Central London Lawyer November 2021

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CENTRAL

LondonLawyer

THE OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE WESTMINSTER & HOLBORN LAW SOCIETY | NOVEMBER 2021

Rotten legal culture under the microscope

■ Climate Change and the legal profession ■ “Underdog lawyer” Fraser Whitehead reflects on 50 years in law ■ Stop & Search: will it protect or polarise?


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PUBLISHER Benham Publishing Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com ACCOUNTS DIRECTOR Joanne Casey

Contents 05

SALES DIRECTOR Karen Hall STUDIO MANAGER Lee Finney MEDIA No. 1788

Gamlen Prize 2021

PUBLISHED November 2021 © Benham Publishing Ltd. LEGAL NOTICE © Benham Publishing. None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. Benham Publishing would like to point out that all editorial comment and articles are the responsibility of the originators and may or may not reflect the opinions of Benham Media. No responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracies that may occur, correct at time of going to press. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us. DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are the views of the individual writers and not the society unless specifically stated to be otherwise. All statements as to the law are for discussion between members and should not be relied upon as an accurate statement of the law, are of a general nature and do not constitute advice in any particular case or circumstance. Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified Legal Advice. COVER INFORMATION Image by Justin Case on Unsplash.com.

05 President’s Foreword 07 Officer Profiles 08 WHLS Membership 09 Annual Dinner and

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10 WHLS AGM 2021 11 Sub-Committee updates

13 Black History Month 14 “Rotten Culture”: 17

Paul Sharma and Paul Bennett reflect on our regulator

17 Climate change and the legal profession

18 Fraser Whitehead interview

22 Stop & Search: will it Copy Deadline 21st January 2022 For the February 2022 edition Advertising Anyone wishing to advertise in Central London Lawyer please contact Catherine McCarthy before the copy deadline. 0151 236 4141 catherine@benhampublishing.com Editorial Members wishing to submit editorial please send to: cwhlawsoc@gmail.com Editor in Chief: Sarah Bradd. Editorial Board: Sarah Bradd, Matthew Allan, Lotus Kimona, Kene Onyeka Allison, Charity Mafuba and Ivan Ho.

protect or polarise?

27 Junior Lawyers Division

31 Forgetting Civil Law: an interview with Alisha Liu

uerlain makes a 22 33 Ggood case

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INTRODUCTION

The President’s Foreword NOVEMBER 2021 Matthew Allan

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am pleased to welcome you to this edition of Central London Lawyer and my first as President. The Society has been keeping busy since the summer and I know I speak for all our committee members when I say that it has been fantastic to have re-started our in-person events again. It was with some trepidation that we pressed on with one of the first events in the City this August. However, we were buoyed by the response to our summer party held on the (docked) Yacht London, which was received with open arms by our members and friends alike. Our belated Annual Dinner in October was also an excuse to get out of our dressing gowns and into something less comfortable. In the Victorian grandeur of the National Liberal Club we welcomed friends and new members back to this highlight of our social calendar – one which was last held in the halcyon days of early March 2020. We also held a ‘hybrid’ Annual General Meeting in October, with members joining us in person and online. The Society bestowed honorary membership on two long-standing members as well as the national Law Society President, I. Stephanie Boyce, who previously served as our Honorary Secretary (pg.9). We expressed thanks to our Immediate Past President, Paul Sharma, who has helped steer us through the turbulence of the last year.

discuss mutual opportunities for our members. It is through our relationships that we ensure the future of our Society, and by focussing on what members want we are sure to succeed. We always welcome new ideas for events or sponsors, so do get in touch. As ever, our sub-committees are working hard to support our members and the wider legal profession. You can see the range of work that they are doing and the forthcoming events they have organised in these very pages. I encourage you to also get involved, whether that is by joining one of our nine sub-committees or simply by coming along to say ‘hi’ at our next event. After our forced hibernation I have found it invigorating to get back to our roster of events and out meeting our members again. I hope you will consider joining us at one soon. Until then, as they say back in Canada, keep your stick on the ice. ■

Matthew Allan President Westminster & Holborn Law Society

Despite recent hardships, I am happy to report that our Society is in rude health. We continue to grow our membership and build our international networks within key legal centres (pg.12). Most recently we spoke with colleagues at the Cologne Bar Association and Toronto Lawyers Association to SPONSORS

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OFFICER PROFILES

Matthew Allan President

Matthew is a solicitor-advocate at Mayfair-based Astraea Group where he specialises in commercial litigation and international arbitration. He is also the Co-Vice Chair of the Society’s International Committee which develops professional links with lawyers and their clients throughout Europe and further afield. Matt is looking forward to helping build the Society’s network of local and international connections over his presidential year. If you or your firm are interested in hosting or sponsoring one of our events, do get in touch President@whls.org.uk.

Nicola Rubbert Vice President

Nicola is a commercial and employment solicitor. She is the Chair of our Education & Training Committee and is Council Member of The Law Society of England & Wales, representing the constituency of Westminster. Nicola is Immediate Past Chair of the London Young Lawyers Group, an organisation which ignited her passion for the legal community.

Philip Henson Deputy Vice President

Philip Henson is a Partner and the Head of Employment at international law firm EBL Miller Rosenfalck, based in Farringdon. He also heads the North America desk and the China desk of the firm. He is the Chair of the WHLS Law Reform Committee. Phil and the committee research and reply to consultations on changes to legislation. Phil is looking forward to being more involved in the Society as the Deputy Vice President. Phil is involved in various charities and he is the Editor of City Solicitor magazine (the magazine of the City of London Law Society). Outside of a busy work and family life, Phil also produces and occasionally writes short films. He has recently finished a script for a dark comedy called Viking Funeral which he plans to develop in 2022.

Anthony Seymour Honorary Treasurer

Anthony is a Locum Property Solicitor who deals with Commercial Property Landlord and Tenant and residential conveyancing. He has worked at many firms and was for many years a Partner in the Property Department of a central London Law firm. He is a member of the Bristol University Alumni Association London branch and holds a Masters degree in Law from King’s College London University.

Helen Broadbridge Co-Honorary Secretary

Helen is currently a Tax Solicitor working in the City of London and Honorary Secretary of Westminster & Holborn Law Society. She likes to read and write about organisational behaviour, gender and economics. Helen is also a fluent speaker of French and Russian and an accomplished hammer thrower.

Riley Forson Co-Honorary Secretary

Riley Forson is a Trainee Solicitor at Macfarlanes LLP. Riley completed her Undergraduate Degree in Law at University College London before completing a Masters in Law and Business, as well as a Masters in International Human Rights Law. Riley takes a particular interest in environmental matters, animal rights and matters pertaining to ESG.

Sarah Bradd Editor-in-Chief

Sarah is a Paralegal and a Future Trainee at Charles Russell Speechlys working for the Development Sales and Regeneration Teams. She is currently working towards completing her Fellowship for CILEx having completed her LLB at the University of Law. She is looking forward to starting her Training Contract in 2023. If you have any contributions for the next editions of the Central London Lawyer please do get in touch with me on LinkedIn and it would be great to hear from you.

Paul Sharma Immediate Past President

Paul Sharma is the immediate past President of Westminster and Holborn Law Society and the Council member for Westminster & Holborn Law Society – the central London law society. 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. CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 7


WHLS

Membership Renewal Representing the 10,000 solicitors across Westminster, Holborn and Central London

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ime to renew! It was wonderful to see so many of you at our Summer Yacht Party and our Annual Dinner at the National Liberal Club. We have more great events planned and hope you will renew your membership and join us. There are many benefits to joining our Society, including: ■ Being part of a welcoming, diverse and vibrant law society with links to, and events with, regional and international legal organisations, including membership in the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe. ■ Numerous professional development and networking events, including updates on important legal and practice developments. ■ Free attendance for members at most Society events. ■ Free subscription to the Society’s quarterly magazine, Central London Lawyer, and the opportunity to contribute articles to showcase your legal expertise and promote issues important to you. ■ Promotion of members’ achievements in our magazine and through our social media. ■ Welcome reception for new members. ■ Opportunity to develop leadership skills through involvement in our committees. ■ A Junior Lawyers’ Division, with membership open to trainee solicitors and other junior lawyers, law students, barristers and pupils. ■ Opportunity to apply for, or nominate a candidate for, the Rising Star Award open to newly qualified solicitors, and a free ticket to the Award Ceremony. ■ A voice on the national Law Society’s Council through the election of local Council members. ■ Invitations to events with other Law Societies and Organisations.

WHLS membership subscriptions run from October to October and the 2021-22 annual subscriptions are now due. If you’re not yet a member, you can easily join by going to www.cwhls.org.uk and filling out the membership form on the Join Us page and following the payment instructions. For current members wishing to renew, please complete the form if any of your details have changed (such as your membership level, postal or email address or employer) and pay online using the following bank details: THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER AND HOLBORN LAW SOCIETY Sort Code: 160038 | Account Number: 11403287 Reference: your initials, surname and invoice number Please email cwhlawsoc@gmail.com to confirm payment or to request an invoice for a single payment by your firm. If you are interested in Corporate Membership, please email cwhlawsoc@gmail.com to discuss discounts. We appreciate your past support and look forward to your continued participation in our Society. We welcome new members so please tell your friends and colleagues about us. And we hope to see you soon! ■

Joanne Skolnick

Chair, Membership Committee Westminster & Holborn Law Society Please follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter & Instagram.

Membership Committee vacancies

W

e are excited to announce vacancies in the Westminster & Holborn Law Society Membership Committee.

Membership is the cornerstone of our Society and you would have a vital role to play. We are looking for volunteers to join to help with various tasks including: 1. Implementing ideas to grow our membership and contribute to our continued success. 2. Liaising with current and prospective members, law firms and legal organisations to market membership. 3. Engaging with the Society’s other committees to further membership goals. 4. Working with the Social Media & Publicity Sub-Committee to ensure membership is regularly advertised in member 8 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

communications, on social media, on our website and in our magazine. You’ll get the opportunity to network with others working in the legal sector through committee meetings and events, and a chance to share your ideas and develop your leadership skills. You’ll also be able to write articles in our magazine on issues of interest to our members. If you are interested in joining, please get in touch with Membership Committee Chair Joanne Skolnick via email at cwhlawsoc@gmail.com. Not a member yet? No problem! Fill out our membership form at www.cwhls.org.uk on the Join Us page. ■


WHLS

Annual Dinner and Gamlen Prize 2021 T

he Society was delighted to host its belated Annual Dinner on 6 October at the National Liberal Club in Westminster. It was an excellent evening which drew together members and friends, old and new, in most impressive surroundings.

Luke Newman, trainee solicitor at Taylor Wessing was awarded first prize and Lauren Stubbs, trainee solicitor at Irwin Mitchell was runner-up in what was a very strong field.

Appropriately, the Club prides itself on being “the most inclusive club in London”, which rings true with our own values, making it a natural home for this year’s dinner. It also boasts one of the most spectacular terraces in London, and our guests were able to enjoy an after dinner drink with stunning views of the Thames and Big Ben a stone’s throw away.

The Gamlen Prize celebrates the achievements of outstanding junior lawyers who are nominated by their firms after going above and beyond their peers. The Society is proud to be able to support and recognise the skills and hard work that our junior colleagues embody. We very much hope that the supportive environment of WHLS is somewhere that they will continue to feel at home throughout their careers.

We heard from our President Paul Sharma about the importance of coming together and celebrating our achievements and building strong links within our profession. With this theme in our minds, we warmly applauded this year’s winners of the Gamlen Prize, awarded by the Society on behalf of the Central London Solicitors’ Educational Trust.

The Society has already begun preparations for the 2022 instalments of both the Annual Dinner and Gamlen Prize, so watch this space for updates in our February edition! ■

Nicola Rubbert

Vice President Westminster & Holborn Law Society

Thank you

T

hank you to everyone who joined us for the Westminster and Holborn Law Society Annual General Meeting, which took place on 19 October 2021. We were delighted to see many friendly faces in person again. It was a pleasure to hear the immediate past President Paul Sharma speak about his time as President and the work the Society undertakes, including the many educational events the Society has managed to organise over the past year, despite the unexpected difficulties posed by COVID-19. We wish to extend a massive thank you to Paul for guiding the society through such a challenging period. Taking over from Paul as President of the Westminster and Holborn Law Society is Matthew Allan. He will be supported by a brilliant team on the main committee, including his Vice President Nicola Rubbert and his Deputy Vice President Philip Henson. We wish Matthew all the best for his upcoming presidential year. We were delighted to have the Law Society President Stephanie Boyce present at the meeting and to welcome her back to the Society. It was an honour to present Stephanie with the honorary life membership of the Westminster and Holborn Law Society. Stephanie is an inspiring figure within the Society and we were so pleased that she could join us. The AGM was kindly hosted by Dawson Cornwell at their offices in Chancery Lane. ■

Olivia Longrigg Nicola Rubbert (VP WHLS), I. Stephanie Boyce (President, TLS) & Matthew Allan (President WHLS).

