) Rules 2001 and Financial Selling (Conduct of Business) Rules 2001, are in place and need to be followed. You will find them buried towards the end of the current SRA Handbook. The Scope Rules are important because they set out what is (and is not) included in the Part 20 exemption. In other words, whether you are permitted to undertake a particular activity without an FCA licence. The Conduct of Business Rules then set out how an SRA-regulated firm must undertake that financial services work. Requirements under the specialist rules include: - holding commission earned from recommending a product to the order of the client - appearing on the FCA Exempt Professional Firms Register - appointing an insurance mediation officer - using the prescribed wording to tell the client about your status as a non-FCA regulated firm - discussing the product’s suitability with the client - giving the client a “demands and needs” statement, setting out why a particular product has been recommended These are not particularly onerous requirements. Trouble is, the rules are often overlooked.

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The SRA’s pending review no doubt seeks to assess the scale of the issue. Reading between the lines, they are concerned that widespread flouting of the rules threatens the carve outs for solicitors negotiated with the FCA. That would mean all financial work would have to be separately FCA-regulated. COLPs and ‘managers’ (i.e Partners/Directors) should also have cause for concern. Not least because the FSMA contains criminal penalties. Beyond that, Outcome 7.5 of the Code of Conduct requires the firm to comply with legislation applicable to your business, which certainly includes the FSMA. The Authorisation Rules also require COLPs to take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with statutory obligations applicable to the firm, and record any compliance failures. So there is plenty of scope for the regulators to hang you out to dry if they so wish. My recommendation is therefore to pre-empt this SRA exercise. Start by looking at the type of work your firm undertakes, and identifying whether anything could cross the line into financial services. Is financial services work purely incidental to an underlying legal service, or do we risk straying into mainstream financial services? Are the specialist rules being followed? Are there systems in place to make sure they are followed in each case? Where necessary, is the firm listed on the FCA Exempt Professional Firms Register? Is firmwide Part 20 training needed? I would also make sure your supervision and file review systems specifically targets financial services compliance. To get you thinking, see if you can identify which of these “financial services” is permissible for a solicitor to undertake under SRA regulation? What are the compliance implications? What practical steps do the specialist rules require you to take, if any? - A property solicitor puts in place a title guarantee insurance policy. - A family solicitor takes payment by instalment from a client who has fallen behind on payments. - A personal injury solicitor puts in place after the event insurance policies in most of her cases. - A private client solicitor recommends an investment product. - A property solicitor gives a client advice on mortgages. - A civil litigator recommends a litigation loan as a funding option. Feel free to contact me to discuss the answers. * At the time of writing, this questionnaire is yet to be issued. Jonathon Bray provides outsourced compliance and risk management support (“COLP-help”). www.jonathonbray.com


Finance

Time your client had an IHT ‘Wealthcheck’?

Tanya Hamilton

A recent case study undertaken by McBrides Chartered Accountants for a law firm throws some light on the benefits of Business Property Relief – partner Tanya Hamilton explains more. There is a lot to lose if your client isn’t fully aware of the nuances of Inheritance Tax (IHT), which currently stands at a flat rate of 40% on death. Many owner managers seem to ignore the potential impact of IHT on their business interests. There are numerous reasons for this: a reluctance to contemplate or plan for their own mortality, the thought that it will be someone else’s problem, or the assumption that ‘it’s all exempt from tax anyway’. This approach could literally see the business die with the owner manager!

should be available and so the case was made to HMRC. Happily, 100% relief was duly applied, saving ÂŁ250,000 in tax for the family inheriting the shares of Company A.

