The Report - Westminster & Holborn Law Society official magazine, March 2015.

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REPORT The

The City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society

Spring 2015

Inside this issue: › Residential › The relevance Conveyancing

› Book Reviews

of Magna Carta?

Sponsors this edition



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Contents PUBLISHER Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 0151 236 0440 Fax: Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com

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The City of Westminster & Holborn Law Society

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ADVERTISING AND FEATURES EDITOR Anna Woodhams DESIGN AND PRODUCTION MANAGER Neil Lloyd ACCOUNTS DIRECTOR Joanne Casey MEDIA NO. 1409 PUBLISHED February 2015 © Benham Publishing Ltd. LEGAL NOTICE © Benham Publishing. None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. Benham Publishing would like to point out that all editorial comment and articles are the responsibility of the originators and may or may not reflect the opinions of Benham Media. No responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracies that may occur, correct at time of going to press. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

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

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COVER INFORMATION The cover image from © Metro Centric, Flickr.

COPY DEADLINES Summer

1st May 2015

Autumn

28th July 2015

Winter

30th October 2015

Spring

30th January 2016

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

Email:

ih@hunters-solicitors.co.uk

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

Email: Tel:

anna@benhampublishing.com 0151 236 4141

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INTRODUCTION

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COUNCIL MEMBER’S REPORT

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LOCAL ISSUES

14 NEWS AND EVENTS

President: Hon Secretary:

Hon Treasurer:

19 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 20 RESIDENTIAL CONVEYANCING 26 BOOK REVIEWS 29 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE 32 THEATRE AND THE LAW

Editor:

Administrator:

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

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Introduction

THE PRESIDENT’S COLUMN IT SEEMS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT I HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN OFFICE AS YOUR PRESIDENT FOR A QUARTER OF THE YEAR! ADMITTEDLY THAT INCLUDES THE PERIOD OVER CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR, WHICH, AGAINST ALL LOGIC, SEEMS TO GET LONGER WITH EVERY YEAR THAT PASSES. Since my installation in October, I have had the pleasure of representing the Society at the annual dinners of the Liverpool Law Society and the Birmingham Law Society, whose hospitality I gratefully acknowledge. Both were happy occasions, where I made new friends as well as renewing what it may be appropriate, as we prepare to celebrate Burn's Night, to call "auld acquaintances". On the evidence of those two events, our provincial Law Societies are thriving in a way that CoWHLS is not. Liverpool filled the (enormous) ballroom of the splendid Adelphi Hotel to capacity, while Birmingham fully occupied their magnificent Town Hall - not exactly a shrinking violet of a building. It is not so long ago that we ourselves managed to fill Middle Temple Hall for our annual dinner. I feel sure that we in Westminster and Holborn can again see that sort of vitality if we all row in the same direction; and I would ask each and every one of you who reads this Report to ask every Westminster and Holborn lawyer you encounter in the next three months - whether in your own firm or outside it - if they are members of CoWHLS and if not, why not? We should glory in being an independent liberal profession, and one of the best ways of ensuring the continuance of that desirable state of affairs is that we should all hang together to avoid hanging separately. It was an embarrassment to see how substantial a percentage of the local profession both Liverpool and Birmingham embrace, when comparing it to the sub-10% of lawyers in our area who are members of CoWHLS. Surely we can do better than that?! To continue the exhortation theme, I urge as many of you as possible to come to the annual dinner on 30th April, and the Legal Charities Garden Party on 10th June, further details of both of which will be found elsewhere in this issue. We hope to see a good contingent of overseas lawyers at the annual dinner, attracted by the conference being sponsored by the International SubCommittee on 1st May.

The theme of that conference will be Magna Carta. There can be few lawyers in England and Wales who are not aware of the approaching 800th anniversary. It is not a bad year for anniversaries - Magna Carta, Michael Fletcher, President Agincourt (1415), Waterloo (1815) and, amongst just two events of 1915 plucked from many, the sinking of the Lusitania and the Battle of Loos (at which Rudyard Kipling's only son lost his life); but surely the greatest of these must be the octocentenary of the Great Charter and the influence it has had on the history of these islands, the English-speaking world, and even further afield. The provisions of the Charter which resonate most with us today are those which set out the basic liberties of the subject of the English Crown - "no free man is to be arrested or imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, exiled or in any other way ruined, nor will we proceed against him or send against him except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land"; and, "to no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right February or justice". Those noble sentiments were 26th Welcome Drinks included in a considerable morass of provisions relating (inter very much alia) to March the removal of fishing weirs on navigable 18th Committee Meeting rivers, guarantees of the freedom of the Church and the City of London, placing strict April bounds on the monarch's ability to tax the 30th Annual Dinner barons and the wealthiest of the citizenry, and de-controlling immigration. UKIP would May not have approved of the latter! If you look in 1st 18th London Legal Walk Volume 10(1) of Halsbury's Statutes, you will 20th Committee Meeting see that very little of all of this has survived to the present day. Indeed, in one of his "Misleading Cases", nearly ninety years ago June Sir Alan Herbert had the High Court 10th Legal Charities Garden Party pronounce that Magna Carta per se was no longer law. Nonetheless, we may still say July that the Great Charter has set out the basic 22nd Committee Meeting liberties of the subject and has closely influenced the American Declaration of September Independence, the Bill of Rights and the 23rd Committee Meeting 1946 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so whether or not any of the original October provisions of Magna Carta are still good law, 21st AGM its spirit certainly survives.

DIARY

MICHAEL FLETCHER PRESIDENT

November 18th

Committee Meeting

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Introduction

COUNCIL MEMBER’S REPORT LAW SOCIETY COUNCIL 10TH DECEMBER 2014 Since Chief Executive Des Hudson left the Law Society in July, Paul Coen filled the post on an interim basis and 10th of December was his last Council meeting. Council thanked him warmly for his highly effective service to the Society. Catherine Dixon, the new permanent chief executive, commenced work at the Law Society on 5 January 2015. Judicial review of the legal aid crime duty tender process Council decided to seek a judicial review of the legal aid crime duty tender process. The Law Society is continuing discussions with the practitioner groups in relation to their plans and will be offering financial support to the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association and the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association to support their work on their potential reviews. Since then the Ministry of Justice and Legal Aid Agency has suspended the process for tendering in order to await the result of the JR.

Presidential update President Andrew Caplen took the opportunity to update Council on his programme of work since taking office in July 2014. He highlighted activity in the three key areas set out in his presidential plan: • Access to Justice - including launching the Law Society's Access to Justice campaign jointly with the Lord Chief Justice, marking the 65th anniversary of the Legal Advice and Assistance Act 1949, hosting the opening reception for the European Pro Bono forum, and appearing before the House of Commons Justice Select Committee • Rule of Law - including, at the Opening of the Legal Year, chairing a seminar on business and human rights and speaking at the bar leaders' breakfast on the rule of law in light of next year's Magna Carta celebrations • Diversity and Inclusion - including events focusing on the role of lawyers in assisting victims of domestic violence, the achievements of black and Asian lawyers, the achievements of beneficiaries of the Society's Diversity Access Scheme, and the scope for further improvements in the diversity of the judiciary.

Representing and promoting the profession Significant work reported to Council included: • Access to Justice - responding to the

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Ministry of Justice's consultation of the proposed duty solicitor scheme, including media activity, letter writing, and the provision of an on-line resource pack for members Strategy for legal services regulation responding to the SRA's consultation on client protections, and participating in a roundtable event on professional indemnity insurance with insurers, brokers and lenders Support to improving the diversity of the profession - events to mark Black History Month and Diwali, a range of diversity forums across England and Wales, and a speed networking event for women solicitors.

The Law Society had also been active in engaging with the government on legislation including the Consumer Rights Bill and the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. Among international activity, a meeting had been held with representatives of English firms in Japan, the Society had been a partner of the Global African Investment Summit, and a conference had been held to promote UKMexico legal links. In terms of ensuring best practice governance arrangements, Council agreed to proposals from LAPB to make changes to the membership of some Law Society committees, reducing the number of seats reserved for Council members and therefore opening more seats up to the profession at large.

Serving the profession Among matters reported to the Council were: • The launch of Lexcel version 6 at the sold-out annual Lexcel conference • An agreement to develop a new accreditation scheme for occupational disease • Plans to reinvigorate the Civil and Commercial Mediation Scheme • The accreditation of over 120 firms for the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme • The continuing increase of traffic on Find A Solicitor, with over 500,000 visits in September.

SRA annual report Council received and debated the Solicitors Regulation Authority 2013-14 annual report. This report is submitted in compliance with the requirements of the 'oversight protocol' between the Society and the SRA. It drew attention to the extensive programme of regulatory reform and organisational change under way at the SRA, articulating a commitment to targeted and proportionate regulation and the reduction of unnecessary regulatory burdens. The report also contained commitments to improving operational performance and working with stakeholders to improve the quality of SRA services. PROFESSOR SARA CHANDLER Past President CWHLS Council Member for Voluntary Sector Solicitors.



Local Issues

From the President

To Presidents and Secretaries of Local Law Societies

2 February 2015

Dear Colleagues Court fees – supporting members’ involvement As mentioned in my letter last week, we are now ramping up our activity on court fees and I would like to ask for your help in encouraging your members to get involved. We are encouraging the profession to get involved in a number of ways: Writing to their MP using our template letter, adding in their own concerns http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/policy-campaigns/articles/court-fee-increases/ Completing our survey to help us gather evidence of the potential impacts https://www.research.net/r/court-fees Using the twitter hashtag #courtfees to join the conversation. If you are able to let your members know about these activities, I would very much appreciate it. What we’ve been doing You may have seen our comment in the Guardian on Friday. http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/jan/30/labour-pledges-review-legal-aid-cuts-sadiqkhan?utm_source=lawyers-online.net You can read our full statement on court fees here: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/press-releases/civil-court-fee-hikes-spell-disaster-for-access-to-justice/ We are also working with like minded organisations on joint activity around the issue. I will keep you updated as the campaign progresses. Judicial Review To update you briefly on another issue, we made further submissions to our judicial review of the Lord Chancellor’s decision to issue a criminal legal aid duty contracts tender. We outlined two central flaws in the Government’s decision. You can read the document here: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/stories/duty-contracts-judicial-review-additional-information-sought-bycourt/#sthash.240MWDoo.dpuf We expect to hear the result next month and will keep you informed. Yours sincerely

Andrew Caplen President Direct Line: 020 7320 5808 Direct Fax: 020 7320 5759 Andrew.caplen@lawsociety.org.uk

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Local Issues

WHOSE MAGNA CARTA ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? We are justly proud of our democratic and justice system, built up from the original Magna Carta 800 years ago. Does it cover all of us in the 21st Century? The rule of law is central to our entire legal system, and without it lawyers would have no structure in which to further the cases of our clients, there would be no justice, none of present day rights. As justice rights are reduced in England & Wales for example, the cuts in legal aid, and the reduction in access to judicial review proceedings, is the very core of the Magna Carta under attack? Do we deny liberty to those who cannot afford to pay for representation? CWHLS will celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in our own event on 1st May, with a seminar organised by the CWHLS International

Committee. We will examine the relevance of the Magna Carta in the 21st Century with our international guests from CWHLS twinned bar associations: the Berlin Bar and the Barcelona Bar. The event is an international seminar organised for the morning after the CWHLS annual dinner and it is open to all. The venue will be 1, The Sanctuary, a unique and historic venue, which takes its name from the right of sanctuary within the confines of Westminster Abbey founded by Edward the Confessor. The right of sanctuary illustrates the need for a justice system, which was developed later with the Magna Carta. The preservation of life, liberty and property established within the Magna Carta is the foundation of current day justice. How relevant is the Magna Carta for European lawyers, and what are the foundation stones of European justice systems? In what way is the rule of law enshrined in Germany or Spain or in the European justice system? We are honoured to have the participation of the Presidents of the Berlin Bar, the Barcelona Bar and the Federation of European Bar Associations.

A keynote speaker will be Andrew Caplen, President of the Law Society of England & Wales. Andrew is a legal aid lawyer currently leading the campaign against the savage cuts to legal aid in England & Wales. 1, The Sanctuary is the office of CWHLS President, Michael Fletcher, who has generously offered this historic venue. If you have never visited, this will be a unique opportunity to experience a step back in history. The building design was based on St John’s College, Cambridge in gothic style, and is a block of 8 houses, and number 1 is just beside the entrance to Westminster Abbey, and buildings 1 to 3 house the firm of Lee Bolton, Monier-Williams, solicitors’ firm which has been here since 1855. In addition to the seminar there will be an optional visit to the British Library to see the Magna Carta exhibition after the morning seminar. Save the date now: 10.30 am on Friday 1st May and book with sarachandler.lawsociety@gmail.com as we need to know numbers for refreshments.

