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05 President’s Foreword 06 Annual General Meeting
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08 WHLS Events
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12 The Twelve Apostles
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International Lawyers in London
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COVER INFORMATION Inside of Il·lustre Col·legi de l'Advocacia de Barcelona (Barcelona Bar Association).
16 Profile: Jeffrey
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21 Arthur Weir shares Page 27
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the secrets of success
34 Legacies Westminister & Holborn Law Society is focussing on improving its presence on Social Media
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CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 3
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The President’s Foreword February 2020
f your life is anything like mine, your New Year will have begun in a whirlwind, barely giving you the chance to draw breath. Both national and international news seems to be filled with concerning events such as those in Iran, China and with Brexit looming, we are in a year that will no doubt bring significant change. Change sometimes scares us, not only as humans, but as lawyers too, however psychologists say that we should embrace change as an opportunity for new beginnings. January is not only full of dark days, the (possibly temporary) resumption of healthy habits and alcohol free evenings; it brings new intent and opportunity. As a family solicitor, it’s refreshing and invigorating for me to talk to and meet other colleagues, specialists in other fields of law at the different events organised by the Society. It helps me to leave the bubble of my office and colleagues, and listen and discuss our concerns as a community of lawyers. If any of you are still looking for a New Year’s resolution, I encourage you to start participating more actively in the WHLS. You will find the details of all our Chairs of Committees in our magazine so you can contact them directly if you wish to become more involved. Since our AGM in October last year I have had my first Officers meeting and Main Committee meeting. I have also met with our support team from The Law Society. Getting to meet so many members of the Society in my first few months as President has been inspirational. We have an eclectic and motivated Society, one of the most active in London. I give a lot of value to our Society’s relationships with other European Law Societies. Many years of collaboration and friendship lie behind all the existing twinning agreements. Politically we will be exiting the European Union this coming year, but we continue to represent
the European Jurist. The almost 50 years of investment in European Law is not forgotten overnight. I am honoured to have been invited to represent the Society at the Opening of the Legal Year at the Law Societies of Brussels, Barcelona and Milan. Our international relationships are more important than ever before. Thank you to all of you who attended to celebrate with me at the President’s New Year Drinks at Dawson Cornwell’s Offices. Our keynote speaker, Annemarie Carvalho, spoke wonderfully and caused us to reflect on our wellbeing and taught us how to prepare for the New Year ahead. The first award of the year, the Gamlen Prize was awarded that night. We will have our Newly Qualified Solicitors Award in September and a new award will be established for lifetime achievement. I leave you now with this interesting edition that our hardworking editorial team has put together. You cannot miss the interview by our formidable former President, Laura Uberoi when she had the opportunity to speak to Arthur Weir, founder member of our Society. He has been an active and engaging member until last year; almost 60 years dedicated to the Society, to us. Thank you all for your support and interest in our work. ■
Carolina Marín Pedreño President
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 5
Westminster & Holborn News
Westminster & Holborn Law Society Annual General Meeting O
n 29 October 2019, the Westminster and Holborn Law Society held its Annual General Meeting. Looking back over the year, it is clear that 2019 was a very successful year for the Westminster and Holborn Law Society.
requests to twin from Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam. The International Sub-Committee has put in a lot of work to maintain these important friendships across Europe and has been successful in providing a positive and welcoming message to those who wish to work with us.
Laura Uberoi, the outgoing President, reported that approximately 30 events had taken place over the year, ranging from technical knowledge sessions to career events, along with flagship events such as the President’s New Year Event and the NQ Celebration. The society has worked on raising its profile throughout the year by holding more events and an increased active and growing social media presence, and this has been rewarded by increased membership and more engagement by our members.
Laura praised the increased presence of the Junior Lawyers Division and the success of the new NQ Rising Star Award; engaging junior members is vital for our society and there has been a noticeable increase in junior members who wish to get involved in taking our society forward.
Thanks were given to the Sub-Committee Chairs, particularly Arthur Weir (Law Reform) and Julian Aylmer (Professional Matters) who have both retired from their posts after many years of successful running of their committees. This year, the society has set up two new Sub-Committees (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Pro Bono), both of which have been launched very successfully due to the hard work of their Chairs, Coral Hill and Shaila Pal. Laura also spoke about the work done by the International Sub-Committee, which has resulted in many recent
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Finally, we were lucky enough to have Simon Davis, the President of the Law Society, attend our meeting. Simon was elected as an Honorary Member of the Society during his term of office. Laura Uberoi has put in a phenomenal amount of work as President, and we are all very grateful for everything she has done. While we will be sad to see Laura go, I am sure that she will still be a major part of the Society moving forward. I am very glad to welcome Carolina Marín Pedreño as the new President of Westminster and Holborn Law Society and look forward to seeing how the society will flourish under her leadership!
New Officer Profiles
Carolina Marín Pedreño President
Carolina is a Spanish Abogado, who cross-qualified as a Solicitor in 2006. She specialises in international cases particularly child abduction, registration and enforcement of foreign contact orders, leave to remove, residence, contact and public law cases. Carolina is a Fellow and elected Governor of the European Chapter of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, Counsellor of the Union International des Avocats Human Rights Commission, member of the International Committee of Resolution, elected Executive member for international affairs of the Bar Association of Murcia, Founder and Secretary of the Spanish Association of Collaborative Lawyers and co-chair of the European Family Justice Observatory. Carolina is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in Child Abduction and Children Law – disputes between parents or relatives. Carolina’s full profile can be found at https://dawsoncornwell.com/en/the-team/partners/carolina-marín-pedreño.html
Anthony Seymour Treasurer
Anthony is a Solicitor in the Property Department of Pothecary Witham Weld. He acts for Charities, Company and Private Clients and deals with Commercial property, Landlord and Tenant and Residential Conveyancing. He also specialises in Leasehold Enfranchisement. He has worked at established City Firms and was for many years a Partner in the Property Department of a Central London Law Firm. He is a member of the University of Bristol Alumni Association London Branch Committee and holds a Masters Degree in Law from Kings College, University of London.
Paul Sharma Deputy Vice President
Paul is the founder and managing partner of Sharma Solicitors. Sharma Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice acting for both claimants and respondents, small and multinational firms. Paul worked as a trade union official, before qualifying in a firm that acts exclusively for the large trade unions for their members. Paul went on to head the employment law departments of an outer London commercial firm before doing the same for a large city practice.
Matthew Allan Junior Vice President
Matthew is a commercial litigator with Sherrards Solicitors, focusing on domestic and international dispute resolution. He also puts his Canadian roots to work as a member of CWHLS’s International Committee. Matt is a former Council Member of the Law Society and sat on its Regulatory Affairs Board, alongside positions with the Junior Lawyers Division national executive committee. He enjoys writing and often adds his two cents to legal debates.
Anisha Birk Honorary Secretary
Anisha is a second year trainee at Farrer & Co LLP. Anisha previously sat as Secretary of the WHLS International Sub-Committee before becoming Honorary Secretary this year. She was awarded the 2017 Gamlen Prize by WHLS for outstanding performance on the LPC. Prior to joining Farrer & Co, Anisha worked for the British Museum as a trainee curator. Anisha worked across various aspects of the British Museum’s collections, chiefly completing an online documentation project of the Museum’s vast Sasanian seal collection. In 2014 she was awarded a Sackler Scholarship to complete this project and a Jonathan Ruffer curatorial grant from the Art Fund to visit Sulaymaniyah Museum, Iraq, to study their Sasanian collections.
Ivan Ho Editor in Chief
Ivan has been a member of the main committee since November 2008. He began his training with Hunters in 2004. On qualification, he joined the Property Department of Hunters and specialises in residential and commercial work. He became an Associate at Hunters in April 2010.
Laura Uberoi Immediate Past President
Laura is a real estate finance solicitor at Macfarlanes LLP and was previously with Farrer & Co LLP, where she qualified. Prior to her election as President of WHLS, Laura sat on the International Committee and served as Honorary Secretary. In 2017 Laura was also elected as a Council Member at the national Law Society, where she represents junior lawyers up to five years qualified. Before becoming a solicitor, she worked with young people in detention facilities across the UK and separately on capital punishment cases for the Texas Defender Service in the USA. Laura is passionate about social mobility and access to justice – she mentors students to encourage participation in the profession and assists with local free legal advice centres. Laura has also lectured on human rights and war crimes in The Hague and taught a variety of legal subjects, including taxation law, corporate law and international law in the UK and abroad.
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 7
Westminster & Holborn Events
Booking is essential for all events due to restrictions of space
Tuesday 25 February International Lawyers’ Forum Launch
We are excited to launch our International Lawyers’ Forum, for all international lawyers practising in the area. See Page 13.
February Winter Litigation Update
The first of our annual litigation updates will start at 6.30pm and be following by a networking reception. Further details to follow.
February/March Winter Property Law Update
The first of our annual property law updates is kindly hosted by Index Property Information, starts at 6pm and will be followed by a networking reception.
Wednesday 11 March Krakow Bar Association Twinning Ceremony We are hosting a delegation from the Krakow Bar Association and will sign a twinning agreement over lunch. Our guests will then join us at the annual dinner (see below). Members have been invited to attend a reciprocal visit to Krakow in April.
Wednesday 11 March Annual Dinner, National Liberal Club
This year’s annual dinner will be hosted jointly with South London Law Society at the National Liberal Club.
Tuesday 24 March Brexit Implications for Lawyers, Edwin Coe LLP
Following the success of our Brexit event last year, we are hoping to host another Brexit session in March/April with David Greene, Vice President of the Law Society, Senior Partner at Edwin Coe LLP and Chair of the Law Society’s Brexit Task Force.
March/April Dreamvar – an update
Following on from the Dreamvar case, this update will be led by Peter Cousins QC and Peter Dodge.
March/April Taking on the Tech Giants
We are jointly hosting a session with the University of Law with guest speaker Ravi Naik. Further details will follow.
Wednesday 22 April Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee Launch
With speaker Rt hon Lady Justice Simler, Chair of the Judicial Diversity Committee of the Judges’ Council and President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
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April Pro Bono & CSR Committee Event
Our Pro Bono & CSR Sub-Committee are hoping to host another annual reception, following the success of our previous events run with JUSTICE during an evening filled with refreshments and nibbles. Further details will follow.
April Junior Lawyers Division Event
The JLD will host informal networking and socialising for members and non-members. Further details to follow.
April Property Law Spring Update
The second of our annual updates is kindly hosted by Index Property Information, starts at 6pm and will be followed by a networking reception. Further details will follow.
April/May SQE Update Breakfast Seminar
The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) is a new system of exams that will be introduced in 2021, replacing the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course. All solicitors will have to pass the SQE in order to qualify. Following the success of the session last year, this breakfast seminar will cover the latest updates in the roll out of the SQE following further developments from the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Standards Board.
April/May Developing an International Strategy
Our International Sub-Committee is hosting a seminar on how firms of all sizes can develop an international strategy. This session will draw on the Society’s international networks and experience twinning with large and small overseas bar associations.
May Spring Litigation Update
The first of our annual litigation updates will start at 6.30pm and be following by a networking reception. Further details to follow.
May Meet your council members
This is a great opportunity to hear about the work of The Law Society and ask questions of your local council members for Holborn (Jonathan Wright and Fraser Whitehead) and Westminster (Beth Forrester, Jeffrey Forrest and Edward MaceyDare). A reception with refreshments will follow.
May/June How to Session – Judicial Appointments
Following the success of our session last year, we are hoping to host eminent panellists to lead another workshop on judicial appointments. Further details will follow.