A good news story

Tanya Hamilton

Trip hazards

In addition to the 51% trading test and provisions around ‘excepted assets’, there are other potential pitfalls. If there is a large amount of cash, or some listed investments held in a trading company, the 100% relief may not be available and at that point the 40% IHT tax charge kicks in. It’s also 100% exemption possible to accidentally trip over the relief. For example, if the business Business property relief (BPR) is worth investigating as it can provide and the trade was winding down but the investment portfolio activity was 100% exemption from IHT on shares in an unlisted trading company getting bigger such that the trading proportion tipped from 51% to 50% or exemption from IHT on business assets used in the client’s trade. trading, then the client could lose all of their relief. Naturally, this fabulous relief has numerous conditions attached to it, An Inheritance Tax ‘Wealthcheck’, such as that undertaken by McBrides, but a well advised shareholder can normally ensure that the maximum looks at a client’s total family wealth and their exposure to IHT. It can also relief is available and that the taxman is not the largest beneficiary of review company accounts and business structure to ensure existing their estate! It is essential to confirm your client’s family’s wealth and investments on the balance sheet make sense from an IHT perspective. the structure of any business to examine the exposure to IHT properly. For some clients, it really could be a valuable service to offer. www.mcbridesllp.com The opportunities are neatly explained by a recent case we worked on. A solicitor acting for Company A contacted McBrides to ask for a company and share valuation. When the solicitor came to us for the valuation, the family of the owner manager of Company A was faced . with a ÂŁ250k tax bill on properties worth over ÂŁ1m that were held within the company. As accountants for Company A, we had in-depth knowledge of the workings of the business and not only provided a valuation but decided to investigate the availability of IHT relief.

We looked at the ‘investment’ assets to check that the company passed the 51% test which proves that the business is ‘wholly’ or ‘mainly’ trading in order for the company to be liable for 100% BPR. Company A passed this 51% test, but we then had to check whether the investment properties were caught by ‘excepted assets’ provisions, which would disqualify their value from BPR. Following this research we concluded that in these specific circumstances BPR

“We are consistently impressed with the team’s knowledge of solicitors’ practices and trends in the legal profession as a whole.�

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MCBRIDES CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

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Spotlight on

Brian Dillon–

the new face of PSG in East, North and Central London How long have you been working within the property industry? Property has played a part in much of my career. I first started being involved in the industry 25 years ago, working in the finance department of a global holiday exchange company. I was there for 5 years before I decided to focus on the UK market and I then worked at several Estate Agencies in and around London. More recently I have moved to the legal side of the property sector, involved in environmental risk solution and now, with PSG, directly supporting conveyancers with anything they need during each transaction. What experiences can you bring to your new role? I like to think that I have broad experience in this sector and overall my exposure to the many facets within property has enabled me to understand and grasp the conveyancing process and the many impacts/ concerns and problems solicitors face. I do however, have a passion for the commercial side of the business, having been a key person of influence within the Freehold Ground Rent portfolio investment market

An extra layer of s security y for you and your client Almost every week, the ere is another report of innocent people having their identities stolen and a being defrauded out of tens, or even hundreds, of thousands s of pounds - often, involving a propertyy

Why did you make the move to search provision? Working as part of the PSG team was a natural progression for me. It’s actually about much more than searches, we have a whole range of services now that are there to support conveyancers from start to finish. I’m a sales person at heart and I love talking to people and getting to know the requirements of each client so that I can craft the perfect solution for them. Of course it’s not always as black and white as that, you have to be reactive too and think on your feet when there’s an issue, but that’s all part of the challenge. The thing with PSG, the reason why I personally think that they have such a loyal client base, is that they really do focus on client care and it’s great to be a part of that. PSG have really ramped up their technology over the last couple of years, what can we expect to see next? Yes, we’ve been busy! Our IT pipeline is always jam packed, integrating with new suppliers to provide the latest products or simply just making sure that our online ordering platform PSG Connect is as hard working as it can be by adding new and improved features. There’s a few big things on the horizon such as our SDLT and HMRC integrations, case management solutions and a specialist commercial platform which is in development as we speak. What we try to do is give our clients what they want, so if someone asks for something we will try and incorporate it into what we do. As I said before, we’re not just a search provider, we’re a support provider and our technology plays a huge part in that.

transaction.

What can you offer conveyancing professionals in the capital? What sets you apart from the competition?

Verify the identity of almost anyone at any time, anywhere in th he

Since I first joined PSG at the end of last year, I have been steadily getting to know our clients in East, North and Central London and they are all extremely happy with the service we provide. One of the things that I know contributes to this is the people that work here. There is a whole network of PSG offices and the majority of them have staff that have been there for over 10 years. It’s that experience and knowledge that means that the service they deliver is so much more personal than if it comes from within a call centre.

world as part of your cu ustomer due diligence processes and he elp protect your clients from the risk of conveyancing fraud. Try our o enhanced AML and ban nk account validation offering, now available to order via PSG Connect.

