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Northamptonshire Law Society Bulletin Winter - Spring 2018

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Northamptonshire Law Society Bulletin Published by:

Tel: 0151 651 2776 Managing Editor Phil Smith Advertising Simon Castell Key Account Manager Denise Castell Design East Park Studio Accounts Michaela Hogan Media No. 1111 Published February 2018 Legal Notice © East Park Communications Ltd. None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. East Park Communications Ltd 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 East Park Communications Ltd. Correct at time of going to press.


Winter - Spring 2018

3 The President Writes 6 Constituency Council Member’s report 9 Introduction to our newest member: Aardvark Planning Law 10 “What do you do if you suspect that your partner is misappropriating clients’ monies?” - Read my novel ‘Trust Betrayed’. 11 Tollers take the trophy for fastest law firm in Northamptonshire 13 Looking for appropriate home care services is like travelling down a road paved with obstacles. 14 Thoughts on retiring from the profession 17 The evolution of conveyancing 19 Pain is temporary but pride is forever 26 Winds are changing in solicitors’ PI insurance 20 Delving Deeper into Flood Due Diligence 30 ... And Finally

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The Northampton Hope Centre welcomes people who are homeless or disadvantaged, no matter their circumstances. National statistics show that street homeless people die at the age of just 47, which is why the services we provide are vital in our fight to get people off the streets. From our beginnings in 1974 as Northampton Soup Kitchen, we have provided food and drink and a safe environment for the most disadvantaged people in our town throughout this period. Since then we have gradually increased the services we provide so our clients are now not only given hot meals, but clothing, warmth, education, training, one-to-one support, help with job searches and signposting to other agencies for help with financial and debt management. We also have our own social enterprise – Hope Enterprises – which provides jobs for ex-clients to help them stand on their own two feet. What we have achieved so far is thanks to generous donations from members of our community. Without this support, our work would not be possible, as we receive almost no direct council/government funding. When you make your will, could you consider making a donation to the Northampton Hope Centre to help us continue our work? A legacy from you could help in our work to tackle homelessness in Northampton. Speak to your solicitor to discuss how to include the Hope Centre in your will

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Northamptonshire Law Society Officers & Council Members 2018 Mrs Ika Castka

Vice President Oliver Spicer

Immediate-Past President Caroline McGann

Honorary Secretary Ruth Taylor

Honorary Treasurer Lisa Garley Evans

Constituency Member & Past President Linda Lee

Chair of Education and Training & Past President Rhona Rowland

Council Members:David Browne Laura Carter Ahsan Khan Michael Orton Jones Karen Shakespeare Edward St John Smyth – Past President Euan Temple – Past President

Co-opted Members: Sharine Burgess David Farmer Jabeer Miah

Society Manager Phil Smith

Northamptonshire Law Society Ashtrees Cottage Saxon Rise Duston

Northampton NN5 6HP Tel. 01604 585653

Email: All Council members should in the first instance be contacted through the Society Manager.

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The President writes... First of all I’m pleased to announce that we now have a new Vice President – Oliver Spicer, a solicitor specialising in finance and banking with Shoosmiths in Northampton, has now taken on the role. Congratulations to Oliver. It’s great to see the active involvement and enthusiasm of younger members of the profession and I’m sure Oliver will bring a new perspective to the role. In February I represented the Northamptonshire Law Society at the University of Northampton Winter Graduation Ceremony for the Faculty of Business and Law, seeing a new cohort of law graduates embarking on their career journey. This led me to consider the future of the profession they will be joining. What will the practice of law be like in the future? How will Artificial Intelligence impact the profession and the jobs available? Will the traditional partnership model appeal to a new generation of solicitors? What stresses are there on solicitors in the workplace? As always, things are always changing and challenging for the profession, but perhaps now more than ever the pace of that change is such that those studying law today can have no certainty as to their long term career plans.

As for AI, there are arguments that whilst it will replace low level processing type aspects of the work we do, it will not greatly impact on the higher level work. In more complex or stressful matters clients will always want to talk to a human being and have the opportunity to discuss options, share opinions etc. Does a computer programme have empathy? So undoubtedly some more procedural straightforward work will be affected, but probably not the work that many of us do. So there will be opportunities to make the most of AI whilst still providing a personal and professional service to clients. The partnership model – is it going to die out? How many of today’s graduates will want to invest considerable amounts of capital into a firm and so be tied to it with no guaranteed income? It seems that many of today’s solicitors seek out the highest paying roles and are prepared to move regularly to achieve the best incomes. That doesn’t fit the partnership model. Whilst it has always been the case that in the early days of their careers solicitors tend to move around, most settle into a firm and an area, putting down roots, buying a house etc. There are now many more in-house roles, which bring benefits packages law firms can’t compete with. The new generation are more mobile, in part because generation buy is being replaced by generation rent. We must be open to the changes and try to make plans accordingly. Workplace stress has been in the legal press recently. The historic culture of squeezing every possible chargeable unit out of a fee earner is no longer appropriate in the 21st century. Of course we want to get the best out of our fee earners and we are all in business, but regard has to be had to the wellbeing of staff. As Richard Branson said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. Overworked and/or undertrained staff will make more mistakes and this will be made worse in those workplace cultures where they are afraid to admit to those mistakes or to ask for help. We must support our staff at all levels (and yes, that does include partners). Let’s make law firms a good place to work!

Mrs Ika Castka

President Northamptonshire Law Society


Northamptonshire Law Society

Constituency Council Member’s Report March 2018 Plans to change the Minimum terms and conditions of Professional Indemnity Insurance. SRA work with the Insurance Fraud Taskforce. In May of 2017, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) somewhat controversially decided to replace its public meetings with invitations to ‘selected journalists’ to a postmeeting briefing and to make board papers available in advance, under embargo. It also promised to ‘better engage with the public’ through holding meetings in different parts of the country; focus groups with the public; visits to local law schools; and seminars. The SRA is not unusual in holding part of its meetings in private to discuss matters that are commercially sensitive or concern policy in formation. Most public bodies do this, as does the Law Societyi. The Law Society is often criticised by Council Members for the amount of information tagged as ‘part 2 confidential’ also known as ‘pink papers’ as they are distinguished by being printed on pink paper. However, the SRA and the Legal Services Board (LSB) hold no board meetings in public whatsoever. It is true that regular attendance at the meetings in Birmingham was limited to journalists and a Law Society member of staff but on occasion when a topic was of particular interest, the rather modest board room at the Cube in Birmingham could be packed out with attendees. One such occasion was the Board meeting on 2 July 2014 when the Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) reforms were being considered. In what was described as an ‘unusual move’ I was permitted in my role as the then Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Board to attend and address the SRA board in its public session. In addition to the journalists, concerned solicitors, the professional indemnity insurers and lenders also attended. What I witnessed could not be described as an open debate, the proposals had already been debated in the private session but board members made statements explaining their views and the vote was taken in public. All but one member voted in support of the changes, the opportunity for understanding how the Board has reached decisions and voted on any issue is now lost. In the event, the LSB refused to approve the majority of the reforms. It only permitted changes to the Compensation Fund to remove the possibility of compensation to anyone but individuals and micro-businesses and it also approved changes that meant it became a regulatory requirement for firms to assess and purchase professional indemnity insurance at a level that was appropriate to risk. In practice, firms engaged in conveyancing have to purchase insurance at a level satisfactory to lenders. In commenting on the plans to reduce the minimum cover to £500,000, Chris Kenny, the then Chief executive of the LSB said ‘….we were certainly not persuaded by the evidence put 6