Associate Dawson Cornwell

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WHLS

Annual General Meeting Thursday 14 October 2021

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s the autumn leaves fell, solicitors from across England and Wales descended upon the Law Society on Thursday 14 October, both in a socially distanced manner in person at Chancery Lane and virtually, for the Society’s annual general meeting. The advent of the hybrid in person and virtual meetings means that it is much easier for all members of our profession to attend and participate in proceedings, including, as always, a discussion of some of the key issues currently facing us. 1. Council Member elections Over the summer elections were run for various seats on the governing body of the Law Society, the Council. Available seats included geographical constituencies (such as Central London), demographic constituencies (such as junior lawyers) and practice area constituencies (such as commercial property). At the 2020 annual general meeting members approved significant reforms to the constitution of the Law Society Council and these have led to a large number of new elections this year. All members of Westminster & Holborn Law Society are now represented by nine geographical Council Members, being Beth Forrester, Nicola Rubbert, Pavel Klimov, Salome Coker, Simon Davis, Christopher Vigrass and Ed Crosse. Beth, Nicola and Pavel were elected in previous years to seats representing the City of Westminster and Holborn (respectively); Salome, Simon, Christopher and Ed were elected in previous years to represent the City of London. However, they will now join forces to represent the new (and wider) constituency of Central London. They are joined by two Council Members elected this year: Paul Sharma and Laura Uberoi, both of whom are former presidents of Westminster & Holborn Law Society. 2. Annual Report The annual report and accounts of the Law Society was presented at the AGM. This covered the response to the pandemic, together with an update on their three goals: (i) promoting the legal profession with government and the public, (ii) influencing for impact to create a positive operating environment, and (iii) driving professional excellence. A copy can be found on the Law Society website. 3. Further constitutional amendments Following the substantial reforms implemented to the Law Society last year, a few further constitutional reforms were proposed to ensure good practice and efficiency in the future. These include: (a) increasing the minimum number of members present at an AGM who can demand that a vote on any matter be put to a ballot of the full membership (as was done last year on the question of whether each Council Member should be limited to a maximum 12 year term) to 33% of all those present; (b) allowing the Council Members who have been elected to the role of Deputy Vice President, Vice President or President to automatically continue with their officeholder roles without 10 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

the need to participate in any Council Member elections that may arise in respect of the seat that they represent during their term in office; and (c) permitting the President to open their Council seat for election on a casual basis during the year of their presidential term, to ensure that their constituents remain represented whilst undertaking their full-time officeholder duties. 4. Solicitors Indemnity Fund A members’ motion was also brought to the AGM, formally supported by 49 members, that “The Society abhors the decision by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to close down the Solicitors Indemnity Fund”. This follows the SRA’s decision to close the solicitors indemnity fund (SIF), which will stop accepting new claims after 30 September 2022. The decision by the SRA has been hard fought by members and the Law Society, as it means that solicitors (or their estates) could be personally liable for any losses from claims made against them. It is expected that solicitors who worked for firms that closed between 1 September 2000 and 30 September 2016 will be most impacted and further information can be found on the Law Society website (including details on how you can participate in the latest consultation). 5. Inauguration of I. Stephanie Boyce The AGM always closes on the inauguration of the officers and this year we celebrated one of our own members (and former Honorary Secretary) I. Stephanie Boyce stepping up as President of the Law Society. She is supported by Lubna Shuja (Vice President) and Nick Emmerson (Deputy Vice President). We were also delighted to welcome I. Stephanie Boyce to the AGM of Westminster & Holborn Law Society, where we admitted her as an honorary member of the Society. ■

Laura Uberoi

Council Member of the Law Society of England & Wales representing Central London and a Senior Finance Solicitor at Macfarlanes


SUB-COMMITTEES

Jonathan Andrews Jonathan Andrews

I

’m honoured to have been chosen by an electorate of over 30,000 people – made up of every individual on the Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales of less than 6 years’ PQE – to serve as their representative on the Law Society Council. Alongside my great fellow Council members Bal Atwal, Cobi Bonani and Lizzy Truman (all likewise newly elected this year), I look forward to ensuring the voices of junior lawyers – including the members of Westminster and Holborn Law Society – are heard on Council. For those who don’t know me, I’ve set out below a brief overview of my background, experience and interests. ■ I’m a solicitor of 2PQE working in the Entertainment and Media team at Reed Smith (with a particular focus on litigation). I live in Orpington, but I’m also proud to have a strong family connection to Westminster – it’s where my mother and aunt were born, grew up and went to school (attending Pimlico School), where I went to university (King’s College London, reading English – I later attended BPP in Holborn for the LPC), and where my great-gran (who I’d regularly visit) lived all her life. ■ Since 2016 I’ve sat on the Law Society’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee – during which time I’ve been an LPC student, trainee, and finally a junior solicitor. Five years’ experience on a Law Society committee prior to my election has been great experience for understanding how the society’s internal structures work and will no doubt be of assistance in effectively advocating for my constituents on Council. ■ I’m a passionate advocate of fair access to and advancement within the legal profession, and having overcome several barriers to gain a training contract (including being on the autism spectrum and coming from a non-selective state school), I’m determined to ensure others can achieve the same. Since 2014 (when I was searching for a training contract myself), I’ve worked with firms to level the playing field for applicants of all identities and backgrounds – which has influenced several to, among other things, alter recruitment processes to address systemic biases against disabled and neurodivergent people. I’ve also served as a trustee of national charity Ambitious about Autism, supporting its ‘Autism Exchange’ initiative which has created 100+ jobs cross-sector (including across several law firms), and having been a proud member of Aspiring Solicitors ever since they assisted me in securing a training contract, I’m also a firm supporter of their ‘Think Talent’ internship program for neurodivergent members. In recent years I’ve supervised those undertaking the program at Reed Smith myself, and while there is still much more to do, I’ve been very pleased to see a large increase in the number of openly neurodivergent, and particularly autistic, applicants and trainees/future

trainees since I began advocating – when it felt like I was the only applicant open about being on the autistic spectrum. ■ I’m also an Equality Leader at the mental health charity Mind, working to ensure that those from all backgrounds can access mental health services and support and to promote wellbeing more widely in work and society. Wellbeing and support are two of the biggest issues facing junior lawyers, and with recent reports showing 83% of junior lawyers believe their employer could be doing more to provide help, there is clearly a pressing need for more to be done. I’ve helped make this a reality at Reed Smith, ensuring that those isolated by COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing had the opportunity to meet socially with others remotely. Another key area of focus as firms begin to plan returns to offices following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions will undoubtedly be flexible working – in particular, how to ensure this is implemented in a way that gives junior lawyers genuine choice and control over working patterns and supports their overall wellbeing. There is undoubtedly scope for firms to share best practice in this area, to ensure that similar programs can be implemented as widely as possible. ■ My campaigning has been widely recognised, including as European Campaigner of the Year 2016, a Queen’s Young Leader 2017, the Open University’s youngest-ever honorary graduate in 2018, the Law Society’s Junior Lawyer of the Year 2019 and being named Britain’s fourth most influential disabled person by the Shaw Trust Power List 2020. I’ve always used this recognition to continue to fight for improvements and make a difference, and I firmly intend to continue this on Council. In short, I very much look forward to tackling the key issues facing junior lawyers as a Council member, and my firm ethos will be to ensure as many opportunities reach junior lawyers – of whatever background and identity – as possible. I look forward to meeting many of you in the future, and in the meantime, please feel free to get in touch at https://www.reedsmith.com/ en/professionals/a/andrews-jonathan-j. ■

Jonathan Andrews Solicitor Reed Smith

CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 11


SUB-COMMITTEES

Consultation on day one right to work flexibly T

he Government’s plan to make the right to work flexibly the “default” position is a step closer. The Government says that the pandemic has demonstrated how businesses can successfully adapt their operational practices and that working flexibly is the future for employers and employees. It has launched a consultation on its proposal which is due to end in December 2021. At the height of the first lockdown in April last year, 47% of the UK workforce was working from home. This compares with 11% in 2018. According to an Institute Of Directors’ survey, 74% of company directors stated their organisation intended to increase homeworking (from pre-pandemic levels) as part of their approach to returning to work and 43% intended to increase flexible working more widely, through measures such as flexitime, staggered hours and compressed hours.

Currently employees must have worked six months to make a formal flexible working request under the legislation. Employers can reject the request on a number of prescribed grounds, including that it would have a negative impact on service and operations. However, employees can still make an informal flexible working request from day one of their employment. A refusal could give rise to sex and or disability discrimination claims. ■

Phillip Henson

Partner and Head of Employment EBL Miller Rosenfalck

The Law Reform committee will be meeting in November with a view of finalising a response to the Government’s proposal for Flexible Working before it closes on 1 December 2021. Please do contact Phillip Henson (EBL Miller Rosenfalck) and the Law Reform committee should you have any questions.

Report from WHLS International Committee

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s Sara Chandler reported in the August edition of Central London Lawyer, the International Committee has remained busy online during the pandemic period, despite being landlocked, and has continued to maintain and develop its relationships with European counterparts. The pandemic is not yet over but it is hoped that, as things start to open up, planned visits to Cluj (Romania) and Palermo (Sicily, Italy) will become a reality.

On 28 September Sara Chandler participated as a Judge in the Prix Ludovic Trarieux, an international human rights prize. The winner was Freshta Karimi, a female lawyer in Afghanistan who has worked tirelessly for the rights of women and girls and who set up a legal aid NGO for people seeking justice. Last year’s winner was Ebru Timtik (see p11 – Hunger Strike for a fair trial – in Central London Lawyer August 2021) and her sister attended the Congress to receive the award for her sister.

The Committee had an active two months in September and October.

The FBE meeting took place at the Paris Bar’s magnificent Maison du Barreau on the Ile de la Cité. It is hoped that WHLS will be signing a memorandum of understanding with the Paris Bar during their Rentrée at the end of November.

The main event in September was the FBE Autumn Conference in Paris from 26 to 28 September, attended by Coral Hill, Sara Chandler and Jeffrey Forrest. There was a packed agenda on Access to Law and Justice, with speakers from many European jurisdictions, with updates on the latest situations in their countries. A highlight of the Congress was an evening gala dinner cruise along the Seine, where the diners could admire Paris by night with extraordinarily attractive lights on the bridges, the buildings and the Eiffel Tower. At the General Assembly on the last day, delegates heard reports from the Commissions, and from Tomasz Cyrol – Member of the Foreign Commission of the Polish Bar Council on the situation in Poland. Resolutions were passed on Belarus, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Colombia and on refugees trapped on the border between Belarus and Poland. The General Assembly welcomed guest Bars from Tunisia and Mexico (represented by their President, Claudia de Buen Unna), as well as delegates from OHADA, the Organisation for the Harmonisation of African Business Law (of which 16 African states are participants). 12 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

Next year’s FBE General Congress is planned to be held in Sofia (Bulgaria) from 23 to 25 June, preceded by its Mediterranean Bars Meeting, planned to be held in Girona (Spain) from 24 to 26 March. All members are invited to join the International Committee and to participate in the FBE’s activities. The Committee met with the Cologne Bar on 12 October to discuss building a relationship to the benefit of our clients, and further meetings are planned with a view to signing a memorandum of understanding with the Bar. The Committee is indebted to Olivia Longrigg of Dawson Cornwell who liaised with the Bar Association. We met with Dr. Guido Plassmeier, member of the Council and member of the International Committee of the Cologne Bar and Karina Noeker of the Cologne Bar delegation to the FBE. German speaking members are particularly welcome to join the Committee. ■


ARTICLE

I. Stephanie Boyce

A

s Black History Month comes to a close, I’m reflecting on the experiences members of the profession have shared as part of the campaign’s ‘Proud to Be’ theme, which encourages Black people to share their pride, ethnicity and identity as part of this annual celebration of the incredible richness and diversity of Black heritage in the UK. I have been saddened to read colleagues’ experiences of how they have faced racism, unconscious bias, microaggressions, non-inclusive behaviour and been viewed as outsiders. So many have transcended these barriers to be successful in the legal profession and have led the change in attitudes in their own firms and organisations as they strive for better diversity and inclusion in their workplace. In 2020 we published our Race for Inclusion report, which examined the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors and offered suggestions on how we can build a more inclusive profession. Our research was launched during the year of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, which shone a light on the challenges Black, Asian and minority ethnic people face in so many societies, bringing the racial inequalities that persist around the world into greater focus. The movement has undoubtedly brought these issues to the fore in society, with the legal profession in tandem. When I took up the role of president in 2021, I became the first person of colour and the first Black office holder to lead the Law Society in its nearly 200 year history. I’ve always wanted to break down barriers, and in becoming the first person of colour to be president of the Law Society, I did just that. I have had many months of meeting with, listening to, and representing the profession, and found it so eminently rewarding. It is a source of deep pride that I stand as visible a role model for many people of colour, particularly women. I am living testament to the growing social opportunity in the legal profession, but I also recognise that more needs to be done to ensure that talented individuals can progress and thrive in the practice of law, enjoying long and productive careers in the profession irrespective of their background.