Westminster & Holborn Events
Booking is essential for all events due to restrictions of space
June Summer Property Law Update
The third of our annual property law updates is kindly hosted by Index Property Information, starts at 6pm and will be followed by a networking reception. Further details will follow.
June/July Summer Garden Party
We are looking forward to bringing our members together for a summer gathering, with refreshments and entertainment. Further details will follow.
9-12 July Visit to Cluj-Napoco, Romania
Members are invited to join a delegation visiting the Cluj-Napoco Bar Association in Romania. If you would like to get involved, please email Katjana.Cleasby@Farrer.co.uk
23 September Newly Qualifieds’ Celebration – House of Lords Reception (TBC)
We are hoping to host our annual Newly Qualifieds Celebration in the House of Lords, where we will also present our Newly Qualified Rising Star Award. It will also be an opportunity to meet our visiting delegation for the UIA London Conference (more details below).
24-25 September UIA London Conference
The Union Internationale des Avocats (International Lawyers Association) are hosting their conference in London jointly with the WHLS. There will be a series of seminars hosted by members during the conference and several networking opportunities to meet with delegates. Further details will follow and please get in touch if you would like to participate in the visit.
Tuesday 27 October AGM, Farrer & Co
Our Annual General Meeting will be held at 6pm at the offices of Farrer & Co LLP. At the meeting the President will present her annual report and new Officers will be elected. Do come along to see familiar and new faces – refreshments will follow the meeting.
Joint Annual Dinner SLLS and WHL After Dinner Speaker: Her honour Judge Khatun Sapnar 11 March 2020 from 7-11 pm National Liberal Club Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE BOOK NOW email: email@example.com Bank transfer to: The City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society • • •
Acc Number: 11403287 Sort code: 160038 R Reference: Name_AD20
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 9
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee Helen Broadbridge, a Trainee Solicitor at Macfarlanes LLP and member of the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee will explore some of the qualities often suggested as lying at the root of women’s lack of progress, in this first of three articles.
he Financial Times kicked off 2020 by reporting on the sharp drop-off in female lawyers in senior positions and wide pay gaps. Sigh. As a new decade dawns on the next generation of female lawyers and already 100 years since women were first admitted into the profession, there is clearly much to be done to ensure that women are getting a fair shot throughout their careers. While it is important to share information with women on how they might best navigate the pitfalls of firm life, there is also a place for calling on firms to do more to correct the imbalances. Inequality is not the simple result of lack of knowledge on the part of the underrepresented party; there are institutional issues which also need to be addressed. Three qualities worth considering are mindset, confidence and assertiveness. This first article will look at mindset. Mindset: We’re not at school anymore Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller’s research into fixed and growth mindsets is well-known in the professional world. They observe the patterns of girls’ institutionalisation in the school system and how this can leave women unprepared in the workplace. Dweck is famously quoted as saying, “if life were one long grade school, women would be the undisputed rulers of the world.” What does she mean by this? Dweck and Mueller’s research suggests that girls start school with longer attention spans and more advanced fine-motor, verbal and social skills than boys. In other words, girls tend not to charge around like wild animals. Girls quickly learn that they receive approval from their teachers when they do things nicely, but the result is that many also learn to avoid taking risks and making mistakes. Meanwhile, boys have a tendency to absorb criticism without being discouraged and, thus, learn to weather failure. It is this cycle of risk taking, failure and perseverance that builds confidence. In this way, girls tend to leave school determined to please, afraid to fail and with the uncanny ability to over-prepare. Somewhere
between the exam hall and the office, the requirements for adult success change and many women have a rude awakening. At school we learn that we will only be asked to sit an exam in something for which we have had at least a year of careful preparation. When the results are in, it will be clear what grade you have received and where that grade puts you in relation to others. Work is not like that. We have “exams” all the time in things for which we have often received no preparation at all. We are then judged on those things, sometimes harshly. This feels unfair. Why are we being told off for not nailing something that we have not been meticulously instructed in and given study leave for and a quiet room and a set time for questions we have practised over and over? Ah. The gaping void between the realms of school and work emerges. It is when nestled in this gulf that women tend to underestimate their abilities and/or overestimate the skill set required to do the task. This is evident in the often-quoted Hewlett Packard study, which found that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the criteria, whereas women only apply if they meet all of them. There are a mixture of conclusions to draw from this observation. On the one hand, women should feel liberated from the perfectionism of their school days to stop wasting excess time in what entrepreneurial analysts Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson call the “plateau effect” of diminishing returns versus time spent. On the other hand, perhaps organisations should be more honest about what roles actually require, instead of relying on unwritten rules about overstated job descriptions. A more sobering conclusion is that the penalty a woman would receive for applying for a job that she was not yet qualified for on paper is greater than that a man would receive. In breaking into male-dominated realms, women are held to higher standards. This is all too evident in the numerous examples of corporate ‘superwomen’, whose flawless examples unintentionally make their senior roles appear less accessible to women, rather than more. In this way, women are more likely to arrive in the workplace with a mindset that over-preparation and obedience are the route to institutional approval. Keeping one’s head down and plugging away are important, but progress seems to hinge on something more than competence. The next edition will explore how confidence is often cited as the solution.
am delighted that this committee has started work. We want to ensure that we cover as wide a number of issues as possible and so will join with other organisations in some cases to have combined events. The committee determined that its initial focus would be sharing any findings through our Society’s magazine, Central London Lawyer. One of our members, Helen Broadbridge, has kindly got us started with an insightful article on women’s careers. I have met with Yasmin Sheikh, founder of Diverse Matters, who has agreed to advise us on progressing some activities related to disability. I have further meetings with different people and groups lined up but if anyone has suitable contacts do please let me know. We are a small committee so if anyone is interested in getting involved, feel free to contact me for a chat. If there are any particular needs that people have already identified in their firms, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Westminster & Holborn News
Westminster & Holborn Law Society awards Gamlen Prize to top London trainee
estminster & Holborn Law Society awarded the annual Gamlen Prize for the most promising candidate on the Legal Practice Course to Gatrina Kang, a future trainee at Mishcon de Reya, at last week’s President’s New Year celebration. Andrew Marks, a future trainee at Taylor Wessing, was named runner-up. Both prize winners were nominated by their tutors.
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The Gamlen Prize is awarded annually by the Westminster & Holborn Law Society to the student considered the most promising LPC candidate. The prize is open to trainee solicitors who are either a member of the society or are undertaking, or have arranged to undertake, a training contract with a law firm or organisation based in the area.
Interpreting Direct combines and enhances the knowledge and experience of its specialists in order to offer complete and comprehensive service. Thanks to their young and dynamic team and the consistent innovations, they have been able to continually offer clients new possibilities and improved forms of communication.
The Gamlen Prize was set up in 1991 under the Gamlen Charitable Trust in memory of the Gamlen family and in particular, St John Gamlen, who was the last of five generations of solicitors. Nominees are assessed on their ability to explain a complicated subject in plain English to a layperson.
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Ms Kang was presented with the winner’s shield and cheque for £250 by Fraser Whitehead, Council Member for Holborn, Paul Sharma, Managing Partner of Sharma Solicitors and Suzanna Eames, Associate at Farrer & Co; Paul and Suzanna being members of the judging panel. Runner up Mr Marks received the second prize of £150.
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Reflecting on the impressive and talented cohort of entrants for this year’s competition, judge Suzanna Eames said, “We were pleased to have a wide variety of nominations this year and the competition was very strong. Ultimately, both Gatrina and Andrew demonstrated a wide knowledge of the profession beyond their studies and impressed with their ability to discuss a range of topics clearly and perceptively”. The event was hosted by Dawson Cornwell, at their office at Staple Inn. The guest speaker Annmarie Carvalho, who is a qualified mediator, family lawyer and therapist, spoke about the importance of wellbeing in the profession. The winner in 2019 was Timothy Evans, a Forsters trainee and former BPP Law School student. ■
Left to right: President Carolina Marín Pedreño, Gamlen Prize winner Gatrina Kang and Council Member for Holborn and trustee of the Gamlen Prize Fraser Whitehead.
The Gamlen Prize shield was presented at the President’s New Year Celebration.
Interpreting services Their interpreters have years of experience in interpreting during meetings, negotiations and conferences. They use predominantly native professionals able to work in all fields – law, social, police, courts, housing, environment, and conferences etc. and cover 200 languages and rare dialects spoken in Europe, Africa and Asia. ■ Legal and Court Interpreting Their legal and court interpreters assist in court hearings, negotiations and meetings. ■ Police, HM Prisons and Probation Offices Interpreters assist at the meetings between the Police and Probation officers and the offenders. ■ Public Services and Government Bodies Interpreters assist at meetings between social workers or other officials and members of the public ■ Relay Interpreting Using a second language as a relay – it is employed when no interpreters with the required language are available. Translation services Interpreting Direct cover a wide range of subject areas in all written world language pairs, including technical documents, such as instructions, data sheets, and training information for corporate communications, e.g. work schedules, company correspondence, reports, brochures, legal documents and texts, briefs and certificates. ■
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 11
The Twelve Apostles High profile trial observation. Chapter One: the prosecutor sums up. By Professor Sara Chandler, QC (Hon) Past President CHWLS
or the last twelve months members of the Colombia Caravana, WHLS International Committee, the Law Society Human Rights Committee and the Bar Human Rights Committee have been participating in the observation of a high profile trial in Medellín, Colombia. Westminster & Holborn Law Society members have been involved with Colombia since 2005 and over the last fifteen years have participated in the international delegations which go to Colombia to investigate the situation of judges and lawyers. The trial is called The Twelve Apostles, and the defendant is Santiago Uribe Velez, brother of the former President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe Velez. The charges are concerning the organisation of para military groups, torture, homicide, and crimes against humanity. The first complaints by victims of the paramilitary groups were reported 26 years ago, and the prosecution received more than 500 statements from victims. The trial observations commenced in December 2018, and continued in April, and then May 2019, with the final hearing listed for 5 days in November 2019. Colombia Caravana members Alexander Zernova and Sara Chandler joined lawyers from Spain, and from the Bar Human Rights Committee in Medellín on 6th November. Having flown in at 7.00 in the morning, the team was ready in Court just after 9.00am, for a long day, hearing the prosecution summing up the charges, and the evidence that they had presented to the court. The presentation was accompanied by a power point presentation which was very thorough and ensured that every witness was listed correctly before the court, with the precise points that the prosecutor was making. Present in Court before a single Judge (Judge Jaime Herrera Niño) was the prosecution team of two (known as the “Fiscalia”), and the Defence team (Defence lawyer and a spokesperson for the defendant, known as a “vocero”). It is permitted that if a person does not wish to address the Court personally they can pay a spokesperson to do so in their stead). Also present are two more teams: the lawyers for the victims, and the Procurador, an official lawyer who represents the interests of society. The prosecutor made a thorough presentation of the summary of the case against the defendant, Santiago Uribe Velez, and the court heard from the procurator and the lawyers for the victims. Everyone was ready for the defence to start their summary, for which they had been given three days. The court was surprised to hear a request from the defence for an adjournment. The “vocero”, claimed to have been appointed late in the trial process and need time to prepare against the charge of crimes against humanity. The Judge said he would consider it, and asked for comments from the lawyers from all the other parties. The decision was for an adjournment, actually the fourth adjournment of the final hearing in this trial, which has been in court since 2017. The observation team had attended since December 2018 and had witnessed three adjournments already, so it was not so surprising. In a meeting with the Judge next day, we were told that he had multiple cases and has to put them, aside each time there is a new adjournment. He decided to allow the defence five days for their summing up.
