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05 President’s Jottings
22 The Legal Brain of
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President’s Jottings WINTER 2022
ello everyone. I’ve given this month’s jottings a lot of thought and in fact this is the second version I have written. There has been some considerable activity at Surrey Law Society since the last edition. At the start of December, The Law Society held the second virtual town hall meeting, where local law societies were invited to share their views on matters of concern. The meeting was hosted by Law Society President I. Stephanie Boyce and Vice President Lubna Shuja. Over 35 Local Law Societies were present. The key issue discussed at this meeting was the closure of SIF. We alerted our members to this meeting and were contacted by some concerned former sole practitioners. Their views echoed those of the general consensus at the meeting on December 2nd, which broadly were that the SRA who are currently responsible for administration of the fund, are somewhat vague in their intent. Post six year run off cover cannot be eliminated, with no replacement being put in place, but little or no assurances have been given beyond the closing date of September 2022. There are close to £30m in funds currently sitting in the SIF purse. Even when the £10m deduction of prospective claims is taken into consideration, the funds are not insignificant. At the meeting of 2nd December, I conveyed the feedback from our members that there is a lot of obfuscation and apparent intentional downplay of the impact that closure of the fund will have. I also conveyed the concerns that the undertaking from the late Paul Marsh (TLS Council Member at the time) that The Law Society will always protect its members, is not apparently being observed. Members are reminded that the consultation closes on 15th February 2022, and we urge individuals and firms to respond to ensure they add their voices to amplify the message of distress. On 30th November I was invited to speak as part of a panel at the University of Law Guildford’s careers event “Diversity and Inclusion – Accessing the Legal Profession,
Panel Event”. It was a pleasure to be able to share some of the personal challenges I have faced in my 25+ year legal career, as a Muslim woman of South East Asian cultural heritage, to an audience of young adults preparing to embark on their legal careers. The panel of speakers discussed the many and varied issues around the impact of cultural diversity, poor social mobility and the unspoken challenges around mental health. We also explored how much more awareness there is on these intrinsic aspects of every career, legal or otherwise. On that note I’m delighted to let you all know that I have now formed an “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee”. This is the first time this has been done in the history of Surrey Law Society and I’m delighted to have spearheaded this initiative. It’s much more than a committee and in fact I feel it must form a cornerstone of SLS. Our first meeting will be in early December, and I will update members on the aims and objectives of the committee. If you, the members, have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me. Setting up that committee was a specific Presidential objective for me and so I’m extremely pleased to say I was able to announce it at our AGM on 1st December, when I was delighted to have been unanimously re-elected as President. More happy news is that we now have retrieved full access to our LinkedIn account so please email any content about your firms which you’d like us to share on your behalf. Alternatively do tag “Surrey Law Society” in your posts and we will happily help to share your message to the Surrey legal community. It is our aim and intention to serve our members, and this is one more small way we can achieve that. Finally, as we approach the festive season, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a peaceful and safe holiday season. All the best. ■
Mumtaz Hussain President
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KEY OFFICERS President MUMTAZ HUSSAIN M: 07983 488 351 email@example.com
GERARD SANDERS Hart Brown, Resolution House, Riverview, Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, GU1 4UX DX 2403 Guildford 1 Tel: 01483 887704 Fax: 01483 887758 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President MADELEINE BERESFORD TWM Solicitors LLP, 65 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4RD Tel: 01483 752742 Email: madeleine.gooding@TWMSolicitors.com
JAMES SCOZZI Elite Law Solicitors, 1 Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1BR DX: 14 London Chancery Lane Tel: 020 3440 5506 Fax: 01923 219416 Email: email@example.com
Hon. Secretary KIERAN BOWE Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Bishops Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1QN DX 31546 Kingston upon Thames Tel: 020 8541 2041 Fax: 020 8541 2009 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hon. Treasurer CLAUDENE HOWELL QualitySolicitors Palmers, 1 Hazel Parade, Penrose Road, Fetcham, Surrey KT22 9PY T: 01372 454 791 E: email@example.com COMMITTEE MEMBERS NICK BALL (Immediate Past President) TWM Solicitors LLP, 65 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4RD Tel: 01483 752700 Email: Nick.Ball@twmsolicitors.com CARINA BRITS Palmers Solicitors, 89-91 Clarence Street, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 1QY Tel: 020 8549 7444 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org KAREN GRIMM Morrisons Solicitors, Prospero, 73 London Road, Redhill RH1 1LQ Tel: 01276 401 689 Email: email@example.com
LAW SOCIETY COUNCIL MEMBERS SUSHILA ABRAHAM S Abraham Solicitors 290A Ewell Road, Surbiton KT6 7AQ Tel: 020 8390 0044 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ALASTAIR LOGAN Pound House, Skiff Lane, Wisborough Green, West Sussex RH14 DAG Email: email@example.com Chief Executive & Magazine Editor HELEN OPIE Surrey Law Society, c/o Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Bishop’s Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1QN Web: www.surreylawsociety.org.uk Tel: 0333 577 3830 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org SUB-COMMITTEES CONVEYANCING & LAND LAW Rachel Philip Carina Brits Maralyn Hutchinson Martin Whitehorn
MARALYN HUTCHINSON Kagan Moss & Co, 22 The Causeway, Teddington TW11 0HF Tel: 020 8977 6633 Fax: 020 8977 0183 Email: email@example.com
EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION Mumtaz Hussain Victoria Clarke Claudene Howell Alastair Logan Amber Matheson Emma Patel James Scozzi
RACHEL PHILIP S. Abraham Solicitors, 290A Ewell Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 7AQ Tel: 020 8390 0044 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FINANCE Claudene Howell Nick Ball Maddie Beresford Kieran Bowe
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Mumtaz Hussain Helen Opie PRIVATE CLIENT Kieran Bowe Maddie Beresford Karen Grimm Jess Buttaci QUO VADIS Claudene Howell Nick Ball Maddie Beresford Kieran Bowe James Scozzi Helen Opie SOCIAL James Scozzi Claudene Howell Mumtaz Hussain Daphne Robertson Gerard Sanders Helen Opie Kim Wintle SURREY JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION Martin Whitehorn (Chair) Alice Barrett Sapphira Gold Victoria Batstone Katrina Burrows Adele Edwards Amber Matheson Kate Lewis Chloe Wallington Alexandra Milson Tabitha Lee Kim Wintle Sonay Erten William Smith-Brix James Fry Nedra Daniel Grace Butler Bethany Walker Seema Gill Email: email@example.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ young-surrey-lawyers Instagram: jld_surrey Twitter: @YSL_Live / @SurreyJLD
CEO Report WINTER 2022 Helen Opie
s 2021 draws to a close, we can reflect on another year full of unexpected challenges and adaptations to a life including COVID-19. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2 years since the virus entered the UK or that last December we were facing a Christmas away from loved ones, about to embark on another national lockdown and further 6 months of restrictions. I’m pleased that despite the recent arrival of the Omicron variant, it looks as if we ashould be able to enjoy a slightly more typical festive period this year. As was the case in 2020, Surrey Law Society has strived to find new and innovative ways of delivering its programme of content for members, and I’m delighted that we have continued to offer a range of online training in the form of webinars, courses, meetings and forums. These have included a wide range of sessions for conveyancers, private client practitioners, family lawyers, as well as sessions on improving people and communication skills run in collaboration with Surrey Junior Lawyers Division and available to members of both organisations in addition to law students across Surrey. All our webinars are available for members to revisit via the Surrey Law Society Vimeo Channel and I would highly recommend taking a look at some of the fantastic sessions that we hosted across the year. In addition to our online content, I am proud that the Society managed to reinstate its in-person courses and events earlier than many other organisations. We kicked this off with the return of our Past President’s Championship Cup at Daytona, which saw over 50 members and patrons come together on 24th June to take part in some networking of the racier kind! Following this success, we embarked on plans for our 2021 SLS Legal Awards, which took place on 16th September at the Mandolay in Guildford. It is fair to say that we were a little nervous that the appetite for such a large event may have dwindled following the impact of COVID-19, so it was wonderful to see so many members and patrons come together for our biggest and best Awards ever. We had more nominations, more winners and more attendees than ever before and the event was made even more special by an excellent after-dinner interview with Rob Rinder MBE. Most recently, we have held a hybrid AGM offering attendees the opportunity to attend online or in-person, followed by the return of our Legal Brain of Surrey Quiz, revamped and held in a brand new venue, The Weyside in Guildford, more on that later. In the Autumn, the Society also reintroduced some of its in-person courses hosting sessions with John Bunker, Richard Snape, Professor Lesley King, Holly Chantler and David Keighley. These were run alongside our online programme and offered members to opportunity to access their training in a more traditional way. The feedback we received from members who attended was unanimously positive, all of whom valued the opportunity to network with peers and interact with the speaker in a way that isn’t always easy via a screen. Moving forward, the Society recognises that for many the accessibility and ease of attending virtual sessions is a priority but will also continue to offer in-person sessions for those members who place a value on getting away from the desk and seeing people face-to-face. To that avail, we are currently working on an extensive hybrid programme of training for next year which I very much hope will meet all our members’ needs. The Society is also currently working on plans for a range of social events in 2022, which will include all our annual favourites, but also feature some new additions to the programme including some collaborative events between Surrey and Kent Law Society and an Annual John Perry Memorial Dinner, which we are very excited about.
The Society has recently reinvigorated some of its existing sub-committees, as well as introducing some important new ones, such as the President’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion committee, which will promote the development of strategies and best practices with regards to diversity and inclusion across the Society and its members. All the sub-committees have been formed to ensure that our membership is best represented in a range of areas and we hope that you will see many benefits from their creation, such as a member-led programme of content, engagement in more consultations and lobbying on issues of importance to the profession. With the above in mind, one of the key focus points for the Society over the coming months is raising awareness of and encouraging responses to the SRA’s consultation on the ‘Post six year run-off cover and the Solicitors Indemnity Fund’. This important issue could affect all members, from those just embarking on their career to those who have retired and/or sold their practice, and we would therefore encourage all members to review the detail of the consultation at www.sra.org.uk/sra/consultations, and feedback their comments for a Society response as well as submitting their own individual response too. As always, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Surrey Law Society’s patrons, whose support throughout the year has enabled us to continue with all our activities for the benefit of the membership. They are HFS Milbourne, Access Legal, Landmark Information, Moneypenny, Chadwick Nott, Conscious Solutions, LawSure Insurance, Pro Drive, and Finders International. We look forward to collaborating on much more in 2022. And lastly, just a note about the President’s chosen charity for 2022, The Trussell Trust and specifically foodbanks in Surrey. We were delighted to receive £100 in donations at our recent quiz and would like to invite members to make their own donations via the Trussell Trust website, www.trusselltrust.org. You can select a specific food bank by using the ‘Find a Food Bank’ facility, ensuring any donation goes to your centre of choice. Christmas can be a challenging time for many people, particularly given the circumstances of the last 2 years and I know that the Trussell Trust would welcome any additional support. I wish you all a wonderful festive period and good health and happiness into the new year. ■ Very best wishes,
Chief Executive & Magazine Editor T. 0333 5773830 E. firstname.lastname@example.org @SurreyLawSoc @surreylawsociety Helen Opie (Chief Executive at Surrey Law Society) LinkedIn SLS Group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8731473
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LEGAL AWARDS 2022 – Thursday 22nd September 2022 –
The SLS Legal Awards were introduced in 2018 to recognise the exceptional legal talent within the Surrey Law Society membership and celebrate the outstanding commitment to the profession across the county. Last year’s ceremony, our biggest yet, saw 250 attendees come together to recognise the achievement of peers and colleagues, who won awards in a range of categories and enjoyed a fantastic evening of celebration. This year we are inviting nominations in the following 11 categories, including a brand new ‘Employment Lawyer of the Year’ award, and would encourage any member to nominate themselves or a colleague before the closing date, Thursday 28 April 2022. The nomination process couldn’t be simpler, you need only download the appropriate nomination form at
www.surreylawsociety.org.uk, review the criteria for the category selected and write your entry with a maximum of 1,000 words. Once you’ve completed the entry, use the handy criteria checklist at the end of the document to ensure you’ve covered everything and submit this with any supporting documentation you wish to send to helen.opie@ surreylawsociety.org.uk. We would love to see entries from across the membership, from sole practitioners to large firms, and members are entitled to nominate for more than one category if they feel they meet the criteria for each. The only thing to remember is that nominees must be members of the Society to be eligible, so if you’re not sure who within your firm is listed under your membership, please don’t hesitate to contact the SLS office for clarification on this, or to sign up any colleagues not currently subscribed so that they are eligible.