Black History Month Career journey I speak openly about my background – I am the child of a single parent from an Afro-Caribbean working-class home who grew up on a council estate in Buckinghamshire. I am proud of, and proud to share, my experience. In 1985, my family and I moved to the US. I returned to the UK six years later, where I encountered my first barrier when I found out my US qualifications wouldn’t be recognised in the UK. Thanks to the access to qualification route, I entered London Guildhall University in 1996, where I graduated with an LLB (Hons) in politics. After that, I progressed to the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in Guildford. Like most aspiring solicitors, obtaining a training contract wasn’t easy, but thanks to the steadfast encouragement of my father, Melvin, I secured a placement with a local Aylesbury firm, Horwood & James. I qualified in 2002 and joined my first inhouse team a few years later. On becoming president, I announced that one of my top priorities as president would be diversity and inclusion. I am passionate about the importance of social mobility, equality and inclusion. Anyone with the necessary skills, knowledge, and commitment to become a solicitor should be supported, enabled and empowered throughout their career. It is clear that while some steps have been made for greater diversity and equality in access and progression, obstacles still remain and there is work to be done. It is important that leaders, especially those from minority groups, share their experiences in a candid and honest way and talk about how they made it to where they are. Visible role models are so important in giving others confidence and creating a sense of belonging in the profession. One or two individuals who reach the top cannot make as much difference as having an entire profession which is reflective of society as a whole, particularly at senior levels. ■

I. Stephanie Boyce

President of the Law Society of England and Wales

CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 13


ARTICLE

Equality of Arms Fairness for members? We’ll get back to you Paul Sharma The Law Society of England & Wales has been staring in the face an issue of fairness for its members. WHLS’s Immediate Past President, Paul Sharma, argues that it looks as if they are sitting on their hands.

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he Equality of Arms issue is an opportunity that the Law Society’s managers could grab with both hands and provide benefits for their members. I raised the issue at a meeting of the Westminster & Holborn Law Society earlier this year. We heard arguments and decided that the national Law Society should use their funds to protect their members. Now, other Law Society members are taking the Equality of Arms campaign seriously. You can see this over the past few weeks when The Law Society Gazette carried articles about this subject. Over 50 members have commented – more than most issues. Members are concerned about the support they receive if they have to face the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (“SDT”). They know that a complaint that has to be defended at the Tribunal can kill careers. They know that any member can face the might of a Tribunal that is armed with experienced and skilled lawyers and facilitated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s open cheque book. What arms does an ordinary memberhave? If members need to be regulated, and they do, they also need fairness. One of 51 comments on the Gazette stories about Equality of Arms stated: “I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed on the treatment of young Solicitors. Unfortunately, the regulatory system for Solicitors is not fit for purpose in its entirety.” The campaign has pushed open a window of change. Filling the gap Solicitors, Leigh Day, have been addressing the issue. They have had a number of conferences that focused on how the SDT impacted on Black and Asian members. They have drawn up policy that looks to using insurance to fill the gap in the equality of arms. They are committed to continuing this work. In fact, they are filling a gap left by the Law Society. So, what about the managers of the Law Society? They are happy to present their aims on their website. They state: “We’re the independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales. We’re run by and for our members. We are the voice of solicitors…protect everyone’s right to have access to justice.” Sounds good. What have they said about Equality of Arms? Law Society managers In The Law Society Gazette on 11 October 2021, the article, ‘Society ponders SDT support for lawyers’, a Society spokesperson acknowledged1 inequality of arms and put

14 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

forward a higher burden of proof in Tribunals as a solution. The spokesperson also said: “We are looking at ways to offer more support to members appearing in the SDT, within the limits of what we are able to do under the regulatory regime.” This is good but…it is not my experience of the Society. Between April and May this year, I contacted the Society to find out what their position was and what action the Society was taking. When nothing came of it, I wrote again in August. Their response was: ‘Is the campaign getting traction with many solicitors?’ The SDT has an administrative team of 16 people. It spends around £3m a year and spends around £500,000 on cases. Before equality of arms became an issue, the SDT developed a set of key performance measures. These were: diversity, an administrative team that listens to members, providing information to respondents and the time advocates felt they had to present their case. A key performance measure absent was whether respondents had paid-for legal representation. Law Society members will need to thrash out the best, costeffective way of supporting its members. It assembled a working group to develop policy on climate change, even though the government is happy to give free advice to businesses. The Society should be able to do similar for an issue that is central for its members. One member, Claire Matthews, felt the consequences of a Society that was not on her side. A simple mistake, leaving documents on a train, eventually led to her going up against the Tribunal. She was frightened. She was scared. And being unable to afford legal representation, she was on her own. She was struck off and tumbled into a downward spiral. She has a ray of hope thanks to Leigh Day who has taken up her case on a pro bono basis. We all need a ray of hope. This issue is crying out for advocates in local law societies, among the practice and personal characteristic groups – particularly the Junior Lawyers Division - and on the Law Society Council. I will certainly raise this issue with the Council and insist on a response similar to their climate change efforts. The Society recognises equality of arms when it comes to legal aid. It should do same for its own members. ■

Paul Sharma

Immediate Past President, Westminster & Holborn Law Society and Law Society Council Member for Holborn 1. https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/society-ponders-sdtsupport-for-lawyers/5110111.article


ARTICLE

“Rotten Culture” The myth and misinformation surrounding Junior Solicitors Paul Bennett

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n a powerful speech widely reported the former President of this esteemed local Law Society, Westminster & Holborn, Paul Sharma denounced what the Law Society Gazette referred to as a “rotten legal culture” and suggested that “young solicitors are being hauled up before the SDT in disproportionate numbers for small mistakes and losing their careers”. The intention was clearly noble, the reality though is somewhat different. As a Practitioner before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) I have always acted for both law firms and individuals. The vast majority of those firms and individuals before the SDT are senior lawyers, statistically aged 40 to 60 with twice as many men appearing1. Those in a position of authority with the opportunity to abuse a privileged position either by dint of being a partner, a sole practitioner or in a position of significant influence over others. The role gives an opportunity. In reality few junior solicitors come before the SDT but when they do the profile of those cases tend to be high profile. In the 2017 case James, in which I acted, the SDT Judgment found she was working in a “toxic” environment. This case triggered a period of navel gazing into the defects within the culture across England and Wales, partly as we ran a PR campaign to try and support the position on appeal through awareness raising. When it was decided by the SDT James stood alone in an oasis away from numerous other decisions over the previous decade. Unfortunately within 6 weeks it had been followed by two other cases which were ultimately all conjoined together to be heard in the High Court when the SRA appealed. The unintended consequence of the Tribunal’s focus on the toxic culture was that it triggered a debate. It was a muchneeded debate. It has led to many good and subtle changes across law firms throughout England and Wales. The improved focus on mental health, in supporting young solicitors and a rising awareness both of the increased expectations of the younger cohort of the profession but also the evolving and necessary focus on thinking about the impact of mental health. I do though take issue with Mr Sharma’s portrayal of young solicitors being hauled before the SDT and disproportionate numbers for small mistakes. The cases before the SDT simply do not bear this out. They are as they always have been, dominated by cases of abuse of senior position. That is not junior lawyers. As for the suggestion that small mistakes lead to the losing of careers again any factual analysis shows this to be incorrect. Where junior lawyers have lost their careers, they have done so because of dishonesty and because of the cover up. I spoke to the Junior Lawyers’ Division of the Law Society of England and Wales Annual Conference in May of 2018, and what I said then I stand by all this time later, if you

make a mistake stick your hand up explain what has happened and ask for assistance in minimising the impact on the client. We all occasionally make mistakes. We therefore have to create a culture of openness, transparency and of accepting our errors. You can look to sport if you ever want to see numerous examples of outstanding performers who make errors, learn from the defeat or the mistake and come back stronger. We must, as part of our approach of trying to support of junior lawyers, encourage them to be resilient and encourage them to be open and transparent. The political cliché of it is the cover up that ends the political career is equally applicable to law. If you cover up a mistake, however minor that mistake in itself maybe, you will end your career because of the coverup and the fact that that contains an element of dishonesty. The SDT guidance on sanctions 8th edition which was published in December 2020, repeats trite law in relation to the purpose of sanctions. It refers specifically to the case of Bolton v The Law Society [1994] 1WLR 512 which sets out the fundamental principle including the purpose of imposing any sanction by the Tribunal as being: “Any solicitor who is shown to have discharged his professional duties with anything less than complete integrity, probity and trustworthiness must expect severe sanctions to be imposed upon him by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal … a penalty may be visited on a solicitor… in order to punish him for what he has done to deter any other solicitor tempted to behave in the same way…”. Whether 1 day qualified or 50 years qualified you must act with complete integrity. The purpose of sanction is not to punish, it is to deter others from behaving in the same way. In the case of the junior lawyers that have hit the headlines over the last 5 years or so the outcome has always been about that integrity, probity and trustworthiness and sending the message to others not to cover up the mistakes. In fairness to Mr Sharma, he makes one isolated point that I would love to see this Law Society explore further. There is an inequality of arms once cases reach the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The reality is the SRA has a experienced professional regulatory specialist team, they contract with a specialist firm of solicitors to provide external advice and they utilise external Counsel and Queen’s Counsel extensively. Continued on next page

CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 15


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Continued from previous page By contrast, most individuals appearing before the Tribunal are funding their own case so only if they are wealthy will instruct somebody with experience and competence to defend the matters. Undoubtedly the outcomes when they do are stratospherically different. Those who can afford specialist legal advice will naturally get better outcomes. There is one other issue which is not touched on within the pieces I have seen linked to Mr Sharma’s speech, but is fundamental to both supporting junior lawyers and where the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SDT) can rightly be criticised. The Legal Services Act 2007 permits the introduction by the SRA of Fitness to Practice proceedings meaning that those who are unwell, whether physically or mentally, can be protected from Disciplinary Sanctions by focusing on ensuring they are well rather than focusing on misconduct. The SRA has abdicated its responsibility to bring in any such rules. The SDT does not have any right to bring these rules in. For all the anger and furore that has been directed at the SDT, in policy terms it is clear that the SDT is supportive of a Fitness to Practice regime, and for the small number of junior lawyer related cases it would have given the SDT other outcome options.

In summary therefore I would encourage junior lawyers, and those who supervise junior lawyers, reading this piece to take a breath to ignore the nonsense and to focus on the fact that if you are open, transparent and trustworthy it is okay to make a mistake. If your supervisor lacks proper management skills and cannot cope with your mistakes that is unfortunate, it is unpleasant, but ultimately do not be tempted to cover up just to appease someone who cannot manage you effectively. Be open, be transparent and be honest you will then be at no risk of being struck off. For firms, focus on your supervisors – good managers make a huge difference. ■

Paul Bennett

Partner Bennett Briegal LLP 1. “Trusted to the ends of the earth?” An analysis of solicitors’ disciplinary processes in England and Wales from 1994 to 2015 Andrew Boon & Avis Whyte, published March 2021. Other studies of more recent decisions exist but this covers every decision during a twenty-one year period.

3 Key Law Firm Trends for 2022 and 3 Key Legal Client Trends

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here’s one thing that legal firms who are growing their revenues do more of than other firms: embrace cloudbased and client-centred technology. That’s according to research from practice management software provider Clio’s brand-new Legal Trends Report, which looked at technology adoption among firms.

In 2018, only 23% of consumers were open to working with a lawyer remotely. Now, as shown in the 2021 Legal Trends Report, much of this change is client-led:

Following on insights from last year’s report, which showed significant levels of technology adoption among law firms, this year’s research indicates that new technology-enabled capabilities are part of a longer-term shift that will be further driven by consumer demand for more remote-enabled legal services.