forward for the figures proposed.”. The LSB had responded to representations from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Association of British Insurers, the Building Societies Association, individual solicitors, insurers, building societies and the LSB’s own consumer panel all of whom expressed concern. However, the LSB did leave the door open for the SRA to come back with further evidence. Over 3 year later it is anticipated that the SRA will soon consult again on its proposals to reform the minimum level of cover. The full details and supporting evidence are yet to be published but it is to be expected that as a result of its data gathering exercise the SRA may seek to reduce the requirement for a minimum level of cover for all firms on the basis that this will save premium cost and thus reduce fees and encourage more competition and increase availability of access to legal services. Suggestions that this will lead to a significant reduction in premiums for firms ignores the reality of how insurance premiums of set. The majority of claims are worth less than £500,000 and that band of cover will always be the most expensive level to buy. Firms who only require a new reduced minimum level of cover are unlikely to see much financial benefit. If savings are offered as insurers scramble for market share this is unlikely to be sustainable. Few existing firms would risk holding less than the current minimum particularly those engaged in conveyancing, litigation and probate but they will no longer benefit from bulk purchasing efficiency resulting from the whole market purchasing this cover. For those firms who are left requiring more than the reduced minimum it is likely that the premiums payable to maintain current levels of protection will therefore rise. It should be remembered that over 50% of PII claims have for more than 30 years resulted from conveyancing. It is likely that the lenders will still require cover of at least £2 million for firms on the lenders panels. Conveyancing top up will be seen as high risk and will be spread across a smaller group, so the brunt would be felt by the smaller high street firms engaged in conveyancing work. The reputational impact where consumers could find themselves without recompense and potentially increased demand on the Compensation Fund would be felt by the whole profession. Given that the majority of firms are now purchasing cover for cyber fraud and potential breaches of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) it would be far greater service to the consumer and the profession if the SRA sought to extend the minimum terms and conditions to cover both these areas of heightened risk. Although Board meetings are no longer held in public, it is still possible to find the minutes of the public meetings on the SRA website -although they are harder to locate than previously. Those who work in personal injury or are involved with holiday sickness claims will be aware of warning notices stemming

The genesis of this work can be found in the January 2018 SRA Board minutesiii which reveal that it has been working closely with the Insurance Fraud Taskforce set up by the government in January 2015. The Taskforce’s remitiv is to: ‘investigate the causes of fraudulent behaviour and recommend solutions to reduce the level of insurance fraud in order to ultimately lower costs and protect the interests of honest consumers.’ It has a personal injury working group whose final report of January 2016v stated that: ‘Costs within the system attract a small number of professional enablers, such as solicitors and medical professionals. They can play a key role, consciously or unconsciously, using their professional standing, expertise or qualifications, to give the appearance of legitimacy to claims allowing fraudsters to succeed. While the vast majority are honest, some professionals are themselves the active perpetrators of the fraud. Costs in the system have also incentivised unscrupulous CMCs to play a role in encouraging fraudulent claims. As well as causing a social nuisance through their reliance on cold calls, also known as ‘claims farming’, CMCs have been reported to pressurise otherwise honest people to exaggerate or make up claims’

i ii notices/ iii iv v file/494105/PU1817_Insurance_Fraud_Taskforce.pdf vi file/636591/Insurance_Fraud_Taskforce_-_progress_on_recommendations_ February_2017.pdf

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back to March of 2016 (reissued December 2017)ii which place greater onus on solicitors to establish if their clients are engaged in bringing fraudulent claims.

Linda Lee February 2018. Linda Lee is a regulatory lawyer with Radcliffes LeBrasseur and the Law Society Council Member for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland. As a Council Member she is also the Chair of the Regulatory Processes Committee and a member of the Audit Committee, Regulatory Affairs Board and the Access to Justice Committee. Her pro bono work also extends to the Solicitors Assistance Scheme as Chair.

The 2016vi update, which noted the progress made during 2016 towards its recommendations made it clear that the SRA ‘should take a tougher approach to combatting fraud by making clear that it will give an appropriate focus to combating financial crime through its existing powers, including naming and shaming, considering requiring solicitors to undertake client identification checks in cases other than just those where they handle client money and working with the CMR [Claims Management Regulator] Unit to enforce the referral fee ban’. Now some two years after the report was published, the SRA board in January 2018 received an update. The contrast between the emphasis in the Board paper and the original reports of the Taskforce is of interest. To some extent, the Board paper downplays the SRA’s requirement to ensure that the referral fee ban is enforced and concentrates more on its political lobbying in respect of the information it provided to the taskforce on its view of its limited fining powers and the criminal standard of proof in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. It should be noted that even though the SRA has limited fining powers, there is a half way house between a full Tribunal hearing and an internal sanction as the SRA can seek an Agreed Outcome whereby the Tribunal can be asked to approve a higher sanction - up to and including striking off a solicitor - something which does not appear to have been drawn to the attention of the Board or the taskforce. The public minute is limited to, ‘The Board noted the work being undertaken in response to recommendations made by the Insurance Fraud Taskforce and other work related to the personal injury sector.’ It is to be hoped that the Board in its private meeting asked more searching questions of the Executive than the minute would suggest.


Northamptonshire Law Society

Introduction to our newest member: Aardvark Planning Law Aardvark Planning Law is our newest member, but also a new type of law firm, explains co-founder and director Sebastian Charles The firm was founded by Sebastian Charles and Jane Burgess in 2016. “We had worked together in two different large international law firms in the City over the last 20 years and concluded that for our niche of planning (and environmental) law, the advantages of being in a large law firm were being outweighed by the disadvantages, and hence we decided to go it alone. We’ve been lucky to work on some of the largest, high profile and interesting planning cases over the years including The Shard, Spitalfields Market, Stonehenge, and Apethorpe Hall, but client demands are changing” says Sebastian. “They want top quality advice and hands on input from senior, experienced lawyers. They don’t care where you are based, and they don’t want to pay the high fees associated with lots of junior lawyers, and expensive London offices. They also want to be able to choose their specialist advisers without having to stick with the same legal firm for all their requirements.”. Their response was to establish Aardvark Planning Law as a boutique law firm specialising solely in planning and environmental law. “We have tried to do something different with Aardvark compared to other firms. It started with the name: An Aardvark is an animal that is evolved and specialised. We also got a talented designer to produce our website, so it doesn’t look like anyone else’s”. “We decided that we didn’t want to ask clients to take the trouble to come to us, so we have a back office in the lovely village of Ecton and the rest of the time we go out and see clients at their place of business or on site. We are an agile firm. Our IT allows us to work collaboratively, anywhere, at any time”.

Jane has lived in Northamptonshire for 11 years having moved up from Surrey. Sebastian has lived in Ecton for 8 years: “We are the largest law firm in the village” he jokes. “I am originally from Southampton, so how I ended up here in Northampton is a mystery to me.” The mystery is solved when it turns out his wife Sarah, also a solicitor, grew up in Mears Ashby. It seems they are quite a legal family as Sarah’s brother James Milne is also a solicitor working in-house in the County, and his wife, Melissa Milne, is the third solicitor at Aardvark. Her late father Peter Cooch was a past president of the Northants Law Society.