1. Law Firm of the Year
2. Lawyer of the Year
The firm must be able to show significant progress and development as a business within the last 12 months. Evidence of this can include details of growth, strategy, financial performance, employee development, training and diversity. The firm must also be able to demonstrate that it has a rounded approach to the delivery of legal services, and that it is working in the best interest of not only its clients but the profession overall.
The nominee must be a Lawyer who goes “above and beyond” in both his/ her colleagues’ eyes as well as those of the clients. This might be demonstrable in a specific case or work done in relation to a particular area of Law. The nominee may also have proposed and put in place a business solution that proved beneficial to the firm overall or to his/her client, or both. The nominee should also be able to show strong management and leadership skills.
3. Commercial / Corporate Lawyer of the Year
4. Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year
The nominee must be able to demonstrate that he/she has delivered exceptional client outcomes. Please explain the single greatest achievement of the past 12 months in one or more of the following: client service, innovation or exceptional client outcome/s. Nominees will be accepted from Lawyers working in corporate finance, private equity, banking, insolvency, Intellectual Property and other commercial disciplines.
The judges will accept nominations based on one outstanding matter worked on during the last year or on the overall performance of the individual during that year from those who practice in any area of dispute resolution on either the Claimant and/or Defendant side. The nominee must be able to demonstrate that he/she has delivered exceptional client outcomes. Please explain the single greatest achievement of the past 12 months in one or more of the following: client service, innovation or exceptional client outcome/s.
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5. Employment Lawyer of the Year
6. Family Lawyer of the Year
The judges will accept nominations based on one outstanding matter worked on during the last year or on the overall performance of the individual during that year from those who practice in any area of employment law. The nominee must be able to demonstrate that he/she has delivered exceptional client outcomes. Please explain the single greatest achievement of the past 12 months in one or more of the following: client service, innovation or exceptional client outcome/s.
The nominee must demonstrate excellence within the field of family law through their practice. The nominee must also show that they have provided an outstanding quality of legal service for their clients and demonstrated teamwork within their firm, with external lawyers and/or other professionals.
7. Paralegal of the Year
8. Private Client Lawyer of the Year
This award recognises the key role paralegals play in our justice system. The nominee will be an exceptional individual who consistently makes contributions to the legal profession whether in client care, business development, training or otherwise and who acts as an inspiration to other paralegals through their knowledge of the law, perseverance in cases, professional and personal development and superior skill set. The nominee must also demonstrate a commitment to continuing legal education.
The judges will accept nominations based on one outstanding matter worked on during the last year or on the overall performance of the individual during that year. The nominee must be able to demonstrate that he/she has delivered exceptional client outcomes. Please explain the single greatest achievement of the past 12 months in one or more of the following: client service, innovation or exceptional client outcome/s.
9. Property Lawyer of the Year
10. Rising Star of the Year
We will accept entries from both commercial and residential property Lawyers and landlord and tenant specialists. The nominee must be able to demonstrate that he/she has delivered exceptional client outcomes. Please explain the single greatest achievement of the past 12 months in one or more of the following: client service, innovation or exceptional client outcome/s.
The nominee needs to show a sizeable level of involvement within the profession and/or the area in which they practice and provide evidence of any significant obstacle/s they have overcome. Evidence in relation to how and why the nominee has “risen” over the past 12 months is advised.
11. Support Team Member of the Year
Could it be you?
This year we are welcoming nominations from colleagues or clients for secretaries, cashiers and other support team members who support Surrey Law Society members. Nominees must demonstrate a special contribution to their organisation or to specific clients, showing dedication and commitment that goes ‘the extra mile’.
Do you have what it takes to be our Lawyer or Law Firm of the Year? Will your firm, one of your colleagues or even you be one of our winners?
GO TO SURREYLAWSOCIETY.ORG.UK FOR MORE INFORMATION SURREYLAWYER | 9
EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
A modern, diverse and inclusive profession The Law Society’s Strategic Framework By Sally Brett, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, The Law Society
iversity and inclusion (D&I) have always been a priority for the Law Society, and we recognise our role in driving change for better and more equal experiences for all solicitors.
on targeted programmes, such as our Diversity Access Scheme. We’ll also engage individuals to help build awareness and promote inclusive behaviour. 4. Advocate and influence We’ll use our external influence and representative voice to advocate for policy change that advances diversity and inclusion in the legal sector. 5. Lead by example As an employer and professional membership body, we’ll demonstrate good practice ourselves.
Over the course of the last few years, we’ve focused on gathering evidence and information into the careers, challenges and opportunities of legal professionals with protected characteristics such as gender, disability, sexual orientation and race. Research such as our recent Pride in the Law study and Race for Inclusion report has provided invaluable insight into what lawyers need from us, their colleagues and their employers to feel included in the workplace. One of our six key strategic themes for the year ahead is “creating a modern, diverse and inclusive profession”. Our main objective is to create and offer structured, comprehensive and informed support to the sector. We’ll help firms and organisations improve their culture, data and diversity by providing the necessary guidance to build solid foundations. As part of this, we’ll continue to share the findings from our research studies and reports to raise awareness and engage the sector. We’ll also use it to develop future D&I initiatives that aim to propel the sector into becoming more adaptive and representative. Framing the work ahead To help us achieve our D&I objectives, we’ve produced a strategic framework to give greater clarity to our member-facing diversity and inclusion activities. It is already shaping our work, allowing us to consider and address issues more broadly and intersectionally, and will guide the support we offer to members. The framework has been informed by insight gathered from member firms as well as consultation with our D&I divisions and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. It identifies five ways in which we will make a difference to the profession: 1. Inform We will carry out research and share data and insights on diversity and inclusion in the profession. 2. Guide and convene We’ll set clear expectations and provide guidance on good practice to law firms and organisations, and regularly bring them together to maintain momentum, share experiences and learn what works. 3. Support and engage We’ll support people across the sector through our D&I division networks, creating visible role models and building 10 | SURREYLAWYER
During the implementation of the new strategy, we will seek to reflect and meet different needs, recognising the diversity of the profession in terms of size, region and resource capacity. In addition, we have created a business plan to outline key outcomes and outputs based upon delivering against this strategy in the coming year, including building a hub of resources to help employers identify and address issues and embed diversity and inclusion into their business practice and workplace culture. Specific areas We’ll also be looking more closely at wellbeing and social mobility over the coming year. Wellbeing Mental health and wellbeing are key challenges in the sector and must be prioritised. In a recent research study by LawCare, 69% of the legal professionals surveyed reported mental illhealth in the previous 12 months. Leaders need the necessary guidance to be able to respond effectually to ongoing and growing mental health and wellbeing challenges, and individuals must have access to the support they need. Over the next 12 months, we’ll be collaborating with organisations like LawCare to provide this guidance and support. Social mobility Socio-economic diversity and inclusion is another key focus for us for the year ahead. As well as building on our existing initiatives, such as the Diversity Access Scheme and our Social Mobility Ambassadors, we’ll support external projects, such as the government-commissioned taskforce to further socioeconomic diversity at senior levels. We’ll also explore ways in which the sector can improve on accessibility, visibility and representation, and we’ll work directly with other professional membership bodies to identify what needs to be done by employers, government, membership bodies and regulators to drive change. Our primary aim with all of our future work, and the work that came before it, is to support our profession in being inclusive, representative, and really making the most of the diverse talents within it to deliver high-quality legal services. It will always remain the golden thread that runs through everything that we do as an organisation. ■
EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
The UK Diversity Legal Awards 2021 Progressing Neurodiversity at Work 2022 An online event by the Institute of Government & Public Policy 31st March 2022, 9:00am – 4:00pm Overview of the Event It is estimated that 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodiverse, with 90% of disabilities being invisible. Neurodiversity is an integral part of human diversity and is an invaluable part of the workplace. Well-known organisations such as Microsoft, Google and Goldman Sachs actively recruit neurodiverse individuals. Neurodiversity is an umbrella term which includes people who have dyslexia, dyspraxia (DCD), dyscalculia, Autism and ADHD. The shift in attitudes around neurodiversity is vital in creating an inclusive and diverse workforce. These differences should be accepted in the same way gender or ethnicity should be. This timely event will examine the key barriers facing neurodiverse individuals in the workplace and how these can be removed to ensure positive participation and success. It will assess the need for a more inclusive recruitment process and career development, one that supports neurodiverse talent. Understand the benefits of neurodiverse employees and the new perspective they may bring to an organisation. Through a series of keynote presentations and case studies, hear from policy leaders, leading practitioners, and charities pushing for better neurodiversity in the workplace. To view the agenda or access more information, please visit https://igpp.org.uk/event/Progressing-Neurodiversity-atWork-2022. A limited number of discounted attendance fees have been offered to SLS members, so if you are interested in attending, please contact Helen Opie at Surrey Law Society. ■
he UK Diversity Legal Awards took place on Tuesday 30 November 2021 at Plaisterers’ Hall, London and saw inspirational nominees crowned winners in a broad range of categories, including: ■ The Recruiting Diverse Talent Award ■ The Disability Inclusion Award ■ The Mental Health & Wellbeing Award ■ The Outstanding Race & Ethnicity Employee Network Award ■ Diversity Champion of 2021 Award The Awards are the only industry awards which focus solely on recognising, promoting and celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion across the legal profession. They are open to individuals and organisations of all sizes and submissions were welcomed from firms, chambers, in-house legal teams (private and public sector), suppliers to and individuals within the legal profession. Submissions were invited that covered one, some or all aspects of diversity; to include social mobility, gender, ethnicity, disabilities and sexual orientation. For supporters and winners of a UK Diversity Legal Award, this provides a platform from which to raise the profile of the excellent work being done and also demonstrate a proactive commitment to this important area of the profession’s development. In particular, it’s hoped that these awards will help raise standards across the profession, as those making submissions seek to create ever-more impactful policies, processes and initiatives. A black-tie event, the awards dinner also presented a great opportunity to say “thank you”, to the teams and individuals within those organisations who have a handson role in managing and delivering on this important area of work. The UK Diversity Legal Awards is a Black Solicitors Network (BSN) initiative and you can find more information on the programme at: https://diversitylegalawards.org. ■
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Landmark Court of Appeal ruling allows claimant to recover a ‘success fee’ as part of an award from father’s estate Landmark ruling provides long awaited guidance for private client practitioners on recoverability of success fees and helps to ensure claimants in difficult financial circumstances can access legal support Scott Taylor