■ 79% of consumers see the ability to work remotely with a lawyer as a key factor in choosing who to work with. ■ 67% said they would look for a lawyer offering both remote and in-person options when searching for a lawyer. ■ 58% want the option to have a consultation through video.

The Key Actions of Growing Firms The 2021 Legal Trends Reports observed that growing firms (that is, firms who had on average increased their revenues by 135% since 2013), had adopted cloud-based client-centred solutions at much greater rates than other firms. Overall, those firms who were growing were:

These are just some of the findings from Clio’s recent Legal Trends Report, which has been published annually for six years. Now widely considered the trusted resource for insights into the current and future state of legal, it comprises the aggregated and anonymised data from tens of thousands of legal professionals and surveys from both lawyers and consumers, Clio constructs a holistic picture of the legal industry today, and what the future trends are likely to be.

■ 41% more likely to use online client portals ■ 46% more likely to use online client intake and relationship management solutions ■ 37% more likely to be using online payment solutions Client-Led Change The increased adoption of technology also reflects a massive change in legal client attitudes and expectations. 16 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

The 2021 Legal Trends Report is available to download for free at clio.com/ltr-london. To learn more about how Clio supports growing law firms and how it can support innovation at your law firm, visit www.clio.com/uk. ■


ARTICLE

Climate change and the legal profession I

n the run-up to the United Nations COP26 summit in Glasgow in November 2021, the Law Society published1 a climate change resolution, its first foray into the field. Without having undertaken a poll, solicitors seem to be divided into two groups: those who say ‘Hurray, at last’, and others who go ‘This has nothing to do with the legal profession’. From my own experience, the large firms tend to be within the ‘Hurray, at last’ camp. They are already deep into the consequences of climate change. That is not surprising when considering that it is estimated that the City of London’s financial markets, if they collectively formed a country, would be among the world’s top ten carbon emitters through financing carbon emissions. Obviously, those who act for clients in the energy sector will already be advising on green issues. But beyond that, regulators and supervisors in the financial sector require regulated companies and their advisers to start identifying, managing and disclosing climate-related financial risks. In-house lawyers in the sector must advise on a wide range of reporting guidelines. Pension fund trustees are expected to identify and manage climate risks in their investment portfolios and inform stakeholders accordingly. But the biggest challenge faced by the large firms is the accusation that they are professional enablers of climate change through the perfectly lawful work that they undertake for carbon emitters. Some now face2 climate activists demonstrating on their doorstep, or are named and shamed in lists3 of which law firms are performing worst in relation to the climate. And their junior lawyers may refuse to act for clients which damage the climate. Many lawyers would like their professional organisation to provide help and solutions with the ethical issues raised, which can be summarised in this way: how does a solicitor balance a duty to the public interest with the duty to the client? On the one hand, there is the public interest (not to damage the climate); on the other hand, there are traditional principles such as the right of a lawyer not to be identified with the client’s interest, the right to undertake perfectly lawful work for a client without harassment or intimidation, and the right of everyone to have representation. Will there one day be a duty on a solicitor to report on the damage to the climate that the client is proposing, rather like duties in some jurisdictions to report on a client if there is imminent danger of death or physical damage, or the current duty to disclose a tax avoidance scheme? In this light, the role of a professional body becomes clearer, to formulate views and guidance for the profession, which will help lawyers to be ready for requirements which might eventually be imposed by others.

But it is a mistake to think that climate change issues are for the big firms alone. Already now, a law firm’s climate change policies are a part of its attractiveness to future clients, and will soon doubtless become a necessity for being on panels of lawyers. The profession needs assistance in drawing up meaningful policies, since legal services are part of a supply chain. At present, the profession has a low carbon footprint in respect of its own activities, but there are some who propose that service suppliers like lawyers should have to report on their indirect contribution to climate damage by the work that they undertake for clients. And in any case, small law firms are the ones acting for the growing group of victims of climate damage, for instance those affected by fires or floods. The government’s Net Zero Strategy will also affect many small firms’ legal advice, on policies such as accelerating the installation of heat pumps in private housing, making it harder for mortgages to be offered for badly insulated homes, and moving from fuel cars to electric vehicles. Climate change is a new area for lawyers, with its own way of looking at the law and using it as a tool. It is not just an aspect of environmental law. For instance, major cases holding governments to account in Europe, so that they keep within their emissions targets, have been brought under the European Convention of Human Rights as a part of human rights law. Climate change is an existential event, which, if not tackled, will make most of our other concerns pointless. That is why, accompanying its recent resolution, the Law Society launched a resource hub4 of existing material to help the profession. ■

Jonathan Goldsmith Law Society Council Member

1. https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/climate-change/ creating-a-climate-conscious-approach-to-legal-practice 2. https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/green-campaigners-liedown-outside-slaughter-and-may/5103272.article 3. https://www.ls4ca.org/ 4. https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/climate-change/

CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 17


INTERVIEW

Fraser Whitehead

talks to Amanda Lathia of TWM Solicitors

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fter a long association with this local law society Fraser Whitehead has moved on. His career began in 1973 in Chancery Lane as an articled clerk with a firm now part of DLA Piper. Forty-six years later, having worked for only one other firm and moving no further than Gray’s Inn Road, a full-time career came to end just doors from where it began. AL Has much changed in that time? FW Well yes and the pace of change is increasing. Let us start with training. In 1973 I would spend one day a week at Companies House doing searches and another doing the outdoor clerking at the courts and the rest sitting with my “Principal”. We were not employees but chartered “to be bound to and obey” and sometimes unpaid or even having to pay for the privilege. Most of the partners wore bowler hats. Mine lunched at Simpsons. As law graduates, we had passed the legal theory exams taken over five gruelling days, but it was learning by rote. “Pay cash is not a cheque,” lingers on, with many others. There was no practical training so there was a lot of trial and error and therefore little client contact. One of my first responsibilities was to draft a deed adding a new partner to a large accountancy client. I thought it would be an opportunity to also rearrange the partners names alphabetically. It was not, apparently, but I somehow survived. So, training is very much improved though it is easy to see why some view the new PQE regime as a step back. The legal support and technology changes have been substantial and perhaps more than you can imagine. In 1973 we had a machine room with a small photo copier and a very large metal box from which a specialist typist that could produce an original deed and a duplicate. When I joined Russell Jones & Walker in 1975 it was known as a relatively progressive London firm. As in other firms, many senior fee earners were legal executives, very able but often with no formal professional qualifications. I was one of about thirty lawyers, as we were all known to imply a less hierarchical structure. But all lawyers were male and all white. Women in the firm worked in secretarial and administrative support functions. On the first day, being a solicitor, I was given a largish office with a desk, a large chair, a pen and ink holder, a large blotting paper holder and a pile of files. There was a second smaller chair where my secretary would later sit to take shorthand and produce typed letters with carbon copies for the file. I read the files, read large books from the library shelves, dictated letters and drafted documents. I recall being impressed with the eloquence of my first outputs. Asking smugly if I had really said what I now read. “Not exactly” was the smiling reply. On become a partner in 1978 aged twenty-seven, I moved to an even bigger room. After forty-five years and now very senior, I was sharing a desk, in a large open space, where I read files and books on a screen and mostly typed slow and badly using auto correct and spell check. For most of the last few years I reported to a woman from the other side of the world. I learned a lot. So, the technology firm culture and structure had changed but the core job had not. Read, think, get it right, advise, do. 18 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

When I stated in the law partnerships were limited to twenty and even the largest firms were small to medium by today’s standards, and the profession was just over 40,000. Both have increased enormously, and we are no longer just profession owned businesses. In the last five years it has been noticeable that the application of technology has leapt forward and now is not only assisting but reshaping the qualified lawyer function. I cannot see the profession continuing to increase in size and it will more likely shrink. Probably we will have to reclassify both what we mean by the word lawyer and, more importantly, what distinguishes the title solicitor, if we are to retain value in that brand. AL You worked for Slater & Gordon in specialised litigation. Could you tell me more about your time with that firm? FW We need to start with Russell Jones and Walker which was known as the blue-chip claimant dispute resolution firm, and where I enjoyed a long and successful career for nearly forty years. In 1975 we had just joined the EU and the Sex Discrimination Act had become law in November. In 1976 I brought a Tribunal case for a Ms Garland against her employer BREL. It was the first sex discrimination case to be referred by the House of Lords to the European Court of Justice and we won. The case also established principle of direct effect of EU law. So, a relatively glittering start. As a firm mostly representing workers and unions at time when labour relations were dominating the news we were working at the heart of the political and legal agenda. In 1980 I was back in the House of Lords in the leading case on secondary strike action and winning, having lost before Lord Denning in the Court of Appeal. We steadily grew the business from four partners in one office to a fifty-partner firm with ten offices thought the UK, with an excellent client base and a classified as a top fifty firm. I headed a number of departments over that time, and we had a well-run and cohesive partnership. There was a strong work ethic but also a lot of fun. We had the balance just right. You see much less of that in firms today. In 2012, then one of the largest firms in our fields, we were taken over by Slater & Gordon. In sense, and as it turned out, a victim of own success. S&G was an international and publicly listed law firm based in Australia with a similar client base and a particular strength in class actions. I switched from my then role of Head of Group litigation in RJW to a similar role in S&G and joined the UK Board. We remained part of the international listed law firm until 2017 when S&G internationally experienced serious debt problems and was taken over by an American Hedge Fund, who broke us off from the Australian PLC. I was the last member of the UK LLP other than the hedge fund, who now own both but as separate businesses. In my final year I was involved in cases in the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. I concluded my last case, a group action, at a late-night ADR on my 68th birthday. We finished just in time for a beer. There are now almost no RJW people left at S&G. The firm is much changed and today seems to be barely a law firm. It is sad to have no alma mater to be proud of. AL What attracted you to litigation? FW In training I had experienced, commercial, commercial property and commercial litigation work and my fourth and final was to


INTERVIEW

be private client. I lasted only taking evidence for one restraining injunction and asking to be moved. I went to insurance Litigation acting for Lloyds syndicates and a light came on. But it also showed me that I wanted to be more engaged with people than institutions and that I was probably acting on the wrong side. But still torn between the alternatives of commercial law and litigation I almost took a position with a firm working in the arts and entertainment industry My life and career would have been very different had I gone that way, but the adrenaline pull, the excitement and challenges experienced in litigation, and the desire to win, ruled the day. I have no regrets about the decision. I took the role as a commercial litigator at RJW working initially, as it turned out, on litigation for Lloyds and in the entertainment industry. However, within a few months I was also working on cases in the firm’s main practice. It was not long before I realised that securing and enforcing the rights of individuals was my cause. AL Do you have a memorable case or cases that changed or affected you in some way? FW I was blessed with a very dynamic and exciting caseload during most of my career. I had many cases in the House of Lords/ Supreme Court and could not count how many times I acted in the Court of Appeal. The Thatcher government was professional blessing and all the better because most cases succeeded. It would be difficult to pick out one from many headlines. Certainly, it would include ones I lost and could not appeal, usually for financial reasons. In the early days of sex discrimination legislation, the judiciary were reluctant converts and we lost cases that today would not be defended. One example that still irks, was against the Daily Mail on behalf of the telesales adds staff, who were almost all women. They worked around core hours which enabled the mostly working mothers to arrange childcare provisions. The Mail unilaterally changed the hours bringing them forward and making satisfactory child-care arrangements impossible. We lost in the Court of appeal to the astonishment of all involved and I have never forgotten that day. Later I managed to stop the sequestration of the print union funds during the Wapping dispute, using an argument based on the law against perpetuities, but it was a nasty fight. I still do not buy Murdoch papers. One of my last cases involving the Supreme Court, concerned what we alleged was the racial and religious racial discrimination of civil servants by HMG which we lost. It centred on the use of closed (security sensitive) material and the extent that such material hampered the proper and fair judicial resolution of legal issues. I still believe there must be a better way, if we are to be confident that justice is done in such cases. I would like to see that achieved. It will return as an issue. AL Tell me about the Blackwell Committee and what your role within that entailed? FW The Blackwell Committee was set up by the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, to examine the emerging issue of unqualified claims managers involvement in the handling of employment and of personal injury cases and the potential adverse impact on consumers. Our work was completed in about 2000 and on the then evidence we did not recommend any reform. But ten years later the non-qualified market had grown, and I was asked to assist in establishing a regulatory framework which led to what was the very effective Claims Management Regulator but is now subsumed into the FCA, which I think may prove to be a bad move. I also had some success in my appointment to the Legal Costs Advisory Council, too much perhaps, as it was abolished by David Cameron in 2010 and only recently have civil inter party rate increases been officially restored.