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Local Issues

LIBERTY OR OPPRESSION: WHY WE STILL NEED “THE GREAT CHARTER” OF 15TH JUNE 1215 The relevance of Magna Carta granted in 2015 as we commemorate 800 years since its sealing at Runnymede.

by Phillip Taylor MBE of Richmond Green Chambers

King John was a truly appalling English monarch. History has been far too kind to him with all the personal publicity he has attracted over the centuries. He was finally tracked down to what was (and sometimes still is) the boggy island of Runnymede in a River Thames flood plain. John was forced to seal the “Great Charter” or Magna Carta to grant some basic rights… and a lot of detailed clauses concerning land to entrench the power of the Barons which they were far more concerned about at the time. The basis words of ‘The Great Charter’ which still have direct meaning for all of us in 2015 are as follows:

“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possess… nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.” and “To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.” It’s a great pity that so many of our ‘leaders’ in this country (and, for that matter, America) have seen fit to ignore these fundamental principles when it suits them… even as recently as between 1997 and 2010. The disgusting King John was just one of many psychotic, mass murdering monarchs we, the people, have had to endure as our ‘leaders’ throughout history although today we do at least have elections to get rid of them. However, that doesn’t seem to have stopped some of them from attempting to revoke the three main clauses of ‘The Great Charter’ when they feel like it even in recent history. That is why this document is so relevant because otherwise oppression would rule. The Magna Carta rights were strongly fought for against a stupid man who had little or no sense but a massive feeling of “claim” to have whatever he wanted, when he wanted it. History is stuffed full of such despots so in June 2015 we commemorate the sealing of “The Great Charter” with a sense of continuing purpose for us all now as ‘the people’, or ‘the majority’. Between the 800 years which have passed and

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altered the place of all of us in our communities, UN and Human Rights legislation, notwithstanding, that passage of time has not dimmed the shear strength of the basic rights achieved at Runnymede. Runnymede is well worth a visit although many will find it somewhat of an anti-climax as there really is not too much there! In true English understatement, there is nothing much from us except some words on a stone wall by the car park. To the rescue come the American Bar Association (who treat these things much more seriously, for good reason after George III) and they have constructed a commemoration monument over-looking the flood plain of Runnymede. Just take care when you go there as it can get pretty wet. This Memorial is on Cooper’s Hill and was unveiled as recently as 1957. Next to it just farther up the hill is another touching stone memorial to President John F Kennedy which reads:

“This acre of English ground was given to the United States of America by the people of Britain in memory of John F Kennedy President of the United States 1961-63 Died by an assassin’s hand 22 November 1963.”

There are some other words beneath which say:

“Let every nation know whether it wishes us well or ill that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend or oppose any foe in order to assure the survival and success of liberty.” So what is the importance of the link between Kennedy and Runnymede? Just about everything we hold dear as Kennedy’s death provides just one example. So do visit Runnymede and just remember how lucky we are to have kept “The Great Charter” against all-comers who want a little bit of their own despotism inflicted on us. Kennedy’s murderer took away a bit of all of us in 1963 that’s why it has taken the Americans to put up these memorials on Cooper’s Hill (not the English) because they have seen at first hand, even as late as the 20th century, just how easy it can be to slide down the slippery slope from liberty to oppression. Please take a minute of your time on 15th June 2015 to think of those events when John was finally caught up with and stopped at Runnymede so that we might all benefit and enjoy the most basic of human rights in our communities in perpetuity.


Local Issues

ARE TWITTER ASBOs A GOOD IDEA? The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism has proposed controversial measures to deal with the rising tide of online hatred and ‘trolling’ - internet ASBOs. But are internet ASBOs a necessary means of tackling the problem, or a potentially draconian attack on freedom of speech? The newspapers that have been reporting on this are probably unaware that they are using an inappropriate term by calling them ASBOs. To little fanfare, ASBOs were scrapped last year and replaced by Section 1 Injunctions and Criminal Behaviour Orders by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. These new orders repaired some of the problems that plagued the old ASBOs. ASBOs used to be accused of criminalising non-criminal behaviour (we’ve all heard of ASBOs like the one that prevented a man from being naked in his own garden). But Section 1 Injunctions are purely civil orders and Criminal Behaviour Orders are designed to prevent those convicted of criminal offences from committing further anti-social behaviour. The inquiry actually asks the Crown Prosecution Service to look into the application of ‘prevention orders’ in relation to internet trolls. Presumably the intent would be to ban people who post abuse online from social media sites. What these prevention orders turn out to be remains to be seen. They might work in the same way as a Sexual Offences Prevention Order or a Restraining Order. Respectively, these prohibit people convicted of sexual offences from accessing the internet, and people convicted of domestic violence offences from contacting their victims. The new Criminal Behaviour Order is another order targeted at convicted offenders.

have a right not to be offended, and it’s a right that should be protected by law. In a lot of cases, the communications offences make it so. A ‘troll’ was arrested in 2012 under the Malicious Communications Act for saying on Twitter that Tom Daley had let his father down by not winning an Olympic medal. He ended up being issued with a harassment warning. Where is the line drawn? There is a further problem: enforcement. It has been demonstrated multiple times that the police do not have the time or the resources to regulate the internet, which could make any kind of prevention order unworkable. However the CPS responds to this, it needs to tread carefully. The Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris have incited a wealth of support for the right to say what we want, even if others find it offensive. These prevention order proposals raise a number of important questions. It’s also arguable that prevention orders represent yet another reactive rather than proactive solution, that instead of censoring people, we should be finding ways to educate them.

Christopher Berry is a freelance writer who used to work as a solicitor, specialising in criminal defence, employment law and commercial litigation. He does copywriting for all kinds of businesses, but has an obvious affinity for writing legal articles and copy for law firms. He writes press releases, websites, blog articles, direct mail letters and search engine-optimised copy. He is also a novelist, working on a trilogy of conspiracy/science fiction novels, and he writes a personal blog about conspiracy theories called Behind The Curtain. His blog is crberryauthor.wordpress.com and his copywriting website is alumiandcoppswriting.com If you would like Christopher to do some writing for you - whether it is to write a legal article, web pages, press releases or other copy for your firm - you can contact him on 07411 331721 or email him at cr_berry@outlook.com

After all, as Alfred Whitney Griswold once said, the only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.

But not all those who post offensive messages on Twitter or Facebook are offenders. Prevention orders would need to be placed only on those who actually commit communication offences. If prevention orders are dished out like the old ASBOs and start criminalising and restricting non-criminal behaviour, the same problem will arise and our freedom of speech will suffer even more than it already does. The communications offences themselves, such as those under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003, are controversial and misused as it is. Even after the shocking terrorist attacks in Paris, which caused millions all over the world to rise up in support of freedom of speech, people remain quick to argue that they

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Local Issues

ANNUAL DINNER

DRINKS RECEPTION

- 30TH APRIL 2015 We are pleased to announce our Annual Dinner will be held at the Charing Cross Hotel on 30th April 2015 7.30 for 8pm. Sir Terence Etherton has kindly agreed to be our guest speaker for the evening. Sir Terence was called to the bar (Gray's Inn) in 1974 and became a Queen's Counsel in 1990. He was appointed a High Court judge on 11 January 2001 and assigned to the Chancery Division on 29th September 2008. He took the position of Lord Justice of Appeal. On 11 January 2013, he was appointed Chancellor of the High Court. Whilst a practising barrister he was, in a volunteer capacity, a Non-Executive Director Riverside Mental Health Trust (1992-1999), Chairman of Broadmoor Hospital (19992001) and Chairman West London Mental Health NHS Trust (2000-2001). He was President of the Nicholas Bacon Society, The Law Society of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge until 2013.

The Ballroom at the Amba Charing Cross Hotel The original station building was built on the site of the Hungerford Market by the South Eastern Railway and opened on 11 January

1864. The station was designed by Sir John Hawkshaw originally, with a single span wrought iron roof arching over the six platforms. This roof collapsed in 1904 and was replaced with a lower roof. The platforms are now largely covered by Sir Terry Farrell's office block 1 Embankment Place. The Charing Cross Hotel, designed by Edward Middleton Barry, was opened on 15 May 1865 and gave the station an ornate frontage in the French Renaissance style. This was restored following bomb damage in WWII. Contemporary with the Charing Cross Hotel was a replica of the Eleanor Cross in Red Mansfield stone, also designed by Barry, which was erected in the station forecourt. It was based on the original 13th century Whitehall Cross that had been demolished in 1647.

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The City of Westminster & Holborn Law Society

The City of Westminster & Holborn would like to invite all new members to a drinks reception at the offices of Lee Bolton Monier-Williams, 1 The Sanctuary, SW1P 3JT on 26th February 6.30 - 8.30pm. It will be an opportunity to learn more about the Society and meet other members as well as members of the Committee. Please email our administrator, Susie Hust if you are able to attend admin@cwhls.org .uk

City of Westminster & Holborn Law Society ANNUAL DINNER -

THURSDAY 30TH APRIL 2015 Please return to: Susie Hust, 1 The Sanctuary, London SW1P 3JT Please send me ................ ticket(s) at £ 75 members and members guests. Non members £ 85 to include the subscription to CoWHLS. I enclose a cheque in the sum of £ ............... payable to CWHLS Name: …........................................................................................................................................ Name of firm/organisation: ........................................................................................................... Address: ....................................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................... Dietary requirements: ................................................................................................................... Seating requirements (if any): ...................................................................................................... Name(s) of guest(s): .................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................................................... Please list the names of all guests as they should appear on the table plan.

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Local Issues

DX PROVIDES VITAL SUPPORT TO THE BAR’S NATIONAL PRO BONO CHARITY DX, a leading independent mail, parcels and logistics end-to-end network operator in the UK and Ireland, has helped the Bar Pro Bono Unit during the recent surge in demand for its services which saw a 51% increase in applications in 2014. The Bar Pro Bono Unit is the Bar’s national charity that matches members of the public in need of legal help with barristers who are willing to volunteer in deserving cases for those who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay. The Bar Pro Bono Unit is the only charity that provides pro bono assistance nationwide in every area of law, through a network of over 3,500 barristers, from tribunals through to the Supreme Court. The charity ensures that, in each case, the barrister providing assistance is able to offer the same expertise and experience as would be expected in a paying case. DX Exchange has been integral to the Bar’s pro bono operation for the last 18 years. DX ensures that original hard copy documents for each case are transported

from the charity’s base in Chancery Lane to its volunteer barristers spread across England and Wales, and that they arrive on time, every time. Kuki Taylor, Fundraising and Communications Manager at the Bar Pro Bono Unit, comments: “We are very grateful to DX Exchange for its unwavering support and superior service, as it enables us to help those most in need of legal help.”

Paul Doble, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at DX, adds: “The Bar Pro Bono Unit plays a hugely important role in ensuring everyone receives the legal representation that they deserve, irrespective of whether they have the funds to pay for this service. We have been operating in the legal industry for the past 40 years and are in a unique position to provide the Bar Pro Bono Unit with the logistical support it needs to support its operations.”