To find out more Call 01226 240055 Email searchteam@prropertysearchgroup.co.uk Visit www.psgconnect.co.uk

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working with the likes of Persimmon Homes, Berkley Homes and many more large/medium to small housing developers around England and Wales.

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That personal service combined with the searches, the title insurance and all the other things we provide means that there’s no need to go anywhere else for anything, even training and compliance support – we can help with it all. In London, the same as everywhere else, it’s about speed, accuracy and efficiency and an all-in-one service like ours provides just that. Contact Brian to discuss your conveyancing search requirements on 07973 353 532 or email briandillon@propertysearchgroup.co.uk. To find out more about PSG’s complete search service, visit www.psgconnect.co.uk


Mediation

Employment Mediation A new landscape in a decade

Fiona Colquhoun

Sheila Bates

This year is the 10th anniversary of the publication of the Gibbons review commissioned by the UK Government. The statutory dispute resolution processes in 2004 were considered ineffective and there was considerable interest in exploring a viable alternative to Employment Tribunals for employees and employers. Michael Gibbons felt that very many issues could be resolved at their source within the workplace and advocated the use of mediation at the earliest possible stage of a dispute. Ten years on, we look at developments in the sector.

Large group workplace mediations and many attendees involved in employment mediations are challenging to the mediators, but also are proof of the process’ adaptability. Mediations may be as short as half a day or straddle several days over weeks.

Employment and workplace mediation has been a growth area in the last 10 years, in both dispute resolution services skills training and professional development.

• A number of organisations and their managers have become more aware of mediation and how it can work. Organisations have incorporated mediation into their employment policies, contracts of employment and to their existing policies including grievance procedures.

Mediation in employment cases has been proven to deescalate conflict and reduce unnecessary costs, when used with or as an alternative to tribunals, especially where there are or have been formal procedure such as disciplinary and grievance. As a result of this growth, both ACAS and independent mediation providers have conducted thousands of successful employment mediations – the difference between the two being that many users of mediation wish to have more say around the process and bespoke it to fit the needs of the case. Some providers now also offer specific workplace mediation programmes and some mediators have chosen to specialise in employment. In this context it can be said that in the last 10 years: • Cases have become more diverse and varied, including protracted claims of bullying and multi discrimination claims; grievances; reintegration of employees after sickness or extended leave; unfair dismissal; and whistle blowing. On the interpersonal conflict spectrum there has been a steady emergence of cases where one or both parties have mental health conditions - more workplace and employment cases than ever before are routed in mental health issues. Whilst mediation is a hard and robust process, it also needs to deal with some of the softer but sensitive people issues, therefore requiring a great deal of skill. • Lawyers have become more open about engaging in mediation. Nowadays they are more willing to consider when mediation works in the best interests of both defendants and claimants. Lawyers are trained and better equipped to advocate for their clients. • Mediation adaptability and flexibility has developed considerably providing more tools and interventions for clients. In its simplest form mediation is the facilitation of a difficult conversation between two people. At its most complex, mediation may be tough bargaining and negotiating between several people with different interests, values and entrenched positions. There may be Counsel and employment lawyer instructed for both parties and in some cases numbers are large.

• The objections to employers paying costs and claimants feeling stifled by delaying access to a tribunal have diminished as mediation has become more effective and mediators find it easier to reassure parties to engage them in the process. • Organisations have seen that mediation can work, save time, costs and resources counteracting large numbers of grievances. Trades Unions have generally been supportive of mediation initiatives as have professional organisations and associations. • Success rate in employment and workplace cases are high (CEDR’s own is over 90%). This is partly as mediation remains a voluntary process and claimants are not forced into this situation. Employment Tribunal processes are more frequently stayed to allow for mediation, and judicial mediation has widened the spectrum of dispute resolution offerings. Late mediation, even at Employment Tribunal stage, has avoided long hearings by helping parties to reach settlements. Many Employers now use mediation when they consider the independence of a mediator may be the best way to resolve an internal conflict or difference. There are now sizeable organisations which have set up ‘mediation schemes’ using both their own and external mediators, and are committed to making mediation a progressive part of their culture. In conclusion, the last 10 years have brought considerable developments to employment and workplace mediation with a much wider spectrum of processes and resolutions than ever before. Sometimes looking though our own and our colleagues’ practices, we marvel at the range of experiences mediation offers and expect the next 10 years to embrace further changes in as meaningful and as effective a way.