Court of Appeal ruling, passed down recently, has confirmed that the success fee element of conditional fee agreements (CFAs) can be recovered as part of an award under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act). The landmark ruling provides certainty to private client practitioners acting for claimants in difficult financial circumstances who wish to fund their claim through a CFA. It sets a clear precedent that success fees agreed between a claimant and their legal team can be factored into the amount awarded by the court. Previously, it was commonplace for success fees to be owed separately by the claimant and not taken into consideration when deciding the amount of any award from an estate. The appeal concerned the recent case of Re Hirachand (Deceased), where the deceased’s estranged daughter was awarded a share of her father’s estate, despite not being a beneficiary of his Will. Mr Hirachand died tragically in a house fire in West London on 6 August 2016. His last Will, dated 25 June 1998, stipulated that his entire estate, valued at £1.2m, pass to his surviving spouse, the claimant’s mother. The claimant’s legal team at law firm Moore Barlow successfully argued that she was entitled to a share of the estate under the Inheritance Act 1975 to cover ongoing healthcare costs related to a pre-existing mental health condition. The unsuccessful appeal, brought forward by the claimant’s mother – the otherwise sole beneficiary of Mr Hirachand’s Will – upholds the decision by Justice Cohen, who heard the original court case, to factor the success fee into the amount awarded to the claimant. 12 | SURREYLAWYER
Scott Taylor, partner and head of contentious trusts and estates at Moore Barlow, who acted for the claimant, said: “This is an incredibly important and positive ruling and supports claimants who are only able to litigate by entering into a CFA arrangement. Previously, claimants in a difficult financial position had worryingly few avenues to pursue such claims because of the prohibitive costs associated with taking legal action. CFAs are one of the few options open to people in these circumstances but access to good legal representation was often hard to come by because law firms had very little guarantee they would be able to recover their fees. “The court’s decision incentivises private client lawyers to take on cases under the Inheritance Act 1975 for those able to demonstrate genuine financial need under CFAs which in turn could make it easier for people to access specialist legal support, regardless of their financial circumstances.” Emily Travell, associate in the contentious trusts and estates team, added: “Following Lord Justice Jackson’s cost reforms in 2013, which primarily targeted personal injury claims, this landmark case offers clarity around recoverability of success fees in relation to claims under the Inheritance Act and prevents a situation where justice is weighed in favour of a party or parties in the stronger financial position”. ■
Local Olympic hopeful gets sponsorship from Moore Barlow Hannah Snellgrove, an ILCA 6 class racer, receives support and financial backing from law firm Moore Barlow
hree-time national dinghy sailing champion, Hannah Snellgrove, dreams of competing for Team GB at the Paris Olympics in 2024 and her chances have been boosted by a new sponsorship deal with south-east law firm Moore Barlow. The Lymington-based Olympic hopeful has secured funding equivalent to the cost of buying a new ILCA 6 racing dinghy, the class of boat she will compete in should she make it to Paris, every year. Hannah said: “I am so grateful for the support from Moore Barlow. My journey with the sport has not always been a smooth ride and now, knowing I have this funding secured, I am one step closer to realising my dreams. This sponsorship gives me the security I need to focus on my training and being the best sailor I can be.” Ed Whittington, managing partner of Moore Barlow, added: “Hannah has an amazing character, she is incredibly driven and determined, yet very humble. She has worked so hard to be where she is, and just by talking to her you can see the passion she has for her sport which is so inspiring for those around her. “Hannah’s spirit resonates strongly with the culture we have created at Moore Barlow and she embodies the traits we look for in our people. We hope by our sponsorship we will play a
small part in helping her to reach her full potential – I can’t wait to see her competing for a medal in 2024.” Learning to sail at Salterns Sailing Club in Lymington when she was just seven, Snellgrove went on to compete in multiple championships, including the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Laser Radial Women's World and European Championships and UK National Championships, but was forced to retire in 2015 having lost her Team GB funding. However, after a fateful trip to Miami, where she met former Olympic World Champion John Bertrand, who dominated the world of Laser and Finn sailing during the 70s and 80s, her ambitions were reignited. Snellgrove crowdfunded her way back into the British Sailing Team in 2018, recently winning silver at Kieler Woche, the largest sailing event in the world. With six offices in the South east region, Moore Barlow has a wide geographical footprint and reach – but at the same time, is keen to support the local communities it serves and local initiatives. Moore Barlow’s sponsorship is an example of this, given Hannah’s ties to the local community in Lymington. Moore Barlow also sponsors the annual Silicon Cup Regatta out of Port Solent. ■ SURREYLAWYER | 13
The Law Society By Beth Quinn, Key Account Manager, The Law Society Beth Quinn
here has been much activity at Chancery Lane over the past year and we are pleased to provide updates on much of this work here. PARTY CONFERENCES In the Autumn, the Law Society was represented at the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat party conferences. We hosted a number of events and held various meetings to make the case for our policy priorities with key political stakeholders, including the new lord chancellor, Dominic Raab MP. Our flagship reception, held alongside the Bar Council and Society of Conservative Lawyers, concerned international issues facing the profession and how best to promote our jurisdiction as a global legal centre. This was well attended by party members, MPs and ministers. We also held a fringe panel on levelling up justice, co-hosted with the Bar Council, APPG on legal aid, and Legal Aid Practitioners Group, which saw a lively discussion on access to justice, regional disparity and the rule of law. Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce met with new Justice Minister James Catlidge and Security Minister Damian Hinds, leading to productive discussions on legal aid, the backlog in the courts and economic crime. Across the conference, alongside rising gas prices and the cost of living, the courts backlog was recognised as one of the major issues facing government. Highlights from the Labour conference were hosting events alongside Shadow Lord Chancellor David Lammy, the Shadow Attorney General Lord Falconer and Shadow Solicitor General Ellie Reeves. Lammy used his speech at one of our events to endorse our call for an independent review body to set legal aid rates. The Liberal Democrat conference was held virtually and attended by our Vice President Lubna Shuja. More information can be found at: www.lawsociety.org.uk/About-us/Join-our-Council-orcommittees/Presidents-update/promoting-england-andwales-as-a-global-legal-centre-at-party-conferences?sc_ camp=EF0D3A16FB1F40E0CE95D51522FEDBFF REGULATION SIF We put out a statement last week that warned that consumers could be left high and dry if the regulator pushes ahead with the discontinuation of post six-year run off cover (PSYROC) and the closure of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF).
clients, partners and staff once their mandatory six-year run-off period has come to an end. The SRA planned to close the SIF on 30 September in 2021, but we successfully lobbied the solicitors’ regulator to push closure back to 30 September 2022. The SRA is currently seeking views on whether its regulatory arrangements should include PYSROC and what that means for the future of SIF. The SRA’s preferred option is not to continue with PSYROC, claiming that the costs compared to the volume and value of claims outweigh the efficiency of delivering consumer protection. ■ Solicitors want consumers to be protected and one of the things on which the profession prides itself is that it offers a service from highly trained professionals who are adequately and appropriately insured for the rare occasions something goes wrong. ■ The average successful claim from SIF is over £34,000, which is a large amount of money for most people. The consumers who will suffer employed (and employ) solicitors on the reasonable assumption they would have comprehensive protection if something went wrong. ■ Though the SRA are suggesting that this comprehensive protection is removed, they are yet to demonstrate that the removal of PSYROC will have any material impact on the cost of legal services or lead to any improvement in the market for legal services. ■ Solicitors strive to provide the best service, but they also want proper consumer protections should claims arise. It would be in the best interests of consumers and the profession alike to retain the insurance protection that SIF provides. The Law Society will be responding to the consultation in full, following discussions with our members, and having given the matter proper consideration. We believe the SRA could benefit from any further insights that members or former members might see fit to provide. CLIMATE TLS Climate Change Resolution Our Climate Change Resolution has been passed by Council and has now been published.
We made clear our concerns in the wake of the publication of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) consultation on the future of SIF.
By way of background, the resolution is a statement, setting out our commitment to tackling the climate crisis. It also urges our solicitors to commit and act in a way which is consistent with international and national legislative targets on climate change so they may future proof their provision of legal services. The Climate Change Resolution was drafted under the guidance of the Law Society’s Climate Change Working Group assisted by our Climate Change Resources Adviser.
As you know, SIF currently provides supplementary run-off cover for firms that have closed, ensuring ongoing protection for
It is an opportunity for firms to adopt practical measures and policies to reduce the climate impact of their business and
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highlight what they’re doing to tackle climate change. We are encouraging firms to use our resolution to commit to taking action, and to evaluate how this will affect their daily practice. The resolution consists of: ■ our commitment to taking action by adopting science-based targets for our own business operations, and providing the profession with guidance on how to take climate change into consideration when providing legal services (sections 1-2) ■ a call to action for law firms and solicitors (sections 3-5) While there is no formal procedure for signing up to the resolution, we are asking that firms demonstrate their commitment to tackling climate change by sharing their support for the resolution on their website and social media. We also encourage it to be shared with colleagues, and for practices and policies to be implemented internally in line with the resolution. You can download the Climate Change Resolution at: www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/climate-change/creating-aclimate-conscious-approach-to-legal-practice#downloadthe-resolution Reflecting on COP26: what were the key outcomes? COP26 ended on Saturday 13 November after negotiations overran into the weekend. Although the conference was unsatisfactory in delivering the action and commitments needed to reach the targets from the Paris Agreement, COP26 has raised the global ambition on climate action. We have set out the conference's successes and shortcomings, the 10 key announcements made at COP26, and what's next for COP27 next year. Read more at: www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/climatechange/reflecting-on-cop26-what-were-the-key-outcomes ACCESS TO JUSTICE Autumn Budget Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s autumn budget has promised additional funds for the justice system. We’re pleased that the UK government has heard our calls for much-needed investment to address the courts backlog, invest in a sustainable civil legal aid market and help the justice system recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A few key points: 1. The MoJ will have a £3.2billion increase in its budget to £11.5 billion in 2024/25. This is equivalent to a real-terms growth rate of 3.3% per year on average over the spending review period. 2. The government has committed to better access to justice by investing more than £1 billion to increase the capacity and efficiency across the courts system; tackle the courts backlogs and help the system recover from COVID-19. – £477m has been allocated to fund the criminal justice backlog, improve waiting times for victims of crime and reduce the Crown Court backlog from 60,000 cases to 53,000 cases by 2024/25 – £324 million has been committed to address the backlogs in the civil, family and tribunal jurisdictions, while more than £200m is aimed at completing the MoJ’s court reform programmes by 2024/25. – This won’t solve all the problems afflicting the justice