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News & Events

PROFESSIONAL MATTERS SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT Once again we have considered various Consultations by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). I set out the three most important ones below. 1. We submitted a strong response to the Consultation by the SRA “Regulation of Consumer Credit Activities”. The SRA is proposing to withdraw from this area of regulation so that affected solicitors would have to seek authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In our view this is unacceptable because it would adversely affect a very large number of solicitors. We identified three principal problems with the proposal. (1) If the SRA ceased to be a Designated Public Body then all the exemptions currently enjoyed by solicitors would disappear, and many would need to be regulated by the FCA as well as by the SRA. (2) Many solicitors allowed clients to pay their fees in instalments. They would not be in breach of the FCA regulations if they charged no interest and allowed no more than 4 instalments. However it would be easy to be in breach of the FCA requirements inadvertently (if say the client asked for more time). (3) Many solicitors gave debt counselling incidentally to their practice. For instance a solicitor might tell a client that he needed to consider say entering into an IVA. To prevent a solicitor from saying that unless FCA authorised (which would be expensive and time consuming), and require the

solicitor to refer the client to an FCA authorised person without proper explanation, would be unhelpful to clients and discredit the solicitor’s profession. We are pleased to note that the Law Society strongly agrees with our view and is taking the matter up direct with the FCA. 2. We are currently considering the SRA Consultation “Separate Business Rule”. Our initial view is that these proposals seemed reasonable. They need to be considered in the context of the arrival of Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) and the need for a level playing field between ABSs and traditional firms. The Consultation closes on 12 February 2015, and we should be interested in the views of members. 3. We are also considering the SRA Consultation “Reporting Accountant Requirements”. The SRA has already agreed that accountants’ reports did not need to be lodged with them unless they were qualified. Whilst we have concerns about that, it is a done deal. Currently a very high proportion of accountants’ reports are qualified, often on technical grounds. We agree with the SRA that it is sensible to revise the requirements to concentrate on the real risks. In general terms the suggestion of leaving more to the professional judgment of the accountants appears to us to be sensible, subject to one major reservation. Currently the only qualification required for accountants conducting audits of solicitors’ accounts is

that they are authorised to conduct an audit. We think that there is a case for requiring a specific qualification to conduct an audit of a solicitor’s accounts, which is very different from that of a company’s accounts. Whilst we support the SRA’s ambition to eliminate unnecessary regulation, we are surprised that the SRA should cast doubt on the need for an external audit, given the importance of protecting clients’ money. We are concerned that the SRA places too much reliance on the internal Compliance Officers for Finance and Administration (COFAs). Conscientious COFAs who wish to bring their colleagues into line will find it helpful to refer to the auditing requirements. It would be harmful if the unintended consequence of these proposals is to deter the conscientious from assuming the already burdensome office of COFA. At the end of the day it must also be remembered that COFAs are internal to the firm and will not always be exempt from temptation to dip into Client Account. The need for an external audit still seems to us to be a strong one. One of the questions asked in the Consultation is whether every firm should at least be required to submit an annual declaration that an audit had been conducted. That seems to us to be a sensible requirement as far as it goes. This Consultation closes on 28 January 2015 and we should be interested in the views of members. by JULIAN AYLMER

LAW REFORM SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT There is to be a new jurisdiction for management of property of missing persons. Several hundred people go missing in England and Wales every year, many with property or affairs which their families are powerless to manage. Last year the Ministry of Justice published a consultation paper. It proposes a system of guardianship based largely on the pattern for attorneys or deputies for people who lack mental capacity. The guardian, and the court that appointed the guardian, would be required to act exclusively in the interests of the missing person. The Society’s Law Reform Committee believes that is wrong. Where there is a missing person the scheme must give the family and associates equal consideration because, by definition, the missing person may no longer exist. It will be impossible during the currency of any guardianship to know who will turn out to have been the actual beneficiary whether the various decisions taken during the guardianship will have been for the benefit of the missing person or for that of his heirs. After a person has been missing for a number of years it is increasingly unlikely that he will ever return. Protection of the missing person’s interests, as opposed to those of his heirs or dependants, may be paramount at the outset, but becomes less and less relevant as time goes on. Those interests may conflict. A particularly important example is the case of a person suspected to have deliberately gone into hiding. He may have been wanted by the police, or may have abandoned his dependants deliberately while relations with them were under stress. In either example there is a possibility that, left to himself, he

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would not wish his dependents to receive his money. What would have been position in 1974 after the disappearance of Lord Lucan, if the proposed jurisdiction had existed at the time? It would be unthinkable that a court should be required to make all decisions in the best interests of a missing person who had attempted the murder of his wife and (according to the verdict of an inquest jury) had actually murdered their nanny. In our response to the consultation we proposed that all significant decisions must be made only by a court. The proper function of the court should be to balance the conflicting interests and needs of the missing person and of his dependants, heirs and associates. It must give equal consideration to both, but as time goes by give increasing weight to the possibility that the missing person no longer exists, always exercising its discretion upon the actual evidence in the individual case.

We also suggested that the jurisdiction should be wider. It should provide for the management of the property or affairs of any person who may be failing to take action himself for any reason beyond his control. That could provide for the affairs of a person taken hostage. Or if the owner of a property or business should be unknown it could safeguard the interests of tenants or employees who would have no standing to take action under any existing legal procedures. In Scotland, the Court of Session has just such a power. So, we say, the High Court should be given jurisdiction to make such orders concerning the property or affairs of any person as may appear necessary and expedient for the prevention of loss or injustice, whether because the person is missing, or the identity of the person is unknown, or he is physically prevented from exercising such management, or indeed for any other reason.

by ARTHUR WEIR


News & Events

LAND LAW AND CONVEYANCING SUB-COMMITTEE REPORT OUR MOST RECENT MEETING HAD TO BE CANCELLED BUT A NUMBER OF MATTERS AND CASE REPORTS OF INTEREST WOULD HAVE HAD OUR ATTENTION AND WILL BE CONSIDERED AT OUR NEXT MEETING VIZ: 1. The consultation on the easing of the administrative burden of ATED. While of principal interest to revenue specialists property specialists will retain a peripheral interest. The paper suggests two options. Option one would allow taxpayers entitled to full relief from ATED in respect of two or more properties to make a single return for relievable properties on the normal filing date and a further return after the end of the chargeable period thus avoiding multiple returns. Option two would allow those entitled to full ATED relief in respect of multiple properties to apply to HMRC for "exempt status" which would obviate the need for annual returns. HMRC's comment on the responses is awaited. 2. The HMRC update on the consultation relating to the disposal of UK residential property by nonresidents. The key point to emerge is that HMRC have been persuaded to limit the scope of the proposed CGT charge so that it does not catch disposals of UK residential property held by nonÂŹresident institutional (corporate) investors either directly or through an arrangement which is not controlled by private investors. 3. Residential landlords to check on the immigration status of tenants. The Immigration Act 2014 which received Royal Assent on 14th May 2014 prohibits private landlords of residential properties from allowing certain people to occupy those properties, the prohibition being based on the immigration status of the occupiers. The new checks will be phased in from November 2014 following a pilot scheme to take place from December in various parts of the Midlands.

The Home Office intends to publish guidance. The financial penalties for con-compliance are quite severe. 4. A new protocol for applications for consent to assign or sublet has been promulgated, accessible from www.propertyprotocols.co.uk, prepared by two leading barristers in cooperation with two members of Hogan Lovells. It is well worth consideration. 5. The following case reports: (a) Musselwhite v. Youssefi - considering the applicability of ground (c) of section 30(1) of the LTA 1954 to a landlord's opposition to a renewal tenancy - not commonly chosen by landlords and not often litigated. (b) Mount Eden Land Ltd v. Bolsover Investments Ltd - held that it was not reasonable for a landlord to withhold consent to alterations which could in certain circumstances facilitate a collective enfranchisement claim under the 1993 act which would not have been possible if the proposed alterations had not been carried out, in contrast to the decision in Bickel v. Duke of Devonshire although decided having regard to the specific facts of this case. (c) Tindall Cobham 1 Ltd v. Adda Hotels (an unlimited company) and others-Court of Appeal decision confirming that a proviso to an alienation covenant which was void under Section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act reflecting the decision in the K/S Victoria Street case could

be separated from the covenant leaving other parts of the covenant in place and effective. (d) CLP Holding Co Ltd v. Singh and Kaur. A cautionary tale. The property was commercial and the seller had waived the exemption so VAT was payable on the sale. The sale price was indicated as a fixed amount and that sum was paid on completion. Subsequently the sellers were assessed for VAT on the sale and attempted to pass this liability on to the buyer. The contract contained no reference to VAT save for general condition 1.4.1 of the fourth edition of the Standard Conditions of Sale which applied to the contract. Despite this condition providing that "any obligation to pay money includes an obligation to pay any VAT chargeable in respect of the payment" it was held that as the sale price referred to in the special conditions was a specific sum without any reference to VAT and as the contract provided that the special conditions took precedence over the general conditions general condition 1.4.1 did not apply. The importance of indicating in the special conditions that the price is a given sum plus VAT or a given (higher) sum inclusive of VAT is obvious . The conflict identified in the case would not arise under the fifth edition of the Standard Conditions of Sale as these state that the purchase price is (inter alia) inclusive of any VAT so the seller is effectively required to protect himself to quote an inclusive sum in the contract as the sale price.

by ADAM MABERLY

CONTENTIOUS PROBATE WHEN SOLICITORS THINK OF CONTENTIOUS PROBATE, THEIR MINDS TURN TO CLAIMS UNDER THE INHERITANCE (PROVISION FOR FAMILY AND DEPENDENTS) ACT 1975. WHILST THIS ACT PROBABLY FORMS THE BASIS FOR THE MAJORITY OF CONTENTIOUS PROBATE PRACTITIONERS' INSTRUCTIONS, IT IS OF COURSE ONLY ONE OF SEVERAL WAYS TO CHALLENGE A WILL. When a loved one dies, clients often do not know the financial implications of the death or know what remedies are open to them if they do wish to challenge a will. It is the duty of the contentious probate solicitor to ensure that the client is fully appraised of the position and their options whilst also remaining respectful to the memory of the deceased and not encouraging unnecessary litigation. This brief note will explore some of the alternative ways to challenge a will, other than by the 1975 Act. The most obvious way to challenge a will is to do just that and attack its validity. This can be undertaken by several means. Firstly, you should consider the capacity of the testator and the test set out in Banks v Goodfellow 1870. The testator must: understand the nature of making a will and its effects; understand the

extent of the property in his or her estate; be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims which ought to be given effect. Furthermore, no disorder of the mind "shall poison his affections, pervert his sense of right, or his will in disposing of his property". If the testator does not have the requisite capacity at the time of signing the will, it will normally be invalid. Secondly, the testator must know and approve the contents of his will, as highlighted in the recent case of Tociapski v Tociapski [2013] EWHC 1770 (ch). In that case, although the court did not find that the testator lacked capacity, it was held that a medical condition had impacted adversely on the testator’s capacity to know and approve of the contents of the will. This was coupled with suspicious circumstances (the unexplained cutting out of a son who had benefitted from previous wills) which led to the will being declared invalid on the ground of want of knowledge and approval. A lesson for solicitors is that comprehensive file notes signed by the testator can help clarify the position and avoid the need for litigation. Thirdly, you should consider whether there was any undue influence involved in the making of the will. The relevant test is set out in Royal Bank of Scotland v Etridge (No.2) [2001] UKHL 44. The test is split into

two parts: firstly, actual undue influence which involves coercion or threats; and secondly undue influence involving a relationship of trust and confidence. In the latter test, where there is such a relationship and a gift is bequeathed which calls for an explanation, there will be an evidential presumption that there has been undue influence. Again, comprehensive notes should be taken when the will is drafted explaining the reasoning behind any specific gifts. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should ensure that the necessary formalities of the Wills Act 1837 were observed when the will was made. The courts will not tolerate any divergence from the strict requirements. The testator must be aged 18 or over and the will must be in writing and signed by the testator. Then signing of the will by the testator must be witnessed by two witnesses who in turn must sign the will in front of the testator. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries as they would lose any gift or bequest they would otherwise be entitled to under the will. Some protection can be drawn from the presumption that a will has been properly executed if, on the face of it, it is properly executed, but this can be rebutted with the appropriate evidence.

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News & Events

THE LEGAL CHARITIES GARDEN PARTY by EDWARD MACEY-DARE SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT

THE LEGAL CHARITIES GARDEN PARTY (LCGP) WAS FOUNDED BY THE HOLBORN LAW SOCIETY IN 1968, TO FUNDRAISE FOR LAWYERS IN NEED AND THEIR DEPENDENTS. IT HAS TAKEN PLACE EVERY YEAR SINCE THAT DATE AND, SINCE 1987 ALONE, HAS RAISED MORE THAN £500,000 FOR THE SIX LEGAL CHARITIES IT SUPPORTS, NAMELY: -

SBA The Solicitors' Charity;

-

Barristers' Benevolent Association;

-

CILEx Benevolent Fund;

-

Institute of Barristers' Clerks Benevolent Fund;

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United Law Clerks' Society;

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LawCare.