AL Alongside your career, it is quite clear that you have an interest in the underdog and in supporting charities. FW You are right if you mean those with the lesser power and resources which of course means most citizens. I have acted exclusively for claimants and individuals for most of my career apart from a brief foray representing small business against the big banks over interest rate hedge mis selling and which I thoroughly enjoyed. That is not to imply that I see all business as bad but that I prefer, in winning, to be putting right what is wrong. As to Charities I am a doer and not a giver, so I give time not money and I have always been involved in one or more as lawyer, manager, or helper and that and will continue to be. I do see it as doing the best with a bad option. It is a state responsibility. AL What is your view of Legal Aid today? There has been a lot of commentary in the legal press and national press about the cuts that have been made. What do you think can or should be done to improve access to justice for those who most need it, especially the poorest? FW Legal Aid was relatively new when I qualified. It began funding cases in a substantial way in the early seventies and solicitors though local law societies, including Holborn and Westminster (they were separate back then), were heavily involved and responsible for approving Legal Aid applications. It was a vastly different system to the one now but then the usage has changed as the volume of cases going through the courts now is so much greater than it was. I have always believed justice like health should being a level playing field available on equal footing to all and through a form of state support for those who cannot afford it. However, the relative high cost of legal services now, compared with then, is a factor which we as a profession have a part in. That leads me to the view that Legal Aid as we knew it is not now a deliverable answer. I have always though that some form of state defender would be better in the criminal justice system. Yes, delivering real independence and sufficient funding will be a struggle particularly when the public are encouraged to see it as there for someone else not them. But the pandemic may have revived our understanding of the need to fund the key planks of society through taxation. So, it might yet be deliverable. In civil cases restoring the cost follow the event system albeit with a recognition of proportionality is necessary. Lord Justice Jackson is quite wrong in recently claiming success. I am reminded of the words of Tacitus “they make a desert, and they call it peace.” For ordinary people, the ability to get justice at proportionate cost is now very limited and depends on decent lawyers doing the decent thing and a climate that makes that possible. Part of the problem is the increase in complexity in the legal system. The judges are responsible for setting the civil procedure rules and they should aim to simplify not just reengineer complexity as they have often done. We cannot continue with rules anticipating full trial nor replace them with Justice lite. And we must look at ourselves and the pressure on fee generation. If the profession cannot also deliver, we will be cut out of the dispute resolution system and may be even by AI. There is an expression about geese and eggs well worth remembering. AL During your career you also had a long tenure at the national Law Society, where you were a council member, chaired a number of committees and projects and you were also active in our local law society, serving on our committee and being president. Why, and can you describe some of the memorable projects you helped to deliver, including the 12-year rule? FW Why, is because it is within the Council and in particular in the committees of Council and the Society, where things can get done that make a difference. Continued on next page CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 19


INTERVIEW

Continued from previous page So yes, I was a very active member and committee member. I chaired the civil litigation committee, and I chaired the civil justice committee, the legal affairs and policy board and was a member of the management board. Each added something to the legal landscape. I also chaired several sub-committees including consumer rights working parties and cost-working parties. Finally, I chaired the council membership committee which is where I was able to reform the basis of council, to make it more relevant to today’s profession. I like to think we have made huge strides in the reforms that went through including the 12-year rule which delivers more frequent fresh thinking. Some did not like me promoting that and in fact, council narrowly voted against it. I accepted that decision, but others took it forward, rightly in my view, and brought it to being. As to changing the make-up of council, we have this year, for the first time, elected women in the proportion that they are in the profession (51%). When I joined the council in 1979 there were three women out of sixty-five members, so I am very pleased about helping put that right. We also had a real increase in the number of ethnic minority members who are now almost 30%. We have new seats for family, for corporate, for In House and for junior lawyers. I hope the reforms will be a success, but time will tell. It is paramount that we have a council that is relevant to the profession and that the profession can identify with. AL What drives your passion for reform and governance? FW Well, I am one of those so called awful “leftie lawyers” and it is sort of in my DNA. I would put it down to wanting things to work better and to work for those they are meant to work for. I am driven by a keen sense of justice and fairness. Delivering those has been the guiding principles of my career. Recognising that sometimes you have to lose in order to win, has been harder. AL What do you think is the future of law societies in general and specifically WHLS? FW When I joined Holborn Law Society, in 1984, it was seen as one of the most influential local law societies in England and Wales. Only the city was held in higher regard with Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham on a par. Today all the urban centres outside London have a much bigger voice than Holborn and Westminster and the City is way ahead. That is a disappointment but we as a profession and in London, have increasingly undervalued the importance of our relationship with Chancery Lane. The relationship between a local law society and the Council, our governing body is the most important relationship, and we need to rebuild that connection to give us and our members a better sense of relevance. Another change is that those active in the local law societies were often at the pinnacle of their careers and often big players in their firms because feeding into Council as a regulator, was a route to benefitting firms from a commercial perspective. But those days have gone and will not return, and the local law society structure has yet to sufficiently reinvent itself except in the main provincial urban centres, where it has. It is more challenging in London because of the proximity to Chancery Lanes. Offering really good networking opportunities are probably the key. I have always believed – and this was part of my reform program that was not successful – that local law societies cannot succeed if they continue to be and think small. Part of the reform proposals was regionalisation of Council constituencies. So, for example we would have an in East Anglia a constituency seat comprising the current seats of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, Bedford, and Essex to make it more effective and for the members collectively to make a more powerful contribution. This is why I also have been campaigning for a Central London Law Society to replace the three current three local law societies outside the city, to bring 20 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

more members together. WHLS may not be around in a few years’ time if we do not focus on being bigger. AL You were a director and now trustee of the Mary Ward Legal Centre; were an advisor and council member of the Islington Free Legal Advice Centre. You also founded a charity supporting single parent families and chaired the Children’s Accident Prevention Trust. How in your view have free legal centres changed over the years and how significant is their role in society? FW There were many more law centres in 1975 when I qualified than there are now and there were plenty of willing volunteers. I am still involved in the Islington one. Law centres remain an important source, not always of delivering full legal services, but in assisting with their delivery. Being voluntary they cannot usually manage claims or cases because they do not have the resources. I do think they need to have good working relationships with appropriate local firms who they can feed cases into and where they know matters will be dealt with properly, taking into account the ability of the individuals who are referred to make a financial contribution which is probably negligible. AL It can be difficult for a client to have their case managed by one individual because volunteers change from day to day. Has this always been a problem at law centres? FW In the law centres where I have volunteered, that has not been an issue. We kept the case papers in the centres so if you were away, someone else could pick up the file and at least advise the client what was happening. That was important. Whilst one lawyer cannot do everything on a case, you cannot have a case with more than one decision leading on delivering the client interest. But it is an increasing problem in mainstream practice too and in the over devalued commoditised sector where tech rules. I am involved as a client in two matters currently. In one I can just about recognise the client solicitor relationship and my interest being pursued, but in the other, not at all and it has been a shock to see how far we have descended. AL Finally, in what direction do you think – or hope – our profession is going? FW The mainstream will always follow the money and there is no harm in that but ours is not just a job. We are delivering part of the wider public interest and our role is to make sure that the cogs of society turn properly whether in the dispute resolution, property transactions, securing justice or whatever. We need to be good at what we do, and we need secure improvement to the law where we can. It is not about us. So, I do think that we need to better demonstrate our commitment to promoting fairness and proper access to justice and to legal rights wherever we work, because the justice system and the existence of rights are the cornerstone of society. The fact that we are now so often restating this is an indication that it is slipping away. It needs to be re embedded. AL What are you doing now and what is in store for you next? FW I am a freelancer and a consultant. I will keep my active interest in the law going for a few more years but after working in large businesses what you can achieve on your own is limited. I passed through Holborn recently and realised that for the first time in almost fifty years I had no daily engagement with the area. Getting used to that may be the hardest challenge, but I will continue to support you where I can. ■


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Getting busier? Support your legal cashier! Alex Simons

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here are many areas of the legal profession that have seen a dramatic rise in demand in the last 18 months. Areas such as conveyancing, wills, probate and matrimonial have all seen significantly higher demands due to the impact of COVID-19 and various lockdowns. This has increased pressure on legal practices. The impact however does not just affect the solicitors who are handling the cases on the front line, it also affects the back-office staff and of course the legal cashier/accounts department. Legal practices have been increasing their compliment of legal staff as they grow but this is not always the case for the accounts department. Quite often it is down to one or two individuals to handle all financial transactions. With exponential growth this can cause problems where the cashier cannot cope. The firm needs to recognise growth and help by putting measures in place to support the cashier so that nothing slips. The key to the support is for the firm to fully understand how the accounts department operates. Review the operations undertaken by the accounts staff and determine whether changes can be made to assist further. Are there processes which appear to take too long end-toend? Is there something that can be put in place to shorten the process and achieve the same result? Review how the case management system (CMS) is being used and see if a small change there can relieve some pressure. Here are some common examples: ■ Are paper slips being used which could be changed to electronic requisitions on the CMS? ■ Can the billing process be altered so that it runs through the CMS using templates, auto-posting to the ledger? ■ Are overheads scheduled properly into payment runs or are they ad-hoc and haphazard?

■ Is the firm still utilising cheques and cash? Can these be changed to electronic transactions? ■ Are there special features on the CMS which could be used to make the whole process smoother, such as automated receipts from clients, bank feeds and auto-reconciliations? ■ Can the firm provide source information such as completion statements/estate accounts to the cashier earlier so they can prepare for completions or legacy payments in advance? It is always easier for a cashier if they know what is heading their way as they can plan accordingly. Training is also an important aspect for any accounts department. Case management systems change continuously with various updates and features. It is crucial for the legal cashier to understand the changes and receive training on them quickly. They can then determine whether those changes can be utilised properly for the benefit of the firm, increasing efficiencies. It is also important to review the CMS itself. Is it out of date? Does the cashier have regular complaints about it? Whilst I always advocate making the most of a system and receiving all training possible, sometimes it is either out of date or not a good fit for how the firm operates. If that is the case, it is better to search for something that works or fits better, than continue using an antiquated package which may be causing more harm than good. Supporting the legal cashier/accounts department during growth is crucial. Not only for their wellbeing, but the wellbeing of the firm. The company needs to know that all aspects of accounts compliance are covered and that nothing is going to slip through the cracks. The only way to accomplish that is to check in, review and support. ■

Alex Simons

New Business Manager The Law Factory LLP

CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 21


ARTICLE

Stop & Search – will it protect or polarise?

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n this article Jennifer Schmidt-Petersen, Programme & Student Lead for Policing Programmes at the University of Law, discusses whether stop and search will polarise or protect society. Will stop and search protect or polarise out society? I think the answer to that depends entirely on how it is being applied and if we can also repair the relationship between the police and the black community. Stop and search is a tool and tools can be used productively or destructively. Personally, I do believe, that police need a tool to search if they are reasonably suspecting that a crime has been committed but it needs to be used correctly and responsibly. The figures showing that black people are significantly more likely to be stopped and searched are problematic and in my view, they are likely to be the result of a number of factors.

published? In my view we should but this is of course not a question for the police but for legislators and society as a whole. Is stop and search effective? Statistically speaking the number of stop and searches leading to an arrest is low, so I think in order to determine if it is effective, we first need to ask ourselves what its purpose is. According to the College of Policing “The primary purpose of stop and search powers is to enable officers to allay or confirm suspicions about individuals carrying unlawful items, without exercising their power of arrest, where the officer has reasonable grounds for carrying out a search.” However, I think we also need to consider the cost and if the perception is that some groups in our society feel victimised by this practise then I think that we need to take that seriously.

It is important to acknowledge problems where they exist. To my mind that also means acknowledging systemic structural injustices and problems engrained in modern society as a whole because they will naturally be reflected in practise.

My personal view is that the solution is not to remove the power to stop and search but, instead, I think we need to look at the underlying issues, one of which in my view is the fractured relationship between the police and the black community. That also means we need to look at police training with regards to stop and search and we also need to start rebuilding mutual trust and understanding.

There is a need to recognize the anger and hurt in people and communities who feel that they are not treated fairly and who may feel powerless and not represented or listened to.

If a situation is ambiguous, which stop and search is likely to be, it is especially important that officers look objectively at why they are stopping and searching someone.

My view is that this anger is not just the result of an isolated incident but of a long-standing history of injustice and structural inequality.