system but it’s a step in the right direction. We have long warned the civil legal aid sector is in a precarious sate and urgent action should be taken. We are encouraging the government to build on this by fully funding the recommendations of the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid, restoring legal aid for early legal advice and ending the legal aid deserts that now stretch across most of England and Wales. 3. More funds will be available for small and medium-sized businesses in the ‘levelling up’ agenda. The government has allocated £196m in 2024/25 for the Help to Grow Schemes which aim to enable more than 100,000 SMEs to access training tools to boost productivity and performance. 4. On homes/cladding - the government has previously committed more than £5 billion, including £3 billion over the spending review period, to remove unsafe cladding from the highest-risk buildings. This is supported by revenues raised from the new residential property developer tax. The hope is that this tax will generate £2 billion over 10 years to fund the removal and replacement of combustible cladding. However, the full cost of cladding remediation is estimated at as much as £15 billion. – We’ve called on the government to provide additional financial support to leaseholders to help cover the costs associated with managing and rectifying the dangerous cladding on their homes. – It’s disappointing that no new money was found in the budget to assist long leaseholders in unsafe properties. – In addition to the financial and emotional burden on some leaseholders, the concerns about unsafe flats are impacting on flat sales in the wider property and lending markets. 5. Lastly, there is some disappointment with the economic crime levy. – An investment of £18 million in 2022/23 and £12 million per year in 2023 to 2025 has been allocated to deliver reforms in the economic crime plan and tackling fraud. The economic crime levy was also referenced and will be used to tackle economic crime. Our position is that we strongly oppose the imposition of the levy on principle and are disappointed the government has decided to move forward with it. The levy effectively represents a tax on the provision of legal services, undermining the competitiveness of a key British industry at a time when the sector should be championed. Discover more about the economic crime levy at: www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/anti-money-laundering/ economic-crime-levy and how we’re championing members’ interests. Next steps for the Law Society will be to: ■ continue to push for greater investment in our justice system ■ actively monitor the implementation of the policies contained within the budget ■ work with members, government and parliament to shape the response to the issues affecting the justice system Probate service update – November 2021 We recently met with HM Courts and Tribunals Service to discuss progress with the probate service since our last meeting in June. Our update covers matters of timeliness, stopped applications and upcoming changes. Continued on next page
SURREYLAWYER | 15
Continued from previous page You can read more about this at: www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/court-reform/news/ probate-service-update-november-2021 Member safety in court and tribunal buildings We’ve updated our guidance and best practice for member safety in court and tribunal buildings. You should continue to report any concerns around unsafe practice and escalate it until it’s properly addressed. HMCTS also continue to require all court users to wear face coverings when attending a court of tribunal building, unless exempt. Read more at: www.lawsociety.org.uk/Topics/Coronavirus/Guides/ Coronavirus-COVID-19-best-practice-for-member-safety-incourt-and-tribunal-buildings DIVERSITY & INCLUSION D&I has always been a priority for the Law Society and we recognise our role in driving change for better and more equal experiences for all solicitors. Our head of D&I, Sally Brett, has outlined the Society’s plans to help build a more modern, diverse and inclusive profession over the next 12 months – with the topic being one of our core strategic themes. Sally’s article which outlines the following can be viewed in this issue’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion section: – Our D&I framework that will guide our approach to D&I going forward – Our emphasis on mental health and wellbeing post-pandemic – Our focus on socio-economic inclusivity Joint initiative to introduce part-time training into the legal sector A cross-firm scheme initiated by our Lawyers with Disabilities Division (LDD) is seeking to encourage more part-time qualifying opportunities to be offered as a matter of course in the legal sector. ‘Project Rise’ is supported by Aspiring Solicitors and has been created as a direct result of the findings in Legally Disabled? – The career experiences of disabled people in the legal profession. Eversheds Sutherland and Osborne Clarke are participating in the project and have committed to offering all successful candidates the opportunity to train on a part-time basis, starting from their next recruitment intake in September 2024. Disability History Month The legal profession is celebrating Disability History Month (DHM) which is an annual month-long event in the UK which presents an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and inequalities faced by disabled people and celebrate their contributions and successes. Solicitors in England and Wales are celebrating DHM by sharing the perspectives of disabled legal professionals, highlighting their experiences, achievements and challenges and raising awareness of disability rights, equality and inclusion. Read more at: www.lawsociety.org.uk/contact-or-visit-us/press-office/ press-releases/legal-profession-celebrates-disabilityhistory-month
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Listen: www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/social-mobilityambassadors/ask-an-ambassador-disability-and-socialmobility Read: www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/blogs/hear-me-out-accessingthe-legal-profession-as-a-deaf-young-professional Pride in the Law: An up-to-date look into LGBT+ experiences and equality in the legal profession The Law Society has released a new report, based on findings of a survey conducted earlier this year, which shows a current look at LGBT+ equality and experiences in the legal profession from LGBT+ lawyers and their allies. The data, both quantitative and qualitative, paints a clear picture of the positive action taking place for better inclusion within workplaces and across the sector and, equally, what is needed for more effective and personalized support. Read the full report at: www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/research/pride-in-thelaw-experiences-of-the-lgbt-community-within-the-legalprofession Reasonable adjustments guidance for better disability inclusion Securing reasonable adjustments consistently emerged as the most significant barrier for disabled people in the profession in the Legally Disabled research launched in 2020. For that we worked with the Legally Disabled? research team and our Lawyers with Disabilities Division Committee, we’ve created guidance to help organisations better understand reasonable adjustments and how to implement them. The guidance includes real examples from many firms and organisations showing what is possible and practical. www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/lawyers-with-disabilities/ easy-wins-and-action-points-for-disability-inclusion www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/lawyers-with-disabilities/ reasonable-adjustments-in-organisations-best-practice-fordisability-inclusion How we marked Black History Month October marked Black History Month in the UK, which is a month-long observation and celebration of Black heritage, diversity and achievements. To mark the occasion, the Law Society released various podcasts, articles and information – all of which you can view on our website. ■ Podcast: To lift as we climb Law Society President, I. Stephanie Boyce, and Inez Brown join us for a candid and inspirational discussion on diversity, discrimination, aspirations and identities. ■ Blaze your own trail In this article Julie Condliffe explores representation and belonging in larger organisations. ■ Ethnicity pay gap: What you need to know We provide an overview of the ethnicity pay gap – what it is, why it exists and how to start reporting on it. ■ Black History Month: life in the law LawCare discuss the response from ethnic minority legal professionals to their recent Life in the Law research study.
JUDICIARY Tax Chamber – judicial recruitment support scheme The Tax Chamber (first tier tribunal) has recently launched a judicial recruitment support scheme to offer targeted support for those considering an application for judicial appointment as a judge within the chamber, on either a salaried or fee-paid basis. The scheme involves judicial shadowing and work experience opportunities as well as guidance on the judicial application process. You will need to have a tax background and meet the eligibility criteria (e.g. have 5 years PQE). For more information on the scheme and to register, email: email@example.com ■ Our Solicitor Judges Division is our community for aspiring and sitting solicitor judges. Membership is free and more information can be viewed at www.lawsociety.org.uk/ topics/solicitor-judges/ ■ Case studies by judges in courts, tribunals – judges and feepaid members, High Court judge or deputy High Court judge can be viewed at www.lawsociety.org.uk/career-advice/ career-development/judicial-careers/case-studies/ ■ We also run a joint initiative, the Pre-Application Judicial Education Programme (PAJE), which helps lawyers from under-represented groups who are interested in becoming a judge to feel more confident about applying and to prepare for the process. – Applications for autumn/winter 2021 are now closed but there are various online resources available (videos on becoming a judge, Q&A with judges who have led PAJE
workshops, podcasts: appointments, judicial conduct, roles and structure; rule of law and separation of power). ■ Our internal lead on the judiciary (inc. judicial diversity) is our Policy Advisor Yael Levy Ariel – as she’s very happy to be put in touch with interested members so do let me know if this is something to take forward. Judicial appointments interview training for solicitors webinar 10 February 2022, 3 March 2022 and 30 March 2022 10am – 4pm. £259+VAT. This training webinar will focus on tailoring your submission to make a positive impact in the competency-based application and selection process. You will receive practical advice on completing the application form, incorporating your experiences and invaluable interview practice with feedback. The speaker is Manjula Bray who has gained significant recent experience as an independent assessor with the National Assembly for Wales (public appointments) and the JAC (Judicial Appointments Commission). Places are limited to 8 delegates per course so early booking is advised. Book your place on the Law Society website. ■
InfoTrack triumphs with wins for Product of the Year for eCOS and Supplier of the Year
nfoTrack has won two awards at the 2021 British Legal Technology awards. Taking the win for Product of the Year for their eCOS client onboarding solution, the award recognises innovative new products and solutions which deliver vision, differentiation, practicality, and importance to help evolve technology for the legal sector. eCOS is a powerful digital onboarding solution, supplying everything firms need to enable streamlined paperless client onboarding from one consumer-inspired portal. Providing access to bank-grade ID and source of funds verification tools, client care letters, onboarding questionnaires, and licensed Law Society TA forms, firms are benefitting from obtaining key information faster. Amy Church, Managing Partner at Lucas & Wyllys says, “Sending client care with eCOS is a breeze. We can open a file and send client care packs out in under 10 minutes, then our clients can complete the paperwork straight away. A process which used to take on average 2 weeks, can be completed within a couple of hours. The process also ensures that no questions or documents have been missed, reducing the need for further communication and delays.” Mike Leeman, Managing Partner at Bell Lamb & Joynson Solicitors adds, “Clients are verifying identity digitally, which just goes to show it is a product and technology which is very easy to use and accessible to all.”
InfoTrack was also crowned Supplier of the Year, recognising demonstrated excellence in legal technology and client focused services. This award honours the suppliers which are helping reshape the future of the legal industry. Providing a single platform to complete all conveyancing tasks – from onboarding to AP1 – InfoTrack is pioneering the technology that helps law firms manage their conveyancing workflow. Clive Meredith, Practice Manager at Wollen Michelmore LLP says, “[InfoTrack] saves a huge amount of time and it has given us a scalable solution for growth. We’ve been really impressed with the software. However, it’s not just the software we’ve been impressed with. InfoTrack’s customer service is without doubt the best we’ve received from any third-party software supplier. They are responsive, proactive, and a joy to deal with.” Scott Bozinis, InfoTrack CEO, comments, “We’re incredibly proud of winning Supplier of the Year as it highlights our dedication to delivering the best technology solutions to law firms. eCOS is a perfect example of one of our latest innovative solutions that is transforming the way law firms interact with their clients, continually demonstrating the value our technology adds, particularly over the last 12 months. The legal landscape is evolving, and digital IDs and electronic onboarding are influential in the shift. Winning Product of the Year for eCOS recognises the appetite from the industry for solutions that can improve the process.” ■ SURREYLAWYER | 17
Legal Practice and Climate Change T
he climate crisis is the greatest threat facing modern humanity and, as we all know, human-induced climate change is already affecting the world with massive deadly changes causing scorching heat, storms, floods, rising sea levels caused by melting glaciers and other natural disasters. The best assessment of scientists indicates that there will be devastating global consequences if rapid and far-reaching changes are not made to limit warming to 1.5°C. To do that, global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 reaching net zero around 2050. The International Energy Agency has also advised that new coal, oil and gas investments should end by 2021 in order to meet such targets. COP26 has demonstrated how the selfishness of nations threatens to make these necessary accomplishments impossible to attain without a drastic change in our behaviour. At COP26, countries representing 70% of carbon emissions were absent (Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil). India’s promises, although welcome, will take three generations to accomplish assuming that there is no fall-back.
Solicitors, through advocacy or daily practice, can be part of the change needed to tackle the climate crisis and provide a safe environment for future generations. The Law Society’s Council has therefore passed a climate change Resolution1. This Resolution acknowledges the essential role of the legal profession in strengthening and upholding the rule of law, human rights and access to justice which are vital for society as a whole, including for advancing efforts which mitigate the climate crisis and strengthen climate justice. It further acknowledges that solicitors have played a crucial role historically in fundamental positive societal changes and can lead in mitigating the climate crisis to avert its worst effects, including by supporting their clients and (for in-house solicitors) their employers in doing so.