In recent years, the LCGP has been run by a stand-alone committee (an independent unincorporated association) consisting of representatives from the Society and from the various branches of the legal profession - judges, barristers, solicitors, legal executives and barristers' clerks. With effect from 21st January 2015, however, it has now come back under the Society's umbrella, such that the Society will be responsible for hosting and running it, going forward. This year, the event will be held on Wednesday 10th June 2015 – once again, in the stunning location of the North Lawns of Lincoln’s Inn. 2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta - the great charter of liberties which established a new relationship between the king and his subjects – and, given that this historic document was signed at Runnymede on 15th June, the LCGP falls squarely within "Magna Carta Week". For that reason, it is entirely fitting that the Magna Carta should be the theme of this year's event. As the LCGP is effectively under new management, we have decided to change the feel of the event slightly, by moving away from champagne and offering Pimms and

Elderflower cordial instead (although it will still be possible to purchase white and red wine as well, for those who so wish). In our view, this is more consistent with a summer garden party theme, and will help ring the changes. As before, various firms in the vicinity of Lincoln's Inn (namely Farrers, Collyer-Bristow and Hunters) have kindly agreed to provide trainees to help sell tickets and also to assist at the event, for which we are very grateful. Prices this year are as follows: Individual tickets:

£15

Corporate package: £150 (which will include: a table, 2 jugs of Pimms, 2 jugs of Elderflower cordial and two trays of canapés) Jugs of Pimms: £20 Trays of canapés:

£45

Corporate packages must be pre-booked through the Society's Administrator, Susie Hust. Individual tickets can be purchased either on the door, or via Susie directly. We have the enthusiastic support of all our beneficiary charities and, with a new group involved in the management, we hope to rejuvenate the event, whilst still retaining the

core message. In that regard, I am pleased to report that the Law Society has come forward as an active supporter this year and the President, Andrew Caplin, will be the guest of honour (and is even mentioning the event in the President's column of the Gazette, in order to give it maximum coverage). The City of London Law Society and the Worshipful Company of Solicitors have also promised their support, by advertising the event to their respective members and encouraging attendance. We would like to encourage the profession, as a whole, to get behind the LCGP, given that none of us knows when we might be in need of charitable assistance. In particular, we want to reinvigorate interest from the legal community (i.e. solicitors, barristers and legal executives) in Holborn and Westminster, and to galvanise support from senior members of the judiciary and to encourage them all to attend. We therefore need your help. I do hope that all our membership will wish to support this event wholeheartedly, and will attend in droves, with numerous guests. This is a most worthwhile cause and I would like to see the LCGP thriving and profitable once more, so that the various legal charities can be properly supported.

Calling any Woodwards or Bernsteins out there... Do you have an item of news for our quarterly newsletter? Moves, Promotions, New hires etc? Or is your firm doing something interesting (or amusing) for charity fund raising? We can't guarantee you a Pulitzer but if you have an item of news you would like to share do let us know. 16

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News & Events

HOW LAW FIRMS CAN TURN EFFECTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA INTO ROI Investment in social media is now par for the course for most businesses, including those in the legal sector. While the importance of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter - and even the more social aspects of LinkedIn - to professions like law might have been debated in the past, now they are essential. Of course, simply having a social media presence isn’t enough, as it’s becoming harder to differentiate one social media presence from another. The key to making social media translate into a real world, tangible return is understanding where it starts to impact your business and how to maximise this. Set your goals. Like all elements of marketing, social media needs to be focused. What is social media ROI for your business? What are the benefits that are going to make the investment worth your while? In a sector like law we’re looking at conversion targets such as visitors filling out a contact form, using an online quote feature, signing up for a newsletter, watching a video, social media engagement (like, follow etc) or downloading firm knowledge, such as an app or a document. Learn how to measure ROI. Metrics have become crucial to social media. The approach of ‘lets just throw everything at this and see what happens’ simply doesn’t work anymore, you need to know what works and why. Tracking your conversions is the key here - the best way to do this will vary depending on the social media

platforms you’re using, your IT and your conversion goals. You can employ the professionals to do this for you or you can use basic Google Analytics and the tracking that is built into most social media platforms. The following are the key metrics to note: Reach - the more people you reach via social media, the further your communications will spread and the better your ROI for your marketing campaigns. Traffic - how many visitors are you driving from social media to the pages on your website where the conversion takes place? Leads - of those visitors how many become leads? Clients - how many of those leads coming from social media sites are becoming clients? Conversion rate - i.e. what’s the visit-to-lead conversion rate that you’re achieving from visitors arriving via social media? This allows you to compare the ROI of each platform in terms of your business. Work out what all of this is worth in real terms. You’re basically trying to assign a value to each conversion. So for example, you might give each of your clients a lifetime value to the firm, based on historical data, of £5,000. If you know that one in ten people who sign up for the newsletter become clients then the value of the newsletter conversion is £500. You can compare the actual cost of your investment in social media to the combined value of your

conversions to get some idea of what you’re achieving and whether resources are being directed to the right area. Yes, these kinds of calculations are not 100% accurate but they can be surprisingly informative. Finally, have a strategy. Your strategy is the driver for effective social media and should wrap up all of the above. On a continually evolving basis, your strategy should define objectives and identify where are your clients interacting - are you on the best platforms to reach them? It should set a timetable for posting (when are your clients online?) and define the content requirements, including where the content will come from. Your strategy should set targets - what does social media success look like for you? - as well as the metrics you’re going to use to measure this, as mentioned above. A strategy also needs to define the boundaries of your social media use and set out steps for crisis management. Seeing ROI from social media is all about understanding how that return is actually created and where. Once you have that insight then you can start using it to get ahead of the game. Melissa Davis is Managing Director of MD Communications, a legal PR consultancy which advises on all aspects of communications for lawyers in the UK and Internationally www.mdcomms-global.com

A reminder from the Treasurer... by Bruce Clarke, Treasurer A very big thank you to those that have already paid your subscription fee for 2014/2015. Members' subscription fees are the main source of income for the Society and it helps with the Society's cash flow if these are received as early as possible; so thank you very much! Can I ask those of you that have yet to renew your subscription to do so as soon as possible; either by cheque (made payable to 'City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society' and sent to Susie Hust at 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3JT) or by bank transfer (sort code 160038 account number 10070888 - please remember to put your name as the reference to allow us to keep our records up to date). Thank you! Bruce

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News & Events

NETWORKING IN THE HEART OF CATALONIA Report from the Festival of Sant Ramon de Penyafort by Past Presidents Jeffrey Forrest and Sara Chandler, Joint Chairs of CWHLS International Committee. Sant Ramon de Penyafort was 100 years old when he died in 1275 and he is remembered as the patron saint of Catalan lawyers. A Dominican friar, he codified Canon law and was a leader of the Inquisition in Catalonia. Canonised in 1542, his feast day is in January and each year the Barcelona Bar holds a 2 week Festival of San Ramon which concludes with a final weekend of celebration and seminars that has become a reunion opportunity for many lawyers, not only from Europe but from around the world. CWHLS is a regular participant in the Sant Ramon weekend and this year, on 30 and 30 January, Sara Chandler attended, with Jeffrey Forrest. CWHLS is also an active member of the European Bars Federation (FBE) and Sant Ramon is an occasion when FBE members meet and hold a joint session with the Barcelona Bar. This year's topic was the (ever) timely one of Access to Justice. Speakers from Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Turkey described the crisis in access to justice in their jurisdictions with reference to legal aid and court fees. Germany was the only country which relied on legal services insurance, however, rising court fees have had an impact reducing access. French lawyers are doing more pro bono, a practice which is spreading through Europe. In japan, part of successful legal aided clients’ damages goes back into the fund. The cuts in the UK and the 600% rise

in some Court fees were subject of a contribution by Sara Chandler, and brought shocked reactions from the audience. Jeffrey Forrest and Sara Chandler attended the FBE Human Rights Commission, which discussed a policy paper on Data Retention and Legal Professional Privilege. The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is concerned with the preservation of legal professional privilege and the trust that is central to all professional relationships between lawyer and client: that of client confidentiality. Our concern arises out of the development of the internet which has eroded the protection of data, and made vulnerable confidential communication between lawyer and client, lawyer and the Courts, and lawyer to lawyer. The HRC recognises that there are different standards of protection in different countries of Europe. Harmonisation of these standards will bring benefits to the citizens and residents of member states. The European Union enables member states to work together to protect confidentiality and trust based on legal professional privilege. The protection and preservation of the lawyer-client relationship of trust is the specific area of concern of European lawyers, and one which the FBE regards as an important area of EU directive or regulation.

commercial networking. We participated in the commercial Legal Fair, where lawyers met lawyers from other jurisdictions in round table discussions where each lawyer makes their 3 minute pitch and hands out their business cards. The Barcelona Bar has twinning arrangements with over 40 bar associations, and around 20 of these bar associations were present, including 2 from the USA. These group discussions were an excellent way of hearing which firms would like to offer services, some of them useful for CWHLS members, and the Fair was a good example of commercial networking. The Friday finale is an intimate supper for 2000 people, where lawyers mingle around the superb buffet tables. We were diligent in promoting our own Magna Carta seminar which is to take place on 1st May, following the previous evening's Annual Dinner. We have international speakers in place, and President of the Law Society, Andrew Caplen as keynote speaker. The next FBE Congress is to be held from 14 to 16 May in Bilbao, a delightful city to visit, and the topic for discussion is “Business and Human Rights”. The CWHLS International Committee welcomes new members who should contact sarachandler@gmail.com or jaf@jaforrest.com for further information.

Sant Ramon is always a good opportunity to renew old friendships and make new ones and to do some

APPROACHING RENEWAL - SPRING 2015 CHANGING RENEWAL DATES FOR PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE OPPORTUNITY OR THREAT? One of the most common concerns when considering changing your firm’s professional indemnity insurance (PII) renewal date away from 1st October is that there may be a lack of competition available at the time your next renewal occurs. For the first time many firms are approaching a renewal during the early months of 2015 and it is important to understand the market dynamics. Traditionally, insurers have redeployed resources for the 1st October renewal date; resources are pooled across their organisations to ensure they can react quickly and competitively against other insurers for business. This has historically created a hive of activity for six to eight weeks of the year. Due to the spike in demand around the October renewal season, both insurers and brokers alike allocate resource from multiple teams to stay on top of the workload. For the smaller broker it would be uneconomical to maintain such a large team after the common renewal period, and many disband their solicitors PI team in October/November. With variable renewal dates there is a greater need for the insurance market to maintain full-time legal services specialists all year round.

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Dealing with a large number of enquiries has always caused a headache for insurers and brokers in September. In the closing days of the traditional October renewal season (as it was), an underwriter, no matter how specialist or experienced, could have a matter of minutes to review a firm, including its claims history, and decide whether to offer terms and, if so, the premium and excess they feel is appropriate. When the market is “soft” this demand can result in very competitive premiums being offered: when the market is “hard” this demand can result in significant increases occurring. Providing an insurer with the opportunity to properly understand and appreciate your business activities and risk controls can be a decisive factor. The concern is that although insurers will not have to deal with the sheer volume of enquiries they have to in September; is there the same underwriting focus and appropriate resource available at other times of the year? Will there be sufficient insurer choice available? We know that there will be alternative insurer interest and have worked hard to ensure there is. If the market is approached properly through the right broker there will be good options available. Please do consider

your choice of broker carefully, however, and use a broker with a dedicated legal services team all year round (as Willis does). We believe removing the common renewal date has been a good thing and that spreading the profession’s renewals across the year (as other professions do) may make the whole process a less stressful time for all. by COLIN S. TAYLOR CIRM Executive Director, Legal Service Practice Group, Willis


Information Technology

QUOSTAR OFFERS LEGAL FIRMS FIVE CYBER SECURITY TIPS TO HELP GET SAFE ONLINE With brand new EU data protection regulations on the horizon and the news that cyber attacks now cost firms double what they did four years ago, cyber security is quickly taking on greater significance. This is especially the case in the legal sector with its vast quantities of sensitive, private information, and clients that are increasingly requiring their lawyers to be available 24 x 7, wherever they are and on whatever device they have in front of them. Robert Rutherford, CEO of business consultancy QuoStar has identified five essential preventive measures legal businesses should have in place to ensure that they don’t fall foul of cyber criminals, or regulators:

However, these are rarely controlled by the firm and plenty of companies are still not encrypting their centrally controlled devices, even where sensitive data is involved.

Two-factor authentication -

Most firms haven't really evaluated what their risks are. You simply can't protect what you haven't assessed. Firms need to evaluate every asset and service within their business, not simply IT hardware and systems. Once they have identified these they need assess the risks associated with that asset and how it could impact the firm. Using this information, the controls for those risks should be documented.

Many firms are still just using passwords to access IT platforms, both within the office and whilst working remotely. On their own, passwords aren’t secure. The threat landscape is too big to just rely on something as easy to crack as a password. Two-factor authentication has taken off recently in the banking sector in particular. The banks insist on it for a very good reason.

Risk assessment -

Business continuity plans - Staff training A tried and tested business continuity plan is essential for any firm. However, many companies still don’t have one, and many more don’t test it regularly or in earnest. This is one of the biggest and most worrying of all lapses in security. Not having a plan to recover and operate after a significant event is negligent, verging on criminal. Regular backups are also essential.

Device control Lawyers now need to have access to company systems and processes any where and at any time. This is driving the increasing use of mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The largest weakness in most firms’ security is their people, both IT and users. It's imperative that people understand the risk they pose and how to be more aware of the threats. It’s surprising how many firms can be breached by simple confidence tricks, for example pretending to be a new team member in IT and directing them to a web page to allow access. The risks around staff are serious, so educating them is essential.