By Fiona Colquhoun and Sheila Bates To find out about CEDR - www.cedr.com

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Technology

Technology

Photo: Richard Hugo-Hamman LEAP Executive Chairman (L) Peter Baverstock LEAP UK CEO (R)

LEAP celebrates 1000 UK firm milestone More than 6,000 end-users of LEAP in the UK LEAP Legal Software has doubled its UK customer base in the last twelve months and has now passed the 1,000 firm mark with over 6,000 end users of its integrated case management platform. The first legal practice in the UK signed up to LEAP in January 2015, in April 2016 there were 500 firms using the software and now there are more than 1,000. This rapid growth in firms switching to LEAP has been accelerated by the recent launch of LEAP 365, which enables a lawyer to access up-to-date document, matter and accounting information, from whichever device they are using worldwide. LEAP 365 includes the UK’s largest library of automated forms, document management for the firm and clients, time recording, billing and client accounting. “We’re very proud to have over a thousand law firms using LEAP software in the UK. All these firms are using one product on one technology. We believe this is a first in the UK legal market.” comments LEAP UK CEO Peter Baverstock. “Our unique ability to electronically convert data from the old outdated system many firms are still languishing on has helped us to smoothly bring these firms into the 21st century to compete more effectively. Our conversion team in Edinburgh have done wonders!”

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To help with its rapid growth LEAP undertook an independent, anonymous employee survey in February 2017, statistics show that 92% of the workforce understand the company’s mission and how they can influence it, 94% see a clear link between their work and the company’s goals and objectives and that 95% feel LEAP is a good employer. Richard Hugo-Hamman LEAP Executive Chairman adds “Success has many fathers but in this instance the popularity of LEAP amongst UK law firms can largely be attributed to Peter Baverstock and the rest of his leadership team. They have faced and conquered tremendous scaling up challenges and to have more than a thousand law firms operating more efficiently and profitably than ever before, is a testament to their skills and the quality of service they provide.


Technology

Digital Transformation and the Workplace Law firms are undergoing a digital transformation that is forcing them to change the way they do business. As a result, the way work is being done has changed. Legal professionals are becoming increasingly mobile and are no longer confined to a single place or device. Collaboration, untethered mobility and rapid communication are becoming the cornerstone of productivity and client satisfaction. Law firms and corporate legal departments are responding to this shift by ensuring they have all the tools and resources needed for their lawyers to be productive and efficient. In addition to delivering these assets, firms are also finding they need to ensure systems are always on and available while protecting their users from external threats and attacks. The New Professional: Mobile, tech savvy, demanding change in applications and tools The increased mobility of today’s legal workforce and the consumerisation of IT are reshaping what today’s lawyers need and expect from their employers to do their jobs. New professionals are not defined by their age, but instead by their intimate familiarity with technology and their expectation for a frictionless work experience across all devices. The new professional uses multiple screens: phone, tablet and PC – and has the expectation that information and communications are equally accessible from each. As expectations continue to rise around their ability to access email and edit documents on any device, more and more firms are providing solutions that emulate identical user experience no matter the device or document. Most importantly, new professionals use technology in their personal lives, downloading apps, getting directions, sending packages, and hailing transportation. They are intimately familiar with what technology can do, and know now how to get critical work functions accomplished – such as document editing, sharing and collaboration – without 100% reliance on the tools provided by their employers.

information is being stored. Client security audits and surveys are getting longer every year, and the amount of energy expended to ensure that each client’s information is managed in accordance with its specific wishes in terms of location, cloud or no cloud, retention post close, etc. – becomes overbearing to manage across the number of offices and matters. The New Law Firm: Adapting to client demands Twenty years ago, paper was king for most firms. Today, digital platforms such as chat tools, text messaging, file shares, new data formats like One Note, images and videos are used by professionals to collaborate and store information – adding complexity and chaos to the workflow process. This change, combined with increased communication between technologies, is impacting how professionals deliver great client work. The ‘new firm’ recognises the need to adapt to new client demands and changes in market conditions to remain competitive. The new firm continuously improves itself to meet the expectations of its professionals by improving their productivity, as well as adopting tools and processes that evolve the business model beyond the billable hour – ultimately increasing agility and flexibility and producing more efficient work. With today’s new ways of working, it is now more important than ever for firms to drive new business models enabled by technology that increase productivity amongst their professionals – enabling them to communicate in a secure and controlled manner that does not put valuable information at risk. by Geoff Hornsby General Manager EMEA, iManage For more information visit www.imanage.com.