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It is interesting that the Colombian criminal justice system is in transition and there are two systems in operation. There is the Special Jurisdiction for the Peace, where former guerrillas or para militaries can confess to their crimes and get lower sentences than they would in the criminal courts. In the criminal courts the inquisitorial system is being replaced in part by the adversarial system. Because of the length of this case, over 26 years, including a period when it was shelved, both systems have been used. In the initial stage it is the prosecutor who carries out the investigation, then the second stage is the proof stage, and the third stage is the oral hearings. The facts of the case are that in a farm called La Carolina, it is alleged that the farm owner, the defendant, organised and arranged finance through local businesses of a para military group. The group allegedly had members among the local police and a Catholic priest. At the heart of the activities of the group it is alleged that they used a list of people who were considered undesirable and they would kill. Some witnesses gave evidence to the prosecutor that they knew that their family member was on the list, and then they were killed. Targets included prostitutes, drug addicts, thieves, members of the LGBT community, and people considered to be helping the guerrillas. The homicide at the centre of the case was of a man who was a local bus driver believed to be helping the guerrillas by giving them lifts in his bus. It is alleged that he was taken off the bus by the para militaries and killed. The defendant is charged with organising. It is a tense atmosphere in the court and at times perplexing. The court is in a modern building, a 26 floor tower block, and the public sit on bare wooden bench seats. The hearings started at 9.00am and ended at 7.00pm when the building closed. Unlike the UK, each morning the press take up prime position in front of the public, with 4 or 5 cameras on tripods dominating the area and obscuring the view for then public. In the coffee breaks and lunch breaks there is often an interview taking place in the corridor outside the court, with the lawyers speaking about the case. The international team are there to observe that due process is followed in compliance with international norms for a fair trial. This case has been marked by threats and attacks. One of the lawyers for the victims, Daniel Prado, has had threats, harassment and smear campaigns. Soon after the arrest, the accused’s brother, former president and current senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez, accused Mr Prado of being a member of a guerrilla group in a public video. A campaign was launched against Daniel Prado on Twitter, calling him an “imposter” and calling for his arrest. After the preparatory hearings, during late 2017, Mr Prado reported receiving several death threats in the form of phone calls to his land line telephone, and receiving messages at his office. It has been reported that he has been frequently followed by individuals and threatened. Action by the Colombian State National Protection Unit has been called for to provide him with protection. This case will run and run it seems. Lawyers for the defence will sum up over two new hearing dates to be reported on in Chapter Two. WHLS members who are interested should go to www.colombincaravana.org.uk ■
Forum for International Lawyers in London
orum for International Lawyers in London [FILL], has been created in response to the increasing numbers of lawyers, who are qualified in jurisdictions, other than England and Wales, and decide to overcome all potential challenges and embark on the adventure of practicing law in another country. This Forum will provide lawyers from all jurisdictions, worldwide, with the space they need to find support and share their experiences. Perhaps you find yourself needing guidance on how to cross-qualify in England and Wales or want to discuss the market opportunities and discover what are realistic expectations for you? This group provides the opportunity for lawyers qualified abroad and English qualified lawyers to connect, create a network of legal professionals with expertise in other jurisdictions, and to develop personal and professional relations between them. FILL will launch on Tuesday 25 February 2020 at 6pm at Farrer & Co and we encourage all international lawyers to join our drinks reception. Dual-qualified lawyers, Carolina Marín Pedreño and Paula Piquer Ruz will both make short speeches The Forum will meet regularly throughout the year and we are already planning our events for 2020. Do not miss the opportunity to connect and we look forward to meeting you all! Please book through Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/2u7sZv7 ■
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 13
Festivity of Sant Raimon de Penyafort
arolina Marín Pedreño and Coral Hill represented WHLS at the seminar held to mark the Festivity of Sant Raimon de Penyafort. It opened with a short reception at the magnificent building of the Barcelona Bar Association or Il·lustre Col·legi de l'Advocacia de Barcelona (ICAB). The stained glass internal windows and wooden sweeping staircase were a particularly grand setting although, as with our Law Society, there are modern adjoining rooms as well as the historical building. The Friday seminar was opened with a keynote speech from Viviane Reding, former Vice President of the European Commission. She presented her views on artificial intelligence to kick start the discussion of its impact on the legal profession. Vivienne Reding stated “Intelligence is not artificial. Intelligence is human and cannot be copied by a machine. A machine does not invent anything. Reproduces and combines the information that has been introduced in the machine. Lawyers will not be replaced by machines. Machines will help us to be irreplaceable”. After the keynote speech, there was a comprehensive and constructive panel discussion which amongst other issues looked at how the training of lawyers will be affected. We also discussed the issue of bias in AI simply reflecting the bias of whoever does the programming. Clearly this could cause even more diversity issues than at present. In addition, there was an extended discussion on the appropriate professional training for lawyers. Many of the tasks previously carried out by junior lawyers can now be done in a fraction of the time by AI. Everyone agreed that high level legal skills and analysis will be a requirement well in to the future but how do junior lawyers reach that point and earn a living at the same time? It certainly seems unlikely that clients will be happy to pay the high fees required for junior lawyers’ salaries in large firms. The end of the Festivity of Sant Raimon de Penyafort was on Saturday 1 February, and Maria Jose Esteban Ferrer, Professor at Esade presented some of her research. She is from the Ramon Llull Law School University, Senior fellow research at Harvard Law School, practising lawyer and officer of the Academic and Professional Development Committee of the International Bar Association. Maria Jose Esteban Ferrer gave a portrait of the legal profession in the 21st Century, we had a lively discussion on the drivers of change in our profession and the need to adapt to all of them. ■
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The Situation in Poland
he Polish Conservative government of PiS (Law and Justice Party) has been pushing for reforms of the Judiciary since 2018. These reforms, some of which are already active, involve political control over the KRS (body that appoints the Judiciary), sanctions against Judges for engaging in political activities, NGOs and discipline control in cases where Judges do not implement national law that conflicts with the constitution and the EU law without permission from the Constitutional Court (which has been interfered with by the same government). Critics against those reforms highlight the danger that the ruling party will implement its reforms to get rid of politically critical Judges and ease constitutional checks by the court to its future legal reforms. These moves have triggered intense criticism by many institutions and NGOs, such as the European Union and Amnesty International. The European Commission has already launched the disciplinary procedure against Poland, according to Art. 7 of the TFEU, after assessment that reforms violate the rule of law principle. Political unease has increased in Poland, where a protest movement under the name “Konstytucja” (“Constitution”) and opposition parties fiercely oppose the amendments. However, the amendments have already been approved by the polish Parliament, which is controlled by the current PiS government, leaving the Senate as the last resort to repeal them. Under these circumstances, the European Young Bar Association
[EYBA], as an international organisation representing young lawyers and reporting human rights violations across Europe, has taken the initiative to highlight the situation in Poland. Our organisation, apart from raising concern across Europe, through public statements, is aiming to put it forward to the upcoming session of the Council of Europe, under our capacity as participating organisation of the Conference of INGOs. The proposed reforms impose severe threats to the rule of law. Judicial appointments have already become political and their institutional independence is already limited. The whole set of the proposed amendments leads to a permanent situation where the judiciary will be under the absolute control of the government, with the currently ruling party benefiting the ruling party. Moreover, the Polish Constitution and EU Law’s primacy principle over National laws is being reversed by a legally unacceptable procedure. This leads to an unprecedented danger of human rights and an acquis communautaire violation by future legislation passed by the Polish government. For those reasons, the European Young Bar Association has already expressed its solidarity and support to the Polish legal profession & people protesting against the proposed amendments. During the next session of the Council of Europe, a discussion has already been scheduled over the situation in Poland. The EYBA will attend to highlight crucial legal aspects and express once more the need for intervention by the international organisations involved. ■
Council of Europe Committee of EYBA www.EYBA.org
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 15
Jeffrey Forrest (MA eds) T
wo heavyweights of the City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society, Prof Sara Chandler QC (Hon) and Jeffrey Forrest, both past presidents, no less, found time in between their frenetic schedules to sit down with each other and reflect on some of Jeffrey’s memories of legal life. Sara and Jeffrey, both also being longstanding council members of the Law Society of England and Wales, amongst a panoply of inspiring volunteer and charitable positions, discuss protests, pro bono and international connections. Sara Chandler: Did you always want to be a lawyer? Jeffrey Forrest: Yes and no. I certainly don’t remember wanting to be a train driver or an astronaut but I do remember when I was 11 going with my older brother to the Old Bailey with an elderly visiting cousin from Seattle. (I think she was 21). The officer at the door to the public galleries warned her that it was “not suitable for the young’un as he might be corrupted”. I was disappointed but we went to St Paul’s instead and climbed right up to the very top, way above the Whispering Gallery. I don’t know how I got a reputation in my family as a putative lawyer – I’m the first one – but in my early teens people started giving me legal biographies and autobiographies – Marshall Hall, Patrick Hastings and so on. Perhaps they thought the law might suit my argumentative personality. Growing up, there were three London evening papers and just one black and white TV channel and hanging wasn’t finally abolished until 1969. Those papers were full of murder trials and salacious divorce hearings so in those days there was a certain fascination for people in what went on in the courts. That maybe piqued my interest. I’m a keen observer and I am probably a frustrated journalist. I applied to Cambridge to read English and was rejected, not least because I hadn’t passed the required Latin O Level. With a bit of parental steering I applied to London University to read law (“always useful to have a profession”) and was offered a place by LSE and KCL. I chose the former, probably because of its radical reputation. After I graduated I tried to escape my eventual fate and headed west, to America, where I had spent time before university. One of the things I ended up doing was helping to organise the 1969 Daily Mail Air Race between the Post Office Tower in London and the Empire State Building in New York. Through that, on my return I was offered a management trainee job with Associated Newspapers in Blackfriars. I kept bumping into an LSE chum who happened to be articled to the senior partner of a local firm of solicitors. She gave him her hand in marriage and he gave me articles (at £12 a week) and thus my legal career commenced. SC: What were the issues that radicalised the LSE students at the time? Did you join in the student protests? JF: That’s a very long story. At the LSE it actually started in 1966 as an issue of freedom of expression when the Students Union
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president was suspended for writing to the Times about the appointment of Dr Walter Adams as Director of the school but of course it escalated and ended up as part of the Vietnam War opposition and the international events of 1968, the year we were busy studying for our finals. As to my personal involvement, as they say, if you remember the 60s you weren’t there. And I was there. SC: When CWHLS used to organise a Pro Bono Fair on the Common Room of the law Society, you were honoured with the first Pro Bono Award. Where did you do pro bono and what difference did it make? JF: That was actually the 2004 Awards Dinner of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group, now more familiarly known as Law Works, and receiving the Lifetime Award was a bit embarrassing, not only because, as I said then, I hadn’t finished my life (I’m happy to say I still haven’t), but because I know I’ve done so much less than so many others. I think it happened because I had previously spoken up at a seminar to say that pro bono culture should inhabit one’s whole professional career and, indeed, before and after. I started as a student at the LSE, attending advice sessions at Islington Town Hall – then called The Poor Man’s Lawyer. This was just before the first Law Centres. Later, in articles, I participated in advice sessions at the City of London CAB. And in practice, for a significant part of my career I did pro bono work where I felt there was need and no other choice. In some cases I was too busy (read disorganised) to apply for Green Form extensions or to remember to lodge payment applications. And in addition, for some years I was Honorary Legal Adviser at Pimlico CAB. SC: You were President of CWHLS in 2004-5. What did leading the society mean to you? JF: It was of course an honour and I had a very enjoyable year particularly in visiting other local societies in other parts of this country – and beyond. City of Westminster merged with Holborn 20 years ago and both previous societies were quite young compared with some that are hundreds of years old. Do you remember that you and I approached the late Sir Donald Sinden at the reception after the memorial service for Colin Prestige (who was incidentally the first president of the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers)? Sir Donald remarked on the paradox that acting is a collaborative but lonely profession whereas the law is collegiate although (often) adversarial. And that’s it – as the pressures of legal life increase, contact and friendship with our colleagues becomes so valuable. I’ve made so many good friends and obtained so much good advice – not to mention helpful second opinions. SC: You have represented Westminster on Law Society Council since 2005. What have been the issues that affect WHLS members most? JF: Probably for too long! It’s difficult to list the most relevant issues. It sometimes seems like the same issues keep coming around again and again. As we used to say at the pictures “isn’t
this where we came in?” But so much has happened in my time, perhaps principally the separation of regulation. The national Law Society is working hard (as it must) to persuade the profession of its continuing relevance and importance to them and I hope it will succeed. SC: You represent the national Law Society on the Access to Justice Foundation. What does ATJF do and how can WHLS members help? JF: The ATJF has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. It is “owned” by the whole legal profession, i.e., the Judiciary, the Solicitors, the Bar, the Legal Executives and the Advice Agencies. It raises and distributes grants to support advice agencies to provide those needing access to justice. Funds come from generous donors, solicitors’ unclaimed client account money, pro bono costs orders (under s.194 Legal Services Act 2007) and Ministry of Justice grants for Litigants in Person support. WHLS members can help by money donations, by raising sponsorship money on the Legal Walks, by donating dormant client account funds and by ensuring that a pro bono costs order is sought if any pro bono litigation is successfully undertaken. SC: You are the current chair of International sub committee of WHLS. What does the relationship between international bar associations mean for our members? JF: The International subcommittee is one of our most active sub committees. Over the years we have built up formal or informal relationships with Berlin, Barcelona, Bilbao, Bogotá, Milan, Krakow and Klug. WHLS is an active member of the FBE, the Federation of European Bars, of which you had the distinction of being the first female President in 2017. As the UK departs the European Union our links with other jurisdictions will become increasingly important and WHLS will do its part in upholding the Rule of Law and, one hopes, helping its member to get commercial benefit from the links we have forged. ■
Prof Sara Chandler QC (Hon), WHLS
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CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 17
Movers & Shakers
New firm: Sinclair Gibson O
n the 1st July 2019, Sinclair Gibson was launched by partners Keith Bruce-Smith, Lucy Gibson, Alison Meek, Kathryn Peat, Henry Hickman, Eleanor Walsh and Annabel Staples. Several of these partners had long served together at Harcus Sinclair, a firm with a successful private client practice established in 2002 and had accordingly built strong reputations while doing so. So where did the motivation for a new firm come from?