Previously, hackers would typically be doing it for interest and the challenge, however this has quickly evolved into the pursuit of money, particularly through extortion, blackmail and corporate espionage. This trend has brought the threats to the gate of every single business, especially those with sensitive data to protect, and that’s made the legal industry a prime target.” About QuoStar: QuoStar is a rapid-growth, privately-held business consultancy and information technology firm headquartered in the United Kingdom. QuoStar delivers strategic and technical consultancy, IT Outsourcing and a comprehensive range of enterprise-class managed cloud services. The company’s client profile encompasses a broad range of industries and businesses with a turnover of up to £200M in the UK and overseas. For further information, feel free to contact Robert Rutherford via http://www.quostar.com

Robert Rutherford concludes: “At the fundamental level, the threats haven't really changed all that much in the last 20 years. What has changed is the driving force behind the threats.

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Residential Conveyancing

STAGES OF THE RESIDENTIAL CONVEYANCING PROCESS Members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme will be required to comply with the Law Society’s Conveyancing Protocol which sets out the Law Society’s preferred practice in residential conveyancing transactions. This article should be read in light of the Protocol where it is adopted. Offer and Memorandum of Sale In a standard transaction involving a marketed property, the agent will forward a memorandum of sale to both parties’ solicitors once an offer has been accepted by the Seller. This will set out the parties’ and lawyers’ contact details, the price and any other items that have been discussed. The memorandum is not legally binding. The terms should reviewed with the client to see if they are correct.

Confirmation of Instructions and Deduction of Title On receipt of the memorandum, the solicitors will confirm instructions following which title will be deduced by the Seller’s solicitor. The title, a draft contract and Property Information Forms will be issued by the Seller’s solicitor to the Buyer’s solicitor. If the Property is leasehold, the Seller’s solicitor should apply for a management pack from the managing agent as soon as possible and forward this to the Buyer’s solicitor. Copies of all documents should be forwarded to the parties by their solicitors for information and the clients should be kept informed as to progress throughout the transaction.

Investigation of Title On receipt of the contract and title papers, the Buyer’s solicitor will apply for searches. The standard searches should include Local Authority, Drainage and Environmental. Other searches may be required dependant on the location and nature of the Property. At this time the Buyer should also consider requesting a survey.

It is common for a Buyer’s solicitor to act for both Buyer and Lender and in which case the solicitor will supply the Lender with a Certificate of Title confirming that the Property has good and marketable title. However, in some cases the Lender will have their own legal representation and the Buyer’s solicitor will have to comply with all requirements of the Lender’s solicitor. Once replies to enquiries have been supplied and are satisfactory and the contract is agreed, the Buyer’s solicitor prepares and forwards to the Buyer a written Report on Title on the Property. The Report would highlight the legal status of the Property, title defects and other issues and would be accompanied by the Contract for signature. At the same time the Seller will sign their part of the Contract in readiness for exchange. If the Buyer is satisfied with the Report on Title and to proceed to exchange, they will send their solicitors the deposit, usually being 10% of the Purchase Price. If the Buyer is selling a property at the same time as buying, they may be able to use the deposit paid by their purchaser towards their onward purchase provided that the contract confirms that the deposit is to be held as stakeholder and can be used on any onward purchase. In some circumstances, e.g. if there is a chain of transactions, it will be possible to agree a lesser deposit. If a deposit of less than 10% is paid, advice should be given to parties in respect of potential default within the chain and the position with regards to the balance of the 10% which may become payable to a Seller following default. Once exchange is imminent, completion dates would be finalised. There is no guarantee that the preferred date will be possible as it will need to be agreed between both parties and any third parties involved in the chain. Prior to exchange a bankruptcy/company search should be carried out against the Seller to ensure that they are able to proceed.

Exchange of Contracts

beneficial to ask Lenders to transfer mortgage funds the day prior to completion if they will allow this. It is important to be clear on exchange whether the ‘risk’ in the Property has passed to the Buyer or remains with the Seller and who has the obligation to insure the Property. Clients should be informed accordingly in the Report on Title. Between exchange and completion, the Buyer’s solicitor must ensure that funds are requested from the Lender and Buyer as required. The Buyer’s solicitor must also prepare and agree the draft Transfer with the other side. Once agreed this will need to be executed as appropriate with any Mortgage Deed. The Buyer’s solicitor will also need to request pre-completion searches, usually to include OS1 or OS2 searches and any further Bankruptcy searches or company searches. The OS searches will confirm whether any amendments to the title have been made since title was deduced and will effectively freeze the title for 6 weeks in favour of the Buyer or Lender in order to allow their solicitor to register the Transfer and any Mortgage Deed. The Buyer’s solicitor will raise requisitions on title which will contain, amongst other things, the sum required to complete and any undertakings to redeem existing mortgages. If the Property is leasehold, the Seller’s solicitor should prepare a completion statement showing any apportionments of service charge and ground rent. If there is a mortgage registered against the title to the Property, the Seller’s solicitor will need to obtain a redemption figure from the Lender so that the above mentioned undertaking can be given.

Completion On the completion date, once the Buyer’s solicitor is in funds to complete, funds will be sent to the Seller’s solicitor by same day telegraphic transfer. On receipt of funds, completion will take place and the Seller’s solicitor will authorise the estate agent to release the keys to the Buyer.

The Buyer’s solicitor will then review the title documents, the contract, survey and the searches and will raise any necessary additional enquiries about the Property, its legal status and will make any necessary amendments to the contract.

Once the Buyer has been reported to, deposit funds have cleared and a completion date is agreed, exchange of contracts will be possible. At the point of exchange, the contract becomes legally binding and the deposit is paid to the Seller’s solicitor.

The Seller’s solicitor will respond to these enquiries and will comment on the contract amendments with a view to agreeing the contract.

If for any reason either party does not complete the purchase/sale on the agreed date, the defaulting party will be in breach of contract and potentially financially liable to the other party. The time by which completion must take place is stated in the contract and will usually be 1 or 2pm. If completion does not take place by the specified time, interest becomes payable on the balance outstanding which is payable at the rate specified in the contract.

Following completion the Buyer’s solicitor will pay any SDLT due and submit a return to HMRC within the 30 day time limit. If this time limit is not complied with, penalties and interest may be payable.

Lenders will not usually guarantee a time by which mortgage funds will be available on the day of completion meaning that it can be

If the Property is leasehold, there may be additional requirements to be complied with arising from the Lease i.e. service of Notice of Transfer/Charge on the Landlord.

At this stage, the mortgage offer from the Buyer’s Lender would be expected together with requests from the Lender to check any particular matters. Mortgage offers will tend to be subject to receipt of a satisfactory valuation which should also be reviewed by the Buyer’s solicitor. If the Buyer requires a mortgage, the offer should be in hand before exchange of contracts.

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At Completion, the Seller’s solicitor will arrange for any existing mortgage to be redeemed and will usually settle any estate agent’s commission from the proceeds of sale.

Post Completion

In addition, the Buyer’s solicitor will register the relevant documents (Transfer/Lease/Mortgage Deed) at the Land Registry within the OS search priority period.


Residential Conveyancing

ACCELERATING YOUR HIGHWAYS ENQUIRIES FOR COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS Argyll Environmental (Part of Landmark Information Group) in association with PSG For every commercial transaction it is critical to investigate the precise extent to the adoption status of roads surrounding a site. You may believe that the footpath in front of the building is indeed publically owned and adopted but in fact it actually isn’t. These are the scenarios that slow down transactions. It’s therefore imperative that the purchaser is aware if the site or property abuts a public highway and to what extent the roads, footpaths and verges are adopted. Failure to identify developments where adoption procedures have not been dealt with adequately, can cause delays to the transaction as well as pose a risk to the purchaser’s future plans for the site. For example, if you were to imagine a typical scenario where a purchaser is looking to buy a property and the surrounding land which abuts a neighbouring property and there is a shared access onto the land. As part of the due diligence the purchaser’s solicitor would need to identify the exact status of the access and the ownership of the area. Is it publicly adopted by the local authority, therefore they are responsible for

maintenance and granting access or is it privately owned? In order for the transaction to proceed the status of the access way would need to be confirmed. At this point the purchaser may need to purchase this additional piece of land, negotiate shared access or at least a regular payment towards repairs. This will undoubtedly add time and complexity to the transaction, which is not what either party want.

So how can you solve it? Argyll Environmental (Part of Landmark Information Group) have recently launched their SiteSolutions Highways report. Prior to the release of this report, the only way for a solicitor to obtain this information, would have been to contact the local authority and request the information directly. However, on a 20 day wait, it’s probably not the best use of time. The Argyll SiteSolutions Highways report, available from PSG, will be delivered between 3-5 working days and will not only include the adoption status of the roads, footpaths and verges but it will also consider what impact proposed changes to

on-street parking, waiting and loading restrictions and road improvement schemes could have on the transaction. As well as including existing, proposed and amended rights of way. For more information on this or any of the other products and services available from PSG: Email: chandrasharma@propertysearchgroup.co.uk Visit: www.psgconnect.co.uk/londoncentral or telephone 01689 896171

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Residential Conveyancing

SPEED, EFFICIENCY AND TRANSPARENCY AN OVERHAUL FOR CONVEYANCERS Veyo, the comprehensive home conveyancing portal which will offer an efficient, secure and transparent way of managing the conveyancing process has been developed by The Law Society and global IT solutions specialist, Mastek UK, and is scheduled to launch soon. Looking at research from a national survey into the consumer experience of buying and selling a home, Elliott Vigar, CEO of Veyo, highlights what customers are looking for in this increasingly competitive market and how the portal will help conveyancers meet their demands. A key finding from the report was that the single most popular change homebuyers would like to see to improve the home buying process is a faster service. Interestingly, this was more popular than lower fees or reduced stamp duty. One in ten consider home buying to be the most stressful life event they have ever experienced, placing it above a redundancy and having a baby for the first time. Understandably home buying is incredibly stressful, there is a huge sum of money at stake. But the waiting aspect of buying a home was revealed as the greatest stress point. Our survey revealed an average conveyancing time in England and Wales of 11.3 weeks. In our digital era, this is simply not good enough for homebuyers. As a result, a quarter of the 2000 respondents, who were recruited through an independent research panel, are willing to pay more for a speedier service. With only 35% of the respondents stating that they are unlikely to pay more, the remaining 40% were undecided. This strongly suggests that this is not an overly price sensitive market and that conveyancers or solicitors who are able to demonstrate their speed and efficiency will have a competitive edge.

SPEEDY EFFICIENCY The obvious way to improve speed is to use more process managements and integration of IT. Veyo brings together all the processes, checks and documentation prepared and undertaken by solicitors and licensed conveyancers in the sale and purchase of residential properties. The system will enable greater efficiency for conveyancers and offer an improved

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service overall. It will allow professionals to better communicate with each other, clients and other parties and satisfy due diligence obligations more quickly. Veyo is built around the Law Society protocol which means that users can rest assured that preferred practice is being followed. Veyo will enhance risk management as audit trails, anti-money laundering and identity checks will be embedded in the system. Many consumers in the survey also vented their frustrations about poor levels of service and poor communication. Most consumers have limited knowledge of the conveyancing process, with over a third of respondents feeling they only had basic knowledge or no idea at all about the process. In particular, consumers find the negotiation, reviewing vital documents and responding to enquiries as the most onerous part. Therefore it is unsurprising that the third most popular change consumers would like to see to serve them better in the future is improved communication and greater transparency with advice up-front, enabling them to feel more in control.

A UNIQUE SERVICE IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY What makes Veyo so unique is that it is a system which has been designed for conveyancers but it also meets the needs of all parties involved in the transaction process. All documentation for each transaction will be kept online, in one place, on the user-friendly system that will track activity and progress and issue automatic diary reminders of actions needing to be carried out. Consumers will be able to go online to review documents such as search results, check the progress of their home purchase or sale, and even view the status of other buyers and sellers in their housing chain.

Elliott Vigar, CEO of Veyo

A mobile responsive website will offer instant updates and access to information on their house sale or purchase via a smartphone or tablet. We have long been aware of homebuyers’ misgivings about the conveyancing market. The independent research clearly reveals what the customers want and the important areas for those in the profession to modernize and innovate in order to raise the standard. Just under half of respondents said they were not sure or unlikely to offer repeat business to their solicitor or conveyancer. And with 36% of the respondents planning to move in the next three years, this is a huge amount of repeat business lost. The industry has widely accepted and is talking about the need to change and finally we are coming up with the answers. Whilst many conveyancers have started to put some infrastructure in place to streamline the system there has yet to be a service for the entire endto-end conveyancing process - until now! There is an appetite for change amongst homebuyers. They are frustrated with the system and we believe they will be championing a product that will make the conveyancing process faster, more efficient and more transparent. For access to the market research report for free please email info@veyo.co.uk


Residential Conveyancing

ARE ALL LEGAL INDEMNITY POLICIES EQUAL? In today’s legal indemnity insurance market it would be logical to assume that all title insurers offer the same level of insurance cover for the same types of risks. However, in reality this is not always the case due to differing policy limitations. Unfortunately, conveyancers and their clients’ only find out what these limitations really meant when it is too late…usually when a claim is rejected. For example, when an Insured applying for planning permission or other consents to carry out works to a property, he or she may put themselves in danger of invalidating an existing indemnity policy which is covering previous works carried out to their property. Many insurers will automatically void all claims that arise as a direct result of such applications without exception.