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This Resolution binds the Law Society only and does not bind its members. It resolves, amongst other things, to support solicitors to be fully informed on how they might act to mitigate the climate crisis and provide guidance to solicitors on how, when approaching any matter arising in the course of legal practice, to take account of the likely impact of that matter upon the climate crisis in a way which is compatible with their professional duties and the administration of justice. It urges solicitors, always in a way which is compatible with their professional duties and the administration of justice, to engage in climate conscious legal practice by continuing education, approaching any matter arising in the course of legal practice with regard to the likely impact of that matter upon the climate crisis and providing, whether themselves or through others, competent advice to their clients on how they can achieve their objectives in ways which mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. And it urges us to promote adaptation to climate change and the potential legal risks and liabilities that may arise from action or inaction that negatively contributes to the climate crisis. Further it urges solicitors when advising clients, where applicable, to advise about the benefits of disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities related to their entire business operation (including supply chains) when reporting to regulators, investors and stakeholders and on the assessment, monitoring, management, mitigation and reporting on such risks. The Resolution also urges law firms and organisations that support the legal industry to operate in a way which restricts the increasing global warming to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to above 1.5°C pre-industrial levels by adopting science-based targets and practical measures to reduce the environmental impact of their businesses and policies and by reporting publicly on the steps taken to meet these commitments and the outcomes of such steps. We all understand that professional considerations require that there is no influence or restriction on the independence of the
advice given to clients in connection with their legal affairs. However, any such advice, even by an independent lawyer, should be in accordance with legal and moral principles. Most of us would agree that it is essential that we develop a climatecontrolled approach to our legal practices. Law Society President I. Stephanie Boyce said “Solicitors and law firms need to prepare for how the consequences of the climate crisis will affect them and contribute to the global drive to transition to net zero. This includes identifying climate change related risks and greener courses of action, as well as reducing the greenhouse gases associated with running any business. Nearly a third of the U.K.’s largest businesses and many law firms have now pledged to eliminate their contribution to carbon emissions by 2050. Clients are also looking to law firms and lawyers to reflect their values and stands on climate change and sustainability. Solicitors can play a crucial role in the transition towards net-zero and climate change will affect their daily practice. This is something we all need to educate ourselves on now, incorporate into legal practice and dedicate resources to. We hope our climate change resource hub will be a valuable support to members.”
At present it is for clients to decide whether they want climaterelated advice assuming that we are educated and equipped to provide it. At present it is not compulsory but that might change if, for example, insurers require us to give that advice or to include a suitable disclaimer in our terms of business to avoid a negligence claim for having failed to give it should that advice have resulted in clients doing better had the advice been given. Change could also come about from the SRA and the LSB. Concerns have been raised as to whether the wording of the Resolution widens the responsibility of solicitors or raises expectations of competence in areas outside the scope of specific retainer or to advise beyond legislated requirements. This is not the case. They are not requirements. They are part of activities where the Law Society is urging lawyers and law firms to engage. But lawyers should be clear that climate change is here. It is not going to go away, and it very probably will get a lot worse. And make no mistake there is rising pressure for the profession not to be seen as enablers of those who damage the climate through their actions. ■
The SRA has confirmed that, in the ever-growing fight against climate change, it will consider the impact of environmental, social and governance upon the profession as well as the legal sector’s response to climate change and they have published their own resolution to support both individual solicitors and the companies or firms they work for to develop a climate-controlled approach to legal practice. To date the Legal Services Board (LSB) have no plan relating to climate change. The Gazette (28 October 2021) posed the question of whether the Resolution could potentially be interpreted as inviting solicitors (for example) not to represent a company building a coal-fired power station or an oil pipeline. The Law Society responded saying it was essential to the functioning legal system that everyone can access a lawyer to understand their rights and obligations within the law. Over the next year the Law Society aims to provide the profession with guidance on how to take climate change into consideration when advising clients and providing legal services.2 The Law Society will not be developing its own material but creating a Hub for Solicitors using the products of others who have produced excellent material to assist law firms and by bringing all of these together and promoting them to the profession. Of significance is the Chancery Lane Project3 which has developed dozens of contractual clauses that can be incorporated into precedents and commercial agreements. The Legal Sustainability Alliance4 offers support and advice to law firms across the UK helping them to manage and reduce their carbon emissions and to become more sustainable. These are two examples of many. But we must not underestimate the amount of work and resources which we will need to have committed to deliver what the Resolution promotes. We should also remember that we have in the past encountered difficulties in promoting positive change with clients despite being ahead of others in the field of law in trying to do so. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights5 promoted respect for the human rights of others in relation to business, supply chains and the use of cheap labour, inter alia, in an effort to change the often extreme and desolate conditions in which many of those living in the developing world and providing that cheap labour live. The lack of financial resources has caused this important contribution to human rights to be put on the backburner. For that to happen to work to keep the climate change down to 1.5 C would be fatal.
Alastair Logan OBE., LL.B.,
Council Member for the Surrey Constituency 1. https://planb.earth/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/ LawSocResolution.pdf 2. https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/climate-change/ creating-a-climate-conscious-approach-to-legal-practice 3. https://chancerylaneproject.org/ 4. https://legalsustainabilityalliance.com/ 5. https://www.ohchr.org/documents/publications/ guidingprinciplesbusinesshr_en.pdf SURREYLAWYER | 19
Report Details Report ID: 123456FAP Date: 01/01/2020
FCI Flood Appraisal Residential
Report ID: 123456FAP Date: 01/01/2020
Grid Reference: E: 123456 | N: 123456
FCI Flood Appraisal Commercial
Grid Reference: E: 123456 | N: 123456
Report Reference: Sample Ref
Report Reference: Sample Ref
Requested by: Sample Client
Requested by: Sample Client
Current Use: Residential
Current Use: Commercial
Proposed Use: Residential
Proposed Use: Commercial
Sample Site, Street, Town, County, UK
Sample Site, Street, Town, County, UK Working in collaboration with
Aaron Jones, BSc Ashfield Flood Risk Director
Working in collaboration with
Penny Andrews, BSc MEng MRICS CEnv FCI Operations & Compliance Director
Aaron Jones, BSc Ashfield Flood Risk Director
Professional Opinion Summary
Peer Review: Penny Andrews, BSc
MEng MRICS CEnv FCI Operations & Compliance Director
Professional Opinion Summary
Based upon the review of detailed information within this FCI Flood Appraisal, this professional opinion concludes that the Further Action identified within the initial FCI Premium Residential search (Ref: Based report upon the review of further detailed information within this FCI Flood Appraisal, this professional 1234) has been sufficiently investigated and the subject Property can now be considered to beconcludes at an opinion that the Further Action identified within the initial FCI Commercial search report (Ref: acceptably low level of risk. 1234) has been sufficiently investigated and the subject Property can now be considered to be at an
acceptably low level of risk. This summary should be read in conjunction with the full assessment in the following pages of this report, along with any recommendations made. This summary should be read in conjunction with the full assessment in the following pages of this report, along with any recommendations made.
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Understanding Surface Water Flooding – Is it Getting Worse? Surface water flooding can be caused by seemingly mundane issues, such as a blocked grate over a drain, or more major issues like inadequate drainage within a new development. It can be about maintenance of ditches, drains or sewers, the clearing of gullies and screens and even how gardens are landscaped. But development in the wrong place can also exacerbate surface water flooding issues. We understand that building on flood plains is a bad idea, but any traditional development will increase the amount of non-porous surfaces, including roads, pavements and drives which will rapidly charge drainage systems, especially when funnelled into a water course.
urface water flooding occurs when intense rainfall overwhelms drainage systems. In recent years we have seen a significant increase in the frequency of torrential rain causing widespread flooding across the UK and the Met Office’s UK climate projections show more extreme weather events and sea levels rising resulting from climate change. We look at why and what this means for homebuyers into the future. Climate change threats are placing greater danger upon homeowners, increasing the need to understand all types of flood risk, especially during the property purchase process. A recent study from Heriot-Watt University revealed flooding in the UK could increase by an average of 15-35 per cent by 2080 due to the severe effects of climate change. Climate Warming brings More Rainfall Numerous reports in recent years confirm what climate specialists have known for decades and governments are now recognising – climate change is here and is unstoppable. At the top end of current predictions, the Earth could warm at an average of 3°C above preindustrial levels by 2100, having potentially catastrophic effects on low lying communities and large conurbations worldwide when combined with a global sea level rise of up to 2 metres with ice cap melting. If we can contain and reduce emissions globally, in the drive for net zero, such is the UK’s ambition by 2040, the minimum expected average global temperature rise is still 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. With greater warming comes greater moisture in the atmosphere, resulting in more frequent storm systems and increasing rainfall. We have seen a shift in our weather patterns, with the North and West of England and Scotland having wetter winters and the south and east having increasingly drier summers. Higher surface temperatures and increased atmospheric moisture also mean that storm cells can form anywhere across the country, even in areas of lower rainfall. This was seen in parts of West London and Kent this summer when a month’s rain fell in just a few hours. The Impact of Surface Flooding Estimates indicate that over 3.2 million properties in England are at risk from surface water flooding, which causes devastation to communities. The localised nature of heavy rain makes it difficult to predict (source: DEFRA). It can happen many miles from a river or stream, and in unexpected locations simply because there is nowhere else for the rainwater to go.
Older, urban drainage systems were not designed to cope with current localised volumes, resulting in the media pictures of submerged cars in underpasses, or seemingly innocuous dips in residential streets. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) play a key role in reducing and managing the flow of surface water to reduce the effects on our infrastructure. Strengthening building regulations and planning conditions to include these can only be a good thing. Understanding the Impact on Homebuyers As our climate changes and we experience more frequent short bouts of heavy rainfall it is important for homebuyers to be aware of risks that may affect the insurability, and value of their new home. We combine best-in-class data and expertise to analyse how flooding has and could shape your client’s future asset. The FCI Premium Residential Report includes a JBA Floodability assessment, which forms a rating of insurability, giving a clear understanding of flood risk for your client. Where flood risk is highlighted, an FCI Flood Appraisal can be obtained, providing independent expert insight at a property-specific level. The fully manually assessed report is designed to guide and inform all stakeholders within a transaction, including homebuyers or sellers, commercial investors, business owners, lenders/insurers, conveyancers or solicitors, providing the confidence needed to make informed decisions. Complete with a full Professional Opinion from Ashfield Solutions’ expert team and backed by robust Professional Indemnity cover, the report includes a summary of potential impacts to the property, reasoning behind any revision to the flood risk where applicable and an all-important insurability statement. To add further value for the end-client, advice on any potential redevelopment considerations and occupation or operational risks in relation to possible flood events is also provided. For more information on our flood risk assessments in our environmental reports, contact us on 01732 755 180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
Operations and Compliance Director Future Climate Info
SURREYLAWYER | 21
Quiz Winners Gordon Partnership with Kieran Bowe and SLS Vice President Maddie Beresford.
The Legal Brain of Surrey Quiz returns O
n Thursday 19th March 2020, we had a full house booked to attend our revamped Legal Brain of Surrey Quiz. We were excited to be hosting over 50 members at a brand new venue, The Weyside in Guildford, and looking forward to an evening of quizzing and networking. Sadly, a week before we were due to meet, it became apparent that holding such a gathering would not be safe and so the event was postponed before the country went into national lockdown 26 March. At that time, we had imagined that the Quiz would be back in the calendar before the summer and had never considered we would have to wait until December 2021 before it could go ahead once more. Well, it was certainly worth the wait, and we are delighted that on 1 December 10 teams comprising SLS members and patrons came together to enjoy 10 rounds of general knowledge
Quizmaster Kieran Bowe 22 | SURREYLAWYER
questions in a bid to win our Mike Coverley Challenge Cup. The venue was packed and all those in attendance enjoyed platters of food and good company whilst they tested their knowledge on subjects such as entertainment, current affairs and sport. In addition, attendees deciphered pictures, considered a ‘connections’ round and tested their nerve with a final ‘Wipeout’ section where they could risk all their points in that round if they answered a full house of questions, resulting in 5 bonus points! In the end it was Gordons Partnership who reigned victorious, with runners up from QualitySolicitors Palmers and TWM Solicitors, but all our teams did fantastically. We were particularly thrilled to have our sponsors for the evening in attendance, HFS Milbourne, Landmark Information and Access Legal, and would like to thank them for their support, which enabled the event to finally go ahead. ■
Landmark Information Group
HFS Milbourne & Access Legal
Moore Barlow & TWM Solicitors
Mike Coverley Challenge Cup
Senior Solicitor – Residential and Commercial Conveyancing to Head up our Property Department Are you a senior Solicitor or Legal Executive with substantial experience of residential and commercial conveyancing? We are looking for someone like you to Head up our Property Department. We are a busy, expanding firm in the heart of Winchester providing services to Hampshire and beyond, and we are looking to add someone like you to our Property and Conveyancing Team. We offer an enjoyable and rewarding working environment and a very friendly team. We have been awarded a Highly Commended in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2021 for our practice management. What skills and attributes will you need? ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Technical Competence 5+ years PQE Initiative Ambition Demonstrated leadership skills Demonstrated knowledge of the local market A commitment to excellent service
Our Property Department has strong links to the local estate agents and existing commercial and residential property clients. We are looking for someone who will be dynamic and motivated to foster those links and develop new ones. You will have a thirst to continue to grow the existing experienced and well respected Property Team and an eye for compliance (especially with regard to SDLT) and efficiency. Your salary will be in line with market rates and reflect your level of experience, with the possibility of future solicitor partnership.