of the firm’s practitioners having competence and experience across two or more practice areas. The nature of Sinclair Gibson, and the size of our teams, is such that there is an agility which enables us to obtain opinions and advice from other departments within the firm at short notice which is invaluable and allows us to keep the private client’s needs, which are at the heart of our practice, at the forefront of our minds.
Firstly, we considered that the time was right for a rebrand. The senior partners of Sinclair Gibson are, very clearly, Keith BruceSmith (the Sinclair is his mother’s maiden name) and Lucy Gibson and it was felt that this should be recognised by placing their names on the door! The name change provided the starting point for the firm’s launch, which has included a new website www.sinclairgibson.com, while simultaneously acknowledging the stellar reputations each of the individual partners have cultivated over the years, allowing a name change with minimal disruption to the business: our partners are our reputation.
Led by Keith Bruce-Smith and Lucy Gibson, and supported by Eleanor Walsh and a team of qualified solicitors, our private client department combines deep expertise in advising UK-based families and landed estates on wealth structuring and devolution planning with a specialist practice in advising international clients on multi-jurisdictional matters, including cross-border estates.
Secondly, Sinclair Gibson is licensed as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) rather than as a traditional law firm. This is, in part, to allow the appointment of non-solicitor partners but also to offer flexibility for the future. The legal industry has changed significantly since 2002: technology plays a far larger part in the day to day activities of law firms and compliance regulations have become more and more stringent resulting in the requirements for a different set of skills to enable the smooth running of a successful law firm. Against a background where technological advances and regulatory requirements have become more prevalent and finances and strategy play an integral part, many small to medium firms outsource much of their back office work to specialists to minimise workload and to ensure compliance across the board. However, at Sinclair Gibson the decision has been made to bring these skills in house to ensure that the firm’s objectives are fully understood as well as to encourage a culture of compliance within. It is therefore important that there is a structure in place whereby the skills of senior members of staff which lie in areas other than law, such as finance and compliance, can be recognised, with the ultimate reward being a partnership appointment. Finally, the time that Harcus Sinclair had been trading had naturally resulted in some evolution in terms of practice areas and there was a desire to return to the ethos of old. As such, Sinclair Gibson concentrates on the core work that the founding partners have always enjoyed and valued and continues a move away from the expansionist business model reliant on compartmentalisation, juniors and precedent-led work increasingly prevalent in the market. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide innovative bespoke advice tailored to the individual through our three complementary areas of Private Client, Family and Private Client Litigation law. The firm’s model utilises partner-led teams, though individual solicitors are encouraged to work independently and build close and personalised relationships with clients, with many
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The family department, which is led by Kathryn Peat, advises on all aspects of family law, from legal issues arising from the breakdown of a marriage and other relationships to pre and post nuptial agreements. The team places a particular emphasis on advising high net worth clients on complex financial remedy claims and is also well regarded for its work in private children matters. The vastly experienced Alison Meek heads up Sinclair Gibson’s internationally well-regarded litigation practice, along with Henry Hickman. The firm’s dispute resolution practice is primarily focussed on litigation about trusts, probate and succession matters including for individuals, family offices, protectors and trustees on general contentious issues such as professional negligence. There are additional specialisms in Court of Protection and Privy Council agency work. Overall, the breadth of expertise within the firm and the experience of our practitioners ensure that clients benefit from high quality and robust advice, rooted in independent and intelligent thinking as well as extensive experience. ■
Partner, Sinclair Gibson
JLD – Junior Lawyers Division
EBL Miller Rosenfalck boosts its employment and immigration teams with the appointment of new Legal Director Helen Murphie EBL Miller Rosenfalck is pleased to announce the appointment of Helen Murphie as a Legal Director in the employment and business immigration team. Helen will head the firm’s business immigration team.
elen was formerly a partner in Royds Withy King and has more than 16 years’ experience in employment and business immigration law. Described in the Legal 500 as “highly professional” and “an impressive and tenacious advisor.” Helen has a particular interest in whistleblowing, discrimination and knotty unfair dismissal cases. She also has a penchant for nerdy and complicated TUPE and contract issues, including restrictive covenants. Helen advises on all aspects of business immigration law, helping employers to bring over the best international talent to the UK and assisting professional and high net worth individuals with their personal and family immigration issues. Helen’s clients include household names, entrepreneurs and professional and high net worth employees. Helen Murphie says: “I am delighted to be joining EBL Miller Rosenfalck, and to be leading the immigration team, at this pivotal point in history. This specialist firm of international and European lawyers share my own values in ensuring that clients come first and that they are given the best possible quality of service and care. The breadth of international expertise and linguistic abilities of the team are outstanding but what makes the firm really unique is its dedicated country specific service to its clients, and the international client focused culture of the firm. I look forward to introducing my client’s and valued contacts to the highly talented team and to sharing more of our new professional services, and exciting plans, over the next few months.” Emmanuelle Ries, Managing Partner, says: “We are very excited to welcome Helen Murphie to the EBL Miller Rosenfalck team as we continue to grow and develop new professional services. She is an impressive and highly experienced employment lawyer and she has considerable experience in all aspects of immigration law. Helen will lead our immigration team – focusing on business immigration, and helping to ensure that international clients have access to talent – and also providing expert advice to individual international clients and their families, and to investors and entrepreneurs.” ■
Social Housing & Working in Legal Aid I
t seems that there are increasingly less housing solicitors in practice that can advise on matters such as homelessness, possession, disrepair and social housing geared judicial reviews, for legally aided clients. London based firms that were once able to provide housing advice through legal aid have sadly been forced to move on to pastures new as they struggle with the financial realities of maintaining a publically funded practice. For those unfamiliar to this area of law, set out below are a few of the problems, which most housing practitioners will have to grapple with on a daily basis. Sorry, Your Matter Is Not In Scope For Legal Aid Is the legal problem in scope? The answer is, most likely not. Following the cuts made by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) numerous areas of advice, such as challenging housing benefit assessments, early intervention with housing debts/rent arrears and advice on the allocation of permanent social housing have either been cut back drastically or rendered out of scope. This leaves practitioners from deciding whether to refer a vulnerable client to a law centre or to act pro bono alongside a mammoth caseload and stay on top of the overheads of running their practice. Due to these cuts, housing solicitors nowadays can realistically only intervene where a client is at imminent risk of losing their home rather than intervening much earlier and avoid clients reaching a crisis point. Sorry, Your Funding Has Not Yet Been Granted Housing lawyers will inevitably be using the Legal Aid Agency’s CCMS online portal to make applications for legal aid and if successful, secure a funding certificate with a fixed allocated amount and limit as to what steps of the work are permitted. Each time a practitioner requires further funds or approval to carry out further steps, practitioners can be expected to wait a number of weeks prior to getting the metaphorical green light. Naturally, where one does receive the green light the day before trial, a mixed feeling of relief and frustration can be experienced! It’s Not All Gloom Despite the cuts to the system and the difficulty in being at the Legal Aid Agency’s beckoning awaiting funds, it goes without saying that the cost protection offered under legal aid allows housing lawyers to lawyers to challenge injustices, make a tangible difference to people’s everyday lives and change the shape of the law. ■
Trainee Solicitor, Hodge Jones & Allen
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 19
Succession Planning Starts Now Future proofing is an inexact science but one thing I think we can all agree on is that owning a small law practice is unlikely to get any easier during the next 5 years. With this in mind, we must review our strategies with the end in mind and make sure we either build a firm that is sustainable by creating internal succession or work toward making sure the firm is well-placed to be an attractive purchase opportunity for a suited external buyer. I have witnessed some poor decision making with exit planning and there are relatively simple steps that can be taken to prepare much better. These are the three most common errors that can all be mitigated. 1. Failing to plan far enough in advance Deal with succession long before you wish to retire. Identify the need to recruit seniority sooner so you have time and opportunity to source the right people to share the journey with you, ideally people unlikely to want to end the journey at the same point in time as you and others. 2. Unrealistic financial expectations Whether you are aiming to sell your entire firm or just to open up the equity to another person or persons, there needs to be a fair and realistic valuation undertaken. This must be done by someone who understands the legal sector deeply because a generalist accountant who looks after manufacturers, retailers and other businesses alongside yours is unlikely to have the insight to reach a number that will make a sale possible. 3. Talking only to people already known to the owners When a firm approaches Ortus Group unsolicited, the most common reason is urgency to find a solution because a previous attempt has been made to do a deal with a known entity. Without a skilled third-party driving discussions, it can often take six months to reach the full financial disclosure stage. When the parties are known to each other, a third-party is even
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more essential because people with longstanding professional relationships can be too polite to say what they really think to a peer they may have known for 30 years. Summary Most partners wishing to retire now or in the near future will have become owners in a very different professional climate and would probably never imagined how hard it would be to sell the business to an internal candidate. This shortage of successors is anathema to a profession that for decades, worked on the idea that junior staff would come through the firm and ultimately take over from the owners. The market has a habit of finding a path of least resistance and many people find themselves being swept along with it. While there is little we can do to influence external pressures as they are imposed and tweaked by politicians and others with an agenda differing to the majority of owners in the legal sector, we can only seek to predict and protect ourselves from the negative consequences that may arise as a result. Those who do not seek to address these issues often find themselves exposed to further risk so make sure you seek good counsel in good time. â–
Colin White Managing Director, Ortus Group
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20 CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER
Founder Member, Arthur Weir, shares the secrets of five decades of success 57 years after Holborn Law Society was founded (in 1962), I met with our original founder member, Arthur Weir, to discuss the Society’s successes over the decades. Now aged 86, Arthur is a past president of the Society, retired Deputy Chancery Master and charity trustee, who only put down his pen as Chair of the Law Reform Committee at the end of 2019. His reputation as one of the Society’s most outstanding members preceded him and it was clear from early in our conversation that the success of the Society and the legal profession depends on us all being a bit more like Arthur Weir.