“At the beginning when we were thinking about the practicalities of starting up a new law firm, I was amazed how much expertise there was locally” says Sebastian. “We first approached Richard Burkimsher and David Owens at Hawsons accountants in Moulton Park with the idea, and they were very supportive. They put us in touch with Phil Edwards at QPI professional indemnity insurance brokers in Northampton, as sorting that out is a key hurdle for any new law firm. We also found Paul Davey-Turner at EBS-IT in Towcester for our computer system, and ICAN in Moulton Park for our document


Article from Sebastian Charles For and on behalf of Aardvark Planning Law production equipment. They were all really helpful at the setup stage and the launch went really smoothly.”. “I wouldn’t say setting up your own law firm is for everyone” says Sebastian. ”I had been involved in law firm management for a number of years and running a team, so it was just a case of simplifying and scaling down something that would work for our clients. Having a great team behind us meant we could proceed with confidence”.

“The clients have been delighted with our new way of working” says Jane. “We transitioned across a number of London or nationwide clients from our old firm including Workspace Group, Thornsett, PegasusLife, Halsbury Homes and the London Borough of Hounslow. We have also been successful in winning new projects in London such as Purfleet Town Centre Regeneration, Bromley by Bow South Regeneration, and so we know our formula is a winning one. Word has also got around locally, and we have done or are now doing several projects in the County, which from a standing start is very pleasing. We are loving the variety of work from large and cutting-edge projects such as Brentford Football Club Community Stadium, and retirement communities on the South Coast, to a single barn conversion in the Northants countryside.” “Much of our work is referrals from planning consultants, or from other law firms that don’t have their own in-house planning and environmental law capabilities. We have worked alongside a number of firms on collaborative projects either with their real estate lawyers on property development or corporate lawyers on the environmental aspects of deals” she explains Sebastian sits on the Planning and Environmental Law Committee of the National Law Society and reports: “The library at Chancery Lane is a great place to work for a few hours if you are stuck in London between meetings. However, we are delighted to discover the Northants Law Society and were made to feel very welcome at the annual dinner. We are very much looking forward to getting to know the other members better over the coming months” Sebastian Charles For and on behalf of Aardvark Planning Law D: 01604 43 90 92 - T: 01604 43 90 90 - M: 07710 783 154

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“What do you do if you suspect that your partner is misappropriating clients’ monies?” - Read my novel ‘Trust Betrayed’. By Richard Wrenn

It happened to me in 1987. It was an excruciating, horrifying experience. As I underwent the ordeal, which was to have a profound impact on my career and ended my burgeoning political ambitions, I knew that it had all the elements of a tense crime thriller. Even now, some 30 years later, the imprint of that horrid drama in my memory is very clear. And you are very alone. There were no guide books to advise one on how to handle the crisis, no one to turn to for advice. There were moral, legal and ethical issues to resolve as the drama uncontrollably unfurled. It was to be 30 years before I had the time and historical perspective to convert my own terrifying experience into a fictional novel – albeit that at the heart of the novel is a factual description of the crimes perpetrated on my firm. The theme of ‘Trust Betrayed’ is a legal drama, set in a solicitor’s firm in a small East Midlands market town, with a romantic subplot. The essence of the plot is “what do you do if you suspect that your partner is misappropriating clients’ monies?”


It has lessons for all solicitors in private practice. Lessons that once read will not be forgotten. As a solicitor, who has read it, commented: “I think your book should be compulsory reading for ALL solicitors”.

‘Trust Betrayed’ by Richard Wrenn is available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.


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Tollers take the trophy for fastest Law Firm in Northamptonshire

Tollers raced to victory in the Law Society heat of the 3rd Annual Nene Valley Rokart Challenge 2018 which was held at the Northampton Indoor Karting Centre and now have the trophy to prove they are “the Fastest Law Firm in Northamptonshire” Ten teams from members of Northamptonshire Law Society took part in the Law Society heat on the 6th February which was just one of 10 heats held between January and March for a wide range of businesses from across the County. Each team had 5 drivers and after a practise session raced in a 2 hour endurance session where each team member had 2 drives.

the excellent work they do taking disabled people of all ages sailing at Pitsford reservoir. Rokart is their main fund raising event and should raise over £10,000.

Event organiser Neil Hufton from the Rotary Club said “We are delighted that we again had the support of the Law Society and that so many firms took part. The event has grown from 64 teams in 2016 when we raised £7000 for the Oncology Dept: 90 teams last year when we raised £9000 for Kidsaid to a 100 teams this year.

The Law Society evening always seems to be one of the most competitive of the series and the only one I have witnessed where 6 teams try to get around the hairpin at the same time and no one gives way!” The trophy was presented by the Northamptonshire Law Society Vice President Oliver Spicer, who competed in the race and is a helper at Sailability and therefore very familiar with the impact Sailability makes to the lives of its participants. The overall result for all the Law Society teams are given below. Every team had a very impressive fastest lap and every team completed more laps than in 2017. The Nene Valley Rotary Club intend to repeat the event as Rokart 2019 when there will again be the opportunity to compete for “the Fastest Law Firm in Northamptonshire” trophy. Details on how to enter will be sent out later this year.

On the night Teams already knew that they needed to beat the target of 225 laps set by Friday Legal in an earlier heat. Tollers achieved this with an impressive 236 laps and now progress to the final on the 10th April where they will compete against the winners of the other 9 heats in a grand final for the coveted title of Fastest Business in Northamptonshire. On their way to victory Tollers smashed the 220 they managed last year pushing previous winners Shoosmiths into second place with 232 laps (again more than their 225 in 2017). Tollers also achieved the fastest lap of the night with a very impressive 25.64 secs. The event raises money for local charities and particularly Sailability. The Nene Valley Rotary Club are hoping to raise £13,000 to buy Sailability a new boat so they can continue with 10

RoKart Challenge 2018 >Ăǁ^ŽĐŝĞƚLJEŝŐŚƚ Number in team

Laps completed

Final Position

Fastest lap






25.64 sec


Shoosmiths 1 - Jason Ingle




26.40 sec






26.29 sec


Shoosmiths 2 - Jake Biggerstaff




26.90 sec


Borneo Martell Turner Coulston




26.53 sec


Shoosmiths 3 - Oliver Spicer




26.32 sec


Friday Legal




27.51 sec


Shoosmiths 4 - Adam Frost




26.56 sec


Wilson Browne




27.08 sec


Shoosmiths 5 - Nathan Turley




26.54 sec






26,75 sec

Team #

Team Name


The race was a 2 hour endurance race


Each lap is 400 metres


At least 9 changes of driver were required.


Friday Legal competed in Heat 2 on 30 January. All the other teams competed in the Law Society Night on 6 February.