See our Property Department page here: www.shentons.co.uk/property-conveyancing.html Please apply by sending your CV and covering letter explaining why you are suitable for this exciting opportunity to our Practice Manager, email@example.com SURREYLAWYER | 23
A legal aid solution that works as hard as you do I
f your firm provides legal aid services, you already know how important it is to be accurate and efficient in how you manage your matters and invoicing. There’s no time or room for error or for case management systems that cost a lot of money and yet slow you down. That’s why leading global legaltech provider Clio has introduced its new legal aid matter management and billing feature for England and Wales. Designed for – and with the assistance of – UK lawyers, it makes Criminal Controlled, Civil Controlled, and Civil Certificated legal aid work and billing quicker, accurate, and cost effective. With it, legal aid firms can:
✓ Save time with in-app lookups of legal aid rates and codes – no more searching hundreds of rows in a PDF.
✓ Generate and submit accurate claims to the Legal Aid Agency’s CWA Portal in just a few clicks.
✓ Get a complete view of the status of your legal aid cases.
Automated threshold notifications and easy-to-read dashboards mean you never miss the opportunity to apply for escape fees and can clearly see when to move a matter to the next stage.
Early adopters have reported that it is saving them hours – even days – on their end-of-month billing processes. “In the past, billing could take me days,” says Sarah Rogers, Founder and Director of the Immigration Advice Centre. “But with Clio, legal aid billing is just so much easier.” Sarah and her four-person team at the Immigration Advice Centre routinely deal with complex asylum and immigration cases, many of them legal aid cases. They need an affordable and simple-to-use case management system that works with them. Clio’s legal aid case management system provides that. Sarah says: “With the dashboard, we can see all the things we need to: I can see how much money we're spending as soon as I look at a client record. I can see where we are with activities. I can see where we are with disbursements. It’s a lot more userfriendly than our last practice management system.” To read more about how Sarah and her firm uses Clio’s legal aid feature for England and Wales, see our case study at clio.com/surrey-legal-aid. ■
Society Membership Membership details:
To apply for membership please contact:
Annual Subscriptions: £98 per person, per year Corporate Subscriptions: £1,850 per year (20+ fee earners) Solicitor: £60 (not in private practice) Solicitor: £35 (not practising) Honorary Membership: Free Associate Membership: Free – no voting rights
Helen Opie, Chief Executive Surrey Law Society c/o Russell-Cook Solicitors Bishop’s Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1QN Web: www.surreylawsociety.org.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0333 577 3830
24 | SURREYLAWYER
JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION
Surrey Junior Lawyers Division W
ith a committee that now numbers 19 strong, Surrey JLD eagerly anticipates the year ahead. In this report we cover our committee members both new and old, along with what we have planned and how you can get involved.
Our strategy At the top of our agenda are our members’ well-being and careers, both in terms of access to the profession and development.
A new committee Access to the profession is at the heart of what we do so we are delighted to have Amber Matheson join us as both an Events and Diversity & Inclusion Representative, since those two roles complement each other so well. Amber joins fellow Events Representative Adele Edwards, while Katrina Burrows steps into the new Charity Representative position.
Therefore, in addition to talks on acquiring training and newly qualified positions, we intend to have talks on becoming a senior associate and partner. In January we are due to have an event with Elizabeth Rimmer the CEO of LawCare, the mental health charity for the entire legal community throughout the UK and Ireland including aspiring lawyers.
Digital marketing is vital to us as a committee and needs an expanded dedicated team. Joining Alexandra Milson as a Social Media & Publications Representative is Tabitha Lee. Chloe Wallington fills the new role of Website Officer while former Chair of Nottinghamshire JLD Kim Wintle is now our Media & Communications Representative. The acute demand for mental health and well-being events and resources has prompted the election of an additional Wellness Representative. Sonay Erten is joined in this position by William Smith-Brix.
Cocoa With The Committee is now focusing on various practice areas to help aspiring and trainee lawyers understand what it is like working in those areas of law. So far we have had an Intellectual Property Law Cocoa and a Family Law Cocoa, with upcoming Cocoas to cover Employment Law, Injury and Clinical Negligence Claims Law, Investment Law and Tech, Art Law and Equine Law. We are particularly keen to give Surrey JLD members looking to stand out in their chosen practice areas the opportunity to be speakers to help support their careers, so please do contact us at surreyjuniorlawyersdivision@gmail. com in order to be considered. ■
Furthermore, it is important to have our members represented on our committee, including their various routes to qualification. We’re pleased to have local government representation in the form of our In-House Representative James Fry. Sponsorship Representative Victoria Batstone is now also our CILEx Representative, while Nedra Daniel is our Career Changer Representative. Novel positions have been created for some new committee members including our Universities & Colleges Student Representative Bethany Walker, and Seema Gill, our Solicitors Qualifying Examination Representative. The role of Student Representative has been renamed to University of Law and LPC Representative, which this year is occupied by Grace Butler. Martin Whitehorn has been elected Chair and will also remain National JLD Representative, representing Surrey’s junior and aspiring solicitors at the national JLD committee meetings. Alice Barrett and Sapphira Gold continue in their positions as Secretary and Treasurer respectively, helping ensure the effective administration and financial management of our group. Kate Lewis is now our Surrey Law Society Representative, responsible for driving collaboration between our two organisations. Many thanks to outgoing Chair Yasmin Curry, Media & Communications Representative Chantelle de Filippis, CILEx Representative Daniel Crate, and In-House and Surrey Law Society Representative Tilly Greenstreet-Carter for all your work. SURREYLAWYER | 25
Time to look at the “big picture” DISCOVERING THE EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF FINANCIAL ADVICE No two individuals share the same goals or ambitions. Each person is unique, with their own needs, targets and budgets. So when it comes to managing your money, building wealth, securing your future and, above all else, drawing up an effective plan for fulfilling your investment objectives, professional financial advice should be tailored to your unique specific needs. FEELING LESS ANXIOUS Having access to financial advice is strongly linked to feeling more secure and less anxious about money. According to the survey, around 3 in 5 people who have received financial advice report that they feel financially more secure and stable, compared with under half of those who have not received any advice. Only 1 in 3 people who have received financial advice report feeling anxious about their household finances, compared with over 40% of those who haven’t. FEELING MORE CONFIDENT One of the key practical benefits of financial advice is that it gives you access to expertise on topics that are complex. This provides you with more confidence and increased peace of mind. People who have received financial advice report feeling three times more confident about their understanding of financial matters and products than those who haven’t. For example, areas that some people find confusing concern retirement planning and understanding their life insurance and critical illness options. Among those who have not received advice, around 1 in 4 people say they would not know where to start when it comes to the different options available to them. Among those who received advice, that number is fewer than 1 in 12. FEELING ABLE TO COPE IN A CRISIS The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people feeling less stable in their financial situation. 35% of those who have not received financial advice report feeling anxious about their finances, while 65% see the value in being more prepared for unpredictable events in life. Financial advice helps you prepare, plan and navigate any future shocks or crisis. And while you can experience the benefits of advice after just one meeting, it’s essential to receive ongoing advice over the long term as your situation and life goals change. This means your adviser gets to know you and 26 | SURREYLAWYER
Steven Vallery your background, and can help you adjust to whatever life has in store. Those people who have an ongoing relationship and receive regular financial advice are twice as likely to report feeling in control of their finances as people who do not. ■
Managing Director S4 Financial Limited email@example.com
Are you ready for the connection battle? By Jonathan McGill, Conscious Solutions
he last two years have seen a seismic shift in our digital behaviours and many brands are still figuring how to respond to the changes. More and more Britons of all ages are becoming comfortable using QR codes, having video calls, paying using their mobile phones, and even going through a digital identification process online. Most brands have embraced these changes by doubling down on digital investment, from smarter technology platforms to the use of AI chatbots, features which until recently, could have seemed gimmicky or just unnecessary, have become standard practice. So, what’s next for standing out and taking advantage of these digital trends? It seems a deeper level of connection is the new frontier, now you may be thinking well isn’t that just meeting clients face to face? Well, yes in some ways a connection can be formed through face-to-face meetings but there are a host of reasons why deeper connections can be smarter, more efficient, more effective and safer with the use of the right technology. In Mark Zuckerberg’s recent rebranding message (Facebook’s holding company becoming Meta), he spoke about the next chapter in digital being more immersive connections, which he stresses is the most important experience of all. Now Facebook may bring you some mixed emotions but, we cannot ignore one of the biggest tech companies in the world doubling down on how to create more meaningful connections between people, which they believe can be achieved by developing realistic and immersive digital experiences. So, with billions of pounds being invested in digital reality what could the ultimate technology stack mean for you and your firm? Facebook isn’t the only company that is wanting to take digital connections to the next level, as shown in Google’s latest update to Business Profile for Google (what used to be Google My Business); a platform that aims to make it as easy as possible for clients and businesses to connect. The platform enables you to put more details online from when you will be open e.g., holiday hours, to your COVID-19 policies and even your inclusivity policies. Firms across the globe are understanding that clients want transparency and ease of information. Clients are doing their searching online and it is
up to you if you will take advantage of the opportunities. By providing clear and up to date information you could stand out from competitors and the end result could be a key piece of work coming your way. With digital applications and tools continuing to expand and develop at exponential rates, it’s no longer possible to have digital marketing as a component of your marketing strategy, rather it’s imperative that if you want to keep up and lead in the increasingly crowded market, you have to have digital at the centre of your marketing strategy. This means keep scanning the horizon because the mediums and functionalities of digital tools like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn that you know are constantly improving and changing. So, what does this mean for marketing at law firms? Firstly, expect to see clients expecting more from law firms. As we experience improved, faster, personalised, and pre-emptive service from a broad range of service providers (like food delivery and communications), expect those expectations to be carried across to professional services. Now that doesn’t mean that you must be open 24/7 and offer discounts on clients’ birthdays but setting very clear expectations and improved levels of communication is a must. Secondly in a world where trust continues to be at the core of our most important decisions, think about ways to build trust in a digital world. Whether that means an improved team profile page, or a social media strategy for key staff members that allows clients and prospective clients to see more transparency, more context, and information about individuals working on their matter. That level of transparency and detail counts. Finally, build a digital-first marketing strategy, make sure you understand the shifting landscape and can react to the changes quickly and effectively, find partners you trust that will allow you to stay connected with those that will keep your firm moving forward. ■ SLS Patron, Conscious Solutions provide design, website and marketing solutions for law firms. www.conscious.co.uk. SURREYLAWYER | 27
Digital AP1: five things conveyancers must know HMLR
announced the landmark decision to mandate all register applications to be submitted digitally from Autumn 2022, the first of its kind. The change is being implemented to reduce requisitions, resulting in a faster and smoother overall process. It will however involve preparation as firms undergo this significant change to their current method. With a little under a year to have all firms transition to submitting digital AP1s to make changes to the register, it may feel like there is plenty of time begin switching processes in your firm. With the deadline announced and a clear path to further the digitalisation of the conveyancing process, firms should be on top of the key challenges they need to overcome during the transition.