t was fascinating to hear first-hand from Arthur about the metamorphosis of the Society; how Holborn Law Society and The City of Westminster Law Society were originally conceived together, although kept separate as there were too many members for one society. However, some large member firms relocated to the City of London and the administrative burden of running two societies increased, so the societies, whose aims had always been aligned, merged back together; and they have remained so ever since. The Law Reform Committee Some of the Society’s best work can be viewed through the eyes of the Law Reform Committee. Arthur recounted numerous instances of family cases involving child kidnapping by a parent and where the police refused to become involved; leaving him, his investigative skills and the court tipstaff (with their powers of arrest) to locate the missing child. Following its inception, he was asked by then president, Simon Mosley, to join the Law Reform Committee and he quickly had to draw on these experiences when the Committee dealt with a proposal for new legislation to assist with child abduction. In fact, such was their expertise that in 1972 the Lord Chancellor (Quintin Hogg, 2nd Viscount Hailsham) invited the Committee to meet to discuss the proposals. The Law Reform Committee is indeed one of the most revered groups of its kind; renowned for providing detailed consultation responses on a variety of matters. A personal favourite of Arthur’s was the Capital and Income in Trusts report, where the Society’s arguments against a rule-based approach to the classification of corporate receipts by trustees received two pages of consideration in the final 2009 Law Commission response. Flagship events and another encounter with Viscount Hailsham The Society has always hosted several flagship annual events and a highlight was always the President’s Dinner. For Arthur, the best and one most full of laughter was the President’s Dinner in 1973, attended by the usual array of law lords, high court judges, the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chancellor. At the dinner, the then president, Alfred Goldman, entertained the Lord Chancellor (Quintin Hogg, 2nd Viscount Hailsham) with an entry from the diary of the president’s father – recalling a chance meeting with Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham, where he had promised to send his son (the now Lord Chancellor), a new member to the bar at the time, a brief!
The ongoing changes Arthur observed countless changes in the Society and its members over the past five decades, a few of which he summarised as: 1. the increasing work demands on lawyers, leaving little if any time for matters of professional interest – this is why the work of the Society providing social and educational events in close proximity to members is vital; 2. a changing concept of professional loyalty; historically lawyers had a stronger loyalty to their firms and the profession than today where moving is more frequent and made easier. We are seeing a significant increase in colleagues working inhouse and the Society now provides a legal community for those counsel where that network might be absent in their place of work. Many members also report that they moved jobs or met new clients and intermediaries through the Society; and 3. the growing size of firms means that most are large enough to run lectures and events for their staff that were previously the preserve of local societies. As a result, the Society is constantly adapting to provide benefits outside of those provided by law firms – introductions to intermediaries; knowledge sharing discussions with counterparts at other firms; and marketing through awards and the magazine. In a consumer-driven world Arthur noted that the temptation is to sell the Society as what it (and the legal profession) can do for its lawyers; however he believes that the Society has always been successful because its members pride themselves on considering what they can offer the profession (and society) and working on the Committees accordingly. The key is cooperation and that is why the Society is thriving, because it brings together people with a passion for creating a community and pooling the skills of the profession to make a difference. As a past president, I asked Arthur for his advice to continue the success of the Society and he was resolute in his answer – to continue to reflect on how the profession looks and ensure that the Society relates to it. So it seemed fitting that as the current president, I interviewed him whilst holding my five month old baby daughter, discussing our celebrations to mark the centenary of the admission of female solicitors to the roll and the Society’s growing number of Committees and events to satisfy the interests of all members, including the new Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee launched this year. ■
Immediate Past President, WHLS
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 21
A cautionary tale about reporting to the SRA A few weeks ago I received a panicked phone call from a solicitor’s firm. “We need your help. We have a problem,” said the Head of Compliance. “We think one of our senior solicitors has done something really daft,” she continued, suddenly becoming uncharacteristically sheepish. “Oh? In what way?” I replied, in my best attempt to elicit information through open questioning. “Well…you’ll never believe this…it’s completely out of character, mind you…I don’t know what came over him really…” Intriguing. “He’s sent a witnessed document to the other side, which he simply can’t have executed properly because we – and the other side – know that the client is overseas at the moment. So they are suggesting that it has been falsely witnessed.” Dramatic pause. “What do we do?” All this happened before the introduction of the SRA Standards and Regulations on 25 November 2019. Had the same happened now, the outcome might have been very different. On the face of it, and without knowing the full facts, sending out a misleading document that purported to be witnessed could be an act of dishonesty. Dishonesty, if picked up by the regulators, will be taken very seriously as a breach of the SRA Principles and is more likely than not to result in a strike-off at the SDT. The firm has a duty to report serious breaches to the SRA. However, as we all know, context is all. Facts matter. And to form a sensible conclusion about a person’s behaviour and whether something serious enough to report has in fact happened, one needs to conduct at least some investigation. This is where the new reporting duties may cause some problems. For the first
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time, solicitors are required to “report promptly…any facts or matters that you reasonably believe are capable of amounting to a serious breach…” (Para 7.7 of the Code of Conduct for Solicitors). The words “promptly” and “capable of” are important here. They suggest that we should be making reports to the regulator before we have concluded our investigations. The rules go on to say that we must “inform the SRA promptly of any facts or matters that you reasonably believe should be brought to its attention in order that it may investigate…” (Para 7.8 of the Code of Conduct for Solicitors). “Should” is subjective, but clearly any suggestion of potential dishonesty is going to be caught. Which means that the guilty party in our scenario would have, almost certainly, been reported by his firm, and thereafter subjected to a lengthy (and potentially costly) SRA investigation. As it turns out, a fairly swift investigation showed that there was a completely innocent explanation. There was perhaps an element of recklessness and human error, but no intention to deceive. The other side accepted the explanation, and no harm was done. Under the new rules, withholding a prompt pre-investigation report to the SRA would be much harder to defend. ■
Jonathon Bray Director
Jonathon Bray supports COLPs, COFAs and ABSs in risk and compliance.
What does the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) mean for solicitors? In case you didn’t already know, 5MLD is due to come into effect on 10 January 2020. 5MLD will amend and strengthen the current Money Laundering Regulations (MLRs). There is a danger that many firms will have overlooked 5MLD because their attention has been taken up by the implementation of the new SRA Standards and Regulations. All firms – and individual solicitors, thanks to the new SRA rules – have a professional duty to comply with the AML regime if it applies to them. Most SRA-regulated law firms (around 7,000) are already caught by the current MLRs. Having been disappointed by the profession’s apparent relaxed approach to AML, the SRA has set up an internal task force to target compliance with the MLRs. Statutory compliance with 5LD is not to be confused with the new SRA requirement to identify your client (Rule 8.1 of the Code of Conduct for Solicitors). That is a separate rule that applies to all work, regardless of whether it falls into the scope of the MLRs. It is an absolute minimum that all solicitors now have to follow. (Yes, even litigators.) 5MLD is not as big a leap as the last overhaul in 2017. Here are the changes that will be most relevant to solicitors: 1. Expanding the requirement to conduct customer due diligence (CDD) on clients already known to you (e.g. when the client’s details change), and on companies and trusts (including proof of registration on mandatory beneficial ownership registers – the ‘PSC’ register at Companies House). 2. Additional due diligence requirements when dealing with high risk jurisdictions – including what is known as ‘super-enhanced due diligence’. 3. Reliable electronic verification systems are explicitly permitted to be used in CDD. 4. More certainty over PEPs – the government is required to give us information about the PEPworthy roles and positions. 5. Increasing transparency in beneficial ownership through expansion of the registration requirements for companies and trusts, and the availability for their inspection. This will include an obligation on solicitors to notify Companies House of any discrepancies between the official ‘PSC’ register and the information held by you. But won’t Brexit mean that the EU’s AML regime becomes irrelevant? Unlikely. We now know that 5MLD will be in force before the UK leaves the EU. Looking to the future, it is hard to envisage a scenario where the UK government does not at least keep in step with the EU’s rules on AML. In fact, the Sixth Money Laundering Directive (6MLD) is due to be implemented at the end of 2020. ■
Interest on Client Money. Another new rule? I
n recent years we have seen the rules regarding interest on client money change several times. In the early 2000’s a firm was required to account to the client for any interest accrued over £20.00. Then in 2008 and after the recession hit, it appeared that the SRA understood that reaching a £20.00 mark for interest was unlikely and stated that the £20.00 rule was no longer in effect but the firm had to have a strict policy which accounted for client interest. We’re now in 2020 and the new SRA Accounts Rules are fully in place, with a much-reduced document overall. The rule as it stands today is shown below: Rule 7: Payment of interest 7. You account to clients or third parties for a fair sum of interest on any client money held by you on their behalf. 8. You may by a written agreement come to a different arrangement with the client or the third party for whom the money is held as to the payment of interest, but you must provide sufficient information to enable them to give informed consent. This is a departure from the policy rule and a significant departure from the £20.00 rule from the early 2000’s. It is still up to the firm to decide what is a “fair” sum of interest but there is no longer a need for a strict, separate written policy surrounding client interest alone. Whilst this seems a lot easier, it is always recommended that a firm have some documentation which covers Rule 7. This ensures clients have been treated fairly and understand fully the position with the firm. Having the firm’s default position in the standard terms and conditions is a good place to start, ensuring that from the outset the client understands whether the firm pays interest, and if so, how much. It is worth bearing in mind
that under this rule, the firm does not have to pay any interest, providing there is an explanation as to why. Reference to the current financial climate is a “fair” reason as to why it will not be paid on standard matters. If there is a specific matter involving significant sums of money, then bespoke terms and conditions should be drawn and sent to the client at the beginning of the case. This demonstrates transparency over interest on client money from the outset. This documentation gives the client the opportunity to contact the firm if they are unhappy with the interest arrangements, opening discussion before the case starts if necessary. Like many of the new rules, on the face of it, it appears that everything is simpler. I would counter this interpretation by saying rather than “simpler” it’s more that the SRA is giving firms more responsibility to come up with their own approach and determination about what is “fair”. This does not necessarily mean that the firm should be any less vigilant. Good documentation and transparency with clients are essential from the outset. Utilising documents such as the standard T&C’s to accommodate interest policies is a great way to streamline rules like this one. I always recommend reading further into the new rules rather than take them at “face-value”. Whilst the SRA have simplified the rules, it does not mean that the firm should be any less vigilant on the implementation of them. Erring on the side of caution is usually the safest course of action. Being able to demonstrate that the firm complies with the simplified rules via its own policies is essential. ■
New Business Manager, The Law Factory LLP
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 23
Lessons learnt by our PII Brokers & Client Managers in 2019
t’s no secret that the market has hardened, capacity is not what it used to be, and firms are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain competitive quotations. With this in mind, we thought we would share some of the key points that we learnt in 2019 in relation to the application process of your Professional Indemnity Insurance. 1. Complete your Proposal Form in good time. We suggest getting started 4 – 6 weeks in advance of your renewal date in order to give yourself the best chance at multiple options. As the year goes on capacity dwindles and Insurers are not as hungry to write new business. This can often result in increased premiums and lack of Insurer options. 2. Choose your Broker wisely. You do not want to be limited to only one or two Insurers so it is key that you ask who they have access to, who they intend to approach and whether the Insurers they seek to obtain a quotation from are ‘A’ rated. 3. Work closely with your Broker, being open and honest about your firm and the work you undertake. An experienced Broker will work closely with you throughout the process, will understand the risk and know how to present it with clarity to an Insurer. This will ultimately result in less questions and confusion, making it a straightforward application. Poorly presented, it could lead to delays, subjectivities and even a decline. If this happens it is never easy to get the Insurer to review your application again. 4. Do not approach too many Brokers, especially if they have access to the same markets. This will mean insurers are viewing your proposal form on numerous occasions from
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various sources, which may result in them not taking the risk seriously enough. if this happens, Insurers are not likely to prioritise your application. At Hera Indemnity we have the widest access to insurers therefore limiting the number of Brokers you would need to approach. 5. Provide as much information as you possibly can. Insurers will typically ask for the following as standard; • Accounts for the last completed financial year, which matches the stated turnover within your Proposal. We often see conflicting Proposal Forms and Audited Accounts, this is sometimes due to declaring profit instead of turnover in error! • Claim summaries no older than three months, covering the last six years • Any procedures or cyber insurance policies in place to mitigate cyber risk • For new firms, C.V.’s of key personnel, Cash Flow Forecast and a Business Plan 6. Highlight any material changes from previous years, give detailed explanations on any major claims and what remedial action has been undertaken to prevent a repeat of this claim. 7. Close-off any notifications on the claim summaries which are sometimes left open unnecessarily. 8. Check the policy wording to ensure you are aware of any exclusions and exactly what your policy will provide cover for. ■
Head of Marketing, Hera Indemnity
How might financial advisers assist solicitors with the SRA’s Technology focus T
here is no doubt that solicitors are more aware of the need to be referring clients to highly qualified financial planners. Legal advice often goes hand in hand with financial planning advice and customers are increasingly expecting more holistic advice and a joined-up approach to problem solving. The new SRA Standards and Regulation encourage solicitors to demonstrate why they believe a referral to a third party to be in that client’s best interests and as a very minimum, they should be recording that they have recommended that the client needs to seek complimentary financial advice. In the past, such client referrals to financial planners have frequently been haphazard. They have perhaps taken the form of e-mail, letter, phone call or even the dreaded, proffering of a few business cards. These practices, whilst common place, in the old world are not ideal in the new regime which requires established firm-wide processes, as outlined in the Firm’s Code of Conduct. Where there is a financial interest, or if the solicitor practice is referring to a ‘Separate’ business, (financially connected,) the SRA insist that the client’s consent be documented. However,
Your search for the right financial planning partner starts here.