It is clear from above two examples (and there are more), that all Legal Indemnity insurance policies are NOT equal. Whilst, policy costs remain one of the factors a conveyancer needs to consider, it is by no means the most important factor. Surely the most important factor for any conveyancer is ensuring that their client’s legal indemnity needs are fully matched with right policy.

Policy duration and transferability is also often overlooked. For example, many chancel policies are limited in time which is usually to 25 years or the duration of the named Insured’s ownership and/or excludes all successors in title. Depending on your client’s needs, this may or may not be adequate or appropriate.

At Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions (GCS), not only do we truly believe in comprehensive cover terms as standard across the whole of our policy range, we also believe in simple wordings which is why our policies are one of the most easy to understand.

For example, GCS makes it clear in our wordings that new works ‘can’ be carried out to the property provided that the lack of consent/s for the existing works is not drawn to the local authority’s attention and provided that the new work is not reliant on or in the same area as the work/s covered by the policy. Additionally, GCS’s no search chancel policies all provide cover in perpetuity and covers all successors in title. About the author: Sandy Atkinson has over 14 years of experience underwriting legal indemnity insurance policies and is the Head of Underwriting at Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions.

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Residential Conveyancing

PROPERTY FORUM AWARDS LAUNCHES TO CELEBRATE EXCELLENCE IN CONVEYANCING THE PROPERTY MARKET REPORTED A SIGNIFICANT SPIKE IN ACTIVITY EARLY IN 2014. HOWEVER, FACTORS SUCH AS THE MORTGAGE MARKET REVIEW AND CONCERNS OVER INTEREST RATE RISES, BEGAN TO DAMPEN CONFIDENCE IN WHAT HAD BEEN A PROMISING START TO THE YEAR. LIKE OTHERS INVOLVED IN THE PROPERTY SECTOR, CONVEYANCERS HAD STARTED TO FEEL THE PINCH ON THE APPROACH TO 2015. Dampening of optimism within the industry was reinforced by findings from SearchFlow’s latest Conveyancer Sentiment Survey. Covering the period from October to December 2014, it found that conveyancers were far more reserved about prospects for business growth and recruitment than they had been earlier in the year. Just 17% said they expected additional business to come their way in quarter one of 2015, compared with 29% when asked the same question in the preceding survey. And only 19% said they were likely to add to their headcount (down from 31%) this year. The sense of caution was also reflected in responses to questions relating to business health. Nearly half of those surveyed (48%) cited profitability as their main concern for the year ahead, while 36% are more worried about client satisfaction and retention. Of course, the best conveyancers appreciate the interdependent nature of these factors. Client satisfaction is crucial for conveyancers to retain the businesses they have, but also to win new business. And excellence in customer service is the key to making that happen. One way lawyers can do achieve this is through their own due diligence, compliance and client management. Profitability comes as a consequence of doing these things well, alongside innovations that help improve efficiencies and keep costs down. Awards can be a useful tool for the best firms to showcase their commitment in these areas and to set themselves apart from competitors. An independent seal of approval reinforces confidence in existing clients, but it also makes a prospect more likely to grant the recipient new business. Lawyers and conveyancers who continue to lead in areas of client satisfaction, customer service and innovation will be stepping up for this year’s inaugural Property Forum Awards from SearchFlow. 24

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Designed to award key achievements and talent, winners will be chosen from law firms that set definitive benchmarks for excellence. In association with Legal Futures (www.legalfutures.co.uk), are free for all to enter and entry is open now. Categories include: Conveyancing Firm of the Year This will be awarded to the firm which shows it has the edge over its competitors, across areas including legal expertise and innovation, strategic vision, client care and service excellence, employee development and compliance, contribution to the industry and Corporate Social Responsibility. There are four awards in this category: - Commercial Conveyancing Firm of the Year - 50 or fewer employees - Commercial Conveyancing Firm of the Year - 51 or more employees - Residential Conveyancing Firm of the Year - 50 or fewer employees - Residential Conveyancing Firm of the Year - 51 or more employees Best Customer Service This award has been created to recognise firms’ efforts to promote customer care, contributing to the firms’ success. Law firms which strive to make their clients’ lives easier by delivering first-class service that is proactive, approachable and efficient should enter this category. Best for Promotional Marketing This category celebrates law firms’ marketing excellence; demonstrated by a successful marketing campaign, involving use of digital and traditional marketing with quantifiable results. Best for Innovation Firms which have devised innovative, ground-breaking initiatives to improve conveyancing services will be considered

for this award. Innovation is defined as ‘something newly introduced, a novel practice or method’ and it’s key that the product, service or transformation is unique in the marketplace and has added value. Market Influencer Award An award for a person or organisation who has changed the market for the better, either by setting new standards, educating the industry or generally improving the market. Firms and candidates can nominate themselves or others for this accolade. Entries will be judged by an independent panel of experts, from across business and legal industries, to ensure the judging process is fair, robust and credible. The names of those on the panel will be announced at a later date. The winners will be revealed at the invitation-only Property Forum Awards, a glittering ceremony hosted by Rory Bremner, on 23rd April 2015 at the Cumberland Hotel, London. Firms shortlisted for the awards will be invited free of charge. “The Property Forum Awards have been designed not only to honour law firms that show innovation, influence and service excellence in conveyancing, but to commend those that have adapted their business practices around the changing consumer,” said SearchFlow’s Managing Director, John Pickford. “No matter what industry you’re in, the way consumers shop and gather information has changed drastically in recent years. The ‘internetsavvy generation’ expects a swift response and these awards are dedicated to firms that demonstrate a willingness to change their practices, based on customers’ needs.” To enter the awards, firms are asked to visit www.propertyforumawards.co.uk. The closing date is 6th March 2015.



Legacies Book Reviews

THE SOLICITOR’S HANDBOOK 2015 by Andrew Hopper QC & Gregory TrevertonJones QC The Law Society Legal Handbooks ISBN: 978 1 78446 008 2 www.lawsociety.org.uk A COMPREHENSIVE LAW SOCIETY PUBLICATION WHICH REMAINS ESSENTIAL FOR ALL SOLICITORS IN PRACTICE An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers We have reviewed this excellent work on a few previous occasions and the new 2015 edition does not disappoint! “The Solicitor’s Handbook” remains a book which all practitioners should own and is comparable with “The Bar Handbook” from LexisNexis which is the essential reference for Counsel. It often surprises us that neither of these two works are actually sent to every relevant practitioners each year as part of the cost when we renew our subscriptions to practice. It would make sense to include this publication each time so that lawyers (and our regulators) know what is going on now we have entered the annual fee era which allows us to remain as practitioners with all sorts of threats if we don’t pay up! But enough of this sensible suggestion… the 2015 edition has excelled itself with a wide range of

updates to reflect the significant regulatory changes in seven main areas covered on the back page, namely: referral fees; CFAs; entities; referrals; consumer credit; abolition of the Assigned Risks Pool; and the level of fines that can be imposed by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) following “Fuglers” and “Andersons”. The 2015 Handbook remains in the capable hands of Andrew Hopper and Gregory Treverton-Jones since they embarked on this undertaking in 2007. If one reads the various Prefaces down the years, the reader can see how much change the legal profession has undergone recently and probably will continue to undergo with the regular regulatory changes so the word ‘revolution’ is apt to describe what engulfed the profession in 2007 as one period of upheaval has been followed by another: is the end in sight… doubtful! As the authors say, “the effects of the revolution over the last seven years will continue to play out in the months and years ahead”… which is why you really do need this handbook to keep up with all the things those running the profession are doing to us. They go on to say that this “is not to say that yet further revolution can be ruled out”! They continue with a most important point as we head for the general election in May 2015 and whatever could follow it: “The present Government has pursued an agenda that seeks to reduce regulatory burdens on professions and businesses.” We would probably use

the word allegedly here! They continue: “politically, we may see pressure for the abolition of the Legal Services Board, and consolidation of legal regulation under one regulator.” This particular titbit of comment will be welcomed by the vast majority of practitioners judging by the comments we have heard at this year’s professional conferences where concerns over regulation remain high on the list of grievances even though lawyers are told that the regulatory touch is very light in practice: but they would say that, wouldn’t they! This year’s handbook remains the prime publication for the legal professional and you cannot afford to be without it - it gives you a little bit of a comfort blanket if you ever need to find a passage through the regulatory maze that governs the conduct of today’s solicitors in practice. Thank you Messrs Hopper and Treverton-Jones: we appreciate the work you have put in with this year’s handbook! The law is stated as at 1st September 2014.

SELECTED WRITINGS OF JAMES FITZJAMES STEPHEN A GENERAL VIEW OF THE CRIMINAL LAW OF ENGLAND Edited by K J M Smith Oxford University Press ISBN: 978 0 19966 083 4 www.oup.com CRIMINAL LAW IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND: HOW MUCH HAS REALLY CHANGED? An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers From approximately 1856 onwards, James Fitzjames Stephen, a young lawyer in his late twenties, was becoming well known for his contributions, initially, to the ‘Saturday Review, soon to be acknowledged as ‘the great political and literary weekly of the period.’ Witty, erudite and sharply critical when criticism seemed in order, this noteworthy journal quickly became known as the ‘Saturday Reviler’, staffed by ‘young men with the proper confidence in their own infallibility.’ Fitzjames Stephen also contributed to other publications, including ‘Cambridge Essays’ and also delivered a number of papers to the Judridical Society. In 1862, a collection of his pieces for the ‘Saturday Review’ emerged as ‘Essays by a Barrister’. In 1863, what is described as a ‘career enhancing book’, ‘A General View of the Criminal Law of England’ was published. Fitzjames Stephen was a prolific writer and thinker across a wide range of topics, from literature and religion to ethics and history, as well as, of course, the law. Writing on law, he was outspoken and analytical on law reform, the criminal defence of insanity, capital punishment, codification, criminal procedure and much, much more.

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Published by the Oxford University Press under the editorship of K J M Smith, this book is primarily an edited edition of Fitzjames Stephen’s ‘General View of the Criminal Law of England’ referred to in the editor’s acknowledgements as having benefited from the observations and suggestions of Professor Sir Christopher Ricks and Professor Patrick Polden. To call this a treatise on the Victorian criminal justice system would oversimplify its scope and intent. Stephen’s overall aim, it would appear, was to examine the workings of the criminal law as an institution within its particular place in the social and political landscape, with a view to having it recognized both by lawyers and lay persons, as a social science and indeed an important component of a liberal education. Read though the book and you will not fail to notice that Stephen’s analysis throughout is objective, fearless and in places, pretty stern stuff. What is truly startling is that generally his commentaries remain as topical today and, in most cases, directly relevant to the twenty-first century reader, whether lawyer or not because the main issues have not really changed. To cite only one example, Stephen offers, in the words of the editor, ‘a cryptic contrast between former and current (Victorian) punishment practices’. ‘There has been,’ he says, a ‘transition from almost barbarous severity to excessive lenity, both the lenity and serenity being tempered by a wide personal discretion reposed in the judges.’ The meaning of ‘lenity’ is open to some speculation. If it means ‘leniency’ which it almost undoubtedly does, this trenchant opinion would certainly resonate with any number of critics of the criminal justice system in place today. Equally relevant to the contemporary reader are Fitzjames Stephen’s

observations on the relationship of immorality and criminal responsibility and the appropriate role of capital punishment. Taking this argument forward, there’s an interesting footnote here, which refers to Stephen’s criticism of the (criminal justice) system’s ‘utter want of system… its equivocation over whether punishment seeks to reform or punish, and the frequent lack of proportionality of punishment between different levels of criminality’. The editor notes that Stephen ‘inclines to a policy of greater deterrence of more serious offences by more demanding prison regimes.’ It is not difficult to conclude that Sir James (as he became) was the fortunate possessor of a fine legal mind and a cultivated sensibility, which, combined with the skills of a journalist, renders his observations readable and current to this day. Those involved in, or interested in the English criminal justice system will find themselves both fascinated and enlightened by this careful and scholarly reappraisal of Fitzjames Stephen’s work.