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Legalex 2018 - the UK’s leading event for professional development and business growth in the legal industry - is set to be bigger and more relevant than ever when it returns to London’s ExCeL on 21 & 22 March. And for the very first time, this year’s Legalex will be running alongside Legal Cyber Security Expo; an event dedicated to helping legal professionals minimise the threat of cyber attacks and data breaches. Combined, this is an unmissable package for anyone working in the legal sector who is looking for professional development, and the tools needed to grow their business and safeguard its future. Over two days, Legalex will bring together some of the top minds in the industry to address the biggest concerns in the sector today. To do this, the show offers an incredible variety of features to its visitors, including: marketing, business development, GDPR, conveyancing, client retention & satisfaction, legal tech, and much more. For example, if you’re interested in marketing, you can join top experts such as digital strategy expert, Rich Dibbins, and business & compliance consultant, Victoria Simpson, among many others. For business development and modernising advice, find speakers like Nine Feet Tall’s Chris Bull and Karen Dunne-Squire from Elation Experts in the keynote theatre. And with legal technology being a large and growing part of the legal industry, Legalex has everything visitors need to know about the latest tech developments too. In the keynote theatre, visitors can hear from the likes of Richard Tromans, from Tromans Consulting + Artificial Lawyer, on ‘The new wave of legal technology’; CaseCrunch Systems’ Ludwig Bull & Rebecca Agliolo on ‘Computational Jurisprudence: What AI Tells Us About Law’; and more. And for conveyancers, expert guidance can be found in the dedicated Conveyancing Theatre - with seminars covering such topics as ‘Social media for conveyancers’ and ‘How technology can improve the house buying process in England and Wales’. In the co-running Legal Cyber Security Expo, anyone working in the legal sector will discover absolutely everything they need to protect sensitive data from the increasing threat of cyber-attacks, as well as accidental internal data breaches. While cyber security is a key issue across all industries, it’s particularly important in the legal sector due to the nature and amount of data held. Cyber leaders such as Brett Johnson from AnglerPhish Security (and a former US most-wanted cyber criminal) will be in the keynote theatre, along with Vince Warrington from Protective Intelligence; who will discuss the need for cyber security with

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Legalex and Legal Cyber Security Expo his seminar ‘How many warnings do you need?’ You can also stop by the Lloyds Bank Cyber Security Theatre to receive advice from many more cyber and IT experts. Between the two shows, more than 200 cutting-edge suppliers will exhibit their latest legal solution; including the likes of: Lloyds Bank, Epson, LEAP, Clio, Digital Pathways, Met Police Service and FALCON, The General Council of the Bar, and The Solicitors Regulation Authority. By bringing all this under one roof and attracting the entire legal industry to London over two action-packed days, Legalex is the most comprehensive legal event for business growth and professional development in the UK. The events also offer free CPD accreditation and Continuing Competence, as well as unparalleled networking opportunities. The legal industry is ever-changing and as we delve further into the digital age, this is becoming more and more the case. To maintain or achieve success in today’s legal sector, law firms and legal practices need to make the most of all the tools, services, and technology that can help them to streamline services, increase client retention and satisfaction, reduce costs, and boost security. So make sure you get these dates cemented in your diary now by registering for your FREE tickets to attend! Your free pass will give you unlimited access to both Legalex and the Legal Cyber Security Expo, and you can get more information on the shows and register for your free ticket via or

Sponsorship & Exhibiting enquiries: Jamie O’Neill – Event Director 01872 218 007

Marketing & Press enquiries: Emma Webber – Marketing Executive 0117 929 6088

Tracking links for digital publication: Tracking link Legalex - Tracking link Legal Cyber Security Expo


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Thoughts on retiring from the profession I started my legal career in September 1966 in a small satellite office. I qualified the “hard way” ie 5 years’ Articles. In those days if one went to University one was allowed 5 years to get a law degree. Us “thickos” (ie those not clever enough to go to University) were allowed 8 months to pass our exams equating to the Degree. It took me a little longer than that but I made it in the end, qualifying in 1972. I am retiring after 51 years in the law. I was Articled to John Hay Evander Evans who taught me such things as “how to buy him cigarettes” etc but very little law. As an 18 year old on my first day I was sent to do a “completion”. No-one told me what one was or what is was intended to achieve. I was just sent to Tees Solicitors with an “abstract of Title and was told to check the papers against the “Abstract” that I was given. Until I was 21 I was paid £3 per week which after deductions came out at Two pounds six shillings and threepence.

An Articled Clerk (as we were then called) started right at the bottom, making tea, answering the phone etc . During my “Articles” I was moved to the firm’s office at No1 Grays Inn Square; a fantastic place not just for its proximity to the Law Courts but because the offices has lovely gardens on both sides. From there I spent hours and hours at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand before the Masters who were terrifying to us Articled Clerks. They really knew what was going on and if you didn’t you were given an earful ! In those days you could just walk in without scanners and searches. I received an excellent training in Litigation and my belief is that all lawyers should have to have litigation training before qualifying. After all if you do not know how to enforce an agreement how can you negotiate the terms properly?

I left that firm shortly before qualifying to join Toller Hales and Collcutt (now Tollers) in Kettering where for two and a half years I did accident cases.


Article Keith Turner I then returned to my old firm and set up their Northampton Office in Kingsthorpe (the first “out of town” office in Northampton.

In those days solicitors were not allowed to advertise themselves at all. You could have a brass plate outside and a discrete sign in the window but that was it. The idea that solicitors would advertise in the paper was anathema; let alone advertise on TV!

After 5 years I left to set up my own office in the Wellingborough Road and after moving office a couple of times we amalgamated with Leo Coulston and Co and moved in together at 29 Billing Road as Turner Coulston.

In the early days conveyancing was very important work and most of us in town seemed to do it. We used to trip round to each other’s office to do Completions. We had to examine “Abstracts of Title” against original deeds and mark them up. Most land was not Registered in and around Northampton and only became so after about 1990. At least we were then able to put a face to a voice on the phone and in those days I reckon I knew most of the Lawyers in town. Now I don’t know more than a tiny fraction of them. In those days there were not many firms in the town, possibly about 10. Now I think there are some 70 firms.

In 1966 photo copiers were just coming in and the first one I used required you (me) to mix two liquids together . The copies came out wet on a kind of photo paper and it soon became clear that photo copied images done this way soon faded!

In the early eighties computers began to take the place of Golf Ball Typewriters and single line memory machines. I had the first Computer in a solicitors office in the town (largely because my brother was an early computer buff). Shoosmiths (then

Shoosmiths and Harrison) came to my office to see how a computer worked. (I am quite proud of that).

I also still find the informality in addressing other lawyers (whom we have never met or spoken to before by their first name) as odd. Earlier in my career it was considered an honour to do so (especially to a more senior person).

Far worse than that is the reluctance of some younger solicitors to say “sorry” when they are wrong. Recently a young partner in a local firm wrote to her client saying that I had been negligent when I acted for my client when he bought the land in question. Not only had I not (nor my firm) acted when my client bought but there was nothing whatever wrong with the work done by the firm that had acted. That letter to her client was passed to my client with the ensuing embarrassment. I sought an apology and retraction but none came. I even wrote to her senior partner and was met with a response along the lines of “I hope you can sort this out between yourselves”. I deplore this kind of attitude. We all make mistakes and we should be big enough to say sorry when we do. Oddly saying sorry takes the wind out of the sails in a way that nothing else can. Clients do not expect us to be perfect but if we say “sorry” when we go wrong then the client will have more confidence

I have had a lot of fun in my career which has taken me to loads of places round the world. I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing people, clients and other lawyers and accountants etc. I have had the odd “success” (if you can call it that). For example I created the scheme which became “Claims Direct”. The way that scheme was set up is basically the way accident cases are done now even if that company and my former partner (who left me to become its boss) have gone bust.