Visit sifa-directory.info for more information.
given GDPR covering the transfer of client data and indeed where clients may be deemed vulnerable, best practice would be that the solicitor has recorded the client’s approval, even when the referral is being made to an unconnected third party. A month before the new rules were implemented in November 2019, the SRA published its Corporate Strategy document and resulting consultation for 2020-23 and it was no surprise, given their increased onus on regulatory systems and structured process that ‘Technology’ has been confirmed a major theme. The regulator is keen their firms embrace and use technology to reinforce their processes and in turn improve client service and outcomes. Now that we are firmly in the new year, the management of solicitor practices and the COLP, will have established their referral processes and selected appropriate partners having undertaken thorough due diligence. These will have been communicated to all partners, associates, fee earners or indeed anyone in the business who may need to refer clients outside the business. Now that the SRA is looking to how the profession might embrace new technology, it is fortuitous that there are superb and extremely secure systems and portals that can not only assist solicitors to make compliant introductions to financial planning partners, or other selected third parties but also to allow private communication between the two professionals or firms. Such systems can be personalised for the relationship to incorporate referral templates, client consent letters and other pertinent documents. There can therefore be a built-in audit trail for the solicitor firm to use, when they receive the signed client consent letters. Indeed, all client introductions, letters and client notes can be stored in one place. A place, which can be accessed online with a secure username and password. The fabulous news for solicitors is that financial planning firms they work with may have access to the technology, be paying for it and then able to offer access to the legal firms they work with at no charge. Now therefore, seems an opportune time, having recently decided which third parties are in your firm’s approved referral processes, to consider how to record such referrals professionally and how to keep ongoing channels of communication open, two way and secure. This is not the place to recommend one system over another and you may even have a system you currently use that can be adapted to create your own audit trail. However, as I said previously, good quality financial planning partners might well have the technology already and be able to share that with the solicitors they work with. ■
Managing Director of SIFA Professional
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 25
Achieve your 2020 vision with dedicated legal accounts software As 2020 is the start of a new decade, it’s an apt time to map out your professional objectives for the years ahead. Have you crystalised your 2020 vision? Is IT an essential component in your strategic plan? Your firm’s success may depend upon it. Embracing the power of technology reaps myriad benefits and IT is the best future proofing you can invest in.
f 2020 is the year in which your digital evolution takes place, don’t search high and low for multiple solutions. Your quest begins and ends with Quill. We’ll show why you should choose our dedicated legal accounts software (and more!) to achieve your 2020 goals… Imagine software that verifies your clients’ identity in real time as part of the inception process. The 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive brings more onerous responsibilities relating to money laundering. Online identification checking is preferable to paper-based verification. Online checking is reliable, secure and quick whereas manual checking is open to fraudulent activity and time intensive. Interactive, our practice management software solution, already does this. With AML and credit screens as part of the client inception workflow, undertake due diligence to help ensure your clients’ identities are legitimate and they have appropriate funds without having to re-type pertinent details. Imagine software that validates bank accounts and sort codes of payees for every transaction. Getting the right money to the right client, opposition, counsel or supplier is fraught with risk. Bearing in mind too that the revised SRA Accounts Rules still make protection of monies the major regulatory priority, keeping in and transferring finances to the right place is absolutely vital. Interactive already does this. Tight integration from the e-chit created by your fee earner through to your online banking software means every account number and sort code are verified in real time using a banking industry modulus check. This financial data is encrypted within the database and made available to leading internet banking applications without the need to rekey data; all part-and-parcel of our MoneyChain feature. Imagine software that notifies you money’s been received into your client account through on-screen alerts. Plus, having the ability to transmit payment files to your internet banking system. Strengthened monetary security and streamlined financial management via these two features assists even further in meeting your SRA obligations and improving your cashiering team’s efficiency respectively. Interactive already does this. Optional functionality within MoneyChain affords greater transparency, closer safeguarding and simplified transactions. Imagine software that’s compatible with Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT. HMRC’s MTD for VAT scheme was devised to eliminate paper processes by moving to digital VAT record keeping and returns. Compatibility means you’re able to log and exchange data electronically with HMRC. Interactive already does this. Having been through HMRC’s recognition process, Interactive’s legal accounting features allow you to submit VAT returns directly in accordance with MTD.
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Imagine software that permits time recording from your phone. With your practice management system on your smartphone, you can realise your remote working ambitions and boost earning potential by recording time on the go. You have all the same reassurances about cybersecurity as logins match those used for your desktop application. Interactive already does this. Besides stopwatches on our smartphone app, you have anywhere, anytime access to see client and matter information, add new clients and matters, authorise e-chits and view recent documents. Imagine software that presents your key performance indicators populated with up-to-date data. Monitoring actual against forecasted performance is a major challenge, yet it’s a must for business growth. Interactive already does this. A personalised dashboard displays summary listings, quick stats and charts with drilldown to in-depth detail. With pre-defined reports and bespoke reporting options, really get to grips with progress and optimise development opportunities. Imagine software that’s supported by an all-encompassing portfolio of outsourcing services. Imagine outsourced cashiering that enables you to offload your bookkeeping function to a specialist team of cashiers thereby leaving you free to focus on business-critical priorities. Imagine third-party managed accounts assistance for SRA-compliant money management which gives you extended choice and reduced regulatory risk. Imagine outsourced payroll that handles your salaries, payslips, pension and paperwork according to latest guidelines. Imagine outsourced typing that empowers dictation from a smartphone app and receipt of expertly typedup documents by speedy return direct to your document management system. Yup, you guessed it, Quill already does this. In this milestone year, ditch the old and welcome in the new. If there’s one resolution you make, select Quill as your technology partner. Our software, with raft of bolt-on extras, is exactly what you need to accomplish digital (and back office) transformation in 2020 and beyond. ■
Managing Director, Quill Pinpoint Julian Bryan joined Quill as Managing Director in 2012 and was also the Chair of the Legal Software Suppliers Association from 2016 to 2019. Quill has been a leading provider of legal accounting and case management software, and the UK’s largest supplier of outsourced legal cashiering services to the legal profession for over 40 years.
Cheaper lease extensions for homeowners?
he Law Commission has recently published its proposals outlining a number of ideas of improving the system for acquiring lease extensions and purchase of freeholds. Their proposals cut the overall cost for leaseholders as well as simplify the two processes. This is part of the government’s push to reform leasehold due to flat and house owners being unable to sell or remortgage their homes because of onerous lease clauses. Marriage value and a similar premium called hope value are being proposed for removal. These are currently added to leaseholders’ costs because of the potential gain they could obtain from purchasing their freehold. For example, the removal for the need to pay ground rent or an increase in property value when a leaseholder comes to sell. According to the Law Commission, these proposals could wipe around £6,000 from the cost of purchasing a freehold. It gave the example of a £250,000 property, with a 76-year lease, paying ground rent of £50 a year, rising to £200. Under current legislation, the purchase of the freehold would cost the homeowner around £16,453. The first option which is eliminating marriage or hope value could bring the cost down to £9,155.
The second option which is replacing marriage value with hope value could bring the cost down to £10,615. There is a third option which is to maintain the current method for valuing freeholds but tweak some of the calculations. These calculations would be prescribed which in turn, provides more certainty for leaseholders. The Law Commission report also provides details of other options called ‘sub-options’ which merge in some other ideas with the 3 main suggestions. One of these, is the development and use of a prescribed calculator for lower value or straightforward claims. This would make it more “user friendly” for leaseholders and give them more of an accurate idea of the upfront costs for an enfranchisement. The report gives government lots of options to consider and where to strike a balance on the redistribution of wealth and power in the leasehold sector. The proposals have already been criticised as not being radical enough which is not unsurprising. The Law Commission have commented that any change too radical would be open to challenge under the Human Rights legislation. ■
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Bringing together all your commercial requirements
Conveyancing can be complex and even more so when looking at commercial transactions. Thames Water Property Searches endeavour to make this process as seamless as possible, whether it’s: • Acquisitions • Commercial leases, or • Development We aim to keep you informed along the way, assisting you in solving the problems as they may appear.