The New Client: Higher expectations, more stringent security and governance of their information One of the biggest drivers of change stems from increasingly high expectations from clients. The new client demands quicker responses, more value for their money, an overall better customer experience and the most stringent security and governance over their information. While the client has always been in the driver’s seat, these demands are increasing pressures on legal firms trying to adapt to the transformations they are already experiencing. These new clients are also the ones driving many of the changes with the new professional. Given recent news about law firm data breaches, and the changing nature of cyber-threats, the new client is also becoming increasingly sensitive to where – and how – their

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Legacies

Canine Care Card Some dog owners worry what might happen to their dog if they were to pass away first, leaving their beloved four-legged friend without an owner. Thankfully, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, offers the Canine Care Card, a special free service that aims to give owners peace of mind, knowing that the charity will look after their dog if the worst should happen. Not only does this offer reassurance to dog owners, it also helps to ease the minds of friends and family during what is already a distressing time. Over the past 12 months, Dogs Trust has taken in a whole host of dogs across its 20 rehoming centres in the UK as part of the Canine Care Card scheme and helped them settle into happy new homes. One of these such dogs is ten-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Buddy who was taken in by Dogs Trust Glasgow when his owner sadly passed away. When he first arrived at the rehoming centre, Buddy was understandably missing his home comforts and hoping to find love again with a new owner. Thankfully, the team at Dogs Trust Glasgow were able to provide the adorable boy with a home away from home while he awaited his furry-tale ending. Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog down, and works hard to match every dog with a responsible, loving home. After being lovingly cared for by staff at Dogs Trust Glasgow, Buddy is now starting life with a new family, who have even registered themselves on the Canine Care Card scheme.

Sarah and Buddy the dog.

Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO says, “Thanks to Dogs Trust’s Canine Card Card scheme, dogs in need of a new home are given a lifeline meaning that Buddy and many dogs like him are able to get a second chance at happiness and bring joy to a new family. If you decide to become a Canine Care Card holder, we will issue you with a wallet-sized card. It acts in a similar way to an organ donor card and notifies people of your wishes for your dogs, should anything happen to you. Dogs Trust also strongly recommends that you mention the care of your dog in your Will. That way, there can be no confusion about your wishes.”

Who’ll keep him happy when your client’s gone? We will – as long as your client has a Canine Care Card. It’s a FREE service from Dogs Trust that guarantees a bereaved dog a home for life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 20 rehoming centres, located around the UK. One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll want to make provision for their faithful friend. And now you can help them at absolutely no cost. So contact us today for your FREE pack of Canine Care Card leaflets - and make a dog-lover happy.

Call

020 7837 0006

Or e-mail

today

ccc@dogstrust.org.uk

Or write to: Freepost RTJA-SRXG-AZUL, Dogs Trust, Clarissa Baldwin House, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ (no stamp required) Please quote “333339”. All information will be treated as strictly confidential. This service is currently only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & the Isle of Man

www.dogstrust.org.uk Registered Charity Numbers: 227523 & SC037843

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Conveyancing Focus

Perfect Portal expands and increases conveyancer quote conversion ratios Perfect Portal, the leading conveyancing sales management system, announces it has more than doubled its law firm base in the last year. The company now has 73 retained law firm clients, twelve months ago it was 35. Perfect Portal has recently increased its team in the UK to thirteen with the addition of two technical developers. The Perfect Portal system is also used by around 2800 estate agents and mortgage brokers in the UK. In the past year 120,000 conveyancing quotes have been generated by the Perfect Portal system with over 70,000 of these quotes being converted into sales for the company’s law firm clients. This gives an acceptance ratio of 60% whereas the industry average is generally accepted to be around 20%. The in-house development team based in Southport, Merseyside, has grown to five strong and includes Senior Developer Drew Wynne who has been with Perfect Portal since its formation in 2015. The Perfect Portal offering has progressed in the last year to take account of customer feedback, not only from law firms but from referrers such as estate agents, mortgage brokers and property developers. The system now offers increased usability and several new features, including improved quote personalisation and greater fee scale flexibility within quotes.