Book Reviews

THE CASE FOR A ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE PENAL SYSTEM by SIR LOUIS BLOM-COOPER AND SEAN MCCONVILLE Foreword Sir Henry Brooke Waterside Press Putting justice into words ISBN: 978 1 90997 617 7 www.watersidepress.co.uk

SIR HENRY BROOKE IS RIGHT! “THERE IS STILL AN ABSENCE OF ANY REALLY COHERENT UP-TO-DATE THINKING WITHIN GOVERNMENT ABOUT THE PURPOSE OF PENAL POLICY”

That of itself should be quite a clear and sufficient statement for something constructive to be done. Few observers probably disagree with a view that some new thinking should be employed because of the reconviction rates and a general lack of successful rehabilitation in applied criminology.

In the form of bullet points, Parris goes on to say and we quote: • • • • • •

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers • The case for a Royal Commission on the Penal System is a strong call which will, eventually, be agreed…one day in the future. That matter is about all that can be conceded at the moment even though the Commission would be both cost effective to the community and would return some confidence to the public in the way in which criminal justice is currently managed by the politicians. Most are also agreed however on the need for such an initiative now and that it is a matter of growing urgency. The question is always… and when will it happen as the numbers in custody continue to rise as our population expands. A clear case has been set out in this excellent short pamphlet by Louis Blom-Cooper and Sean McConville at Waterside Press suggesting a re-examination of main aspects of the UK’s view of penal policy in the 21st century by this current call to action! So what are the obstacles? They remain those difficult questions which political columnist and ex Tory MP Matthew Parris succinctly listed in “The Times” when describing penal policy as a taboo subject. Parris (and others) say of prisons: “They don’t work”! We know that so what are we going to do about it?

• •

Nearly half of those imprisoned are reconvicted within a year of release We don’t re-educate or train properly Drugs get in routinely and by mysterious means Suicides and assaults are rife Many prisoners are mentally ill Conditions in over-stretched jails approach solitary confinement, yet every wretched prisoner costs £36,000 a year Each next inspection does its best to outdo each last in ransacking the lexicon of shock and indignation; each is relegated Everybody shrugs their shoulders, attention wanders and the disgrace continues Our descendants will gasp in horror at our disregard.

So why don’t we talk about this? Unfortunately, the answer to all these problems can be summed up with one word- disinterest. The current proactive supporters for a Commission make the case that, as a model, it should be reflective, effective and swift, capable of building consensus, and of providing directions for a generation. That these points are agreed is not really in dispute because the criminological landscape has changed so much in recent years and society needs to catch up. It would not be that expensive for a government to set up and report on penal reform if the terms of reference are carefully structured. So it is really about political will, and current lack of it with all the annual tinkering with criminal justice legislation by MPs, most of whom are no longer representatives with real life experience, just those with more special “adviserships”.

However, all this is not enough because it is accepted that there is neither the requisite political will (at the moment), nor the probable necessity of public support whilst we enter a long drawn-out general election campaign for 7th May 2015. It is estimated that about 2% of the media’s attention or interest will be lavished on legal/penal policy as the election issues unfold. So it is not at the top of the agenda. The issues though remain, such as how much should be spent on the penal system. Also there is a need to set a new reshaping agenda for successive generations to adopt where an objective view of sentencing can be achieved. The view could come from an evidence based report which will have both a practical meaning and effect for a more mature society vision of how this country deals with its criminals in future years. We wish we could be more positive about this call to action. That fact that it has been made is a first step which will, if taken forward, be of substantial long term benefit for society and offenders. Many feel rightly that some new thinking is needed to engage the new five year government but this could be a pipe dream. However, there is a grave danger that the seeds of this idea robustly set out in the pamphlet remain scattered on purely stony ground as the call is refused… at least for the time being anyway. There is always hope that with a fresh team there is a fresh hope for reform.

TOLLEY’S CAPITAL ALLOWANCES 2014-2015 by KEVIN WALTON AND DAVID SMAILES

principle that capital expenditure is not allowable in computing taxable income.

Tolley/LexisNexis ISBN: 978 0 75454 913 0 www.lexisnexis.co.uk

What this book achieves is to clear up the confusion that can – and does – result from this apparent paradox. In fact, allowances are available for expenditure under a range of categories which are explained in detail. These include plant and machinery, renovation of business premises, research and development and a lot more.

CURRENT AND COMPREHENSIVE GUIDANCE ON CAPITAL ALLOWANCES – NOW IN A NEW 27TH EDITION FROM TOLLEY’S An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers Like all reliable books on tax, ‘Tolley’s Capital Allowances 2014-15’ aims primarily to provide practitioners and tax payers alike with advice and guidance on maximizing tax savings; in this case -- savings on capital allowances. Published annually by LexisNexis, the book is now going into its twenty-seventh edition, having demonstrably established its reputation and value over the years. Comprehensive and practical, it brings together in a single convenient volume the law and practice pertaining to capital allowances, thereby shedding considerable light on a number of related problem areas. The most obvious of these, as the authors remind us, is that under the UK direct tax system, the present capital allowance legislation presents an exception to the general

Note here that a particularly handy feature of the book is an alphabetized list (Appendix 1) of what exactly qualifies as ‘plant and machinery’, which, by the way, is the most common allowance. The list ranges from advertising signs to loose furniture, window mannequins and zoo cages! Further advice on plant and machinery in buildings, together with related issues, is provided in Chapter 10 by capital allowances specialist Heather Britton who, in Chapter 18, has also written general guidance on planning principles for capital allowances. In this new and completely updated edition of this highly regarded text, you will find the latest information on capital allowances up to 1 July 2014, including the provisions of Finance Act 2014. New material also includes the temporary increases in the annual investment allowance to £500,000… new restrictions on allowances for renovations... and changes to the mineral extraction code.

As the subject matter tends to be quite abstruse, the authors Keith Walton and David Smailes have helpfully designed the book for ease of use – a distinct advantage for practitioners under pressure, who will also appreciate the large number of worked examples available throughout the text, the numbered paragraphs throughout and the detailed table of contents and index. Also note the extensive table of statutes and the alphabetical table of cases, plus the handy list of abbreviations and references. The journal ‘Accounting’ has pointed out that ‘there are few existing publications on the subject and none as current or as comprehensive as this.’ Practitioners as well as accountants – and anyone advising on this area of revenue law – will certainly benefit from the purchase of this book.

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Fas st track k y ur care you ee er in A ADR witth a CIArb C Qu ualificatiion The Cha artere ed Institute of Arbitrattors (CIArb) is a lead ding pro ofess sional membership org ganisation re epre esenting the intere estts of alternative disp pute practitio oners worldwide.

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Professional Practice

MEDALLION SIGNATURE GUARANTEES: WE KNOW WHO COULD HELP HAVING A WILL DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN A SMOOTH AND EASY ESTATE DISTRIBUTION, AND WHEN ONE COUPLE DIED JUST 24 HOURS APART, IT SHOWS JUST THAT. Bernard and Clara Kempson lived in Lancashire and spent many decades together, having a baby girl a few years after tying the knot. With both passing away so close to one another, the terms of their Wills meant that their daughter, Lesley, would inherit their legacy.

Kempsons’ shares. Working with intestate and testate cases, the company often see UK residents holding American shares, such as health care company Johnson & Johnson, investment management firm Invesco, and IBM, a technology and consulting corporation.

The value of the estate was made up of many parts, and whilst the administering solicitors could deal with most, the North American shares owned by the Kempson couple proved difficult.

The sale of Cadbury stemmed from its desire to become the biggest confectionary company in the market. With its wider scope to compete beyond chocolate alone, Snapple, 7up and Dr Pepper Schweppes were among the first of its many purchases, explaining the changed name of the Kempsons’ shares. Cadbury continued to expand and acquired yet more confectionary brands – Hollywood Gum, Oasis, Trident, Orangina, and Halls – taking them to the top spot. But it wasn’t long before this push backfired, and with the combination of the economic downturn along with growing success for competitors, Cadbury’s extra branches were slowly chopped off, often undersold.

Bernard Kempson worked for Cadbury most of his life and so he and his wife accumulated almost 1,000 jointly held shares in the business. Although once a UK firm, the sale and transfer to Kraft meant many of these shares were split across the pond, turning the Kempsons’ Cadbury shares into Dr Pepper Snapple. With the stock now being US-listed, these assets were thought to require a Medallion Signature Guarantee in order to sell and distribute their value to entitled beneficiaries. As a service offered by probate genealogy firm, Fraser & Fraser, the team set to work on assisting the solicitors in both transferring and selling the

With the drinks companies gone, Cadbury opened themselves up to potential buyers, turning from an overly complicated business to one perfect to sell. It was in January 2010 that the price of 850p

was finally accepted and Cadbury’s 186 years of independence ended. The solicitors in this case had long been trying to arrange a Medallion Signature Guarantee as the shares needed to be transferred and sold to complete the administration of the Kempsons’ estate. Fraser & Fraser were able to assist not only with arranging the bank signature guarantee to effect the transfer, but also subsequent sale of the holding – worth £43,000 - in one streamlined and efficient process. With a broad range of experience in dealing with a variety of holdings and an understanding that each case is different, Fraser & Fraser offer a service tailored to your needs. With an ability to arrange Medallion Signature Guarantees in relation to stock and shares paperwork as well as the transfer and sale of US, Canadian and other international shareholdings, Fraser & Fraser are ready to help you. For more information, please visit www.fraser.fr/MSG or call 020 7832 1400 to discuss your case.

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Professional Practice

150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OPEN SPACES SOCIETY THIS YEAR IS THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OPEN SPACES SOCIETY. FOUNDED IN 1865 AS THE COMMONS PRESERVATION SOCIETY IT IS BRITAIN’S OLDEST NATIONAL CONSERVATION BODY. IN ITS EARLY YEARS IT SAVED MANY COMMONS AND OTHER OPEN SPACES IN AND AROUND LONDON: HAMPSTEAD HEATH, EPPING FOREST AND WIMBLEDON COMMON FOR EXAMPLE. THEN IT EXTENDED ITS REMIT TO THE WHOLE OF ENGLAND AND WALES AND EMBRACED OPEN SPACES AND PUBLIC PATHS TOO. The open spaces and paths of Middlesex are especially important as green lungs

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in urban and suburban areas, and the society has had many successes there. For instance, in 1893 it persuaded the local authority to remove obstructions from the lane between Twickenham and Teddington. It fought the construction of railways over common land and in 1878 stopped the Great Eastern Railway Company from taking three acres of Wood Green common, Hornsey. It won exchange land from the Great Western Railway Company at Drayton Green, Ealing, in 1897. It secured new clauses in the 1904 Acton Improvement Act to protect Acton Green. In 1948 it helped to rescue Grove Fields, Harrow, from development, and in 1985 it prevented Jubilee Gardens, Ealing, from being built on. Recently it has campaigned for the reopening of blocked paths across Harrow School playing-fields and Northwick Park golf-course.

Today the society still champions common land: as a statutory consultee it scrutinises every application for works there. Its local representatives defend the public-path network and we advise our members in protecting commons, green spaces and paths, taking up hundreds of cases each year. We lobby parliament for better, tougher laws. We have no public funding; we depend on legacies and donations to support our vital work. Web Tel Email

www.oss.org.uk 01491 573535 hq@oss.org.uk

Registered in England and Wales, limited company 7846516 Charity no 1144840


Professional Practice

LEAVING THEIR BELOVED FOUR-LEGGED FRIEND WITHOUT AN OWNER Some dog owners worry what might happen to their dog if they were to pass away first, leaving their beloved four-legged friend without an owner. Thankfully, Dogs Trust offers the Canine Care Card, a special free service that aims to give owners peace of mind, knowing that the charity will look after their dog if the worst should happen. Not only does this offer reassurance to dog owners, but it takes away an extra concern for friends and family during a distressing time. Over the years, Dogs Trust has taken in hundreds of dogs across its 20 rehoming centres in the UK as part of the Canine Care Card scheme and helped them settle into happy new homes. One of these dogs was Poppy-Pie, a nine-year-old crossbreed who found herself looking for a home when her owner passed away earlier this year. Before coming to Dogs Trust, Poppy-Pie was looked after by her late owner’s carer and her dog walker. Both very much wanted to see Poppy-Pie find a loving new home but, sadly were not able to offer her a forever home themselves. Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog down, and works hard to match every dog with a responsible, loving home and after being taken in by Dogs Trust Snetterton, Poppy-Pie was soon settling in and making new friends. She loved being around the staff and was adored by everybody at the rehoming centre - she even spent time helping out on reception while waiting to find a new home. After three months at Dogs Trust, Poppy-Pie found a happy new home where she became part of a loving family.