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Conveyancing in 2030
– looking to an electronic future As we enter a new decade, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) is looking to the future. Conveyancing 2030: A Discussion Paper, draws on discussions we have had with conveyancers, software developers, mortgage lenders, academics, entrepreneurs, HM Land Registry, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and consumer groups. The CLC has looked towards a world that is far enough away to be hard to predict in detail, but close enough in time to know that we need to start making preparations soon. Conveyancing 2030 predicts the role of the conveyancer is undoubtedly going to change as much of the administrative side of the role becomes automated over the coming years. I think many lawyers will be heartened by the prediction that there will be a greater focus on advisory work as the market changes and that it can be used to create a point of differentiation. Conveyancers will bank both time and cost savings, to be reinvested in improving the quality of service, upgrading technology and ensuring cyber security. The paper sees property lawyers focusing on advisory work where the quality of service – as rated by external comparison or feedback websites – will be decisive in where instructions go. It finds that “as the role changes, property lawyers will need to invest in training and skills acquisition for themselves and their staff. Soft skills such as communication skills, listening skills, and empathy will become ever more important as the ability to build relationships becomes even more central.” “Technology will radically improve transparency for consumers about what they are buying and the progress of their transaction. Because of the Internet of Things, properties will maintain up-todate logbooks with little human intervention,” it says. Upfront information about a property at the point of marketing – rather than waiting until later in the process for it – will be key to this. The paper traces how the conveyancing process has and will continue to change, and highlights a range of questions that everyone involved – regulators, lawyers, estate agents, lenders, technologists and others – will have to grapple with to ensure that consumers benefit from it. While the paper does not try to provide answers to all of the issues identified, it seeks to highlight areas the CLC believes will need consideration by regulators, those in conveyancing and the wider stakeholders who will affect and influence how conveyancing will develop.
will need to evolve to survive, and the extent to which regulators might need to regulate technology in addition to lawyers. Conveyancing 2030 stresses how central data will become, delivering a ‘single source of truth’ on a property. But what needs to change to ensure all parties can trust the data? Who will validate the information and who becomes responsible if that data is incorrect or something goes wrong? While we can predict certain shifts in the market with confidence – in particular the inevitable move to electronic conveyancing – how they play out over the next decade remains uncertain. With so much work going on to improve and reform the process, we think now is the right time to take a wider view on what this all means in the long term and how we can ensure that the home buying and selling process works best for consumers, service providers and ultimately the UK economy. We do not claim to have all the answers but with change coming it is vital that we as a regulator and the community we regulate are thinking about how we make sure we are ready for what future developments may bring. I hope this report will fuel a discussion across the property industry and that conveyancers themselves will grasp the opportunity to shape their future. The discussion paper explores six areas for future developments and readers are encouraged to join in developing the thinking and contribute to shaping what conveyancing may look like in 2030. This is the beginning of a discussion and we hope that all conveyancers will want to be part of it. You can find the discussion paper on our website at https://bit. ly/2O7Oum6 and you can have your say by emailing Conveyancing2030@clc-uk.org or completing an online form at https://bit.ly/2S23x21 ■
Dame Janet Paraskeva
Chair, Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
Key questions for the industry include whether Government should mandate the move to electronic conveyancing, rather than wait for incremental change, whether the law firm model
CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER 29
Premium Plus Planning Environmental | Flood | Ground Stability | Energy & Infrastructure | Planning
Grid Reference: E: 123456 | N: 123456
Professional Opinion 1.ENVIRONMENTAL
No further recommendations
Consideration(s): 2.03 Specialist Advice 2.06 Check Flood History
Consideration(s): 3.15 Consult Surveyor
4.ENERGY & INFRASTRUCTURE
No further recommendations
Next Step(s): Applications Identified Telecom Application(s)
Air Quality Index: Some Polluted Areas (See 1.25) This page should always be read in conjunction with the full report. The Professional Opinion indicates the potential risks and any other potential issues associated with the property. The results should be disclosed to client and/or lender and/or insurer as appropriate. A ‘Pass’ is given if no potential property specific risk has been identified. A ‘Pass with Considerations’ is given where there are potential hazards in the locality to bear in mind, or if there are features nearby which some clients might consider could affect them. A ‘Further Action’ is given if there is a potential property specific risk and a further action is advised. In the event of a request to review the Professional Opinion based on additional information, or if there are any technical queries, the professional advisor who ordered the report should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 01732 755 180.
Regulated by RICS If you require assistance, please contact your Search Provider or alternatively contact FCI directly with your Report ID. Tel: 01732 755 180 | Email: email@example.com | Web: www.futureclimateinfo.com
Planning Report Details
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Air Quality Index: Now available in FCI Premium searches 7
see section 1.03
see section 1.04
Extensions and New Builds
within 100 metres
within 750 metres
Change of Use
within 100 metres
Lawful Development Certificates
within 100 metres
within 250 metres
within 100 metres
within 250 metres
0 0 1 2
Regulated by RICS If you require assistance, please contact your Search Provider or alternatively contact FCI directly with your Report ID. Tel: 01732 755 180 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Web: www.futureclimateinfo.com
see section 1.07
see section 1.08
see section 1.09
Charlton: Neighbours’ Fury at 330-home Tower Development Image courtesy of The Charlton Champion
it was deemed out of scale and keeping with the surrounding houses. Concerned residents challenged Greenwich Council on why they had applied different rules barely 100 yards away. The two 10-storey blocks, one 9-storey block and three 8-storey blocks would all have visual impact, while residents of Gurdon Road said that the incline of the hill would mean that properties would be overshadowed by a three-storey block.
Greenwich Council faced a major public outcry when they backed plans to build 330 new homes on the site of a former warehouse on Victoria Way in Charlton, South East London. Tim Champney, Managing Director of Future Climate Info, explains how new transport links are encouraging more large scale new build development into traditional residential streets unchanged for years. Surprisingly close to Canary Wharf and with fast transport links to central London and Crossrail nearby, Charlton’s quality period properties are two thirds the price of those in next-door Greenwich and Blackheath. Over the next 25 years up to 5,000 new homes, along with new shops and restaurants, schools, a riverbus pier and a “creative quarter”, are to be built on a 275-acre swathe of industrial land overlooking the Thames Barrier. This site was not part of the Charlton Riverside master plan and places new build apartment blocks right up against highly regarded Edwardian property. “Overbearing” Plans The Fairview New Homes proposals included two 10-storey blocks and 144 car parking spaces, as well as a nursery and office space. The scheme comprised a mix of low rise with tower blocks, including 35% affordable homes and rented accommodation. The nursery would attract 22 local jobs according to OFSTED requirements and a new B1 employment building, suitable for small businesses, could generate 85 job roles. In spite of this, local residents lodged 125 objections, alongside those of local councillors. They raised concerns shared by Transport for London and the Greater London Authority about the amount of parking spaces that were included and encouraged. Neighbours called the plans “overbearing” and had voiced concerns about traffic congestion and the lack of facilities for residents. Others criticised a lack of consultation about the scheme. “A Dangerous Precedent” Fairview New Homes had also built an 8-storey block of flats on the corner of nearby Gallions Road. They were originally refused planning permission in 2015/16 to build a 10-storey block, as
The development sits outside the area zoned for tall buildings and local councillors were concerned that this has now set “a dangerous precedent”. Concerns about congestion had already led the London Fire Brigade to ask for a yellow box junction to be installed outside East Greenwich fire station because engines were having trouble accessing the road even before the increase in traffic from the new build. There were also concerns raised about the scheme only having one point of access for vehicles, on Victoria Way, which had effectively become “arterial roads” and that any development would exacerbate this and cause “irreversible damage”. Kerb Appeal under Threat The scheme is an example of how the character of an area can be transformed through one development – in terms of impacts on traffic, noise, facilities. The sight lines of many of the late Victorian/ Image courtesy of Homes & Property Edwardian houses would also be badly affected, as you can see from the above illustration. Your client could have fallen in love with the kerb appeal of one of these houses and thought about how their future there – only to be faced with the grim reality of a modern apartment block directly across the road from them. Would you have spotted the impact this could have? FCI has launched a new suite of planning reports to help residential conveyancers to minimise this risk for their clients. Planning application data is pulled “live” from our data supplier at the request of each report, ensuring that the very latest available information is used to compile the product. Using FCI’s unique intelligent FCICapture technology, we identify developments which, although lying outside of the search boundary, if completed may, in reality, extend within the area of interest around the subject property. This means schemes like that in Charlton which could have a strong visual and traffic impact are more likely to be picked up than may be the case in other similar planning searches. You can combine this unique approach to planning data with contaminated land, flood and ground stability checks in a single environmental report or order a separate planning search report. For more information, contact us on 01732 755 180 or email email@example.com ■
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Computer says ‘yes’ With our innovative smart forms, you can monitor your clients’ progress in real-time.
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Repossession Under Housing Act – GCS Legal Indemnity Policy Available! Why would a property be repossessed? It’s common for most residential leases to include a provision whereby the leaseholder must pay the freeholder ground rent – this is often a nominal annual fee. However, in some areas (e.g. London), it can be as much as £2,000 or more and it’s becoming increasingly common to see ground rent double every 25 years. In some cases, dependent on the level of ground rent, the landlord can treat the long lease as an Assured Tenancy or AST. As you can imagine, there is unfortunately very little protection available to lessees or their lenders, and under an AST there is no relief from forfeiture. How can the risk be mitigated? At Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions (GCS), we offer a comprehensively worded legal indemnity insurance policy that covers the interests of the mortgage lender whose security would be threatened if the landlord were to succeed in forfeiting their borrower’s lease.
Our ‘Forfeiture of Lease (Housing Act Repossession)’ policy provides cover to the mortgage lender of a residential property when the freeholder/landlord of a long lease attempts repossession of the property using a Section 8 Housing Act 1988 Notice due to outstanding ground rent under a long lease. This policy, plus many more, is available through ‘GCS Online’, where registration is quick and simple. Once registered, all policies can be issued in a matter of minutes and cover is in place immediately. Premiums for this policy start from just £17 (incl. IPT). Why choose GCS? GCS is a trusted market leading provider of legal indemnity insurance. All our policies are comprehensively worded and can be self-issued by conveyancing professionals or obtained directly from us. We offer numerous ways in which our policies can be issued, including online, which are all supported by our friendly team of highly experienced underwriters – it’s no surprise that we’re trusted by over 20,000 conveyancers.
To register, get a quote, or to find out more about our broad range of comprehensive legal indemnity insurance policies, please visit www.gcs-title.co.uk. ■
Our NEW Policy – ‘Forfeiture of Lease (Housing Act Repossession)’ Covers the event that the mortgage lender is served a Section 8 notice under the Housing Act 1988. Exclusively available on ‘GCS Online’ Get quotes in seconds, issue policies in minutes INSTANT cover and documentation Cover for the lender on residential properties Premiums from just £17 (incl. IPT)
Find out more: www.gcs-title.co.uk/FLH gcs-title.co.uk
Guaranteed Conveyancing Solutions Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales no. 3623950. Registered oﬃce: GCS House, High Street, Heathﬁeld, East Sussex, TN21 8JD
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Charitable Gifts in Will Drafting and Estate Administration Leaving money to a charity in a Will is a great way for people to leave a lasting legacy for a charity particularly close to their hearts, and to save inheritance tax at the same time.
Types of charitable giving in Wills Pecuniary legacy Leaving a pecuniary legacy is the simplest way of leaving a gift to charity. However, this can be problematic in that the testator is unlikely to be able to predict how a pecuniary legacy will compare with the size of their estate on their death. On the one hand, inflation may mean that the legacy makes up a smaller proportion of the estate than intended (although this can be countered by linking the legacy to RPI or CPI). On the other hand, if the estate is substantially diminished compared with when the testator made his/her Will (for example, due to paying care costs) it may make up a larger proportion than intended. The latter can be countered by leaving a matching legacy to the residuary beneficiaries, so that if the estate is insufficient to pay all of the legacies in full, the legacies can then abate proportionately. Residuary legacy Alternatively, by leaving a fixed percentage of the estate to a charity, this ensures the testator gives the proportion they intend, whether larger or smaller than the sum they have in mind at the time they are making their Will. A minimum and maximum sum can be specified, to keep the legacy within the parameters intended by the testator.