I also think that it is absolutely crucial that stop and search is carried out professionally and correctly as we know that the quality of the interaction will have a huge influence on how both the stop and the officer are perceived.

We also need to be aware that this anger will influence how an individual incident may be perceived and if we want to move to a culture of mutual respect and understanding then perception is a key factor. Why are people being stopped and searched? According to the Metropolitan Police website drugs accounted for the single largest reason for searches carried out by Met officers (59% in 2018/19) instead of being directed at serious or violent crimes.

What role does procedural justice theory play? Procedural justice theory states that if people feel treated fairly and with respect by the police then they will in turn have more respect for them, see them as legitimate and will comply. So I think that tells us two important things here.

Is there are a racist element with regard to how drug policies were developed? Many criminologists and sociologist, including myself, would argue that there is.

1. It is crucial how a stop is conducted and how an officer explains the situation and what is happening 2. A lot of people, especially in the black community, do not feel they are being treated fairly by police. So again, it is vital that we repair that relationship which will be a process that will not happen overnight and it will not happen if we don’t first accept that there is a problem – the problem in my view being the ruptured relationship between the black community and the police.

Should we therefore revisit and revise in the light of the experience and data we have gained since legislation was first

It will not always be possible to please everyone but officers need to be aware of the impact that their actions and the way

So I think one key question to consider here is if we need to look at drug policy. Is our current legislation criminalising particular groups of society and does it need updating?

22 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER


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the search is conducted have. What is ULaw’s BSc (hons) in Professional Policing doing to address these issues? We want policing to be accessible for people from all backgrounds and demographics and we want our students to be part of the change and transformation that is happening in policing.

Jennifer Schmidt-Petersen

Programme & Student Lead for Policing Programmes at the University of Law

We believe that the new generation of police officers has a huge role to play when it comes to making policing more representative and bringing it into the 21st century. Therefore our policing degree not only provides students with the relevant legal knowledge but also introduces them to key psychological concepts related to human behaviour and decision making. This will allow students to understand and analyse psychological mechanisms that can lead to bias, stereotyping, discrimination, and abuses of power. Students will be able to apply those skills to examine their own decision-making process which will enhance reflective ability and facilitate a professional approach. In addition, students will learn about the history of the police and be able to better understand the difficult relationship and history between the police and the black community.

Jennifer is the Programme and Student Lead for Policing Programmes at the University of Law. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and she has a BSc (combined Hons) in Psychology with Criminology as well as Master’s Degrees in both Forensic Psychology and Investigative Psychology. She has previously served in the Metropolitan Police Service as a Police Constable and has successfully passed the National Investigators Exam (NIE). As an academic, Jennifer has extensive experience of teaching in Higher Education across the subjects of policing, criminology and psychology. She has also successfully published in the area of terrorism and counterterrorism.

If you’re interested in a career in policing, learn more about ULaw’s BSc Professional Policing now. ■

Return of the London Legal Walk to Central London – a magnificent Monday!

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ver 8,500 walkers were welcomed to Carey Street in the heart of Legal London for The London Legal Walk on Monday 18 October, organised by the London Legal Support Trust (LLST). The long-awaited return of the event has raised over £600,000 for frontline free legal advice charities in London and the South East. Teams were in high spirits and did not let the autumnal weather get in the way of their sponsored 10k walk. Bob Nightingale MBE, founder of LLST commented, ‘After months of planning and anticipation, we have been so pleased to see our brilliant teams, sponsors and supporters. The amount raised by the legal community will help give a lifeline to many vulnerable people in our society. Thank you to everyone who walked, ran and had fun while raising these vital funds – even in the rain!’. Looking ahead - how you can help in 2022 LLST is now planning for 2022 with the return of the London Legal Walk back in the Summer sunshine on Monday 4 July, amongst other firm favourites including Legal Walkies and regional events.

Sign up to receive regular emails about LLST’s events and activities (link HERE) or email signups@llst.org.uk and please get involved in as many events as possible to fundraise for frontline free legal advice agencies in London and the South East. Promote payroll giving in your firm Payroll giving is one of the easiest, most tax-efficient ways to give. Donors can choose multiple charities to give to every month, and the rest is taken care of. Donations are made from pre-tax income, so a gift goes further, at no cost to the donor. More information can be found here. Charity of the Year Making London Legal Support Trust your Charity of the Year would help raise awareness and funding, and show your organisation’s commitment to supporting access to justice. As your chosen charity of the year, you would be fully supported by the team at LLST. Monthly giving A regular donation helps LLST, and the charities it supports, to plan what funds are expected and how they can be utilised to continue the vital services they provide. More information is here. For more information about other ways you can support the work of the London Legal Support Trust, see our website here or email Nicola Hewitt, Development and Partnerships Manager, at Nicola@llst.org.uk. ■ CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 23


XXXXXXXXXXXX

Report Details Report ID: 123456FAP Date: 01/01/2020

FCI Flood Appraisal Residential

Report Details

Report ID: 123456FAP Date: 01/01/2020

Grid Reference: E: 123456 | N: 123456

FCI Flood Appraisal Commercial

Grid Reference: E: 123456 | N: 123456

Report Reference: Sample Ref

Report Reference: Sample Ref

Requested by: Sample Client

Requested by: Sample Client

Current Use: Residential

Current Use: Commercial

Proposed Use: Residential

Proposed Use: Commercial

Report on:

Sample Site, Street, Town, County, UK

Report on:

Sample Site, Street, Town, County, UK Working in collaboration with

Author:

Aaron Jones, BSc Ashfield Flood Risk Director

Peer Review:

Working in collaboration with

Penny Andrews, BSc MEng MRICS CEnv FCI Operations & Compliance Director

Author:

Aaron Jones, BSc Ashfield Flood Risk Director

Professional Opinion Summary

Flood

Peer Review: Penny Andrews, BSc

MEng MRICS CEnv FCI Operations & Compliance Director

Professional Opinion Summary

PASS

Flood

PASS

Based upon the review of detailed information within this FCI Flood Appraisal, this professional opinion concludes that the Further Action identified within the initial FCI Premium Residential search (Ref: Based report upon the review of further detailed information within this FCI Flood Appraisal, this professional 1234) has been sufficiently investigated and the subject Property can now be considered to beconcludes at an opinion that the Further Action identified within the initial FCI Commercial search report (Ref: acceptably low level of risk. 1234) has been sufficiently investigated and the subject Property can now be considered to be at an

acceptably low level of risk. This summary should be read in conjunction with the full assessment in the following pages of this report, along with any recommendations made. This summary should be read in conjunction with the full assessment in the following pages of this report, along with any recommendations made.

24 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER


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Understanding Surface Water Flooding – Is it Getting Worse? Surface water flooding can be caused by seemingly mundane issues, such as a blocked grate over a drain, or more major issues like inadequate drainage within a new development. It can be about maintenance of ditches, drains or sewers, the clearing of gullies and screens and even how gardens are landscaped. But development in the wrong place can also exacerbate surface water flooding issues. We understand that building on flood plains is a bad idea, but any traditional development will increase the amount of non-porous surfaces, including roads, pavements and drives which will rapidly charge drainage systems, especially when funnelled into a water course.

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urface water flooding occurs when intense rainfall overwhelms drainage systems. In recent years we have seen a significant increase in the frequency of torrential rain causing widespread flooding across the UK and the Met Office’s UK climate projections show more extreme weather events and sea levels rising resulting from climate change. We look at why and what this means for homebuyers into the future. Climate change threats are placing greater danger upon homeowners, increasing the need to understand all types of flood risk, especially during the property purchase process. A recent study from Heriot-Watt University revealed flooding in the UK could increase by an average of 15-35 per cent by 2080 due to the severe effects of climate change. Climate Warming brings More Rainfall Numerous reports in recent years confirm what climate specialists have known for decades and governments are now recognising – climate change is here and is unstoppable. At the top end of current predictions, the Earth could warm at an average of 3°C above preindustrial levels by 2100, having potentially catastrophic effects on low lying communities and large conurbations worldwide when combined with a global sea level rise of up to 2 metres with ice cap melting. If we can contain and reduce emissions globally, in the drive for net zero, such is the UK’s ambition by 2040, the minimum expected average global temperature rise is still 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. With greater warming comes greater moisture in the atmosphere, resulting in more frequent storm systems and increasing rainfall. We have seen a shift in our weather patterns, with the North and West of England and Scotland having wetter winters and the south and east having increasingly drier summers. Higher surface temperatures and increased atmospheric moisture also mean that storm cells can form anywhere across the country, even in areas of lower rainfall. This was seen in parts of West London and Kent this summer when a month’s rain fell in just a few hours. The Impact of Surface Flooding Estimates indicate that over 3.2 million properties in England are at risk from surface water flooding, which causes devastation to communities. The localised nature of heavy rain makes it difficult to predict (source: DEFRA). It can happen many miles from a river or stream, and in unexpected locations simply because there is nowhere else for the rainwater to go.

Older, urban drainage systems were not designed to cope with current localised volumes, resulting in the media pictures of submerged cars in underpasses, or seemingly innocuous dips in residential streets. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) play a key role in reducing and managing the flow of surface water to reduce the effects on our infrastructure. Strengthening building regulations and planning conditions to include these can only be a good thing. Understanding the Impact on Homebuyers As our climate changes and we experience more frequent short bouts of heavy rainfall it is important for homebuyers to be aware of risks that may affect the insurability, and value of their new home. We combine best-in-class data and expertise to analyse how flooding has and could shape your client’s future asset. The FCI Premium Residential Report includes a JBA Floodability assessment, which forms a rating of insurability, giving a clear understanding of flood risk for your client. Where flood risk is highlighted, an FCI Flood Appraisal can be obtained, providing independent expert insight at a property-specific level. The fully manually assessed report is designed to guide and inform all stakeholders within a transaction, including homebuyers or sellers, commercial investors, business owners, lenders/insurers, conveyancers or solicitors, providing the confidence needed to make informed decisions. Complete with a full Professional Opinion from Ashfield Solutions’ expert team and backed by robust Professional Indemnity cover, the report includes a summary of potential impacts to the property, reasoning behind any revision to the flood risk where applicable and an all-important insurability statement. To add further value for the end-client, advice on any potential redevelopment considerations and occupation or operational risks in relation to possible flood events is also provided. For more information on our flood risk assessments in our environmental reports, contact us on 01732 755 180 or email info@futureclimateinfo.com. ■

Penny Andrews

Operations and Compliance Director Future Climate Info

CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 25


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Be careful of the ‘My Client’ mentality and proud of your Team! By Dave Seager, Consulting Adviser to SIFA Professional

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was asked recently to write an article on the importance of the team within a solicitor practice. In that particular piece, I focused on the opportunity, perhaps inspired by the Transparency to show researching customers at an early stage that they will be dealing with a team and not just the lead solicitor or legal executive for the service required.

I stand by the importance of portraying your firm’s team approach on the company website but writing the piece caused me to consider the wider issues on this theme. Most particularly, the potential problem for the firm as a whole of a ‘my client’ mentality. In my own field of financial services this might be where the client only has a relationship with one adviser, and not the financial planning firm as a whole. Quite often this is a thing in the mind of the adviser and not necessarily the client but with so many areas of financial planning linked, it is undoubtedly relatively easy to introduce and encourage an environment of cross referral between specialists within the practice. As there are multiple problems associated with the ‘my client’ mentality it needs to be addressed but this may not be so straight forward in a traditional siloed law firm. To be willing to address the problem, if you accept it exists, then grasping the potential drawbacks is important. From the solicitor practice’s perspective this would focus on two areas; if a solicitor or legal executive leaves the firm, the client will leave with them and also if the firm is seeking investment or even on the market, the value will be enhanced if clients are longstanding and obviously aligned to the firm and not an individual lawyer. From a client’s perspective, they might only be ever offered legal advice by the person with whom they have dealt with and might not be introduced to the wider services available through the firm. The traditional issue for law firms is that new clients tend to arrive with a problem, or a particular issue and firms have not done well at marketing other services and identifying further existing or future needs. As mentioned above this might be simpler in the financial planning arena but since 2019 and the introduction of the ‘firm code of conduct’, there is certainly a wider recognition of the need to address this frailty in the practice model. The key is to market your firm as a type of club, with a fabulous first team, at outset. The ‘about us’ page on your site, aside from the home page, will probably be the most visited, so this section must be

super engaging. This should tie in with how you introduce your team, with images and personalised and friendly biographies, to create that warm, approachable feel. Client newsletters and questionnaires are also valuable tools to assist you to introduce the one-off customer, or the client who has only engaged with one lawyer, to the wider services that might be appropriate, now or in the future, and the other wonderful team members who might deliver them. Getting your team members to write blogs or sections in the newsletters is an excellent way to introduce them. The questionnaire at the outset or even at the completion of the initial service can identify the other legal needs or potential future services and guide which other team members and services you introduce. Lastly, it is critical that your customer or client knows every member of the team delivering the service and not just the lead name. We cannot ignore the constant gripe from clients ‘I could not get hold of my solicitor’ which becomes a non-issue if they are also familiar with the paralegal attached to their matter. Certainly, the pandemic has increased the use of CRM and video meetings have become the new normal and both facilitate more touchpoints with your firm, so ensure those touchpoints widen the client’s relationship with your teams. I cannot ignore the opportunity to finish by recommending that you also consider introducing your firm’s relationships with your carefully selected third parties to whom you will refer. Those financial planners and accountants are key members of your wider team and potential clients looking at your website will take comfort in knowing that your law firm recognises that many aspects of legal advice are inextricably linked with financial and tax advice. ■

Your search for the right financial planning partner starts here. Visit sifa-directory.info/nov21 for more information.