Northamptonshire Law Society

Until fairly recently when dealing with other solicitors we had no hesitation whatsoever in accepting their word as their bond. How I regret that that is changing. Recently I did a conveyance of some commercial land and I phoned the other solicitor and undertook that the money had been put into the system earlier and so could we complete. He said “no”. He insisted on waiting till the money was in his bank account. (It was on a same day transfer basis so there was never any doubt that he would get it that day).

in our advice for he/she knows if we get it wrong we will tell him/her.

I have been told I am a maverick. I am not sure why. I have also been told I am an “entrepreneurial” lawyer and that I like.

I have always liked finding the best way of doing things for my clients and if this means a bit of lateral thinking then so be it.

The legal profession has been a fascinating thing to be a part of and I do not regret qualifying for a minute. I do regret that the financial benefits have not been what I expected or what the President of the Law Society said they would be when I went to Chancery Lane to be admitted but it has been fun. I hope those of you who are left enjoy it as much as I have and that the idiots who regulate us finally see the error of their ways in, amongst many other things, allowing those with no qualifications to do parts of our job whilst at the same time burdening us with regulation and costs that really are a waste of time and money and add nothing to the protection of our clients. I wish you all well as I hang up my pen, computer, scanner, dictating equipment etc.


Northamptonshire Law Society

The evolution of conveyancing We recently hosted a series of regional roundtable discussion forums with Modern Law Magazine, where we had the opportunity to speak to 60 property lawyers to really understand the current issues and opportunities facing the legal conveyancing sector today. A key theme brought up at each session focused on the need for greater consumer education, so homebuyers and sellers have a more thorough understanding not only of what is involved in the legal conveyancing process but, as such, understand the true value delivered by solicitors. The property lawyers we met felt that, in today’s digitallyenabled world, consumers have become accustomed to ‘googling’ for information to receive answers ‘on demand’. In addition, the use of price comparison sites is increasingly common to find what they need for the cheapest price – whether that’s a hotel room or insurance services – and many of those around the table felt that clients believe this too should be applied to legal services.

With the purchase of goods and services now possible with one click and delivered the very next day, is there now an expectation from consumers that this too should be the applied to property purchasing? This hunger for immediacy and low prices is creating a pressure for property lawyers. It was discussed that the value provided by property solicitors needs to be demonstrated, and consumers shouldn’t view conveyancing as an obstacle between them and the home of their dreams: it is a legal

“Innovations continue with case management tools, automated client update services and intelligent search ordering platforms – all designed to support solicitors conducting their day to day conveyancing operations..” process which is there to help protect their purchase.

Perhaps by providing greater clarity on what is involved would benefit everyone: clients will understand the complexities involved, which will help towards setting realistic expectations of both the time and fees involved at the outset.

Many solicitors are adopting more technology to automate elements of their operations wherever possible, in a bid to streamline the process and create efficiencies (combined with time & cost savings). By doing so, it frees-up time to handle more complex tasks. Innovations continue with case management tools, automated client update services and intelligent search ordering platforms


Article from Tony Rollason, Regional Manager Legal, Landmark Information Group

– all designed to support solicitors conducting their day to day conveyancing operations.

When it comes to undertaking property due diligence as part of any transaction, irrespective of whether it’s residential or commercial, it is important to ensure that the right level of analysis is undertaken, without hesitation. From a buyers’ perspective, they rely on their lawyer for insight and guidance. A raft of environmental risks have the potential to create expensive problems for homebuyers – such as ground instability or subsidence, flooding or land contamination, and clients expect their solicitor to be their ‘eyes and ears’ in flagging such risks before the transaction completes. The good news for conveyancers is that you’re not expected to become environmental specialists overnight: a new type of interactive ‘all in one’ environmental report is available that presents a number of risks in one single order, saving time and costs from having to access and assess multiple reports.

This report is different from other all-in-one reports on the market as it is consultant-led, meaning that it includes a series of ‘next steps’ directly from a team of qualified environmental specialists. They make it clear what the results mean and offer professional guidance that clients can rely on. Lawyers are not left wondering what to do next. With additional interactive features these reports present environmental risks in an easy to understand, visual format, making them more consumer-friendly than ever before. Clients can view the risks for themselves in greater detail via web links through to digital maps in order to understand the findings in greater depth.

As such, far more reports will be passed first time as any ‘at risk’ concerns will be manually assessed by expert consultants at no additional cost, and without delay. In my view, it not only simplifies the search process but provides confidence to clients that no stone has been left unturned. Combining the best environmental data with expert consultancy ultimately enables conveyancers to provide thorough guidance and deliver the insight clients expect, while increasing passes and ensuring clients are reliably informed and confident of the information being presented.

It also heightens the chance of progressing a transaction in an efficient and compliant manner, without delay, which in today’s fast paced world, will tick most boxes on a client’s wishlist.

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Probate Valuations

We know that sifting through share certificates to determine which investments are valid for probate can sometimes seem like a daunting prospect; especially if there have been several name changes, share consolidations, and takeovers for example. We encourage our clients to leave this process entirely to us, as we have the experience and expertise to handle even the most complex of cases. Our valuations are designed to conform to HMRC requirements for inheritance tax and include undistributed dividends and interest. Corporate actions are also detailed in accompanying notes to provide a complete service.

Sales and Transfers

We have direct access to the London Stock Exchange and other recognised exchanges around the world, enabling us to deal with most types of shares that are found in estates and at competitive prices. We are also able to arrange the transfer of shares to the estate beneficiaries.

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We understand that beneficiaries often appreciate receiving advice on their inheritance. Introductory sessions are provided by our chartered independent financial advisers at no cost to the beneficiaries. As experienced investment managers, we are also able to tailor investment portfolios to suit the needs and objectives of the beneficiaries.

Contact us today to find out how our multi-service offering and highly qualified team could benefit you and your clients!

This communication is for general information only and is not intended to be individual advice. It represents our understanding of law and HM Revenue & Customs practice as at (26/01/2018). You are recommended to seek competent professional advice before taking any action.’ The value of an investment and the income from it could go down as well as up. You may not get back what you invest. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

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Pain is Temporary but Pride is Forever

My training plan involves me dragging myself out of a warm house, 5 days a week, through the bitter winter months. I’ve pounded the pavements in wind, rain, hail and snow; all the time trying to focus on the reason I’m doing this amazing thing. I’ve chosen to run for the Mental Health Foundation and focussing on my fundraising goal has been the best way to keep my mind motivated when my body is cold and exhausted. Another Northampton lawyer heading out into the miserable weather to get herself fit for the big day is Alex Hainsworth-Gill from Tollers. Alex committed to run the London Marathon for Breast Cancer Care after her sister was diagnosed with breast

cancer 10 months ago. Alex told me she’s actually enjoying the training, despite the weather, and she particularly enjoys group runs. It seems lawyers are good at talking in any situation, including while running.