increased our turnover of residential conveyancing work significantly in a very short period of time. It was quick to set up and is easy to use.” Katie Lawley, Head of Business Development at The Law Practice says: “Having used the Perfect Portal system for over two years, it’s been a fantastic tool for conversions. The agent having access means it creates transparency with our legal fees which completely sets us apart from some of the older school firms who don’t have a set layout or fee structure when quoting clients. I have no doubt the modern and easily readable quotes have won us instructions, this system is a must for law firms” Media enquiries: Chaz Brooks Tel: 01483 537 890 Email: chaz@brookscomm.com www.perfectportal.co.uk

Perfect Portal is the leading conveyancing sales management system which enables conveyancers to generate more conveyancing instructions and improve profitability whilst increasing efficiency through streamlined communication processes. Perfect Portal Managing Director, Yvonne Hirons comments: “We are helping our clients close more conveyancing sales and faster. The Perfect Portal system ensures all conveyancing enquiries are maximised with none slipping through the net.” Keith Betts, Managing Director of Robson & Co Solicitors comments: “Accurate and fast quoting through Perfect Portal has

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Conveyancing Focus

eConveyancing starts to take shape an interview with Adam Bullion, General Manager of Marketing & Product at InfoTrack Why is changing technology important? It has become clear that advances in technology, such as the advent of the internet and the smartphone have changed human behaviour. From our professional lives, where we work longer hours due to remote technology, to the behaviour in our personal lives, where we expect to have access to information instantly and be able to perform many tasks wherever we are, whenever. Consumer behaviour also has changed, and ecommerce has become king, so we no longer need to ever leave our homes to buy goods. These daily efficiencies are also expected by staff, and as a business owner it is our duty to implement the appropriate technology to meet these changing needs, particularly when, regardless of technological advances, many business processes remain stagnant. In terms of the conveyancing process where do you foresee the potential for change? I believe that the conveyancing industry is a legal sector that is overdue for change. Aside from searches, many parts of the process have already become electronic and are hosted online, such as the submission process for the SDLT and AP1 forms. However, no provider has taken advantage of this ability, until now. At InfoTrack, we look at the most cumbersome and form heavy sections of conveyancing and turn these into electronic versions that are easier to complete and enjoyable to use. Upon review, we identified the contract pack as the next segment of the process where administrative processes can be reduced and optimised. With this in mind, we have created eCOS (electronic Contract of Sale) which combats the time consuming process of copying information into a contract, as well as dealing with the slow and unsecured way in which these documents (including the TA6 and TA10) are handled. eCOS is a fully electronic process that conveyancers can take now advantage of and be seen by their clients as truly forward thinking. Tell us more about eCOS, what does this do? We created eCOS (electronic Contract of Sale) to be a paperless solution that gives conveyancers the ability to compile the full contract pack electronically, including the TA6, TA10, contract, title and plan. Our smart eCOS portal also allows the contract pack to be easily sent and received by both the conveyancer and the client within InfoTrack, so you can rely on it being a fast, paper-free and completely secure process that requires no printing scanning, posting or faxing. These contract packs can also be signed 30

The Report

electronically by all parties involved, using the latest in e-signature technology. At InfoTrack, our mission to build the end to end conveyancing process online is being enacted one process at a time, and eCOS is the next step. Are electronic signatures acceptable forms of signing legal documents? With a growth rate of over 53% annually, e-signatures are rapidly being adopted in many industries and at different levels of transactions. The Law Society recently released a practice note on the use of electronic signatures in law, and with secure, stringent measures put in to maintain the highest level of security, electronic signatures are highly regarded and are an efficient way of signing documents. The technology we use is by DocuSign, the global industry leader in e-signing. Would you offer any advice to conveyancers looking to adopt new technology? InfoTrack aspires to create technology that is not only incredibly efficient and simple to use, but also makes day-to-day processes more enjoyable. I believe that good technology should be a joy to use, as well as providing clear operational benefit. So when adopting new technology for your firm, I always suggest that a series of questions are asked; does it add value to the customer? Does it reduce operating costs? Is it relevant? Will it help us excel in our core competencies? Will it reduce cost/improve quality/provide a set of functions that did not exist before? Those technologies that will be most valuable should respond ‘yes’ to all those questions. ■By Adam Bullion, Head of Marketing