26 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER


JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION

Suzanna Eames elected as Chair of the JLD

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uzanna Eames, previously Deputy Vice President of Westminster and Holborn Law Society and Chair of the WHLS JLD, has been elected as Chair of the national Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division. The Junior Lawyers Division represents LPC students, LPC graduates, trainee solicitors, solicitors up to five years’ qualified and solicitor apprentices, and all junior lawyers which fall within the remit of the Junior Lawyers Division are automatically members. The JLD campaigns on its members’ behalf in relation to issues such as mental health, supervision and training (in particular the SQE). In addition, the Junior Lawyers Division also hosts events for members, including forums for trainees looking for advice in relation to qualification, and forums for newly qualified solicitors who are just starting to build their practice – this year, WHLS and the JLD had a wonderful collaboration in the form of the JLD Annual Conference, which was held in Central London. Should any junior members of WHLS wish to get involved with the Junior Lawyers Division on a national level, please contact Suzanna.Eames@farrer.co.uk, who will be more than happy to help with any queries. ■

WHLS Forthcoming Events 2021-2022 [TBC] 24-27 November 2021 – Opening of the Paris Legal Year & Twinning Ceremony The Society is excited to announce that a delegation will be attending a Twinning Ceremony with the Paris Bar Association. We will also be attending the opening of the Paris Legal Year as well as a number of educational and social events. If any members are interested in joining this trip, please contact our International Committee at cwhlawsoc@gmail.com.

Westminster and Holborn Junior Lawyers

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his is an exciting time to become involved within Westminster and Holborn Junior Lawyers. We are now making provisional plans for events for the upcoming year that our members can attend in person following a long period of only hosting remote events. Our first event is set for the 22nd November 2021 which features 33 Bedford Row and Law Care. The event is a remote event which covers “top tips for drafting” and a talk from Law Care around the theme of well-being and top tips on maintaining your well-being when work pressures increase. We are hosting a welcome drinks in November, the date will be confirmed in due course. We are excited to announce vacancies on the Westminster and Holborn Junior Lawyers Committee. It is an exciting opportunity to get involved and work with young lawyers who are currently facing many challenges in a supportive and friendly environment. If you are keen to get involved, then please let us know. ■

3 December 2021 – Christmas Party at Middle Temple Hall Members are invited to join us as we celebrate the festive season with friends and colleagues in the historic hall at Middle Temple. This event is co-hosted with the Middle Temple Young Barristers Association and the London Young Lawyers Group. The event is free for members and tickets will be available online in due course. [TBC] January 2022 – President’s New Year’s Drinks Our President invites all members to attend a New Year’s celebration kindly sponsored by [Astraea Group Ltd]. This will be an opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues in Astraea Group’s courtyard. February 2022 – Enforcing judgments post-Brexit Join us for what promises to be an engaging and topical panel discussion considering how English judgments can be enforced in the EU and how EU judgments are set to be enforced in England & Wales one year on from the end of the Brexit transition period. This event is co-hosted with our colleagues at the Rechtsanwaltskammer Köln (Cologne Bar Association). This will be hosted via Zoom with more details to follow in due course. Additional events are under discussion. If you have suggestions or would like to host an event, please contact the committee at cwhlawsoc@gmail.com. The website calendar also shows our events www.cwhls.org.uk. ■ CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 27


JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION

Improper petitions: is it their fault? Felicia Munde The Judgment in Re Yorston and others (Matrimonial Causes Act 1973: Improper Petitions) [2021] EWFC 801 makes for an interesting read.

This Judgment emphasises two issues: the increasing popularity of DIY divorces and the pressing need for a ‘nofault’ system.

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The petitions had been referred to the High Court by the Judge in charge of the Divorce Unit at Bury St Edmunds. It was found to be “quite impossible for each of 28 respondents to have behaved in exactly the same way as the other 27” and all 28 petitions were dismissed.2

As a result of the legal aid cuts to family law services and the launch of an online application system, we are seeing more and more people now undertaking off the shelf DIY divorces. This can cause problems down the line such as divorce petitions being sent back or defended, increasing the time a divorce takes and raising frustration for all parties involved. A study conducted by Resolution in 2017 found that 40 percent of all DIY divorce applications had to be sent back because of an error or incomplete application.4 Admittedly this statistic is somewhat outdated, but the message is clear nevertheless.

Currently, the law requires parties to demonstrate that one of them is to blame for the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage, unless they wait for a period of two years separation or more. This can make an already emotionally charged situation worse, leading to denials and counter claims, slowing down the process and costing more money.

Early legal intervention is often key for parties to have a positive and constructive outcome. However, with the increasing number of online websites that sell parties the off the shelf tools to file a “cost-effective”, “straightforward” divorce, it is unlikely that us family lawyers will see the end of DIY divorces and the negative implications that they might have on parties.

It is for this reason that divorce petitions rarely outline the many complex reasons for a marriage breakdown. A YouGov survey found that “more than 27% of couples citing behaviour admitted that their claims were not true but were the easiest way of getting a divorce”.3

In more positive news, family lawyers can rest assured that the legal process of divorce will be fundamentally transformed in April 2022 with the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorces, diminishing the need for confrontation within the family justice system. The tangible changes we will see include parties being able to apply jointly for a divorce and one spouse (or both) to send short statements to the court as conclusive evidence of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which cannot be contested. There will be a minimum of 20 weeks between the divorce application and conditional order (decree nisi) and another 6 weeks between the conditional order (decree nisi) and final order (decree absolute), so that couples have an opportunity to discuss and finalise practical arrangements. So, while the breakdown of their marriages may not be the fault of the parties; accepting the risks that come with DIY divorce packages might continue to be. ■

n the recent High Court Judgment, 28 divorce petitions lodged by the same company were dismissed after finding that the particulars of behaviour were absolutely identical to each other.

Thankfully, the law is set to change under the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 on 6 April 2022 to herald a new era of ‘no-fault’ divorces in which parties do not have to place blame. ‘No-fault’ divorces were first introduced to the political agenda in 2015 and were passed through the House of Commons in June 2020. The interested party in the case of Re Yorston and others (Matrimonial Causes Act 1973: Improper Petitions) [2021] EWFC 80 stated that they were trying to use amicable and neutral language that did not point blame, in a move towards ‘no-fault’ divorces. Admittedly, changes to the out-dated fault-based divorce system are long overdue, however the High Court Judgment highlights that until ‘no-fault’ divorces are established under the law, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage must be proved in the traditional way. The requirement to prove unreasonable behaviour is no empty formality and parties must continue to put forward genuine reasons to justify a divorce. In his Judgment, Mr Justice Moor had even considered referring the interested party to the Director of Public Prosecutions on the basis that providing 28 identical and generic divorce petitions was potentially a crime of perverting the course of justice, however he concluded that there would be insufficient public benefit and therefore disproportionate to do so.

28 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

Felicia Munde

Solicitor Dawson Cornwell 1. https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/HCJ/2021/80.html 2. Re Yorston and others (Matrimonial Causes Act 1973: Improper Petitions) [2021] EWFC 80 3. No Fault Divorce – Tuesday 13 October 2015 – Hansard – UK Parliament 4. https://resolution.org.uk


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The 10 Laws of LinkedIn:

Best Practices for Legal Professionals A

t Quill, we think of our combination of legal software and services as your law firm’s best friend. But there’s a second-best friend on the block: LinkedIn. LinkedIn is perfect for any aspiring law firm to stamp its mark on a competitive digital world, find new clients and search for talented hires all under one roof, and all for free. 94% of lawyers are using LinkedIn but not all of them are using it well. That’s why we’ve put together the 10 laws of LinkedIn… Law #1 – Focus on YOU Be prepared to put yourself in the spotlight. While it’s important for your law firm to have its own company page, people connect with people, not logos. Posts from personal accounts generate higher engagement than those from company pages. However, you don’t want your company page to gather dust. Keep resharing content from yourself and other team members. Law #2 – Put a face to the name Adding a professional image to your profile is essential. Smile and accompany with a branded cover photo to build a positive connection between your face and your brand. Your LinkedIn profile is the first impression for people arriving at your profile, so give them a reason to stay. Law #3 – Grab the headlines With over 770 million users on LinkedIn, your headline is an opportunity to explain what makes you different from every other lawyer. Couple with a well-written, personalised ‘About’ section to stand out. For your headline and bio, put yourself in the shoes of prospective clients. What do they want to know about you? How can you help them? Why are you special? Your profile is as much about them as it is about you. Law #4 – Build your network LinkedIn is a popularity contest but don’t send connection requests to everyone. It’s worthless having thousands of connections if only a few are actually interested in what you have to say. Instead, build your network slowly and steadily. Start with people you know then branch out to people you have a mutually beneficial relationship with. Thereafter, curate your posts around their specific interests. Law #5 – Get engaged Share the love before you start sharing content. Engage with a few posts a day. A ‘like’ is good, but if you can add value through a comment, that’s even better! You get what you give, and the best way to make people engage with you is to engage with them first. Be friendly and professional in your interactions. Anything you say will be held against you, so be constructive, not antagonistic!

Law #6 – Create and cultivate, don’t just hit ‘share’ Only post content that’s of value to your connections. The LinkedIn algorithm doesn’t like it when you share links to external pages, so create your posts natively. Consistency is preferable to quantity. The more you share engaging content, the more you’ll be visible within your network’s feeds and the more you’ll be top of mind when they’re looking for a law firm. Don’t overdo it as people will quickly get bored. As a rule, s is the optimum quota. Law #7 – Prioritise video content Video content is on average three times more engaging than text. Our eyes are instinctively drawn to other people’s faces, so putting yours front and centre of people’s feed will stop them from scrolling past. Home-made video content hit its stride during COVID-19 but don’t consign it to 2020. Personality is a key skill for any lawyer, and if you can prove you’re comfortable in front of a camera, you can prove you’re comfortable in front of a courtroom too.

Quill’s guide to the essential smart law firm technology in 2021 Discover what smart technologies to invest in, why to go paperless and how you can make the tools you already have at your disposal work harder.

Law #8 – Be proud, stay humble When your law firm is doing well, tell people. Sharing positive stories and company wins does a number of things: 1) acts as highly engaging content for current clients, 2) tells the right story to prospective clients and 3) builds trust and pride within your team. But, the past two years have been difficult for many so don’t be overzealous when patting yourself on the back. Focus on the hard work of the team and stay humble. Law #9 – Don’t cold call Once you’ve built relationships with prospective clients, drop them a friendly message to turn that lead into a warm one. Introduce yourself, explain how you know them and what you can do for them, and suggest a more formal meeting. Don’t cold call – no one enjoys getting a connection request followed immediately by a sales pitch. Pique their interest with a steady stream of relevant content and they’ll be more receptive. Law #10 – Remember, it’s a long game LinkedIn success won’t happen overnight. It takes months. Once you’ve established yourself as a leading voice, you won’t even have to think about it – you’ll use LinkedIn almost out of muscle memory. It takes roughly 15 minutes every day. A ‘like’ here, a comment there and a strong post once a week. Plan ahead, make LinkedIn a key part of your marketing strategy and the leads will organically flow in.