1. Paper forms are disappearing From November 2022, paper forms for applications to change the register will be made obsolete. With around 80% of the industry still submitting some sort of paper form, whether a scanned PDF or documents sent through the post, there’s a long way to go. If your firm currently populates a paper form or PDF from the matter within your case management system, you’re going to require a new process because you will not be able to submit any other way, except digitally. What does this involve? There are two options available to firms, either setting up a new digital process with HM Land Registry’s DRS directly or by working with an integrated specialist software supplier that uses the Land Registry’s Business Gateway. At InfoTrack, we’ve been providing an integrated digital AP1 service since 2016. 2. Get familiar with validations Validations are a way to reduce the risk of a requisition being raised by minimising incorrect or incomplete information being submitted. By including validations, HMLR caseworkers can process applications quicker and more easily, with less risk of questions or additional document requirements. Paper forms don’t have validations set within, so traditionally people have been able to submit any information they prefer on the forms. To minimise the risk of requisitions, firms will need to familiarise themselves with the standard requirements and validations required by HMLR. This will differ depending on the type of transaction and will be a key part of the process of adopting digital AP1s. If you don’t understand the validations in the digital systems, it could slow down submitting your AP1 and result in more requisitions, overall slowing down processing of applications. 28 | SURREYLAWYER
3. Consider your requisition management process Requisitions are undoubtedly a pain point for firms when processing the AP1s. While we can’t eliminate them completely, there are way you can reduce how many are raised and improve how they’re managed to make the process less of a burden. Many firms still manage their requisitions manually, whether using a large whiteboard system in the office to manually diarising reminders for key dates. This process carries an ongoing risk of missing deadlines. The transition to digital AP1s will require firms to reconsider how they manage their requisitions and how they will move to a new process. Whether managing requisitions, cancellations, early completions, or registered AP1, a system that provides transparency across all applications within the firm is essential. Missing key dates delays transactions and cancellations will result in loss of priority, so getting on top of your process to avoid potential issues early will ensure a smoother switch to submitting your AP1 digitally. 4. Evaluate your AP1 draft and approval process Post-completion teams within firms can often involve various team members preparing drafts while others submit. Firms will now need to review their current process and how they can migrate to a digital process as well. What to consider when reviewing? Users need to know where to find and access drafted applications within the firms so submissions can easily be managed with no disruption to workflow. Currently, the Land Registry’s DRS doesn’t allow multiple users with different login to review the same applications. Firms will need to find a way to review applications made online, whilst ensuring they do not duplicate or lose data, which would obviously cause serious delays. 5. Start training now We’re confident that moving to a new digital system for AP1 applications will improve the accuracy of submissions, help reduce requisitions, and ultimately speed up the process but, you can never be too prepared. To get ahead of the deadline, firms must ensure their teams are prepared for the migration to completely digital AP1 applications. Ensuring users are trained on the system, familiar with the new digital process, and up to speed on the changes that will affect how they submit will put you in great stead to make the process of moving to digital applications simple and hassle-free. We know from experience that this takes time, so we’d urge all firms to start organising themselves around the new digital approach sooner rather than later.
Bonus tip: Be prepared for changing fee calculations The Land Registry has also announced a raft of fee changes that will be applicable from January 2022. This will affect all firms and systems will need to be updated for quoting, accounting, and how fees are calculated. Currently, the HMLR fee bands are not synced with firm calculators, meaning users will have to review a table in the practice guide to manually determine which fees will be applicable for files that are now being onboarded. This could cause difficulties related to reconciliation and billing if fees are different when firms lodge the AP1 later down the line. This is going to involve preparation work by firms to ensure they are ready for the fee changes and already accounting for the changes on all new matters. We know that changing your processes can feel like a challenge, which is why our post-completion experts at InfoTrack are happy to help any firm looking to make the switch now. Ensuring your firm is aware of the changes that are coming in 2022, you can be prepared to instil processes to make the migration to digital AP1s as hassle-free as possible. To find out more, talk to our post-completion experts. Visit www.infotrack.co.uk/digitalap1 or call 0207 186 8090. ■
Want to feature in Surrey Lawyer? To advertise in Surrey Lawyer, please call Catherine McCarthy our Business Features Editor on 0151 236 4141 or email catherine@ benhampublishing.com.
LEAP celebrate further technology innovation
his month LEAP celebrated over 800 law firms accessing the InfoTrack integration from within the legal practice productivity solution. That is nearly a third of the law firms that use LEAP software. Traditionally it’s been conveyancing firms that have benefited from the two-way integration between systems. However, thanks to the ongoing development and progressive innovation of the InfoTrack team, law firms across all areas of law are now generating efficiencies due to this partnership and therefore becoming more adaptive, agile, and streamlined. John Espley, CEO of LEAP UK outlines the benefits of this new integration. InfoTrack integration features and benefits now available in LEAP include: The power of eSignatures For busy legal practices, significant time is lost waiting for the approval and agreement of legal documents. By utilising eSignature technology across your practice client signatures can be easily obtained in minutes not days. The use of electronic signatures grew five-fold in 2020 and via a simple, smart application available to LEAP users, law firms can easily obtain electronic signatures from clients on any legal document they wish. Using drag and drop functionality firms can select where initials, dates or signatures are required on a specific document and send to the client for completion from directly within the electronic matter via secure email link, this enables the recipient to review and sign the documents with ease, significantly speeding up transaction times. In fact, 67% of documents that are signed via InfoTrack’s eSignature technology available in LEAP are returned within 12 hours.
Streamlined client onboarding With client expectations more demanding than ever law firms are considering alternatives to traditional client onboarding methods. However, there is a fine balance between providing a good client experience whilst implementing processes that drive efficiency and meeting compliance requirements. Onboarding new clients can be a fragmented practise for law firms, sourcing and collating information and taking payments across multiple systems can take up considerable administrative time and effort and increase the length of time of a transaction. Firms using LEAP and the InfoTrack integration are being provided a digital solution for tackling the key onboarding processes within a single, unified platform. Remote client identity and source of funds verification Client verification is a crucial piece of the due diligence process for law firms with the need to validate ID, documents and funds electronically becoming essential. Typically, solicitors relied on physical documents and in-person meetings that delayed the client onboarding process and transaction times, but this is no longer the case. Now your clients can verify their identity from anywhere in the world! And with a digital tool that captures real-time data from clients’ bank accounts law firms can verify the source of funds and mitigate the risks associated with fraud, protecting all parties. Through the ongoing development that is being done between LEAP and InfoTrack law firms can now access a suite of technology that delivers bank-grade, electronic client verification directly from their case management software with all results and documentation collated and returned. ■ SURREYLAWYER | 29
Help change an older person’s life G
rowing old doesn’t come with a manual and later life can be challenging for many people. Significant life events such as retirement, family moving away, bereavement as well as changes in health and mobility all have an impact on how we feel and cope. Every person and their situation will be unique. That is why we tailor our support holistically.
A gift to Age UK Surrey can help change an older person’s life
Having time and space to support people in moving forward with their lives, helping people to meet others really can make all the difference to someone’s life. We aim to reduce loneliness and social isolation, maintain people’s independence and improve health, wellbeing and resilience. A gift to Age UK Surrey will help us deliver a range of one to one support services and group activities that:
Age UK Surrey is committed to being there for older people.
If your client decides to leave a gift in their will to Age UK Surrey they will be helping people navigate the changes and challenges of later life.
www.ageuk.org.uk/surrey Charity No: 1036450 30 | SURREYLAWYER
■ Provide practical support by helping people understand their options and entitlements through free, impartial and confidential advice on all issues such as housing, care and money. ■ Give people the gift of friendship and companionship by connecting and introducing them to others through our Befriending and Wellbeing services. ■ Help people remain healthy and connected and learn new skills through social activities, walks and tea and chat groups. ■ Enable people to remain independent at home by offering practical Help at Home support such as cleaning, shopping and gardening. Age UK Surrey is a local independent charity. Monies gifted to us remain in Surrey which means that a gift will benefit a Surrey resident. Please refer to our charity as ‘Age UK Surrey’. Registered charity number: 1036450. Thank you. ■
Market research: ESG insights for law firms L
andmark Information Group commissioned an independent market research project to look at the significance of ESG for law firms and corporations, and the challenges they face in monitoring and measuring ESG performance. We interviewed over 300 individuals – C-suite executives and directors from corporations, partners, department heads, fee earners in ESG and directors from legal practices from the UK and the US. The increasing importance of ESG Perhaps unsurprisingly given the prominence of ESG by several governments, including the UK and US where our respondents were based, 96% of corporations and 92% of law firms thought ESG was more important in their organisation than 12 months ago. Should law firms be doing more? 82% of corporates believed law firms could be doing more regarding ESG assessments. Perhaps realising this, 55% of law firms who said they received increased requests for ESG-related services acknowledged the need to improve the capabilities and resources required to provide such support. ESG priorities “Social” was the top concern, with 26% of corporates and 37% of law firms putting this aspect of ESG at the top of their list. This was followed by “Environment” with 24% of corporates and 18% of law firms labelling it as their second concern. Methods of measuring ESG performance 59% of the corporates across the UK and US are conducting manual calculations and reports on ESG performance. Only 31% of both corporates and law firms currently use a single ESG measurement resource or online platform. This suggests an ongoing challenge in accessing consistent, accurate and timely content. The biggest risks to organisations for poor ESG performance 43% of corporates were afraid of the impact on brand perception or brand value. 43% also feared financial penalties resulting from noncompliance with regulation. ESG across the supply chain 72% of US corporates have undertaken an ESG assessment on their supply chain within the last 12 months compared to 68% in the UK.