Lawyers are also very good at advising so I asked a few local marathon veterans for some tips. Tom Ansell, who was a conveyancing Solicitor at Shoosmiths when he ran the London Marathon said completing 26.2 miles is a feat of mind over matter and the key to success is self-belief. Hewitsons Partner Chris Knight, who has two London Marathons under his belt, suggested I should forget about any target time and concentrate on enjoying the experience. And Northampton Road Runners member Mark Nicholls, a criminal defence Solicitor at Cartwright King, told me to think of all the people that have sponsored me during the last few months and how proud they will be of me on the day.

Northamptonshire Law Society

When I signed up to run the London marathon, I didn’t appreciate the level of self-discipline and endurance needed to keep up the relentless training schedule. I soon discovered that physical fitness is not nearly as important as mental strength and I started to realise that lawyers are perfectly suited to accomplishing demanding challenges like running 26.2 miles. As lawyers we understand the importance of our minds, extinguishing self-doubt and continuing on when work gets difficult. The secret is that running is exactly the same – if you can win over your mind you can run.

Karen Shakespeare, Locum Solicitor

There’s no denying that running a marathon is hard, but it’s the hard that makes it great. I know I can conquer this challenge and will cross the starting line on Sunday 22nd April with the drive to succeed that has helped so many others achieve their marathon dream. You can support Karen and Alex with their London Marathon challenges here: We’d love to hear from other members running the London Marathon, or completing personal challenges in 2018. Email your stories to

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Delving Deeper into Flood Due Diligence Northamptonshire Law Society

When it comes to undertaking environmental due diligence as part of any property transaction, irrespective of whether it’s residential or commercial, it’s important to ensure that the right level of analysis is undertaken.

From a buyers’ perspective, they rely on their lawyer for insight and guidance into such hazards, and with research showing that one in every six residential properties is considered to be at some level of flood risk in the UK*, it is important to ensure all checks are made to ensure compliance. The good news for conveyancers is that you’re not expected to become environmental specialists overnight. Flood reports have evolved and today the right reports present high quality consultant-led opinion and relevant flood data in an easy to understand, visual format that make them clear to interpret and more consumer-friendly than ever before.

They make it clear what the results mean for the property purchaser and today, some provide a series of ‘next steps’ from qualified environmental consultants as part of the report, offering specialist guidance.

This means that far more reports will be passed first time as any ‘at risk’ addresses will be manually assessed by a team of expert environmental consultants, at no additional cost. Ensuring the right calibre of report is used is important. There are reports that are automated, which present findings based on predetermined datasets. However, working with providers that offer consultant-led flood risk assessment offer advantages: identified risks are genuine and resulting guidance is of high quality and unambiguous; enabling solicitors, purchasers and - where relevant - lenders with the ability to make better informed decisions. A recent example of this can be seen in a case study following a solar farm purchase. The client had two lawyers acting on their behalf – one was an energy lawyer and the other was a property lawyer. The seller received two environmental reports for the farm – one commissioned by the seller at the outset, and the other by the financial institution later in the process. One was a consultant-led report – which in this circumstance was an Argyll Site Solutions Combined report – and the other was a standard, automated flood report. It resulted in a clear conflict of results between the two reports and, as such, the deal could not proceed until the issue was resolved.

On review, while the data sources used in both reports were similar, the automated nature of the standard report meant that the proportion of the site at risk was not investigated. The consultant-led report on the other hand was able to establish that the only area of risk is was in the far northern corner of the site and that defences made in the wider area by the Environment Agency have in fact risked the area to Low. A partner for the property lawyers was quoted as saying: “This was a good example of an automated search result being unhelpful and positively misleading, as the search result is based on manual review of the data and its further review on the discrepancy being raised confirmed it could reduce the risk, as the last instance of flooding affected only 0.5% of the site.” 20

The use of consultant-led reporting over computer modelled risk-only reports means there is greater opportunity to pass, wherever possible, avoiding false positives that lead to delay and extra costs - and even lost sales.

Being able to combine the best environmental data with expert consultancy ultimately enables conveyancers to provide the most thorough guidance to client, while maximising passes and ensuring clients are reliably informed and confident of the information being presented. It also maximises the chances of progressing a transaction in an efficient and compliant manner.

With unseasonal and often extreme weather conditions continuing to occur, it is important that the correct level of due diligence is undertaken before any transaction completes to comply with the Law Society’s Flood Practice note: in my opinion, it doesn’t pay to leave flooding to chance, but instead is the duty of conveyancers to deliver clear advice upfront. And, with today’s consultant-led reports, it means you can do this with confidence – and without the need to acquire an environmental qualification to do so.

* one-in-six-uk-homes-risk-from-flooding-mps-report

Northamptonshire Law Society


There’s something in the pipeline... The Law Society CON29DW

What makes the CON29DW unique?

With the abundance of conveyancing reports on the market, it’s good to know that the Law Society introduced the CON29DW in 2002 to promote a consistent approach to property-specific drainage and water information.

When speaking to clients we find that the CON29DW is usually the drainage and water search of choice. It is the ONLY search that:

With 23 questions and two accurate Ordnance Survey maps showing assets and pipes, it ensures that property buyers get a consistent and thorough drainage and water search regardless of where the property is located in the country.

• includes TWO separate maps to illustrate the position of both drainage and water assets

This standardisation of property information is very much in line with the Government’s current proposals for improving the homebuying process as it helps to reduce uncertainty and unnecessary delays.

• includes answers to ALL 23 Law Society copyrighted questions on drainage and water

• does NOT infer or insure against answers to Law Society questions • does NOT refer customers to a different source of information • provides FULL protection to residential property buyers • provides effective REDRESS for homebuyers in the case of incorrect information

Our new-generation CON29DW Despite the thoroughness of the report, the Geodesys team is constantly speaking to homebuyers who have not understood the implications of identified drainage and water issues. Bearing this in mind, we set ourselves a challenge of ensuring that Geodesys’ version of the CON29DW offers the best possible information and explanation to conveyancers and buyers. We come across examples every day where a property’s value and enjoyment have been affected by related issues – so we felt it was important to paint a picture of why this could be the case.

The redesigned CON29DW provides this information upfront, ensuring that the homebuyer is empowered either to proceed with confidence or to make further enquiries of the seller. As a result, it’s much less likely that a deal-breaking issue will emerge later in the process.

When will it be available? The new-generation CON29DW from Geodesys will be available from 2 April. For more information and to arrange a product presentation, please contact: Jonny Davey Drainage and Water Product Manager 01480 326093

CON29DW – about to make the conveyancer’s job even easier The redesigned CON29DW from Geodesys launches this April with the following key features: • a new crystal-clear front-page customer dashboard highlighting information on key questions • clearer identification of potential issues on the dashboard • easy-to-use interactive navigation so it’s easy for users to retrieve relevant information from the details in the report • two formats: interactive PDF and usual print format • improved information on drainage and water legislation • an updated ‘plain English’ guide explaining how specific issues could affect value and further development • a new design created by industry experts

Geodesys. About to get even better.