Learn more: www.quill.co.uk/resources/ guide-to-the-best-legal-tech-toolsfor-uk-law-firms-and-lawyers-in-2021

If you want somewhere to start, why not follow Quill on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/ quillpinpoint and go from there? ■ CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 29


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INTERVIEW

Forgetting Civil Law A Chinese lawyer’s experience of re-qualifying in England By Charity Mafuba, CWHLS Editorial Board Alisha Liu

O

ur International Committee’s Charity Mafuba and Alisha Liu discuss Alisha’s journey to qualifying as a solicitor of England & Wales, a common law jurisdiction, after starting her legal career in the civil jurisdiction of China. CM Alisha, when did you qualify as a lawyer in China? AL I passed the National Judicial exam and was awarded with the Legal Professional Qualification in 2015. I officially qualified as a lawyer in China in 2021. CM What area of law did you specialise in? AL I specialised in Corporate, Finance and Capital markets. CM Can you briefly tell me about the process involved in qualifying as a lawyer in China? AL In China, to get qualified as a lawyer there are two steps: Step one, to pass the National Judicial Examination (passing rate is about 10% annually), get qualified as a Legal Professional. Step two, to have one-year training practice in a law firm before final admission. CM How does that differ from the process here in the UK? AL Prior to the introduction of the SQE in the UK, the traditional route to qualifying as a Solicitor in the UK is via training contract. There is no form of national judicial exam or national bar exam in the qualifying process. Obtaining a training contract offer is a very challenging and competitive process. Whereas in China, to pass the National judicial exam is the most important and difficult part of the whole process.

CM What made you decide to move to the UK and qualify as a lawyer? AL I think there are two main reasons here: Firstly, I love London. I enjoy its open-minded, inclusive and diverse culture. Secondly, being a lawyer is a profession that I have always enjoyed. I have received excellent legal education both in the UK and in China. I have also practised as a Chinese lawyer for about three years. I believe having a dual qualification is helpful and useful for clients in the UK. CM Whilst studying in the UK, how have you found the common law system syllabus compared to the civil law syllabus you have in China? AL The syllabuses of both jurisdictions are similar. They both include subject areas such as Contract law, Company law and Tort law, but the teaching methods are very different. I completed both the GDL and LPC at BPP university. The method of teaching of these two courses is that we do selfstudy of the legal knowledge before classes, and the tutorials are mainly focused on how to apply the law to different scenarios. In contrast, Chinese law school classes are mostly focused on teaching legal knowledge and concepts. We have very limited case law study. I think the UK teaching method is much more practical for students to gain hands-on skills. It helps students to get properly prepared for their future work as lawyers.

CM What are the challenges if any, that you have found as a foreign qualified lawyer navigating the legal sector in the UK? AL There are many challenges that I have faced so far while navigating the legal sector in the UK. Firstly, to have deep understanding about the culture of the UK is important to understand the law, as laws are based on the culture where they were generated. For example, Constitutional law was one of the most challenging subjects for me as I was not familiar with political traditions here. Secondly, as a foreign qualified lawyer, we are met with a dilemma in the legal job application process. The Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme is a route for us to get qualified in England and Wales and it doesn’t require working experience to get admitted. However, it is known that without sufficient previous relevant legal working experience in the UK, it is hard to secure a great legal job here even after qualification at the outset. CM On qualifying as a Solicitor in England and Wales, what area of law do you intend to specialise in? AL I am open-minded as to the area of law that I would like to specialise in. At the start of my legal career here, I believe to get proper training and gain solid skills is more important than the area that I would like to specialise in. Obviously, if I am able to work in the area of law that I am familiar with, it will be easier to adapt my previous working experience to the job. I am prepared to get into any new area. Many brand-new legal service areas are emerging or getting more focus, for example, Education law. CM What advice would you give to a foreign qualified lawyer from a Civil law jurisdiction wishing to qualify as a lawyer in a common law jurisdiction like the UK? AL For legal studying, when we are studying common law system, it is more helpful to immerse ourselves into it and temporarily ‘forget’ the civil law jurisdiction that we were familiar with for a while. Comparative method is good, but it is more suitable to apply it after we pick up the common law mindset. For legal work, to practise in a different jurisdiction also means dealing with different clients from a different culture. A Lawyers’ work is not only about laws, but more about the people. Culture and clients are intrinsically linked. CM How have you found acclimatising to the Culture in the UK? AL It may sound strange, but I have never found it challenging to acclimatise the culture in the UK. To me it is a joyful adventure. First of all, I am very open-minded to absorb fresh ideas and I am very flexible with adjusting to new environments. Secondly, London is a very Cosmopolitan and Inclusive city and as such, I have never seen myself as a guest here. I always see myself as part of it and I enjoy the feeling of acceptance from the city. Thirdly, before living in the UK, I had read many books written by British authors and watched many films and TV series about it. What’s more, I have made many good friends here. All of these help me to enjoy the culture in the UK. ■ If you are interested in getting involved with our International Committee, please email cwhlawsoc@gmail.com for more information. CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 31


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Making Surgery their Legacy S

urgery is special, and there are few people whose lives have not been touched by it. Our work is not limited to specific illnesses or areas of disease but supports better care for all ages, from minor day surgery, to life-saving procedures and emergency trauma care. Surgeons, save, extend and improve tens of thousands of lives throughout the UK every day. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a charity independent of the NHS safeguarding the experience, treatment and outcomes of every one of those surgical patients. A legacy in your will can have a direct impact on the future of surgery and the patients it saves. A recent bequest for the educational training of surgeons echoed the Legator’s commitment to the importance of teaching and their skill for it during their career. The gift is supporting an e-learning product that takes the Future of Surgery team on a journey to explore the impact of technology on roles, the surgical team and the surgical environment. Another legacy gift supported a one-year research fellowship of a neurosurgeon whose project is looking at measuring walking to improve care in myelopathy.

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urgeons save, extend and improve tens of thousands of lives throughout the UK every day. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a charity independent of the NHS, safeguarding the experience, treatment and outcomes of each and every one of those surgical patients. Surgery is special, and there are few people whose lives have not been touched by it. Our work is not limited to specific illnesses or areas of disease, but supports better care for all ages, from minor day surgery, to life-saving procedures and emergency trauma care. Legacies are vital for us to continue to shape the future, making a real difference to the lives of new generations of surgeons and patients so that they receive the very best care when they need it the most. To find out how a gift in your will can play a crucial role in our work please contact the fundraising team. t 020 7869 6086 e fundraising@rcseng.ac.uk w www.rcseng.ac.uk/fundraising #surgerysaveslives 32 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

Cervical myelopathy is a wasting disease of the neck that affects up to 5% of over 40-year olds and causes progressive disability. Currently, patient care requires improvement because the assessments are not accurate enough to detect small changes and time treatment perfectly: treatment too early carries risks, but too late can leave people permanently disabled. The research fellow and his team believe that detailed 3D analysis of walking will overcome this, and this project will test their theory. Longer-term, if proven correct, this analysis could be transferred to a patient's pocket using their mobile. The outstanding fellowship applications we receive has doubled since the scheme was founded 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. ■

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ARTICLE

Guerlain makes a good case T

his case addresses the burning question which puzzles many brand owners: can distinctive 3D packaging qualify for trade mark protection? The answer is yes. On 14 July 2021, the European Union General Court held that Guerlain’s lipstick case possesses distinctive character and qualifies for trade mark protection. Guerlain’s lipstick case was held to differ significantly from the norms and customs of the lipstick sector. Background In 2018, Guerlain applied for the registration of its threedimensional sign for “lipsticks” under Class three.

Guerlain’s 3D mark

Norms of lipstick sector

Initially, the EUIPO Examiner rejected Guerlain’s application and found that the mark lacked distinctive character. The Board of Appeal upheld that decision finding that Guerlain’s lipstick case did not “depart significantly from the norm and customs of the lipstick sector”. However, the General Court of the EU found in favour of Guerlain. The 3D mark was found to have distinctive character and capable of trade mark protection. Three main points to take away Brand owners will be interested in the following three key points arising in this decision: 1. Assessment of distinctive character The assessment of distinctive character is not based on the originality or the lack of use of the mark applied for. For 3D marks consisting in the shape of the product, the mark in question must depart significantly from the norms or customs of the sector concerned. The novelty of a shape is not sufficient to be distinctive even if the shape has a high-quality design. If a sector is comprised of a wide variety of product shapes, it does not follow that a new shape will be perceived as one of them.

2. Does the mark generate an objective and unusual visual effect? As a starting point, the Court recognised the fact that goods with a high-quality design, which are highly aesthetic, are not necessarily capable of distinguishing one undertakings goods from those of another. The aesthetics of the mark are considered with the aim of determining whether the product is capable of producing an objective and unusual visual effect in the eyes of the relevant public. 3. What are the norms and customs in the market concerned? After a detailed review of images of those products concerning the “norms and customs of the sector”, the General Court accepted that the shape in question was uncommon for a lipstick. Importance was placed on the fact that Guerlain’s shape was “reminiscent of that of a boat hull or a baby carriage”. Another distinctive feature of the shape was the small oval embossed shape and that the case could not be placed upright. All in all, the General Court found that the relevant public will be “surprised” when looking at Guerlain’s “easily memorable” shape, and will conclude that it departs significantly from the norms and customs of the lipstick sector. In view of this, the mark was held to have distinctive character, which is a requirement for trade mark registration. Comment This case will be welcomed by brand owners. It addresses the difficult assessment of inherent distinctiveness and gives hope to those considering applying for unconventional marks. If you are considering applying for a trade mark, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist IP Team based in London. Our team can offer strategic advice around the securing, protecting and exploitation of your IP. ■

Lucy Marlow

Senior Associate Intellectual Property lucy.marlow@jmw.co.uk 0203 675 7600

CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 33


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Poppy’s second chance at love P

oppy’s owner first contacted her local rehoming centre and said she needed to hand Poppy, a four year old Chihuahua cross, over to us as she had sadly recently been given a diagnosis that she had a terminal illness. She was advised to apply for a free Canine Care Card and nominate a Dog Guardian; someone she trusts to sign over the care of Poppy to Dogs Trust should she need it. She’d then be able to spend the most time possible with Poppy and feel reassured that she’d be given the best possible care at Dogs Trust when they could no longer be together. When Poppy’s Dog Guardian contacted us to advise that her owner was now receiving palliative care and that they needed to activate her Canine Care Card, Poppy was collected by Dogs Trust the very next day. After a vet and behavioural assessment we decided the best place for Poppy would be a loving foster home. We were able to advise the foster carers of all the information we’d been given by Poppy’s owner regarding her life, diet and routine to enable us to make this transitional period as stress-free as possible for Poppy. Within almost no time, we were able to find very affectionate Poppy a lovely new home for her second chance at love. Poppy’s story is one of many we come across at Dogs Trust.

Many owners are growing increasingly worried about gradually losing their independence or their health deteriorating. Dogs Trust want to offer owners peace of mind that we will be there at this difficult time to care for and rehome their four legged friends should the worst happen. Therefore we’re pleased to announce that we have extended our Canine Care Card service. Dogs Trust will care for your dog should you move into a care home, become seriously ill or pass away. For more information on our Canine Care Card service and how to register your dog please type in this link www.dogstrust.org.uk/ccc where you will find our online application form and more information on our free service. If you have any queries regarding the Canine Care Card please email CCC@dogstrust.org.uk or call 020 7837 0006 and we will be happy to help. ■

Who’ll keep her happy when your client’s gone? We will – as long as your client has a Canine Care Card. It’s a FREE service from Dogs Trust that guarantees their dog a second chance a life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 21 rehoming centres, located around the UK. One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll want to make provision for their faithful friend. And now you can help them at absolutely no cost. So contact us today for your FREE pack of Canine Care Card leaflets – and make a dog-lover happy.

E-mail ccc@dogstrust.org.uk Or call 020 7837 0006

Or write to: FREEPOST DOGSTRUSTL (No stamp required) Please quote “334975” All information will be treated as strictly confidential. Service only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man.

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34 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER

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Wherever you roam, client onboarding with eCOS is pitch-perfect

Technology that connects you, wherever that happens to be Are you trudging through the process of gathering client information to start a transaction? Onboarding your clients shouldn’t peg you in. eCOS, our electronic client onboarding solution, brings together everything you need to achieve remote onboarding. Access to client care packs, verification of identity and source of funds solutions, onboarding questionnaires and Law Society TA forms, all integrated into your CMS. eCOS gives you visibility over your onboarding process within a single platform. Embark on a new adventure. Start onboarding digitally with eCOS from InfoTrack.

Visit www.infotrack.co.uk/ecos or call us on 0207 186 8090 to say no to paper and onboard clients electronically. CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER | 35


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36 | CENTRAL LONDON LAWYER