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

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THEATRE and the LAW

ADVENTURES in THEATRELAND by L.O.Luvie by VINCENT MCGRATH

“Hollywood star to buy Shakespeare.” All the world’s a stage And all the men and women merely players, They have their exits and their entrances, And each man in his time plays many parts, Any mention of the Bard takes me back to the upper fourth, or was it the lower fifth, when I would be whacked with the strap, if I was not word perfect regurgitating the old geezer’s bon mots which in my case meant stinging hands just about every day of the week including Saturdays with Sunday being a day of rest. Those were the days of Educatttttttt……SHUN! Or if it’s not the strap that stings to mind, then it is the front page of the Liverpool Echo,

“Hollywood star to buy Shakespeare.”

vmfilmnite@googlemail.com

020 8579 5330 07877 551442

has had prior rights in perpetuity. Quite frankly, I think it is only right that, My pain should be Bill’s gain. I don’t harbour grudges. But the grandees of the English theatre and fellow travellers were a touch sniffy about all this. After all who was this upstart of a yank, a Hollywood yank at that telling us, the custodians of the English language, how to commemorate our national treasure. But Sam, goddamit, soldiered on. After being a war hero, he was thanked for this efforts by being blacklisted for something or other, by the House of Un-American Activities in 1949, and had to do a quick moonlight flit to the UK. A few little difficulties with planning permission was not going to stand in Sam’s way. He raised $10 million and Royal support but sadly died before the actual opening of his magnificent obsession in 1997. What a guy! Sam OBE, I salute you. Should have been an honorary Knighthood. Sir Sam. For all those years when you were a lone voice in the wilderness! By the way, I’ll never forget Mark Rylance as Richard 11 at your wonderful Globe theatre. “Great Rylance. Shame about the play.” And all for the price of a cappuccino - A FIVER! Later, saw Rylance in the award winning Jerusalem, before it moved to Broadway transforming him into an A-Lister, without the hassle of first having to first appear on the silver screen. Clever that!

Reading on I discover that the Hollywood star in question, is sadly not Marilyn Monroe. On the contrary it is non other than Sam Wanamaker. Sam who? Apparently Sam was an actor, producer and a director, donchaknow? Shakespeare it turns out is The New Shakespeare, a musty old music hall that had fallen on hard times. It was trying to pull in punters with revivals of Victorian melodramas, and it seemed that my father was just about the last Whilst on the subject of rich Americans person on Merseyside that still William Shakespeare investing in heritage stuff, wasn’t there had an enthusiasm for this dying a guy who bought London Bridge but when it was set genre. That being said, I vividly recall the pleasure of up outside his glitzy Vegas hotel it didn’t look seeing Mrs Ellen Woods’ East Lynne, and was anything like er….Tower Bridge? A wee bit apocryphal delighted that we could cheer the hero, boo the perhaps, or scoundrel maybe just a (dressed in black little short on with a thin black the Caveat moustache) and Emptor? I weep with the hope you heroine who cries don’t think for out upon seeing a moment that her drowned child I am pulled from the suggesting, pond, “Dead. Sam really The new Globe The old Globe Dead. And thought he never called me mother”. Not long after Sam took over, the theatre mysteriously burnt down, no doubt to was buying Shakepeare’s original Globe..………… .No no. Perish the thought. the ghostly echo of “The Bells. The Bells”. Fast forward a few years, and Sam Wanamaker crops up again. This time he is searching for the site of the Bard’s original Globe, can you believe, as he wants to build a replica. No one seems to be in favour of this perfectly reasonable proposition. After all I had the Stratford wonderkind beaten into me, so why shouldn’t the cause of my teen-age angst and swollen hands, have some lasting memorial, apart from my dysfunctional brain over which of course my shrink

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Things change, as they do. My daughter moved to the other side of London, and her godmother died. Previously, we met up in Ealing. But now the journey seemed to be a tad on the long side. So, despite my life- long love of film, I thought it would be a good idea if father and grown up child could discover something completely different together. The experience of seeing a film has changed a lot over the years. Cinemas in the main are now half-full

impersonal shoeboxes, with very little ambience, unlike theatres which still retain the personal touch with smiling wannabees directing you to your seats, and of course those glorious Victorian décors. So if the performance is not up to scratch at least there are other features to distract you. We Londoners of course, are the envy of the world with Theatreland on our doorstep. Well, if you live in Covent garden, that is. My cunning plan was so simple. We would meet at some swanky restaurant for a genteel meal prior to seeing a play. A play that I would choose of course. Now just what could go wrong with that? We got through 3 and a half hrs of Kevin Spacey’s black leather clad Richard 111 at the Old Vic. Phew! No apparent air conditioning on a hot summer’s evening - AND SEATS IN THE GODS LORD HELP US?

Kevin Spacey as Richard lll

Oh Kev you should have checked out Larry’s 1950’s film version where he omitted most of the incomprehensible sub-plots and like in your days in Tinsel Town he always CUT TO THE CHASE. And then there was ENO’s award winning Mikado and Madam Butterfly both of which were scuttled at half time. As we de-camped the Coliseum I casually asked the obvious question. The reply was a nod in the direction of the neon sign opposite. Jeeves & Wooster. COMEDY? Of course! I must confess I have never been a big fan of all that Jeeves stuff, but a few weeks later there we were in the front row of a packed Duke of York’s waiting for the curtain to go up. Both of us had a good laugh at an original clever and very funny production. Problem solved. The fruit of my loins has to get up at 5.15 to work in a challenging East End school. The last thing she needs is three and a half hours of Kev’s Dick the Third, brilliant though it was. Jeeves and Wooster carries on the tradition pioneered in The 39 Steps of making a virtue out of low production values - in other


THEATRE and the LAW OSCAR: I would love you if you were something else. The most amusing experience I have recently had in the West End, is a toss - up between Noises Off and A Man and two Guvnors. They have both moved on, but for sure, given the way theatre economics work, they will be back, no doubt, by public demand. There has been a refreshing influx of productions from our Celtic neighbour across the way. Three of the most marvellous female characters ever invented populated The Cripple of Innishmaan. With an eye on the box office it starred Daniel Radcliffe which drew a host of young admirers who clearly struggled with the nuances of the Irish accent. And then there was The Weir, which I liked so much I attended on about 10 occasions. It got so that I fully expected to get the same front row seat, A9, and even, just perhaps to get asked to play the role of honorary prompter. At Maria Aitken £10.00 a throw it was cheap at half the price, or equivalent to two words three actors playing 6 parts Haagen Daz theatre ice creams. It with quick costume changes that starred the marvellous Brian Cox, a invariably go wrong in a contrived Glaswegian who could pass muster as and amusing manner. The 39 steps a Connemara man any day of the now plays in more capitals than any week. My first encounter with the other franchised West End living legend was via the Michael production. It was originally of Mann film Manhunter where he course directed by that lovely friend played Hannibal Lector in a tad more of FILM NITE, Maria Aitken, and it sinister manner than the Welshman was ahead of its time, cleverly Anthony Hopkins in the later Silence adapting a much loved 1937 of the Lambs. Funny that? Hollywood Hitchcock film for the stage and has generally used English actors for keeping the original’s pace, wit the nasty. Yet here it was casting the Sam Wanamaker and charm. nasty of nasties with two Celts from either side of the Irish Sea. Just what does that tell There was a time when a successful stage production you about California’s perception of This Sceptred would transfer to film. These days that process has Isle and its neigbours? been reversed. After The 39 Steps, came Brief Encounter, but despite some clever sequences And now for the McDonagh Phenomena concerning involving actors stepping into a film, the audiences two brothers from the Irish diaspora born and raised just weren’t showing. Furthermore, the casting of the in the Elephant & Castle. The story goes that their funny Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It) wasn’t able to turn the stage version of the black comedy The LadyKillers into a must-see show. Oh to have been a fly on the wall at the Red Lion, after Alec Guinness, Peter Sellars and the gang had wrapped for the day and popped over the road for a well- earned pint. There was certainly genius abroad in those heady days of 1955 right here on Ealing’s very own doorstep. And then there was Strangers on a Train - for some people their favourite Hitchcock film. Based upon Patricia Highsmith’s dark thriller of two people swapping murders, the stage version went back to the book. Interesting but overlong and dismally failing to learn from the film. Hitch, no matter how grim the material, always incorporated humour. That’s why he was a genius, and by the same token, it’s why the stage version is no longer around. Managed to catch Let the Right One In on two occasions before it went. A Scottish stage version of the Scandinavian cult vampire film, it is an exhilaratingly original tale of a young female vampire with the ambivalent name of Elias who moves in next door to young misfit Oscar. The play has an underlying theme of gender identification and is peppered by elliptical dialogue, such as, ELIAS: But would you love me if I was a boy? OSCAR: I would love you if you were a boy. ELIAS: Would you love me if I was something else?

Mark Rylance

parents were apparently away a lot with the result the John and Martin became addicted to watching films on television. Like the young turks of the French New Wave, these two disreputable truants learnt through watching. The elder, John, decided to make films whilst kid brother Martin in order to avoid any sibling rivralry, gravitated to the theatre, and at one point had more plays being staged than any other playwright, including Big Bill. Amongst John’s films are recent releases The Guard and Calvary with the larger than life, Brendan Gleeson, and Martin who has been called one of the most important living Irish playwrights, is responsible for The Cripple of

George Bernard Shaw

Innishmaan. So after all that, you may well wonder, just what is the point of skule? Another Irishman to watch is Enda Walsh whose prolific work ranges from the hit musical Once, to Steve McQueen’s harrowing Hunger. Talking of skule again, I should point out that it is not yet a crime if you don’t actually like “Gulielmus filius Joannes Shakspere” - to give the old geezer his Latin birth name. In fact if you own up to it, you could be joining a most distinguished club that includes the likes of Leo Tolstoy, John Dryden, Voltaire, and that old veggie wag, George Bernard Shaw, who famously wrote of the Bard: “There is no eminent writer whom I can despise so entirely…and it would be positively a relief for me to dig him up and throw stones at him” If the cost of three courses for two at Rules, is beyond your budget then you may prefer as a pretheatre snack, a nice cuppa and petite fours at London’s oldest French patisserie, or at the other end of Shaftsbury Avenue you may be seduced into gazing at a neo-Byzantine evening sky and sit where Oscar & his side kick used to have their secret and not so secret assignations over tea and muffin. And as for the £10.00 front row seats? I’ll reveal all that and more next time. ……………………………..Last Scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness, and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. The Seven Ages of Man. As You Like It Act 11 SceneV11 William Shakespeare

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Management

CARE HOME FEES ALL NEED NOT BE LOST! I was chatting with a client recently whose 93 year old mother, widowed and suffering badly with dementia, had arrived at a point where moving her into a care home had become essential. My client had managed to find an ideal home nearby to her and was going through the stressful and emotional process of relocating Mum. Although she had been bracing herself, the £1,030 per week care home fees still came as a shock. No Government help was available as the Mum had a house worth £500,000 (now on the market as thankfully a Power of Attorney was in place) which she had been planning to leave to her grandchildren but which would now be needed to fund the £53,500 or so annual care fees. Conversation turned to her plans for what remained of the house sale proceeds after the first few months fees had been set aside. Being fully aware that the care fees will rise each year at a rate far higher than inflation she was keen to invest the money to try and generate a better return than was being offered on cash deposit. At the same time, she needed liquidity to meet the fees, was reluctant to risk losing capital and wanted to try and preserve at least some value in the hope that Mum’s wish might be fulfilled to leave something to her grandchildren. As is often the case, some of these objectives seemed to be at odds with each other. Yet one solution came to mind which could secure an annual income sufficient to cover the fees, protect against future increases in care costs, avoid any tax on the income and leave funds available elsewhere for bequests. The solution was a type of annuity offered by a small number of specialist providers which, when paid directly to a care home, attracts no income tax. Based on Mum’s age and a medical report from her GP we were able to secure such an annuity which, for a premium of £260,000, paid a non-taxable income of £53,500 per annum directly to the care home for the remainder of Mum’s life. Better still, the annuity escalates at a rate of 8% each year to protect against increases in the cost of care and has a modest level of protection built into it such that if Mum were to die at any time during the first 6 months then between 25% and 100% of the premium would be repayable. More to the point £240,000 of the £500,000 house proceeds can now be set aside outside of the care home fees funding trap and, with sensible advice, retained within the family. As is often the case, if you take professional advice you can often come up with a solution which will meet not only yours but the families requirements. 34

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This case study is provided for illustration purposes only and based on our understanding of current legislation. The value of investments can fall as well as rise. This article is intended for qualified lawyers and solicitors and is not to be distributed to retail clients. by STEVEN VALLERY, Business Development Director S4 Financial Ltd. Contact: 0127634932