Northamptonshire Law Society

WHY CYBER SECURITY IS NOW A MAINSTREAM BUSINESS ACTIVITY In the last decade we have witnessed the unparalleled innovation of digital technologies that have sent ripples across the business world. Today, technology has reached a level where there are new levels of cyber risk. In fact, cyber-threats are now less controllable with traditional cyber-security tools which were once used to deter the fiercest viruses. Today, where business operations are interconnected and data is exchanged through mobility, IOT (internet of things) and cloud, businesses require more tools of security transformation. Yet, at the same time, the business world is affected with insidious and sophisticated cyber attacks. Whaling, hacking, Phishing, spear-phishing, ransomware, and corporate espionage and DDos attacks are some of the mainstream problems that are of immediate concern.

And the attackers have breached confidentiality by encrypting information either to cause devastation or demand ransom which means, technological innovation could be dangerous too. ‘Secure by design’ concept was loosely implemented, though it is a fundamental requirement. Now, if businesses don’t want to become victim to more attacks and devastating impacts, then they need a holistic approach to integrate cyber security as a primary step into their business strategy. Cyber security can no more be neglected while designing critical IT infrastructure.

In the last 12 months, businesses across the world were badly hit by vicious ransomware attacks like Wannacry followed by Petya, which have raised concerns over cyber security. These attacks became national news and exposed the shortcomings of our cyber security.

According to statistics, majority of organisations, have failed the agenda of ransomware attacks and have secured themselves but this is just not enough as these attacks can be repeated in future, may be with more devastation. Just because organisations implemented cyber security in a timely manner, they resisted such attacks. But, it is mandatory for organisations to have a financial budget to invest in cyber defense systems and have real time query capability to check the threats.

Malicious software has significantly reminded businesses to develop a robust and optimal defence system to fight against big data breaches, ransomware attacks, physical infrastructure tampering, and even election hacking allegations that consistently capture the public’s attention.

In conclusion, organisations require a strong patch management process, and a strong cyber defence centre to review vulnerabilities in their IT operations. They should constantly check their network entry points, and implement threat management capabilities to identify risks.

Recent ransomware attacks

Though these attacks had a huge impact on businesses, but if compared to the world’s IT infrastructure, it was minuscule. However, only victims can understand the intensified impact they had and not the observers. And due to this, as a bane, majority of the business co-operations and individuals are still unaware of the need of having an optimal cyber defence system to deter future cyber threats. Another major conclusion was that affected organisations were endeavouring to strengthen and build their cyber security controls for the upcoming ransomware attacks. Undoubtedly, a strong cyber defence that considers all possible threats is imperative for the businesses to mitigate risks comprehensively. With these attacks, it was very clear that cyber security is now a mainstream business activity.

“...businesses across the world were badly hit by vicious ransomware attacks like Wannacry followed by Petya, which have raised concerns over cyber security...” 24

It’s time to rethink how you’ve do things

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Article by: Jon Thorpe MANAGING DIRECTOR Three of my favourite things... Golf, tennis, and a good red wine.

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Northamptonshire Law Society

Winds are changing in solicitors’ PI insurance Solicitors have benefited from stiff competition among insurers. But the headwinds are beginning to pick up, so law firms need to prepare or risk getting caught out. It’s been a buyer’s market in recent years for solicitors purchasing professional indemnity insurance. But could that soon change? We canvassed the views of a number of experts to find out what 2018 might hold. For some law firms with good claims records the benign picture of 2017 remains unchanged, with insurers offering a range of incentives, including 18-month contracts and additional cyber cover or lower runoff premiums, to encourage them to review their options earlier and go with them.

“Lawyers have enjoyed a sustained period of cover being really easy to obtain,” says Frank Maher, a Partner at Legal Risk, solicitors, which advises lawyers on insurance law and claims. “People talk of a sevenyear cycle in insurance: well we’re seven years on [from the previous tough market] and I don’t see the situation worsening any time soon.”

However, problems far away from the UK legal sector could have an effect on how much solicitors pay for their insurance in future. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, along with the Californian wildfires, have left the insurance industry facing claims put at $94 billion in what is the costliest year on record for natural disasters.

It’s unclear at the moment if the ‘butterfly effect’ caused by these disasters could affect the price and availability of cover for solicitors. Several insurers have announced hefty losses for the year overall. “Some are in a lot of pain at the moment. That will inevitably make them look at which parts of their business are making good profits – and which aren’t,” says Neil Ross, Head of Axis Pro Europe. “It is pretty well accepted that margins are thin at the moment in the solicitors’ PI market.” Charles Hawtin, Head of Client Services at Chancery PII, says: “The Solicitors’ PII market is not as robust as it may seem, and, if past performance is anything to go by, cracks will start to emerge.” Zarina Lawley, the Head of Solicitors PI Insurance at Miller, says: “The feeling I get through discussions with underwriters is that we may well see prices starting to rise, if not at the April renewal season then perhaps by October. My view is that now could well be a very good time to lock in to longer-term policies.”

Withdrawals could make PI insurance hard to come by Several insurers have begun to reduce the number of law firms they insure following poor results, and this trend could gather pace, while some might opt to quit this sector altogether. “There has never been a year when at least one insurer has not pulled out of this market and I do not see any reason why 2018 should be different,” says Hawtin. “The market largely avoided much fallout when the likes of Quinn, Balva and ERIC pulled out, because new entrants quickly replaced them. But, it remains to be seen whether that pattern would be repeated this year: insurers are not falling over themselves to underwrite this particular class of business. If any outgoing insurers were not replaced then some law firms could have a problem in finding cover.” Although the overall swing in prices might not be big – “this remains an active market,” says Ross – law firms should start to prepare now for the possibility of tougher conditions in the near future.

“Some law firms will know they are skating on thin ice,” says Hawtin. “They need to use this time wisely, to improve their systems and procedures and the way that they present themselves to the market to avoid being caught out if the wind changes in what is a notoriously unpredictable market.”


If insurers become much pickier about who they choose to cover, lawyers should do everything to impress them. “Get a good advisor and make sure your law firm’s proposal form stands out,” says Steven Reynolds, Senior Member Partner at Reynolds Colman Bradley, who advises both lawyers and insurers on negligence claims. “Many law firms’ proposals that we see are a mess.” It’s important to show your firm takes risk management seriously – ideally by having accurate, detailed records of what, if any, claims you’ve made on your insurance in the past 15 years, says Reynolds. “Only then can underwriters see a law firm’s past track record and try to predict their future performance.”

Residential leaseholds to impact law firms As well as natural disasters in other parts of the world, lawyers are facing their own potential storms in 2018.

The controversy over clauses in residential leaseholds that trigger spiraling ground rents could become a big problem for solicitors. “We’ve seen many of these claims,” says Reynolds. “I think it’s a bigger problem than conveyancers assume, and perhaps, with respect, insurers too. They are difficult to rectify, as no two ground-rent clauses are quite the same.”

Although the government has said it will act, whatever changes it makes will be difficult to apply to existing properties. As many as 100,000 householders are affected by these ground rent clauses, it is estimated, along with many more leasehold flats. “Many buyers are unaware that they have taken on properties with these ground rents, and we are seeing cases where these houses have now passed on to their second or third owner,” says Reynolds.

Banks and building societies may also bring claims against law firms if the value of the homes on which they have lent mortgages is affected by these clauses. “We are seeing chains being held up because of these clauses,” says Reynolds.

How much PI insurance is enough? How much PI cover law firms should buy is a hot topic, with the SRA looking into whether the mandatory minimums are too high. But, an increasing number of law firms are facing the painful realisation that, in fact, they do not have enough cover.