Conveyancing Focus

TWPS expands portfolio to include unexploded ordnance devices search Thames Water Property Searches (TWPS) is delighted to announce that it has added Bomb Search, Landmark’s preliminary and detailed unexploded ordnance threat and risk assessment reports to its portfolio. Conveyancers working with developers, individuals building a new house, or those undertaking building work (such as extensions to residential or commercial properties) in areas where bombing has historically taken place are strongly advised to add the reports to their standard bundles. The preliminary report is an initial screening that determines potential dangers. If identified, clients can order the detailed version, which analyses all factors to provide a semi-quantitative report that meets the requirements of the risk assessment framework outlined in the Construction Industry Research And Information Association’s (CIRIA) “Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) – A Guide for the Construction Industry” C681 report. Although the likelihood of an inadvertent detonation is low, the presence of an item of UXO can have significant implications. If sites with potential UXO risks are not managed properly, it can lead to project delays and increased costs, which is why proactive risk assessment is so important. For example in March 2017, an unexploded 500lb bomb from World War Two was unearthed at a construction site in Brondesbury Park, North London. The discovery prompted evacuations and caused delays to the project, as well as making national headlines.

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. Official figures show that approximately 15,000 items of ordnance were discovered at UK construction sites between 2006-2008. These items ranged from mortar rounds to high explosive aerial delivered German bombs. “Both Bomb Search reports are vital tools for conveyancers because they show both the probability of encounter as well as the consequence of any encounter,” says Phil Hill, Account Manager at Landmark. “No one can say for sure whether a device will be found,” adds Phil. “However, adequate mitigation measures can be put in place if the client has been forewarned that the possibility of discovery is high. Clients will be health and safety compliant while avoiding excessive delays and any associated increase in costs should any UXO be found, especially during site investigation and groundwork phases.” The Bomb Search preliminary report is priced at £195 exc VAT, while the Bomb Search detailed report is priced at £1,095.00 exc VAT. To find out more about how these reports can benefit your business call us on 0845 070 9148 or simply visit: www.thameswater-propertysearches.co.uk

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Conveyancing Focus

It’s all in the title – PSG Financial Services discuss their simplified approach to insurance Conveyancing is a tricky and often complicated business. Every property (and every client!) is different and there are so many more products and services available to you than ever before, meaning there are more considerations that could potentially hold up a sale. One thing that can affect the transaction is finding a defect in the title documents or even that something is missing completely. Rather than spending valuable time and client funds in investigating and resolving the problem, it is increasingly common practice to indemnify against any issues that may arise out of the actual or perceived defect in the title. Some defects, such as Restrictive Covenants on the adjoining land, can be hundreds of years old. For example, there are some Edwardian properties in Brighton and Hove at which the owners are prohibited by displaying their washing in a “lewd and lascivious manner”. Such defects are unlikely to ever end in a claim, but it is much quicker and easier to take out a policy which covers the client should any lawful action be taken against them in respect of the defect, subsequently leading to financial loss somewhere down the line. Japanese Knotweed There are, of course, more important matters than how someone displays their washing and there are newer policies out there which are commonly used in the conveyancing process.

FINANCIAL SERVICES Want to know the e secret to fast and efficient Title Insurance ordering?

It begins with a call to the th expe erts t att PSG A range of over 35 residential and co ommercial policies, instant cover online and a bespoke offline brokering g service for more complex cases. Ordering your Title Insurance has never been simpler.

FIND OUT MORE Call 01226 320076 Email customerservices@psgfs.co.uk k Visit www.psgconnect.co.uk All insurance services are provided by PSG Financ cial Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Financia al Conduct Authority.