Simon Boyle, Legal Director at Landmark Information said: “There is no surprise that ESG measurement is a complex area, yet it is rapidly increasing in importance as investors, stakeholders, lawyers, employees, suppliers and even end customers are demanding information relating to organisations’ achievements and actions under ESG. “Our ESG market survey not only considers the pressures facing both UK and US-based corporates and law firms into managing and measuring ESG performance and risk, but really looks into the main drivers and benefits from assessing ESG. While corporates and law firms agree that ESG has escalated in priority, appeasing shareholders or investors appears to be the main concern overall. Despite the perceived complexity, difficulties in accessing consistent data and the time-consuming nature of the task were cited as significant challenges. “It is becoming increasingly clear that corporates are looking for support or guidance on ESG. But only a third of law firms overall said that they could actually service this demand whilst more than half believe that they need to build their capabilities or resources in order to serve this suitably well for their corporate clients. This shows that when it comes to ESG many law firms have a lot of potential to meet the new needs of their clients.” To read the full ESG Market Research Report and see for yourself how perceptions on ESG priorities and risks are shaping the behaviour of corporations and law firms across the UK and US, download the latest edition of Landmark’s ESG Market Research Report at: https://go.landmark.co.uk/esg-research-report. ■
55% of corporates would give poorly performing suppliers time to improve versus 72% of law firms. SURREYLAWYER | 31
A very different Bar Conference An appreciation of the Bar Conference 2021 held between 17th to 20th November 2021 by Phillip Taylor MBE, reviews editor of “The Barrister”, and Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
e certainly do live in different times – and this Bar Conference of 2021 was, historically, the first annual Bar Conference conducted online, as well as in person. This, of course, will come as no surprise to the Bar. It was as good an indication as ever, that the Bar (after hundreds of years) remains as resilient as ever, even in the face of the Covid menace which persists in every aspect of life. Saturday, 20th November 2021 found one hundred or so people at the Connaught Rooms in Central London for this special Conference with a difference. As a hybrid affair, it proceeded partly online and partly in person. In spirit it reflected in a sense, what many of us have been doing as barristers and mediators for the past eighteen months – being resilient and being resourceful. The Weekday Sessions Online These go back a couple of days to Wednesday 17th November when Derek Sweeting QC opened the online part of the Conference. Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales began with his vision of justice in 2022, offering us an overview of his priorities for next year. He was followed by a return performance from Baroness Hale who had addressed us pre-pandemic and came back to us for more, with an exploration of the state of the Rule of Law. Lady Hale was joined by another stalwart of our events, Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws QC, Professor Philippe Sands QC of Matrix Chambers and Sophie in‘t Veld MEP from the European Parliament. We were also very lucky throughout to have excellent sponsorship from LexisNexis, Vector Professions Finance, Mitigo Cybersecurity, and Currencies Direct, plus our exhibitors: Advanced; Charles Cameron & Associates; ICLR; Advocate/FRU – and Complete. The exhibitor stands were well patronised on the Saturday, and it was great to see so many familiar faces, as well as new ones after the enforced absence of almost two years. Overall, the main theme of this memorable hybrid gathering was “Recovery, Growth and Transformation”. On the Saturday, the Chair of the Bar, Derek Sweeting QC elaborated on “what the future of justice looks like in a world changed by the pandemic”. A rapt audience was then encouraged to consider “the transformations that are needed or expected to take place throughout the justice system and within the profession”. Interestingly, Derek’s opening speech on the Saturday began with a reflection on his role as a tank commander in Germany, which explained why he settled on a career in law after the fall of the Berlin Wall. “Respect for the Rule of Law has stalled” Derek’s noteworthy narrative was followed by his rather sombre statement that “respect for the Rule of Law has stalled” whilst we, as lawyers who toil in the front line, continue our struggle to protect the law as a precious asset while being fully aware of the challenge of upholding it. This point popped up persistently throughout these hybrid sessions which, by the way, worked almost seamlessly – better in fact, than some of us had thought possible. For those attending in person and those watching online, the main topics included the role of technology; access to the 32 | SURREYLAWYER
Bar; working practices; and barristers’ individual and collective business development and management. The outcome of our deliberations was the opportunity to chat about the way ahead and the need to identify how the Bar and Young Bar, as well as the wider legal sector, would be able to “flourish at a time of change of opportunity”. “We are all in the same storm… but not in the same boat” We were also fortunate to hear from Joanne Kane, chair of the Young Barristers’ Committee. Few of us listening to her lively talk will probably never forget our early years of practice and the problems many of us faced at the beginning of our professional lives. “We are all in the same storm, but not in the same boat,” she said, continuing her theme that many junior practitioners continue to face pre-existing challenges, including inadequate remuneration (of which, more later), and inequality of opportunity, as well as obstacles to individual wellbeing, as “we are all in this together” as someone once said within recent memory. Designed specifically for the Young Bar, there had been practical sessions during the week to provide guidance on how to be an effective junior and a persuasive advocate, in what is such a different world for many of us. It was Joanne who added that “there is work to be done by all in the profession to improve diversity, address working conditions, and to safeguard the future of the profession”. On behalf of the young Bar, Joanne provided us with a valuable contribution on issues facing all practitioners, young and just a bit older. Promptly afterwards, who should turn up but the Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab MP in the form of a video clip. His dissertation, intending to be reassuring, was frankly, a statement of the obvious for most of us. What would have been more effective (and more courageous) might have been a “Q &A” session when the issues he didn’t want to discuss could have been raised. We intend to raise them anyway, as we now await the delayed report on the future of criminal legal aid levels from the Bellamy Report which should be with us by the time you read this article. As usual, legal aid was one of the elephants in the room throughout Saturday and will continue to be so, together with the court estate and all that is that is wrong with HMCTS. The two further sessions that followed included “the picture of justice for the next five years” – and yes, you guessed it: IT and all things online, starring the Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, who put up a spirited defence of his anticipatory vision of an online future. Joining Geoffrey were Penelope Gibbs from Transform Justice, HHJ Sally Cahill QC, President of the Council of Her Majesty’s Circuit Judges, and genial Clive Coleman, the ex-BBC man in the “Joshua Rosenberg slot”. This important session focused on modernising the system to improve the changing needs of the court user. The panelists were impressive, always returning to the “political” problem of legal aid which always neuters what the judiciary would like to say. This, however, didn’t stop the other contributors – and it would have been better to have had a longer time for questions in these sessions. However, we overran a bit, straying into what we know as “barristers time” as we do like to talk, do we not.
Diversity This session pre-lunch was chaired by David Lammy MP, a rather subdued Shadow Justice Secretary. Uncharacteristically quiet he was, although the more voluble panelists were first class: Barbara Mills QC, HHJ Emma Nott from Reading Crown Court (with splendid slides) Chinwe Odimba-Chapman from Clifford Chance, and Grace Ononiwu from the CPS. This was an important session for everyone because of the issues thrown up by the massive problems relating to fair and equitable distribution of work. Diversity, together with legal aid, will doubtless continue to be among the most difficult and pressing subjects for the Bar, along with all the other issues which determine who is – and who isn’t – destined to succeed at the Bar. It was not too depressing a session, but the issues it raised will remain collectively a “work in progress” matter for all practitioners. Following lunch and further visits to the exhibitors, the afternoon sessions were dominated by two fascinating panel discussions on the subjects of Twitter and legal journalism. The Conference would not be complete of course, without a visit from famous/ notorious mystery man, ‘The Secret Barrister’, although Crime Girl was not present. Joanne Kane reprised her earlier role as the SB’s spokesperson and did an excellent job, ably chaired by PR man Keith Hardie, and Tweeter extraordinaire, Sean Jones QC of 11 KBW. Where Sean gets the time to tweet was beyond many of us, but his advice was sanguine. The panel, including the elusive SB, shared their world-weary
views on the global phenomenon of Twitter: the do’s and don’ts of using this social media outlet (LinkedIn clearly was not a runner for social media barristers, which was a bit surprising). The point of this session was whether social media has a role to play in increasing public awareness of the justice system “and building a professional brand”. Well – yes, it does for many of us, but perhaps not quite yet for all of us. “Making Headlines” and the need for skeletons As we delegates were aware, the ladies and gentlemen of the press were much in evidence, presumably slaving away on their computers, following our every move as hybrids. These distinguished legal reptiles (sorry!) included the ever-excellent Jonathan Ames (“The Brief” from “The Times” as legal editor); Lizzie Dearden from “The Independent”; the courageous Tristan Kirk (Evening Standard) and Jess Glass from the High Court. And what a great session it was. But just remember the golden rule that there is no such thing as “off the record”. If you say something to a journalist, he/she will use it. Also, journalists need to be told about important cases, so make sure you send them your “skeletons” if you want coverage! See You in 2022 This was indeed a very different Conference this year, one which, fortunately didn’t bore the striped pants off anyone, even Jonathan Ames. So, I will close with a resoundingly loud thankyou to everyone who attended, hybrid or not. It was so nice to be back together again after an enforced two-year absence. ■
Striding out in the summer sunshine – your Regional Legal Walk returns for 2022!
t the end of June last year, we were delighted that the support from the legal community meant that the Guildford Regional Legal Walk raised over £14,000 for local advice charities including law centres and Citizens Advice services.
back in the Summer, and have lots of challenge events for you to get involved with during the year. Please do sign up to our newsletters (via this short form) and keep an eye on our events webpage with more information and we would love to see you during 2022.
This walking event was part of a series of our series of annual regional walks which, in 2021, raised nearly £85,000 for legal advice agencies in their local areas.
Other ways you can help As well as joining our events, there are many ways you can help London Legal Support Trust to support your local advice agencies.
What an incredible achievement and testament to the dedication of legal professionals. This additional funding boosted morale for charities that support people facing increasing hardships on a daily basis, such as debt, unemployment, homelessness, and domestic violence. All of which have seen an increase since the start of the pandemic.
Promote payroll giving in your firm Payroll giving is an easy, tax-efficient, way to give. Donors can choose multiple charities to give to every month, and the rest is taken care of. Donations are made from pre-tax income, so a gift goes further. More information can be found here.
Date for your diary! The Guildford Regional Legal Walk is planned for Wednesday 11 May 2022 and we are honoured that Her Honour Judge Raeside will be joined with other senior Surrey judges as our lead walkers for the 10k sponsored walk in the beautiful Surrey countryside. We will even try to order good weather! You can sign up for the event via the short form here. We are so pleased that the London Legal Walk is
Monthly giving A regular donation helps LLST, and the charities we support, to plan what funds are expected and how they can be utilised to continue vital services. For more information see our website here or email Nicola Hewitt at Nicola@llst.org.uk. Please sign up to receive regular emails about LLST’s events and activities (link HERE) or email signups@llst. org.uk and please get involved in as many events as possible to fundraise for frontline free legal advice agencies in London and the South East. ■ SURREYLAWYER | 33
Poppy’s second chance at love P
oppy’s owner first contacted her local rehoming centre and said she needed to hand Poppy, a four year old Chihuahua cross, over to us as she had sadly recently been given a diagnosis that she had a terminal illness. She was advised to apply for a free Canine Care Card and nominate a Dog Guardian; someone she trusts to sign over the care of Poppy to Dogs Trust should she need it. She’d then be able to spend the most time possible with Poppy and feel reassured that she’d be given the best possible care at Dogs Trust when they could no longer be together. When Poppy’s Dog Guardian contacted us to advise that her owner was now receiving palliative care and that they needed to activate her Canine Care Card, Poppy was collected by Dogs Trust the very next day. After a vet and behavioural assessment we decided the best place for Poppy would be a loving foster home. We were able to advise the foster carers of all the information we’d been given by Poppy’s owner regarding her life, diet and routine to enable us to make this transitional period as stress-free as possible for Poppy. Within almost no time, we were able to find very affectionate Poppy a lovely new home for her second chance at love. Poppy’s story is one of many we come across at Dogs Trust.
Many owners are growing increasingly worried about gradually losing their independence or their health deteriorating. Dogs Trust want to offer owners peace of mind that we will be there at this difficult time to care for and rehome their four legged friends should the worst happen. Therefore we’re pleased to announce that we have extended our Canine Care Card service. Dogs Trust will care for your dog should you move into a care home, become seriously ill or pass away. For more information on our Canine Care Card service and how to register your dog please type in this link www.dogstrust.org.uk/ccc where you will find our online application form and more information on our free service. If you have any queries regarding the Canine Care Card please email CCC@dogstrust.org.uk or call 020 7837 0006 and we will be happy to help. ■
Who’ll keep her 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 their dog a second chance a life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 21 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.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Or call 020 7837 0006
Or write to: FREEPOST DOGSTRUSTL (No stamp required) Please quote “334975” All information will be treated as strictly confidential. Service only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man.
A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®
Registered charity numbers: 227523 & SC037843
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© Dogs Trust 2021
Wherever you roam, client onboarding with eCOS is pitch-perfect
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Helping the lawyers who help people
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