Maher says he is dealing with a growing number of cases where practices are facing multiple complaints from clients, which, because they are related, could be treated as one claim under their insurance policy meaning that firms are left under-insured and heavily exposed themselves as a result – known technically as ‘aggregation’.

“This is not a purely theoretical point. We are advising a number of firms, in cases with millions of pounds at stake, where this is a significant issue,” says Maher. The Supreme Court set out the principles of where aggregation can apply in last year’s judgment on AIG v Woodman. But, it is not always easy to apply them to a particular case, says Maher – particularly if the facts are only established in a trial or a subsequent arbitration between a law firm and its insurer. “So the worry of possibly having inadequate cover may hang over a firm for years,” Maher adds. Law firms should consider buying more than the mandatory minimum amount of insurance cover. Get good advice, suggests Reynolds who is a member of the Law Society’s professional indemnity insurance committee. “Many law firms are underinsured: they buy what they must, rather than what they actually need.”

Against a backdrop of heavy losses in other parts of insurers’ operations, this year could see the winds of change sweep across the solicitors’ PI sector. “I expect to see market conditions start to get tougher,” says Miller’s Head of Solicitors PI Insurance, Zarina Lawley. Firms’ compliance procedures are set to come under the spotlight, with the Dreamvar and P&P appeals, as well as the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in May, likely to spell out firms’ heightened responsibility to protect against fraud. “Law firms need to ensure they’re in robust health, not just financially but also constantly reviewing their risk management and controls,” concludes Lawley.

Looking for appropriate home care services is like travelling down a road paved with obstacles. Angela Gifford, MD. Able Community Care Ltd.

A relative or a friend is approaching the stage where it is likely that some care support will be needed. Talking it through about what form this support should take and then finding a care agency to provide the service sounds simple enough. The reality is likely to be different. There are several excellent voluntary organisations that offer information about the care sector but unless you have one in your area or can research their websites on the internet or on others such as NHS Choices, you may find it difficult.

The process for many is often described as ‘frustrating and time consuming’. This is especially the case for working people as most of the care sector, including social services are not weekend friendly.

Libraries may have some or no information, or it will be hard to locate unless you ask. There are no standard leaflets which are universal. (There used to be one for NHS Continuing Care, but this is no longer freely available).

Having a care service means that it must be paid for. Depending on financial circumstances this may be State funded or partially State funded. If the State is going to fund all or part of a care package and is going to contract with an agency this will take time to become reality and in the interim a person may have to make their own arrangements.

Regardless of where the information is found it is likely that finding the right care package is going to take time.

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If a person is funding their own care, then they need to locate a care provider to support their needs. It might be thought that in a city or urban area this would be easier than in a rural location, but this is not necessarily the case. In city and urban areas there will be more providers but also more people to support. Many care providers have one main customer, their local council. This may mean that though they could provide the support asked for, it may not be at a time of choice, a person may have to have several, different care workers coming in or simply they may not be able to help. Hourly care, shift care, night sitters, night sleepers, ‘pop in’ 15-minute visits, 24-hour care, live-in care, specialised care, domestic care and companionship care, will all be available but not in every locality. The cost of care services can be different for the same type of care package from different providers. Contrasting the financial rates charged for weekdays, weekends, night times, bank holidays, having employed care workers or self-employed care workers as provided by Introductory agencies is not always easy to do as some providers will want to make an assessment visit first and will not offer a ‘ball park’ figure. To make the journey a little easier before the time of need, the advice is to investigate what is available in the local area, download details, ask for brochures and put the information in a safe place.

For a free brochure please contact 01603 764567 or email

gildings Northamptonshire Law Society


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Comprehensive house clearance service

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ne of the great strengths of the UK’s Criminal Justice System is the ability of the Defence to view and question the evidence of the Prosecution, and if your case is based around the identification of an individual through a fingerprint, how can you be assured that the evidence offered is fair, unbiased and above all else, accurate. Based in the United Kingdom, but with proven International experience (reports produced during 2011 have led to Court appearances in Hong Kong and Nigeria), we have over 65 years combined fingerprint expertise within Fingerprint Associates. From a simple comparison of two fingerprints to a full evidential package, Fingerprint Associates offers a confidential service adaptable to the specific needs of the customer. But this is only one of the things we can assist you with...

Fingerprint Services • Criminal Defence • Immigration Disputes • Civil Disputes • Electoral Disputes • Fingerprint Chemical Development Contact us now on: +44(0)7846 401211 28 Untitled-1 1 09/06/2014 Untitled-113:03 1

06/03/2018 09:36

Northamptonshire Law Society

And Finally… ... here is a round up of the topics, events and news that were not covered in this edition from Phil Smith, Society Manager.

Welcome to the Spring edition of the Bulletin. I say Spring, but as I write this “the Beast from the East” and “Storm Emma” are meeting outside my office window in sub-zero temperatures more akin to a skiing holiday than the traditional images we have of Spring.

Can I ask if you are making the most of the training courses we stage?

First may I congratulate Oliver Spicer of Shoosmiths on taking up the role of Vice President of the Society. Oliver will take over as President later this year at the AGM.

The events we stage, such as the current series of Conveyancing courses through Richard Snape, are always well attended. However the range of topics the Society cover are driven by the level of interest displayed by you as a member, and providing feedback and suggestions of the speaker and type of course you would like to attend. Many of you will travel outside of the county on occasion to attend a specific course by a well-known speaker. If this is the case then have you ever thought about the travel, cost and lost time away from the office and how this can be significantly reduced if the course was held locally? Think about the courses you may have attended in the past 12months that could have been staged here in the County. If you know of any such courses or speakers then please me us know.

Also happening later this year are 2 of our annual events the dates of which I would ask you enter into your diaries now. The Annual Awards Dinner will be held on Friday 21st September at the Northampton Marriott Hotel. Once again we will be asking you to nominate worthy firms and individuals in a number of categories who will be recognised on the night for their work throughout the year. Details of how to nominate are being finalised and will be circulated in the coming months. However, there is no need to wait, so start thinking now of who you might want to nominate and gain recognition for their work. The joint annual quiz night with the chartered accountants will be on Thursday 15th November at Kettering Golf Club. Details on how to enter will be sent nearer the time.

“...Range of topics the Society cover are driven by the level of interest displayed by you as a member, and providing feedback and suggestions of the speaker and type of course you would like to attend...”

Those of you who have attended any of the CPD training courses the Society provide for members (and non-members) will know that they represent excellent value for money with a 3 hour event usually costing just £25.

One such speaker is Gill Steel who may well be known to many of the private client members. Gill is well respected and in great demand countrywide, but we have secured her to speak for an afternoon locally on 1st May at a cost to members of just £25. Please put the date in your diary and look out for the details on how to register which will be circulated shortly. There will be many other respected speakers out there covering other topics so if you know of any then please advise us through Once again I would like to acknowledge and thank our patrons for their ongoing support of the Society. The University of Northampton, Landmark Information Group, QPI Legal Ltd and Hawsons Chartered Accountants. Phil Smith

Society Manager


30 Untitled-3 1 12/03/2018 12:55

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Northamptonshire Law Society  

Issue 17

Northamptonshire Law Society  

Issue 17