Tax Considerations Inheritance Tax in Will drafting Gifts to UK registered charities (and ‘community amateur sport groups’) are exempt from inheritance tax. When drafting Wills it is therefore particularly important to make sure that the full charity name and registered charity number is stated. It is also important to consider what the testator’s intention is if their chosen charity has amalgamated or ceases to exist at the time of their death. Both in Will drafting and estate administration, also consider that grossing (single or double) may apply where there is a mix of exempt (e.g. charitable) and non-exempt beneficiaries, which means that the non-exempt entitlements may need grossing before the inheritance tax is calculated. Particular care should be given where there is a gift to unincorporated associations which might seem on the face of it to operate for charitable purposes, but are not in fact registered charities. This can also be problematic in satisfying the certainty of object principle, as well as for inheritance tax purposes. Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax in Estate Administration UK registered charities are also exempt from capital gains tax
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and income tax. When dealing with the sale of assets in the course of an estate administration, it is therefore important to consider appropriating assets to charities ahead of the sale to maximise the benefits here. Providing the charities with a R185 certificate allows them to reclaim any income tax paid during the course of the administration.
Reduced Rate of Inheritance Tax It is generally thought that by giving 10% of an estate to charity, it will qualify for a reduced rate of inheritance tax at 36% compared with 40%. This is a more generous provision that it first seems, as in order to qualify for the reduced rate, it is 10% of the baseline amount rather than 10% of the entire estate. Estate Administration This baseline amount is calculated, in simple terms, by deducting the nil rate band (original and transferable) from the net estate at date of death. This means that an estate worth £1,000,000 with one nil rate band of £325,000 available would have a baseline of £675,000, and therefore the 10% would be satisfied if at least £67,500 is passing to charity. Particular care should be given if there are beneficial entitlements which are to be grossed-up, as this will affect the baseline amount. This can mean that even a comparatively small legacy can mean the estate qualifies for the reduced rate of inheritance tax. It can also be worth considering a variation with the beneficiaries, if the sum passing to charity under the Will is close to allowing the estate to qualify for the reduced rate. For example, if between 6-10% of the baseline amount is passing to charity, increasing this sum to 10% can mean the beneficiaries themselves receive the same amount, if not more, because of the reduced rate. Will drafting Formula legacies can be included to calculate the amount required to qualify for the reduced rate of tax. However, in view of the above, in some cases this may lead to less passing to the charity than the testator intends, and therefore it is worth considering with the client whether they wish to include a minimum amount (as above, this can be index-linked).
Conclusion Consider: ■ the merits of a percentage of the estate passing to charity as opposed to a pecuniary legacy ■ the issue of ‘Certainty of Object’ in the context of unincorporated associations ■ appropriating assets to charitable beneficiaries in the course of an estate administration ■ the possibility of claiming the reduced rate even where the 10% entitlement is not expressly stated as such in the Will. HMRC have a helpful calculator for calculating the required sum ■ the possibility of variations with beneficiaries ■ a formula legacy to ensure the reduced rate is secured, in Will drafting
Just imagine giving a gift now to help families in the future W
hen your clients leave a gift in their will to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices they are helping to ensure that babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families, have the chance to make every moment count. Today, tomorrow and for years to come. Shooting Star Children’s Hospices supports families from diagnosis to end of life and throughout bereavement with a range of nursing, practical, emotional and medical care. The charity provides a lifeline to families facing unimaginable circumstances – families just like Jake’s. Jake was diagnosed with a rare metabolic condition when he was just two and a half years old. Jake and his family have been supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices ever since. “Shooting Star Children’s Hospices gives Jake a reason to live – he loves being at the hospice so much and he especially loves the sensory room. The support and care they give to Jake and our whole family is indescribable. Without them we just wouldn’t get by.”
It costs £10 million a year for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices to maintain their current level of care and just 10% of that income comes from government funding, so the charity relies on the generosity of the community to keep the service running. What’s more, as children with life-limiting conditions continue to live longer thanks to medical advances, the demand for the charity’s hospice service will grow. Leaving a gift is a big decision to make, but even the smallest gift could make a huge difference to the vital work of Surrey’s only children’s hospice. It takes so little to give so much. Call Katie on 01932 823109 to request a free legacy pack or visit shootingstar.org.uk/ legacies to find out more. ■
Imagine the difference you could make to families like Summer’s. Even the smallest gift in your will could help us provide Hospice at Home care giving parents of life-limited children some muchneeded respite.
Make mornings easier today for families with a life-limited child – leave a gift in your will to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.
Just imagine mornings made easier for Summer’s family
It takes so little to give so much: shootingstar.org.uk/legacies
Registered Charity No: 1042495
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Angus... At 16 years old, Angus the Jack Russell Terrier was the oldest resident at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe when he arrived after his owner sadly passed away. Thankfully his owner had signed up to Dog’s Trust’s Canine Care Card, a free service that aims to give owners peace of mind, knowing that Dogs Trust will look after their dog if the worst should happen. He has now been rehomed to the perfect family where he will spend his golden years! Elise Watson, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe, said: “Many 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. However, the Canine Care Card scheme offers reassurance to dog owners, and also helps to ease the minds of friends and family during what is already a distressing time. But it means you can rest in the knowledge that your dog will be cared for after you die and just like Angus, will go on to find loving homes that are right for them.”
Canine Care Card holders receive a wallet-sized card which acts in a similar way to an organ donor card and notifies people of their wishes for their dogs, should anything happen to them. Dogs Trust works hard to match every dog with a responsible, loving home. If for any reason a dog takes a while to be rehomed, owners can rest assured that Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog to sleep and will care for them for the rest of their lives. If you would like to request Canine Care Card forms that you can give out to your clients please call 020 7837 0006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote code 334414. ■
Who’ll keep him happy when your client’s gone? We will – as long as your client has a Canine Care Card. It’s a FREE service from Dogs Trust that guarantees a bereaved dog a home for life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 20 rehoming centres, located around the UK. One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll want to make provision for their faithful friend. And now you can help them at absolutely no cost. So contact us today for your FREE pack of Canine Care Card leaflets - and make a dog-lover happy.
020 7837 0006
Or write to: Freepost RTJA-SRXG-AZUL, Dogs Trust, Clarissa Baldwin House, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ (no stamp required) Please quote “334362”. All information will be treated as strictly confidential. This service is currently only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & the Isle of Man
www.dogstrust.org.uk Registered Charity Numbers: 227523 & SC037843
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Making Surgery their Legacy C
hoosing to leave the Royal College of Surgeons a legacy in your will can have direct impact on the future of surgery and the patients it saves. Past legacies have enabled us to purchase essential equipment and support a range of projects in surgical education and research. One of our residuary legacies has allowed us to fund multiple one-year research fellowships that all cost in the region of £65,000. The most recent fellowship awarded with this generous bequest was to a trauma & orthopaedic surgeon whose research project is looking at using augmented-reality gaming to optimise surgical performance. Delivering expert levels of surgery is a team skill, combining knowledge, technical and non-technical ability. Yet better understanding is needed about how, together, the surgeon, their assistant and the scrub nurse acquire and integrate these skills.
Registered charity no 212808
he lives of tens of thousands of people throughout the UK are saved and transformed daily by surgery. Almost 5 million surgical patients are admitted to hospital every year in England alone for procedures ranging from straightforward gall bladder removal and joint replacements to complex transplants and emergency trauma repair. The Royal College of Surgeons of England safeguards the experience, treatment and outcomes of the UK’s surgical patients through our ongoing state-of-the-art training of surgeons and pioneering research. Making a will is a significant personal responsibility and, just as a will brings security to those closest to you, a legacy to the RCS plays a crucial role in supporting the improvement of surgical care for patients. Please contact us to find out how leaving a gift to the RCS in your will could play a crucial role in our work. t 020 7869 6086 e email@example.com w www.rcseng.ac.uk/fundraising #surgerysaveslives
The developed Augmented Reality (AR) headsets allow multiple wearers to overlap 3D digital information onto the real world, tracking hands and surgical instruments. Using AR gamification, the project investigates how surgical teams learn, and if enhancing their abilities during simulated and real surgery can accelerate learning, deliver expert-level skill, and thus improve patient care. The number of excellent surgical fellowship applications we receive has doubled since the scheme was introduced in 1993 and we are unable to support 80% of applicants. We are always in need of more funding to enable projects that address the health challenges of modern society, supporting the development of pioneering ideas across the NHS. With each small success we take another step towards the next big breakthrough. ■
MAKE SURGERY YOUR LEGACY
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The Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law ‘A LAW UNTO ITSELF’: A SINGLE SOURCE OF GUIDANCE ON FIDUCIARY PRINCIPLES An appreciation by Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers, Reviews Editor, ‘The Barrister’, and Mediator.
ver an extremely wide spectrum of law – almost endless in fact you will encounter matters to which principles of fiduciary law must inevitably apply. The very word ‘fiduciary’ refers of course to – if you’ll pardon the expression – money! It’s obvious then, that fiduciary principles operate across both public and private law, from the highest levels of government and corporate activity, to everyday business matters and personal relationships in which financial issues loom large. As pointed out by the erudite editors of this stunning new Handbook from the Oxford University Press, ‘fiduciary principles have become the subject of front-page news, high stakes litigation and vigorous political debate.’ Indeed, such principles ‘govern the workaday relationships that shape our daily lives.’ But should fiduciary law, which spans all legal disciplines, be regarded as a discipline in itself? The answer, as many might agree, should be a resounding ‘yes’, hence the timely publication of ‘The Oxford Handbook of Fiduciary Law.’ The idea for such a handbook apparently sprang from a conference at Harvard Law School in November 2017 at which the Handbook’s fifty-three contributors foregathered to discuss the theme of ‘Fiduciary Law: Charting the Field.’ Tribute here has been duly paid by Professor Tamara Frankel who introduced the notion that ‘fiduciary law should be understood as a cohesive field of study.’ The Handbook ‘arrives at an opportune moment,’ say the editors, ‘for the study and practice of fiduciary law’ having as its purpose, the provision of ‘a single source to which readers can turn for guidance on fiduciary principles across a host of substantive fields, jurisdictions and epochs.’ It’s further stressed that in its ‘breadth and depth of coverage’ produced by ‘a community of scholars,’ the Handbook ‘stands alone as ‘a uniquely authoritative guide to the current state of the law and scholarship in (this) field.’ Charting fiduciary law as a field, however, does require an understanding of why the law designates certain relationships as ‘fiduciary’, whether factbased (i.e. standards) or status-based (i.e. rules).
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The Handbook’s forty-eight articles cover an amazingly broad range of topics. Coverage, for example, includes such areas as principles and duties, including duty of loyalty and duty of care. Part III of the Handbook examines fiduciary law across history and across legal systems, including English Common Law, Canon law, Roman Law, Classical Islamic Law, Classical Jewish Law, Chinese, Indian and Japanese law and a lot more. There’s much to contemplate here. Of particular interest to practitioners (on either side of the Atlantic) is the Handbook’s Part IV in which the focus shifts to the future of fiduciary law and theory, including the economics of fiduciary law, its philosophy, its social and moral norms and ultimately, ‘new frontiers in both private and public fiduciary law.’ Clearly, the transatlantic orientation of this Handbook effectively broadens its scope and there can scarcely be a lawyer or legal scholar anywhere who wouldn’t benefit by acquiring it. The date of publication of this hardback edition is cited as at 27th May 2019. ■ Edited By Evan J Criddle, Paul B. Miller & Robert H Sitkoff ISBN: 978 0 19063 410 0 Oxford University Press www.oup.com
By Elizabeth Taylor & Phillip Taylor MBE of Richmond Green Chambers
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