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Recently, there have been stories in the news relating to Japanese Knotweed, the hardy perennial plant with a nasty reputation for its ability to grow through concrete. Now considered a large enough risk to be factored into the TA6 explanatory notes and as part of the requirements of some mortgage lenders, Japanese Knotweed can have considerable impact on a property’s stability and value. It can grow up to 20cm per day so even if a homebuyer is unaware of the risk at the time of purchase, they may find themselves with an issue later on. The total annual cost of dealing with Japanese Knotweed including clearing costs and repairs to infrastructure & the built environment is over £150 million in England alone. A simple and cost effective Indemnity policy from PSG can allay any concerns from the outset, and is valid for up to 5 years from the date the policy was provided. Providing cover for up to £20,000 in financial losses should the weed appear on the property where previously it’s presence was unknown, this policy can help to put a homebuyers mind at rest. PSG Financial Services was launched in 2013 to compliment the core services offered by PSG to conveyancing solicitors throughout England and Wales. Offering a quick and easy access route to purchasing Title and Legal Indemnity policies, PSG offers instant cover for over 35 residential and commercial polices when ordered online, plus an offline brokering service for more complex cases. Now with simplified price bandings to ensure solicitors can access the best level of indemnity to suit their requirements, it has never been easier to source an appropriate policy quickly and at a competitive price. For more information on Title and Legal Indemnity Insurance from PSG contact the National Customer Services Team Email: customerservices@propertysearchgroup.co.uk Visit: www.psgconnect.co.uk or Telephone: 01226 320079


Faster. Sell with Knight Frank. Our understanding of the ever-changing market enables us to price properties accurately. So whether you’re looking to buy or sell; you can rely on Knight Frank to get you moving. Knight Frank Victoria, Westminster & Pimlico 51 Victoria Street SW1H 0EU 020 3544 0640 @KFVictoria victoriasales@knightfrank.com

KnightFrank.co.uk


Book Review

A Practical Guide to Claims Arising From Accidents Abroad Edited by Andrew McKie & Ian Skeate

ISBN: 978-1-911035-02-2 Law Brief Publishing www.lawbriefpublishing.com This book looks at all aspects of the claims process for accidents abroad and travel claims, from cradle to grave. The book covers all aspects of accidents abroad including but not limited to claims under the 1992 Package Travel Regulations, accidents on ships, accidents on planes, accidents on tour operator excursions, ski/snowboard accidents, quantum and causation in travel claims, and costs. The aim of this book is to provide a clear but comprehensive guide to this area of practice, that can be utilised by practitioners on a day-to-day basis, in Claimant and Defendant practice. The book has a focus on running accidents abroad and travel claims in an efficient way post Jackson, spotting the winners and vetting the losing claims early on. ABOUT THE AUTHORS

CONTENTS

The writers are both self-employed personal injury practitioners and also own a BSB Regulated entity that accidents abroad and travel claims.

1. Claims Under the Package Travel Regulations 1992 2. Claims Under the Athens Convention for Accidents at Sea and Cruise Ship Claims 3. Air Accidents and the Montreal Convention 4. Holiday Illness and the Wood v TUI UK case 5. Package Claims under the 1992 Regulations and Evidence of Local Standards 6. Causation Investigations – Medical Causation Issues, Gathering Medical Records and Credibility Issues 7. Quantum – QOCS / Costs in Relation to Accidents Abroad; Disclosure; and Pre Action Protocols 8. Rome II – Motor Accidents Abroad and Accidents in the UK involving Foreign Drivers 9. Conclusions and the Small Claims Track

Andrew Mckie, Barrister at Clerksroom Manchester, is a specialist in claimant and defendant personal injury, with a particular interest in cases involving alleged fraud, credit hire, highways, occupiers and defective premises cases. He was previously Head of Litigation and In-House Solicitor Advocate at a claimant personal injury firm with over 50 staff. Ian Skeate joined Clerksroom in January 2010 after practising from St Johns Buildings, Manchester since 2003. He has particular expertise in Personal Injury, Professional Discipline and Regulation, Employment and Costs. Ian is based in Manchester but his practice extends throughout the country especially in London.

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Removing life’s complications with a smarter search service

Personal, friendly and expert property search services. That’ll help keep a spring in your step. www.thameswater-propertysearches.co.uk

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Every device. The same information. The mation

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